15K-20K (AKA running on my own)
After I left the group I kept my eyes out for Lyndsey, Ali's teammate for the relay, and I slowed my pace a bit. When I went by the relay exchange point, I saw Lyndsey and yelled out her name. We waved to each other and I continued on my way.
Mile 10 came in at 9:50 pace, which is what I had originally intended to run. I kept going and as I approached the bridge, I saw the Burlington Canal Main Lighthouse. I probably looked like a weirdo because I was staring at it as I ran past.
Shamelessly stolen from MacNic, this is what I saw though I wasn't with her at this point
As I approached the golf course I knew I was going to see some familiar sights (19.5K is where the last three person relay exchange takes place) and I just focused on getting to 20K. I gave myself goals along the way, get to 10K, get to 15K (halfway), get to 20K, etc. Miles 11 and 12 came in at 9:52 and 10:26 pace. I knew I was slowing down and I was trying as hard as I could to keep up the pace.
Then the 20K water stop approached and I took a little bit of my second (and last) energy gel. Just 10K more to go.
20K-30K (AKA running to get to the finish)
The final part of the race is the hardest part, it has the most hills and you are tired anyway from running 20K. At 13 miles I thought to myself, "yes only 4.6 miles to go!" Then I ran a little further and realized that I actually had 5.6 miles to go.
The increments that I "gave" myself to get to got smaller and smaller. I just told myself to get to 15 miles, our longest run of this training cycle before this race, and then I would have just over 5K to go. Miles 13, 14 and 15 came in at 11:06, 11:48 and 11:30.
I kept expecting Colin to catch up to me at any moment, so I would keep looking for him over my shoulder. I was trying to focus on the spectators, some had some interesting signs like "run a zombie is behind you". Each kilometer marker had a motivational/funny saying on it and I would read some of those as well.
Somewhere during the second half of the race
At 25/26K I saw this old man sitting in a wheelchair getting high fives from runners, I couldn't get to him because I was too far over, and he had a huge smile on his face. I got a little emotional, I love old people, and it helped me prepare for what was to come: the biggest hill on the course.
We turned down a hill and then over a little wooden bridge and there it was, the hill. It wasn't the biggest hill I had run up before but it was big considering how far I had gone at this point (about 16 miles). I ran up part of it, walked up a bit, and then ran up the rest. At the top of the hill spectators said, "just down the hill to Copps".
I went through the last water stop at 27K and knew that I was going to see the Grim Reaper at the cemetery soon. Miles 16 and 17 were 10:36 (I think that hearing "We Will Rock You" pumped me up a bit) and 12:13.
I ran by the Grim Reaper, who was yelling about catching a bunny and making bunny stew (a pace bunny must have been near me). Now it was all about survival, I put one foot in front of the other and just concentrated on getting to Copps. Which wasn't too hard to do since you could see it FOREVER.
Mile 18 came in at 11:13. I was so close, I had about .6 miles (.69 according to my watch) to go. Everyone was cheering for all of us runners and then as I got close to the entrance to Copps (you finish inside) I saw Mike, and two people with him that I kind of recognized. For whatever reason I looked again and it was our friends Amber and Greg! They drove from Rochester just to see us finish and I said, "what are you doing here?!"
Then I ran down into the entrance of Copps, focused on not falling and turned the corner. There it was, the finish line! The end was near!
I crossed the finish line in 3:11:10 (10:15 average pace). The last .69 miles was 10:40 pace.
I was so glad to be done!
After I finished, I went through the line to get my food and medal. After walking forever I finally found Mike, Amber and Greg. I was so happy to see them! It was such a nice surprise to have them there, it really meant a lot to us. Mike did amazing and finished the race in 2:42:21 (8:42 average pace)!
Focused on his time even at the end!
After spending a few minutes with them, we saw Colin walking through the line for the finishers. We went our separate ways and Mike and I went to meet up with Colin and Ali. We waited for Lyndsey to finish and when she did we all had successfully finished Around the Bay! (Colin finished in 3:29 and Ali and Lyndsey finished in a combined time of 3:59).
All of us after the race
Photo stolen from Ali
After we were all done, we took some photos and then went back to Ali and Colin's house. Mike and I had to get ready quickly (so we could pick up Bernie) so we didn't have much time to hang out with them.
I love them so much and I always have withdrawals after leaving them!
As soon as we got in the car and started driving, I told Mike that we had to do Around the Bay again next year. I think/hope that Ali, Colin and Lyndsey agree! It is becoming a tradition with all of us after all.