Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Moonshiner 5K Night Trail Race

Ready, Set, Go!
 Almost three hundred runners lined up this year for the 3rd Annual Moonshiner 5K Night Trail Race. This race was put on by Half Moon Outfitters in Greenville, SC. Everyone had to have a headlamp to participate. How lucky that this is the only night trail race in the southeast and it's basically in my backyard.

This was my first year, and on the drive over I was wondering what in the world I was doing. It started at 7:30pm on Friday night, and I was already tired from the week. My friend Jennifer reminded me that I was the one who asked her. 

This race was just going to be for fun, so I wasn't nervous or anxious at the start.

Moonshine, anyone?
I picked up my Jennifer at her house. Before we left, her husband wanted to get pictures of us with some "moonshine". I look like I've already had a bit too much!

We put our headlamps on at her house, and being the nerd I am, I forgot about it and wore it the whole way, driving in the car.

I've never been to this park, let alone on the trail, so had no idea what to expect. It started on road, then went to trail, back to road, then to trail and the last little bit was road. It was a nice mix. It was really cool watching the lights dance in the forest as runners ahead of us bobbed along in the dark. I couldn't see the runners - just their lights shining bright.

Walking up to the start.
The main goal going into this race was to not fall down and hurt anything. And thankfully, neither of us did, although there were a couple of near misses.

The first part of the race was all downhill, which was really nice until I realized that at some point we would have to head back up.

Announcer Start Guy
About 1/4 mile or so into the race, maybe a little farther, there was a bottleneck. Everyone just stopped. It was when the road went to single-track trail. Hey, it was a trail race - and there were 300 people there to get on it. Not a big deal. Once we hit trail it got really fun. I loved running at night, with my headlamp. I passed a few people, and had a few people pass me. I was going too fast, and my breathing was turning into gasping, but I didn't want to slow down or stop. Finally we hit road again and I had to take a walk break.

Looking very happy before this race!
Super cool shirt in our race packet.
We hit the first mile marker, and there wasn't a water station. You could see all the dust from the trail swirling around our headlamps. Swirling right into my very dry mouth. You know you are dry when you can't come up with any spit in your mouth to swallow down. It was warm, too, and I was feeling the humidity. I was dripping by the end of the race.

The end of the race kind of snuck up on us. All of a sudden we were heading up a hill, and I could see the glow of the time clock. I looked at Jennifer and said "let's go for it!" and we took off racing as fast as we could toward the finish line. 

I was trembling when we finally stopped and gulped down some gatorade, water and a banana.

Official time was 36:31 - Not great, but not bad for me either. And it was super-fun. I think this is one I will look forward to next year!

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