Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Joggling Around the Bay


The Around the Bay Road Race 30K Joggling Extravaganza

I treat the Around the Bay 30K with reverence. It's been around for 113 years. Several running legends have raced it and then gone on to win the Boston Marathon.

So when I lined up for the race on Sunday with three yellow juggling beanbags, I got the funny feeling that I sometimes get when I joggle through a cemetery, or when I joggled in the Boston Marathon last year, that I was debasing a grand tradition by throwing juggling into the mix.

Those thoughts just turned to embarrassment when race announcer came over the loudspeaker saying: "I see The Joggler is here. The Guinness World Record holder for the fastest marathon while juggling, set at last year's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon."

When the gun went off, I blasted out near the front with a good, clean, drop-free start. I found a good groove and settled into a manageable pace that I figured was about a four-minute kilometre. At 3K I had my first drop. Sometimes it's nice to get it over with early. While I was picking up the stray beanbag, a big pack of runners went zooming past me. I quickly resumed my joggling pattern and caught up to them.

The comments from spectators kept me entertained. I heard: "That's impossible!" and "You have GOT to be kidding!" And of course the requisite "High five!"

At 10K, I saw a clock for the first time and it read 37:45. Was I hallucinating? The pace felt pretty comfortable, so I decided I'd try to maintain it.

Around the halfway point, we ran over a bridge with a fairly wide grating, and I suddenly realized that if I dropped a ball, it would fall right through! Panic! Toss, catch, toss, catch, don't drop don't drop please please oh please don't drop! I didn't drop.

Through Burlington, I hit the rolling hills and tried to focus on pushing the running pace, keeping the juggling nice and relaxed and maintaining a good arm swing. At the top the famous Cardiac Hill at 25K, I still felt strong.

The final three kilometres were downhill into downtown Hamilton and as I cruised down the street, I began to wonder whether I would finish the entire race with only one drop. That, naturally, was when I dropped a ball for the second time.

I launched into a little cursing fit, which I'm sure was a good show for the spectators nearby, then picked up the ball and was on my way again. But I had joggled 25K without a drop – a personal best.

Just before the finish I got nervous again and had two more drops – both less than 50 metres from the end. The last drop was right inside Copps Coliseum. I didn't mind because it allowed me to savour the finish for an extra few seconds.

Finish time: 1:54:44 and a 30K joggling world record. 

7 comments:

Cathlin said...

Sorry to be a random commenter, but strangely enough, I received a juggling kit the day before the race, and then I went to the race to watch my boyfriend and two friends run the 3-person relay. When I saw you juggling on the line, I thought perhaps you were just trying to relax before you got started. After they announced that you would be joggling the whole 30k, I was more than impressed! It was quite a neat moment to watch you crossing the line, joggling! So neat that I went home that night and started to teach myself to juggle!
Congratulations on a new record! 30k joggling is pretty impressive!

The Joggler said...

Cathlin, random commenters are the best! What a coincidence that you just got a juggling kit. Good luck with it. Just keep at it and be patient and persistent - it's worth it.

I like this tutorial from juggling master Jason Garfield:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T16_BVIFFPQ&mode=related&search=

Perry said...

Michal,

Great race and for all the jugglers out there who don't think joggling can inspire others to start juggling, here's proof that they're wrong.

Perry, 44

Cathlin said...

Thanks Michal! I've been working on it for three days now and came make it to about three complete passes before the balls go flying in all directions. I'm pretty optimistic that it will get better with time. Perhaps joggling next! ;]

Sonia said...

awesome race!! lookin good at the finish line! =)

tocanuck said...

Congratulations Michal!!! I ran ATB for the first time this year (in 3:33:03) and it was tough! You really are a running/joggling HERO!!! Good luck in Salt Lake City....we will be cheering for you!

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