Saturday, September 26, 2015

Race Review: Night Moves 1/2 Marathon

Organization: Trail Racing Over Texas, Location: Stephen F. Austin State Park

Since I would really like to make some significant improvements on my half marathon time, I decided to sign up for a few races.   This one came up (sent by the hubs) and caught my attention.  Trail racing? Night time? a reason to buy a new headlamp?  Sign me up. (for the gear I used, scroll to the bottom).

I also coerced my best running buddy to do it with me.  Side note: she's training for a 100 mile run in December - send her all your happy thoughts.  Here we are in my kitchen, modeling the goods.

Registration/packet pickup
Trail Racing Over Texas (or TROT) puts on several trail races over the year, and are a great organization.  They spend time not only putting on the races, but on trail maintenance and such.  If you live in Texas, give them a try, you won't be disappointed.

The registration was normal - well organized, and they sent out an email warning everyone of the slick trails (so much rain), cupless racing and packet pick up times.  I appreciated the reminder.  Packet pickup was at my local Luke's Locker and was very quick and easy.

Race Day:
This was a night race.  I had no idea what to do with myself all day.  My normal pool-drinking was out.  So, I went all domestic.  Cleaned, grocery shopped, napped and prepped food for a work function.  Had Siggis yogurt and pecans for my pre-race meal - just like a morning race.  That seemed to work OK.  My friend picked me up around 6pm, we tried on all of our gear and then headed to the trail.  Here we are in the parking lot.  Pre-race selfie.

Everything was very well marked getting to the trail head.  There were volunteers from the moment you entered the park and throughout to the race.  The porta potty situation was excellent.  There were enough, and they were about as clean as you can hope for.  The highlight of getting to the start was the U-Haul shuttle van.  A very cheerful volunteer picked us up at the parking lot and drove us to the trail head.  See below for a mostly dark picture, but it shows the glow bands:

The Race:
The race itself was awesome.  For the half marathon, it was very well marked loops.  I ended up leading a small group and/or running by myself for a portion of the race and never got lost even though there were several points when the trail split.  And to clarify - I wasn't in the lead.  I was just 10 minutes behind the next person.  There was an amazing group of runners up front.

There were some very muddy portions of the race, and a few water crossings...I actually began to appreciate the last water crossing on each loop because it meant that I could clean my shoes off.  The food/snacks were good - plenty of water, gatorade, heed and pickle juice(!).  At the finish/start line there was a food truck, sadly, I forgot to bring money, so I can't say much about that.

My finish time was 2:17, but the cut-off for the race was something like 2am and it started at 8pm, so that was plenty of time for people to finish.  There was also a 5K and a 10K race that started in waves after the 1/2 marathon.  I will do this one again, and if you are in the area (Katy, TX) - I highly recommend doing it.  Can't forget the post-race selfie with our glow in the dark bling!

Gear List -  Eventually I will do a review on some of the gear I use.  This is what I used for this race.  Overall everything performed the way I wanted it to.  No serious chafing, didn't slip too much while I was running through those gnarly trails, and my headlamp performed beautifully.  I ate/drank whatever they provided at the tables.

Headlamp: Petzl Tikka+
Shorts: Oiselle Long Flyte Shorts
Top: Oiselle Winowa Tank
Socks: Feetures
Shoes: Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger
Handheld Water Bottle: Lululemon/amphipod co-lab

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