Friday, August 16, 2013

The race starts when?

Tomorrow is going to be a strange day.

I've been tapering this week, or at least trying to: after discovering I've put in almost 60 hours of training in the prior 4 weeks - including my highest volume run training week ever (didn't I just say that?) - it's been weird taking it down a couple of notches. I'm probably still training more than I should for optimum performance, but this is not really a priority race.

The event in question is the Midsummer Night's Run 30k, which has been moved for the first time in its history to the Toronto Islands. Ironic, as I'd decided against doing the MultiSport Canada Toronto Island Tri (which takes place next weekend) due to the logistics involved. However, I don't have to try to bring a bike and full tri accoutrements on the ferry, and I also don't have to get myself and my long-suffering crew/sherpa/soigneur up at stupid o'clock in the morning - the name of the race is rather a clue as to why.

With the start of the 30k slated for 5:30pm, I'm hoping it'll take the edge off the rather warm and humid temperatures we're expecting - predictions range around 25-27c/77-81f with humidex values 5c/9f higher, which will be significantly tougher to deal with considering most of my running lately has been deep into the evening with temperatures closer to 15c/59f. Why does it always seem to come up hot for big races this year? Fortunately, being out on the water, it should be a bit milder than the mainland; this forecast actually looks reasonable:

I can deal.

So, the remaining problems are threefold:

1) Course

I don't really know what to expect, as I haven't even been to the Islands since I was in my teens (woo Centreville!). I've looked at the course maps, the flyover, and even tried reading some reports from the Island Girl Half Marathon which is held on more or less the same paths. It appears that the Islands are almost completely flat, but that holds its own challenges with no change in muscle recruitment, though some bridges between islands may break things up a bit. I can't seem to get any real intelligence on this.

2) Training

I've done quite a bit, with a last long run of 25k two weeks before race day. I've been doing the long runs on Saturday evenings since just before the end of July for specificity, and have stuck to mostly flat (but not all flat) courses. It's gone ok, but I'm still running comparatively slowly. I've only gone under 6min/km twice since we got back from touring, and one of those was in a race. I really have no idea what kind of finish I'll be able to manage, though I would dearly like to beat my 2012 Around the Bay time of 3:04:23 - I'm much better trained (ie: not coming off an injury) and about 13lbs lighter than I was then, plus it's a much less challenging course.

3) Nutrition

a) First, the challenge of trying to figure out how to carry my gel flask: neither the pocket in the shorts I want to wear nor the pocket on my hand bottle is large enough to hold it, and I still kind of hate my SPIbelt. I may just have to resort to the solution I used for my final 15k run - rubber bands. I can still get the lid off the hand bottle in order to refill, and I don't have to risk chafing from stuffing the gel flask somewhere against my skin.

It's like the anti-tridork approach - cheap & simple

b) What the heck do you eat during the day when you're going to race at 5:30pm? I've done one single evening race before, but that was on a Thursday, so I was at work during the day - I ate normally during the day and had a bowl of oatmeal with almond butter, honey and raisins a couple of hours before the race, but it was only a 10k and my nutritional intake has changed drastically since then. For one, I prefer not to eat any solids within 12 hours of the starting gun, and I can't even tolerate oatmeal anymore due to my ridiculous number of food allergies. I think I'm going to have a small meal when I get up - rice, a bit of grilled chicken breast and some veggies - then stick with Jello and some melon until 3 hours out, when I'll down my usual pre-race meal replacement shakes and grab a Tim Hortons Café Mocha.

In any case, it's getting late and I still have a couple of things to do before I head to bed - I'll see you at the starting line, then sometime next week for a recap. Wish me luck!

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