Friday, April 22, 2016

Salt Lake Marathon, 2016

I decided to run the Salt Lake Marathon on April 16 as a fundraiser for Huntsman Cancer Institute. This was the fourth time I've raised money for Huntsman, and it's always something that I'm proud to do. Of course, I run in memory of my mom. I have also had the pleasure of knowing my coworker and friend, Heidi, who has been fighting colon cancer for 18 months. She's amazing.

However, about a month before the marathon, I learned of the passing of another friend of mine, Sue Daylor of our Boston sales office. I worked with Sue for a couple of years back in 1998 and 1999, and we've stayed in touch since then. I didn't talk to her as often as I should have - something that everyone realizes only when it is too late. I didn't even know that she was sick; she never mentioned it which isn't a surprise... She was so funny, and so much fun, and she talked SO FAST! A single mom, she raised a beautiful daughter named Danielle, and she was loved by everyone. I promised a few people that I would dedicate certain miles to Sue on their behalf.

My training leading up to the marathon was good. I totally should have lost more weight, but since the first of the year (in 3.5 months) I ran 10.4, 12.3, 10.3, 13, 17.5, 10, 18, 13, 19.5, and 20.5 mile long runs, so I know that my mileage was there. I had the distance. Not the speed, but - well - I never have the speed.

I was hoping to PR, but I realized that my fastest time was at 10-12 pounds less weight. But, that's OK - I was fine with finishing around 10 minutes slower than my PR (knowing that a PR would have been the best...). Hey - I've done this before. This isn't my first 'thon. I know what to expect. I know that it's going to be a suck-fest at some point. I know that I'm going to struggle. I know that I'm going to finish. I know that I can do this.

Woke up at 4am to get moving and get my tummy moving - you know what I mean...
I did the dishes from the night before. I pottied. I got dressed. I pottied again. I hopped into the car and drove away. (Bub and the boys were staying home because nobody was feeling all that great.)
Uneventful drive into SLC. Found a parking space 1 block from the finish line (score!).
Hopped on the train and rode to the start line.
Met the Huntsman team for a picture, and then hit the line for the porta-potties.
Dropped my sweatshirt and pants at the gear check.
Got in line with "my people" (the slow, shuffling, 5+ hour runners).
Boom - race starts. It's all going according to schedule/plan.

I started my watch, crossed the start line a second later, and then high-5'd Mayor Biskupski!
The race started north into Federal Heights. All of the hills would be taken care of in the first half of the race, so what's not to love?
It was COLD, but I knew that I would warm up.
I was running at my pace (slow), and moving right along.... for an entire half of a mile.
I'm not even joking.

At mile 0.5, my heart started POUNDING. Not beating heavily. Not elevated. FREAKING POUNDING.
So, I stopped and walked in order to get it in line with my body and the actual effort. It didn't work. (Plus, I was mortified to be walking in the first mile.)
Fine, I think, I'll just keep running. It will come around.
I stopped, walked, crouched on my haunches, folded forward - you name it... But, nothing seemed to help. Not in Federal Heights, not in City Creek Canyon, not headed down State Street. It just kept pounding and pounding. I thought I could run through it. That's what runners do, right. We run through a twinge in the knee. We run through a side stitch. We keep going because everything works itself out, right?

At mile 5 - after running for 4 miles with my hand on my chest to feel the pounding (pace and strength) - I decided that I would walk until it stopped. I was was done trying to run through it. I was starting to get scared, and I was breathing like an asthmatic.
So, I walked.
I didn't power walk. I strolled.
There were times when I tried to run again, but I never made it more than a block or two.
My heart still never slowed down or softened in it's intensity.
My left arm was cold and tired.
Each passing mile, I got more and more frightened. This had never happened to me before.

