This was a sporty weekend for me, just how I like ’em. We picked up my daughter’s soccer team picture, my son had a touch football game, I went to the most exciting Jays game I’ve ever been to, and I ran a half marathon. Well, actually I ran half of a half marathon.
Months ago, when a May 29th half marathon seemed like a good carrot to chase through the Winter, myself and a couple of girlfriends registered for this women’s only event. It took place in Sunnybrook Park, the scene of many, many training runs during my Chiropractic College days ten years ago. It would be a run down memory lane I thought, and a great chance to build up my mileage again after a two-year distance racing hiatus.
I ran Burlington’s Chilly half marathon in early March, under-trained and suffering for 21.1km. Sunday’s race was to be my redemption; a flat course, more training mileage under my belt, and a small field of runners to help me push the pace and run a race I was proud of. To have a great trio of supportive friends on the race course with me and a post-race brunch to look forward to was the icing on my proverbial running cake. Alas, Mother Nature had other plans for us. With a Spring that’s been abnormally cold and wet, the weather had dramatically shifted to record-breaking heat and humidity. Not only were we not acclimatized to the heat (I ran my last long run two weeks prior wearing a toque and gloves!), but with the humidity factored in, conditions were dangerous.
The race organizers sent out a warning email the day prior, alerting us that the half marathon distance could be shortened, in what was to be a raceday decision. If I’m being honest, I was discouraged and annoyed, feeling like my pre-dawn Sunday long runs and plodding through mid-week mileage with my favourite running buddy were all for naught. Nevertheless, I carb-loaded at the Jays game, packing a bag full of baked sweet potatoes, Lara bars, and ice water, much to the amusement of my friend Jen. Yes, I actually did that. Yes, I’m crazy.
We arrived race morning to find out that the race had in fact been downgraded to 12km (although my friend’s GPS trackers said it ended up being closer to 13km), and organizers encouraged us to treat it as a “fun run” instead of a race. They were even foregoing age group prizes to discourage racing under such extreme conditions. It was the right call, despite the day prior’s disappointment factor. The heat quickly became oppressive and I ran far slower and felt far worse than my perceived exertion would dictate.
Sport teaches us many lessons, and this weekend it taught me adaptability. And perseverance. And determination. And tenacity. And friendship. And fun.