My Profile

@nightswimmer

Roswell, GA Raving since 2018 Boston Marathon finisher, 50 States hopeful/finisher Frugal Running Active 11 months, 2 weeks ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Atlanta Track Club

  • Rave race:

    Rocket City Marathon

  • Race that's calling my name:

    Big Sur Marathon

  • I run because:

    My wife is a terrific cook and I enjoy rich food and drink.  Running is a good way to keep my appetite sharp and burn the excess calories that might otherwise hang around unwanted!

My Races

Organize, track & review your races and personal bests here.

50 States Map
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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Future Races

Personal Bests (3)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Marathon Chicago, IL 2009 3:34:20
Half Marathon Atlanta, GA 2009 1:38:58
10K Atlanta, GA 2010 42:47

Future Races (1)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
Marathon Idaho Springs, CO TBD

Past Races (37)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Marathon Rachel, NV Aug 6, 2023 5:00:44
Marathon Kansas City, MO Oct 19, 2019 4:24:10
Marathon Caribou, ME Sep 15, 2019 4:20:24
Marathon Hopkinton, MA Apr 15, 2019 4:02:21
Marathon Kiawah Island, SC Dec 8, 2018
Marathon Chattanooga, TN Oct 21, 2018 3:57:38
Marathon Snoqualmie Pass, WA Sep 16, 2018 3:48:50
Half Marathon Ruidoso, NM Jun 24, 2018 1:54:40
Marathon Two Harbors, MN Jun 17, 2017 4:12:37
Half Marathon Atlanta, GA Nov 24, 2016 1:58:47
Half Marathon Lexington, KY Apr 2, 2016 1:49:42
Half Marathon Atlanta, GA Nov 26, 2015 1:58:42
Marathon Chicago, IL Oct 11, 2015 4:31:39
Marathon Yankton, SD Apr 25, 2015 4:01:51
Half Marathon Atlanta, GA Nov 27, 2014 1:48:22
Marathon Arlington, VA Oct 26, 2014 4:40:55
Marathon Cary, NC Mar 16, 2014 3:54:24
Half Marathon Atlanta, GA 2013 1:44:07
Half Marathon Lexington, KY 2013 1:41:08
Marathon Pittsburgh, PA 2013 3:43:35
Marathon Columbus, GA 2013 3:57:14
Half Marathon Atlanta, GA 2012 1:47:40
Marathon Huntsville, AL 2012 3:52:43
Half Marathon Atlanta, GA 2011 1:41:39
10K Atlanta, GA 2010 42:47
Marathon Hopkinton, MA 2010 3:46:32
Marathon Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 2010 3:58:25
Half Marathon Atlanta, GA 2010 1:57:43
Marathon Atlanta, GA 2009 3:52:23
Half Marathon Atlanta, GA 2009 1:38:58
Half Marathon Snellville, GA 2009 1:44:26
10K Atlanta, GA 2009 43:33
Marathon Chicago, IL 2009 3:34:20
Marathon Atlanta, GA 2008 3:58:53
Marathon Atlanta, GA 2008 3:54:24
Half Marathon Atlanta, GA 2007 1:52:24
Half Marathon Atlanta, GA 2007 1:56:48

My Raves

Like many of us, I enjoy the disbelieving looks I got from friends and family when they find I run marathon distances (and unlike that ancient Greek guy, don’t die … MORE