So, at the split point (mile 9) where the full 'thon went left and the half 'thon went right, I chose to turn right because my friend/running partner/nurse was volunteering at an aid station. I figured that if I was dying, she would at least know what to do. I had walked for 4 miles.
Now, I've had many moments (every marathon) where I've said "Oh, I'm going to quit. I can't do this. I hate running," but I've always also had in the back of my mind that voice that says "No, you won't quit. You'll finish; you know that you will." However, on this day, I knew that if Tracy said to stop, I would stop. No questions asked.

So, as I approached the aid station, I could see the surprised look on her face. We had joked because she volunteered so that she could cheer me on/up at one of the hard miles, but then she was assigned to a water stop on the half-marathon course. As soon as I made eye contact with her, I started crying. I waved her towards me, and I'm sure that I looked awful. She ran towards me and asked what was wrong, but I could barely tell her because I literally could not breathe.
Tracy hugged me and tried to help my breathing calm down as I gasped "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!"
I explained - as well as I could - what was happening to me.
We sat down on the curb, and she tried to take my pulse, but it was so cold, and she couldn't get her hands to warm up enough. But, that's OK because I could feel it POUNDING in my chest.

I sat there for 10 minutes, possibly more.
I felt comfort and care from Tracy's presence. My heart eventually started to slow down.
Then, as suddenly as it started, it stopped. All at once, I was just fine. It was SO weird.
I asked Tracy what she thought I should do. She suggested that I just walk in the remainder of the half. I rolled my eyes and said that if I was going to do that, I could just as well walk the full....
(I know. Logic goes out the window during a race. Runners aren't very bright. What was I thinking? Say what you want....)
I promised Tracy that I would turn around and come back if my heart started up again. Honestly, I was certain that it would start pounding again in just a couple of blocks, but I had to give it a try.

So, I made my way back to the course, and started moving again. After about a half mile, I found myself running at 10:20, 9:58, 10:40, 10:10, 11:00, 9:50, etc. I ran like that (with a few walk breaks) until about mile 17 or 18!
Then, the Gu and banana bites that I had eaten were right at the threshold of coming back up, so I slowed down.

My friend, Polo, was waiting for me at mile 19.
I knew that I just needed to get to that point. After that point, and running with Polo, I knew that if I had a heart attack then Polo would be able to do CPR for me.
So, I walked (WALKED!) up to my friends - Polo, Carlene, Mindy, Rose, and Mariah - and he was ready to go. Unfortunately, I made him walk for about a mile and a half while I tried not to barf. I was successful, but everyone knows what happens when you walk too long in a marathon: you never want to start walking again...
Finally, Polo talked me into running, and we ran, walked, ran, walked, ran, walked.
I walked longer than I wanted, and probably took up WAY too much of Polo's time, but he never let on.
He just kept saying "I think you can pass that guy in the green/orange/blue shirt/shorts/hat."
He talked about movies, his son's trip to Thailand, relays that he wants us all to run - whatever. He talked; I growled. He pushed; I grumbled. He waved and thanked volunteers; I glared. He laughed; I laughed - you gotta' laugh when you're around Polo...
So, he helped me slog out the final 7 miles, and I love him for that!

Finally, we saw the finish line, and there was one more person that I wanted to pass, so we pushed and finally passed her right before the chute.
I finished in 6:10:14. Son of a bitch! An hour and 10 minutes longer than what I wanted. Not 10 minutes, but an HOUR and 10 minutes.

I made my way to the Huntsman tent where they were tearing everything down. They thought that they had just missed me and that I had finished long before. Sadly, no.
I relayed my story to Coach Elfi, and we commiserated. She can't figure out what the problem might have been.
I said "I'm so pissed! Now, I just need to run a redemption marathon!"
Jen - the event coordinator for Huntsman athletes piped up and said "I can get you into Ogden if you just raise $400 more!"
I'll be honest - I'm 99% there....

I don't know what my mile splits were because I erased my watch in my anger. I do know that they were all over the damn place. 11:20, 16:50, 13:30, 9:58, 10:45 - nothing consistent.
I cried when I got home before I got into the tub.
I drank three beers that night and ate cheetos.
I walked 3 miles the next day.
I did DDPY and ran 3 miles on Monday.
I ran 5.5 miles on Tuesday.
In other words, my body was fine - well, unless you count my heart and lungs....

