This was the 92nd running of the Boxing Day 10-Miler in Hamilton, Ontario. They used to start this race at 11:00 a.m. A few years back, they pushed it further back to 12:00. I don't know whether it's to allow people to fight off their food and drink Christmas hangovers or to allow the shop-a-holics to get their Boxing Day sales fix, but either way, I'm grateful for the extra hour.
My husband and I woke up to howling winds. Not a comforting way to wake up when you're racing. What can you do, but get out there and get it done anyway. The weather was calling for 15 cm of snow. That didn't happen overnight -- woohoo -- so I'll take my small mercies where I can get them.
After my husband and I got ourselves ready, we went to pick up a couple of friends and made our way to the race. It was only 15 minutes away and we had no problem finding parking in front of the YMCA. We weren't too thrilled with the $12 parking fee, but once we found out a friend got a $72 ticket for not paying it, we stopped complaining.
Registration was painless and we got a toque with our registration. I got a little noggin' so the hat was just
We got to the race start and I finally met Sam from Daily Mile. It was great to finally meet her after many months of chatting on DM.
The start of the race was a bit slow as it usually is till the crowds thin out and everybody finds their paces. I knew I wanted to finish around 1:25, but anything better than 1:29:50 was a PB for me. I ran with my girlfriend Janine who has qualified for Boston too many times for me to count. A 1:25 for either of us would have been a record time.
The wind was a factor a couple of times, especially before you hit the pier and run through the Pier 4 Park. Once we made the turn into the marina we were good. The path all along the waterfront was clear. The water looked cold but the waves were very cool. It was through here that the wind side-swiped us a few times. Nothing like getting knocked over by runners.
We hit the half-way point right on target, but we hadn't hit the hills yet. The first hill isn't so bad, but it's the Chedoke hill which is the kicker. AND that's where the wind was, full-on in the face. The hill is incredibly steep but the wind made it feel like we were getting pushed back by a wall. My lungs were ready to explode by the time I got to the top. I took a short walk break to wait for my friend, but she told me to keep going. I knew she'd catch me once we got to the down hill section.
The next few kilometres after the hill has a trail and then you're back onto a residential area. I love this part of the race....until you hit Aberdeen. It's like this realllly looooong climb up the escarpment that never seems to end. Once you finally hit the turn, you get this nice down until you hit another hill. It was on this down section that Janine caught back up to me. But just for good measure there's another little hill within the last kilometre of the race....ugh!! And it's all in the wind...again!
But there's just a couple more turns and you're into the finish chute. So we pushed through it and gave it our best shot to try and make our goal time. We missed it by 1:15. Official time was 1:26:38. Chip time was 1:26:15. Janine won her age group and I managed a 7th place finish. I literally jumped for joy when another friend told me how I'd done.
We headed back to the YMCA gym to warm up and meet up with everybody. They put on a good post-race spread. There was hot soup, fruit, water, bagels and cupcakes. We got changed and stuck around for the awards to watch Janine get her gold snowman belt buckle -- did they make it with yellow snow?
Then it was on to Slainte's Pub to get our beer -- free with your race bib. That alone is worth the entry fee!
Even with the 40+ kph winds, our group had lots of PB's. What a team!
This race has become a tradition and it's a great way to hook up with friends that you don't get to see in the days leading up to Christmas. Here's a sampling of some of the gang that came out:
Happy New Year!! Here's to a year filled with good health, happiness, good friends, wonderful family, new adventures and new beginnings.