Sunday, July 17, 2011

Davis Moonlight "Half" Marathon 7.16.11

Welp.  Write that one down as an EPIC fail.  I don't even like the phrase epic fail and I can't think of another appropriate one.  For once, the fail was not on my part.

Pre-race.  What is this pose I'm doing?  Good Lord, I'm a nerd.
Last night I ran the Davis Moonlight Half Marathon.  Or, I thought I was going to run a half marathon.  I certainly paid for a half marathon.  I brought my half marathon game.  But all participants were misdirected between miles 6 and 7 and the course came up almost a full mile short.  What I didn't know what that the word half in the race title had invisible quotation marks around it.  Official times are posted today under this banner:

Really? 12.2 miles?  That's no half marathon.

I realized at mile 7 that the signs were wrong.  A couple of older guys were with me and they agreed that the signs were off, too.  I hoped that it would adjust itself as the course went on, or that we'd skip a marker somewhere and correct it.  It was a loop course, and I knew there was a slightly longer portion on the second loop.  I just waited.  But after a while I noticed that every sign I passed was a full mile ahead of what my Garmin was showing.  That messed with my head a lot because I didn't know if I had to save up one more mile of energy or not.  I could hear people talking about the screw-up all the way to the finish.  At the mile 13 marker, we asked the guys how much longer (since we knew it was only 12).  They said "just three blocks."  Oh, man.

Now I'm not naive enough to think that every race is going to come out exactly as advertised.  But a mile?  That's too much to be off.  Clearly the race organizers recognize this, since the results are posted that way.

I was racing against my own time from last fall, (2:30) using the Garmin's virtual partner setting.  I didn't feel like I had to beat it, but it was nice to see where I had paced myself then so I could make comparisons.  Last October I was about an 11:29 min/mile average.  I held steady at about 11:10 min/mile, so if I'd been able to run a full course I would have PR'ed by about 4 minutes.  But since I wasn't able to run the full distance,  I didn't.  This is my official result:

It's hard to see, but it says 2:16:25 for 12.2 miles.  That's really good for me judging by my average pace, but I feel like I got screwed over.  I suppose I have to just be proud of my average pace and the fact that I did it.  How disappointing, though.  I would have finished at about 2:26, a new PR. :(

I wouldn't run this race again.  While Davis is beautiful and I enjoyed running through all the parks and trails, there were so many things that were not organized well.  It was crowded.  The 5K, 10K and Half all started at the same time and they were screaming at everyone where to go.  There was inadequate parking and we got kicked out of a nearby hotel's lot.  Packet pickup was easy, but a woman literally just threw my T shirt at me and there wasn't any free stuff to be had.  The email from the race director (the same one that said the course was USATF certified) said there'd be a beer garden and all kinds of stuff at the finish line.  All we saw was one line for what looked like a pretty weak food table.  We just took off, feeling kind of upset that we didn't get to do the full race.

In the plus column, I had NO PAIN, I had a great per-mile average (for me), the medal is cute and the t shirt is decent.  Oh, and I got a free glow-stick.  Whoop-de-doo.

On a personal level, this race was hard.  I was all spun up.  The heat and my nerves got to me for the first half and I could not control my heart rate.  My average HR for the race was 181 BPM, which is SO high (for me that's about 96% of my max HR, or essentially how high my HR is when we do speed work).  I was really feeling it, too.  I think I drank too much water over the first half.  I kept trying to walk to bring my heart rate down, but then once I'd start to run and it would go back up.  I eventually decided that if I could keep my pace up, I'd just do intervals.  Once I started the second loop I was able to calm myself a bit and it cooled off, but my stomach started to hurt.  I felt pretty throwuppy for most of the second loop.  I kept going and figured if I barf, I barf, but I never did.  My speed work did come in handy--I knew I could push harder when I was running hard.

At about mile 5, I heard my name and I spun around to see a former curriculum specialist from my school running with another teacher.  That was fun.  I told Kel to take off ahead of me, so I didn't see her after about mile 2ish, but that was okay.  I wanted to see if I could pace myself (and I did).

Running a night race was different.  The first half was too hot; the second half was very dark.  Even though temperatures were cooler yesterday, the first half portions of the race that ran along Hwy 80 were stuffy and almost unbearable.  I couldn't imagine what that first loop would have been like if temps had really been up where they normally are in July.  I was a nervous wreck all day yesterday waiting for the race and (of course) over-thinking my food choices.  I think I did okay, but having three meals pre-race might have contributed to my stomach issues.  Who knows.  I think I'm just more used to running in the morning.

I'm mad.  I'm mad that I paid for this.  I'm mad that I put my best effort forward for something that won't count.  This feels like scoring a personal best on the SAT only to find out that your score is invalid because there were not enough questions.  I could have gone out with my friends to run 12.2 miles and it would have been way more fun and way less pressure.

Grr, grr, angry grr.


  1. Ok, don't hate me for being Miss Positive here, but you KNOW you could have run 13.1 miles and kept the pace you were at... I would be a bit upset too, but it still would've got done and you STILL ran 12.2 miles more than I and most other people on this planet did :)

  2. Hey...I am your newest follower :) A half marathon a mile short. UNSAT!!!! I also ran in the race and thought I set a new PR only to fine out I only ran 12 miles! how disappointing. And you noticed they didnt give us free stuff either?!?! When the lady handed me my t-shirt and bib... I asked her "This is it?" lol Ughhhhh

  3. Well said my friend. I know you were all knotted up but I am so proud of you for working through all of it and pacing yourself! That is an accomplishment in itself!

    As for this effed up race? Well, we will not go back and we know we could have rocked another mile because that's what we've trained to do!

  4. I'm glad you finished, but it sounds like a disorganized-piece-of-crap-marathon. God damn Davis.

    And I apologize if our breakfast contributed to your stomach pains. Next time, no bloggy breakfast on race day!

  5. That is really sucky. You are still my hero. I could never run an nth of that marathon. :) I will forever be a walker. :) Hugs to you my friend for a job well done anyways. :) You ROCK!

  6. Exactly how I felt about the race, so upsetting it was not the full half marathon distance. I was going for a PR or anything, but I WAS looking to finish another half marathon, not 12.2 miles. I can only imagine what first time half marathoners are feeling right now! The other maddening thing is the foundation still has not offered any exlanation or apologies to all the runners.

  7. Correction: I was NOT going for a PR.

  8. You should be refunded 25 cents for every foot they shorted you.

    And what's up with your race lighting pants?

  9. Thank you. I'm glad someone noticed my lighting pants.