Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lunar Trek

(1-with Allen, a few minutes before the start; 2-one strech of mud)

(3-the start line at 11pm; 4-still running at daybreak)

(5-crossing the finish line; 6-with only about 6 miles to go)

What could be more fun that running all night under the moonlit sky? Under last Friday’s full moon, fifty or so runners met in the high school parking lot in Scandia, KS (North-Central KS, just a few miles from Nebraska) to embark on a long, weird, run. I trekked through 40.4 miles (most opted for shorter distances) of secondary gravel roads and a few muddy spots, and at least one huge hill.

The run was an absolute blast! I never felt mentally tired during the night as I kept going, and once the sun came up a little after 5 am a new surge of energy spurred me on! The 11 pm start on Friday night seemed strange at first but once I had run a few miles I locked into my groove and it felt like any other race I’d run, except it was dark. But because of the full moon, I hardly used my headlamp at all.

I bested all of my personal records for each interval along the way, including the marathon (about 5:12), 50K (about 6:15), and then a PR, of course, in the 40.4 because it’s the first time running that distance. My final time was 8:22:47, which averages out to 12 minute, 30 second miles (including all the aid-station stops for food and cold Gatorade). I figure that when running, I was running 11 minute miles the whole way! I was very, very pleased with my finish and excited about the progress I’ve made.

I ran with a new friend from the Kansas Ultra running crowd, Gary. I caught Gary at the 20-mile turnaround point and we ran all the way back to the finish. (Between mile 10 and 20 I ran most of the way in the dark by myself, semi-conquering any apprehension of running in the country in the dark by myself!)

After arriving at the finish line (a white line made with flour in the high school parking lot) at 7:22 am I thought I should sit down for a few minutes! Then after cleaning up, we went to breakfast and then about 9:30 am, I felt a bit tired so I slept for 30 minutes before driving home.

For the record, I do not think that what I did Friday night is normal, ordinary, healthy, or should be routine. But it sure was fun!

For some great pictures (although it's hard to take pictures in a "night run") of the Lunar Trek: http://www.ultrastory.com/LunarTrek08.htm. All of these pictures are thanks to Gary Henry, Kansas Ultrarunner, who took pictures of several events this past Spring and Summer: http://www.ultrastory.com/photos.htm)