Thursday, July 23, 2009

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Overdue Wasatch Back Race Report

Man, I have not been so great at posting as of late. But my, Wasatch Back was so much fun, it deserves a post... so posting I am.

I was mighty excited for this year's Ragnar for many reasons, but two were at the very top of the list: 1) Husband was running with me and 2) My dear, sweet, wonderful and hilarious Aunt was our van's driver. Is anything better, really? I think not.

Our adventure started the night before the big race. Some of our team members met at my aunt's law firm office to drive up to Logan and spend the night since our start time was so early (7:15 am, to be exact). Our lovely team captain, Teresa, had convinced the Ragnar Gods to give us one of their crack of dawn start times because our team is "old and fat and we won't make it unless you do," her words, not mine. So, up to Logan we drove, staying in a hotel near the starting line. Though I can't say I got much sleep. I never really sleep well the night before a race-- the nerves always get to me. The uncomfortable bed, busy road outside, and strange sounds didn't help either. But before I knew it, our alarm was going off and it was time to run (literally) for the next two days!

We were part of van 1 in team Super G. It was a team organized by my aunt's office, Callister Nebeker and McCullough in honor of one of the partner's granddaughter's, Gracie. Little Gracie has juvenile diabetes and every mile, drop of sweat, minute without sleep, and memory made was for her and her brave battle to raise awareness for this terrible disease. Gracie designed our logo and made each team member a bright pink Superman cape which we wore for every leg. Jon particularly loved the color-- especially when the all male teams would drive by and cat call out the window as he jogged along. I think they loved to watch his hot Heine bouncing beneath the majestic flow of that bright pink cape almost as much as I did. I may or may not make him wear it in the future, just for me.

My van was made up of a group of awesome and experienced runners:

#1 Heather (a very sweet school teacher who took on hills like they were nothin' and got quite a surprise while the rest of us were half asleep-- more on that later)

#2 Husband (a natural athlete who kept a stellar pace during each leg! He had quite a few "kills" under his belt when all was said and done)

#3 Mindy (amazing mother and experienced runner and food extraordinaire. She made sure we all had treats, at all times)

#4 Yours truly

#5 Dave (the most "mature" runner in our van who inspired everyone he crossed. Running one of the toughest legs of the race wasn't enough for him. He insisted on running water to all of the other runners. And I mean running it to them literally... for a long time. I was content to let him)

#6 Tara (darling mother and Heather's running bff. Had some of the hardest legs of the race and she took them like a champ! We couldn't even drive fast enough to keep up with her!)

Van driver: Auntie (could she be more adorable? She was full of endless sunshine that brightened our runs during our darkest and sleeplessiest moments)

We decorated our red suburban with a pink cape to match ours and painted super sayings along the side.

I was the only person in the van who had run Ragnar before and knew the starting line would be full of fun teams and excitement and we sent Heather on her way and headed on the race route. Her pink cape made her easy to spot-- one of the benefit's of Gracie's handy work.

The temperature was perfect.... at 7:15 in the morning and I started to panic just a bit knowing it would likely be toasty by the time it was my turn as runner 4. And a Jon and Mindy leg later, toasty it was.

I think I've posted about my lack of perspiration before, but Wasatch Back is when it really becomes quite bothersome. You run at all times of the day and when you don't sweat, you can get quite hot quite quickly. Before I knew it, I was up for my toughest leg. And man, was it HAWTE.

The hills-- oh the hills! And the HEAT! I got a boost from the pioneer trek I passed who all gave me high fives and told me how amazing I was. I'm pretty sure what they were doing, dressed in prairie garb and pulling handcarts in the heat, was tougher than what I was. My team super soaked me at every turn and I hit all the sprinklers I could, but I was happy when I saw Dave waiting for me, arm outstretched. My first leg was over.

Dave's first leg was his hardest and wowza, was it a rough one. A very long uphill through dirt and rocks. I couldn't believe how focused he was. And apparently, we weren't the only ones he inspired. Other teams were cheering him on as well.

