Monday, August 24, 2015

Chase the Moon 2015 Race Report: Solo!

Ok... so wow, it's been well over a month since I've put up a new blog post....    I keep meaning to, but then there is life (work, summer stuff, back to school etc etc).

Anyway, I hope all of you are having a great summer!

Speaking of great, I had a GREAT time at the 2nd annual Chase The Moon 12-hour Endurance Run on July 31st.   Last year I ran the inaugural running of this event as part of a 3 person relay, and you can check out that recap HERE.

Dan & Ali Smith, and some goofy guy

This year I decided to run SOLO.... I know, kind of crazy considering it's a 12 hour run that starts at 7pm and runs to 7am under a full moon... and this year it was a blue moon, so even cooler!  Since it was an "evening affair" I decided running in the INKnBURN tuxedo tech shirt was appropriate.

So, my family dropped me off and helped me get a little shelter set up... primarily a place to stash my gear and keep it dry if the weather changed.  They were off to a nearby hotel to swim and stay over night. Which was great, because I would be able to get a shower and maybe a nap before check out time!

 Early in the day it looked like there might be a typical afternoon thunderstorm, but it seemed to skirt around the course.  After getting set up I had a chance to visit and say hi to a lot of runner friends (Like Dan and Ali), as well as meet some Facebook friends for the first time, which is always fun.

But... it wasn't too long after getting settled that it was go time. As I was preparing for this race (and ultimately the 110K Tommyknocker Ultra in September), I had been logging decent miles, but never felt like enough. However, I had it in my head that I should be able to knock out 4 of the 10.3 mile trail loops in the 12 hours alotted... I mean, that was 3 hours per loop.. should be no problem..   And, if I could get more, even better.  The cool thing was that if you came in to the Start/Finish after 5am, but before 6:15am, you could begin running a 3.5 mile out and back.  So, in my head I thought... if I still have time after 4 laps, maybe I could get one or maybe 2 of those...    regardless, my goal was to get at least the 41.2 without permanently injuring myself :-)

So... off I go on lap 1... starting off while it was still light out, and I got to enjoy the beautiful sunset over the Front Range as we wound our way along the beautiful trails in Highlands Ranch.

After seeing all the smiling faces at the Outlaw aid station just past mile 4, I kept rolling along, enjoying the post sunset glow.  Just after mile 6 however, I came around a corner to see three runners all stopped and looking at the trail.... then I heard the rattle.... and screeched to a halt.  There he (or she) was... less than 10 feet away from a "Rattlesnake Area" warning sign, in the middle of the trail... all coiled up and steaming mad!  I had never came upon a rattlesnake before.. so that was cool and scary at the same time.  Dan was trying to get the snake to move by tossing rocks, but he was not going to budge.  So eventually we surveyed the grass around the trail, switched on headlamps, and carefully made a wide arc off the trail and around and got running again.   And yes, for the next mile or two my pace was better than it had been up until that point!

So.. lap 1 done in 2:32, which I was happy with.  Felt pretty good at the start/finish, and took a few minutes to reload my Orange Mud Double Barrel with more Tailwind and grab a few more Fuel-100 Electrobites.. and headed out for lap 2.

This lap was a reverse of lap 1, since the loops were run washing-machine style, switching direction each lap.  This meant the Outlaw aid station was 6 miles out, versus 4.3 miles on the odd numbered laps. This lap was a little tougher...  I don't know if I should have gone slower in the first lap or what. I think I mentioned to my friend Lisa at the aid station stop at mile 16 that I was in that kind of dark place, and I know from experience that I will hit that often between 16 and 20.  But, it wasn't nearly as low as I've been before, and I think it had a lot to do with fueling better, and the Tailwind I was drinking.  Anyway, I said I'm sure it will get better.    I ended up clocking back in at the start/finish with a 2:57 lap which felt much much slower.

Ok... so, I reloaded the Tailwind, and grabbed some food at the main aid station.  The fresh watermelon, PB&J, and flat coke really hit the spot...  it was hard not to hang around but I knew I needed to keep rolling.   So above I took a selfie around mile 21... yeah I know, great pic lol.  But at this point I had come out of my low and was feeling pretty good...  just enjoying being out on a beautiful moonlight night and enjoying the company of everyone else slogging it out on the trail.  With the reverse looping you get a chance to say hello and good job to a lot of folks... and to hear it was well which was great...  

