Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thoughts After My First Midnight Run

It’s my normal pattern to run early in the morning as soon as it gets light, about 6:00.  My first official race was at 7:00 a.m., my second race was in the evening after dark, my next two races were on the beach at sunset, and now I can say I’ve run at midnight!  I ran under a full moon last night from 11:25 p.m.-12:08 a.m. 

This was a growing race and not just because they had a record number of people register.  It was a growing and stretching race for me.  With my first race I wanted to know the course well in advance so I could run it and be very familiar with it.  I don’t like surprises.  With my second race, some of the course was the same as my first one, but I still had to find out the exact start, route, turnaround, and finish.  My beach races were in straight line, but I still observed one last year without running it and didn’t run until this year.  With this midnight run I saw where the course started and finished and that was all.  Really, it’s not like I’m going to be leading the pack and need to know for that reason!  So for me to not bother trying to learn ahead of time the exact route was a step up from having to know everything possible about a situation.  It was…faith?  It was going with the flow, which can be a problem for me.   

We started off and had a very slight incline over some water after, I’m guessing, 2/10 of a mile.  Hardly noticeable.  We ran some more and as I looked ahead I could see the crowd like they were higher than I was.  Were they on a bridge or a hill?  We’re in Florida and on the coast so hills are an extremely slim possibility.   It was a bridge, the Dunedin Causeway. 

About a mile into the run was the beginning of the bridge.  I’d never run a bridge before, but I have now!  It really wasn’t very hard, but then it wasn’t a very steep bridge.  I liked running over the metal grate at the top and seeing the water below.  It was such a gradual decline that I hardly noticed it on the way down.  Oh, I just remembered that I’ve run the incline on part of the Pinellas Trail to an overpass.  I forgot about that. 

Anyway, the run continued toward Honeymoon Island.  I worshipped as I looked at God’s creation under a full moon with a minimum of human influence (lights).  It was almost the way He intended it to be.  The only sounds were feet pounding the pavement, lungs breathing heavily, and the occasional very breathy word or two.  After reaching the turn-around point at 20 minutes (good time), I saw the bridge again.  I wanted to run it up and down both ways, so if I was going to walk at all, the time to do it was before I got to it.  I walked for two minutes then began running again.  I easily climbed the bridge running, ran over the metal grate again, and then ran down the other side.  One bridge up and down up and down conquered!  Bring on another! 
I had passed up the first water station, which was ridiculously close to the start line in my opinion, because drinking water while I run upsets my stomach and I don’t need to for just a 5K.  On the way back, though, I decided to get water and pour it on my face.  Why had I never thought of that before?  Oh well, live and learn and improve.  I got a cup, poured it on my face, and man did that feel good!  (Why did I not take up swimming instead of running?)  The end was in sight after that, and I kept running. 

This had been my most spiritual official run in that I had been praying frequently thanking God for giving me the ability to run at all, protecting my knee that had been giving me very brief twinges of pain earlier in the evening, giving me this beautiful creation to enjoy, good-functioning lungs, a full moon, water, breeze,...  I had to sing my “Keep Running” song only a handful of times. 
As I turned from the road into the parking lot where the finish line was I started to pick up speed.  I always do that in official runs but struggle to do it in practice.  I crossed the finish line after 43 minutes and 11 seconds,

a little slower than I had run the last few times in practice but this run included a bridge both ways so I wasn’t too disappointed.  I’m happy and look forward to shaving more minutes off my time and running more bridges!

I came in 81st out of 99 in my age group.  I'm moving up!  I had a per-mile pace of 13:54.  These numbers are a little different from what I reported on Facebook, but I got them from the official results.  The FB numbers were just what I saw last night immediately after the race. 

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