Monday, August 15, 2011

Tutus, Meteors, and Headlamps: My Nite Lites 10K

What am I?  Almost 30.  Yes.  A mom with 4 kids.  Yes.  A supposed responsible adult.  Yes.  Then I ask you to explain the following picture!

Yes that is me.  I seem to be wearing a tutu abundant in white and pink toole.  I have my running clothes on and a very rods-and-cones-altering (rods and cones are those things in your eyes, look it up) shirt of neon yellow.  I also have, what appears to be, paint on my face fashioned after the likes of the African tribes found in almost any National Geographic magazine.  And what is that?  Is it a homemade race number decked out in psychedelic rainbows colors?  Indeed it is.  What in the bleep am I doing?

I'll tell you what I'm doing in this picture.  I'm getting all jazzed up to run a 10k at night!  And let me tell you, once you sign up for a night race, all the possible immature things you could possibly wear to such an event pop into your head.  My sister-in-law Keersten thought of the tutus.  I thought of the war paint(which was supposed to glow, but did not.  Lame.)  The rules were that you had to glow or be reflective. But why glow and be reflective alone?  Why not wear something like a tutu and put sparkling ribbons in your hair and paint your face?  So that is what we did to prepare for our 10k.  Sure we trained for the running part, but, to be honest, we probably spent more time thinking about what we were going to wear then how to run the race.  We thought we'd be totally "out there" with our garb.  Turns out we were two of probably 50 girls in tutus to show up.  And our little glow sticks were nothing compared to some of the lighting apparatus' that we saw.  We definitely got some new ideas for next year.  So onto the actual race.

Since my husband and Keersten's husband would have to stay home to watch kids, we needed to find someone to take pictures.  Yeah, I wasn't letting this race go by without some documentation.  Immediately I thought of my youngest brother, Nathan.  Single, a night owl, and a very nice young man who would drive down from Rexburg to take pictures of his silly sister instead of hanging out with his girlfriend.  Nathan met us at Teton Running where we had to check in.  Keersten and I, plus another runner who needed a ride to the starting point, got into my brother's truck and headed up there.  We drove past runners who had already started and until you were really close to them, all you could see were bouncing lights coming down the road.  Once at the starting point, we told Nathan to drive back down to the finish line and wait for us there.  We checked in again at the starting point.  In this race, you could start at any time you wanted.  The goal was to start at time where you thought you could finish my midnight.  We got there at 11:00 and headed out right away because both Keersten and I knew it would probably take us an hour to run the 6.2 miles. 

It was a perfect night for a run.  The moon was full, no wind, a mild temperature and a starry night with the promise of a possible meteor shower.  We started on a steep hill going down.  This is the point where I realized that I forgot to switch the normal bra for a sports bra.  It felt less than good. 
This is as we started out.  Check out our sweet headlamps.
It was kind of trippy running in the dark with the vague light of the moon at your back and the bobbing lights from our headlamps intermittently lighting up the road ahead.  Keers and I are both iPod runners, so we didn't talk much during the run.  We mostly used hand gestures and immature sign language to communicate if necessary.  And so we ran.  And ran.  And ran.  The pace felt good.  I felt neither winded or restless.  You have to run a 10k slightly differently than how you would run a 5k.  We made sure to have a more steady pace and build up toward the end.  In a 5K, I usually get to my max speed right off the bat and work hard to keep it that fast until the end.

We passed some other runners in tutus.  We were passed by runners wearing the coolest lighting gear.  One runner had blinking LED Christmas lights on her back in a lace pattern powered by a puny little battery back taped to her hip.  Another runner had constructed a crown out of glowsticks to match an tutu made entirely out of glowsticks.  Other runners had balloon hats, glowhats, reflective shorts, pink wigs, and glowsticks snaked around their calves.  Creativity was all over the place!  At selected intervals, there were water stations or just people pointing the way to go.  Each was lit by a large police truck showing off all the capabilities of the lights mounted on top.

One of the coolest sights though was the city lights of Idaho Falls and Ammon which we viewed at the top of some of the hills.  We also got to see a few meteors streak across the sky for a milisecond.  It sounds corny, but it was kind of magical. 

