Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Racing!

I have never participated in a Thanksgiving Day race before. Now there are a myriad of 5K's around on turkey day, I've just never been inclined to participate, until this year. But why just run a 5K when there's a half marathon available, with a medal and everything?! You all know how I feel about medals; it's become somewhat of an obsession I suppose.

So the Thankful 13 race helped me to earn my turkey and another sweet medal. What more could a girl ask?  The race was in Lehi, and much of the race was along the Jordan/Provo river parkway trail, which is lovely, by the way. The morning was clear, no snow to contend with thank goodness. There was a biting cold wind that spurred us along for the first few miles. As the sun rose higher in the sky, the wind became less of an issue. It even became quite pleasant. There were flocks of birds, large and small, flying overhead. There are a good deal of wetlands in the area and the wildlife was a nice diversion.

I felt really good through this whole race, which is a big change from my last few races. My last 5 half marathons have all been over 3 hour finish times. I realized around mile 5 that I was well on track to finally get back to a sub 3 hour half. And I was feeling pretty sassy about it. The sassyness continued through the rest of the race even. I began to pass people around mile 7 this time. Most races it takes me till around mile 10 to catch up with the people who don't pace themselves and bonk around there. I managed a really consistent effort for this race, and was pleased to come in at 2:50:41. My family was waiting at the finish line and I think it's the first time that they've all been there to see me finish a race. I ended up getting an apple pie along with my finisher medal too! Then we were off to enjoy Thanksgiving frivolity at my uncle's house.

It was a great way to start off a day of Thanksgiving and I'll definitely be doing this race again. I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend and running happy :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

2 weeks, 2 races, 2 states

I am going to attempt writing this blog with a hazy mind clouded by whatever cold virus is circulating itself around these days. I had fought the good fight for at least a week, only succumbing to it after a weekend of Ragnaring. And now, the race reports.

The first weekend of November took me to Pocatello, Idaho, for the Just Cuz Half Marathon. Why? Just cuz! This little race had a theme to follow, a double theme actually. It was Zombie Apocalypse/Joe Fro. I didn't feel much like wearing a big fro wig, so I went as Shaun from Shaun of the Dead. I carried a toy shot gun for the entire 13.1 miles too. It was a fun, small race. I was expecting it to be mostly locals, but was surprised to meet a bunch of Utahans that had come up just to run. I ran almost the entire race with a nice lady from Salt Lake named Marva. It was nice to be able to run with someone who had the same pace. We were able to talk the whole way and that really helps the time go by. I really need to get some local running friends! Even a group run once a week would really boost my morale I think.

The course for the Just Cuz was down a little canyon and ended in a small city park. It was mostly downhill, but towards the end, it went to rolling hills. I don't like hills at the end of a race! But there was a delicious dutch oven lunch waiting for us at the finish line, so I soldiered on. Unfortunately, there was no finisher medal for this race, but that tasty lunch pretty much made up for it. They had a ton of random prizes to give away as well, most everyone walked away with something. Well, I didn't, which is strange since I usually have good luck at drawings like that.

I spent this last weekend down in Las Vegas, Nevada, running in my second Ragnar. Again, running with another group of complete strangers. It's a great way to meet new people, that's for sure. We all met up for dinner Thursday night and enjoyed getting to know each other a bit before we had to spend the next two days living in a van together. We went to bed early, since our start time was 6 a.m. A cold front was pushing its way through and the start line was all snow and ice up at Mount Charleston. I was feeling pretty lucky to be in Van 2, since we didn't start running until they had come out of the mountains. Van 1 survived the cold and ice, ahead of schedule even and without anyone slipping or getting injured. Hooray!

I always have the most anxiety waiting for the previous runner to hand off to me, and that was the case when runner 6 came through and I was up to run. We had a smooth transition though and I was off on my 5.2 mile leg (which turned out to be 5.51 miles instead). The wind was blowing the entire day and the air temps were low, which would prove to be a challenge when the sun went down. I managed 1 kill on this run (I'm not the best at passing other runners, since I'm pretty slow...). Our van completed our legs just before the sun set and we were off to grab some warm food for dinner. We had driven past the Cheesecake Factory on our way to pick up our last runner and it was calling out to us to eat its delicious vittles. With our bellies full and a few hours to kill, we headed to the next major exchange, where Van 1 would be handing off to us again. We expected the exchange to have a place to sleep. How silly of us to think that! It was a gravel parking lot and they told us we had to sleep in our vans. Needless to say, we didn't get much sleep.

By the time runner 6 came though the exchange it was around 10:45 p.m., pitch black, with a bitter biting wind blowing right in our faces. I bundled up the best I could and started out on my 7.9 miler (which ended up being almost 8.5 miles in reality). This leg was really rough for me. Not only was it dark and frigid, but it was a steady incline the whole way. I knew this before I started running and had a negative attitude right from the start. It was a slow, awful run, mostly walking really. I spent the entire time wishing it was over. Running is so much more mental than physical!

I lived through it and tried to get warm in the van while the rest of the runners did their legs. We were able to get some sleep intermittently and runner 12 finished just as the sun came up. Runner 10 had a brother in law in Henderson that let us come over to his house to shower and sleep that morning. It was a life saver. He even had food waiting for us. The man is a saint. After we got cleaned up and rested, it was time to head to  our last major exchange. My last run was scheduled to be 6.2 miles but turned out to be a whole mile longer than that! At least for this run I was feeling really good. I managed 6 kills even! One of them I fought pretty hard for and reveled in it quite a bit. It's the best feeling when you finish your last run of the Ragnar. It's one tough race mentally and physically. My total mileage should have been 19.3 miles but ended up being 20.96. It was a weekend of ups and downs but it ended on a high note with a successful finish. Most of our team qualified for an extra medal because of running more than one Ragnar this year. Nothing like extra bling to make it all worth it!

I know this blog hasn't been the most humorous, but at least I didn't skip 4 weeks this time! If anyone needs me, I'll be back in bed recovering from all this excitement.

Happy running!