Monday, June 23, 2008

Wasatchin' My Back...

Well, in case you were unsure of the following fact, this last weekend's event proves I am crazy. I ran in a relay race from Logan to Park City, a whopping 180 miles non-stop over two days. But I'm definitely not the only one lacking in sanity-- the Wasatch Back was sold out this year, with 500 teams of 12 members each. However, I'm pretty confident my team was the coolest:)
Hot Assphault-- that's our team name. I got hooked up with them through my sister's next door neighbor, Dave. He and his wife are AMAZING super runners (both have run Boston, and his average marathon time is somewhere around 3:40. Sh-yeah, I know, right?). He had someone on his team drop out about a month before the race and asked me if I would join them. My first reaction was one of fear-- not of the race, but more of slowing them down! I mean, I'm no 7 minute miler. He assured me that his race wasn't in it to win it, more just to have a good time, and I reluctantly said I was in. And I proceeded to freak out just about every day until the race.
However, all freaking out subsided when I attended a team meeting the week before the race and met everyone. Everyone was really cool and laid back. Apparently there is a lot of Hot Ass (phault) to go around because they had so many friends running the race, there were two full teams: Hot Assphault 1 (my team), and Hot Assphault 2. After the meeting, I started to get really excited!
Race week I had every good intention of resting up, preparing mentally and physically, and carefully preparing my race gear. All of these plans flew out the window when night after night, I was forced to stay at work late-- one night until 2:30 am. The night before the race, I finally dosed off around 1:45am, and woke up startled at 4:45am. I gathered my stuff and drove to Dave's. We were set to leave at 5:30.
Our team started arriving and the introductions began:

Dave, super-running insurance company president, father of two, with a wicked sense of humor and an uber competitive streak.

Mark, Dave and Mike's BFF since high school, a reluctant runner with the humor to match Dave's.

Lee, the only other girl, a mother of one who kept me laughing the entire race with her stories and Lee-isms.
Brent, a 59-year-old inspiraton. He's run 84, yes, 84 marathons and had just finished one the weekend before Wasatch Back. We called him Papa. Seriously, amazing man!

Buddy, the son of Brent. Father of 4 who himself has run nearly 20 marathons. Such a nice guy!

Mike, BFF of Mark and Dave also since high school, our trusty driver and organizational master! He gave us treats, fan and sprayed us down, kept us on time, and got out to give us water at every other mile!

And Me, newcomer and completely clueless of the exhaustion/running/awesomeness that was coming!
We hit the road, all abuzz of the race to come. Each team consists of 12 members. The members are divded into two vans of 6 runners. Once Van 1 cycles through each runner, Van 2 takes over, then the process starts over until we have made our way to Park City. Someone is always running-- day/night/heat/cold. It doesn't stop.
Our start time was 8:20am in Logan. Our runner order was as follows: 1-Brent, 2-me, 3-Dave, 4-Lee, 5-Buddy, 6-Mark.
Brent was all business as he headed to the starting line. We all gathered around to cheer as the countdown began. It was so exciting as they took off, starting what would be the craziest relay across a portion of the state I have ever seen!

We hopped in our awesomely decorated van and followed alongside Brent. The vans leap-frog their runners, making sure they are hydrated and doing okay during their runs. I was nervous as we neared the end of Brent's first leg, for I was runner #2 and that meant my first leg was up next.
I stood in the shoot, arm out, waiting to take off the second I felt that orange wrist band slap on. As Brent ran closer, I geared up and then, I was off, on my first stretch of the race: 6.7 miles.

It was around 9:20am, and the weather was quickly heating up. The first few miles were fairly flat, and I was cruising along.

However, an annoying herditary problem would soon set in. I don't sweat. I know most would see this as a benefit, but I have a serious issue with over heating. I knew if I didn't spray down soon I would be in trouble. Just then, a van full of guys came by with their supersoaker and asked if I wanted some refreshment. I hollered "Spray me, baby!" And so they did, every time I saw them throughout the race. Bless them:)

I could see a rather large women dressed as a warrior princess several miles before me, and I knew she was toast. I could totally pass her! I was gaining ground and saw her starting to walk. That's when I went in for the kill. I had conquered the Zena impersonator! I gave a victory cheer as I rounded the corner and saw my team, waiting with water in hand. I breathlessly said "I passed the chubby warrior princess!" They all applauded!

I passed a field where a farmer had written "To cash in on life, you have to make a deposit" on signs along the road. I smiled as I ran... but that smile ran out the second I saw the first big hill of the race, and it was unfortunately all mine. "Here I go!" I thought as I started up the slope.

