It was our “Runniversary,” Mac and I. We ran the Inagural Modesto Midnight Half last year as our first year together, and decided that we would run it again this year. I love that Mac and I run together virtually. We live not “that” far apart (1.5 hours), however, it’s not easy for us to just pick up and drive to where the other is to run. We check up on each other via text messaging and FaceBook, and have started running one half-marathon every month together beginning this year.
Where to begin … It wasn’t a bad race, just more things that need to be ironed out. Not very many people found it easy to run in the dark, and found the race very unorganized. True, it’s night and it’s dangerous, but it’s a chance that we take when we sign up for a race like this.
I, myself, enjoyed the course this year. Last year was two dark loops of the same route. BAD as some of it was in a dark, very DARK area of Modesto that was NOT in a good area. This year, the course was one big loop. I don’t like running loops myself, so to only have to run one big loop was a big plus for me. The darkest part of the course was around mile 5-6ish – which was behind the high school. There were street lights that were there, but for some reason, maybe budget issues, these lights were not turned on. That would have solved some of complaints right there as that section of the run was PITCH BLACK. Even with those of us wearing headlamps, it was not enough to light up a good section of running path. I could see enough in front of me to know where to step, but seriously, someone could get injured there easily as it was too dark.
Complaint #2 – the roads were NOT closed to traffic. Let’s see … dark route + traffic = very HIGH potential for disaster (i.e. runner v. vehicle). Not good. Granted, the Modesto Police Department was out in full force, and stopping traffic for the runners where traffic was high, however it was NOT a great idea to just have cones blocking a lane of traffic for runners. That was not fun. Worrying about running in the dark is bad enough, but to have to worry about the potential for getting hit by a car increases ones anxiety ten-fold! Not cool at all.
Complaint #3 – There was a lack of aid and water stations. At mile 3, Mac and I saw a man down, surrounded by his family as I heard one of them ask, “Dad, can you hear me?” Mac had asked if someone had called for EMS, but they appeared slightly confused and finally answered that they had and waved us on. We continued on with our run, but worried in the back of our minds that something serious had happened to that gentleman as he did not look well at all. As far as water stations, there were water stations at every 2nd mile or so starting at about mile 4, I believe. However, at the mile 6 station, there were only 5 – 5 gallon water jugs and when Mac asked if there was water, the girl standing close by said, “Uh, yeah … you can fill up your water here.” It was then that I pointed out to Mac that they were 5 gallon jugs and started laughing! We carry our own water when we run, but Mac had depleted her bottle and she needed more. I guess I just didn’t drink mine all yet, however when we came back around to the station there were attendants there who were diligently filling up cups and handing them out. Mac was able to refill her bottle, and I grabbed a cup to cool myself off as I doused it on the back of my head and back.
The weather was awesome. Probably around 66ish, with clear skies. The moon was incredible, but NOT enough to light up any path as the event organizers had hoped. As I am a nocturnal being, this was okay with me. I function well at night and in the dark which is probably one reason why I did well. With that said, the remainder of this blog will be on how I felt during this race.
Last year I finished the half in 2:26:xx. This year, I finished in 2:12:xx, an improvement of 14 minutes! My instructions for this race were as follows: 3mile warm up, race the Half, 2mile cool down. What? I have to run before and after? Are you kidding me? No, Coach Speedy Sasquatch was NOT kidding. Okay, I do as instructed so I tell Mac the plan and we hit it. We run the 3 mile warm up in about 30 minutes with enough time to gear up to run the Half. As we are gearing up, I get a call from my friend Linda (@MsV1959) and she tells me that she’s at the Modesto Centre Plaza and come meet her. It was so nice to see Linda and to finally meet another Twitter friend, Laura (@NICURNMama)! Linda had made a sign for me that sincerely touched my heart! No one had ever done that for me before and it made me happy to see it!
In the beginning, I thought that the 3 mile warm up would be a disadvantage to me. I believed that I would be tired from it and that I wouldn’t perform well. In actuality, it did not hinder my performance at all. I didn’t feel tired throughout the race. I did hear my head try to tell my body that it was tired, but I told my head which told my body, “There’s nothing wrong with you. Nothing. Your breathing is even and non labored. Your shoes fit and your feet don’t hurt. You’re hydrated. Your stomach doesn’t hurt. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with you, so GO!” And I went. There were a few times when my body wanted to falter and slow down, however I would repeat the mantra again to myself and my body believed it and kept going.
I was happy to be running well. My last half (July) was a disaster and I thought that I was done running then! “Trust the training,” was my other mantra of the night. I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying working with Speedy Sasquatch! He’s been awesome in getting my plans out to me, and answering my gazillion questions and concerns. He is a great motivator and cheerleader, and I like that in my Coach!
Despite all of its issues, I still feel that this event could be a really great event. I know that running in the dark is not for most people. I enjoyed it. And as usual, I enjoyed running with Mac. I loved how people really went with the theme of lighting themselves ups. If we decide to run this again next year, I am sure that we will also plan to light ourselves up with strings of lights, etc. We were thankful to gotten some really cool headlamps that my hubby, Chris, was thoughtful enough to get for us … it was fun watching my headlamp and the headlamps of those who ran with me bob up and down making for some really interesting shadows. Will I run it again next year? Most likely, yes. As I said, I enjoyed the course, and I do enjoy running in the dark.
I know that this post is 1.5 months late … It had been written almost immediately, however, as I’m new to blogging, I had to figure out how to add pics, and etc. I told my son that I was probably too old to be doing such a thing as blogging, but it’s kinda fun, and I LOVE reading what everyone else posts. I’m not a natural storyteller, I’m more of a rambler … and have a tendency to drone on and on …
***Oooooh … Update on the gentleman that went down at mile 3. He’s fine. He said that he had been running, felt a little dizzy, and that’s all that he remembered! He was VERY fortunate in that there was a doctor who happened to be running behind him who witnessed the entire scene and was able to render actual CPR. The gentleman was transported to a local ER, then transferred out and had a pacemaker placed! Geez! He was all smiles and said to be doing well for the interview for the paper! I’m happy for him! Thank God!