So this post is coming very late and will be rough because, well, I just got home from running a half marathon at night. Our friends Senthil, Starr, Andrew, Angela and myself all ran in the inaugural Zulu Racing – Alien Half Marathon in Roswell, GA. All in all it was a good first effort by our friend who organized and staged the race. The parking situation was without a doubt was a complete cluster fuck but that can be fixed in a year. The rest of the race was hit or miss depending on who you ask.
I was very fortunate, the race went almost exactly as I expected in every category from finishing time to the general flow. I anticipated a really fast segment either at the end or the beginning (it came for me at the beginning) along with some leg cramps due to the humidity and about a 1 hour and 40 minute overall time. I ended up with an official time of 1:40:56, finished 50th overall out of 2,100 runners, and 7th in my age group out of 117 males in the 30-34 bracket.
My right hamstring, which has been ailing me for sometime creeped up at about mile 11 and I had to dial my pace back from what could have been a new personal record for me. Nevertheless, I expected about the time I got and am good with that. The race was a very flat course and I think I had been 100% physically, I could have challenged for the top of my age group. The speed of the course was a double edged sword as it left you open to burning through a lot more energy through the front part than you might otherwise want to.
I was on fumes near the end and fighting stomach cramps. The race overall was pretty well organized, but some of the later runners complained that the water stations ran out of cups and the lonely stretch between miles 8 and 10 were very deserted and dark which can mess with a runner’s head. I have never been a huge fan of night races because they can throw off your whole day. How and when you eat, what you can do during the day and overall mental preparedness when you are used to doing everything in the morning.
I think everyone should still give it a try and the Alien Half will only get better. My friend Mike Buckelew came up with the idea and he is great at listening and improving on almost everything. He is a bit of a perfectionist so I know the race will only get better with time. I think for many though, they should take extra pains to making sure they cover every detail of their own race plan to maximize being comfortable and at ease during these evening races. They are tricky and can be a buzz kill if you have trained very hard for one. Anyway, I’m tired, it’s late, so goodnight and enjoy the picture of the finisher’s medal from tonight’s race.