Saturday, August 21, 2010

It's just 3 miles to the pizza and beer!

...Three hot, concrete-laden, pothole-filled, unscenic, unshaded, boring, industrial miles with far too many hairpin turns. But runners will endure just about anything for an awesome post-race party... and so Team FAST slogged through the three endless miles of the Maui Jim Maka Maka Run on Thursday evening so that they could enjoy endless Old Chicago pizza and beer and a live band afterward. It wasn't such a bad deal in the end. But for 27 minutes, I found myself wondering if it was really worth it.

You may recall from my last posting that Team FAST was doing the Maka Maka run as a prediction run. I predicted a time of 27:45 for myself. I made this prediction long before I knew how hot it would be for the actual event. As soon as I arrived at the starting line, I wished I could change my prediction time... to something much slower. Say, 36:00. Alas, I was stuck - there was no backing out.

Team FAST showed up all decked out in matching red FAST shirts. We looked like a team. And we looked fast. And not just because our shirts said FAST on them, although I'm sure there were plenty of people thinking that we were just bragging about ourselves.

Just a few of the FASTies at the Maka Maka Run

The course, which runs through an industrial park area of town, was roughly in the shape of a tuning fork (see map below), and we basically had to run up each fork, turn around and run back down. This meant there were several about-face turnarounds, which are quite tricky to navigate at a fast pace. Additionally, the roads are concrete (as opposed to asphalt) and loaded with huge ankle-breaking potholes. It's a good thing this race wasn't really a race, because it was just not a good race course.

The air horn went off right at 6pm and the toasty trot began. As I am known to do in short races, I went out way too fast. I looked at my Garmin and saw I was running something like an 8:15 pace. I gradually slowed down, although I knew I was still going a bit fast. I didn't feel too uncomfortable (yet), so I just stayed steady. When I hit the first mile marker, the volunteer was calling out splits and even though my Garmin showed my first mile at an 8:36 pace, the volunteer said I had just run an 8:11 mile. Huh. That's quite a discrepancy. Knowing that, I slowed waaaaaay down for the next two miles.

As it turned out, I didn't slow down enough. I finished in 26:49, nearly a minute faster than my predicted time. Needless to say, I didn't win the $20 gift card. That honor went to my very own husband... and fellow FASTie Niki. Yes, there was a tie! But only because they had the same prediction time and ran together. They came within 1 second of their prediction time. ONE SECOND! Hmmmm... seems kind of fishy to me... They will have to split the $20 gift card... maybe they can each buy a pair of socks and a Clif bar.

As you can see from the chart, it looks like the Garmin discrepancy was in the distance (which of course, affected the pace readout). I only logged 2.94 miles. The elevation chart makes the course look a lot hillier than it was. It was nearly pancake flat, with just a few gentle rolls. You can also see the hairpin turns, where my pace drops considerably.

Once I crossed the finish line, I waited for the rest of my teammates to cross, and then it was time for the real fun: food and beer and friends! As an interesting side note, maka maka is Hawaiian for "friend".

The post-run party was excellent. There was an abundance of Old Chicago pizza (cheese, pepperoni and sausage), brownies, scones, and beer. It was all-you-can-eat-and-drink for everyone who ran. There was also a pretty decent live band providing entertainment. Team FAST sat around and chatted during the post-race festivities. We were joined by a few non-FASTies and one of them mentioned that he was going to be running a 51k (31 mile) race this weekend. Upon further discussion, we learned that he's running the E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon (say that three times fast!). If it sounds intriguing, that's because it is.

And I simply must run this race.


Let me explain: It consists of several events (51k ultramarathon, marathon, half-marathon, and 10k) which run along Extraterrestrial Highway near the infamous and mysterious Area 51 in the Nevada dessert. (Get it? 51k at Area 51!) And if that isn't cool enough (because who doesn't love aliens and UFOs?), the race begins at midnight - the perfect time to spot UFOs on the horizon. And on top of that, the finisher's medal has an alien on it. And after reading this race report, complete with awesome photos of glowing things, I am completely sold.

Where can I sign up???

I obviously won't be able to run it this year, since the race is in less than 24 hours and, well, I'm nowhere near Nevada. But it's definitely going on my race bucket list (see link above for my race bucket list!).

So, who wants to run it with me?

*watches lots of hands shoot up*

Excellent! Did I mention I want to do the 51k?

*watches hands quickly go back down*

Hmph. Suit yourselves. The mothership will remember this when it comes to pick us all up and take us back to our home planet. I'll get to ride shotgun and you all won't!

Peace. Love. Train.

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