Around the Bay 5K Race Recap #ATB

Happy Monday!

Max and I are at home today because he is feeling under the weather and coughing up all sorts of nasty cold-things. He rarely gets sick, so the poor guy is all miserable and watching movies right now.

Yesterday I ran my first ever race in Hamilton: The Around the Bay 5K Road Race!

I left Ottawa on Friday with Kristi after school. We had no traffic and made it to Mississauga in good time. It was nice to have a running friend to chat with during the very long drive to the Toronto area. Max was a trooper and only started whining when we got into the city (as it was his bedtime). Thanks for the drive, Kristi!

I did not go to the race expo as I had Max with me this weekend and we were going to a birthday party in Hamilton. Max would just run around all over the place and I was also hoping that on the way to Hamilton he would nap (which he did). We took the long scenic route to my friends house so he could nap for awhile. I heard that the expo was ok – no lines for the 5K race kit pick up, but a bit of a line at some points for the 30K. The race kit included a few promotional reads, a t-shirt and a hat (plus the usual race bib/chip). The chip was the one where you fasten it to your shoes and can just keep or throw out after. I prefer these chips to the ones that are on the bib. The t-shirts we were given were men’s small. The design/colour is not really my thing, and I can fit two of me in the shirt, so it isn’t something I will be wearing again. I do not know if there were was a women’s t-shirt available or not. The 30K t-shirts were really nice though! I like the hat that was given. My friends and I laughed that it said 30K on it, as we definitely were not running that race. Kristi’s 3 came off, so her hat says “0K”, ha!


At least the shirts were in Mac colours. I shall be using this shirt as a NYC throw away layer for sure. Or I could wear it as a dress?


The day of the race, my friend picked me up at my house and we went to Burlington to pick up one of her friends. In the morning I had a cup of coffee as I got very little sleep the night before due to Mr. Sicky. I also ate a banana and had a Clif bar ready for later. I also drank a bottle of water. Normally I bring my Klean Kanteen but since there was no bag check and the car would be parked away, I just had a regular bottle of water. I wore my Champion from Target leggings, a Champion long sleeve shirt, my MEC fleece orange sweater and my blue Running Room jacket. This is my standard “chilly weather” outfit that I’ve been wearing regularly. The weather called for sun and a high of 6C, so I figured that it would be around 0C at race time (which it was). I knew that it was highly probable that I would overheat during the race. I should have left that orange sweater at home. Normally I would just bag check my warm layer but there was no bag check because of “security concerns” (more on this in a bit).

We just found a parking lot that had places open because it was getting busy rather fast. We paid $10 for parking close the race venue. I was figured we would park at Hamilton Place in the underground parking that I was familiar with, but when we passed the garage it seemed like no one was going in, and I just didn’t feel like we should be driving around downtown Hamilton (which is all one way streets) with people all over the place. My parents came later, after the races started, and parked there. The price was $6 max for the day, and my Dad only paid $1.50 for his hour at the garage. There were tons of spots there as well – so next time, we shall park there!

We made our way to Copps Coliseum FirstOntario Centre and went to find the washrooms. It was super busy at the front of the centre with line ups for bathrooms everywhere. We went to the middle of the arena and got in a line that moved really quickly. We then sat down in the arena to get our bibs and chips ready. This race is unique because the race finish is right inside the stadium. Friends and Family can grab a seat in the stadium to wait for the runners to come in. Max thought this was great fun and cheered on all the “Go-Go’s”. Apparently he knew he was going to a race right when he arrived. At 9:15 they started calling the 30K runners to the corrals and the place emptied. At this point, we went for one past potty break (no lines!) and went to the bottom level of FirstOntario Centre to wait til 5 minutes before. We passed by some massage tables that were offering free massages, but we were running out of time. Next time!


The start was right in front of FirstOntario Centre and we just snuck in at the front of the line. As with most race corrals they tend to not have any open spots to go into, and spectators gravitate to the corrals which makes for a fun time to get into the section that you want to be in. So we found one hole at the front, and just moved a bit back. Of course this meant that there were runners of all levels at the front, not just the sub-26:00 runners, which meant that there were some walker lines happening at the beginning. The area filled up quickly and we were delayed by 5 minutes as we waited for the 30K runners to move through their start (which was where we were headed). They announced that Kathleen Wynne, the Premier of Ontario was running. Not to get into politics here, but I am not exactly the biggest fan of the Liberal government at the moment, so I made it my mission to pass her. Just before the start we did the traditional clapping for the first time racers and the shaking of hands before the race. Soon enough we were off!


Yes the person behind me is ducking. She didn’t want to ruin my selfie – haha!


My friends and I set a pre-determined place to meet if we got separated since we were all a little unsure where we were at in terms of speed. I knew that I could not hold a 5:10ish pace for a race this early in the season, so I figured around the 27:00 mark was my goal. We went out a bit fast, so I tried to slow it down a bit and not get sucked in the sub 5:00 pace that I tend to do in all races. I finished my first KM in 5:17 which is right where I wanted to be. Who did I see right after this, the Premier! She was running a steady pace, hovering around 5:20 with her body guard right beside her. I ran behind her for a bit, then passed her. My friend’s friend speed off (she ended up running under 26 minutes!) and I ran with my friend for a bit before I started to head off.

