Burning Man returned in full force this year – and, as usual, I joined Pink Lightning for the annual 50k.
Prior 50k years here:
Because I don’t know how to write compelling, moving, narrative prose anymore after seven years of being a consultant, I’ll just write in bullets.
Course description (answers all the typical questions I get about this race):
- Four laps around Black Rock City, plus a little out and back at the end
- Start/end at Pink Lightning (the hosting camp), with one aid station about halfway around the lap
- Starts at 5am, so it’s still dark and a little bit cooler
- Ends … whenever you finish, but it is usually pretty warm. I was definitely overheating for the last 3-5 miles
- Terrain: completely flat, packed desert/dust. Pretty forgiving / not the thing that’s going to torpedo your race
Highlights this year:
- Getting to hang out with my girl Cherie / the race organizer – it was wonderful to see all of her months of hard work coming together. She was super speedy on the course this year and we only ran about 2-3 miles together before she took off! But I got to spend a lot of non-racing time on the Playa with her this year, which was wonderful
- Running the entire 50k with Stephen – a new running friend I met on the Playa this year. He had just completed an Ironman about a week prior and was clearly much faster than I was, but ran the whole race with me anyway (he later claimed it was because I was “good company” and “had good jokes”, but I am skeptical and will be visiting him later this week in his hometown to verify these claims)
- Running with campmates! Got to see Cyndi & Alex finish together (TOO CUTE, as always). Colten paced us – he ran the race in 2019 and was our neighbor that year. We roped him into camping with us this year, which was a GREAT choice.
- The Construction Zone rogue aid station – see here and below for a video. It was a short detour with water spray, theraguns, buffers (?), and leaf blowers – the attraction was that “the sounds of a construction zone were better than five hours of Robot Heart (one of the DJ / sound cars).” HIGHLY entertaining
- Getting to run a short bit with Ray, one of my closest Burning Man friends and also an insanely great ultrarunner (didn’t get any photos together during the race sadly)
- Seeing a bunch of other running friends on and off the course (Bob, Kim, Natron, etc – you guys know who you are!)
- Running in my super cool Pink Lightning skirt that I sewed (photos below)!
Post-race notes and reflections:
- My time was about exactly what I thought it would be – was aiming somewhere between 5:00 and 6:00, and ended up just over 5:30. I think this is my 2nd fastest time on the course, but nowhere near my fastest (4:45 or so).
- The plantar continues to be a struggle, but ibuprofen helped. I’ll be working through this for a while.
- Good nutrition: started strong with a lot of electrolytes and that was a great choice given how hot it was towards the end
- I connected with a bunch of folks afterwards who ran it but I didn’t see during the race (face blindness during athletic events is real!)
- I spent a lot of the rest of the week “helping out” at other Pink Lightning running events, such as the 5k, the beer mile, the naked mile, and the Odyssey. “Helping out” is in quotes, since I mostly used a megaphone for snarky commentary in a semi-official capacity
- This event and the people associated with it continue to be the one of the best parts of Burning Man for me and a main reason I keep coming back to this event
Now, some photos
Above: Starting at 21:55, the Construction Zone rogue aid station at lap 3
Wonder if shoes are even worth it on the playa.
Very worth it 🙂 The dust is quite dry and will really mess up the skin on your feet if you walk around in it for extended periods of time