On August 17 I will be taking to the start line of The Midsummer Night’s 30K Run on The Toronto Islands. It will be my 2nd year in this event and last year was an utter disappointment. Oh the race itself is grand. Let’s be clear — the race organizers, the volunteers, and the crowd were all fantastic. When I say last year was a disappointment I have no one to blame but myself. Last year I imploded on the race course. I didn’t pace myself properly. I’m not a night runner; I don’t train at night and I had never raced at night. Though the race starts at 5:30 p.m. it will be close to dusk by the time I finish, hence the race’s moniker.
At 5:30 p.m. the heat can be stifling. I don’t eat after 5 p.m. as a rule (it’s part of the secret to my weight loss and maintenance) so I have a hard time figuring out when to eat and how much. Being a morning person and morning runner I really don’t know what to do with myself all day as I wait to race. Also as I alluded to earlier I went out aggressively at the start of last year’s race convinced I had a huge PB in me. In short, I perished. Badly. I finished the race got my stuff from bag check and went home to bury my sorrows in a tub of ice cream. Honestly after last year I was convinced that I was done with non a.m. races. But this year is different. Due to construction the race organizers have moved this year’s event to the Toronto Islands and this move has lured me back into the fold of the competition.
You see I have always loved the Toronto Islands. I even celebrated my 35th birthday on the Islands in a beautiful B&B called Swan’s End (http://www.swansend.com/?page_id=74). I’m also hoping that being out on the Islands will mean a tempering of the temperatures. And I have a revamped race strategy to help me finish stronger than I did last year. Now notice I said stronger but not necessarily faster. Last year I was fast (yes even with the disastrous finish). This year, not so much. But I do intend to be smart. Smarter than last year certainly. This year I will go out easy and account for the heat. This year I will stick to my normal pre-race ritual of no food or beverage within 2 hours of the race (I do drink a bottle of water and have an energy gel right before the start though). And this year I will enjoy myself. Last year was such a battle and I really didn’t have fun. But let’s face it, I’m able to run; and I’m good at it. There’s a lot to be proud of and to celebrate.
As runners we learn to push through our limits. We learn how to be better and to overcome. We learn that as we persevere we get stronger. And we learn to believe in ourselves in every area of our lives. The confidence we gain from running permeates each and every aspect of our lives. It’s why we love what we do. So this year, this year as I return to the race that hurt me the most last year, I won’t be afraid of the dark.