Monday, July 12, 2021

Midnight Madness 2021 Recap


Fifty years (and running) says a lot about an event's longevity.

Throw in some crazy weather, though, with an unplanned merging of two races (as well as a delayed start time), and you have the makings of a potential catastrophe.

...or the entire evening could just surprise you, for the better.

But let's start at the beginning... 

My experience with the Midnight Madness festivities began in 2016 (recap), and it didn't go well. Let's just say this particular event, in that particular year, holds my one and only DNF to date. I returned in 2018 (recap) and redeemed myself with a third place AG in the 10K. The momentum continued in 2019 (recap), where I set two new course PR's (for the 5K and 10K) and brought home AG hardware for both.

2018


with Cy, the Iowa State mascot "policeman" in 2019

The 2020 event had to assume a virtual format (due to Covid), and was postponed until September. Since I was entertaining a stress fracture at the time, I had to take a pass on participating.

To say I was eager to return, this year, would be a drastic understatement.  As mentioned, 2021 was the 50th year of the Midnight Madness races. This year's event was under the leadership of a new race director, and also was moved to a new location within the city of Ames.

Another change was the format. In previous years, the 5K started at 7:20 (following the kids' race), and the 10K was an hour later...giving the runners the opportunity to run both races (which is what I'd done in 2018 and 2019). This year, the 5K and 10K were both starting at 8:00, with the 10K runners running two laps of the 5K course...alas, it was one race or the other, so I was all set for the 10K.

All week, the forecast had shown rain for race day, with thunderstorms in the evening. UGH. As the weekend approached, though, it was looking like "just" rain, but plenty of it. An email was sent out, Friday evening, alerting us that the race committee was watching the weather and would make a formal announcement (Saturday afternoon) on the fate of the evening's races.

We had to leave town earlier than usual (for a quick stop along the way). It wasn't until we were already en route that we learned the 10K had been canceled, and all those runners would be running the 5K instead (thus not running the second lap for the 10K distance). This would allow for a possible later start, if need be, due to the (still) inclement weather. Did I mention we'd already been driving in rain? A short while later, it was announced the race would, indeed, be delayed to 8:30. 

It was still raining when we arrived, around 7:30 (we'd taken our time getting there since things were delayed). We grabbed our packets, and made ourselves comfortable inside the Ames Fitness Center.


As luck would have it (thank you, Momma N!), the rain let up and the clouds began clearing around  8:00! The temps had dropped, and the wind had picked up, but the rain had completely moved on as we walked to the start line a short while later.



We lined up on University Boulevard, and we were off! The route headed north across the start line. It wasn't long and the route turned onto Collaboration Place, blessing us with a strong headwind (and a crazy downhill) for the greater part of the first 1/2-mile. It almost was a little scary and overwhelming how fast everyone seemed to be going! Once we turned left (heading north again, this time on South Riverside Drive) was I able to (sort of) ease up and catch my breath. When the Garmin beeped, at the 1-mile mark, I gasped to see that I'd run that first mile in 8:04 ((gulp)), Big oops.

A little later, the route went left (west, onto Airport Road) for a short ways, and then another left (this time onto South Loop). I was really struggling with keeping up with the crowd, but also trying to slow my pace a bit. (that 8:04 mile split, form Mile-1 had me a little scared!). When I saw the water stand, at the approximate halfway point, I pulled over and grabbed a cup and paused for a few seconds to drink a few sips.

map from MidnightMadnes site

We then merged left, this time on a cement trail through what looked like a park. The path had a few slight inclines, and some easy curves. By now, my pace was feeling more steady and I was able to pass a few other runners (who were probably on the verge of crashing, from going out too fast as well). I was relieved to see 8:24 on the Garmin, when it beeped at the 2-mile mark. 

The third mile took us on a winding path, with a few more easy inclines, before getting back on University for the last stretch to the finish line. Now, headed south, we had a bit of a downhill for maybe a 1/4-mile before we turned east and had to fight the headwind again. Fortunately, it wasn't too long and the route took us back around the fitness center's parking lot and then the final jaunt to the finish line. Our friend, Chuck, was there calling my name as I approached the finish chute. 

