“Wanderers of the night…”
Saturday night was the 5th annual (“Act V”) Shakespeare-themed A Midsummer Night’s Run (30K) taking place in Toronto’s east end, mostly along waterfront trails.
Starting at 5:30PM, it’s a difficult time to run long distance. Unlike last year I decided to have fun with it and run more conservatively this time around. My goals were to put in some quality training and feel good beginning to end. Of course, I had a somewhat secret desire to beat last year’s “A” Goal of 2:50.
We headed to the race extra early, as usual, and found great parking nearby. It was sprinkling rain so we found some shelter under a tree and hung out while we waited for everyone else to arrive.
We took some pics once everyone showed up.
We killed some time with the usual pre-race routine of multiple visits to the port-o-potties, bag check and a warm-up run for hubs. Pretty soon it was time to line-up.
I like this race because it creates a fun, laid back atmosphere without the usual hustle and bustle and high anxiety at the starting line. Everything felt very casual as we stood around chatting during those final moments before the gun.
Kelly, Angela and I (the other girls in crowns) had decided to stick together and treat it as a typical long run for the most part. Lynn (with the tutu) joined us for the first several kilometres as well before picking up the pace and continuing on her own.
We maintained a pretty steady 5:45/KM (9:15/mi) pace and kept things comfortable and conversational. The first 10K took us through a mostly industrial area; pretty boring without must to look at, so it was really nice to have company. I got to see hubs briefly here on the first of many out-and-back portions.
The thick, humid air felt like a suffocating blanket surrounding us and we were already wishing for the rain that had been forecasted. We were drenched already and taking in fluids like crazy. It was a good feeling not to have any time pressure, as I thought back to how miserable I was feeling at this point last year.
At around 11K we headed out onto the Leslie Street Spit into Tommy Thompson Park. With views of Lake Ontario on both sides of us, we enjoyed a breeze and the sound of waves crashing against the shore as we made our way along the newly paved road. (Last year this section consisted of mostly rough and broken asphalt; it was a definite improvement!) It had started to rain very lightly, which was much needed! It would continue for most of the race.
We were getting tons of compliments on our outfits, which always gave us a big boost. It’s fun running in costume and surprisingly, the crowns, fairy wings and sashes weren’t too much of a nuisance. At one point, we heard someone coming up from behind with some kind words. As he passed, we realized it was multiple world record holder Rick Ball.
We crossed the half marathon marker and timing mat just over 2 hours as we made our way out of the park. It had been pretty quiet out on the spit, so it was nice to get some crowd support once we were back on the main roads.
We were now headed toward Ashbridge’s Bay Park where we would run a short loop before heading back to the finish. I spotted Kenny who was already on his way back, with hubs trailing close behind. (I found out later that they had run together for a while.)
Around 25K the girls felt that they needed to slow down a little and encouraged me to go on. I knew I had a lot in the tank so I decided to push it for the last 5K. I started passing people all over the place, watching my average pace drop as I went. A few spectators and volunteers who recognized me from before asked, ‘Where are your friends?’
I snapped this self-pic along the way:
The last five ticked by in 5:16, 5:13, 5:19, 5:08, 4:45. Before I knew it, I was rounding the bend for the finish.
Chip time: 2:49:06
Average pace: 5:39/KM (9:04/mi)
I quickly found hubs who had finished in 2:26 for his first race post-injury and a PR.
We collected our medals and stainless steel water bottles (nice perk!) before heading our separate ways. It was still raining and we were all ready to get home; but not before a group pic with the ladies!
On Sunday morning Kelly and I decided to set up a “travelling water station” for our group’s long run. We wore our outfits and were reportedly a sight for sore eyes for many on a tough and rainy run. We weren’t quite ready for this pic, but I still think it’s pretty cute.