Tara also had a tough leg and she rocked it. This girl just wouldn't quit! The hills were no match for her determination (her daughter's ipod mix with Taylor Swift may have helped a little as well) and before we knew it, it was time to hand off to our Van 2.

We grabbed lunch at that lovely deli in the grocery store I couldn't stop daydreaming about from last year. I seriously don't know if the food is really that good or if it's just that I'm so hungry and tired at that point that anything tastes good, but it was better than I remembered. We headed to the resort to wait for our van 2, change clothes and rest for a bit. And then, much faster than it should have come, it was time for us to take over again.

My second leg was just as the sun was starting to move behind the trees so I was fine as long as I was in the shade. I found myself sprinting to the shade and becoming so excited when I saw some sweet kids with a hose, water balloons, water guns, and drinks for me as I passed. And just like that, our second leg was over. We were so excited to hand off, get a few hours of sleep and all had a brief moment of celebration as we started driving away from the hand off! Hooray! We made it! And then the phone rang....

It was Teresa telling us to wait. What? Wait? No, we all said, NO WAITING. It was time for sleep! SLEEP!!!!! And SHOWERS, and FOOD. NOT WAITING. But, it appeared one of the van 2ers, who also happened to be diabetic, had left her testing kit at the bottom of the mountain. So, we were told we needed to wait for someone to bring it up to us, then drive it to meet them. I kind of wanted to hunt van 2 down instead, but after many mumbles and grumbles and complaints and "I can't believe this," we decided we should just button our lips and deal-- since we WERE running for diabetes and all. I kind of wanted to call them and wake them up during their sleep time to make up for the 30 minutes of sleep we missed out on, but I refrained... barely. Do I sound terrible? Yes. Was it valid in the middle of the night after running more than half the race? Yes.

We drove to Auntie's Boyfriend's lovely mountain home in Oakley where sweet Bob was waiting with food, towels, beds and jokes. Love. Him.

I am quite embarrassed to admit I said nay to a shower and went straight to sleep, grossness and all. When you have about an hour and a half to rest before running again, shut eye takes precedence over cleanliness in my book. Maybe I was still cursing Van 2 when I heard a knock at the door saying it was time to get going again. OK, I definitely was.

Heather finished her last leg, and her sweet (ex?) boyfriend, who had been cheering her on at every leg, got up at the (butt) crack of dawn to cheer her on once again. He picked her up and they started driving behind us while Mindy was running. We pulled over to give some water when suddenly we heard yelling... and squealing, and pointing from Mindy who was mouthing something we couldn't quite make out... it looked something like "eeee's mo-mosing!" Then we looked behind us, and (ex?) boyfriend was down on one knee-- with something in his hand-- it was a little box. O. M. G. He was proposing! We all started freaking out! But there wasn't a moment of embracing and cries of yes... more like awkwardness and shaking of heads and we felt like we needed to look away, but of course like any car accident, we couldn't. She wasn't saying yes. She was saying no. Oh dude. We felt terrible! And, none of us really dared to ask for details. In fact, I still don't know what the heck that was all about!

My last leg was by far my best. It was cool, straight, steep, downhill and I was a-cruisin'. However, I made a slight miscalculation and distinctly remembered my leg being shorter than it actually was. So, you can imagine my vast disappointment when Garmen told me I had reached the end only to find I wasn't even close. Ugh. But in the end, I kept an 8:23 average pace and was mighty proud when I handed off for the last time.

We went down the canyon, got our cars and drove home to sleep and eat and shower before finish line time. It was pouring rain during van 2's last legs and while everyone else felt bad, I actually was a little envious. I heart running in the rain. It was COOL for those last few runners. Waiting for them to finish in the rain, however, was not so great.

We all huddled in a tent at the finish line until it was time to meet our last runner and run down the chute together, cheering as our fuscia fabric floated in the wind. A sweet "buddy" with downs syndrome put a medal around my neck. They were the charity that Ragnar chose to give proceeds to. That, and Gracie, made it all worth it.