Even with the glowsticks and headlamps, we were still cautious of the cars.  Everytime one came by in our lane, I would slow down, Keers (with the brighter headlamp) would merge in front of me and we'd stay like that until the car passed.  I can only imagine the "What the?!" expressions on people's faces as they drove past these girls in bobbing tutus and lights. 

As far as the running goes, it went off without a hitch for the most part.  There was one part where Keersten and I nearly took a header into the asphalt after unknowingly running into some kind hole.  And at about a mile from the finish, I felt a tendon in my right foot snap.  I don't think it actually snapped because I'm sure I would have stopped dead in my tracks and wouldn't have been able to continue.  But it felt like it snapped.  It's happened to me before.  I think the tendon gets hyper-extended.  So I had to run kind of awkwardly for a while.   

Keersten checking the time to see what our race time was.
Nearing the finish line, which was Teton Running, we got to run through the intersection at Hitt and Sunnyside and there the nice policemen stopped traffice for us.  It was kind of weird running through traffic like that, especially dressed as I was.  But any kind of awkwardness left as I realized how close to the finish we were.  Keersten and I, almost simultaneously, picked up the pace.  We had no idea of what time it was, but we were to finish as close to midnight as possible and both of us also wanted to finish with a good time.  Nearing the finish line, I spot Nathan, whose back is to me, and I clap at him to get his attention so he could turn around and take a picture.  Keers and I run as fast as our tired legs can go and we cross the finish line.  My iPod is still on at full blast so I can't hear what anyone is saying to me.  I yank them out and find out that we finished the race about 20 seconds past midnight.  Not bad! 

Nathan quickly hands back the camera, tells me, "Good job," and heads back to his car.  His job was done.  Thanks again, Nathan, for helping me out.  You're a good brother. 

This is right after we finished.  Look closely and you can see the imprints left by
the headlamps.
There are many a sponsor lined up to give us treats and Keers and I indulge in Jamba Juices and Great Harvest bread.  We chat with a few other runners and then the awards and raffles start.  The atmosphere was happy and excited and gleeful.  Yeah, I said gleeful.  As the race director handed out raffles prizes and awards for best costume, we all clapped and cheered and were having a grand ole time as the early morning went on.  Then it came time for the awards for those that finished closest to midnight.  There were first and second place prizes.  Each race got prizes.  Prizes for the 1 mile, the 5K, the 10k, and the half marathon.  "And second place for the 10K race goes to Keersten Goss!"  Keersten won second place for finishing closest to midnight!!  Wahoo!  "And first place for the 10K race goes to Anna Durfee!"  Wahoo!  We were both presented with a ceramic pumpkin (the whole Cinderella/midnight theme) and got a nice applause from our fellow runners.  So it's not a prize for the fastest time, but it is a prize for knowing your pace as a runner.  So that's something.  Keersten also got a raffle prize.  I think it was something for Jamba Juice.  All in all, we were mightily satisified. 

Adrenaline gone, the tired set in and Keers and I got in the car and headed home.  It was an extremely fun race.  The best race of the summer, hands down!  I am definitely doing this thing next year.  I'm so glad Keersten did it with me as well.  I'm also glad that she turned out to be a silly as me about the whole dressing up for it part.  Thanks for the tutus idea, Keers!   

The other part that I felt good about was the running.  I felt really good the entire race, even toward the end when we were sprinting to the finish.  Training pays off.  Cross-training pays off.  It was great to feel by body cooperating with me during a time when I needed it most.  I love this sport and I'm so glad there are people out there making fun events for runners like the Nite Lites race. 

P.S-  I'm still looking for shared stories, so please send me some running or race stories.  Please!!!


Jani said...

Loved the blow-by-blow report. Made me chuckle, giggle, laugh right out loud and smile super big through the whole thing. You didn't tell us your time, though!! Congrats and getting closest to midnight! Way to go girl. Love ya.

Cherri said...

I am so impressed! Way to know thyself, and it looks like you had a blast. An hour to run 6.2 miles, pretty impressive for that distance.

Kristan said...

What a fun time! You guys look great! I just might have to join you next year!