Modesto Half & Six Flags 077

Here we are…at the end, my 9 year old, and me.

Before I start the report, I first want to preface this by saying I adore Fleet Feet in Stockton, and support them generously.  However, the report won’t be favorable, and hopefully they can work out some kinks for next time.

I went down to the Expo at noon.  It was well organized, and I was able to get packets, and register my son and his Dad for the 2 mile race.  Looked like the porta-potties were being set up, the expo, albeit small, was decent.

My concern all day was being rested enough to run from 9-midnight.  I ate approximately at the same time I would if I were sleeping, and getting up.  The difference here may be that I got no sleep at all.  I watched Run, Fat Boy, Run, and relaxed all afternoon.

At 7, we got dressed, and all drove down to the race.  The drama that is my ex-relationship continued, and suffice it to say, this part of my life has to be over.  Although he wanted to take two cars, I’m so glad we didn’t, because I could barely move at the end.  Plus, this was my gig…mine and my 9 year old’s.  He had to run with his dad because of his age…so there.

At the start of the race, everyone was pumped.  It was a great feeling to start. 

And this is all I remember…but I will try to give the highlights & lowlights:

Highlight #1:  I adore Tony from Fleet Feet.  He’s an awesome owner/manager.  Was a delight to see him at the Expo.

Lowlight #1:  I asked specifically about the water stations.  I went to the one in charge, and I said “ARE YOU SURE THERE IS ENOUGH WATER?” and she said of COURSE and I repeated…Because at the Napa2Sonoma Half there was no water at Mile 6, and it was brutal.

(PS-I have no one to blame here…I repeatedly said I would NEVER not take my own water…and I didn’t last night because I believed the race director lady).

Highlight #2: I loved Mile 1-3.  I felt good.  Amazing spectator support with families on the street.  Later, at one point, a whole group was smoking pot, but it was about mile 7, and I was already too whipped to care.

Lowlight #2: Water stations were supposedly at 1.5 miles, 3, 4.5, 6.  This was a loop.  So I expected those places.  I always do the 2 mile/2 min walk thing.  At 1.5 I stopped.  At around mile 3 it was starting to get dark. 

The rest is pretty sketchy, but here’s what I remember.

Lowlight #3:  Light.  There wasn’t any.  People had headlamps on, and those light up bracelets…but there was no light, and the moon wasn’t up yet. 

Lowlight #4: This elderly man fell.  His whole forearm was bleeding.  I stopped to get him back on the path.  He seemed disoriented and wouldn’t leave the trail.  I was really concerned.  He finally got back on.  My mentor CharlieBob was on the side and I alerted him to the man when I ran by him.

Highlight #3: At the beginning, it felt like Halloween, and I remember thinking what a cool idea this was, and how fun it was going to be.  It reminded me of when kids are all dressed up, and all you can see are their light up pumpkins. 

Highlight #4: Boy Scouts at each water station were great.  There was only one time that I accidentally got Powerade, which I can’t drink during races, but they were great kids.

Lowlight #5: The course.  After the very narrow path, we get to the end, and the path becomes dirt.  No warning.  Then you wind around a parking lot and come back to the dirt.

Lowlight #6: A woman falls.  I go to pick her up, as she fell in a hole.  No help, no first aid, just me.  I walk her back to the aid station at Mile 4.5? 6?

Lowlight #7: The mile markers.  Sketchy.  Would have been nice to have a light on top of them.  I never was clear where I was.  And, I kept drinking a little so that by mile 7, I was sloshy AGAIN.  Here is where I insert self kicking.  I knew I should have been in control of when and where and how I drink or get fuel.

Highlight #5: The cops were great.

We came back from the first loop.  We have to go out again, and then it’s very scary.  All of this lumped together.  The crowd is still there, the stations are okay to Mile 10? 9?  I never knew where I was.  The moon was up finally, and I enjoyed the trail…mostly because I was alone.

I met PUNKROCKRUNNER (Ron) before the race.  I saw him and we hugged, since I simply adore his supportive tweets.  Met his wife and daughter.  On my way back out to hell, I got a high five from him, and it made my night.

I will tell you that more than once, I wanted to cut across, and end in a different way…but I carried on.

When I got to the dirt/parking lot, there was one guy there.  “Hang in there” he says.  Up until Mile 3, I was at 10:30 pace.  You can see by my ending stats, that I simply walked.  A lot.