I love this race. Wasatch Back is by far the funnest time I have running every year and I can't wait for next year. Special thanks to Bob (cabin and food), Lee (entry fee for all of us), TR (team captain), and everyone else who made this race memorable. Faster than a speeding bullet!
PS: you better believe this isn't even half of all of the pictures I took.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Give Away on a Friend's Blog

My friend Melanie(Tall Mom on the Run) is having a give away for a cute running T-Shirt on her running blog. Check it out and then leave her a comment and drop my name in it (Ang) and I'll get extra entries!(Thanks!) Have fun and good luck. Tall Mom on the Run's blog

Friday, July 17, 2009

Canyon to Canyon Half Marathon Race Report

Last weekend I ran the Canyon to Canyon Half Marathon for my first and last time! It should have more appropriately been named Rollercoaster to Rollercoaster Half Marathon, or Mountain After Mountain Half Marathon. YIKES! If you want to A) get a serious hill/mountain workout for 13.1 miles B)Get an extra tight bum from said hill workout or C) torture yourself, then this is the race for you!!

I however was not privy to this information BEFORE I ran the race. The website said "gently rolling hills." Ummmmm OK. Not even close. There was no elevation map on the website either. (That should have clued me in!) You get the point right, it was super hilly! INSANELY hilly!

So the first mile actually wasn't too bad. It was "rolling hills" on a road. After one mile you turned onto a dirt/gravel road that ran through the mountains and that's where the real craziness began. My watch beeps at every mile. I thought for sure I had missed the mile 2 beep. I looked at my watch and couldn't believe it said 1.56! WHAT! I was hitting the WALL at 1.56. WOW. I knew at that point, this race was about survival! Apparently hills are not my forte. They suck the life right out of me. This course was an out and back, so there was no getting excited about going down hills. I knew my buns would eventually be turned around going up them. Luckily I had my neighbor Kristi running with me. We kept each other going. We started naming the hills cuss words so that we wouldn't technically be cussing. (I'm not proud of my actions, just telling it like it is :>) When we got to about mile 5, we started seeing people coming back at us. We were deliriously tired and that made us act as if we were drunk or something. We started cheering like mad women for the runners coming at us yelling the most crazy/obnoxious things. At the time, we thought it was HILARIOUS! Looking back, people probably either loved or hated us. Some things I remember yelling, "It's all downhill from here." "I love hills and so do my buns." "You're almost there!" "Keep going, you're kicking my butt!" "You are the wind beneath my wings." "You are my hero!" "You're awesome!" "YES! Calorie Up ladies(three ladies were frantically taking gel packs around a garbage can)" That's just what I remember. So we made it to the turn around and got a drink and started to head back. We actually felt WAY better on the way back then on the way there. We got in a good groove and went with it. I decided to count hills on the way back, but at mile nine I went up a HUGE hill and forgot that I was counting hills. I was at 14. At this same time, Kristi got ahead of me about 20 yards. So I put on my iPod and worked to catch back up. I caught her at mile 10.5. I took out one earbud so we could still talk. We finished pretty strong. We split 6 minutes faster on the way back than on the Way there. Nice huh. Toward the end, I just wanted to beat the girl wearing the same skirt as me. (Why am I such an idiot???) I totally did it! When we crossed the finish line, I grabbed Kristi's hand and raised them up in victory. :)

Our official time was 2 hours 10 minutes 5 seconds. Yikes. My personal slowest. But I really don't care because I conquered Mt. Everest that day, like 50 times! OR MORE!

P.S. My buns have yet to recover!

P.S.S. The car in front of us hit a dear on the way up the canyon! CRAZY. Ummm, glad it wasn't us.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

women's run.

does anyone know about this all women 5k, 10k, in slc? i heard it was coming up, but I don't know when or where. help a sista out. e-mail me at kera.thompson {at} gmail {dot} com.