But then there were also long stretches of just me..... fortunately the trail was well marked with ribbons and glow sticks, that I was able to avoid getting lost, even in a tired daze. It was at about 1am during lap 3, and during one of those lonely stretches when I ran up on this guy.  The pic is bad, but he was a pretty good sized buck...  a large enough deer that I almost thought it was an Elk at first.  Anyway, he just gave me the eye with that look of "what in the world are you doing out here?" and then moved on.

Also, I finally got wise and turned my headlamp off as much as possible.  The moon was bright enough, and it just seemed easier to run in the natural light, rather than in the confining "bubble" of light from the headlamp...   so beautiful to run that way, even though I scared a few folks along the trail :-)

I checked in at the Outlaw aid station again, feeling much better, and enjoyed some good snacks and terrific support. The folks volunteering to run the aid stations all night were amazing...  so thankful to have that support.

After another counter-clockwise lap, I rolled into the start/finish with a 3:14.  Now that surprised me because I felt great that lap, but maybe it was because I had slowed down, or hung out too long at the aid station!

And here is where it gets really crazy...  after restocking and getting more food, I look up at the race clock and suddenly.... I only have 2:15 left to finish this last lap!!!  Yes... it's true... at 3:45 in the morning after running for almost 9 hours, my brain failed a calculation....  yes, I had 3:15 to finish, which in retrospect was still cutting it close since I just ran a 3:14.

But, thinking I had to run this faster than any lap I had done to finish in time, I took off on that last lap thinking of nothing more than pushing myself to make up time.  As the sky lightened I came into the Outlaw aid station one last time...  but only pausing to refill on liquids and dump some ice cold water on my head to jump start myself.   It was only after leaving the station and looking at my watch that I realized I had miscalculated... phew, I realized I would make this last lap.  I kind of wish I hadn't realized it, as maybe I would have pushed harder, but as it was, I came in around 6:36am, running that last loop in 2:53... my 2nd fastest lap of the night...

 And DONE....    and best of all, I came out of this one feeling pretty good, considering I logged 41.2 miles, and had been awake more than 24 hours, and running almost half that time. Best of all, my feet felt awesome... no hot spots, no blisters, just a little fatigue of course. The Carson Footwear Iguana's rocked..

 Felt great to grab a 10 minute session with the Elevated Legs folks that were there and to enjoy some fresh pancakes, sausage and coffee.  I was a little bummed however that there wasn't an awards/beer session after the race like last year...  I really enjoy pancakes and beer after running all night.

Will I be back? Oh yeah.... this one was so much fun, and the support was awesome.  A well run race that I'll be trying to talk anyone and everyone into joining me on next year :-)

Wow.. that was a long write up... almost as long as the race!   Anyway, thanks for tuning in if you made it this far :-)

Next up... the Tommyknocker Ultra's of the Human Potential Running Series on September 12th!  Where I will attempt to cover 110K in under 18 hours I hope :-).  This will be my longest run ever if I survive the 68 miles.  I ran the 50K last year, and it was amazing.. and so much fun.  HPRS puts on some of the best races in Colorado, hands-down... so I hope to see some of you there!

Happy trails!



  1. Replies
    1. It is! Come on out next year and run with me?

  2. Great recap, glad you met your goal! And the tuxedo top was the perfect choice.

  3. Sounds like you had a great time. My wife still thinks I'm nuts that I am aspiring to run an ultra. Trying to still finish a marathon.

    1. I don't think you are nuts of course, and I know you will do it! Maybe come out and run this one with me next year? :-)

  4. Sounds like a true adventure!! The running calculator in my brain never works very well at the end of a race. You are lucky you decided to push just the right amount!
    I've never ran into a rattler.. a cougar, yes, but a rattler.. no. I wonder if the next person coming through saw it!
    Congrats on a fantastic run and thanks for sharing the tent idea. That's a good place to keep stuff dry.

  5. Sounds like a true adventure!! The running calculator in my brain never works very well at the end of a race. You are lucky you decided to push just the right amount!
    I've never ran into a rattler.. a cougar, yes, but a rattler.. no. I wonder if the next person coming through saw it!
    Congrats on a fantastic run and thanks for sharing the tent idea. That's a good place to keep stuff dry.


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