A night race is a weird experience. This year’s Midsummer Night’s Run started at 5:30PM on Toronto Island. All day, I didn’t really know what to do with myself. Every time I walked around, I thought I should be sitting and conserving my energy. As a result, I just sort of sat around anxiously, waiting till it was time to go. I also wasn’t sure when or what to eat to prepare. My regular pre-race oatmeal and green tea didn’t seem appropriate, but neither did a big lunch. In the end, I settled for some take-out from my favourite organic eatery, Camros. And water. So much water.
Since the race was moved to the island to accommodate Toronto construction, it was not the most ideal course. Three loops of the island on narrow pathways that remained open to the public. I have never been in a race where spectators cared so little about what you were doing. Most people continued to go about their day acting as if we were annoying them. Many had no idea there was even a race going on. People biked along the paths while we ran, families pushed strollers along the race route. Lots of people got in our way. Overall, it was a bit odd. But, it did give the whole race a very casual feeling, which helped me hold back, settle in and finish strong.
Generally, I felt pretty awesome throughout the whole race. I was properly hydrated but never had to make a pitstop and I felt like I had lots of energy throughout. The weather was lovely and running into the sunset along the waterfront was a new and beautiful experience.
The only non-awesome part was when we were chased by a weasel. OK, “chased” is a strong word, and this creature may or may not have been a weasel, but an animal was on the race route causing some drama. We were running along a boardwalk with a wooded area to our left and a cement embankment to our right. This little weasel ran out in front of us and got stuck at the cement wall. It got spooked by a herd of runners barreling toward it and hissed! I shrieked and sprinted by it. A guy in front of me turned around and said, “Oh my god, it’s chasing you!” I thought he was serious and ran faster. Turns out he was kidding… obviously. But it definitely gave me a little boost of adrenaline!
Despite the fact that race organizers warned participants not to try for a personal best due to the conditions, I finished with a time of 2:58:25, ten minutes faster than my time in Around the Bay in March. Hooray!
After the race, we hung out in the beer garden for a bit. It was fun to celebrate with my Running Room team, and bump into lots of other runners I know from the Nike Run Clubs.
Unfortunately, post-race food was pretty scarce: one cold, hard bagel that was so dry I couldn’t eat it. Turns out the protein bar I brought with me and a can of beer is completely insufficient to refuel after a 30K race.
By the time we took the ferry back to Toronto and I took the subway home, it was after 11pm. I showered, ate a bowl of oatmeal and passed out instantly. I woke up feeling pretty weak and sleepy. I knew I needed food in a big way. Thankfully, it was my husband’s company’s summer picnic and a massive BBQ was only a few short hours away. I ate a heap of food and was finally feeling pretty much 100% by mid-day.
This race gave me confidence about my marathon training. It was tough, but totally doable and despite being tired, I still felt like I could keep going at the end, if I needed to. With 61 days until the Scotiabank Marathon, I’m feeling pretty good about my training so far. Despite fears that I will be crawling to the end of the marathon, I may actually run across that finish line after all.