Wednesday, October 28, 2009

minor crash

I ran again with Carol. We chose a new route from work to 3900 South and back to work by way of 300 East and Main. It was boring which made it miserable. Oh, and it was COLD! But, we got the miles in, and we're now done. I managed to trip on a crack in the sidewalk again, but only scuffed the palms of my hands this time. (Am I just getting clumsier or what?) 6.2 miles @ 11:26mpm.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


At the major exchange, I handed off to Andrew from van #1. After getting some hot chocolate, we hopped back into the van and headed for the next major exchange hoping to get some sleep and happy that our strippers would be back to help us finish up the race. We already determined that they would be running the two hardest sections, they just didn’t know it yet!

We made it to the exchange where I changed my clothes again and we tried (again in vain) to sleep. I’ve decided that sleep is just a suggestion – not something that actually happens during a Ragnar relay.

Our boys made it back right on time as Carol left the exchange point. I had the next leg, and they were tired, so they went on ahead to try and catch some sleep while we ran. Carol did an awesome job (as always) but was happy to finally be done.

After she handed off to me, I ran about 20 steps before deciding that I just wanted to give it up. UG! My legs felt like they weighed 200 pounds each! But, it was no time for whiners. This section was thankfully classified as moderate, and had the illusion of more downhill than the elevation chart indicated. My pit crew continued to be fantastic, however, and Chelsea kept me laughing every time she passed me the water bottle. We had a great laugh over the fact that Carol told me I was almost done when I really had 3.5 of 4 miles left to go, and that a friggin’ limping race-walker passed me. Chelsea and I had particular fun with that one as we imitated him for a few steps (which was all I could handle).

This leg ended in a nice little town on the edge of the red rock canyon. It was really beautiful. I handed off to Justin who was running a double leg. We had joked during Carol’s leg that he would pretend to hand off to someone else when he really would hand off to himself at the exchange. The look on Carol’s face when he “handed off” to himself was priceless as she thought he was going to give the wrist strap to her. Unfortunately, he kind of twinged his knee during the turn around, and it irritated him for the next three miles.

Yeah – three miles. Well, that was the plan. However, the porta-potty company delivered the johns to the wrong location, so Justin’s journey was a mile longer than planned. Ever the trooper, he just sucked it up and did it.

To the great joy of all women who run, Justin handed off to Sterling, so the male beauty just continued. Add that to the landscape, and for straight women everywhere, it was a scenic day. For our part, we drove to the next exchange point so that Brady could pick up the last leg. We were excited for the end of the race because that always means a shower!

Brady took the wrist strap from Sterling and took off like a shot (as we’ve come to know by now as typical Brady). He raced another kid who looked to be the same age for the entire leg. He never needed anything from us, so we finally went ahead to the host hotel . Unfortunately, we weren’t fast enough and Brady and the rest of the team had to wait for us to run across the finish line. Well, actually, they chose to wait. Honestly, they should have just gone ahead without our stinking asses!


After his rockin’ run, Brady handed off to me again to finish up a 2.1 mile sprint to the next exchange point. I was determined to kick ass on this section, but again, my time doesn’t show it. He handed off to me at the Albertson’s at 4:35am, and I took off. Unfortunately, five minutes before I started running, another runner was struck and killed by a drunk driver.
I felt like I was running my ass off, but my overall pace was 10:58mpm. I found out later that one section of the race had to be diverted and was a bit longer than planned so that emergency vehicles could attend to him. Maybe that’s why my pace seemed so slow, but probably not (c’mon – I AM a realist). I did have one kill on this section – a gal who was NOT in a good mood…

(This really was 2.1 miles even though the website says 3.4.)


We arrived at the next major exchange point to get some sleep. I changed my clothes and washed up as well as I could before trying to fall asleep. In retrospect, we should have gone to the next exchange point since van #1 was covering our leg 19. We would have gotten more sleep, for sure. Oh well – based on my Wasatch Back experience, I didn’t really expect to get any sleep. I wasn’t disappointed. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Goose egg. We eventually left for the next exchange and missed the turn so we had to back track and hoped that we would get there in time.

