Webster’s Dictionary defines determination as “a quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something that is difficult.” In honour of the 125th anniversary of the Around the Bay Race yesterday, let’s talk about determination. I will tell you from experience, it takes a lot of it to complete this race!
First of all, it’s 30 kilometers. I could stop here, but there’s more. There are hills. Lots of them. They come in the form of overpasses starting at five kilometers. There they are, looming ahead with a wall of people climbing up and over. After that grind, the long, flat, stretch of Beach Boulevard is a welcome break. That is, until you turn onto North Shore Boulevard and there’s a whole new set of mountains to climb. The hills are back! Between 18 kilometers and 26 kilometers, your determination will be tested on the rolling hills of North Shore.
The Around the Bay race is an exercise in determination. Not just completing the race, but the work it takes to get there. Yes, you need determination to get up Heartbreak Hill. And have the will and energy to continue another four kilometers to the finish. But it also takes determination to get to the start line.
Since the ATB is at the end of March, that means training through the winter. The cold, Canadian winter. Many of my own group training runs were cancelled on Wednesday nights this winter due to extreme cold, freezing rain, heavy snowfall and icy conditions. Some people jumped on a treadmill while others moved hill training to another day. It’s not always easy to move training days around if you’re a busy guy or gal or have a family and other commitments. It’s difficult, but the determined continue to try.
The Bay is challenging. Every single person who ran it yesterday will tell you that. But we all had something in common: we were determined to do it. We started even though it was cold and windy. We kept going when it became demanding. And when we got our final “second wind” entering the finishing chute, there was no better feeling right then because determination helped us cross the finish line, upright and smiling.
Congratulations to everyone who completed their journey to the Around the Bay yesterday!
Now that you’ve had some time to come down from your runner’s high (or maybe you’re still on it!), what’s your next race?