This last Saturday (July 12, 2014), I ran the Davis Moonlight Half Marathon. It was my 25th lifetime half marathon (I count the one virtual half that I did – I paid the money, got the bib, ran the miles, and got a medal. It counts!). It was also my fourth time running this race.
This year, the course was quite different from last year’s race. There was a different start/finish area, only two overpass crossings (compared to four in previous years), we did the first half south of I-80 (as opposed to north the last two years), and we had a half hour later start. It all added up to being the best course of all (this is the third course I have run for this race).
I will get to the race in a little bit, I need to tell you about my time leading up to the race. First, as you may have read in the post right before this one (which was three weeks ago), I now have a full time job as an archaeologist. It has been going well, but there has been some adjustment to working life. Mainly getting up early, and not getting as much stuff done around the house as I had been. Also, we decided to put in some concrete in our backyard.
While I can mix and pour concrete, the amount we are dealing with is a lot, so we are having a professional do it. But, we can save about 30% by doing the removal ourselves. Every evening the week before the race, the Dashing Wife and I had been outside shoveling gravel, breaking concrete, and loading concrete onto a trailer until about 9pm. I have been waking up at 4:40 am getting in my runs and workouts, so averaging about 6 hours of sleep a night.
As Saturday started, we had a limited window to get all the concrete to a recycling center (yes they recycle concrete), so the Dashing Wife took the kids to the Dashing Son’s swim meet, and I took the first load of concrete to the recycling center. My cousin’s daughter came over about 8:30am to help. Despite being stick skinny, she busted her butt and was an amazing help during the day. Between she and I, we moved an estimated 5 yards of concrete (normal weight concrete weighs 4000lbs per yard). We finished around 2 pm.
So, to answer your first question: Yes, at this point in the day, I am exhausted, and not really looking forward to an evening half marathon. Especially when it was sitting at 96 degrees. The part I was really not looking forward to was the fact that I actually needed to get in an extra 6.9 miles for my marathon on August 16. I am a charity runner, raising money for foster kids, so if you want to donate, please click here.
I rented a pick-up truck from uhaul, which was a mile and a half away from the house, so I decided to run back home and get some of my miles in. The first mile went so well, I kept going and got in 3.5 miles. Despite the 95 degree weather, I still managed sub 8 minute miles. The problem was that I didn’t change into my running underwear and was still wearing my cotton boxers. Let’s just say that “things” got a bit raw.
I got home, cooled down, and started getting ready for the race in about 4 hours. I showered to get the dirt and grime off of me, changed into my running clothes, drank more water, and loading the Dashing Son in the car and drove the 45 minutes to Davis. The Dashing Wife followed me. Since it was a night race, we didn’t want to subject the Dashing Daughter (or Son) to waiting for me for two plus hours to finish the race when it was way past their bed time.
We got to Davis, got our bibs (Dashing Son was doing the kids race), then went and grabbed some dinner. I had a half of a turkey sandwich because I didn’t want to get too overloaded with food before my run.
Back at the race expo, we hung out until the kids’ race started.
The Dashing Son was wearing his cape, which actually got him recognized from his previous races. He likes to wear the cape to be like Endorphin Dude. The kids race was a half mile (0.47 actually), and Dashing Son did it in 4 minutes, and I got another half mile run in. Only 16 to go for the day.
Like previous years, we bought him the participant’s medal (his 3rd), and he got a ribbon.
After the race, I walked the Dashing family back to the car, and wished them a good night. Then I ran around a couple buildings and back to the start line for another 1.25 miles.
I was actually feeling a lot better than I thought I would after my day of hard labor. My arms and shoulders were killing me, but my legs were feeling pretty good. I was also wearing my Hokas and my calf sleeves. I figured I was running some extra miles, so I should do things to make my legs feel better.
I lined up with the 1:50 pace group, figuring that I would stick with them for as long as I could and hope I could stay ahead of the 2 hour group. The race started, and the one thing with the Davis races, especially if the half marathon starts with the 10k group, is that too many people don’t line up with their pace group. I must have passed 200 or so people (out of 1500 runners) in that first mile or so, and I wasn’t running all that fast.
I will be honest, the first mile and a half sucked. There wasn’t that much shade, there were too many people to get around, my bladder was full, and I was tired. It got worse around mile 1.4 when we had to climb the pedestrian overpass to get to the south side of Davis. But, I ran the whole thing and got a nice downhill run on the other side.
That made things better. We hit the first water stop around 1.75 and I got my second wind. I also found an open porta potty, and after losing 30 seconds to peeing, I felt much better. The next mile and a half was my fastest of the entire race. I made up the time lost to urination, and caught up to the guy I was using as a pacer. Plus I got the 1:50 pace group back into my sights. I talked with that guy for about half a mile and then had to back off my pace. I settled into the mid 8 min/mile range and got into a nice rhythm.
I took my minute walk breaks every water stop, and I actually took in a second gel (something I haven’t done in my last 21 road half marathons) around mile 8.5. I did stop and take a selfie at sunset as I crossed the overpass again, which was right at the half way point.
I also tried to snap a picture of the giant red full moon as it was rising on the horizon around mile 9, but cell phones are not known for their astronomy photos. Nor are runners known for their steady hands.
Things were going great. I was not hurting at all. I took my last walk break at mile 9.5. I grabbed some water around mile 11.5, and picked up the pace a tad (8:15-ish) until the finish. I came in around 1:52, which considering my day was an awesome time. I grabbed my medal, and a bottle of water, and went back out on the course to get my last 1.5 miles completed for my 20 miles for the day.
If you are adding up my totals, you will notice I am 0.15 miles short. Well, my Garmin said I ran 13.25 miles, which is fairly normal for a half marathon distance if you don’t take the straightest line.
That last mile and half, well, now that sucked. I took several walk breaks, and when I turned around, I came across a guy who was cramping up. I ended up run/walking with him to the finish. I worked my way back toward the food line, and the beer tent. Okay, I was going to the beer tent. On the way, a friend who had fun 34 miles in 12 hours at that day (her first ultra), called out and I talked with her for a bit. That was when I realized how tired I was. I actually couldn’t stand up. Luckily, there was a table for me to lean on while I re-grouped. Then I went and got beer.
I must say, however, that even though I was completely exhausted from my day, the best part about it was breakfast the next day. When you burn 2600 calories, just from running, I got to eat it all back the next morning. Biscuits and gravy, two eggs, and hashbrowns stuffed with bacon, sausage, cheese, sour cream, and onions. It was sooooo good.
The Davis Moonlight race has been a wild roller coaster half marathon these last four races. While this year was not my best time (2nd worst/3rd best actually), I think it was my best run race. My pace was fairly consistent, and considering how exhausted I was, I did great. This is a good July race in Northern California, and the night time aspect puts a different spin on it. The medals for this race are awesome, which will probably keep me coming back to do this race each year.