Thursday, July 19, 2012

Make it By Midnight - Race Review

A perfect example of how an idea can seem perfectly sane...5 months previously... In February,  after a long training run in the freezing cold,  Lindsey and I were sitting around bitching about the cold and surfing the internet looking at potential races for the spring.   Somehow... Lindsey finds this race in Macon GA,  the weekend of my 54th birthday... which is in July.. and it sounds great..  Gated community,  you run 4- 6.6 mile loops for a full,  2- 6.6 mile loops for the 1/2 marathon.  The bonus.. the whole idea is you can start whenever you want after 3pm... you just want to try to finish by midnight!  Bonus number 2.. it is a very inexpensive race to run and they have cute T-shirts and pretty unique medals.  Sign us up!

Fast forward to summer 2012.. we didn't plan for the kinds of heat and humidity that have been hanging around the mid west this year.   So planned weekend long runs of 12 or 10 miles,  got cut short to 10 or 8..  Week day runs got supplanted by workouts with the Mason Manta swim team... great cardio.. but not great preparation for the hills and humidity awaiting us in Georgia...

So we left Cincy on my birthday, Friday the 13th...duh..duh..duh....(horror movie music...)   Had a great trip down to Atlanta.  Got to hookup with Dan and Rami and see their new Condo (SWEET DIGS!)  and on Saturday morning,  we ran around Northern Atlanta to the REI store and hit up a Running Spot store.  Then went to Revolution Doughnuts to get an amazing Vegan Coconut Cake Donut and a cool coffee mug - then picked up some Vegan Cupcakes at Dulce Vegan Bakery (the Chocolate strawberry were amazing!)  and had their excellent Chicken salad sandwich.   The baked goods were safely tucked away in the cooler as a celebration of both the completion of our run,  and as a birthday treat for you know who!  Hell yes we run to eat!

Then we drove the hour and 1/2 down to Macon and checked in to our hotel to relax for a little while.   The race director had sent out an email reminding everyone to throw time goals out the window..  plan on running / walking slower than you ever had before because it was hot and hilly!  See elevation profile below... yes it felt just like you were constantly climbing up or down stairs!

 Lindsey thought she would be okay starting around 5:30 and we left the hotel about 4:45 to drive the 20 minutes over to the race venue.  Sat in line to get through the guard house at the community and then drove to their clubhouse where the race would start.  We got out of the car and the humidity was like walking through water.  98% according to the weather channel.. and no breeze.. I mean..NONE!  92 degrees out when Lindsey started her run.. I headed back to the hotel to hang out and await her text message on when we could hook up for the last 2 laps.

She text-ed after the first loop was done, and I could tell by the time.. she was moving slow.  But then not too much longer she sent another saying she just passed 10..what!  I was still lounging around in my pj's ,  so I pulled on my race clothes and jumped in the car to drive over as well.   I didn't have long to wait before she headed down the hill to where the start line was..looking like a drowned rat .. she was ringing wet.    Her only comment.. "This sucks..Put on bug spray".   Off we went around 8:15.   We headed away from the clubhouse to make a quick run by the lake.  The only view of the water that you get during the race.    I tried asking a few questions,  but I could tell from talking to her that she was in a little trouble.  She wasn't making sense when I'd ask questions,  she was laughing and staggering off the road some.. okay.. time to walk for a while.   Good decision as we started the first of many long climbs this race has to offer.  I think you forget that Georgia is that hilly , we have all read the signs on 75 for Stone Mountain... We made it to the half way point in the first loop,  and the ladies at the aid station were ready.   They were handing out water,  gatorade,  salt,  pickles,  pretzels..   I opted for salt and ate about a teaspoon straight out of the cup. It tasted wonderful!   Lindsey went with pickles and pickle juice.   It worked for her too.. after about 10 minutes.. she started feeling better and was able to run again. By now the sun was going down and we had to go on flashlight power.   They had given us handheld flashlights in our check in bags,  so I started with that.  It worked... kind of..  but since I was carrying it in my hand the light moved around a lot,  and I had to keep pumping the flashlight handle to keep it powered. Plus , when we got back to Cincy we realized I was doing it that was why the light kept dimming..Duh.  I switched over to a headlamp for the last loop... which added a different issue.

This neighborhood had about 3 street lights ... so when it got full was DARK and noisy!  Cicadas ,  crickets,  bull frogs and barking dogs ... but you couldn't see past the light that was coming from my forehead.  Moths, mosquitoes, and gnats kept flying into my eyes to get to the headlamp.. Great.. I think I ate a few bugs.  Every time I tried to talk to Linz,  I about blinded her by turning my head lamp right into her eyes. On the plus side.. you really couldn't tell how far you were in the loop ,  or how far you had to go,  because you only had the circle of light to head towards.. so you just kept moving.  (Go into the light... All are Welcome..)    One more stop for more salt and pickles  and we kept plodding along.    2 other racers passed us saying 40 minutes to get 3 miles done...  Lindsey knew by checking her watch,  we weren't going to make it.   We had to walk the uphills and could only run the down hills and the flats,  and even those we had to slow down for ,  because she was still a little shaky and the pavement was uneven enough,  that we both tripped in the dark a couple of times.   Not worth face planting, so we just stayed steady and finished up a few minutes after midnight.  

Neither one of us wanted to stick around and socialize or eat,  we just wanted to get back to the hotel, pull of our soaking wet clothes and socks,  take a shower and cool off in front of the air conditioner... besides... we had birthday cupcakes waiting us!  

This definitely was an unusual race.   They limit the runners to 150 registrations and only 116 showed up this year,  and since everyone starts a different times,  you are often running on your own for long stretches.   We were both glad we had each other for company when it got dark.   There were 5 houses that provided encouragement throughout the route whether it was little boys in lawn chairs cheering us up a hill,  or little girls handing out glow stick necklaces,  or the family that handed out the most delicious frozen grapes,  our pickle juice stop,  and the men who dragged a freezer out to the street corner with the longest extension cord.. to hand out cups of ice cream!   But other than these amazing people..  the rest of the neighborhood was quiet and did I mention DARK.   
I know, I know... who thinks to run in Georgia in July????    But     we definitely made some memories on this one!   And I got a shirt.. and a medal.. and a Tiara.. damn it!  And yes I was tired in this picture..

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