Well friends, it only took a month but I’m finally getting around to writing about the Midsummer Night’s Run that my friend Llisa and I participated in. But I made a video to go along with the post so that’s gotta be worth waiting for, right?
August 18th kind of crept up on me and caught me by surprise. I think my head was too stuck in planning mode for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon (a lot more planning goes into a cross-continent adventure than a weekend in Toronto, y’know?) to really give much thought to the Midsummer Night’s Run. After all, both are fairy-themed and my regular training plan had me physically ready to go. In my mind it was pretty much just a matter of showing up.
But the excitement did start setting in about a week before race day. I was having sushi with Disney-partner Amanda, talking about Tinkerbell and Midsummer when a couple at another table turned around and said, “Sorry to interrupt. We didn’t mean to listen in but… I think you’re talking about our race.”
The universe is a strange and mysterious thing, my friends. Sure enough, two of the Midsummer Night’s Run organizers just happened to be hanging out in Belleville that night, having sushi at the same sushi joint I was in whilst yammering about my fairy wings. They were cool people and answered a bunch of my questions about what to expect (for future reference: wearing fairy wings while running can only improve your performance. They told me so. I trust them.)
Fast forward to race day and I spent most of it sleeping in order to ignore the butterflies in my stomach. The race didn’t start until around 6pm which meant I had way too much time to over-think EVERYTHING. It didn’t matter that I’d successfully ran 15km before. Panicking is what I do, especially on race days (apparently).
When Llisa got home from work (she had a much tougher day than me) we starting getting all decked out in sparkles and flowers and wings. This process to an extremely long time and was, as you can well imagine, a very important part of preparing for the race.
As for the race itself, it was one heck of an experience. For starters, there were a lot of amazing costumes. We were quickly schooled in the fine art of dressing like a fairy (although our hair, as done by Llisa, was extremely enviable. Enough so that people even went out of their way to compliment us on our ‘dos while we were running. Yup).
I was all nerves and anxiety right up until we started moving. It took a while for the dense crowd to finally even out but once I hit my stride I felt great. The course was beautiful (we ran through Toronto’s Tommy Thompson Park along the waterfront) and I used the race as an opportunity to finish my second last story mission of the first season of Zombies, Run! (So. Much. DRAMA.)
It was really just the last four kilometres that I struggled with. Stomach cramps and mental fatigue slowed me down and drained me of much of my enthusiasm. When it comes to things I need to work on, more than anything I’m concerned about the mental strain of running for that long – how do people do it? How do you evade boredom and stop it from eating away at your psyche? I seriously need to get a handle on this before Tinkerbell…
But if the last four kilometres were mentally draining, the final stretch of the race certainly helped to lift my spirits. There’s nothing quite as invigorating as throngs of strangers cheering you over the finish line, expect for maybe seeing your friends waiting for you when you get there:
All in all, it was a great experience. With any luck, I’ll be back again next year, ready and eager to tackle the 30km course instead!
Now, in the video I mention that I haven’t done much running since race day. I seriously fell off the wagon. It started with giving myself the rest of the summer to rest, but with the dawning of September and the start of a new school year (guess who’s teaching part time at Loyalist again!) and trying to adjust to shorter daylight hours, I found it really hard to get back into it.
All of that changes this week. I launched back into my training plan as of Monday and it’s no excuses from here on in. I’m feeling motivated and psyched about Tinkerbell now that there’s nothing else standing in the way.
Destination Disney in FOUR months: LET’S DO THIS!
Were you at the Midsummer Nights Run in Toronto this year? Are you planning on running in the Disneyland Tinkerbell Half? Do you have any tips for me on beating mental exhaustion on long runs and/or training through the winter? I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!