I'm running 10-ish miles tomorrow with friends. I hope Meg is there as she is a doctor. I would love to tell her my story and see what she says.
Right now, I haven't made an appointment to see the doc. If she says to go, I probably will.

Some (Kelley, Elfi, Carolyn) think that it was an anxiety attack. But, really - what did I have to be anxious about?
It wasn't my first 'thon.
I knew what to expect.
I knew that I wasn't going to win.
It was just another long run.
Yes - I was a bit nervous because I hadn't run a 'thon for 5 years, but I wasn't scared...
What the hell?
Others (Nate, Heidi, Charlie) think that it's just a fluke.
One (Linda) thinks that I might even be related to peri-menopause.

What could/should have gone differently:
weight loss
better mileage throughout the week
speed training
better hill training

Will I run Ogden or Utah Valley? We shall see....

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

RUN for the bus - literally

357 TRC run - but at 457 - whatever...
We ran through and around and zigzagged Stansbury Park. I couldn't do it again if I tried.
Charlie and I chatted the entire way. It was great. He's such a funny guy, and I really enjoy his stories and advice.
Then, I made a pit stop before going to the park & ride. I figured I had 20 minutes left and plenty of time for another 1.5 miles. However, it was more like 2 miles, and I ended up hauling ass but missed the bus anyway - as in I was getting stuff out of my truck when he pulled away. So, I had to chase him from the grist mill to Lakepoint. Even then, I almost missed him! Good grief! (I was running an 8:30mpm pace at the end, though...)
Stats: 6.25 miles in 1:11:57 for an 11:31mpm pace

Monday, March 14, 2016

dizzy DDPY

When will I learn???
Although my vertigo hasn't kicked in completely, I am a bit wobbly and off-center.
I was in no shape to be going up and down and here and there, so I chose DDPY - SU as my lunchtime workout. There are some forward folds, but most of it is done where I can keep my head in a neutral position.
Triangle and Twisting Triangle about knocked me on my ass, and there were a couple of Diamond Cutters where I thought I was going to tip over at the "hulk it up" portion.
Although they were really yummy chips, and the Shocktop was excellent, salt and beer are not on my menu for quite some time.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

post beer...

UG. I had 6 beers over the course of the day yesterday, and today's run was bleck!
We went to Sanpete to celebrate Billy's 16th birthday, and decided to sleep over at Jake's house, so I ran up to and past the Fairview cemetery and back. I only did 3.5 miles because blah....
Stats: 3.5 miles in 39:00 for an 11:09mpm pace

Saturday, March 12, 2016

conquering the BEAST

Woot Woot!
We started at the Grist Mill church, ran through SP, and then up the BEAST. I was running with Meg, so I was trying to be sure to stay with her. I just knew that she was going to pull away from me on the uphill because she always does. However, I kept up with her until the very end of the BEAST. (There's a chance that she slowed down to run with me, but whatever.) I ran to the top without any walk breaks for the first time! Yay!
Meg and I had a great conversation, and then Sandra and I talked all the way back. Tracy and Charlie were also running with us. They have a big race next weekend on Antelope Island.
Stats: 8.21 miles in 1:30:41 for an 11:03mpm pace

Friday, March 11, 2016

slow and easy run

Since I have a long run next week, I ran the USU loop slow and easy. It was windy which I don't like, but it was very do-able.
Stats: 4.62 miles in 53:51 for an 11:39mpm pace

Thursday, March 10, 2016

slept in

I was up late last night - like 11:30pm late - on a work night. So, instead of getting up to run, I pressed snooze about 18 times. I had time to get DDPY - FB in during lunch. Struggled to remember to keep my lower half engaged. I do like doing DDPY at work, though. There are mirrors on two walls, so I can look at my form. Turns out, I haven't been placing my arms in the right places during some moves. Something new to work on.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Body feels wiped out