Like many of us, I enjoy the disbelieving looks I got from friends and family when they find I run marathon distances (and unlike that ancient Greek guy, don’t die in the process.) Now, add in the crazy factors of running in the Nevada desert in August, racing at the periphery of the forbidden and secretive Area 51, and risking alien abduction by running in the middle of the night along the Extraterrestrial Highway. The combination of those things made this a “must do” event for me and raise the “wow” factor when sharing stories about this run. Some of the exotic elements of this race actually make it EASIER… the remote location, elevation, and overnight hours offer up a reduced temperature that turned August in the desert into nearly ideal running conditions. The midnight start temperature was in the low 70s and the mercury fell during the run to finish in the 50s, with low humidity throughout. I slowed my pace to accommodate the 4900-5800’ (1490-1770m) elevation and the continuous uphill for the first seven miles of the course, and was fine. The waning full moon and three ongoing meteor showers added drama to the evening, and the spectacular sunrise after I finished was “ooh” and “aah” worthy! The scenery otherwise was mostly limited to the range of my light. For the full marathon, the course went south seven miles on the highway, then turned around and came back, then an additional 6 or so further miles north on the same road, then return to finish at the original starting line. Participants ran ON the highway, which remained open to traffic, but that traffic was very light during race hours, and I imagine that most of the vehicles I saw were race-related. All but one kept to half of the speed limit and on the opposite side of the road when passing runners.
Race organizers made it easy to get to this remote, high desert location by providing affordable contracted bus service between the race start/finish, and a hotel in Las Vegas. This service was available to both runners and spectators, and was complimentary to race volunteers. Varying race distances were available, including 5K, 10K, half-marathon, full marathon, and a 51K ultra. Reasonably-priced finish-line photos were available and appreciated. Overall value is good.
The not-so-good is that there weren’t enough volunteers or race staff. Marathon and Ultra- runners are asked to bring their own hydration bottles with widely refill stations for the first half of the race. Sadly, even those weren’t staffed, leaving only partial hydration and no gel support for the first 14 miles. I filled up my hand-held flask with the supplied sports drink at the start, and found it foamy and tasting of soap – I dumped it and refilled with water at the first opportunity. That shortage of race workers also meant that there was no one to direct a turn-around at Mile 7 – just a LEO cloistered in his vehicle. I expected a mat, or someone with a clipboard, and ended up running 4/10 mile extra (There was a turn-around sign, but it was outside the beam throw of my running light.) The second half of the course was much better supported. The supplied on-course gels and sports drink were Hammer Nutrition, and while the gels were on par with those from other vendors, the drink was a low-calorie product sweetened with Xylitol and Stevia. It provided some electrolyte replacement, but no carbohydrates – a strange choice for a distance running event. Finally, the race (long-sleeve) T-shirt, medal, and place awards lack date or distance information. (Ultra runners get the same recognition as 5K participants which seems disappointing for those committed to the longer distances.) Participants are promised breakfast, which consisted of the usual post-run snacks plus yogurt, pancakes, and hot water for instant coffee or cup-a-noodles. I’m not sure if that’s all there was, or if the more-numerous 5K through half-marathon runners cleaned out a broader selection.
In summary, I’m glad I was part of this event, though it suffers from some self-inflicted wounds. Race organizers indicate there are challenges with finding volunteers to work in this remote section of desert in the middle of the night, but I’d gladly pay an extra $10 per head if the collected funds could perhaps pay course workers recruited from the sparsely populated race environs. That would fix the one weak spot in an otherwise bright event.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

I'm going to preface this review by saying that I hadn't planned to run this race. I generally do one or two marathons a year, and I'd gotten a BQ … MORE

I’m going to preface this review by saying that I hadn’t planned to run this race. I generally do one or two marathons a year, and I’d gotten a BQ just five weeks earlier at a race in Washington state, so I was ready to rest. I did have another race (deferred from the previous year when I was injured) on my docket for December, and decided that if I did one between the two, I’d qualify for Marathon Maniac-hood. So I looked up all the races between the two within a half-day’s drive from my home and encountered Seven Bridges. Once I settled on this event, I decided that I’d treat it as a long run, and whenever I hit the wall at 20, or 22, or whatever, I’d just walk in to the finish, not caring at all about finish time. The best laid plans… got better. Great running temperatures, easy pace, a nice course, and a pleasant run companion all came together such that when I got into those last six miles, I was still running easily, and never found the wall — after sixteen 26.2 mile races, this was the first where I didn’t feel the need to take walk intervals approaching the end.
Mid-October conditions are a crapshoot, but I lucked out this year. Race temperature was in the low 40s for the duration and skies were clear; the only downside was a 10-15 MPH wind out of the north that threatened to take my hat at each of the six bridges over the Tennessee river. Fortunately, that wind was at my back for most of the final ten miles of the course. The indoor VIP host area was open to runners to keep warm and out of the wind before the race start, which was a few minutes later than the appointed time.
Chattanooga could be a hilly place, but this course was more forgiving. The course ran through the flat of the Tennessee river valley, with the only real grade changes provided by the approaches to the river bridges – and the bulk of those were in the first few miles so they could be attacked with fresh legs.
This is a fairly small race, with 308 marathon finishers, and around 800 in the half marathon. Until the final mile, spectator support was almost nonexistant, but the aid stations were worthy of the Marathon Majors — located nearly every mile, and staffed with throngs of enthusiastic volunteers. All had water, most had varied flavors of Gatorade (tho I had expected all to have sports drink and was disappointed that wasn’t the case), and stops with Gu, gummies, fruit, chips, and other treats were frequent. Also abundant were toilets, accompanying the frequent hydration stops and plentiful at the start/finish line. For the many miles of the route along the concrete-paved Chattanooga Riverwalk, the majority of the toilet facilities were permanent, plumbed, porcelain, and there was never a wait.
Post race had hot pasta and sauce (with or without meat) in addition to the usual sports drinks, bananas, soft drinks, etc. There were also massage services (5 min free, additional time for $1/minute ), that might have been what I needed most, but had an extended wait that was out of keeping with my experience for the rest of the race.

