Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chase the Moon 12-Hour Endurance Run Race Report

Finally getting around to posting up a quick race report for the Chase the Moon 12-hour from July 11, 2014.  This was the inaugural running of this particular race, but hosted by the same folks that run The Bear Chase Trail Race, which I have heard is a great race (hoping to do my first 50 mile there).

This race was set up with a looping course that was around 10.3 miles per loop, and the race was open to solo runners, as well as 3 and 5 person relay teams.  Of course, the cool part of this race was that it started at 7PM under a full moon, and ran until 7AM the next day.  The trails are part of the Highlands Ranch Backcountry trail system in Highlands Ranch, CO.   As you can see, it there are quite a few twists and turns to this loop and some decent climbs as well.

I ran this race as part of a 3-person relay as "Team INKnBURN" with my nephew Jacob (left), and a good friend Jeff.  With Jacob at 6'3" and Jeff at 6'9", I felt really short!  

I also got to meet Rebecca Walker, a fellow INKnBURN Ambassador who was there to run the solo...   She rocked it!

15 minutes before the start, we decided our running order.  I would go first, followed by Jeff, then Jacob. Our goal was to get in two laps each over the 12 hours, or 60 miles total.  Since I went first, the 7pm start allowed me to see the trail in the day light and enjoy the really cool views in the Highlands Ranch area...

Finally, towards the end of my first lap (around 9pm) it was getting dark, and the full moon did peek out briefly only to go behind the clouds until around 1 am when I started my 2nd lap...

So how was the race supported?  Very well in my opinion, especially considering it was the inaugural event, and I am sure they were figuring out a lot of things on the fly!   One of my concerns going into the race was the process of each runner reversing direction at the end of each loop.  Relay members would run the opposite direction of the prior runner, and solo runners would simply reverse the loop each time they reached the start/finish.  I was worried it would be confusing or congested on the trail, but it really worked out quite well.  What was so cool is that you had a mix of relay runners and solo runners, and all going different directions.  The net effect was that I never felt like I was at the back of the pack and had a great opportunity to encourage everyone that passed by (either direction) and it gave the feeling more that we were all in this together, regardless of pace or skill level.  Add in running on a dark twisty trail in the wee hours of the morning, and it was just too cool.

So how did the night go?  Well, first of all, I do not recommend downing a huge burger from Crave Burger within an hour of running a 10 mile loop!  I wrestled with that thing until mile 7 or so!  Beyond that, rotating to run a lap with 4 hours or so in between each was kind of tricky.  After finishing a lap, grabbing some fuel, sorting out this and that, and then repeating the process to get ready to run again meant that the time kind of went by fast.  I didn't really sleep... maybe caught 30 min after my last lap but that was about it.  My nephew managed to grab an hour maybe... until I woke him up with a flash pic... lol.

One thing that was really crazy about the evening was just how humid it was!! I believe the relative humidity was reported to be 85-90% most of the night.  You have to understand that those of us in Colorado are used to a normal humidity below 20%, and often in the single digits!  The result was that nothing would dry at all, and everything, including us, just collected moisture all night...  just a weird clammy feeling that made it feel like you never stopped sweating, even though it was in the low 60's..    just weird.

Running under a full moon was just so cool.. when it did come out the light was great.  When not on the twisty turny dark portions of the trail, many runners switched off their lights in the more open areas just to enjoy the glow of the moon on the trail...  

Finally the dawn arrived, and we got to enjoy seeing the sun rise to the East, and the full moon setting to the West...  by this time, Jeff and I had both run two laps, and Jacob was out working to finish his 2nd and last lap.  We were a little behind our planned pace, primarily due to the challenging course.  It was a little confusing as to how the directors were going to mark off the distance at 7AM.  The original race instructions noted that the loop would be cut down to a 10K at 530-6am or so, but I don't think that ever happened.  It was also noted that if it hit 7am and you were between aid stations, that you should keep going and would get credit at the next check point before your time was up.  In reality I think they switched to just calling it at 7am and you got credit for the last point you passed?  Honestly I don't know what the end result was!  Jacob ran his last lap completely, finishing around 730...

Kudos to Jacob for cranking it out for the team...  up until this point his longest run was a 1/2 marathon, and he had not had much time to train for this, so to step up and run 20 miles over night was stellar!

So... while Jacob was gutting it out for that last lap, Jeff and I were having coffee, awesome pancakes/sausage, and getting some amazing recovery from the folks at Elevated Legs!   Wow.. that 10 minute session felt so good.....   apparently these air splints provide a gradual compression from the ankle up, at up to 4-10 times what you would get from compression socks..   ahhh...

So.. by the end of the evening, we had run 60 miles total, and per the results our team was credited for 58.5 miles in the 12 hours, and we placed 9th out of 14 teams.  And we had a BLAST...

The swag was really great, with nice relay and solo medals, and a really cool tech shirt that glows in the dark!

The bottom line is, for a first time race, this was a terrific, and had amazing volunteers! Especially the guy sitting out all night by a particularly tight down hill turn making sure everyone stayed safe..  Food/fuel/beverages were great, and all the folks there had a such a great attitude.  I loved this race, and am planning on returning next year to run it solo!  I'm working on getting a lot of turtle-like folks together to run as a group all night.. I just think it would be a blast... so if you want to join, let me know!

As always, if I missed something, or you have a question... let me know in the comments, email, or on Facebook!

Next up... TommyKnockers Ultra 50K in Woodland Park on September 6, 2014!

Happy Trails!



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