I haven't been eating as cleanly as I should be, plus, it's been a tough week physically and mentally.
I don't feel badly for "just" doing DDPY - NRG.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Westminster loop

I was going to run Sugarhouse, but decided to cut it back a bit. Instead, I did the Westminster loop. I was pretty tired this morning after going up and down steps with boxes for 4 hours yesterday. Let the basement renovation begin!
Stats: 4.6 miles in 51:08 for an 11:07mpm pace

Sunday, March 6, 2016

post long run strertch

Got up and felt remarkably good considering yesterday's mileage.
Did DDPY WU and HBKO. By the end, my hips and legs were tired - not a surprise after the run yesterday.
Felt good, but I didn't engage as much as I could have. Too tired. But it was the right DDPY workout to do for sure.

Saturday, March 5, 2016


OMG - longest run since Utah Valley Marathon in 2011!
18 miles!
Met Charlie, Meg, and Sandra at Elton Park. We made our way up and down Smelter.
Then, we turned to Pine Canyon at Erickson Road. Through Pine Canyon to the trailhead on Churchwood Road. Then, we had about 4.5 miles on the trails. Fun, but rocky, and the rollers were tough. I was pooped.
Then, everyone else stopped at 14, but I ran back through Pine Canyon and back to the park.
18 miles exactly.
At the end, I almost couldn't get into the truck. OMG - everything hurt so badly!
I came home and did an "ice" bath (which for me is barely cold water), but it was a good idea as I felt fantastic later in the day and all the next day.
It was a really good run with lots of chatting with Meg as we kept together almost the entire time.
Stats: 18 miles in 3:34:03 for an 11:35mpm pace

Friday, March 4, 2016

prepping for long run

Long run tomorrow - longest run since my last marathon 5 years ago!
So, today was an upper-body DDPY - SB, then the remainder of the day was rest, rest, rest.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

getting a bit faster

WOOT! Sub-11 for the first time in a long time
Ran the Liberty lap from work and back.
Stats: 4.49 miles in 49:06 for a 10:43mpm pace

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

up early

I got up early and did FB and RHC.
I'm getting better at RHC, and that makes me happy to realize.
I wish spot training worked. If it did, I would do RHC about 4x/day...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

hill repeats to the reservoir and BTB

I got up to run with the 357 TRC. We met at the mouth of Settlement and ran up and down, up and down, up and down.
The hill is 0.9 miles each direction, and the UP isn't easy at all.
I took a short walk break each time up, but it was the best I've ever done on this hill.
It was fun to see everyone (Charlie, Meg, Tracy, and Sandra). It was also fun to catch my breath at the top!

Afterwards, I came home and did BTB while the boys were waking up. It was tough. After all, I did just run 3 miles up a steep hill!

Finally, we all rushed around like crazy to get the boys to school on time.

Monday, February 29, 2016

lunch time workout - SU

I got a session of SU in during lunch break at work.
This is really a go-to DDPY for me at work because I don't sweat like crazy and can go back to my desk without a shower.
Plus, I love it. My balance is so much better.
I also weighed myself. Not happy. The weekend eating and three measly beers weren't good to me. Must get my shit together.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Long run felt pretty good!

After last week's 17.5 miler and then being sick for three days, I didn't really run much at all. An 8 miler on Thursday, but nothing else.
This week was a cut-back week, so I was scheduled for just 10 miles.
I chose the Smelter Road out-and-back because it's the right length, and because I can always use the hills.
My watch died at 5.73 miles, so I just extrapolated the distance at the pace for the first 5.73 miles.
I felt good. If I can do 26 miles feeling like this, then it will be a good marathon in April.
Stats: 10 miles in 1:54:00 for an 11:24mpm pace

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Don't ease back in...

After being sick for most of the week, I knew that I needed to get some decent time in. Instead of easing into the workout, I chose Double Black Diamond.
But, there's actually more to it than that.

