On Saturday, March 19th, I participated in my fifth Moonlight Run 10km. Moonlight Run, as I have written about before, is the marquee running event in Lethbridge. This year, they maxed out on participants in the 10km and 6km, with 2800 people registered! I first did this race in 2011. My race times in the 10 km from my first four years were: (OA=Overall, G=Gender, AG=Age Group).
2011: 51:43—148/607 OA, 52/350 G, 9/61 AG (25-29 y/o)
2012: 54:25—210/587 OA, 74/350 G, 11/47 AG (25-29 y/o)
2014: 47:27—45/540 OA, 4/305 G, 2/42 AG (25-29 y/o)
2015: 43:37—34/526 OA, 5/292 G, 1/55 AG (30-34 y/o)
What would this year bring?
As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I am having trouble with my foot. This race would be the true test to see how it held up, as while it is only a 10 km distance, it involves a vertical drop of about 204 feet in the first mile. Then, you are in the dark river bottom winding around sharp curves and more gain/loss of elevation. And the final mile includes a gain in elevation of 267 feet back to the downtown core of Lethbridge. It is quite the course indeed!
I was hoping to run something close to my time last year, as that was when I was in top shape and feeling strong. With this being a night race, I did my packet pickup on the Friday and was able to sleep in Saturday. Sleeping in is great. Waiting around the rest of the day for the race is not. I was so antsy that Dan and I headed to the race start area around 7:00 PM. Getting their early enough allowed for a great parking spot, and I had time to roam around and chat with people. The student volunteers were our WCHS kids (where I work) so being able to see them and have them as supporters on the course helps a lot. A familiar face always helps!
The race is a self-seeded event, so I positioned myself about three rows deep from the start. I knew I wanted to be careful the first mile, as last year I went out very fast. Last year, mile 1 was a 5:32. This year, it was a 5:47. (Remember, we are barreling down hill! The +/- differential here was +15 seconds this year.
I felt strong in the river bottom, even though my throat was dry. At about mile one and a half, a lady I didn’t recognize passed me. I knew at that point I was 3rd female, so I wanted to keep it that way, and maybe gain ground. After doing the out and back down the nature centre trail to Tollestrup, it gets pretty lonely. With the curves of the trails and the trees blocking the sky, you can’t really see much. And, I don’t want to look behind myself much because that would just slow me down. Miles 2-5 in 2015 were 6:35, 7:01, 7:16, and 7:27. I fared better in this segment this year, running 6:33, 7:00, 7:07, 7:12. The +/- differential was -2, -1, -9, -15. I was right now ahead of my 2015 time by 12 seconds!
Mile 6 is the kicker. It’s the hill. That damn hill. By the time I got to the base of hte hill. I really couldn’t see anyone directly within striking distance. My legs were feeling heavy, my mouth was dry, and my glutes hurt. I started trying to catch up to a gentleman ahead of me, but seeing him start to walk in parts didn’t motivate me much to push. It honestly made me want to start walking myself. While I didn’t walk at all, I knew I was going slower than in 2015. I did see the 2nd place woman in the distance, and while I didn’t think I could catch her, I tried to keep an eye on her as motivation. Before I knew it, I was past the dreaded switchbacks and back onto the main road. Mile 6 was 8:36 in 2015, and a slower 8:48 in 2016. 12 seconds slower. So, even though I didn’t know it at the time…I was at the exact same race tine in 2016 as I was in 2015 when I hit mile 6.
I had no clue how far any women were behind me. I didn’t look back. I pushed my tired legs the best I could down the final stretch and into the finish line, with a chip time of 44:10.I was slower than the year previous, and my GPS watch said I had ran a 6.25 mile race. In 2015 I somehow managed to run the tangents a bit better or pay attention to the curves more, because I had ran a 6.21 mile race then. Regardless, I was ecstatic. Why? While this wasn’t my best 10km time, or my best Moonlight time, it was my best Moonlight finish—3rd place female!
Post race at Moonlight brought lots of pictures, eating and chatting with friends. Dan finished sooner than I had expected, finishing in a 54:37, a 9 minute improvement from last year! He did no training, so please don’t give him applause 😉 We both waited for awards, got more pictures, and off we went. Another successful Moonlight in the book!
So how were my stats in this race compared to 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015?
44:10—28/525 OA, 3/289 G, 1/48 AG (30-34 y/o)
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take that any day of the week! Can’t wait until next year!