Hi everyone! I’m so excited to recap my very first 12k ever: the Twilight 12k in Anchorage! I was really excited about this race, mostly because there was pizza at the end. Pizza = motivation for me to do anything!
The race started at 7:00 pm on Friday night, which works really well with my current afternoon running routine (although please – it’s not like 7:00 is anywhere close to twilight in Alaska! Maybe 11:00 pm?). I made sure to be super careful about what I ate all day, and actually followed my usual race day fueling ritual of eating oatmeal two hours before the race even though it was 5:00 pm! The best part about this race was that my friend had flown in from Bethel to run with me, and her friend was in town as well. I’d never run a race with anyone so I was so excited! My strategy for this race was pretty simple: take it nice and slow and focus more on having fun than anything else. It was an automatic PR since it was my first 12k, and my friends were saying that they “didn’t train” and were worried about it. It was perfect running weather (60s and cloudy) and we were so excited to get started!
After the almost 1,000 6k runners headed out, it was time for the 1,200 12k runners to start. We took off down the streets of downtown Anchorage. As we crossed over Ship Creek, we hit mile #1 at 9:55! What?! I realized at that point that even with my friends being “unprepared”, they were really fast. And I could either keep up with them, or run slower alone. And I chose to stick with them! The miles started flying by – we ran up to Government Hill, flew back down the hill, and then ran through downtown to the coastal trail. And when I say that we were flying I’m not kidding! We were passing people left and right and I actually managed to recognize a lot of people at the race and slowed down to talk to a few of them before catching up to my friends. I NEVER pass people like that and it was such a crazy feeling!
At mile 4 I realized I could stop to take some Sport Beans, but that if I kept up my pace I wouldn’t technically need them because I’d be finishing so quickly. I decided to skip them and keep going. I continued to be happy and talkative until about mile 6 when my body started realizing that I was going way faster than usual. I let the girls talk and just tried to distract myself from how I was feeling. At mile 7 we had to go up a hill and I really thought I was not going to make it without taking a walk break – but I eventually did, and I sprinted to the finish screaming “LOOK HOW FAST I AM!” at Andrew as I ran by him.
My final results:
After the race all I wanted to do was eat my pizza. I earned it! But I stopped for a much-needed water break and had the chance to talk to one of my coaches about how great the race went for me. I also ran into the girls from my HTH training group who are at my tempo pace and they finished right around the same time as me. I’m probably going to have to run with them in the future if I want to run super fast again! After grabbing a slice of pizza and a grilled cheese sandwich I felt awesome and I couldn’t stop smiling.
Overall, I would highly recommend this race! What I loved:
- The race was at night! I love running at night so this was awesome!
- There was free Moose’s Tooth pizza and grilled cheese at the finish, along with cookies, fruit, root beer, and free beer in the rose garden! SO MUCH FOOD!
- The course was slightly different than the usual Anchorage coastal trail race route – I never go over to Government Hill so that was new.
- The race was pretty big and it was easy to run into lots of people you know.
- There were live bands along the course which made it way more fun.
What I didn’t really like:
- Why must all Anchorage races end on a hill?
- The race shirts were just cotton (no tech option) and there was no medal or anything at the end for finishers.
- The water at the end was in small cups, not bottles, and I was so thirsty. I’ll totally have Andrew carry a water bottle to my next Skinny Raven race so I can drink as much water as I want next time.
I will so run this race next year, and I’ll be gunning for another PR! But for now, I’m still on cloud nine about the way the race turned out. It’s been over a year since I ran paces this fast in a race of this length (my fastest 10k was at 10:04/mile). I imagined that I’d be running it a minute slower per mile so I’m shocked at what I was capable doing for so long. Maybe I’m closer to that half marathon PR than I thought?
Have you ever run a night race? Do you notice a difference when you run races with friends vs. alone?