Monday, August 11, 2014

E.T. Phone Home

Yesterday night, Jeff and I headed out for his very first half marathon - a birthday gift to me!! I had very much enjoyed training with him since the middle of June, and was very much looking forward to beginning my 38th year by helping him achieve such a fun accomplishment. :-D

Unfortunately for me, (TMI alert!) I got my period on Thursday. That meant Friday and Saturday I was battling some major cramps and an overall achy body. I was in a lot of pain, and that did not bode well for a great race.

I'm blaming all that on why I didn't prepare as much ahead of time as I'd wanted. The plan was to REST all day on Saturday before catching the 8:30PM bus headed to the Black Mailbox (now white), common gathering place of UFO sighting groups, and the start of our Full Moon Midnight Marathon and 51K.

That plan would have required me putting the finishing touches on my outfit and gathering all my race day accouterments BEFORE Saturday. But I didn't feel up to it.

Instead Saturday consisted of:
  • Getting up at 6AM to pick up Bountiful Baskets. 
  • Meeting at work for a Walk a Mile event to benefit the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. 
  • Napping from 10AM-1PM. 
  • A trip to Walmart for groceries and a few last minute race things (otherwise we would have skipped this)
  • Lounging, resting, eating. 
  • A mad dash to gather everything together and head to the Hard Rock Hotel to meet the bus. 

ET Full Moon Midnight Half Marathon Race Outfit
Waiting for the shuttle buses in my BIRTHDAY ALIEN OUTFIT
Thanks, Katie at Chase This Skirt for the super cute alien green running skirt.

We opted for a chatty bus instead of a quiet bus, so that we could really feel the excitement brewing of the upcoming race.

We arrived at the Black Mailbox shortly before 11PM, I believe. This was the starting point for the 51K and the marathon. We wouldn't be starting for another 8 or so miles down the Extra-Terrestrial Highway, but we still got off the bus to take pictures by the mailbox.

The temps were probably in the 70s, but it was chilly out there without the sun to warm your skin - especially after 2+ hours with the A/C blaring on the bus. After chatting with my friend who was running the 51k, we headed back on the bus to head to the half marathon start.

We waited in the chilly midnight air for 20+ minutes after arriving at the HM start. At least we were in good company.

ET Full Moon Midnight Half Marathon | Rachel, NV
L to R: Jeff, ME, George, Casey
Congrats to Casey on her 51st half marathon!!

And then we were off on a 3h 12m 18s journey of a lifetime!

The first half was pretty much all uphill! We kept true to our 3:3 intervals for most of the first half, but we ran much faster than we did during training. Not going to lie. This. Was. Tough! It wasn't too steep of an incline - just relentless. Well, until around mile 4.

Miles 4-6 were a very noticeable incline, and I was having a lot of difficulty running and breathing. We may or may not have added in a few extra walk breaks.

We were rewarded around mile 6.5 with an ultra aid station. If you've never run a race with an ultra option, the aid stations for an ultra are AMAZING! They always have additional treats - usually potato chips, fruit, candy, cookies, etc. This one even had some PB&J sandwiches. Yum!

{spoiler alert} Unless you eat too much. And end up with a tummy ache.

After this aid station, the course went downhill. Yay!! But even with that, I was having a tough time because of the high elevation! And, of course, because I was already tired from the relentless uphill.

We kept plugging away with our 3:3 intervals, though. The time actually seemed to fly by - even if the miles didn't. LOL.

And then the worst thing happened. I had to poo. And no port-a-potties in sight. I was able to hold it until the finish, but it did mean a lot more walking. Sorry, Jeff! Let's just say the last mile or so wasn't so much fun.

But I was able to muster it together enough to run the last 0.05 miles, holding Jeff's hand high in the air as we crossed the finish line. I sure hope the official picture turns out well.

