Race Report: Vertigo Night Trail Run or How I (literally) hit the trail

Race Report: Vertigo Night Trail Run or How I (literally) hit the trail

IMG_8410

THANK goodness it cooled down for the start of the race…118 degrees would have just been nuts ūüėČ

Living in Arizona in the summer is akin to living on the surface of sun. Temperatures routinely hit over 100 degrees for months at a time.

That makes summer running (which also happens to be the start of a lot marathon training schedules) a b*%#! And it also means it is really hard to find any local races and, if you do, they are mostly of the 5K duration and start pre-dawn.

Vertigo Night Trail Run Start/Finish Village

Vertigo Night Trail Run Start/Finish Village

Thank goodness that the Arizona summer months bring several full moons and the Aravaipa Running Insomniac Night Trail Run Series. This is a series of 7 night trail runs in the greater Phoenix area from May to November (and, trust me, it’s still plenty hot in November in Phoenix).

With welcoming names like Sinister, Thrasher, and Punisher this series is an awesome addition to the local summer running calendar.

Last night I ran the Vertigo 31K, my second Insomniac Series race this year.

Race distances offered included a 52K (5 loops of the 6.5 mile Sonoran Competitive Track trail at White Tank Mountain Regional Park), a 31K (3 loops), and a 10K (1 loop).

The raging river on the race course the day before the race.

The raging river on the race course the day before the race.

This trail featured steep inclines, swooping turns, technical descents, and rugged terrain – made all the more challenging by a huge thunderstorm and lots of running water the night before the race. So much running water, the road leading up to the park was closed the night before the race due to flooding!

The start of the race was staggered based on distance with the 52K starting a 7:00pm, followed by the 31K at 7:30pm and the 10K at 8:00pm.

Runners, even trail runners, are only so crazy so the combination of the distances, technical nature of the course, and the fact that it had “cooled down” to a mild 113 degrees by 7:00pm kept the race numbers manageable. This was great, as runners for all distances shared the same 6.5 mile trail loop. It was just enough runners that you didn’t feel like you were out in the middle of nowhere by yourself in the dark – every 10 – 15 minutes you would run by someone/have someone run by you. Add in a great start/finish line village and a remote aid station at mile 4.5 on the loop and it was just peaceful enough to allow you to enjoy the quiet and the stars.

Hot weather tempered my desire to blaze the trails with speed. It was 113 degrees at the start at 7:00pm and still 95 degrees when I finished around 1:00am. Still better than running during the day in full sun (and even hotter temperatures), but not cool by any stretch of the imagination!

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 3.19.06 PM

See that spike in elevation each mile…ouch!

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 3.05.34 PM

I took it easy on the first 2 laps, which included a decent stop at the end of the second lap to really rehydrate, take my shoes off for a few minutes to help cool me down (and allow for some blister TLC), and drink something other than G2 and water (HELLO Diet Coke! Where have you been these last 13 miles…).

Me just prior to the start of the race.

Me just prior to the start of the race.

There was lots of climbing, lots of loose rocks, and some downhill sections that were more nerve-wracking than the 1-mile up hill switchback section that did NOT get more fun on each loop. The recent rains added some additional rocks and deep sand, but did help with controlling dust.

My last lap ended up being my fastest – I’m chalking this up on the fact that it had “cooled down” a bit, I just wanted to be done, and this was the lap where I saw a RATTLESNAKE on the trail. The turbo boosters kicked in and I just wanted to be away from poisonous things that could bite me!

[NOTE: In the moment I never thought the snake was going to bite me – or any of the other runners in the area. Said snake was just slowly slithering across a wide stretch of the trail, minding his own business. A runner ahead of me clearly saw the snake in plenty of time to avoid it and notify those around. That being said, I spent the final 4 miles of the race on EXTREMELY HIGH SNAKE ALERT (as opposed to my normal High Snake Alert status). A snakebite is just something I would like to avoid – especially one that happens at night, on the side of a mountain.]

Vertigo Night Trail Run by the Numbers:

  • Race distance: 31k
  • Trail Loops: 3
  • Total time: 5:13 (Female winner = 2:45 – insane!)
  • Sunset: 1
  • Full moon: 1
  • Fuel belt bottles of G2: 6
  • Fuel belt bottles of water: 5
  • Slices of fresh watermelon: 5
  • Bean burritos: 1 (on last lap, 2 miles from end of race – I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid…)

    My souvenir from the race.  Nothing like (literally) "hitting the trails"...

    My souvenir from the race. Nothing like (literally) “hitting the trails”…

  • Potty stops: 2 prior to start of race (nerves)/2 during race (surprisingly, none as a result of the bean burrito…)
  • Falls: 1
    • Resulting in exactly 1 souvenir black and blue knee
  • Rattlesnakes: 1
    • Followed by exactly 1 freak out
  • Tree roots I thought were rattlesnakes and freaked out for no reason = Too many to count
  • Scorpions: 1
  • Toads: 1
  • Blisters: 4

At the finish, each runner received a race beer glass. The beer garden at the finish benefited Team RWB, which is awesome. Beer for a good cause is a good thing! ¬†I still had an hour drive back home and was REALLY hot, so I partook of some excellent ice water in my finisher’s beer glass – it was seriously good – trust me…

The SWAG! The gear bag was received with our bibs in place of a race shirt and the beer glass you earned at the finish line.