We did get there in time and watched a lot of runners come in. What we (and they) didn’t know at the time was that they were coming in from the wrong direction! Apparently, there was some confusion on the trail with the signs, and soon runners were coming into the exchange from two different directions. Van #1 met up with us and we waited longer than expected for Greg to arrive. Although he was fast, he was already on his 3rd leg, and I think that all of them had been classified as hard or very hard. Mindy indicated that he was struggling and limping the last time that they checked with him. He had done a great job of taking on more than he had bargained for, and he was in for a well deserved break. He finally arrived at the exchange point – from the wrong direction – and I was off again.

This leg was classified as hard but only 3.9 miles. It was a dual canal/trail which I thought was very interesting. When it’s dry, it serves as a nice pathway for walkers, runners, bladers, and bicyclists. When it’s raining, it serves as a flood run off canal. I was a bit unnerved when I entered under the first bridge and water started running down the path. I knew that it couldn’t be a flash flood because it hadn’t been raining, but I was just tired enough (1:45am) to wonder for a split second. Turns out it was just sprinklers….

I had my first kill on this leg about half way through. I had officially surpassed my kill rate from Wasatch! Yeah! This was a girl who was a bit slower than me (yes, it’s possible),but she was very steady and consistent. Then, an older man almost scared the poop out of me as he climbed up out of the canal. He had missed a sign, and was running on a part of the path that had been closed! So, he had to climb up to the trail which happened to be right in front of me. He stayed ahead of me for a bit, but I finally managed to pass him. Then, I managed to pass Mr. Scruffy Beaded Shuffle Man who had gone by me two miles before.

As I crested a little hill in a residential area, I passed a guy who was taking a walk break. He overtook me a couple of minutes later like I knew that he would, but I managed to keep my eye on him for the rest of this leg. He was my target, and I was determined to try and catch him again. We entered into a business district, and I noticed that this guy’s pace had slowed a bit (because MY pace couldn’t have improved, I was tired!). I just started gaining and gaining on him. I think that I was at an advantage at this point because when we missed our turn for the exchange, we actually drove this portion of the course, so I knew how far it was until the next exchange point. He was also wearing an iPod and couldn’t hear my heavy feet slapping the pavement behind him, so I managed to get pretty close as we rounded the corner to the exchange point. So, I turned it on, and managed to pass him again right at the chutes!

I handed off to Carol, and proceeded to gasp for air! My pace for this 3.9 mile leg was 11:15mpm. I am happy for my 3 ½ kills and the fact that I only walked once. (I can’t consider it four kills because the last guy passed me at one point. I’m counting his kill as only ½.)

Since our strippers were working both their regular jobs and a private party, we decided to cover their night time legs for them. So, Carol was running both legs 15 and 16. Almost this entire run was on a paved trail, and the support vehicles couldn’t really be there for the runners. We drove to the exchange (where Carol would basically exchange with herself) to see if she needed anything. She was doing a great job, so we headed to the next exchange point. Since Carol and I were both running two legs, we gave Brady the hardest portion although it was not the longest. It’s a good thing that he’s just 19 years old; he could handle it, and his fast pace never really flagged at all.