There were volunteers at the finish line, who immediately snipped off our timing chips, and then I immediately took off to the port-a-potties. :-D

Would I run this event again? ABSOLUTELY! This was my first Calico Racing event, and it was incredibly well done. From the confirmed athlete letter, full of very useful information, to the shuttle buses to the aid stations, Joyce thought of everything. Yes, she even had wet and dry towels at the finish to clean up a little after the race and before boarding the buses for the 2+ hours back to Las Vegas.

My only very small complaint would have been the food at the finish line. And, I really shouldn't complain about it, either. There was a lot of food. A good variety of food, but it was advertised as:
Breakfast: Breakfast is included in your entry fee and will be available at the Little A’le’Inn from 2am-8am. Runners’ bib #’s will function as your ticket. Breakfast is buffet style. Please avoid taking more than you’ll eat. Food is served inside the Little A'le'Inn, even though the door may be closed.
So, I was expecting something more breakfast-y, then the usual post-race food options. Again, there was plenty of food, so I shouldn't complain, but I was expecting eggs or something. LOL. I think there might have been a last minute change with Joyce's arrangement with the A'le'Inn folks, because they did have a buffet breakfast that runners could purchase for $7.95. Lame.

C'est la vie, I suppose.

I do wonder how many runners forked over the $$ for the breakfast buffet, though. I kind of doubt very many did.

By the time we went to board the bus back to Vegas, there was only 1 seat available. I wanted to cry! Ridiculous, I know, but I just wanted to be back on the road. The next one was only about 30 minutes away, so it wasn't that bad of a wait.

I slept off-and-on during the longest bus ride of my life! Or so it seemed. It actually didn't take any longer than the bus ride out, but every time I woke up, I felt like it had been much longer, so it was disappointing to find out that we actually hadn't covered much distance. Booo.

Luckily, we had gotten a great parking spot the night before, and we live super close to the Hard Rock, so we were home pretty quickly after arriving back in Vegas.

We were greeted by a sleepy-head Sallie, who came running from the bedroom to say hello. That made us feel better, since we knew she had relaxed enough being home alone to snuggle in the bed by herself - instead of stressing by the door, thinking we'd abandoned her.

It was nice to be home. :-) I showered, grabbed McDonald's and went to sleep for a few hours.

Have you ever run a midnight race?

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  1. Wow. That is a crazy uphill at the beginning. That elevation chart is NUTS!

  2. Congrats to Jeff on finishing his first marathon!! I would love to run a midnight marathon sometime, just for something different. That's too bad about the breakfast not being what they said it would be.
    Do you think Jeff will run another one, or was this just for your birthday?
    Btw, your outfit is adorable!!

    1. Thanks, Katie! Mark your calendar for next August 29-30, 2015 for next year's ET Race! :) Yes, I do think that Jeff will run another one. Whoohoo!!

  3. Congrats on you and Jeff's finish! The uphill was tough and sounds like you had some extra challenges, but you did it and that's what matters! Loved your outfit too!

    1. Thanks! I hope the extra challenges aren't present next year. :-D

  4. Love the outfit!! The skirt and socks are crazy adorable :-) It seems really cruel to make climb up hill that long, but at least you got it over with lol I hope the finishers photo came out, what a great race it sounds like. I will keep the snacking to minimum during my next event ;)

    1. Thanks, Karen!! Unfortunately, the finish line photo didn't turn out. Wasn't even posted online. Booo.

  5. Fun! Love your outfit. Congrats to you both on your finish! I've never run a midnight race, but I would be totally up for it!

  6. Congrats to your midnight race. I have never run one because I can't stay awake that long. LOL!

    1. Oh yes! It is very tricky staying up so late AND running a race.

  7. What an awesome birthday gift and way to go making the best out of a situation that didn't go quite as planned. I love training with my husband.

    1. It's new to me to train with my husband. We're not very well matched, but we have some fun doing it.

  8. Hey Clarinda! Great report, that hill wracked the crap out of me especially when I tried to run again after all the walking. Oh my. Great race though, I'm glad we chose it, the sunrise was just awesome. Now we're back in Calgary and I am missing your lovely city!

    1. Thanks, Susan! Come back again next year, and say hello. :)