Monday, August 22, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Run: 30K Race Report

On Saturday afternoon I loaded up the car with 4 friends and we headed downtown for a whimsical evening at A Midsummer Night's Run.

We snagged great parking right near the start/finish and milled about looking for the rest of our gang. Time passed quickly as we used the plastic green facilities multiple times, collected some product samples, fussed over our outfits and posed for photos.

Pretty soon it was time to line up. We probably waited a tad too long and had to worm our way through from the back, but this ended up affording me the opportunity to run into Aneta, Cynthia, Hunnybee and Lish in the process. By this point, my friends were asking, "Is there anyone you don't know?!"

Marlene, Sam, Cynthia, Aneta
photo stolen from Aneta
We eventually found a spot and waited for the horn. Many of us were starting together, which was fun, including two of my fellow princesses. We received tons of comments from volunteers, spectators and other runners along the way, especially when all 3 of us were together. This race has so much spirit!

At 5:30PM, we were off! And right off the bat, we knew it was going to be one humid run. As I mentioned on Friday, I didn't have great expectations and I was already thinking it was going to be quite a slog.

The first 12K or so takes us through industrial areas with a short stretch along the water, then looping back past the start again as we gradually make our way toward the famous Leslie Street Spit (a headland in Lake Ontario, aka Tommy Thomson Park).

*salt at start
5:14 *gu
5:11 *salt

We enjoyed a bit of a breeze as we ran along the water, but the air was thick and we were all drenched with sweat. I was running with 4 others at this point and went along with their 15:1 run/walk ratio (which is clear from my splits approximately every third KM) so I could enjoy the company for a while longer. We were maintaining a good clip and I knew I would be pleased with my result if I could maintain it.

even Coach dressed up - that's him in red
It felt good to hit the half way mark at 15K. I needed to refill on my handheld and did so easily without slowing down much through a water stop.


The turn-around for this "leg" of the race was at the lighthouse and immediately after circling around it, the breeze was gone. I was hit with a wall of hot, heavy air and it did not feel nice. I reminded myself to drink frequently and stuck to my planned gu/salt schedule (gu every 5 miles, salt every 10K). I kept telling myself not to let it get to my head. Just run.

the princesses
5:13 *gu
5:01 *salt

I gradually felt myself pulling away after this point and knew I needed to start running my own race. I was feeling better than anticipated and it was time to pick it up and see what I could do.

There are several out-and-back sections on the route and it was fun looking out for people. I got to see lots of friends from my training group as well as Kenny and Laura (she does exist!) out on the spit. It gave me a great boost each time I spotted a familiar face.

I hit the half marathon timing mat (1:51:21) just before making my way off the spit toward Lakeshore Boulevard.

5:09 *gu

I was holding my pace pretty steady and focusing on mini milestones to keep going - gu at 24K; just 5 to go at 25K; counting down the KMS from there. I did catch myself slowing down a few times and had to focus on finding that pace again. I have not been practicing this pace at all, so I was pretty surprised that I was able to pull it off with relative consistency.

We ran all around Ashbridge's Bay park for a few loops and it was packed with groups out enjoying picnics, beach volleyball or a stroll on the boardwalk. It was definitely crowded and required some dodging on the paths (and the BBQ smells were torturous!) but made for some good people-watching.

The route can be confusing through here and it was getting dark, but the volunteers were easily visible in fluorescent tops positioned at every possible turn. Unfortunately something went wrong with the route this year, and it was cut short. The 25K marker came about 500m early.

Looking at the official route map and the route recorded by my Garmin, it's clear that they cut off a small section of the park.

Of course, I didn't realize this at the time so I spent the rest of the race wondering if/when we were going to give back that distance. It wasn't until the home stretch toward the finish that I realized the course would finish short. I was pooped and ready to be done, but it's still disappointing and discredits everyone's race to some extent.
2:03 for 470m (=4:21 pace)

I picked people off over the last couple kilometres and knew when the finish was just around the corner. I was able to speed up and finish very strong, knowing I had crushed my previous PR of 2:42 and my course PR of 2:49, even when adjusting my time to reflect a full 30K.

