On July 13, 2013 I ran my third Davis Moonlight Half Marathon in Davis, CA. I think this was my best overall race of the three. The course was correct (unlike 2011) and I didn’t have any cramping issues (unlike 2012). We arrived in Davis early to find parking and for the Dashing Son and me to get our race packets. We hung out with the Dashing Wife, Daughter, and dogs before the race started. This year, A Change of Pace (ACOP), had and earlier wave start for those folks who may take more than 3 hrs to complete the race. They started at 6:15pm, which would hopefully give the back of the packers better access to water on the course (back of the packers always get screwed out of race resources).
At 6:25pm the kids race started, an easy half mile run for the kids. The Dashing Son likes to wear a cape, like his favorite running superhero Endorphin Dude. It also makes him a lot easier to follow in the crowd. I use the kids runs as a nice warm up for my runs. He ran his half mile (0.55 miles according to the Garmin), in just over 5 minutes, a solid 10 min/mile pace.
ACOP offers participant medals to the non-half marathon runners for $5, so of course I bought him one. The moonlight medals don’t disappoint, they are even better than last year, and they glow in the dark. Plus he got his picture with Endorphin Dude! (E-dude was incognito for this race).After the Dashing Son’s race, I took him back to his mom – who had to leave to get kids and dogs to bed. My race started at 7pm, I lined up in the 8min/mile area, hoping to keep that pace in the heat. Speaking of heat, we actually got really lucky considering how hot it had been earlier in the week, but the temperature (at the nearby airport according to NOAA) was 90 at race start. I hung with the 1:45 pace group for the first few miles, but since I take 1 minute walk breaks at the water stops, I eventually lost sight of them. My plan was to back off for the first half of the race, and pick it up when it cooled down.
The course, like many Davis courses, had a bunch of turns through some residential areas and business districts, but mostly through greenbelts, bike trails and parks. They also added a seventh water stop during the race (water was at 2.25, 3.75, 5.5, 7, 8.25, 10.25, 11.75), which was nice. Last year, my mouth always seemed to be dry, this year was much better.
At mile 7, about an hour into the race, the temperature had dropped a good bit (8 degrees according to NOAA), and the sun was fully behind the trees (which made it feel even cooler). I tried to pick up my pace to try to catch the 1:45 pace group, but I lost some time trying to put the glow-in-the-dark necklaces on my belt, and I caught up with a bunch of the first wave folks as well as some of the 10k’ers. I caught up with them on a spot of the course where it was fairly narrow with people coming in both directions.
One pet peeve with many 5k and 10k race participants, is poor course etiquette. They walk in groups of 3 or 4 wide in both directions, weaving, not staying to one side, and/or listening to their music so loud they don’t hear “on your left!” I think it is great that they are out there doing the race, but have some consideration for people behind you. Though, it may be fair since the fast people drink all the water and get all the goodies at the end.
Anyways, after the mile 10 water stop, and 1 minute walking, my pace was around 8:15, and I decided to push it to the end. I knew I had to climb an overpass twice and I thought I could catch the 1:45 group. I was gaining ground, but not enough. I ran through the last water stop, drinking a bit of water, but dumping most of it down my back.
I turned the 3rd to last corner at mile 12 and just as I was going put the pedal to the metal, I saw a guy hanging on a fence, in pain. I stopped to make sure he was okay. His calf had cramped up pretty bad and I told him I was going to finish with him. He practically pushed me away and told me to go finish and he didn’t want to ruin my time and he started moving forward. I double checked with him, and then yes, I left for the finish line. I crossed the line after 1:46, grabbed my medal, a water, and went back out on the course to get that guy. I found him at about 12.75, and finished the race with him. He managed a 2:40 for his first time out (he went out with first wave), pretty good in my opinion. He should be able to drop 10-20 minutes with a healthy calf and cooler weather.
Then I went back out and found Endorphin Dude close to mile 12, and ran the last mile with him. He finished just under 2:30. The finish line was out of water by the time we crossed, but luckily there was still some watermelon at the table (but that was about it). That watermelon was amazingly good, and I am not a fan of watermelon.
All in all it was a good race, hot, but I ran it well. I am hoping to keep up my training and shoot for a 1:35 at my next half in October.