If you follow me on Instagram you would known that I ran a race on Monday night. It was the Full Moon 5K Trail race from Down2Earth. And it was probably the hardest race I’ve ever had to do. Not only because it meant lots of endurance to run through those trails, but it was also a mental challenge and I’ll explain that later in this post.
It all started with a full day of work. I was feeling extremely tired that day and my left knee was sore from last week’s training. I decided to just drop any expectations of achieving a good time and just showed up to the race.
Even though it sucks to wake up so early to go to a race, evening races after a full day of work are not necessarily the best idea. And I learned that the hard way.
Since I was so tired, I figured an espresso macchiato and a honey stinger waffle was a good idea. I wan’t wrong.
Got to the park of the race by 7:20 pm and it looked absolutely beautiful. I had already done my registration online so basically I only needed to pick up my bib and start warming up.
This is Marlon. He always gives the instructions to runners at Down2Earth races. Also, he gives a a speech about how much we should appreciate the fact that we can run, and that we live in freedom to do so. That really cheers me up before races.
One of the race organizers told me I was going to need a headlamp because the trails were going to get really dark. Even though I had done races before at this park and with the same organizers, it turned out that we were going into the bike trails to run the race. I figured I could use the light on my phone, but he was kind enough to give an extra headlamp that they had.
By 8:20 pm it was completely dark already, and in a matter of 10 minutes the gun went off.
I quickly realized the light from the headlamp was not enough for me to see the path, so I activated the light on my phone.
Surprisingly, I started out feeling very strong yet pacing myself. I felt like mile one passed by really quickly. Then by mile two, the really (really) hard hills came out and I started to feel like that was probably the hardest race I have ever done so far.
Not only because of the endurance that the trail required, but because of the darkness. Sometimes I was running by myself not being able to see anything/anyone and not knowing if I was going the right way or not. It was a mental challenge.
I’m usually used to look up from and listen to music when I’m running. This time I needed to turn off the music and just concentrate on where I was stepping at. Looking down and concentrate was what I needed to do in order not to fall into the “unknown.” My running form had to change a little bit an my speed too.
A runner behing me fell and thank God nothing happened to her.
A kid was running the race with his Dad. When he passed me, the kid stopped just to wait for his Dad. I remember his Dad saying “It’s ok buddy. Go ahead.”
Hills were killers for me. To be honest, I haven’t trained hills in ages. So I have to say I was a little bit undertrained for that. On the other hand, I needed to sprint through the downhills because if I walked through them I was seriously going to fall. It was crazy.
Something really weird happened during the last mile. I stopped being mentally stressed out. Somehow I felt more confident and calmed. It was like if I was finally connected with nature.
Just before getting to the finish line I made a wrong turn that meant an extra minute of my time. Thank God the runner who was coming behind me realized we were going the right way.
We followed the voices of the organizers through the darkness and made it to the finish line! YAY.
My time was 38:08, and I got to be the in the 9th place for the female runners. That was my slowest 5K ever, and I don’t even know my splits since I could not check on my pace throughout the entire race. But honestly, I feel so happy I did it.
The battery on my phone was dying and I really could not take lots of pictures #bloggingfail.
Also, something happened with my car. It did not start and I had to call a towing service to take it back home. The race organizers were kind enough to stay there with me while I could solve my problem. Shout out to them for being so awesome.
I ended up getting home around midnight, and a bowl of cereal was all I was in the mood for.
It was certainly a great race. However, I promise to run some hills before doing a race trail again.
Have you done any trail races? How do you like them?
What about evening races? Have you ever done one?
This is actually my second one.
What is your perfect pre-race fuel?
Mine is normally PB bagel/toast. Or a Clift bar. I did experiment a little bit with the Honey Stinger Waffle and can’t say was bad at all.