Thursday, July 21, 2016

Race Review: Midnight Owl 15K + Marathon Training Update!

Saturday night my parents and I ran the Midnight Owl 15K in North Conway, NH! This was a different kind of race called a prediction run. The idea is that you can start running at any time after 9:30PM, but you have to be one of the first to cross the finish line AFTER midnight in order to be considered one of the winners. Oh, and you're not allowed to carry any sort of timing device on you, which includes watched, phones, or ANYTHING that displays the time (which basically means you're running with your thoughts and that's pretty much it). Pretty awesome if you ask me! Because we were running at night we were required to wear

It was a really unique experience running without having any idea what time it was or what my pace was. Luckily there were mile markers so atlas I had some sort of sense of where I was along the course but other than those I was (literally and figuratively) in the dark! There weren't even clocks at the finish so I had absolutely no idea what my time was! I only knew what time I left (10:21:03pm) and I made a general guess of how long before I crossed before the alarm went off for midnight (I made a guess of 6 or 7 minutes... granted I had no idea how close we were to midnight until AFTER the alarm for midnight went off and I had already been stretching out after finishing!) but we weren't informed of what time we crossed the finish line until two days ago when the race coordinators emailed the results.

(I finished 6 minutes and 5 seconds before midnight - not bad for guessing!)

Though I finished before midnight, I'm pretty happy with my time! I did the calculations - my total time was 1:32:52, giving me a 9:59 pace! That's pretty excellent for me and I am very happy. It's always good to gauge performance in a race situation and I always forget that when I'm in training. This just proves it! I'm looking forward to race day in October even more now!

What I Loved

I really loved the whole concept of a prediction run. I've never heard of it until my dad introduced this race to me and it is so unique. I don't know if there are any more races like this in my area but I would love to do another one in the future!

I also really loved that the field size was really small. There were 93 total runners in this field which I'm pretty sure is the smallest race field I've ever participated in. Small race fields give races a really awesome sense of camaraderie that you can't really feel at a big-name-bigger-attendence-race.

Lastly, the volunteers at this race were awesome. At the start, each water stop, and the finish line they were cheering for us, chatting us up, and all around making the race environment really positive and fun. And it's awesome they could get so many volunteers to come out and wait around in the dark (and probably getting eaten by mosquitos!) while all 93 crazy people took their time crossing the finish line.

What I Didn't Love

While I know there wasn't any timing allowed at this race (as it basically defeats the purpose), I really wish there was chip timing of some kind or at least a hidden clock accessible somewhere after you cross the finish line. I was dying to know what my overall time was because I felt like I had a really great run (which I did). It's not a huge draw back, though, because they end up sending you your times via email, you just have to wait a bit longer to know what your results are.

The BIG thing that I didn't love was that there didn't seem to be anyone sweeping the course to ensure runner safety. We were (of course) running in the dark, in a fairly wooded area, and many of us were going out on the course alone or in very small groups. Also - due to the rules - you don't have a phone on you so there wouldn't really be able to contact anyone if you got hurt or lost. There definitely weren't bikes sweeping the course and it didn't seem like there was a car sweeping the course, so being super careful while I was covering several miles completely alone and in the dark was at the front of my mind. It would have made me feel a lot more at ease if I knew there would be volunteers checking on the course!

The Swag!

Race swag was a really soft cotton t-shirt and a finishers medal that doubles as a bottle opener! Definitely one of the coolest medals I've gotten so far! It would have been even better if the yellow lettering and moon on the medal glowed in the dark! Maybe next year. ;)
Overall I really loved this race. It could have been even better if we had the peace of mind of course sweepers but even without them this was definitely a really well-run race, especially for an organization that *isn't* a race company. I would absolutely love to run this race again next year and would recommend it to anyone that is looking to try something a bit different for a race!

Marathon Training Update

I know I've mentioned off-hand in a few posts that I'm marathon training but I'm not sure if I've let you all know what marathon I'm training for! I am training for the Green Mountain Marathon that will be in South Hero, VT on October 9th! It's a very affordable marathon ($55!), fairly flat (despite the name), with a beautiful out-and-back course along Lake Champlain! 

It's sure to be a really scenic marathon with the lake views AND the Vermont foliage in early October is going to be even more gorgeous. I'm sure I'll be snapping pics and taking video the whole way through! (Until, you know, mile 22 when my legs are basically dead.) 

Training has been going wonderfully this time around. I'm hitting my runs, making time for lifts and stretching, and feeling really great about progress! I truly think most of this success in training so far has been attributed to having a training partner. I have never trained with a partner and I'm so happy my friend Danielle are making plans to run together at least once a week! She's also training for an October marathon (I believe her race day is a week after mine) so it is perfect timing for us. 

I hope to continue this consistency throughout the summer and the craziness that is September in HigherEd and hit my time goal (yes, I have a time goal this time around!) of a sub-5 hour marathon. My time for the Maine Marathon last October was 5:08:24, so I think this is a totally achievable goal as long as I keep working hard! I'll keep you all periodically updated on my training process and of course be sure to tell you all about my experience in South Hero this fall!

No comments:

Post a Comment