Up, up, up I went, slowing a bit, but I didn't stop running. I was nearing the top when I saw my team again, ready with the spritzer and water bottle. And then, I started the lovely decline toward the exchange, where Dave would take over from there.

I sprinted toward the shoot and handed off successfully. Hooray! First leg finished!

Each runner successfully completed their first legs, and we were on fire! (hence the hot assphault:). Mark, our last runner, handed off to our Van 2 to take over from there, and we decided to go and get some grub. We had about an hour and a half or so before we would be up to run again. We headed to a local deli and I don't know if it was because I was so tired and hungry, but man, that was the best sandwich I have ever tasted!

My next leg was supposed to be my easiest: 3.1 miles. Whomever makes these classifications certainly doesn't actually run them. The leg had a rather large hill, but I think the part that made it the most difficult was not the hill, but the heat. I was running in the blazing sun and started to get heat exhaustion at the top of the hill, as chills started to set in. I diverted and ran through some random front yard with the sprinklers on, and started sprinting toward the finish line, where Dave again would take over. Wowza, it was a hot one! I don't know how sweet Brent did it running in that heat 8 miles! He is a superhero!

Lee was keeping great time, and had an awesome pace on one of her legs of around 8:30! And Dave and Buddy, well, that's where we were really able to gain some ground. They are so fast, and Dave said after 40 people during his first leg, he stopped counting how many runners he passed.

As our team continued to cycle through, nightfall started to settle in. Our last runner, Mark, bless his heart had to run the most terrible leg with endless hills that just kept coming! He was such a trooper. We headed to the rest station and Buddy, Lee and I went down to the tent to get some grub. Spaghetti from Fazoli's. We told the others we would meet them back at the van and proceeded to eat our nasty noodles, which again, tasted fabulously because of our level of starvation. Little did we know this meal would be the source of much anger lodged in our direction in what would become known as "Spaghetti Gate" in the wee hours of the next morning, but more on that later.

After dinner, we drove to Mike's boss's house to crash. I wanted to cry as I climbed into bed, knowing we only had about an hour and a half before we would be up and running, literally, again. After a mild case of the slap happy giggles, Lee and I dosed off, only to be awoken much too soon so a frantic "the team is on their last runner! We have to go NOW!" And so go now we did.

It was 3:00am, and although the rest of us were half asleep, Brent had his game face on. He started his last leg of the race in pitch blackness, as I tried to wake myself up and shake off the soreness. I was up next.

It was freezing cold when I started running, but that's perfect for me. The full moon was out, and I could hear birds chirping. It was absolutely beautiful as I ran through the little town of Oakleigh in the wee hours of the morning. I picked up my pace and was making pretty good time. I just tried to take in the beauty around me as I trekked through the darkness with my headlamp bobbing in the black. My team rolled up alongside me, and I figured their lack of enthusiasm was credited to the hour, but as soon as I finished my leg and handed off to Dave, I learned the real reason for the silence. Spaghetti Gate.
Apparently Dave didn't realize that the night before we were getting food while he was meeting Mark at the exchange. Lee let it slip that we were eating when she made a slight reference to someone at the "end of the table" during one of her stories, and that was enough for Dave to connect the dots.... dots that led to hot food for us, and PB&J for him for dinner... dots that at 4 in the morning are enough to make anyone agitated... and believe me, his dots were agitated. I missed said agitation because I was running, but once I climbed in the van and we caught up with Dave, the first words out of his mouth were "I'm hungry!" Mike offered to toss him a PB&J, but strangely, all he wanted was spaghetti. Sorry Dave, we'll get you a gift certificate to Fazoli's.:)
We cycled through our team for the last time with Lee, Buddy, and Mark picking up the rear end. I don't remember much of their final legs because my body decided since I was done running, it was time to shut down, and I completely crashed in the van, sleeping through the final three runs. It had had enough of all that non-sleeping all week, and lots o running the past two days. Coma set in.

I woke up as we passed the torch to our Van 2. We were finished with our part, and it was up to them to run the rest. We were two hours ahead of our projected time, and were so proud of our hard work!

Our group drove to a Van 2 member's cabin to crash, shower, and chow before the finish line. Lee and I immediately headed up to the shower (heaven when you haven't done it in two days:), and then slept for a few hours before getting in our fresh (and clean) running gear, and heading to the finish line.

All of Hot Assphault was gathered at the finish line waiting for our last runner to come in.... we could see her coming, and all started to cheer, then as a group, we all crossed the finishline together. 28 hours 18 minutes.

I had the time of my life and can't wait to do it again next year. Go Hot Assphault! I love you guys!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I guess I'm not the only one!