Whew! It always feels good to be done, but this felt especially sweet when I saw my finish time.


Barb had finished a short ways ahead of me, and the hubby was just a few minutes behind me. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I grabbed a bottle of water and was instantly cold. The temps were about 25-degrees colder than in years past and that wind was chilly!


My splits:
Mile 1 - 8:04
Mile 2 - 8:24
Mile 3 - 8:20
(last .04 - :18)

My stats:
Overall - 220th  (out of 476) 
Females - 56th (out of 201) 
Age group - 3rd (out of 19)

So, yeah...I did get a 3rd place medal; two medals, actually. One medal was from the Midnight Madness event itself, and the other was from the Iowa Games (a statewide series of sporting events, held throughout the month of July). The Midnight Madness races are the official 5K and 10K for the Iowa Games.


After the race, we hung around for awhile for the after-party. There was a live band, as well as pizza and water/soda/beer.
 
The hubby, myself, Barb and Chuck

A few things about this race...
**The change of location was nice, but this made for a very fast course; much faster than the previous course. The top finisher for women clocked a 16:16, and the top male ran a 14:09! As for my age group, the first and second place finishers ran it in 20:41 and 22:12. Yikes!
**It was a bit of a stressor to have to adjust my "racing" mindset. Switching from a 10K to a 5K is not an easy thing to do (almost) spur of the moment.
**About my finish time...My 5K PR is 24:59 (I think), so although the 25:06 looks impressively close, this course was slightly under the actual 5K distance, at least according to my Garmin (I know...#buzzkill). That said, I'm still very pleased with how I did. We all know the 5K is NOT my favorite distance, so pulling off a very fast-for-me finish time was a big deal for this preferred long distance runner.

Lastly, just for fun, here's a pic of the Iowa Games medals from this event, this year and years' past. Lots of bronze LOL (I have also done the Winter Iowa Games 5K, which is held in a different city, in January). 
(L-R) 2018 10K, 2019 5K and 10K, 2021 5K

So, talk to me... 
Have you ever had to run a different (shorter) race, due to weather? Does your state have a similar series of statewide sporting events? Ever done an evening race?

 I'm linking this with Kim and Zenaida for the Tuesday Topics Link-Up


I'm also linking with Debbie, DeborahLisaLaura and Jenn for the Runners' Roundup

By the way...are you following me on social media? You can find me at these various platforms:
Let's connect : Facebook Instagram  Pinterest Twitter


34 comments:

  1. Congrats on TWO age group awards, Kim!! Well done and awesomely close to your PR!
    I don't think that I ever had to run a shorter distance because of the weather. And I have definitely never won two medals in one race, haha!

    It's hard to pace yourself at a 5k especially when you have many speedy runners around you. The times of those fastest runners are crazy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a 10K get shortened to a 5K, a few years ago, on a cold & windy & iced-over spring morning. That race was all about survival LOL This one was a different game...glad it all worked out ;-)

      Delete
  2. Congrats on a great race, Kim! And your AG place.

    I’ve never had to switch distances. That’s got to be tough!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Switching from a 10K to a 5K was not fun...but doable. Of course, that meant a much larger group of peeps, and a much faster pace would be necessary LOL

      Delete
  3. Thankyou for sharing such a great blog. I love your ideas.
    Obscure Store

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congrats on a great pace and race time.

    I was running the 2nd leg of a marathon relay when the race was canceled. I stubbornly continued to finish it.

    I have done a few night races. The problem is fueling...what do you eat and when?

    Good job!! All those time trails are paying off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fueling is really tough for an evening race...and this one got delayed even further LOL We all were starving when we finished!

      Delete
  5. It's a bummer that the distance had to be changed but I'm glad that it stopped raining by the time you started the race. Congrats on your AG award and a great race!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We totally lucked out with the weather (after the rain finally stopped, that is). It was much colder than I'd preferred, but oh well. I knew I could suck it up for three miles and change (and then grab a blanket afterwards).

