All week the weather network was calling for weather around the 0 degree celcius mark and SUN. Sun and warm! Yay! Yeah, that didn't quite happen because this is what it looked like at the start:
It wasn't all that cold, but the wind and snow were a little unexpected. But as a team, we were not deterred. We thought "this is CANADA...in WINTER...it could be so much worse!" And as the horn went (set off by the amazing Ray Zahab) we embraced Winterlude:
(ok, we embraced the mascots- what are they...mice?)
As usual, we also got a little goofy. I have no idea how this happened, but a couple of days before, Suz and her friends came across the pope flashing the "mano cornuta" and thus started a fairly amusing series of race pictures.
As I said, our first leg started with gusto and then our second leg started with even more gusto:
The first two legs went well. Hugh- our first leg runner- was running in his first race and said he had a lot of fun! He may have had the hardest leg since he was the only one who had to worry about the traffic jams that go along with the start of a race. While that was a little annoying, he said it may have helped him in the end because it meant he couldn't go out too fast. Suz was out on leg 2 and not only managed to run a negative split on a sore hip, but found the race photographer and flashed the "mano" for a perfect picture! (check out zoomphoto for proof)
I was up third but also had some company. Jordan had to get more than the distance of his leg in as a part of his long run, so he ran my leg with me and it was kind of nice to have someone to run with. The course was a 5K loop with no spectators (seriously- who wants to be out there in February) so it was kind of boring and I was grateful for the company. There were a few spots that the snow got annoying, but the footing was pretty darn good for being a winter race.
Besides being a loop course, it was also decently hilly. I think the best descriptor is "undulating". You were either running up or down and the only flats were right at the turn-around points. I know that I'm not a really strong hill runner (although I AM working on it) so I found the course a little challenging but I made it through with only a few complaints to Jordan (who basically told me to suck it up and speed up). After the last hill felt like it kicked my ass, I wanted to finish strong on the downhill and flat to the finish. So I was working pretty hard at the end of my leg. Was Jordan? I'll let you be the judge of that:
(a friend has said that together we're a mullet since I'm all business and he's all party)
The good news is, I ran my first ever negative split! I'm usually a go out fast, then crash and burn kind of runner, so it was kind of nice to see that I got quicker on my second half. I also know I could have gone a bit faster if my head had been in it a bit more. I need to work on my "race mentality". I don't really have that killer instinct to make it happen and I think it would be nice to learn how to do that. (this was clearly not the kind of race that i was looking for the killer instinct...just thought I'd bring it up as an aside) But my goal with the Winterman was to have fun and to keep it to under 55 minutes. I did both of those things, so I'm pleased. The bad news is, the race photographer must have been on a break while I was out on course- there are pictures of everyone else on the team, but not me. Good thing we brought the camera :)
After my leg, we sent Jordan on his way. His goal was to run his leg at marathon pace and although his first loop was a little fast, he stayed on pace for the most part. Since he was the last runner and all of us had done 10K, he had the pleasure of also running an extra 2.2K to make it the full marathon distance (so in case you're counting, Jordan actually ran 22.2K) which we called the "victory lap". Here he is charging in to finish the first ever Will run for Bacon marathon:
(yes that's right...charging)
All together, we ran it in 3:38:47- which is probably the closest I'll ever come to seeing a time that would qualify for Boston :) We finished 5th out of 20 teams in our division (although we're pretty sure the 2nd place team accidentally cut their "victory lap" short- but even if they hadn't, they'd still have beat us) and of course- it was a lot of fun.