Race Report: Midnight Madness 2013
There are some races that hold a special place in your memory. It may be because of a PR, something you experienced, time with friends, great volunteers, or a scenic location. Midnight Madness may not have the scenic location going for it, but in every other way, this is a special race for me. It also happens to be the first 5K I ever ran, and the only race I’ve run every year since I started running. With my focus currently on ultra-running, I don’t get a chance to run many 5K races, and test out my speed. However, this is a race I wouldn’t miss! Not only does it have sentimental value, but it’s a local race filled with good friends and the promise of great memories every year. This year was no exception 🙂
The 5K/10K is held around the same time every year, with the 5K beginning at 7:30PM, and the 10K beginning at 8:30PM. My report, however, starts a bit earlier. You may recall that I’m preparing to run a leg of RAGBRAI in a few weeks, and I’m focusing my training on making sure I have the endurance and my hydration/nutrition prepared to tackle this run. As such, I thought it appropriate to go out on a full tune-up run to make sure everything was where I wanted it to be. I woke up at 3:45AM, and was out the door by 4:15AM. I had high hopes of using my newly acquired Nathan Race Vest (HPL #028) for my RAGBRAI run, as well as several other longer runs. I had taken it out on a few test drives and the front pockets bounced a bit too much, so I decided to attach a second sternum strap. Alas, after a run around the block at 4:15AM, the bouncing was still too much, so I discarded it at home, and headed out with a bottle in each hand and my tested waist pouch. I’ll be sure to post a full review of the vest soon!
The first 9 miles were spent in the dark, by myself, and the solitude was a nice way to start the day. I met a surprisingly large group of fellow Vardos at 6AM, and we headed out for another 6 miles before meeting back at the start to pick up folks that didn’t come earlier. We then repeated that route with some alterations. Throughout the first 20 miles, my hydration and nutrition were working really well. I was alternating between water and water with electrolytes, and taking in Honey Stinger chews, as well as an S-Cap every hour. The combination seems to suit my stomach well, and my legs were feeling strong. We arrived back at the hosts’ house, and I had logged a little over 20 miles. At this point, I ate a Powerbar, and headed back out by myself. I meandered up to a local park, and did some laps with nicely spaced stops for water, and then headed back towards home. I arrived home just after my watch hit 30 miles, and I couldn’t have been happier! I was aiming for around a 10:00 minute/mile pace, and I ended up going a bit faster, finishing with a 9:29 minute/mile pace, but I wasn’t complaining. My legs were feeling strong, and I felt like I could have kept going. This is good, because in a few weeks, I will keep going!
The beautiful epicurean and I relaxed for the rest of the day, and spent an enjoyable afternoon playing games and grilling out with a great group of friends. At around 6:30PM, we left and headed home to change quick. Oh, I should mention that the epicurean was running the 5K as well! She has come such a long way in her running journey, and it was exciting to share the experience with her. She may even be training for her first half-marathon in the fall, but shhhh…don’t say anything 🙂 We laced up our shoes and pinned on our bibs, and walked down to the start. Sometimes it’s really nice to live in a small town where you can walk so many places!
I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel when the gun went off but I figured I’d play it by ear and see what happened. I had set a 5K PR in this race last year, but after 30 miles, I had no aspirations for a repeat performance. My legs felt ok on the walk down, but as all of you know, walking and running are two very different beasts. Midnight Madness is probably the largest of the local races, so the crowd was sizable, and I spent the first mile weaving in and out of traffic as I worked my way up into the pack. My legs were definitely not fresh, and my quads were telling me that I should probably slow down. Of course, my internal competitive nature kicked in and I decided I’d see just what my legs had left in them. I was so busy avoiding other runners that I didn’t even see my first mile time, so when mile two beeped on my Garmin and I saw 7:18, I was rather surprised. At this point, I thought I might have a chance of PR’ing after all, so I pushed myself up the final hill, and into the homestretch. A large group of friends was strategically placed at the top of the hill, and the loud cheering was just the final push I needed. I crossed the finish line, and was pleasantly surprised to see 23:37 staring back at me! Even after 30 miles in the morning, I had still PR’d!
I quickly snagged a signature bomb-pop, and ran around to get a good position to see the epicurean cross the finish line as well. She looked incredibly strong crossing the finish line, and you can look forward to an upcoming guest blog post from her with her own race recap. After the race, we hydrated, and walked back up to the same hill to meet up with our friends, and get set to cheer on folks running the 10K. After the 10K, we headed down to the beer garden for a nice cold beverage, and celebrated a successful evening. By the time we walked back home, we were both pretty well spent. It had been quite a long day, but very rewarding. Midnight Madness once again lived up to expectations and served as the canvas for a gallery of brand new memories!