Since we were missing a person, van #1 covered our first leg (#7). My first run was on leg #8 which was 8.6 miles with a classification of very hard. Here is the distance and elevation chart:

It was 85*, and a very dry wind was blowing. After my wonderful pit crew gave me my first water break at mile 2, I opted for water every mile, and I definitely needed it! I did relatively well for the first four miles, but I quickly ran out of steam after that. I was taking more and more walk breaks. I started playing tricks with my mind, but they only lasted a short while. Finally, I decided that I would run across twenty cracks in the road before walking again. I managed to occupy myself by creating an elaborate bunch of rules in my head: the crack must extend across my entire lane of traffic (no little cracks allowed), two cracks couldn’t be too close together (in other words, if I were to lay down between them and my head/feet would reach the cracks, they would be too close), etc. If the cracks didn’t meet all of the criteria, then I couldn’t count it. So, I would run past 20 of these cracks before allowing myself to walk. Then, on my next run segment, I would run past 21 of these cracks, and so on. It was silly, but it kept me running. I may or may not have been running farther, but I was at least counting higher. Whatever it takes, right?

During this time, I passed some of Lake Mead. I didn’t even realize it because I was just trying so hard to run. What I did see looked pretty and cold and I wished like crazy that I was swimming in it. I did manage to have one road kill (which officially tied my entire experience at Wasatch Back) during the last uphill portion. It was during this time that I realized that it was so stinking hot and dry that I could no longer make spit.

As with most runs, there were words of encouragement back and forth between runners. One guy walked with me for a few feet, and we talked about the heat, the hill, the difficulty. When he jogged away, I noticed that he was wearing an ultra’s bib. Additionally, he wasn’t even winded. I think that he just stopped to be nice because he surely wasn’t tired or exerting himself like the rest of us were! Nice…

Finally, the exchange point appeared around a bend in the road. Hallelujah! I managed to run in (because I couldn’t let everyone see me walk on my FIRST leg) and exchange with Justin. I immediately wanted to barf, but it passed fairly quickly. Carol met me to walk me back to the van, so after almost catching my breath, we headed on our way. While running, I couldn’t wait to just cool down, so I got my towel out of my bag, dunked it in the cooler, and draped it across my shoulders. It was icy cold (which I normally hate), and it worked marvelously! I kept it on for about an hour!

Before leaving the exchange point, we ran into two coworkers, Jack and Chels, and talked about the race and other chit chat. They were very jealous of us due to our hottie-hot-hot teammates (they had just watched Justin run away, along with almost every other woman at the exchange point), and “HELL YEAH” was the response when I asked if they would like tickets to the show!

My over all pace was pretty slow at 12:34mpm. Carol keeps trying to make me feel better about it given the circumstances, but I’m disappointed.

After Justin’s leg (which he refused water for the entire time and ran like a machine), Sterling took over. I finally talked Justin into a few sips after the exchange because he looked white and dehydrated. Sterling spent his leg admiring the women on the course and professed to have fallen in love with one of them (and I must agree, she had very nice legs). Then, Carol took over on a long and difficult downhill – which she totally rocked. Night was falling and we were treated to views of a nice sunset. Carol exchanged with Brady who was a little speed demon (and quite an accomplished runner having already finished 12 marathons before his 19th birthday!)

All the while, we had Chelsea – a high school basketball player and daughter of a van #1 teammate – with us. She proved to be a great pit crew and a fun girl to be around. We sat around in the dark and waited for Brady to see if he needed anything while talking about the future and family and school. While we were talking, poor Brady passed right by us!

Brady’s exchange happened at a major exchange point where van #2 passes off again to van #1. This took place at a big park/picnic area on the shores of Lake Mead. I was a bit unimpressed with the parking signage and the fact that a volunteer directed us right down the boat ramp. Had I been any more tired, we would have driven right into the water!

Here, we were surprised with several pizza’s and burgers courtesy of Greg and his friend. Unfortunately, they were delivered just minutes before Greg started running again, so he didn’t get to partake for six-ish miles (which were ALL uphill). We talked with van #1 folks for a while before moving on to find someplace to sleep.

Ragnar Vegas Pre-Run

Our plan was to drive with our team organizer to Mesquite the day before the race since we were in van #1 and needed to be on the start line at 8:30am. So, I took the day off from work to spend time with the boys. At 1pm, we all piled into the car and headed to SLC to meet our driver. Yes, meet. We had never met him before. In fact, Carol and I had never met ANY of our teammates before but we did know their brother, Brian. We figured that he is a very nice and decent guy, so his family must be the same. Luckily, we were 100% correct.

