Thursday, September 26, 2013

The moonlight was perfect for running

Two years ago, I ran the Palo Alto Moonlight 10K race and had the thrill of running through a renegade lightning storm.

This year I talked Mrs Notthat into running it with me. And the forecast was again talking about possible showers and renegade lightning storms.

The race headquarters is on a baseball field with lots of balloons and the staple of trail races: a rock climbing wall.

The 10K course is mostly a loop and mostly on trails, although about a third of the trails are paved. (You start and finish on city streets though.)

The race starts at 8 PM when it is good and dark.

At the start, waiting to head out.
Lots of runners were wearing glowing bracelets and such, but Mrs Notthat stole the show with her halo of bright purple lights. I was surprised at how many runners had no headlamps - about a quarter of the course is lit with street lights, but once you turn towards the bay and the more remote trails, it gets pretty dark.

There was a bright moon though, and it seemed to have a knack for avoiding the clouds. Between the moon and the smooth trails (even the dirt ones), you could actually do fairly well without a light.

But I get few chances to run with a light, so I was determined to use it.

A complete surprise was finding out that my arch-nemesis, Yram (not her real name), was also running this race. She started fast, but I managed to catch her a bit before the two mile point. We ran together for a bit before I slowly started pulling away.

One fun thing about this race is that they somehow get a bunch of kids to yell and cheer and high-five the runners at several points around the course - I feed off this stuff and love it! This group was cheering at the point where we finally got to turn towards the bay and run away from the freeway we had been running along for about a mile.

At about the half way point, there was a water station with more absurdly perky volunteers. There were several times along the dark bits of the course that there were generators powering ridiculously bright lights - the thought was nice but it was really harsh to transition from the dark to the very bright and back again.

These were the mile markers (they actually looked much cooler than this picture shows).

The thing about a 10K is that it's only a bit over six miles long, and before I knew it, my race was done.

Shortly after I finished I heard them announce that Coach Wel (not his real name) was storming towards the finish line - I turned around and managed to get this shot of his finish. I had no idea he was running this, or how close he was to me!

The next big goal was cheering Yram into the finish. Mrs Notthat (who had finished significantly ahead of me, as usual) was still sporting her purple halo while she waited.

We didn't have to wait long before she came in though. It was a near thing but I managed to beat my arch-nemesis!

This race is a LOT of fun. There were about 800 10K finishers (there were two other 5K races, on mostly different trails, which meant that there were around 2000 people running altogether). We all got a very nice long-sleeved shirt (I wore those glowing things around my ankles).

Mrs Notthat and I were running a much tougher 10K the next morning (Brazen Drag n Fly) and each vowed to take this race easy to save something for the next day. I don't think either of us held to that very well, although my time turned out to be about 20 seconds slower than in 2011.

In the end, we had no lightning, showers, or werewolves to deal with.

That's it - move along…

PS: You can see more of my pictures here.

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