Saturday, August 1, 2015

Race Review - Calico Racing's Once in a Blue Moon - "Shoot the Moon"!

It's been a while since I've blogged, but I'm going to work on blogging more frequently.  A lot has happened since I've last posted, including getting married!  I also ran my first ever full marathon, but I've been out of the running game since then.  I decided earlier this year to get back on the running horse and to start working on getting my act together AGAIN!  I've successfully gotten rid of 30 lbs since February and I hope to keep going with that trend.  I'd say I have another 30-40 lbs to lose as of right now.  Hopefully with the help of Weight Watchers and running I will be able to do so and finally hit that WW Lifetime!

So last night I ran a race, well three races actually!  I ran the Calico Racing "Once in a Blue Moon" race.  Calico is a really great local racing company here in Las Vegas.  Joyce, the RD, takes great pains to make her races successful.  She runs a lot of races out in nature here in Vegas as opposed to a lot of the big urban races (Rock n Roll).  Her shirts and medals are always top notch and I like the high quality and the smaller races that she puts on.  She did an inaugural Blue Moon race back in 2012 - which I ran - and this this the first Blue Moon race she's had since then.  A Blue Moon (two full moons in month) only comes a long every few years, and the next one isn't slated to occur until 2018!  The first Blue Moon race was a timed race per distance - you could either run for one hour, three hours, or I think five hours?  The object was to run as far as you could in that time frame.  It was in interesting concept and I did enjoy the race, but it was the only time I've ever done a race like that (once in a Blue Moon - it was the opportunity to do a different kind of race).  The race last night was another type of Blue Moon race where we got to do a race type that we've never done before.

This year's race consisted of three 5k's - a 6:00 pm race "Moondance", a 7:45 pm race "Bad Moon Rising" and a 9:15 pm race "Dark Side of the Moon".  Participants could register for one or two of the races, or try to do all three and "Shoot the Moon".  Since I am up to running 6-7 miles consistently for my marathon training (more on that later), I definitely wanted to "Shoot the Moon".  I figured if I was too tired, I'd quit after two, but I wanted to go for the full shebang!

My friend Irene likes to walk 5k's and she has done some events in the past.  She is also going to do the 10k when I run the ET Full Moon 1/2 marathon out at Area 51 in a few weeks (more on that later).  She decided to come out to walk the 6:00pm 5k, along with another couple that she knows.  We also ran into two ladies that we have seen around at other events in town, so the night ended up being a pretty social one!

The race was held at Sunset Park, which is a nice local park that has running/biking trails.  The entire course was a paved trail.  Since the sun was setting and the moon was rising during the races, participants were encouraged to wear a head lamp because the trail was not lit for the most part.

The 6:00pm "Moondance" race started off with the sun shining.  It was humid, especially for Vegas, and there were clouds in the air and lightning in the distance.  It actually made it a little nicer in my opinion because without the clouds the sun would have been brutal.  It was about 105 degrees F, and I was very sweaty and heated up at about the 1/2 mile point, but I played my music and ran my race and had a nice respectable finishing time (for me) of 39:29.  I was VERY hot and thirsty when I finished.  I went to my car, where I'd packed a bag with supplies, toweled off, slammed a bottle of water, ate some Shot Blocks and walked over to the pavilion where there was food service and awards.  Calico Racing always has a great food service and this race didn't disappoint.  There was quite an extensive assortment of food - salty and carby snacks.  I had a small piece of bread and walked back to the finish line to see Irene finish.  After she finished, she left with her friends (they were going for dinner) and I got ready for my second race.

As the 7:45pm "Bad Moon Rising" race started, the sun was going down and the moon was rising.  I got out my headlamp, because we were told we'd need it about halfway through.  I started running and was warmed up at about the 3/4 mile mark and off I went into my groove again.  The races were all on the same route and the route was a funky not quite loop, not quite out and back type, more like a lollipop with two loops, but since I had ran it once, I knew what to expect for number two.  The sun set and I did turn my light on and I was keeping pace pretty much with my first race.  I kept thinking it would be great if I ran the whole thing and didn't have to walk - so that was what I did.  At about mile 2.5, the guy in front of me veered from the right way over to the left side of the trail.  I couldn't figure out why he did, until I got a couple of steps further and saw a big old SNAKE slithering across the path.  Nothing like desert running!  I don't think it was a rattler, I was since told it was probably a gopher snake, but it was about 3 feet long and slithering across the path.  I gave it a wide berth and went on to finish race #2 in 41:12.  Again, after finishing I toweled off and slammed some more water, ate some more Shot Blocks and downed a protein bar.  I then rested up a bit and prepped for #3.

At this time, there were some announcements to stay hydrated and have salt or salt tabs because there were complaints of people not feeling well, feeling dizzy and light headed.  It was probably ~100 degrees F and I know some people aren't used to running in the heat.  I felt fine, my feet were getting tired but I was feeling confident that I'd be good to go for #3.

It was dark at the start of the 9:15pm "Dark Side of the Moon" race, and I took off running the course for a third time.  I was warmed up at about the 1/2 mile mark and everything was going great.  No snakes this time, the temp felt a little cooler and I just ran my pace.  I got through the first 2.5 miles without a problem and then I did stop for a short walk break.  Hey it was my 9th mile of the night and my feet were tired, I was ready to be done!  Even with the walk break, I managed to finish #3 in 42:43.  So I slowed down a bit through each consecutive race, but I think I did pretty well for myself, considering that I was getting more tired and had more mileage each time.  When I finished, I got my Blue Moon medal and when I looked up, the clouds had parted and the moon had come out.  It was a really nice ending to a really cool series of races.

Me with my medal and the Blue Moon over my shoulder

I really liked this race a lot.  I liked having the 3 5k's with about a 45 minute break in between.  It allowed me time to eat, drink, rest and recover and get ready mentally and physically to do it again.  I liked it better than the previous race that Calico did for the Blue Moon with the hour times.  I'd do a race like this again.  If I had any suggestions, it would have been to add a 4th 5k!  Also, everyone got the same medal, no matter how many races you did.  It would have been nice to have a special "Shoot the Moon" medal, but honestly I was very happy with everything and nothing detracted from my enjoyment of the race.

Please ignore how sweaty and blown out I look in my photo - it was about 95 degrees at the very finish!  Great race though, I'll surely race again under the next Blue Moon!

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