I was scheduled to run 10 miles. And, what a great day - it was TRC's monthly trail day. So, the plan was to run the two miles from the house up to the gate at Settlement to meet the group. Then, do six miles on trail, and come back home. Then, I would get my DDPY in, and all would be well in the world.

Imagine my surprise when I walked downstairs to get some socks and my fanny pack water bottle and I walked onto a soaking wet carpet. And, more soaking wet carpet. And MORE soaking wet carpet. Son of a bitch!
No trail run for me!

We spent a couple of hours trying to soak up the water, but there was too much.

Turns out, the problem was the pressure release valve. We don't know why it released. We don't know why the pressure was wonky. We do know that there was water all over from hell to breakfast.
After the water heater guy came over and diagnosed the problem, we got a call into the insurance company, and the restoration company.

We realized that we couldn't do anything more, so I changed my clothes and stuck in Double Black Diamond. I had to stop a couple of times to answer phone calls from the insurance and restoration folks, and this was probably good because I was wiped out. This was my first DDPY workout in about a week, and I chose DBD? Ack!

Afterwards, I felt awesome.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

tired, but got my hour in

After yesterday's run, I'm rather pooped!
But, I got up early to get my DDPYoga in before everyone got out of bed. Knowing that I had an hour ahead of me, I picked DC and RHC. 66 minutes of torture fun.
My left hamstring is TIGHT. It's been an on-going problem. I really need to foam roll it. (Hmmm.. I really need a foam roller.)
I'm still struggling to get my heart rate in the right zone. I've got to figure this out!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The power of a group

16 miles on the schedule for today. I really didn't want to do it. Had I stayed in Tooele, I probably wouldn't have done the whole thing. I probably would have just run 13 instead.
So, when Bub suggested that we sleep over at granny's, I knew that it was the universe telling me that I needed to run with the Huntsman Hometown Heroes as a part of the team. (My fundraising is going well, by the way....)

So, we met at Sugarhouse Park, and we did one lap in the park before running up and around the zoo and back. That was about 8 miles. Then, there was a 5-ish mile loop south and east of the park. Then, a 3-ish mile loop in upper Sugarhouse.

Then, I got back to the park and was offered chocolate milk and cookies. I declined (for now) because I knew that I had more miles in me.
The entire second loop I just couldn't get out of my mind that I would be so close to 17 miles. I kept telling myself that if my legs could do it, I would NEED to run 17 or more.
I've been stuck at 17 miles for five years. My last marathon was awful - mostly because my longest training run was 17 miles. What a huge mistake that was. Yeah, I finished the 'thon, but it was miserable. Absolutely miserable. So, I've had this mental roadblock for all of this time.
Today was the day.
When I got done with the third loop, I told Coach Elfi that I needed to run a bit more because I needed to prove to myself that I could do it AND FEEL GOOD afterwards. So, off I went, and it was good.

BTW - my butt is huge...

Stats: 17.5 miles in 3:16:31 for an 11:14mpm pace

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

it may take all day...

I was up late last night working, so I didn't get up at a good time this morning. In fact, I barely made it to the bus on time...
So, during lunch, I did DDPY - SU. I tried like crazy to get my heart rate up. I still have work to do.
After I got home from work, it was dinner and helping the boys finish up some leftover scout projects. (They are all caught up now.) Then, getting them to brush their teeth without making a huge mess (oh, haha).
Finally, I had time to finish up my hour of yoga by doing DDPY - MIX.
Of course, now I'm all amped up and don't want to go to sleep... Whatever - no excuses!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

so overdressed

Mid-February and I was baking?
I didn't run in the morning as was the original plan. Instead, I ran at 2:30 in the afternoon. The temps were in the mid-50s, and I had packed a long-sleeved technical and long tights. I totally regretted it.
I started at the Flying J in Lakepoint and ran along Lake Shore Drive (which sounds so much more beautiful and affluent than it really is) until I got to Shepherd. Then, down to Center, over to Saddleback, and back to the truck. I finished with just enough time to change my clothes and get to the boys' parent-teacher conferences. (They are brilliant and doing great in school, of course.)