Official Chip Time: 2:33:10
Average Pace: 5:06/KM (8:12/mi)
Adjusted 30K Time: 2:35:30
Actual Average Pace: 5:11/KM (8:21/mi)

Overall: 120/834
Females: 21/432
F25-29: 9/86

Needless to say I am very pleased and exceeded my expectations by far. My average pace was only about 4 seconds slower per KM than my BQ race, so I have some renewed hope and restored confidence for October.


Tricia said...

super congrats!

and youre adorable ;)

Casey said...

you look awesome!!! what a fun race!

Runners Fuel said...

Great job! Love the peak of cheeta skirt under the tu-tu!

Jess said...

Looks like so much fun!

kristen said...

Firstly I love your outfit. Secondly, I was so happy to see that those were leg sleeves (or socks with feet cut off?) and not socks because I feared for your feet!

Thirdly- woohoo!! Congrats on a great run!

J said...

You look great in all your race photos! Congrats on the awesome race - too bad the course was short :( keep up the great workouts - you are running so strong and getting faster and faster!!

Jason said...

Great report and great job my friend.

The summer slug = fast fall is what I say.

You will be great in October.

Great race photos too.

Jen Feeny said...

Great job out there girl! I knew you were going to blow your expectations out of the water, what did I tell you?!?!? You've been PR'ing everything this year, it's your year!

April said...

Amazing run! L.O.V.E. the outfit!!

Unknown said...

FUN and FAST - that's the way to do it!

ajh said...

Nice pace!
Great costumes!
Wonderful finisher smile!

Sara said...

Awesome! I really enjoyed reading your race review! Those are great race pictures - Congrats on a job well done!

Robin said...

You did great, and you looked so strong (all 3 times I saw you). You'll do great in October (and this weekend). Congratulations again.

Heather said...

You look so good in the race Pics - makes me hate you a little. :) awesome job on the race!

lish said...

Thanks for the Cheers! I hear you about that night...the humidity was tough and I am not going to lie...I am really dissapointed about the course being short...Congrats you kicked butt on a tough night and looked fabulous!!!

RunningLaur said...

wow, a great performance and such wonderful pictures! Those are ones worth considering buying!

Nicole said...

wahooo~ cute outfits! GREAT job!

Joanna said...

Lady, you are going to crush October. Running in the heat and humidity feels slow and sometimes miserable, but you are conditioned for an incredible race because of it. This is just the beginning!

MCM Mama said...

Love!Love!Love! that outfit! Too cute!

Awesome job on the race. You are just amazing!

Char said...

I love the outfit. The top half is all 'Pretty in Pink' and the bottom half is Tinkerbell on hallucinogenic mushrooms. And I like the bottom half best!

Johann said...

Well done on a great race and congrats with the fantastic time! Super run! All your hard training is certainly paying off. You are becoming an amazing runner. Keep it going!

Laura said...

So glad I at least got to see you on the route! You should always dress colourfully like this..easier to spot. :)
Congrats on a great race! You are running so so strong.

Denise said...

see, you haven't lost anything!! bring on october!!

Lindsay said...

Wow that's a hot outfit. I think you should bike to work in it...

Congrats on your race and feeling better about running/your pace.

A PS from Serious Lindsay: continue to cut yourself slack in upcoming training runs if they seem to slump again. I would feel better about my running after a race and then slack again. Not saying you are headed down this path, just want to prevent you from taking it! Don't follow me :)

Fran said...

Congrats on a super race!

You look lovely in your outfit. Can't believe you ran all the way with that hat on :) Guess it would drive me nuts after a while LOL.

Again: well done!

Gotta Run..... said...

SUPER COOL race and outfit! Love that you can both race and enjoy your training and events. True balance!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

Speedy and all dressed up!! You are doing some amazing running my friend..

Susan said...

Your outfit rocks! I'm amazed that your crown stayed on for the whole race! Looked like so much fun!!

Kerrie said...

Awesome!!!!! Love the outfits, and a night race like that sounds so fun!

Richelle said...

Congrats on a great race! It sucks that they cut the course short, but that will give you motivation for next year's race. And your costume is AWESOME! Way to go! What a fun race!

Marky Mark said...

You killed that and did so while in costume! When I did it in 2008 it started later and it really was dark and hard to see (plus I'm slower). Good for getting it in when it was so humid.

Nicole @ Haute Runner said...

I missed this post...

Cutest race outfit ever!! I think it's my favourite so far!