The route was a simple out and back down York Blvd. Nothing too scenic until the turn around when you get the Dundurn Castle and the cemetery. The route had gentle inclines which was fun at the 2nd half of the race when you got to go down the hill. At the cemetery, the infamous Grim Reaper was there! Read this story to learn more about him – but he is a fan favorite during this race (this point is the last 2K of the 30K race). I gave him a pointy-finger wave and he yelled something like “hurry up” at me, lol! At this point I was feeling the layers and overheating. I had already unzipped everything that I could, and there was no way I was throwing away any of that clothing. It was a miserable last 2K. I ran my 2nd KM in 5:28, my 3rd in 5:20 and my 4th in 5:27 – not bad! Last KM came in at something I don’t know because this silly person didn’t pause the garmin!

The last 1.5KM is straight into FirstOntario Place. You can see the building from this point and it is such a tease because you think you are right there, but the building appears to not be getting any closer. At this point, I look over my shoulder and see Kathleen Wynne passing me, darn it! If I didn’t have all those layers on, and not have a stitch on my side, I may have made more of an effort to keep up with her. The last KM had many people on the street cheering, but not as many as Ottawa Race Weekend. The last 150m is right into the building, including a steep driveway. I wondered how many people fall on this because of wobbly legs in the 30K race. You then turn into the arena and greeted with cheering fans. I ran under the finish line at 27:09, a pretty good time for my first real 5K of the year with no real 5K training. Note: Kathleen Wynne was just ahead of me, and on her twitter page she posted a picture where you can faintly see me coming in. My Mom was more interested in Kathleen coming in that she totally missed me finishing, ha!





We were given water bottles, the medals and some after-race food quickly after. I easily found my friends (my friend was right behind me and finished just a few seconds later – and she thought she was going to go over 30 minutes, I don’t think so!). We found my parents and Max and left a short time later to grab some breakfast. The after race food was your typical food that I rarely eat – granola bar, banana, rice krispie square and some muesli bun thing. Instead I had this:



Yes I took a bite out of my food before taking a picture. I am not a good food blogger!

My chip time was 26:56, so I *just* sneaked in a sub-27:00. I am happy with this time because I have been scaling back the speed to stay run-healthy during half training and really do not have the opportunity to get a solid faster steady run until the snow melts. Also, the layers I had on really bugged me – typical Ottawa runner who is not used to running in warmer weather over-dressed! If there was a bag check, I would have removed the orange sweater. Funny, they state “because of security” there would be no bag check, but what was all over the place – people’s bags! You tell me what is more dangerous – a bag check system where you could technically search the bag before putting it into a storage area, or having random bags all over the place. I also should get into the throw-away layers idea, as that is what is happening for NYC.

I do plan on running this race in the future, but probably the 2-person or 3-person relay. A 30K in March is not for me because of winter training, unless P doesn’t have robots. But a 10K or 15K is definitely do-able. I found the race atmosphere to be fun, well-organized and it is my university town which is an added bonus (for me). I did enjoy going to a McMaster breakfast institution and surrounded by current Mac students.



Congrats to all the 30K runners who ran yesterday. Kristi ran an AMAZING race, coming in at the 3:00hr mark. Lauren ran the farthest distance she had ever run and had a really good, steady race. A bunch of twitter friends also did really well in the 5K and 30K distances. It was fun chatting with a bunch of runners the night and day before. Although I wasn’t able to meet anyone after, I hope to meet my Toronto runner friends soon (including a bunch of you going to the Yorkville Run!).

Stats: 5K Around the Bay Race

Gun time – 27:09

Chip Time – 26:56

Place – 333/2275

Category (F 30-35) – 16/165

Gender – 113/1479

Have a great day everyone!

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  1. Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom

    Congrats! 😀

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      Thank you!

  2. Mary

    Way to go!! Sounds Luke a fun race. I want to do the ATB 30km one day.

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      It was a fun race! Definitely on my list of races to do in a season.

  3. Kristi

    What a fun weekend – I am still on a bit of a high! Thanks so much for the company on the drive there and back, so nice to meet in person. And honestly, I can’t imagine having to do that drive on my own after the 30k. Max was so amazing on both trips, hope he feels better soon.
    BTW – I managed my 4k today…my first time reaching a total of 200k in a one month period!

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      It was fun!!

      Yay for 200K this month! Amazing!

  4. ben

    You don’t look like a mom. Your just on the 20’s of age 🙂 Anyway congratulations!

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      LOL – I am not in my 20’s!!

  5. Lisa from Lulu's Big Adventure

    Pancakes and bacon? Sign me up! Congrats on the great race, though I feel your pain on the overheating. It’s not pleasant. And the picture of Max is adorable!

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      Thank you 🙂

  6. Nikki

    I did the 5K at ATB too! Lots of Ottawa folks there, it seems. 🙂 Thankfully my hubby had done it before (and did the 30K this time) so I knew what “no bag check” really means. I, too, was woefully overdressed. Fun race though. 🙂

    1. Rebecca (Post author)

      I keep seeing the hat from ATB on runners here in Orleans, haha!

  7. Pingback: Gearing up for Around the Bay | sitelady

  8. Laurel Grasset

    What did 30k shirt like? Pic at all? Didn’t make race or pickup pkg,
    Congrats on 5km and great blog


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