My main focus of the run was to monitor my heart rate to see when I'm in the fat burning zone. Unlike DDPY, apparently I can get into my zone rather quickly when running. It turns out that if I'm going at a 10:30mpm pace, I'm at my fat burn zone.
DDPY? Man - I'm going to have to engage the living hell out of every damn muscle to get anywhere close to the heart rate I have at a 10:30 pace! But, I guess that's the point, right?

Oh, besides being SO hot, my run was great. I had to slow myself down, and I even - uncharacteristically - let out a whoop at about mid-run. I just wanted to spread my arms and fly.

Stats: 4.56 miles in 50:21 for an 11mpm pace

Monday, February 15, 2016

Mish mash of DDPY

This morning, I got up and started immediately with WU.
Then, I proceeded to SU. I love SU. Love it. Balance workouts seem to be my cup of tea. Because of that, I think, I don't seem to engage as much as I do when I'm doing stuff like push-ups or side planks. This was confirmed as my heart rate felt low as it always does in SU.
Therefore, I knew that I needed to work harder in the final minutes of my workout, so I chose the last half of DC - you know, the half I didn't do yesterday. I'm glad that I did. My heart rate was up and I was sweating.

I do have a HRM, but it doesn't want to pick up the reading between the chest strap and the watch, so I'm taking my reading with two fingers and 10-seconds on the screen. I then multiply that reading by 6 and move on. My 10-second readings (which may or may not have been accurate) were 17 and 16 which means that my 1-minute readings were 102 and 96.
The trouble here is that my max heart rate is supposed to be 175.
I'll be honest - I'm not sure if I ever reach that when I'm running. I'm going to have to start paying better attention during my short and long runs.
I know from blood draws and blood pressure checks and etc. that my heart rate is always pretty low (much like my mom's was, but for different reasons). But, I'm sure that I can still stand to figure out how to raise it during my workouts.

I think, however, that if I'm going to go ahead with this certification, I need to be able to
1) verify my own HR,
2) find good moments/positions with which to take my HR,
3) help others check their HR during a workout (because not everyone will own a HRM or will remember to bring a HRM to a class).

Anyway, after working out, I made everyone breakfast - yummy Belgian waffles (made with coconut and soy milks, rice and whole-wheat flour, and honey instead of sugar). I realize that they aren't perfect, but the family didn't even notice the substitutions. (It's all in the folding of the egg whites...)
Like a dope, I ate two of the waffles. One was plain, and the other had peanut butter and un-sweetened applesauce instead of syrup, jam, or anything else.
Also, an egg and a banana. Yum!

Now - after this movie is over (Truth with Robert Redford and Kate Blanchett), I'm going to do my taxes, get some dinner prepped, and then go for a snow shoe hike with the dogs. I love days off.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

DDPY - DC1/2, NRG, and RHC

Valentine's Day - what a wonderful morning!
I got breakfast in bed from the boys (truly made by the little Mrs. and delivered by the boys...).
I got some yummy chocolate covered caramels which I can't eat because I gave up sugar for Lent (and hopefully longer).
I got a heart-shaped pendant that makes me think of my little stinkers.
I asked what we were doing and what time we were leaving the house. I got "I don't know... I would like to drink my coffee." Then, halfway through DC, I got "You know you have about 15 minutes before we need to leave?" Sigh.

Besides the three dogs walking underneath me while I was in down dog and sticking their butts in my face, and the sound skipping out, the first 29 minutes of Diamond Cutter were very good.
I was focusing very much on keeping my lower half engaged. I typically do very well when DDPY tells me to engage, but then we move to the fire hydrant, and I focus on that and forget about the bottom half. After almost a year, it is still an effort to remember to keep both engaged as much as possible.
I got through Broken Table and Chicken Wing before I had to shower. There was sweat dripping during Broken Table. This is typically when the sweat starts "to drip off my nose."