      Delete
  6. Oh, I love evening/night runs... there are not too many in our area, but there is one that I am hoping will return to in-person soon!! :) So much fun. And congrats on 3rd place in your age group. That's amazing. You ran some fast splits!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!! I love evening races as well, though the fueling is a bit of crap shoot ;-)

      Delete
  7. Congrats on the 2 age group awards and the fast finishing time! I think that the crazy downhill are very dangerous, when I find them I run slower because I am scared of falling.
    Before the lockdown I always did a night race in July (09.00 p.m.) in Orbetello, a beautiful town in Tuscany: Now the event is cancelled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This downhill, right after the start line was crazy scary! Everyone was going so fast, and I was caught in a mix of keeping up with the crowd vs. not getting trampled...all while trying to not go too fast myself. That's a bummer on the Orbetello race ;-(

      Delete
  8. night time races in the summertime are tough with the heat and humidity. Nice job on a speedy finish my friend. You have some speedy racers in your town!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This race usually entertains hot and humid conditions, so to have the cooler temps (and cold wind) really made for a weird setting. There were so many fast finish times! I think the top 10 (or more?) in the hubby's group all were in the low 20's...that's insane!

      Delete
  9. Congrats on your race! I bet that was really tricky to change the distance at the last minute. I don't do well running later in the day, so all of this would have been a huge struggle for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was all in the name of safety, and the weather had been so erratic we were lucky the rain and storms did move on by race time. But, yes, switching to a 5K race strategy was tough!

      Delete
  10. The latest race I've ever done was in the afternoon. Racing at night sounds pretty difficult, but it would be fun to try once. I've certainly had a few times where I wished that I'd got with the 5k instead of the 10k, but yes quite the curveball to have the decision made for you at the last minute;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This race is a lot of fun, and the challenge of running/racing in the evening just adds to the excitement (for me, anyways LOL).

      Delete
  11. So the race doesn't take place at midnight? I'd say that the weather was definitely in your favor for a fast race. Congrats on your AG placement!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope, never has. I think the party, afterwards, goes until midnight...but we've never stuck around that late.

      Delete
  12. Congrats! I think that's amazing, even if you did have a bit of mindgames switching from the 10k to the 5k. Nice work, lady!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Rachel ;-) Yeah, I was a bit blindsided by the 5K thing LOL

      Delete
  13. I have to admit I was curious to know why you DNF'd in 2016 so I went back and read that recap- you were running three races in one day! Congrats on your fast time and AG award in this one- yes, annoying to have it switched like that at the last minute, but you made the best of it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that DNF was my own doing...I shouldn't have even done the 5K, let alone started the 10K in that compromised state. Thankfully, the three times I've returned to this event have all gone much better ;-)

      Delete
  14. Congrats, Kim, on a great race and AG place with short notice on changing up your racing strategy! I have run only a couple of evening races. They make me nervous about how my GI system will react after having to eat during the day prior to the race (TMI?).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No doubt, fueling (and eating) is tricky to time just right for an evening race. AT least I found out early enough about the race changing, so I didn't eat as much as I'd planned since I'd "only" be doing a 5K.

      Delete
  15. How exciting to do another race! You did GREAT!! I've done maybe 1 or 2 evening races. One of those was the RnR Las Vegas Half Marathon. It is hard to figure out how to get ready (food, etc) but I'd rather race in the morning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I prefer the morning races, too, but the evening events are a fun challenge. Most of the runners (I'd assume) don't routinely do evening races...so we're all in the same boat.

      Delete
  16. Oh, wow! I'm sorry they shortened the course on you, but I can understand for safety reasons. It's never happened to me, personally, but I have heard of it happening.

    Congratulations on a strong finish, despite the last minute changes! That's hard to adjust on the spot, but you crushed it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, having my beloved 10K short-changed to half its distance was a bit of buzzkill. I'm glad the weather (finally) cooperated for us, though!

      Delete
  17. Congrats on your AG medal! That was a fast 5K! I have not done an evening race but I would like to.
    I run-walked a 5K race last week but it was half on sand and I am not good at running in wet sand lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sand is tough! Even wet sand is challenging because it still has some "give" to it.

      Delete