After meeting up with Dave, the organizer of two different teams (including rental cars, hotels, and food/drinks), we hopped in the car for the five hour drive to Mesquite. He had been up since 1am, and I’m sure he was very tired, but the conversation carried us all the way there. It was fun getting to know him and hear of some of his running exploits. He is an ultra runner who seems to never spend a weekend at home. (In fact, the week before Ragnar Vegas, he ran the St. George marathon. The week before that, he and his sister ran 75 miles in Oregon. He’s a big crazy!) He managed to work out a few kinks with the hotel, and then we were in our room and getting ready to sleep.

We knew that we would be sharing the room with other people, and since we were last minute tag-alongs, Carol and I found a couple of cozy spots on the floor and drifted off to sleep. I remember waking once during the night when people arrived, but not for long as they were quiet and I was tired. Carol and I were the first up the next morning so we tried to quickly and quietly get in and out of the bathroom before the others needed to use it. As we packed our gear, we were greeted by the morning sounds of men.

Yes, men. I have lived in an all-woman household for 20 years. Granted, I grew up with brothers, but I had forgotten how noisy they can be. (I guess it’s something that I need to remember in 10-ish years as the boys become teenagers!) The guys were nice and very polite, but the symphonic range of their snorting, coughing, and hocking up phlegm was amazing. I must say, however, that none of them snored, and I swear that I only counted one toot during the night. Dave introduced us to Beau, Joe, and Levi – all members of the fast team – and then we took our leave for a cup of coffee.

We then met the members of our team (the slow team) in the parking lot where we learned of several changes in plan.

First change: we would be the drivers of van #2 which, by the way, is a cargo van containing only a driver and passenger seat. The other team members would be illegally sprawled out in the back with no seats or restraints. “Just don’t get pulled over.” Hmmmm… OK.

Second change: we were in van #2! We had planned all along to be in van #1 with relatively easy legs (since we were last minute teammates). So, I spent a good deal of time commiserating with another co-worker about how hot and difficult his runs were going to be since he was a van #2 person. I suddenly knew full well how difficult our experience would be, and I’m not sure that I was ready to mentally accept it!

Third change: our team captain says something along the lines of “We’re missing a runner, so we only have 11. We (van #1) will try to make up those missing legs, but we’ll just have to be flexible.” Uh, yeah. So far, flexibility is the name of the game!

Fourth change: we meet more substitute runners, one of whom is finishing up a cigarette.

Fifth change: team captain unloads another little bit of information on us by asking “Did you know that two of your van mates are male strippers in Vegas?” At this point, Carol and I could do nothing but laugh. Who would have thought two weeks ago when we agreed to this craziness that it would get even crazier? But, it turns out that the dancers didn’t actually ride in the van with us because they had to keep going back and forth to Vegas to work. They drove the course in a separate car usually going far ahead of us and parking in order to get some sleep. It’s tough to dance all night and then run all day!

Finally, we were off to the races, and none too soon. We arrived at the start line with barely enough time for our first runner to get his bib on, smoke one last cigarette, and take off. (And in all fairness, Greg-the-smoker was VERY fast, limited lung capacity and all!) We misread our van directions, so we followed the runners for a little while before getting our bearings. We then drove past the first major checkpoint and waited for van #1 to arrive.

after a crummy weekend

Carol and I ran from work to Liberty (1 lap) and back at 11:22mpm pace. It was a good run even though I had been quite a slug all weekend. I didn't run at all in spite of the fact that it was perfect running weather. What was I thinking? Well, it wasn't a great weekend.....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Run that made me sad

Carol and I went from work to Liberty (1 lap) and back to work. 4.5 miles @ 11:26mpm pace. It was sad, though, because it is garbage collection day in that neighborhood and on the way there and back we passed a guy rummaging through all of the recycling bins to find any aluminum and metal that he could take for profit. He was a nice guy (good morning, how are you today, nice to see you again type) who didn't look completely "down and out" and one would expect him to. He actually looked like a normal, non-homeless guy trying to makes ends meet. That made me very sad.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I think I'll be able to see my breath on every run until March!

