Half Marathon #100
Race Name: The ET Full Moon Half Marathon
Location: Rachel, NV
For weeks running friends have been asking me which half would be my 100th! For some time the answer was The Giant Race HM...but that changed in early August when a race I was planning on registering for closed registration early! Needing a race on the last weekend of the month along with my job made it very difficult to make it to my 100th half before my 3 year race anniversary! The solution was a race that took place in the middle of the night!
Saturday 08/29/15 2:00pm - I fly from Ontario, California to Vegas...I arrive at 3:00pm, I take a taxi to The National Atomic Testing Museum to pick up my race bib at 4:00pm. About a mile and half walk from there to my hotel I realize I am exhausted and the 108 degree weather isn't helping! I had trouble sleeping Friday night (work related stress)...and now I'm supposed to go run a half! I attempt to take a 45 minute nap which was really just laying down and closing my eyes.... I'm up, I shower, I get ready and I walk to a Chipotle restaurant for dinner.
8:00pm - Time to meet up with my Nevada local friend Casey back at The National Atomic Testing Museum...at this point I'm getting a burst of energy!
8:30pm - We all load up in very nice buses that are equipped with a restroom and air conditioning for a 2.5 hour drive to Rachel, NV which is best described as the middle of nowhere. Apparently this area is known for extraterrestrial activity.
11:00pm (approximately) - we arrive to what is the 51K & Full Marathon start line! We all exit the bus to use the porta-potties and to get our free glowing bracelets! The 51K and Full Marathon start their race at midnight. The weather is actually kinda nice...not hot...not cold...
11:45pm - half marathon runners get back on the bus to head out to the half start line!
12:30am - the half marathon starts!!! (note - there is also a 10K & 5K, check the website to learn about those start times).
What did I experience?
I told Casey "this is crazy" a few times before we started! I was excited and also a little out of my comfort zone. There weren't that many runners, we were going to run against traffic (there weren't that many cars) and some participants were in full ET themed costumes!
Side note: runners are required to wear reflective gear or reflective tape, carry a water bottle, and either a flashlight or headlamp.
Immediately after starting the race I got thirsty (desert air?) and I felt the high elevation!!! The first 6 miles are UPHILL! Imagine the only light you see is your headlamp and moonlight! That is it! At first there were lots of runners around me but that changed over time as my uphill skills made me fall back from the herd! I kept looking at my GPS watch to keep my sanity...I needed to get to mile 6 to start my downhill ride!
Boom I hit the 6 mile mark! At this point the speedy marathon runners are passing me but I'm finally gaining speed and passing others! Every now and then I would see a highway sign warning vehicles of cows/bulls in the area. I saw a dead cow on the side of the road that had been hit by a car. I kept an eye out for snakes on the road...didn't see any. Again, I will repeat, the only light you have is your headlamp! At one point I had to look behind me to make sure I saw other runners....I couldn't see any in front of me!
On a typical half you cross bridges, neighborhoods, cities....you see your surroundings change. Now imagine a desert skyline at night, the road you light up with your headlamp in front of you...with every step you take NOTHING changes! It's almost like running on a treadmill....your view doesn't change! That was a unique experience for me!
Finally a mile before the finish line I see lights and realize the end is near. I finish....meet up with Casey and her friend Jill, we grab a quick bite and jump in a bus.
The ride back wasn't fun - I was exhausted and couldn't fall into a deep sleep. Being peak season at work I was taking an 8:50am flight back home. This meant running from the bus to Casey's car, she drove me to my hotel, I showered and checked out as quickly as possible, she dropped me off at the airport and I was back in Ontario, California before 10am! This is the life of a blingwhore...what you see on Instagram is not the true picture of the sacrifice it takes to get so many races in every year. Yes, there are great moments in which I actually see a city, shop or have fun with friends during my travels...but more often than not, I rush into a city, race and leave to get back to the real world. It's almost like a second job...correction, it is a second job with a paycheck in the form of adventures I will never forget or regret. Onward to my next 100 half marathons...