My first Vacation Races event Zion at night half marathon
I ran my first half marathon last year after pounding over running for few years. I must tell you it was a great experience to get to the finish line. Last weekend with the same flock of people I did my second half marathon and this time a well organized one. In this post I want to tell you about my experience about vacation races event and running in general.
Let me first talk about the vacation races. They had done an amazing job of organizing the event. Everything was laid out very nicely. Runners were split in different groups so we could maintain some distance during covid times. When we reached there were people directing us where to park so they could utilize every parking spot. Second thing to do was to collect the bib number and zion shirt (which we can brag about later). They had bunch of people there so its not crowded and we could easily check-in. Also not to forget they had toilet pits as well, which was very helpful as we were a little nervous to do a half marathon with an elevation of 800ft with gravel road most of it. Vacation races also run a podcast which was helpful to give some insights about the event before hand so one is prepared and knows what to expect out it. With every race they also post map and other required information about the race so runners have all the information with them and there are no surprises during the run. Now with all the information and props we were ready to start and experience this beautiful moon light run. We all march together to the start line and beep from our RF in bob number records our start time.
There were 3 aid stations at mile 3.8, 6.9 and 9.7 miles (miles are approx) and we stopped at all three of them. With our first stop we were feeling pretty good with our pace and environment. There were people coming back and some had started with us so a good mix of people. We refiled our water and had a Honey Stinger. This thing is a game changer I must tell you. As soon as we had it , there was a rush of energy. That energy boost really helped us to reach our second pit stop. I believe with little sores started to creep in we were feeling pretty good as we had entered the trail running section. There were restrooms on all three of aid stations. We did some stretching and poped in another Honey Stringer in hope to get the same energy boost but the effect was not same. This section was all in mountains with only runners. Me and another friend also lost track in between because it was all mountainous and difficult to see on dark. But with the help of other fellow runners we were able to get back on track. Once the uneven section was over which has slowed our paced quite a bit we saw flat section again and it was time to gain some pace again and there it was the last aid station. This aid station was our longest wait with stretching and sipping on some electrolyte. We were around 10 miles in now and legs were feeling that soreness but the aid station gave us some hope that only the last few miles were left. After few minutes of rest we headed over to finish it off. I must tell you till miles 12 we were still OK but then the legs were about to shake a little. But that's the beauty of running and running in a group with other fellow runners we give hope and courage to each other to finish. At last we were able to finish and my timings were 3 hours and 9 minutes.
I calculated it and we were in 60th percentile of the finishers in terms of time taken to finish. I must tell you it was a great feeling to finish and had some refreshments after that.
My take ways from the race are you must go to these events as you learn a lot about yourself as we are all by ourselves for 3 odd hours and lot of thinking is happening during these times. Running is like meditation where all you think about is how to finish and there is a lazer focus on that. Also running in general has thought me that when you are in these events no asks you about your political preference, religion this and that. By nature all are equals and all wish well for each other and help other fellow runners to finish with some encouragement if someone is struggling. This makes us a better person. Last but not the least running has thought me to push forward even when through the worst times and helps us believe there is better times ahead for sure. Hope you find some inspiration and information from this. I encourage everyone to start running its a soothing/meditating experience and excellent for cardio vascular health.