On the way back, I got scared.  Same Lowlight.  From Mile 10-11.5, the trail was completely pitch black dark.  (At Mile 10?, I did not drink.  I thought I would wait because my stomach was hurting.  I let the Boy Scouts drench me!  They liked that…) I was by myself, except for seeing CharlieBob.  I had to keep running, because seriously, I was scared shitless.  What if I had fallen?  There was some animal, and I just continued, not looking.  Really?  This could have been a disaster.  I just had to find the bridge.  The lights had shut off, and it was eerily silent.

Lowlight #8: Sprinklers.  While I love getting misted, I don’t love getting drenched.  They came on for the rest of the trail.  I was soaked to my shoes, and it was not fun.  Plus, I just tried to make it to the next aid station. 

Lowlight #9: The next aid station had no water.  No, they had water, but no cups…and as I had decided not to get water at the previous one, I was in need of it now.

I rounded the corner at Mile 12, and just kept going block by block.  The crowd support was gone, and I was running through the Modesto Nightlife Bar Scene.  I just kept thinking…one foot in front of the other.  Finally I crossed the finish line.  At 3:02:10.  In misery.

So disappointed in this race, and my time.  The lack of safety was my main concern.  I could not see the ground in many places.  I just wanted to finish, and to see my sons.  I did…and you know what?  Punkrockrunner was there too, and it made my night.  Then I saw each kid.  And I have a great pic of my 2 miler and me.  Right after the race.

Got to bed at 1am.  It’s 2pm now, and we are going to Mexican food.  Now.  I read all the reviews on the race online, and they are all right.  It’s a great idea, but so many kinks need to be worked out.

(Another memory resurfaces:  There was a fire truck.  And an ambulance.  On the path.  Taking care of someone.  People with cell phones calling for help.  Yikes.)

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10 thoughts on “Modesto Midnight Half Marathon Race Report

  1. You know, this race report is no reflection on you, your time or anything like that. It is totally the race directors fault that the race went off so poorly and it was clearly unsafe, scary, etc…

    There is a half marathon I did last year that I will NOT do again until they get a different race organizing company or something. They had little or no water at many water stops on a very hot spring day in SoCal. Too much distance between the water stops. Poor organization of the whole event, including the race expo and packet pickup. That event is no reflection on me. I won’t do THAT race again, but I will race again.

    Put this bad experience behind you and the next race you choose, make sure you get good recommendations on it that it is a well-organized and safe race with a good course that is appropriate for you.

    Sorry you had such a poopy race. 😦

  2. You’re to be commended for (1) the help you gave other people (2) finishing what sounds like a fiasco, though I’m not sure finishing was a sane reaction to an insane situation! (3) Managing, somehow to report on all of this and (4) coming to the conclusion you did, i.e. My race. My miles, My water. NOT dictated by race. To be in control of that.

    On top of all the challenges presented by race it sounds like you were VERY distracted by personal issues – I’ve been there. The outcome is seldom pretty 🙂

  3. Y’know, I’ve never done well in a longer race that started after 2 p.m or so. Ever. And I absolutely HATE racing in the dark, even if it’s on public roads with streetlights – or even on the track, for that matter. It’s just something about the combination of the body/pscyhe wanting to close down for the night exactly when you need it to be up and ready to perform.

    And I can’t imagine trying to race on unlighted trails in the dark! That’s insane! And a little bit dangerous.

    I think you did great under the circumstances!

  4. Well – chalk that one up to experience. Although I’m sure the race director has already heard from others, I would defintely let them know my thoughts. IN fact, one of the things I always do is drop a line to the race director after every race. Most of the time it’s just to thank them and tell them what went right.

    I can’t beleive tey had you out running in the dark. I would think they would have been afraid of the liability.

    And burnout? That’s why you can’t stop blogging Linda! I get motivation from people like you. Otherwise I would have thrown in the towel long ago.

  5. Sounds like a tough one. As you said, great idea but poor follow through. You did the best you could with the situation. Great job.

  6. I agree-it sounded like an awesome idea running a race at night! But when you run at night it’s dark…they really must think about these things! You can rely on the moon!

    You finished! Congrats!!

  7. i think the idea behind running a half marathon at midnight sounds like a lot of fun… BUT all those lowlights you mentioned are just scary! glad you made it to the finish and hope those people that fell are ok!

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