This was a good run. I only took one walk break and probably could have done without it. I ran by myself this morning as Carol was taking a rest day. Route was from work --> Liberty one lap --> work. It was chilly, but I had sufficiently warmed up by the park. 11:11mpm pace - not bad.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Egads! Mommy might pass out!

Holy cats! It's been a very long time since I ran with the boys in the jog stroller, and I thought that I might actually just lay down in the middle of the street and die today. "First, stop shoving each other. There is no room, and your brother isn't going anywhere because he, too, is strapped in. Second, if you insist on bringing your blanket, please keep it out from under the stroller wheels. Third, no - mommy is not having fun and if you gain another ounce.... Fourth, why on earth would I pick Grimm's Gate? Who really needs to run a steady 1.5 mile incline?"

After we FINALLY made it to the top, we turned around and went through the new construction area so that the boys could get out and see the excavators up close. That also means throwing lots of rocks and picking up a lot of dirt. And, oh joy of joys, a porta potty. Neither of them ever need to pee-pee-potty at home, but the second we see a "facility" that a bunch of construction workers have used, then it's "Mommy! Pee-pee-potty!" And, I can't really say no, right? Not if I actually want them to someday potty train. Oh, and just sitting and peeing isn't enough. We really must touch every freaking thing in, on, and around the porta potty. That hand sanitizer can't possibly be enough - and I used a LOT of it. It's just so very YUCK!

Anyway, we finally got home with a pathetic pace of 14:05mpm for 3.3 miles.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I ran with Carol from work to Sugarhouse (1 lap) and back to work. Going up was a bit tough and tiresome, but we managed. We ran both of the hills in the park. Coming back down was great, and we were flying UNTIL I tripped on a MINISCULE crack in the sidewalk and hit hard. Not only did I hit, but apparently, I slid a good four feet, too. I've scuffed up my right shoulder, right knee (but didn't rip any clothes, whew!), left palm and really jammed two of the fingers on my right hand. I'm sure that I'll live, and sadly, I can still type and write. Damn! No excuse to go home!

Also ran 4.5 miles yesterday at 11:35 mpm pace - with Carol - Liberty and back to work.

Ragnar Vegas race reports coming soon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Should WE still be in our warm beds?

Work --> Libertyx2 --> work with Carol. We unintentionally pushed it a bit since Thursday will be a break/travel day for the Vegas relay. It was cold again today and even fewer people than yesterday.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Brrrrr.... All of the people are still snuggled in bed!

Good run with Carol - work/Libertyx1/work + one lap around the campus at work. Average pace for 5.3 miles was 11:26mpm. It was cold (35*), and there were very few people out. We saw maybe two other runners at the park and three people walking their dogs. Brrrrr! Talked and thought a lot about the relay in Vegas this weekend. Looking forward to it, but it will be strange to suddenly be running in 85* weather!

Friday, October 2, 2009

cold 10-miler

Good run with Coworker Carol. We ran from work to Liberty and completed a lap there. Then, we ran on 7th to 17th and headed up to 13th (those last two blocks were tough). From 17th, we proceeded to 21st and did a lap at Sugarhouse (tough hills). In order to get our whole 10 miles in, we wound around the side streets as we headed back to State. It was cold (37*), and it was my longest run since the August marathon, but we managed to do a smidge over 10 miles at 11:42mpm average pace! Yeah!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

practically a speed demon

Short Liberty loop from work with Carol. 4.5 miles in much cooler temperatures. Add that to our rest day yesterday, and our average pace was 11:03mpm! Great run.