I wasn’t planning to do this race. I really wanted to do the Tread Nightly / Tread Brightly series, but since it was only about two weeks after the Grandfather Mountain Marathon, I figured that would have been a bit too much. I offered to pace Beth in either the Tread Nightly or Tread Brightly race when she was originally planning to both half marathons. Eventually she decided that she couldn’t run both races, and wasn’t sure she was going to do either one, so I let it be and concentrated on the marathon instead. Beth sent me a text two days before the race letting me know she had registered and since I had already signed up to volunteer for the event, I didn’t put too much thought into it other than to tell her that I would see her out on the trail, but 24 hours before the race when I still hadn’t heard anything about volunteer responsibilities, I pulled the trigger and signed up for the race instead!
We met up after work on Friday and headed out to the Whitewater Center so that we had some time to relax before the race started at 8:00. We got to run in the daylight for a little bit, but it was really nice that the sun was going down as we started – running in the summer in the south is no joke and I’ve been struggling this summer for sure!
Unfortunately we didn’t get to feel any relief from the rain in the distance, it just got more humid
We met up with some folks from Beth’s run group and made sure that all of our lights were on before we hit the starting line. The first half mile or so was fairly open as we went up to the parking lot and headed past the main buildings before jumping onto a trail. A lot of the races at the Whitewater Center use the same trails, so most of them were familiar, but I was very excited to realize that we didn’t have to run up (or down) Goat Hill. I manned the water station at the bottom of that hill for the New South Marathon & Half in March and folks were looking rough after having to do that section, especially the marathoners who had to do it twice!
Once we got on the trail, it was tightly packed for quite awhile as there were over 190 people in the half marathon (another 230+ people did the 4-mile race that started after the half). Eventually we found some space and even stopped to take some pictures of all my lights on my pack in the woods – I certainly wasn’t going to be lost with those lights on!
This race was definitely a tough one for me and I made Beth walk sections so that I could catch my breath and eat more food – it was my first full week of the 21 day fix, so I was still trying to figure it all out – and of course, I was only two weeks post-marathon, so it was a rough night. The elevation on the trails doesn’t look like much, but it certainly felt like we were climbing mountains all night!
It took us just over 3:43 to finish the race which meant that it was almost midnight before we finished the race and had to sneak in under the wire to order food (this was one of my cheats eating some chips and half a burger in addition to the Cheez-its and GU while I was on the course). It was in the 80’s when we started the race, and there were quite a few spots that didn’t have much cover, so I’m glad we decided to do the night race instead of the race the next morning. Another benefit of running a race on Friday night is that by Saturday night it felt like it was already Sunday, but then I realized I had a whole other day before I had to go to work!
I like the shirt design for this race – you get a lot of grey and blues, but this one is a blue heather with a hint of purple and yellow thrown in. The race medals were similar for both Tread Nightly and Tread Brightly (featuring purple and yellow) and if you ran both half marathons, they connected to form one circular medal. This is actually the back of the shirt with the front of the shirt showing the big Whitewater Center W in the middle in the same purple color.
Maybe next year I’ll be in for both races!