Swag included a nice short sleeved shirt, unique metal and “stained glass” finisher’s medal, reusable water bottle and printed towel handed out at the finish line. There was a bag drop available that was mostly trouble-free, but the drop bags were only provided by request – something I didn’t know when I went through packet pickup on the previous day.
There are abundant free photos and finish line video for download, but I appear to have fallen through the cracks on most of these. There was also a free shuttle bus that transported runners between downtown hotels and the start/finish area, both before and after the race. (I and several other runners at my hotel missed the bus before the race because it departed several minutes early. It was a 20 minute walk instead, which probably did me good.)
Overall, it was a great little race that was satisfying on many levels. I highly recommend it.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

The fall version of this race had varying degrees of rain from start to finish and a twin-rutted path that collected water. My feet got soaked early and found that … MORE

The fall version of this race had varying degrees of rain from start to finish and a twin-rutted path that collected water. My feet got soaked early and found that my shoes and socks had collected enough dirt, rocks, leaves and other vegetative matter to open my own Garden Center. (One unusually sharp rock went completely through my sole and into the sock liner!) The need to relieve myself took hold at about mile 8, and every five miles thereafter. My most aggressive goals fell by the wayside and I became content to take it easy for the last three miles. Enough with the excuses. That said, I beat my BQ time by over 6 minutes.
I can recommend this course with confidence. Though we _know_ it’s downhill, it seldom looks or feels that way (there were only about three short (<50m) sections that felt like a downhill scramble – only the quick splits were evidence of gravity’s assistance. The first several hundred yards upon entering the 2+ mile-long tunnel were heavily cambered and there were puddles and uneven surface throughout – I saw at least one runner go down in front of me. Advice to other runners includes stick to the center, and mind your foot placement. Gaiters and trail shoes might have been a good idea, though would have made less of a difference in dry conditions. On-course aid stations were stocked and located as expected, but sometimes short on volunteers- DIY was sometimes required. On-course toilets were infrequent and I made use of discreet trees and rocks. The post-race feed was abundant and varied. Pre-race had lots of port-o-lets, water, supplies, and even coffee, though lacked a PA system. As a result I didn’t/couldn’t hear pre-race announcements or instructions, but there were enough race veterans that getting around pre-race and into the start area felt spontaneous and organic.

I didn’t see any mention of Age Group awards (and in this group, I was well outside of any podium opportunity), but that’s not the point of this race. If you’re looking for a BQ or a PR, this race can serve you well.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3
My Media

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

I was in the Ruidoso area for other reasons and stumbled upon the race information as I was researching my trip. Race operation is coordinated between the local visitor's bureau … MORE

I was in the Ruidoso area for other reasons and stumbled upon the race information as I was researching my trip. Race operation is coordinated between the local visitor’s bureau and their Parks and Recreation Department. Results on the website go back to 2016, so I assume that’s how long the race has been in existence, though I’m told that the course(s) change from year to year. The 2018 version had 39 marathon finishers and 116 completed the half-marathon.

The half marathon course itself is moderately hilly, scenic and at altitude(7000′.) There were a handful of OMG hills, and some especially sadistic ones on the marathon route. To be fair, the first several miles were a nice easy downhill, and much of the rest of the half- course was around the perimeter of two golf courses. With a few exceptions, the course was NOT closed to traffic or coned, though there were some police assisting runners in crossing the town’s main street around mile 4. I would have welcomed that kind of assistance around mile 11 when I needed to cross another busy street and was forced to wait for a break in traffic. The course was well marked with painted arrows at each intersection or turn ( a different color for each race distance), but the location of the markings forced the runners to run WITH traffic instead of facing traffic. The race is chip timed, but with no starting mat there is no net time; in a race this small, that’s not a huge deal. Mile marker accuracy was questionable. Portable toilets and hydration stations were frequent enough. This was the first time I had seen the stations stocked with unopened half-liter bottles of water and sports drink, providing for grab and go opportunities, or as I usually did, pouring the leftover water over my head (in quantities one couldn’t do with a paper cup!) Spectator support is almost non-existent and volunteer support is limited to the start, finish, and hydration stations.

Race conditions were a bit warmer than is normal, starting cool and warming quickly to the mid-90s by late afternoon. Humidity is low. This year’s race was dry, but be aware that the race occurs at about the start of the monsoon season in that part of NM. Researching the race, I expected the altitude to slow me by about 10% after a day and a half of acclimatization, and that was consistent with my results.

Swag consisted of a nice technical shirt and 2.6″ diameter enameled race medal (the latter disappointingly handed out at packet pick up.) It appears that half- and full marathon runners get the same medal. The packet also contained a complementary ticket to the Brewidoso beer festival. Age groups are larger gaps (under 25 and then 15 year spreads for the remaining categories), giving out medals nearly identical to the participation medal, but plated gold, silver or bronze instead of the multi-color enamel finish. Even better, and I save the best for last, winners get cash, something nearly unheard of in a race this small. Post-race food/hydration was plentiful but nothing special. Fortunately it was a half-block from a plethora of restaurants. Race results and photos were posted promptly.

Overall, I liked this race and would run it again, but wouldn’t make another trip just to do so.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?