This just be my very favorite race of 2012!! Going into it I had NO idea what to expect. I signed up MONTHS in advance. Back when I wasn't even sure if I was going to continue running beyond my 1st 5K. I didn't even actually know if I'd be back in DE by 12/22! Not because it'd be the day after the end of the world, but because I never seem to be able to plan things months in advance because I literally never know what job or what city I'll be working on.
So I showed up at Cape Henlopen Beach in Lewes, DE for The Day After 5K at about 4:30 p.m. just as the sun was setting and it STILL didn't occur to me that we'd be running in the dark. Or that I had to drive through a bunch of winding roads to packet pickup and none of it looked like a 5K course!
Nope this wasn't a road race by the beach, this was a trail race through the sandy dunes/woods of Cape Henlopen State Park! There were no lights on the course except for the few people that knew what they were doing and we wearing of of these.
About 100 of us were gathered trying to keep warm and hoping the race would start soon. There wasn't even really an official start line that I'm used to, but I didn't mind, I was freezing and I really just wanted to run!
For the next 3.1 miles we ran in pitch black. It was basically single track so you had to run and keep up with someone in front of you, especially if they were wearing a head lamp! It was tough, did I mentioned I'd just driven for 19 hours straight from Chicago to get there?!
I remember seeing the 1st mile marker, but I never saw mile 2 or 3. Basically all I could see was the back of the person in front of me! There were low hanging branches, the terrain was a bit hilly, although fairly flat. I could tell we were weaving back and forth but I never could be sure where I was headed.
I started to get tired a bit and kind of settled in behind an older guy that was going a bit slow. I needed a moment to catch my breath. But my legs quickly recovered and I asked him how far he thought we had left. He said he thought about 500 meters. I actually have no clue how far 500 meters is but it sounded short so I just took off.
Only to immediately find myself in the middle of a sandpit! But I could hear the cheers ahead and see the lights of the finish line so I pushed through and then I was done! I did it in 32:33 and 10:30 pace which at the time was a 3 minute PR!
I really really hope that they schedule another race like this next year near the holidays so I can run it again. Next year I might actually buy a head lamp! Who am I kidding most of the fun came from NEVER knowing where I was going!!
Now I'm in search of some more night trail races, anyone know of any???