In 2012, I ran my first ever half-marathon distance (in a training run).
In 2013, I ran my longest distance ever (at the time) in the Midsummer Night's Run 30k.
So, when it came time to decide what to do for my 36th birthday, I was a bit at a loss. I couldn't run a new milestone (Right now, a full marathon is as far as I expect to run at any one time. Not interested in running ultras).
And then my friend Kim (from Two Years to Kona and Our Fresh Kitchen) suggested the Toronto Island Lake Swim on my actual birthday (Sunday, August 17th). The race on the island had 3 distances, including a 3.8km one (that's the distance you swim in a full ironman). I've never swam 3800m in one go before - and the most I've swum in the lake was around 3200m. I'd once done a 2-swim day that was 3950 total, but that was split into two sessions (one lake, one pool) several hours apart.
So there I had it. My longest swim ever and it would be in open water!
But that's not all. Given I was training for Barrelman, I still needed to get my long run and ride in. Well, months ago at the Mississauga Marathon, I purchased entry into the Midsummer Night's Run at a low rate (they were also giving away extra shirts) on Saturday, August 16th at 6pm. So I was already planning to do that. But then my friend Emma (from Running in Tune) offered to give me a grand tour of the region around Burlington (i.e. take me on a long ride out of the city!) that day. So my birthday weekend became an epic training weekend, including:
- Saturday morning: 90k hilly training ride
- Saturday night: 15k Midsummer Night's Run
- Sunday morning: 3.8k Toronto Island Swim Race
So, how did the weekend go?
I got up pretty early on Saturday morning to make the GO train out to Appleby...but it wasn't too early that I couldn't nab a coffee to drink en route (priorities!). The forecast was talking about rain, but luck was in our favour. All we got was a handful of drops...so no complaints from me!
Now, Emma had warned me that the route was going to have some hills. "No problem," I figured. Hills are good, right?
What I didn't realize was that my occasional hills and the hills out at Angus Glen are nothing compared to the Halton Hills. The entire first half of the route was very rolling...and added to that was some excellent wind (crazy wind!). I couldn't believe how slow I was (meanwhile Emma proved to me she'd have no problems killing a duathlon since she's so strong on the bike!).
But - the hills were on beautiful and mostly silent roads. I loved riding out there. Also, I learned that some of the area we were riding in would be a part of the PwC Epic Tour - which means I'll be facing these hills one more time before Barrelman! Yikes!
I needed proof we did it, so here's a picture of Emma and I about 2/3 of the way through I think.
It only took me a few minutes to get my bearings and then I had enough time to quickly change into dry (and warm) clothes so I could see Lori finish.
Once we were all done, we settled down to have some wonderful peach sharlotka coffee birthday cake that Kim made (after my friends convinced the live band to play Happy Birthday for me).
The cake was absolutely delicious. Thankfully, she posted the recipe on Our Fresh Kitchen!
Here I am with the cake (with Carole in the background!). Interestingly, it looks like I am holding the full cake, but we'd already eaten half...talk about deceiving photo. But wow, that cake was amazing! Thank you Kim!!!
Much to my surprise, my friend Brenda actually made a photo/video montage of the Toronto Island Lake Swim, including the birthday song. She posted it on YouTube, so I can share it with you too!
So my epic birthday weekend was a wild success. Couldn't have had a better time, that's for sure. So great I got to share two days with so many friends. Thank you to everyone who helped make the weekend awesome!
And as a side note (in case you think all I do is train)...after the Toronto Island Lake Swim, I went out for an incredible birthday dinner with my friend Wendy - where I didn't worry for a single second about how much I ate or drank! I also went out the following weekend with more friends, since several were out of town on my actual birthday.