Monday, May 26, 2014

Trails of Fury Race Recap

Saturday morning, I got up bright and early - so early, it wasn't even bright yet actually - to head out for Trails of Fury. In a moment of insanity, I'd registered for the Dirty Double - which meant a race in the morning and a race in the evening. I'd decided on the Half Marathon to start the day and a 5k at night. Since I'm still a little new to trail running, I didn't want to push it any more than that.

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!

Trails of Fury | May 24, 2014
Ready to run!

The race started with a pre-race briefing.

Trails of Fury | Desert Dash races

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

Trails of Fury | Desert Dash races

The course was absolutely gorgeous!

Trail Running | Las Vegas, NV

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.

Trail Running | Las Vegas, NV

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.

Trails of Fury | Cottonwood Valley, Las Vegas, NV

Trail Running | Las Vegas, NV

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.

Trails of Fury | Cottonwood Valley, Las Vegas, NV
Finally near the top of Satan's Escalator
View from the top of Satan's Escalator
Miles 6.5 to 8 was a fantastic, mostly flat, savanna stretch of the course. It was so fun to just run and enjoy the beauty all around me - without feeling like I was going to fall down the hill or die struggling up the hill.

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.

Wild Horses | Cottonwood Valley, NV
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!

Wild Horses | Cottonwood Valley, Las Vegas, NV
Way down there in the valley are some WILD HORSES!
Trails of Fury | Las Vegas, NV
5 more miles to go!
Probably about a mile or so later, my butt really started to hurt. It's a pain that I've been ignoring for awhile too long now. After looking at some images, I'm guessing it's my sacrotuberal ligament or obturator internus muscle or maybe piriformis muscle. It's basically a nagging pain near my tailbone.

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.

Trails of Fury | Desert Dash races
The beginning of some absolutely breathtaking views
Probably around mile 12, a girl that we'd leapfrogged with the first half of the race had caught up to us. That was enough motivation to keep running with no more walk breaks.

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!

Time: 3:25:44

The post-race treats were great!

Trails of Fury 2014 | Desert Dash races

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. :)

Trails of Fury 2014 | Desert Dash races

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.

Trail Running | Las Vegas, NV
Only pic George took of the 5k; I took none.
The downhills were much worse for me, and probably half of the course was downhill. There were some downhill switchbacks after dark. George's IT band apparently didn't mind the downhills as much, so he took off while I slowly made my way down. It was difficult to see in the dark, and I'm pretty sure that I missed part of the trail and cut across the rock. Oops!

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!

Time: 55:02

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.
Trails of Fury 2014 race medal and pilsner

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?

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  1. Such a beautiful course!! Congratulations on a great race!

  2. It does sound like a great event. I have never seen an event near me with double race the same or next day, I would really enjoy that! It stinks you had to be in pain for a lot of it :( I hope you can the pain issue resolved and feeling better soon. It's nice to have a running buddy!

    1. I hope I can get to the root of this pain and treat it with some yoga. :-)

  3. Congrats on the double! Such a beautiful course! So sorry that the car got broken into. What a bummer.

    1. Yeah the car thing was a bit of a bummer, but what are you gonna do? Cancel the CC and move on. Lol.

  4. Love all the pictures! Wow, what a gorgeous course.
    That's cool that I was running a half the same time as you and George. :)
    That's awful that his car was broken into!! I hope your injuries get better soon!

    1. The best thing about this course, and I'm not sure I really expressed this in the post, is that while it's all desert, the scenery changes a lot as you move along the course. It's amazing!

      That is cool that we were all running a half at the same time. :-)