The SWAG! The gear bag was received with our bibs in place of a race shirt and the beer glass you earned at the finish line.

2015 Insomniac Night Trail Race Series

2015 Insomniac Night Trail Race Series

I’ll be back out on the trails at the end of this month for another full moon and some more miles.

Check out the rest of the series here.

************************************************

How do you beat the heat during the summer running months?  Have you ever run a race at night?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @RunAllTheRaces and like us on Facebook/runalltheraces and Instagram/@runalltheraces

Perfect Goofy Gail

Race Report: Wine & Dine Half Marathon or Would you like WHINE with that half marathon?..

How bad was the weather? We dressed up as ACTUAL runners ;)

How bad was the weather? We dressed up as ACTUAL runners ūüėČ

Part of the problem of having a #RunAllTheRaces philosophy is that we run SO MANY races that we don’t always have the time to talk (and BLOG) about all the races. ¬†Believe it or not, we both ACTUALLY have JOBS – a runner’s got to do something to pay for all those races…

We still owe everyone a BUNCH of race reports on other events from earlier this year, but the WEATHER was such a factor at last weekend’s runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon that we just had to post about this race next!

BLOG DISCLAIMER: It was SO wet and rainy that, for the first time in #RunAllTheRaces history, we did NOT wear a costume and we did NOT stop and take photos on the course.  It was so wet and rainy we ACTUALLY RAN the race!

So, how wet and rainy was it? ¬†In our collective 10+ years of running races at Disney Theme Parks, the only event where the weather was worse was 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (also known around runDisney circles as “The Cold Year”) where it snowed (yes, you read that correctly –¬†SNOWED) and sleeted and was generally miserable for the entire half and full marathons. FYI: Frozen water stops and slippery, ice-covered roads are no bueno!

In fact, it was so wet and rainy that a simple blog description just won’t do it justice.

So – in our first “How To” blog post – we are providing you with instructions on how to re-create the event at home so you can¬†fully understand the experience. ¬†You’re welcome ūüėČ

**************************************************************

How To: Recreate the 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Experience in the “Comfort” of Your Own Home

  1. Run around all day.  Wait until 7:00pm to start your experience.

    An umbrella.  And yes - that's a necessity - NOT a costume piece!

    An umbrella. And yes – that’s a necessity – NOT a costume piece!

  2. Get fully dressed in your running attire. And we mean fully dressed; including shoes, fuel belt, race bib.  As it is a runDisney event, this probably includes an elaborate costume you spent weeks planning and even longer making.
  3. Go into your bathroom and turn on the shower. ¬†Not too hot, mind you. ¬†The water temperature should seem warm enough to be “not so bad” at first, but not so warm as to be enjoyable for any length of time.
  4. Get in your shower. ¬†Fully dressed. Yep. ¬†Just hang out there under the gently falling drops and imagine yourself in the corrals, waiting for the start. ¬†Spend a few moments trying to convince yourself that it looks like it’s clearing and surely it will stop before the race starts.
  5. Begin jogging in place.  Still in your shower.  Still under the running water.  Take a sip of your race beverage of choice and realize, as you tip your head back, water hits you directly in your eyeballs.
  6. Continue jogging in place under the running water for the time it normally takes you to run a half marathon plus a crappy weather factor of 10%. ¬†You’ll need that extra time to run around giant puddles, avoid falling on slippery surfaces, and stop to¬†wring-out your progressively heavier water-logged clothing.
  7. Swear at yourself for even signing up for this race in the first place. ¬†Feel free to include anyone else who encouraged you throughout your training and isn’t actually running in this mess in your rant.
  8. Finish your race.  Have someone place a cold, wet medal around your neck and a space blanket around your shoulders.
  9. Decide ” *&%# it! I paid for the After Party. ¬†I’m still going.” ¬†Have someone hand you a beer and¬†a snack while you continue to stand in your shower.
  10. Go out to your garage.  Stand around outside your car for approximately 20 minutes to simulate waiting for the bus back to your resort hotel.
  11. Get in your car.  Turn on the air conditioner. Hang out for 45 minutes.  Cold? Yep. But the roads are closed for the race and you have to leave property and come back around to get to your stop.
  12. Get out of your car and walk around the block.  Turns out, the event bus drops you off at the Convention Center Рwhich feels like a 3-mile walk from your room.
  13. Swear at yourself for even signing up for this race in the first place. ¬†Feel free to include anyone else who encouraged you throughout your training and isn’t actually still out¬†in this mess in your rant.
  14. Go back into your bathroom and turn on the shower again.  Good news Рthis time you can take a nice hot shower!
  15. Fall into bed.  Sleep like a rock Рas you are exhausted from this entire experience.
  16. Wake up. ¬†Decide it wasn’t so bad. ¬†Check the runDisney website to see when registration opens for next year.
Finishers of the 1st Annual Wine & Dine Wet T-Shirt Contest

Finishers of the 1st Annual Wine & Dine Wet T-Shirt Contest

**************************************************************
What was the worst weather you ever raced in?  What did you learn from the experience for next time?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @RunAllTheRaces and like us on Facebook/runalltheraces.

Perfect Goofy Gail & (soon to be Delightful Dopey) Kimberly