And it's a good thing, too, since I ended up exacerbating a little injury during the half. I don't think I could have done any more than I did. More on that later.
Race #1 - Half Marathon
What a gorgeous morning for a race!
|Ready to run!|
The race started with a pre-race briefing.
Going over things like the race course and some basic trail race rules. You know. Stay on the trail. Unless you see a desert tortoise or a rattlesnake. Or a wild horse. Or if you need to step out of the way, so another runner can pass.
The course started out on a single track trail, actually the majority of the race was on a single track, so it was a little crowded at the start. We started out a bit faster than usual, and I knew I wouldn't be able to maintain that for the full 13.1, so I stopped off to the side and let a few runners pass.
Desert Dash did a fabulous job marking the course. They felt it should be a race - not an exercise in orienteering. :-D
The course was absolutely gorgeous!
The weather was perfect. For me. Others probably thought it was a bit too hot, but I loved it! It was in the low-to-mid-70s with a nice cool breeze. I never really felt too hot and uncomfortable. Like I said, perfection.
George and I had previewed part of the half marathon course the week before, so we were familiar with about miles 2-5. These were some of the toughest miles of the course, in my opinion.
There were aid stations around miles 2.75 and 6. We ran right through the first aid station. I still had plenty of water and didn't really need anything. I did pop 3 ShotBloks from my own stash around mile 3, though.
We took advantage of the 2nd aid station, though. I grabbed a bunch of pretzels and some M&Ms. Plus we just took a short breather.
Shortly after that 2nd aid station, we ascended Satan's Escalator. This was most aptly named. Haha!
Actually, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. George zoomed up the switchbacks as I slowly plodded my way to the top.
|Finally near the top of Satan's Escalator|
|View from the top of Satan's Escalator|
The 3rd aid station was around mile 8. We spent a bit of time here. They had all kinds of goodies. Bananas, oranges, Oreos, potato chips, pretzels, water, Coke, Island Boost, Tailwind. There might have been more, but that's all I can remember. I tried most everything. :-D
This aid station was located at Wilson's Tank, which has a gorgeous view of the Vegas valley. You can see the Strip WAY off in the distance, but I didn't get a great picture of that.
I was way too mesmerized and excited about the WILD HORSES down below.
|Sorry it's such a bad picture. They were so far away!|
I'm not sure why, but I'm incredibly fascinated by the idea of wild horses. Until a couple years ago, I never really knew that wild horses still existed. Apparently, if I were a stronger, faster runner I would have seen one up close. The volunteers at the aid station said there was one right in the trail for awhile that startled several runners. Then the horse moved off the trail and hung out behind the volunteers for awhile. I wish I could have seen that!
|Way down there in the valley are some WILD HORSES!|
|5 more miles to go!|
It got progressively worse the further I went. And maybe it wasn't the smartest idea, but I kept running along - thinking if I kept going, at least it would be over that much sooner.
George started to have some IT band issues and kept stopping to walk. I kept running ahead, but then I knew he wouldn't have left me, so I stopped and ran/walked with him to the finish.
Around mile 10.5 or so, we got to a really pretty part of the course. I wanted to stop and take pictures at nearly every step.
|The beginning of some absolutely breathtaking views|
The finish line was bittersweet. It was wonderful to be finished! The pain in my ass had moved down into my knee for the final miles, and I was in a good deal of pain, so it was good to be off the course.
But the course was so beautiful and the weather was so gorgeous that I could've spent the whole day out there!
The post-race treats were great!
I had some salted watermelon, a banana, and a quarter of muffin. It was a perfect spread.
After the race, we headed back to George's car, which had been broken into. Booo! He had a credit card stolen and some cash, and they stole one of my credit cards as well. There were a few other cars that had been broken into as well. So sad.
I wasn't going to let it damper the rest of my day, though.
We headed to the M Resort's pool. We'd reserved a cabana for the afternoon. I'll save a recap of the pool for another day, but it was a lot of fun!
Unfortunately, even splashing around in the water irritated my knee. I knew it was going to be slow 5k.
Race #2 - 5k
Jeff met us at the M pool and we hung out there until around 6:45pm, when we headed back to Cottonwood Valley for our 2nd race. George had left the pool earlier, so we met up with him back at the race.
The race started with the Race Director doing a roll call to make sure everyone was there. I'd never been to a race where they called off everyone's name. It was kind of neat. Roll call was followed by the race rules. Pretty much the same thing as the morning, so I know I didn't pay as close of attention this time around.
About 1/2 mile in, we turned right for the 5k loop. The 10k-ers did this loop twice; the 30k-ers did this loop at the beginning and again at the end. Not too sure of the 50k course, but it started with the 5k loop as well. :)
I knew I was going to have to walk most of this race, as my knee and butt were in a lot of pain now. George and I started way in the back, and we stayed there for the full race. I think there was just a slow walker behind us.
We were both A-OK with walking, but we did try to keep up a good pace.
|Only pic George took of the 5k; I took none.|
We were passed by a couple of the 10k-ers, who started at the same time we did. Oh well. We still finished strong and under 1hr. Yay!
Oh the things we runners do for bling! I love that I got a medal for the 1st race and a pilsner glass for the 2nd.
Despite my injuries, this was a fantastic race! It was my first Desert Dash race, and I would definitely register for another one of their races. Their signage was perfect and very helpful for both distances. The aid stations were nicely stocked with all kinds of goodies and provided a perfect breather. The weather was amazing, though Desert Dash didn't really have much control over that. :-D The volunteers were awesome as were the race directors.
Now, it's time to focus on healing this injury.
Did you race over the weekend?
Have you ever pushed through pain in order to get to the finish faster?