Friday, June 29, 2018

Moonlight Bootlegger Recap

I've mentioned on this blog before that I am a bit weary of trails, but have been making strides to be more comfortable on them. Running a few miles here and there on trails, dipping into the woods in the middle of a longer road run and so on. Each year I start the New Year off with a trail 5K even. I've gotten better, more confident, but I can't say that I absolutely love trails yet. Although I did finally graduate to my greatest trail challenge as of yet, the Moonlight Bootlegger 5K. It was an adventure that I was super nervous to do, but I'm always up for a challenge. 

I have several friends that have done this race each June and it seemed like a lot of fun. Basically, the race is a night time romp through the local Anne Springs Close Greenway. Prior to the Bootlegger, I've only run on this particular greenway once before. I know, not amazing prep, but I felt ready. I'm crazy like that. 

The race started at 8:55 pm, so it was going to be dark during the run. I was meeting several friends for this race so we arranged to arrive a bit early as there was no pre-race packet pick up. We wanted to have plenty of time to meet up, get our packets, run stuff back to the car, hit the port-a-potties and take some pictures before the race started. Everything was super well organized and I was excited to see one of the ladies in my run club volunteering at packet distribution. I love local races! With all that taken care of, we just had to wait until the sun set so we could head out into the woods. 

Run the Rockstars, ready to race!

So here's the scene... It is late June in SC in the evening, so you know it's hot. And humid. I'm honestly a bit terrified to be running in the woods at night. And there is going to be roughly 2.4 billion bugs out, so not ideal. Luckily I had my Insect Guard Buff to keep me nice and protected from creepy crawlies during the race. Seriously, this thing was a life saver. No bug issues for me at all. And I can't say the same about everyone. Not even kidding, after the race, a friend of mine pulled a TICK out of her BRA! HER BRA!! So big, huge thank you, Buff!! THANK YOU for a tick-free bra! 

"Disclaimer: I received several Buff products to use and review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!"

The race started exactly on time and we were off. The sun had just set so it was still a bit light, but the second that we hit the woods, the light disappeared. The race mandated that you had to have some kind of light in order to participate, so I had a pretty strong headlamp to light my way. The first half mile or so was on a pretty wide gravel trail so I felt like it wasn't too bunched up or crowded. The path was also lit by lots and lots of tea lights along the side of the trail which was really helpful. And any place that you may have confused for a turnoff was roped off which I really appreciated as someone not familiar with the trail. By the time we hit the more narrow trails, runners had pretty much thinned out into their own pace. I heard another runner pretty directly behind me and yelled to her to let me know if she wanted to pass (I have a tendency to flail a bit on trails, so I wanted to move over closer to the side if she were passing) but she said she was using me to pace, so we got to chatting throughout the race. 

Crossing the finish line
Trail pace is of course always slower than road, but I was feeling pretty good as these trails were obviously very well maintained. There were a few rooty areas and one crazy area that randomly had concrete stairs, which thankfully we ran up instead of down, and I only really caught my footing a few times. I did hear someone fairly near behind me fall but she yelled she was fine, so me and my new pace buddy kept going. Each mile was marked with a speaker playing banjo music (which yes, the organizers joked about during the starting info) and was a fun way to mark the way, especially since my Apple Watch wasn't tracking very well in the woods. We wound around Lake Hagler and then back out to the original trail we started on which I had not noticed on the way out how steep down it was, but trust me, I noticed how steep UP it was. Man, that last half mile was a killer. 

Finally, I burst out of the woods, back past the parking area and to the finish where each racer was welcomed back by name. There was a bluegrass band playing and Moonshine was being served (your bib had two Moonshine tickets on it) in two varieties - Peach Tea and Tropical Sunset and computers were set up so you could get your official finishing time. I was the first of my friends to finish, so I grabbed a bottle of water and hung out at the finish line cheering runners in. It wasn't until then that I realized just how hot and sweaty I was! I honestly could not have been wetter if I had gone swimming instead. Gotta love Summer races in SC! 

When a few more of us had finished, we went to get our Moonshine, I opted for the Tropical Sunrise which was very fruity and good, but also very weak on the alcohol, which wasn't a bad thing. I also found out that I placed 2nd in my division so that meant hanging around for the awards. The race always has really neat placement awards that are unique each year and they are usually really cool things like lanterns or neat bottles and so on. This year was no exception. We were given personalized growlers with our placement on them, so cool! 

All in all, it was an awesome race, and awesome adventure and I am so glad that I did it. Do I love trails yet? Not really, but each challenge that I overcome, I am getting more and more confident. In fact, I'm running trails tomorrow! And I am for sure taking my Insect Shield Buff with me to ward against any potential bra ticks. /shudder 

2nd Place Division! Woo hoo!

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