C+, Just Like High School
In general, I don’t try and do a mile by mile breakdown of races but instead talk about instances or moments I noticed during my death march. I know I veered away from this with the Around the Bay Recap, but you should know here-and-now….I’m a hypocrite and you shouldn’t do anything I do or say or even think about doing…or saying…just sayin’…As much as I try to be altruistic and hold true to all the edicts/assumptions/declarations I’ve made (I really do have the best intentions in mind) I’ve discovered that Irony has a habit of completely buggering up my plans, pushing me face first in the mud and laughing at my misfortunes. Am I complaining? Hell no, this in my life and I’ve simply come to terms with it. Overall I’ve been ridiculously lucky so a few kicks to the junk here and again REALLY aren’t anything to get upset about…although I do love my junk…
I’ve gone back and forth on whether this race was a success or not when describing it to people, it’s right on the emotional fence between the two. The nitty gritty of it is that I finished in 3:55:58 (chip time), which puts me solidly between “Goal B” and “Goal C”, or if you want to be technical I landed in “Goal C” territory while being close-ish to the B-border….sound like an ego-saving cop-out? That’s exactly what it is.
Overall, the Ottawa course is gorgeous. TONNES of natural (or naturalized) sections, the downtown sections of both Ottawa and Gatineau, prominent or historical landmarks, and simply lots and LOTS of public support (the city really buys into and celebrates this race weekend). At the same time, this course is deceptively hard; when you look at the elevation profile it really doesn’t have any major obstacles, but therein lays the rouse. The Ottawa course is constantly undulating, you don’t realize it right away, but after 30km let me tell you…you notice it. By 32-34km-ish the majority of the hills are out of the way, but by that time your race fate is sealed. If you’ve raced smart you are cruising, although there are lots of us that simply got caught up in the course and had to fight our way through to the finish line.
Weather could be considered to be a factor, but having taken pride in running in near blizzard conditions it’d hardly make me a bad-ass to be complaining about a little bit of rain and humidity. In reality, it rained over night, drizzled during warm up, held off for the first 26km-ish, then rained in earnest for the remainder of the race (if it’s any consolation, by the time my eggs arrived at brunch it was sunny outside…). For my race, the rain really didn’t have an effect but I’m sure to some (all the people being treated for hypothermia in the medical tent) it was a huge PITA.
Moreover my thoughts for the weekend lay with two groups of people. 1.) I rode to Ottawa with my speedwork partner and her family. We visited with their friends, and I waited for my accommodations to be ready. These people MADE my weekend. They often commented that as a fellow parent I should be out doing something significant with my time away from the family, but reality, they provided a calm environment where I could put all my race anxieties aside and just chill out. These folks showed me such gracious hospitality that I really didn’t know how to respond. 2.) On the other side is a friend I was supposed to have dinner/hang out/crash with Saturday night. As I was dropped off at her apartment, I called her to let her know I was there, and received no answer. A little while later my phone rang, and it was her, telling me that she was 7-8hrs away at her childhood home. Initially I was PISSED, assuming that she had simply forgotten that I was coming into town…until she explained that her Dad had gone into the hospital with some complications for a condition he’d been battling for a while**. As I was trying to digest all this information and she told me that despite her rush to leave town, she had arranged for a friend to meet me with the key to her apartment. To be honest, it was awkward staying at someone’s house when they were out of town, but I did my best to be an over-the-top guest, you’d hardly know I’d even been there. I tend be a tad cynical about the general public, but everyone I met, or depended on this weekend went out of their way to help me out. Kudos to you all, you were all fantastic.
Have a good one kids; remember to pay it forward when you get the chance.
**I found out later that my friend’s dad passed away shortly after the race.