Sunday, August 19, 2012

2012 Midsummer's Night 30k Race Report

Last night I ran the Midsummer's Night Run 30k.  It was the third year I have participated in this event.  In 2008 I race walked the 15k, in 2011 I ran the 15k and last night was my first go at the 30k distance ... ever!
2008 - before my running career 
While my Ironman training plan only called for a 2 hour long run this week, I really wanted to run the 30 k distance and this race appeared to be a great opportunity.  And it was!

The 30k run started at 5:30pm, with the 15k walkers starting at 6 and the 15k runners starting at 6:45.  Not really happy with the way the staggered start played out on the course but understand the principle behind having folks finish around the same time.

Being a night race there is always the challenge of fueling properly and avoiding GI issues since you have all day to fill your belly up.  I felt pretty good going into the race - had a nice breaksfast of oatmeal and blueberries and a fabulous sushi lunch with Carole and Vic.  Took a gel about 15 minutes before the start along with an Onza and felt pretty good tummy-wise at the start.  It was quite warm and sunny at the start and my fear of over heating was at the top of my mind.

I lined up originally with the 2:40 pace bunny but then ended up next to the 2:30 bunny.  First FAIL of the race - I decided to stick with the 2:30 bunny (5min/km pace).  Without any warning the horn blew and we were off.

The course can be found here.  I'm not a fan of the 30k course.  I love the 15k course but the 30k course takes us up and around Villiers Street which is just not pretty, then down to Cherry Beach, along the Cherry Beach trail east, back west along Unwin and then east across Commissioners (my least favorite road!).  Then we pick up the nice part of the course out the Leslie Spit, around the lighthouse, back through the eastern loop of the spit, then out of the spit.  The course then splits on Leslie with the 15kers heading back across Commissioners to the finish line while the 30kers follow the path to Lakeshore, East to the Beach, out and around the large peanut loop of Ashbridges bay and then back.

I started out strong and kept good pace with the 2:30 group.  It was HOT.  I was trying not to get overheated and poured water on me at every station.  As we hit the 10k mark my heart rate sky-rocketed and I was overheating.  I knew at this point I would not be able to maintain the 5min/km pace.  I started making excuses in my head .... like, of course I can't - I rode 130k just 2 days ago, my legs are not fresh, it's a night race, this is supposed to be a training race.

KM 12 clocked in at 5:15, Km 13 at 5:30.  I was going in the wrong direction quickly. At this point we were just on the spit and the run had turned into "dodge the walkers" who clogged up the 13k water station making me miss the water and have to backtrack to grab water.  Groups of walkers were walking 4 - 6 people wide so it was not much fun for the next few KM getting through the walkers.  I have utmost respect for walkers, but these were more like strollers.  I think the new start time for the walkers really messed up the run for the 30kers.

I had finally gotten my heart rate under control, and with the setting sun I was cooling down significantly.  My legs were in more pain then they have ever been in a run.  From the top of my hamstrings all the way to my Achilles were tight on both legs.  I stopped to walk once but it was even worse getting started up again so I just trotted along.  At this point I was going through the motions in my mind.   This is nothing compared to the Ironman, I have to do this plus 12 more K AFTER swimming and biking... suck it up and get it done.

I saw Barry around the 20k mark as I was heading back and as soon as I saw him in the distance, tears welled in my eyes.  I was not doing good. He flashed me a big smile and thumbs up, all I could managed was a slow shake of my head.  I was not in a happy spot.  I wanted this run to feel as good as the 10 miler did the week before and it just wasn't!

From there on my pace never saw anything better than 5:30 with my paces staying in the upper 5s except for km 25, 26, and 27 ( 6:00, 6:13, and 6:00).  These were the three km in the peanut loop of Ashbridges bay.  I had expected to see some friends at the entrance and was surprised that everyone I expected was not there - but Irisz, who I did NOT expect was.  When I came back out of the peanut loop and saw Irisz and John again I was so happy!  She was cheering so loudly for me and ran with me for what seemed like forever, though it must have just been a minute or two.  Irisz's positive words and encouragement meant the world to me and gave me the strength to pull it together for the last 3 km and I clocked them all in under 6min/km.  I would not have been able to do that with her.  Thanks Irisz!

The KM markers, which had been "early" for the entire race when compared to my watch, were all of a sudden "late" ... and in the end the run was actually 30.23km.  I was so happy to turn back onto Commissioners and get to the finish.  I was able to get it together and sprint up Logan to the finish line.  I finished in 2:44:33 chip time.  My goal was 2:45.  My "A+" goal was closer to 2:30 with my "B" goal being under 3 hours.  While I hit my goal, I did not execute this race well at all.

I felt horrible.  I cannot remember feeling so horrible after a race. I stopped at medical and sat down on a chair but quickly stood up.  Sitting was not the right thing to do.  I staggered to the medals and found my way to the plastic bag that had a banana and a bag of candy.  My legs were wobbly and I was searching for a place to lean when I saw Cavin walking toward me.  A huge wave of relief washed over me.  I did not want to be alone in a sea of people.  Shawna,  Calvin's lovely fiancée took my stuff (I had my hand-held bottle, the steal bottle they hand out at the finish line and my food baggie.  I inhaled my banana thinking it would somehow cure my pains.  I'm not sure how long we stood there but I slowly stretched and regained my balance and composure.  They were off to the beer tent and I made my way back to the finish line to wait for Barry.

It wasn't long before he came through with a time of 3:05:15.  He looked great and felt great ... role reversal all around!  We found some bleachers and stretched a bit then changed into dry cloths and hit the beer tent.  It was nice to have a couple of beers with Cavin and his crew.  

I learned a lot about race execution today which I hope I take into my Ironman.  As much as I want to run 5min kilometers, if I had just gone out running 5:15 or 5:30s from the start I would have had a more successful race.  I pushed myself too hard at the beginning and paid for it on the back end of the race.

Surprisingly, my legs feel pretty good today.  I didn't get much sleep last night - a combination of adrenaline, caffeine and sore legs!

I'm sure I will run this race again.... but not necessarily the long course!  As in years past - it was a well organized event, well supported with volunteers and spectators.  The after party beer garden and BBQ are top notch as well!

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