Signing up for races months and months in advance is sometimes the best route to take. So often I resist the ‘flash forward’ to race day and who can really blame you. It sounds great at the time, so you click the submit button!
In January, running the Night Sweats marathon sounded great! Running a marathon at 8 p.m., on trails, with 5,500 ft. of elevation gain, with only two weeks rest from my previous marathon and while a 100 miler is going on at the same time – what could be better? Now I’ve run fifteen marathons in my life, I’ve been to the rodeo, suffered late in a race, not eaten enough food, met some super interesting people, and have always had great experiences! Because a marathon at night was something totally different than the norm, is the exact reason why I signed up!
At some point things have to be shaken up. How many normal marathons can someone run? The same race year after year? Are there any surprises along the way left to be discovered? Same old aid stations? Post run festivities?
There were many aspects of running a marathon at night that appealed to me:
- It was different, way different! The only person that was excited about the race was my coach, her response was “Heck yah, sounds awesome!”
- Nutrition had to be adjusted and what I ate during the entire day to get ready, can’t have a sloppy stomach
- Navigating with a headlamp and 100 mile runners on the same course
- Being up much later than I ever am, usually in bed by 9-:30 p.m. and we got home at 3 a.m.
- Super small amount of runners, only 45 in the starting field.
What I didn’t expect:
- Waiting all day to run was super hard, all I could think about was the race and trying to calm my body and mind was a challenge!
- Four feet of visibility for most of the race because the Bay Area fog rolled in and we couldn’t see a thing. Like we literally couldn’t see a thing which was kind of fun but also really slowed down our pace.
- Passing Dean Karnazes while he was running the 100 – that was cool!
- Literally running less than a foot from the Pacific Ocean on single track trail, with four feet of visibility – gotta have your game face on!
I have a strong belief that we as humans should be cold, tired, hungry, uncomfortable and put ourselves in situations that are out of our comfort zone. How will you ever know what you’re really capable of if you’re always at the same starting line and staring at the same old possible outcome.
Running 26.2 at night shook things up for me. It was almost like flying to Australia and having really crazy jet lag because you’re now on the opposite side of the planet. The start of a super small marathon at 8 p.m., only three aid stations for the entire course, pretty gnarly single track trail at times, some SUPER tired 100 mile runners that had started way earlier that morning, and the lack of visibility for most of the race kept us on our toes.
I encourage you to get up, get out, get on the road or trails and get yours! There’s always an excuse, and they’re never good enough. Push yourself to try something totally new, out of the ordinary, off the wall and regain some of your running mojo – you got this!
Adam is currently Director of Innovation and Technology for a school district in the Bay Area, a former K-5 Elementary Principal, National School Board Association 20 To Watch Leader in 2016 and co-author of the book Kids Deserve It. Adam met his wife Stacy at a half marathon seven years ago and they’ve been running together ever since, pushing their two children in the double jogger and now having them (thankfully) ride their bikes when they run as a family.