I’ve never run a night race before so I was pretty excited to try it! I think that I’m a better runner in the afternoon/evening so I thought this format might work in my favour.
It turns out that it’s hard to wait all day for a race and there’s a lot to be said for getting it done in the morning. I spent Saturday trying to eat properly (always hard on vacation) and not walk too much.
It was a rainy and relatively cool day in Ottawa, weather that I was really excited to race in until there started to be talk of the race being cancelled. Thankfully, the thunderstorms rolled through in the afternoon and it was just raining by 8pm when we showed up to the race.
My plan going in was to hold 4:50min/km for the first 5km and then speed up after that if I could. I broke it up mentally like I would in an ultra and told myself that the race wasn’t really going to start until after 5km so I just needed to be consistent until then.
Callum and I lined up near the front and off we went. At the Beaches Jazz Run a few weeks ago, I went out too fast and paid for it so I made sure not to sprint at the beginning. I think we were on pace within a 100 metres or so.
Callum offered to make sure we were on pace and he did a great job. Our first 5km were 4:49, 4:49, 4:46, 4:46, 4:46. At the 5km turn around, I felt good and decided that we should hold our current pace for the next two km and then speed up as much as possible for the last 3km.
After having a really tough race at the Beaches Jazz Run, where all I wanted to do was stop, I was feeling great during this race!
At the 7km mark, we started to speed up. And 500 metres later, we ran into the 5km race that had started after us. Whoever decided to set up the race this way had not thought it through very thoroughly. The 5km had started just after the 10km so all the faster 5km runners were done and we were running into a lot of walkers and walk/runners. It was a lot of dodging people at a time in a race when you just want to focus on running!
My other complaint about this race is that they were giving out water at the finish, which was again crowded with 5km walkers, and Callum and I were coming in running at ~4:00min/km. We almost trampled a couple people trying to stop fast enough!
I felt great throughout the race until we really started pushing in the last 250 metres. I probably could have run a little faster because I was not completely exhausted at the end but that’s a good lesson for next time.
Overall, I had a great time! The night theme was very cool because everyone had headlamps and many had green lights on their feet on a completely dark road. I also just really like running at night! It made me want to want to go run a long enough ultra that I get to run all night.
I’m leaving in a few days to fly out west for the Black Spur Ultra!
Do you like running in the dark? Have you ever done a night race?