We enjoyed lunch out where I chose something logical and pretty healthy: cilantro-lime rice, broccoli, and mango-chile chicken. It was good!
I was going to have a chicken burrito which would have been tasty and a decent choice, but it wouldn't have been quite as healthy.
Then, we went to the Ute basketball game (where the Utes kicked the crap out of Washington State), and I did eat a jumbo pretzel. However, I didn't have cotton candy. I didn't have gummy worms. I didn't have M&Ms.
After the game, we went to Baskin Robbins where I enjoyed not a single bite of ice cream. I'm staying strong at 4-days no sugar.

Now, the rest of the family is climbing into bed, and I'm going to mend a pillow and do NRG and RHC. This will get me to my 1-hour of DDPY for the day, and before you know it, I will be so freaking awesome.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Ruby Mountain Relay - 2013 - race report

Yes - I realize that this post is 2.5 years in the making. I was sidetracked...

My friend, Carrie from Vernal, won a team entry to Ruby Mountain Relay. She filled one van, and I filled the other. The team name was Sister Wives, and each van had five "wives" and one husband. We didn't know our hubby, but he was a friend of a friend of someone in the first van. As is becoming a pattern, we met him the morning of the race. The rest of our van was made up of Tanner-ites, and we knew that we (me, Majlinda, Rose, Mindy, and Carolyn) were going to have fun. We did NOT know that we were going to be running through the armpit of hell.
Husband, Farmer's Wife, Lesbian Wife, White Man's Wife, Baklava Wife, and Fit Wife - in it for the long run...

So, the Ruby Mountains are the "gem" of north-central Nevada. Honestly, a stick in a mud puddle would be a gem in north-central Nevada. Holy barren!
Having not spent ANY time in Elko or Wells, none of us were prepared for what to expect. Thankfully, we didn't expect much. Seriously un-thrilling ride through a lot of desert and sagebrush.
We drove for about 1000 hours before getting the first exchange where we met van 1. Then, we started running. Mostly dirt/gravel roads, but some asphalt.
It was hot and miserable and, for the most part, boring.
Here's Carolyn coming up a nasty hill and Rose running with trees in view. There weren't a lot of trees, so this was noteworthy.

OK - it wasn't ENTIRELY void of beauty:

We got to run through some tribal land which was pretty interesting. I don't know why. The land itself was boring as hell, but I just found it interesting. We got our asses kicked by a team from the local reservation. They were FAST! Of course, they are probably used to the heat since they live there...

Here's our hubby, David. See? It was hot!

Here's a girl who works hard when she runs. She doesn't mess around. She doesn't seem to walk, ever...

Have I mentioned that it was dusty? Here's my bum print to prove it.

Some more scenery that didn't involve sagebrush. (I try to forget about the sagebrush...)

Here's a new ride that Rose and I found just in a random part of the road as we were driving over the south end of the Ruby Mountains:

After sleeping for a few hours at some kind of bird refuge, we ran our nighttime leg. As we were leaving the refuge, one of the volunteers said "watch out for rattlesnakes!" We all laughed, but he kept a straight face... He was totally serious. I was totally freaked out, and rightly so. In my super short run, I passed about 12 rattlesnakes that had been squished on the road. I was madly swinging my pinpoint headlamp back and forth trying to keep myself from getting killed by a venomous reptile, and I actually stepped on a dead one. So much for keeping myself safe. If it had been alive, I would have been dead.

We finally got to the second exchange point, and got some more sleep. I woke up in time for the sunrise and this random dog licking my face:

I loved this.

Hey, look! I'm done with my final (and HOTTEST) leg of the race!

Here's another determined runner:

Fit Wife heats it up, strips it off, and cools down:

I think she's happy that she's done running:

Hallelujah! We're done! Let's get the hell out of sagebrush, rattlesnakes, and dirt. (Then, we lost a sleeping bag from the roof of the SUV on the way home - in the dark, I might add - and had to turn around until we found it.)

(OK - it really was fun. We had a great time, and we've done several relays together since...)