Friday night was the much buzzed about Skinny Raven Twilight 12K. I’ve heard from a lot of racers that THIS is the best event in Anchorage, and that it’s a blast and a great way to kick off summer. Running it with me was the amazing Stephanie Plugge, who is super awesome at letting me talk her into things (cough, Turkey Trot, cough, Twilight 12k).
Race day had some rain, and it was supposed to be rainy, windy, and chilly during the race. I wore long sleeves. I immediately regretted wearing long sleeves.
Once we got to the race, we checked our bags at the bag drop and made our way over to the ports-potty lines. In a race for 3,000 people, they only had 11 porta-potties. This led to long lines, people cutting, and me literally getting to pee as racers were supposed to be lining up.
The route started downtown, heading North over the water into the Government Hill neighborhood. There was a killer hill to go up, and Steph & I accidentally went too fast out of the gate going 2 minutes faster than our target pace. Whoops!
We came across the first water station at the 2.75 mile mark, where I stopped and drank water and tried to stretch out my foot. We were only at the beginning and my arch was already throbbing with pain. After a quick phone call to Matt for some moral support, I walked a bit and decided to power through the pain.
Leaving Government Hill we went back down the massive hill we climbed and crossed back into the downtown area. I’ve never been in the Government Hill area before, so it was cool seeing Anchorage from a different perspective. The sky was beautiful and downtown looked awesome in the sun.
Once back in downtown, I crossed the 4-mile mark. I was over halfway through with the race! I had to send Matt a selfie to celebrate!
The route then took a turn to the Coastal Trail, a route I am very familiar with. By this point I was really thirsty and had to use the bathroom, since I got rushed at the start line. I was scanning for a bathroom the whole time, and was disappointed to find the only bathroom on the route was at mile 6 (along with the next water station).
I had an interesting experience at the second water station. I went to reach for a cup of water from one of the kids who was volunteering, and his friend smacked the cup out of his hand and said “don’t give her water!” I said “give me some damn water!” and took some. I asked the kid what his problem was and he just shrugged his shoulder and laughed.
The third water station was less than a mile later, so I think the spacing could have been a lot better. I could have really used some downtown when we were running without shade.
The final mile of the race was up a hill (of course. Because in anchorage every race ends up a hill) and a fellow runner and I formed a companionship by discussing said dreaded hill. The thing that made the hill bearable was that a bunch of people were grilling and drinking at their house on the route, cheering on runners and ringing cowbells. Crowd support is awesome when you’re in pain running up a hill.
When I finally saw the giant arches on the park strip, I got pumped and sprinted my little heart out. I made it through the arches, and started to wander to the free pizza when some guy started yelling to me “you’re not done! you haven’t finished! it wraps around!”
So I had to go back into the extremely long race chute and wrap around the people partying with beer.
It was weird. And anti-climatic.
The best part was Matt there at the end cheering, and Steph (who had finished 5 minutes prior, she’s a beast) taking paparazzi photos for me.
Once I was through, we met up with Matt, checked our race times (Steph nailed the 12 min/mi pace we were going for. I was a bit behind at a 12:59 pace. I also stopped and used a porta potty, so you know that added time.)
I changed out of my sweaty long sleeve shirt into one of Matt’s awesome programming shirts, and we celebrated with beer and pizza!
I felt great (which meant I didn’t push myself) except my arches and shins were killing me. It really makes me mad that I have the endurance, but my body won’t let me do what I want to do.
Overall, I’m super proud of myself for doing the distance. It’s the longest race I’ve run, and the farthest I’ve run since probably high school. It gave me a lot of confidence for the half marathon we have coming up June 21st.
The race was advertised as one for all runners, but in the 12k I was near the very back (like finished before 10 other people), and I didn’t think my pace was that slow. I guess it’s just a race that faster people sign up for?
I may run it again next year, but I’d probably just do their Skinny Minnie 6k instead. Half the distance means I’d get to the beer and after party faster.
– awesome t-shirts
– bib pickup was super easy
– free beer and pizza
– beautiful route
– water stations weren’t spaced nicely. I was dying at mile 4 for water (especially because it was so hot) and had to go another 2 before I got some.
– bathrooms. There weren’t enough ports-potties at the start line, and there was no where to go until the end of the route.
– finish line. It wrapped around the outdoor party and it wasn’t super clear where it was, due to the big white arches. Maybe that’s just a me thing.