On July 31, 2015, we experienced a blue moon. Since this was the first one since August 2012, Calico Racing decided to put on a special night race to celebrate the event. The Once in a Blue Moon 5K had three starting time options: 6:00 PM, 7:45 PM, and 9:15 PM. Racers had the choice of racing one 5K, two 5Ks, or all three 5Ks. The Shoot the Moon challenge was to race in all three 5Ks. I participated in the Shoot the Moon challenge. I had never done anything like this so thought it was a great way to test myself and see how I handled it.
My run coach had told me to try to negative split each mile with each race being faster than the one before without holding anything back. I knew that if I had trained for that then it might have been possible but it wasn't going to happen at this race. Instead, I decided to try to push the first race and then keep the next two races consistent.
There were thunderstorms all around us so the air was very warm and humid. It was well over 100 degrees at race start. We were worried about being stuck in a storm but luckily, the rain and lightning stayed away.
The race was being held at Sunset Park located near the airport. Packet pick-up was available that evening so we arrived at 5:00 PM in order to do that. We had plenty of time since the process was simple and only took a few minutes. My husband was volunteering at the aid station so at about 5:30 PM, he headed off to set that up. I met up with a few friends who were also running in all three races so the time went by quickly. At around 5:45 PM, we made our way over to the start area.
A few minutes before 6:00 PM, the race director gave course directions and some last minute info about the race. Then we gathered together for a group picture and were off.
The course was a winding, paved path through the park. There was no shade or covering and there was only about 40 feet of elevation gain for the entire 5K. There was one aid station that would be passed at about the 1.2 mile mark on the way out and at about the 2.1 mile mark on the way back.
I stayed true to my plan and really tried to push the first race. I could tell that I was dehydrated and that I shouldn't have eaten such a big lunch. Both started to haunt me during the first race. Since I was trying for a PR, I did not stop at the aid station which made my husband sad. As the race went on, I knew that I was not going to PR due to the heat, humidity, dehydration, burps, and acid reflux. Those things didn't stop me from trying though. I ran as fast as I could under those circumstances. The course was a little long at 3.17 miles. My splits were 8:52, 9:20, 9:37, and the final .17 was in 8:23 for a total time of 29:04. The official race results had my time at 29:03. I ended up placing 2nd in my age group for female 40-49 years old.
After the first race, me and one of my friends decided to drive to the nearest gas station to get some waters since we had some time to kill. Also, the water on the course and at the end of the race was warm since they didn't have any ice. I bought two 1 liter bottles of water. I ended up drinking an entire bottle before the second race. I didn't think that it was a good idea but I was so thirsty. I also had a mandarin orange from the snack table.
As the start time for the second race approached, we made our way back over to the starting area. Once again, the race director gave course directions and last minute race info. The temperatures were a little better as the sun had tucked down behind the mountains. I wore my headlamp even though I didn't need it yet.
I wanted to still run a good race but I was not going to try to PR so I ended up running with one of my friends. It was a pleasant run as we chit chatted the entire thing. Once again, I did not stop at the aid station. The water I drank before the race didn't bother me during the run which was a good thing. My Garmin ending time was 31:58 with splits of 9:59, 10:16, 10:12, and 8:59 for the final 0.17 miles. The official results showed my time as 31:57 and I finished 4th in my age group.
After the second race I drank another half liter of water and ate a fruit strip. There was less time between these races so we all just hung around and talked. The third race would require my headlamp to be on in order to properly see during the race. The course had lights occasionally on the route but there were areas that were really dark. Since I had worn it for the second race, I knew that it fit well and didn't move.
A few minutes before the third race start, we made our way back over to the start area and listened to our third race briefing and took our third group photo. The temperature finally felt better. It was still probably in the 90s but without the sun it felt pretty nice.
On this race, I wanted to stay close to the second race time. I started with one of my friends and we ran together for the first mile. Then he began to have some asthma issues and had to start walking. He told me to continue on without him so I did. I ran right passed the aid station once again. Since it was dark, my husband didn't notice me anyways.
I was finally able to do what my coach asked. The third race had negative splits and was faster than the race before. My Garmin showed a finish time of 31:46 with splits of 10:17, 10:08, 9:58 and 8:06 for the final 0.17 miles. The official results showed a finish time of 31:44. Once again I placed 4th in my age group.
When I crossed the finish line, I was handed my finisher's medal and a volunteer took my timing chip. I met up with one friend who had already finished and we waited for our two other friends. Once we were all done. we walked back to our cars and took a group shot. We were hot, tired and happy to be done.
It was definitely an interesting way to run a 15K. My body held up pretty well. At the beginning of the second and third race, my legs started out a bit tight but loosened up before the half mile mark. I am continually surprised by what my body can do.