October 23, 2012
This race report is pretty late… like almost 2 months late. I apologize. It was mostly done a long time ago but I was waiting to see if there any picture of me. Regrettably, no.
|Date||Event||Goal Time||Chip Time||Gun Time|
|2012/09/08||Energizer Night Race||55-60 min||57:51.27||58:34.71|
Oh the lovely Energizer Night Race. Highly touted, novel, and I’m sure it’s a lot of work. But I don’t think I’ll do it again.
I wrote some rather lofty goals a few weeks before the race, with the delusions of grandeur that I might actually win a medal. Then I had the massive fallout from overtraining. I’m a little impressed with myself that I got to the race at all!
Last year I did the 5km. I wanted to do the 10k last year but it sold out really quickly. I was pretty happy with my 27:14, but I know that going to 10k won’t let me simply double my time.
This race is obviously unique because it is run at night, in the dark! Everyone is required to wear a headlamp like the one included in each race kit. The shirt is from Brooks’ NightLife reflective shirts. Other companies just call this “safety green.” They are VERY visible at night time. I have a similar one that I’m wearing as a pacer for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.
I actually kinda wish I had worn my shirt from the year before to show that I had been here before.
My gripe with this race is the location! Sunnybrook Park is in the middle of nowhere. I understand that Sunnybrook Hospital is the beneficiary of the fundraising, but the location is awful. It’s hard to get to by public transit and parking is impossible.
Following the race instructions I got to Sunnybrook Park before 7:30pm so that I could get parking. There was a police officer blocking access to the park at 7pm! Access to the park was supposed to be available until 7:30pm!! After circling around a few times, I referred to the race instructions, and I opted to park at Sunnybrook Hospital because I knew I could pay for parking and not have to worry about being towed. However, the trek from the hospital parking lot to the start of the race was over 3km! I expected it was going to be a dark, uphill and scary walk back to my car after the race.
I got to the start line with only 3 minutes to spare before the gun went off. Really not cool!
This year’s route was different from the year before. There was a rickety train bridge at the south end of Sunnybrook Park. People I know who did it last year did not like that bridge because it was very narrow and not very study. The bridge was washed out a few weeks before the race so they had to hastily re-design the course. If this bridge was as bad as people say, it’s probably for the best.
It was very, very crowded at the start of the race. Someone remarked out loud that it was too crowded to get a personal best. The route runs through a narrow asphalt pathway, and at some points it is an out-and-and back meaning the path only has room for one or two people. It had rained heavily earlier in the day so people were trying to dodge the puddles in the dark. I was comfortable at my pace and made it to the half-way point at 27:09! On pace to set a new personal best!
Alas, it was not to be. The route became much less crowded after the half-way point south of the starting line. However, most of the last 2km were uphill. I felt short of breath and had to stop for a walk break at the 9km sign. That was discouraging.
My end result wasn’t totally unexpected. I finished the 10k in 57:51. It’s not a personal best, but I’m pretty happy with it all things considered. It put me 389 out of 987 finishers overall, and 62 out of the 88 in my age class. I would have needed to be under 40 minutes to get a medal. Wasn’t going to happen!
I guess the race was also a bit of a reality check for me. If I could hold that pace from the first 5k for a half-marathon, I’d easily break 2 hours. However, I don’t think my body is ready for that level intensity for that long.
Racing in the dark with headlights is a neat concept, but not very practical. Sunnybrook Park has no streetlights, so the headlamps are a necessity, not just a novelty. It’s a neat image to run by hundreds of people with headlamps, but it’s actually really hard to see anything!
Here comes the particularly terrible part of the event: I had to get back to my car in the dark! I walked alone back to the base of hospital hill. At least there were some cars on the road to the bottom, but after that I was all alone. I was glad to still have my headlamp because it was pitch black. I tried running up hospital hill back to my car, but I didn’t have it in me to run the whole distance. I was pretty freaked out by 3km in the dark.
So, sorry Energizer Night Race. Unless you get a better situation for location and parking, I’ll never be back again.