I'm so sorry I haven't been able to make it to the Saturday runs girls! I am sad, but a little relieved to find out I'm not the only one with a crazy life right now. Every night has been PACKED with activities and my weekends have followed the same trend. Plus, with my baby still nursing, it's hard for me to go for very long. To be honest, leaving a husband with three kids is difficult as it is. I will be gone half the weekends in July to Myrtle beach too. ( though I fully plan on running beach side. . . .yea!) I am wondering if I am ever going to be able to meet everyone!
I promise I will make it whenever I can. But warning: I will be walking 90% of the time. I am sincerely hoping I am not the only one who will be doing so. I am NOT in shape and my cardio is at an all time LOW!
Anyway, I'm hoping to see you gals soon! And Jen . . .I need help shopping for running gear! I don't know what the crap I'm doing! "Newbie" at this running thing, remember?!

Monday, June 9, 2008

I am not quitting...just taking a break.

So yes i was sleeping on Saturday Morning but what Melissa failed to mention is that I was drugged up on meds. I am just getting over a sinus infection so the mornings are a little snotty for me. And since I haven't perfected the "runners spit method" I thought maybe I shouldn't be out running and spitting up snot quite yet. Also, I have been asked to do some extra work on my Saturdays now, so I am not sure if I can train or not. I am not completely out, it will just be more like if I can make it, I will. Right now, I need to concentrate on my kids and making some extra money so that I can pay off some bills. It kinda sucks only having one income and trying to do everything by yourself. Actually, it really sucks, but that is life right now and hopefully it won't be like that forever.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What a sad day

So today wasn't very fun for me. Tara tells me that she isn't going to run the marathon with me. This is pretty crappy for me since she was my running partner and all. I enjoyed seeing her on Saturdays and pushing each other along. Everyone else was always faster than us. How sad. That's life I guess. Now everyone else isn't showing up either. Maybe when the runs get longer we will have more come to run. Lets get to the bikes today at the park. Everytime I saw the pace car or whatever its called I would get scared because I knew the bikes weren't very far behind. Although I was pretty sure they would see me running on the side, I almost got hit a couple of times,well at least I thought I did. I would jump on the curb to make sure I didn't get hit. Then if that wasn't bad enough I had to run 4 times through a whole crowd of spectators waiting for the cyclists to come in. Although I enjoy races, this wasn't my race and I was quite self conscious the whole time. The last lap I ran through the playground just so I wouldn't have to run through that crowd again. As much as I've enjoyed this running group I know all things have to come to an end sometime. Everyone has different lives and different things come up. I just don't like change. I know it is just a part of life I just don't like it.

Today was hard....

I couldn't get into my groove today on our group (tho it was a very small group) run. I believe there are several factors that threw off my rhythm, one of which was the girl shape-holes in my heart from our very missing members. It was just Melissa, Steph and me.... and a bunch of crazy cyclists, but I'll get into that in a minute.

Here's the non-roll call as of this morning when I got the last cancellation via text from Kera.

Kristi: still too hurt from the accident, bless her heart, to run
Kera: Here is the text I got at 8:24 (meeting time 8:30) verbatim: Hey im so sorry i dont have contacts to run in and mac isn't home from work yet to take owen.
Kimmie: teaching a swimming lesson
Tara: as told from Melissa, she was sleeping and has decided her Saturdays are too busy to run right now.
Angie: funeral and baptism this morning.
Christina: out of town for a work conference in Miami.

That left just three and the aforementioned bikers. Apparently the Salt Lake Cycling club decided they could close down Sugarhouse Park this morning and make our run more treacherous by zooming past us every few minutes during a race. Lame.

I have also been sooooooooooo crazy busy with life and work as of late that I haven't been the best about running on my own this past week. And, Wasatch Back is creeping ever so near, and I'm getting a bit, okay a lot freaked out.

So, bottom line, we missed you guys, and I need you back in my life, so stop being so busy/injured/tired/everything else already!

I've tried to fill the you-shaped holes with treats the past two weeks, and they just can't fill the void. Only you ladies will do.

Sugarhouse Park

Thanks Melissa and Jen for a great morning run (in my case...walk). It was a beautiful day and it was great to see you both. I am excited to meet the rest of the group. Until next time! :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Why is this happening to me?

Okay so I was looking at my beautiful feet the other day and found two more toenails preparing to fall off. What the? I just started training, can you imagine how many more will fall off these next 4 or 5 months. Good thing its summer and I get to wear cute sandals! I am going to probably have to get acrylics on my toes now. Sweet!