Sunday, August 21, 2011

Midsummer Night's Run recap

Yesterday I completed a 30km race in Toronto.   Lish, Lindsay, Angela, Gillian, Scott, Camille, Madeline, Erin, Kelli, Meagan all participated too for a total of 834 runners coming to Toronto at 5:30pm to compete in this interesting run.  There was also a 15km run that started at 6:45pm.

Many people were dressed in fairy costumes, wings, halos of thorns or just plain weird Shakespearean inspired outfits. 

This was the longest run for me since October and our training for this week called for a 30km run so it worked perfectly into our plans.  I have not being running well on my long Sunday runs and was a tad worried about being pulled off the course.  They had a strict 3 hour 22.5km limit and then a 3:15 limit for 24.5km.  I knew my training did not have me being able to meet those goals so I worried for the past 5 weeks about getting embarrassed as some police officer drove me to the finish line without being able to finish. 

Lish and Lindsay completed this race last year and they loved it.  They also love the 30km distance so I knew that I would like it to.  I worked hard the past couple of weeks to get all my training runs in and to hit some time goals.  Lennie even came with me on a tempo run to help me go faster.  I have never competed in a 30km race before so I didn't have a time to beat but my marathon 30km time was 4:24 so I knew that I needed to better than.  Unfortunately, last weekend's 28km was about that same time so I really was worried about being in the 4:30 time zone and last (compared to last year's finishing times.)

We drove together to Toronto (after a great carb loading the night before at Spaghetti Eddies with the hubbies) and arrived at Lish's brother's house.  It was perfect as we were able to relax and get ready.  We drove to the shuttle parking lot and caught a shuttle to the park and picked up our bids and gift bags.  We walked to see the few vendors and then relaxed in the park as we caught up with our other running friends. 

I really wanted to focus on being comfortable, try out my new shoes and compression socks and see how I am progressing with 7 weeks until Chicago.  I was going to focus, hit the route hard, stay a consistent pace and finish strong.

30km route map for Midsummer Night's Run 2011
The start line was not too crowded and at 5:30pm the gun went off.  My goal was to beat 4:30 but I really wanted to hit 4:15 but secretly wanted 4:00 which meant a 8:00/km pace.  It was hot! Humid! And fast!

I was surprised how fast everyone was and when we hit the first out and back I could see that I was already at the very end with only about 20 runners behind me.  After the first 3km I was 10th from the end.  Geez! another race where I am at the back.  I hit the first 8km in 1:03 and thought, this is my 8:00km pace and not going to worry about the fact that there are not other turtles doing this race.  I wanted to finish and feel good. 

I hit the 10km at 1:20 and then all of a sudden got caught by 1000 runners speeding passed me because the 15km race had started and were on a similar route to us.  Well, at least I have someone to run with now.  As we entered and exited the first big park we saw everyone coming and going and made the race fun to watch who was doing well and who was walking (I wasn't). But, the road turned to sand around a lighthouse corner and then gravel road for a km.  Tough stuff. I hit 20km in another 1:30 - cool still on MY pace.

It started to get dark and I hit the 21km timer chip thingy and it was 3:00 hours.  Was I going to get pulled off the course?  Hope not as I am feeling good and sticking to MY plan.  The 15km race people did a sharp turn to the left to get to the finish line and I entered another park for the final 8km.  As I entered the park I saw a group of volunteers coming to towards me and I thought "Shit, they are telling me I am done." Instead one of the them offered me water (the station before had run out) and said to me to get going as I only had 7.5km to go - SWEET.  I saw my friend Amanda in the park cheering everyone on then Angela coming back along with Scott and Camille in the home stretch.  As I approached the 23km marker a girl said "hey, I follow your blog" and realized it was Cynthia - she was on her way back and doing great.  It was now pitch black and I was entering one scary park.  I had a flashing light that I wore and was happy that I did as it made it easier for the volunteers to see me and show me where to go. 

The park kind of sucked as it was so dark that you could not see where you were going and for 2km you had to run on a boardwalk (wooden planks).  I was totally worried that I would fall.  It was over before I knew it and I was heading back at the 27km marker.  That is where it happen.  Something I have never done before...I passed 2 people.  Seriously, I passed people.  I didn't look at my watch but I could see people entering the park and thought for sure I was not going to be last. 

I hit the 28km marker then the 29km marker and passed 2 more people.  I could hear Lish ahead yelling my name and knew she said she would come back and get me at the finish.  I gave her my water belt and cranked out the last km at lightning speed (my lightning speed), passed a couple more people and crossed the line.  I felt great.  No pain, no worries, not last.  So, I clicked my watch to see what my time was and I saw 4:22 - what??? that is crappy!!!  Seriously, 4:22!!!! only 2 minutes faster than Chicago.  That is a 8:44 pace and I could have gone so much faster if...if...if... if it wasn't dark, lonely, scary and inconsistent terrain.  If, if, if, if.

Lish and Lindsay got me some water, picked up my bag, took some photos and we hit the shuttle back to the car.  Lindsay drove us back to Lish's brothers, we ordered a pizza, showered and chatted till midnight when we all went to bed.  We checked out the race results and commented on everyone's performance (I finished 811/834).  Lish killed it with a 2:55 and Lindsay with her 3:06. 

Then the bad news.  The girls shared (and many people on Twitter/Daily Mile) that the course was 600m SHORT.  Short, are you kidding me?  That means I would have been slower than Chicago. Again, I am not happy. 

Anyways, the medal is gorgeous and hanging with my others proud and tall.  My bib is on the wall of accomplishments in the laundry room.  I feel perfect today with no pain and very little tightness.  I think the compression socks really helped along with the shoes and orthotics.  This may mean that the last 12km in 7 weeks should be better than last year and may lead to a better time.  5:59 is what I want and am going to make happen!

Fingers crossed.