Summer Races: Lake Wyola Road Race

Back in April I announced my plans to run the Philadelphia Marathon in November. Despite the fact that I haven’t written a single post about marathon training I have been training since July. My training came to a screeching halt early on thanks to a sore hamstring followed by a stretched Achilles. I am happy to report that both issues have since resolved. Marathon training is going well despite some bumps in the road, scheduling challenges and a serious lack of time. I have competed in 3 races that I have yet to write about. Two were repeat races that I hope to make an annual tradition and the most recent was a new race in a new place.

Lake Wyola Road Race

On June 10, 2012 I ran this local race for the second time. This was the 32nd running of the Lake Wyola Road Race. Carlos and I frequent the lake all summer. The small beach is a part of the Massachusetts State Parks system. It is a hidden gem about 40 minutes away from home. Race proceeds benefit the Lake Wyola Association.

The website describes the course perfectly. “This scenic 4.8 mile race starts at the Lake Wyola Association Hall and runs counter clockwise around the lake on mostly tree-canopied country roads. The first half of the course is paved with a challenging uphill climb. The second half is dirt roads with a small bit of pavement at the finish line.” 

The uphill climb in this race is a great precursor to another race I run each summer. I love this race because it is extremely well organized, very family friendly and the course is picturesque. The pre and post race offerings are among the best of any race I’ve run. The volunteers go above and beyond to make everyone feel welcome and at home in the community of Lake Wyola.

Lake Wyola Road Race 2012

Going into this race I assumed I would do better than last year. However, it didn’t turn out to be one of my best races or even a great run. I broke some cardinal rules which led to a near disaster. I worked the night before which I try very hard not to do before a race. I ate nothing at work and then instead of my usual peanut butter toast and banana I ate only the banana and peanut butter before we left for the race which was a little too early to have eaten. I was not well hydrated despite the heat. Training had been sporadic due to the shin splint I got from ice skating in the spring.

I ran more of the uphill portion this year than I did last year so I felt strong going out. However, on the back half of the course I felt shaky, sluggish and I knew I was slowing down. It was hot and there were no water stations for the last mile and a half or so.

I wrote about last year’s road race here. I had a great experience last year. Below are my times for both races.

Lake Wyola Road Race – 47:22
Shutesbury, MA – June 10, 2012

Lake Wyola Road Race – 46:35
Shutesbury, MA – June 18, 2011

At first read it probably sounds like I’m making excuses for my poor performance this year. I admit I was a little disappointed when I crossed the finish line. As with any “bad” run I used this experience as an opportunity to learn something about myself and how to train better.

Having just started back at Weight Watchers about a month before the race I was still navigating the points system and how the program would work best with my level of activity. At that time I was backing away from bread and grains because of their high points value. This race taught me that I needed to find a way to incorporate grains back into my diet or marathon training would be a nightmare. I did not fuel properly before this race and I felt the effects especially during the last half of the race. I now use my extra weekly points to be able to eat a healthy amount of whole grain foods. Funny thing is that once I began eating the grains again I began losing more weight.

This race proved to me why I don’t typically run races after working all night. Sure I can run a training run after working all night because I’m not pushing myself to beat my last time.

Despite the fact that I knew it was going to be hot I didn’t hydrate myself properly in the hours before the race. Since I was at work I also drank a couple cups of coffee which didn’t help my hydration.

Silly Carlos

No matter how a race turns out it is still a great excuse to be with my family, do something outdoors and be around other active people. Carlos and Orlando were there to cheer me on. I appreciate all of their support over the last couple of years. I realize that my commitment to running relies on their support. On days when I just don’t feel like going out for a training run my husband is always ready to boot me out the door. When I need to wake up at the crack of dawn to workout because that’s my only opportunity for the day, again my husband will make sure I get out of bed and go. As much as I run these races and workout almost everyday for my health and well being, I also do it for that little guy in the photo above. He is my world and I try to do everything on my part to make sure I will be here to drive him crazy see him grow up.

Lake Wyola I’ll be back next year and looking for a personal record!

15 thoughts on “Summer Races: Lake Wyola Road Race

  1. Aimee…running a race after working all night is amazing in itself! I can hardly drag myself up to bed 🙂
    I’m so glad that you are enjoying your running…I’m sure it will be even better now that the weather is turning a bit cooler.

    1. I am so used to running and being up after work Kaye though like I said I don’t prefer to run races. Now that Carlos is in school I am sticking to my regular routine of going to sleep once my husband gets home. There are less interruptions and I am able to enjoy a more solid sleep.

  2. Yeah, I echo the comment above — you are a machine for doing that after working all night! I can’t imagine! I’ve had similar nutrition/hydration challenges with early evening races and I don’t do them often b/c it’s such a struggle to get all that correct; I’d guess it would be similar if you worked the night before a morning race. As for the mistakes, even though you knew better, sometimes you just have to reinforce certain lessons; I think everyone does it! Don’t focus too much on beating your prior year’s time (haha, I have the same issue, so funny to even say that), focus on the fact that you’re doing it and things like weather and your physical state (age, injuries) will always change. If you focus too much on beating the year before, running won’t be something you can enjoy your entire life.

    1. I’m grateful that I was reminded of those lessons on a short race rather than a longer run. You are right that it’s about enjoying the run. I really don’t get down on myself about the time/speed issue. I think part of my fascination with it is that I never pushed myself physically before I began running and I’m still somewhat in awe of what my body is capable of doing. There is something so energizing and rewarding about seeing the hard earned results of training, but ultimately if I’m not smiling through it then it won’t be something I continue to do.

  3. I was super busy at work last week, so I am catching up on all my favorite blogs. 😀 I think that time is amazeballs considering you worked the night before and didn’t fuel properly. I agree that high points or not, you need the carbs before a race – just consider it a wash with all the running!

    Carlos is getting to look so much like a little man!

    1. I no longer fear the carbs. I was never one to jump on the Atkins/no carb band wagon so I was kind of pissed at myself for limiting whole grains. I realize that I have to measure them because it’s so easy to go overboard, but I have incorporated them back into my life. Besides it makes me too crabby when I don’t eat carbs!

  4. Hi Aimee! Sorry, I’m so late reading this post.

    Anyway, I think fitness hits you how you are on that point in your life. I am personally not concerned about the little difference in time from last year to this year. I have also experienced being noticeably weaker when I strictly watch my food intake, which really shows for weightlifting. So, on Friday and Saturday evenings (evenings before the big gym days) I deliberately eat with more strength boosting foods and more calories too. I totally agree that food choices could have made that difference in time.

    However, the more important part of this story is how you put your self out there. You are courageous for yourself and for Carlos. For Carlos, he will have seen his mother have boldness so many times in his life that he will think it as “normal” in his world. That means that Carlos will be able to live his life more boldly, taking advantage of more opportunities without the same amount of anxiety that many people have. My middle daughter recently told me that when she has a lot of stressful work to do, it really helps her to remember how I’ve tried so hard when studying for my work.

    🙂 Marion

    1. Wow thank you Marion. As always your words touch me. Marion, my husband and I were just commenting on how much I’ve changed since Carlos was born and how he will only know this Aimee (mom), the happier, healthier version. He was the inspiration for my transformation and now hopefully I will inspire him to experience and explore the world. I watched him go to various half day camps this summer with little trepidation. I was so proud of him for trying new experiences without me.

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