Monday, November 14, 2016

The rest of October race report!

It's time for the rest of the race reporting for October. After the St. George Marathon, I got a couple of weeks to try and recover/get ready to run a stupid hard race out at the Dugway Proving Grounds. This is a very unique race. You have to pass a background check before they'll even let you on the base to run.

Dugway is basically in the middle of nowhere. It took nearly two hours of driving to get there. But when we arrived, it was actually a very pretty place.
And the sunrise was stunning. 
Scott and I were in for the 30K. There was also a 5K, 10K, 20K, and 50K happening out there as well. Due to the difficulty of the courses, the father the distance, the less people were running. There was a grand total of 11 people in the 30K. ELEVEN whole people. So I knew that I was going to be last. And since Scott insisted on running with me, that meant he would also be last.
Back of the packin' in the sunrise. Photo courtesy of Scott M. Stringham
The course started off fairly easy, and I was feeling alright to start with. Until just after mile 4 when I tripped on a rock and took my first ever fall during a trail run. Whee!  I wasn't too badly hurt, it was mostly just a shock. I did just kind of lay there in the dirt for a minute, trying to decide if I was broken, but eventually I got up and dusted myself off.  I found out that running after taking a fall is kind of difficult for me. I was overly cautious for the next few miles. I kept stopping to walk even though the terrain wasn't bad because I was nervous about falling again.

I finally calmed down and got my act together just in time for the course to get stupid hard. So there was 4000 feet of climbing in the 30K. That's a lot of feet, you guys. And I was smack dab in the middle of the (insert swear word of choice here) Whole 30 program. I basically had no energy and wanted to die by the time we started climbing up Scorpion Tail and then the Widow Maker. The race director has a sense of humor and all the points of interest and climbs had names.
I want to believe. 
There we are in front of Dugway Stonehenge, with some other choice shots of the course. Photo courtesy of Scott M. Stringham. 
As we were slogging up the relentless climbs, the people from the shorter distances started passing us like we were standing still. I guess one can be pretty peppy when one is only running 3 or 6 miles. There was a colonel from the base running the 10K and he was giving everyone within shouting distance inspiring pep talks. "THIS IS YOUR COURSE OUT HERE TODAY! YOU ENJOY IT!"

I was trying to enjoy it, but being completely drained and malnutritioned, I instead started writing depressing songs in my head and gave myself a band name. Look for an album of melancholy running and hunger songs from Heather's Body and the Sadness coming out sometime when I actually learn to play an instrument.
This would make some sweet album art. Photo courtesy of Scott M. Stringham. 
After about four hours, we completed the first 11 miles of the course. Unfortunately, that meant we had made it back to the start/finish line and had to head out for another loop. It's so cruel to lead your runners to the end, just to make them head out for more. The people from the shorter distances were finishing up and receiving their medals. One of the volunteers asked if we were done, we said no. Then he asked if we wanted to be done. That's a dangerous question. OF COURSE I FRIGGING WANTED TO BE DONE. ARE YOU KIDDING ME I AM LITERALLY DYING.  We politely declined his offer to be done and refilled our packs to get ready for the last loop.

They had cold Gatorade at the start/finish aid station and even though it's not Whole 30 approved, I knew I needed some. My fingers were swollen and it was getting difficult to bend them. That's not a good thing, in case y'all were wondering. So I drank that Gatorade and felt no guilt because I'm fairly certain it's the only reason that I made it though the last 9 miles. I definitely had a boost in my mood after drinking it. We even managed the ri-friggin-diculous climbs up Scorpion Tail and Widow Maker faster than on our first loop. It was a running miracle.
Jabba the Rock endorses Gatorade. 
After the tough climbs, we got to slytherin down the other side of the mountain.
Side note and fun fact: see that burlap sack behind the sign there? That means there's an "unexploded ordinance" there. During the pre-race briefing, the race director told us to watch out for things that could blow you to smithereens, aka unexploded ordinances. He said that they had marked the ones that they had found with bags, and if we were to find any, we were supposed to build a cairn by them and move on. So not only did I need to worry about snakes and tripping and falling on my face, but also possibly getting blown sky high. And because my brain was so carb starved, I had the hardest time remembering what the "o"word the race director had used in naming them. So I kept making up new "o" words to call them. "Hey Scott, do you think that's a regular cairn, or one marking an unexploded origami? Unexploded orthodontist? Opthamologist? Organism? Oregano?", and so forth. It was an entertaining way to pass the time while remaining aware that we could die at any moment.

We made it to the finish line in just under 7 hours total. That's basically a 20 minute mile average... But we didn't get blown up, and to my surprise, I received an award for second in my age group. Make no mistake, Scott and I were dead last, but there were only two women in my age group. They had 6" shells that had been fired there on the base as the age group awards. Unfortunately for Scott, his age group was nearly half the field and he was fifth in his age group, so he didn't receive any military debris. He did win a pair of super sweet running socks in the raffle though, so we both came away with a little something extra.
Shell, medal with a UAV on it, and comfy shirt with course map. They had some nice swag.
We had just one week to recover from Dugway before we ran the Haunted Half. In my mind, I was thrilled to have a downhill half marathon coming up. Then race day arrived and it wasn't nearly as magical as my daydreaming had lead me to believe it would be. First of all, we had to sit in the very back seat of the bus. This is super fun when you're a little kid. It is not super fun when you're an adult and the bus is going up a winding canyon. The back of the bus gets a lot of extra swerve going on. Secondly, the bus driver got lost. So I got to spend nearly twice as long getting motion sick in the back of the bus.

When we finally made it to the start, I was ready to puke my guts out. Getting off the bus was the only thing I wanted in the world right then. So of course, they made us sit on the bus for approximately forever before they could pull up five feet to let us out. Once I was free of my bussy prison, we met up with Jamie, Tennille, and Teresa. Jamie and Tennille were dressed as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Teresa was decked out in exercising ghosts, Scott was a mideaval warrior, and I was in my muscle suit.
Photo courtesy of Jamie Eckles. 
The muscle suit made people yell things like "Go Titan!", which confused the crap out of me until later that day when I found about about this thing called "Attack on Titan".
So I guess I'm this dude now. 
There was one family that kept following their runner throughout the race. Their runner must have been just behind us, because we saw them probably six different times during the race. The little girl in the group lost her mind each time she saw me. "GO FEMALE TITAN! WOOOOOO!". At least I could bring her some joy as I slogged my way through that half marathon.

There was no joy for me, since I was 2/3rds of the way through the Whole 30 program and had yet to feel any benefit from it. I was a broken shell of a human being (well, a broken shell covered in muscle print fabric) by the end. We squeaked in just under three hours for a course that should have taken half an hour less. Scott enjoyed it though, because he could eat what he wanted and is super good at running anyway.
Trying not to die on my end, enjoying the lovely day on his end.
And thus I finished half marathon number 84. You'd think they'd start getting easier or something...
Great shirt and medal this year.

Close up of the medal detail.
So there you have it. October was a rough month. But I finished the Whole 30 program last week so maybe I can get back to feeling like myself again. I have the Dead Horse 50K this weekend, which of course I'm completely unprepared for. My training runs have been absolute crap thanks to cutting out nearly everything my body loves for 30 days. Maybe I can eat enough carbs between now and Saturday to fake my way through another ultra. Stay tuned to find out! Until then, happy running!

1 comment:

  1. Ahhhh, yeeeaaaaa, those tripping hazards! I usually fall UPhill on a helter-skelter mountain course. (I'm borrowing the picture). Have you guys heard of the Barkley Marathons? I recommend watching the movie It's hilarious, really.