I blame the flowers. They looked really pretty for the first few days, but I should have known, as the lillies opened up, that it would spell bad things for my allergies. So Friday night, after a dinner, I felt a tightness in my throat that got me on my antihistamines. Saturday morning wasn't pretty, felt even worse, so I put on a second dose.
By the early afternoon, the pills had taken their toll. I was zonked, and had to nap for almost two hours (while taking another half pill). As I walked/jogged to the race site, I had visions of DNS or DNF, even the short 300 metre warmups showed my body wasn't ready to fully race. The congestion was largely gone (it's back this Sunday morning) but yes, I felt blah.
A Midsummer Night's Run has grown quickly over the years. What started out as a race that drew less than 400 30K runners has now gone up to almost 1,000. Lots of people doing the 15K. I love the race, having done, after tonight, a total of 4 30Ks and one 15K. And I got the pin to prove it!
A lot of bloggers and other running friends were there, so bumped into quite a few before the race start. Met up with Chris, and we decided to run together. The goal was somewhere around 2:40. First off, my Garmin had a major miscue, measuring off the entire course so I'm not going to put the splits off.
First 5K Was going out at 'comfortable conversational' pace, which has us doing between 5:02s to 5:11. Confirmed that I didn't have real racing in me today, and I wasn't about to test what would happen if I went out hard. So I was content to keep up the pace. The weather was not great. Humid, windy at times (good), but not ideal racing weather for me. We quickly spread out and we just stuck to pace, watching the 2:30 pacers run away. Not too many water stations, but I made sure to grab something from each. My body was still feeling blah, that post sick feeling. I kept with it
5K to 10K A lot of turns on this course. I lost Chris somewhere around the 8K mark, and I was just concentrating on keeping same effort. Already at this point, some runners were starting to slow. I knew the humidity was taking its toll so I resolved to run even effort and to only trail runners who looked like they were going at consistent pace. So a lot of passing started to happen.
10K to 15K I remember at a corner, when I was running with a woman, a spectator said to her, 'I love your smile', to which I thought I must look like crap. But I felt okay. We entered into the Leslie Spit and I was really trying, it was taking quite an effort to keep up the pace. Breathing was fine, congestion was okay, felt a little tired. From the entrance to the bridge, I had passed about 5 runners. As I went down the bridge, I passed another two, and something changed.
15K to 20K We pushed up a small slope and I felt like going faster. So I upped the pace to 5 minute kilometres and started to go. We saw some runners returning from the lighthouse later, and I used that as an excuse to go faster. I tapped the 15K sign as a mental note to go harder.
20K to 25K I hit the half marathon mark in 1:46:24, which put me about 1:30 off the 2:30 30K. I was already going. By this time, the still, humid air on the way out of the spit was getting to us. I was overheating, using water from my bottles (luckily I keep two bottles of water and two of Gatorade) to cool off my arms. I told myself that I coudln't take a walk break until at least the 24K mark. Of course, promptly at the 24K water station, I took my first walk break. I wanted to cool down and to let the heart rate settled. It worked, and I was able to keep up the pace. We had to run slightly into the Beaches area which I found tough for some reason.
25K to 30K All told, I took four little walk breaks. With 3K to go, I hooked up with a few runners and we started to go. All of a sudden, we were going really fast. We entered Commissioners, where we hooked back up with the 15K runners and for some reason, we started racing again. At 2K to go, I saw my watch hit 2:20ish range, and I knew I could probably hit 2:30 if I could go faster. Too bad my Garmin doesn't show it, but I was hauling ass the last mile. Sensing the end, knowing I could pick it up without imploding, I decided to give it my all. At the final turn, I looked at the glowing lights ahead, and I saw it about to hit 8:00, which would be exactly 2:30 after I started. So I pushed, crossed and hit my watch.
Final time: 2:29:58.
UPDATE: Looks like it was a short course by about 500 - 700 metres, so I guess I could add about 3 minutes to the time.
Somehow, in the last 9K, I made up 1:30 to get the 2 hour, 30 minute finish. I was very shocked at the end, I had not been looking at my watch at all during the race. My body still felt like crap (even does this morning after the race) but I managed to push through it. A lot of me knows it's really about experience at this race and distance (this was my eighth 30K). Don't get me wrong, I did suffer as this is the slowest I've done but I'm taking this as a major victory!
I saw plenty of fellow runners, including Sam, Lee, Julie, Chris, Kerry, Marlene. Saw many others on the course including a few co-workers of mine who were doing hte 15K. Love this race, was well worth it even for the discomfort. Beer and ribs solve all!.