The Combo

I’m so thankful our house has air conditioning. It currently feels like 39°C in Toronto and the Humidex Advisory was in effect as of yesterday; it’s so hot out, the dogs were barking to come back inside within two minutes.

A few weeks ago, Avery was biking beside me when I was on a run and he wondered how he would do in a 5k. Out of curiosity, he signed up for a race in Sunnybrook Park and guess who joined him? The Dawn at the Don 5k was this morning and it was only 3 degrees less than what it is right now. It was still cool when we got to HQ, but that quickly changed after 15 minutes. This was a practice race for me, as per my husband’s wise running advice, because no matter how you train on a regular basis, there’s nothing like getting ready for race day that will put your routine into gear. This involves everything from what you eat during the week, what time you get up the day of, what you have for breakfast that morning, the amount of water you drink so your stomach isn’t too full, what you’re going to wear… the list goes on.

Even though the humidity was intense (you could feel it on your skin), everyone tried to suck it up as much as they could. The beginning 2k was fine, I was 15 seconds off my pace but I thought I could make up for it in the end — I was so wrong. About 3.5k in, I was struggling, and so was everyone around me. It was getting silly hot by now (it was only 8:30am) and the humidity got worse. I saw Avery coming back around the loop so I knew he was doing extremely well. He’s so sweet, after he crossed the finish he walked back and ran the last 500m with me which helped mentally, but physically I was already maxed out, I couldn’t push any more.

Avery finished FIRST in his age group and FOURTH OVERALL with a time of 18:11!!! He so crazy. The first overall finished in 16:57 so that should say something about the heat.

I finished in 26:30 according to my watch — unfortunately there wasn’t a mat for the chip so no one’s time is all accurate (everyone’s posted results are slower since they start timing when the gun goes off and not when you actually cross the line). At first I was really disappointed, all of this training and I get a longer time than my first race? But then I remembered about “THE COMBO” — let me explain:

My logical husband pointed out that there are 3 factors to running a good race:

  1. Weather
  2. Training
  3. Nutrition
  4. Race Route *added on Sept 18, 2011

1. Weather plays a huge part, I still haven’t beaten my PB of 24:30 that I did back in April and I firmly believe it’s because of this ridiculous Toronto summer. I’ve never done well with heat to begin with; when I was 10, my parents took us to Disneyworld and my dear mother had to carry around a bag full of bottled iced water for me and my brother because we’d get crazy irritated by the sun. The past few weeks have been insanely hot, so I’ll take my slow race time given the conditions of this mid-July.

2. My training’s been consistent, although I know I need to do more sprints on the track. What I think would really help is a GPS watch — I need to just suck it up and get one this weekend. Avery never uses one but he doesn’t need it, I, on the other hand, would love a device to tell me how to pace myself! I’m a rookie and will take every kind of help I can get. I must stick to my training schedule if I want to improve my endurance. One thing I have to keep remembering is that I just started running this year. I can’t expect to knock minutes off my average time so easily. It usually takes a few years for a runner to get comfortable and consistent before results start to show. Even shaving a few seconds off a PB is hard, and I have to realize I probably won’t do another sub 25 until next year, and that is ok!

3. I love food, and eating healthy is especially hard in the summer when the ice cream truck circles around my ‘hood every night at 8:26 on the dot. It’s more tempting to eat out when you’re not hibernating too, patio season is hard to resist. Plus, who wants to cook in this heat! But nonetheless, thanks to Avery’s habits, I’ve been scaling down on the amount of junk I consume. I think I have my routine meals figured out in prep for race day, but I still cave for that iced coffee or frogurt sometimes. I think this is the only factor that didn’t contribute to my sub par combo yesterday.

So that’s pretty much it in a nutshell, and in celebration of finishing my second race, I signed up for another one in September! My next is in August, so three 5k’s in my first year of running ain’t bad. That’s it for now, keep on truckin’, fellow runners!

Nike LunarEclipse — Best runners I’ve ever owned

*Race Route, from post “My 1st Running Season Comes to an End.”

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