Tag Archives: night race

Moonlight Run 2016

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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?

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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!

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Flat Andrea all set!

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!

dan and andrea

Husband & Wife pre-race

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!

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Moonlight Run 10km 2016 Complete!

Moonlight Run 10km—Strategy Time!

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The Moonlight Run is the annual night race held each March in Lethbridge, Alberta. This year marks the 27th running of the Moonlight Run! This race always fills up, as runners can chose between the 6km or 10km distance. The 2500 runner capacity easily gets reached! I am signed up for the 10km this Saturday, March 8th, and have set some goals for myself this year. The Moonlight Run has placings that go 5 deep in each gender-age category—but I am aiming for top 3 in the female 25-29. This is my main goal. And since I set this goal, I decided it would be a good idea to do a dry-run of the course, which I did on Friday. The course has some new additions to it this year and I wanted to set a strategy!
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Both race distances begin and end at CASA, our new community arts centre, on 3rd Ave South. The racers will head west towards the river bottom—no turns at all for the first mile. Included in the first mile is the massive downhill which is affectionately called “Wendy’s Hill” by us at marathon club. The hill goes by a Wendy’s…what more do you want in a name? The start is at approximately 913 metres of elevation (2,995 feet) and after the descent into the river bottom a runner will be at 825 metres (2,706 feet). That all happens in that first mile!
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The first mile has lots of open space to call your own, but once you are in the river bottom, it’s a different story. The 10 km runners will head towards the train bridge and Highway 3, where they will ultimately turn around just after the overpass. This then will make the course even more narrow after the mile 2 turnaround, as you will have runners going both directions. It is very important that I place myself in a good racing position well before the mile 2 turnaround, as passing will then become next to impossible.
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At mile 3, runners will turn on the path towards the river. Once I get to this turn, I will now be in an area I have raced on many times. Most recently was during the Claus Cause 10km in November when I PR’d with a 45:37. It was a course one would not consider getting a PR on, but I seem to have a thing with getting my best times on crazy winding, hilly local Lethbridge courses. It will be important to run the tangents in this segment and also hug the curve as needed. My short 5’3″ self needs to use any advantage I can get!
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From mile 3 until about mile 5.5, runners are just circulating through the Indian Battle Park trails. I know from past years it is obviously quite dark down there, but with my head lamp and the lights from the volunteers all will be good! There were some icy patches still on Friday, and the Polar Vortex temperatures from this weekend definitely did not melt these. Hopefully this week brings warmer temperatures to melt those suckers!

The last challenge to tackle is the run back up Wendy’s Hill. This year, the 10km racers will head up on the trail which is parallel to the road, while the 6km runners get the road. I have to say—this trail is a pain!. Pictures don’t even begin to show how intense it is. There are some interesting sections that get pretty steep! I’m just going to have to find the power in me and push, push, push up this climb! The faster I run, the sooner I’m done! We will join onto the main road about 3/4 up the hill, and then it’s a straight shot back to CASA.

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This is a challenging course-but really, all courses in Lethbridge are tough. The hills on Lethbridge courses are inevitable unless you are just doing a 5km. Over the last year of running with Runners Soul, my confidence has increased immensely when it comes to tackling these hills. That, along with my time drops in the past year, is why I have set this lofty goal for my first race out this year. No matter what my time and place ends up to be this Saturday, the Moonlight Run will be a great race to kick off the 2014 season!

Here is the link to the PDF map of the 2014 6km and 10km course for Moonlight Run, presented by Runners Soul!
Course Map