A Midsummer Night’s Run 2011

Can you tell it’s been a busy summer? It’s hard to believe that we’re already at the end of August and the mornings/evenings are starting to resemble Fall more than Summer. Weather-wise, I’m not complaining – but couldn’t summer last just a little bit longer?

My legs keep no pace with my desire

On the running front, I ran A Midsummer Night’s Run this past Saturday. You may (or may not) recall that I ran this race last year. In lieu of a full recap, I’ve included some of my thoughts (for future reference because last year’s post was pretty handy) below:

  • It was my first time running a race continuously (normally I take 1 minute breaks every 10 minutes). Although I have to be honest: I did make a few stops at some water stations and when I really felt like I needed a tiny break near the end. Overall, my legs didn’t seize up like they have in the past, nor did they feel like they were going to buckle partway through which was a relief.
  • I really really dislike running in humid weather. Once again, I felt like I was running with a heat blanket permanently attached to me. At least this time I had a strategy: pouring water at every water station over me to cool off instead of drinking it (or Gatorade) and killing my stomach. Water over my head and shoulders > water sloshing around in my stomach.
  • I experimented with drinking water from my fuel belt at water stations just to see if I could hold off until then because I’m really starting to hate the added weight of running with a fuel belt. I ended up “cheating” quite a few times, mostly at the end.
  • They should really consider adding one more water station in the Tommy Thompson Park loop. I got a little cranky at the 20k mark. Just saying.
  • Last year, I started getting side stitches at the 21k mark and it only went downhill from there. I contemplated dropping out several times, and the only thing that kept me on track was the thought of it taking that much longer to get to the Finish line if I walked back. I was pretty much screaming profanities in my head last year, and was reduced to a shuffle by the very end. I am happy to report that I made it through side stitch-free.
  • I also experienced the benefits of interval training for the first time. This is particularly notable because I always assumed everyone but me experiences this. This year, as soon as I saw the 29k mark, I took a quick inventory of my legs, realized they felt fine and remembered those 2k interval tempo intervals that my coach made us do a few weeks back. Sure I was pretty miserable during that work out, but at least it gave me the confidence to know that I could pick up the pace and sustain it for 2k. It was kind of cool.
  • I was told not to race this, so I pretty much spent the majority of the run telling myself to slow down and prepare for the worst (in other words, the Ashbridge’s Bay Park part that killed me last year). I definitely still got tired during that loop, but I never felt like giving up and I knew the entire time that I had enough energy to finish the race.
  • Food-wise, I took a very lackadaisical approach. I went out with friends the night before and had a delicious pasta (Spaghetti in Canna a Mare) dinner and half a salad (Nizzarda) at Terroni’s. YUM! Definitely want to do that again. The next day, I had a few sips of a smoothie in the morning, coffee, poached eggs + toast for lunch, and another smoothie about 2 hours before the race. Since I normally drink a smoothie before my Sunday long runs, I figured it couldn’t hurt to do the same thing before this one. During the race, I did end up taking three gels, but stuck with water and steered far away from the Gatorade.
  • Prep-wise, I kind of just threw the same stuff I normally throw into my bag and wore whatever was clean in my apartment, with the addition of pinning on my bib to my tank top. I also added some km time markers on a piece of masking tape like I did last year, except I didn’t end up using it at all. I was worried I’d feel discouraged at how much I had left to go, or freak out if I was really behind schedule and waste my energy by trying to speed up so I decided it would be best to just go with the flow.
  • The timing of the race and and the humid weather for the second (or third?) year in a row left me wondering why I always maintain that this is one of my favourite races. I mean, the swag is great (the technical shirt was just okay after getting last year’s awesome hoodie though – but I didn’t realize that last year was a special case), and I *love* my stainless steel bottle. I used the one I received last year almost every day for the past year so I was really looking forward to getting a new one! I also really love the overall theme of the race. Despite those “perks”:
    • I always forget that it ends up feeling like all-day affair. I kind of like getting everything over with in the morning so that I can rest and relax for the rest of the day. Instead, I end up feeling antsy all day.
    • I’m not super crazy about the route. But some parts of it were really pretty.
    • The weather made me miserable this year, as well as last year. Makes me wonder if it’s just the time of the year and it will always be humid and hot? On that note: does anyone who ran on Saturday actually remember what the temperature was? I forgot to make a note of it…
  • These distances are really intimidating. How do people do this on a regular basis? Seriously. I thought that I might feel more confident this time around, but I’m still not entirely sure I can make it through the full marathon distance this year. It.scares.me.

Overall, I had a much better experience than last year. I was tired at the end and ready for the run to be finished, but my body wasn’t screaming to stop and I never felt like I was pushing myself too hard. My legs were tired that night, and a little more so the next day but not to the point where I lost the ability to walk like a regular human being. The 7+ minute improvement on my time last year was a bonus as well. 🙂

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