Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pike's Peak Ascent, Colorado Springs - August 20, 2011

Chris signed me up for this race last year. I was a little hesitant, but then I thought, what the heck!

On August 19th we got up at 3:00 am (what is with these early mornings and races?!) to go to the airport to catch a flight from Toronto to New York, then a flight from New York to Dallas, then from Dallas to Colorado Springs.  It was a long day.  Chris' mom came with us, we decided to make it a family vacation.  We were going to run our races on August 20/21, then tour around and see some of the sights.

We finally got to Colorado Springs, picked up our rental car at the airport.  Drove to our hotel, checked in.  Then we drove over to the race site so that we could pick up our stuff and see what kind of expo they had.  We found it no problem.  It was weird, we were at 6,000 feet or so, could already feel the altitude change a little, just felt kinda tired... then again, we had been up since 3:00 am.

We got to the expo, not really much there.  Looked up at the mountain... oh... my... god... what was I thinking?  It looked really high!

We went back to the room.  There was a restaurant across the street from our hotel, so we went there to have some dinner.  It was pretty good.  Went to sleep.  I was very nervous about this race.

When we got up, I started getting ready.  I was the only one running on this day, from our little group that is, because Chris' race, the marathon, was the next day.  I started to panic and feel very overwhelmed.  I was very nervous because I had an injury in the spring and didn't get as much training as I thought was necessary.  I had no idea what to expect.  I was just hoping for the best.

We got to the race.  We had lots of time, so we were standing around talking with other people.  Okay, time to line up.  Someone sang America the Beautiful (at least I think that's what it's called), it was very nice.  The gun goes off, away I go.

The first bit of the race was on the street, which was slightly uphill.  We then got to a really steep part of the road, already?  There was an aid station there and immediately after the aid station, there was a major jam, it went from road to single track, so of course everyone is trying to get in front of everyone else, because there was single track switch backs for the next few miles.  It was slow going, mostly walking, with some stopping.  People were still trying to pass others... really?  There is no room to pass!  It was kind of annoying, but what can you do.  Up and up and up we went.  Will I ever be able to run?  I thought, at this rate, I'm not going to make the cut off.  Then someone said, don't worry, you'll make it... I guess I said it out loud.

Finally there were some runnable parts.  I ran a little, then it was steep up hill again.  Man, this was nuts.  It was nearing 3 hours (that's the first cut off time).  I could hear all the announcing at Barr Camp, I was close... maybe I'll make it after all.  We kept going and going and going, still no Barr Camp... where the hell is it?  I was going as fast as my body possibly could.  I was starting to feel the altitude already, kind of dizzy, feeling short of breath... plus it was really hot.

Finally, I made it to Barr Camp, the guy there told me unfortunately, you did not make the cut off time.  I started crying... such a baby!  Then the woman standing there felt bad for me and said, well if it's any consolation, you only missed it by 2 minutes... I laughed and said, no that did not make me feel better.  Now what do I do?  The guy told me, well, you can keep going if you want, but you risk not catching the bus to come back down.  No, don't really want to do that.  So they said you have to walk back down.  This was really going to suck.  I had to let Chris know that I didn't make the cut off.

A couple of the volunteers offered their cell phones to me (Chris had mine), but there was no reception.  So, I just decided I might as well start walking.  I was kind of upset.  I should have known this would happen because I didn't get all the training in that I should have.  So frustrating!!  I was worried that Chris would be disappointed in me, which he wasn't, he was happy that I at least gave it a shot!  I ended up catching up with Michelle, this woman that I was kind of running with, and we walked down together.  At least I wasn't alone in my misery.  She said that this was the second time she had tried this race... no more, she was done!  We finally came to the bottom where the trail meets the street.  Now I have to somehow find Chris.  As I was walking down the street, there he was in front of me.  As soon as I saw him, I immediately started crying again and said I didn't make the cut off.  The poor guy, had to put up with all my blubbering.  Then I went inside and had a buffalo burger.

So, to make a long story short, this is my first DNF.  It really sucked!  I don't really have much else to say, except that I didn't have a very good experience and feel kind of bummed out.

Chris ran the marathon the next day, he did great!!  His mom was totally caught up in all the runners finishing.

After Chris' race, we packed up our stuff and started our vacation road trip.  We basically went to Yellowstone National Park and then drove around Wyoming and South Dakota.  The rest of the trip was awesome!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dirty Girls - August 6/7, 2011

Signed up for the 6 hour event at Dirty Girls again this year.  This is my third year running this event.  The first year I ran it was my very first trail race.  It was fantastic, and still is!

We left the renting of the car until the last minute, so had to opt for the more expensive version, the full sized car.  After work on Friday, I went to get the car.  They told me they were going to give my a Lexus for the same price as the full sized car... sweet!

We decided to drive up the day of, it was only about a 1.5 hour drive.  Got up at 4:00am, packed the car and off we went.  We missed the turn off hwy. 400, so had to get off and turn around and go back.  It only took about 10 minutes, but we were cutting it close.  We got to the race around 7:35 (it started at 8), so we had to really rush around.  I hate rushing like that before, I always think I'm going to forget something.  The good thing is that the course is a 10k loop, so if I forget something, I can pick it up on the next loop.

My friend Steve was kind enough to pick up a new hydration vest that I bought, I wanted to try it out at Dirty Girls because I really wanted it for Pikes Peak, which is coming up soon... gulp!  Anyways, I didn't have time to fill it and put it on before the race, so I left it and decided to pick it up after the first loop.

The first loop was okay, but at the start of the loop there's kind of a big hill to climb, so I was huffing and puffing thinking why do I do such things?  Then I finally got into my groove and ran the course.  I got to the 5k aid station, which I was going to help with later on, and saw Stephan and told him that I brought my frying pan for him to use later.  He said great, now get going.  I kind of laughed to myself, I do doddle at the aid stations and he kicks me out, that's exactly what I need! 

I finished the first loop, went to where our bags were and got out the new hydration pack.  It's a Nathan pack built specifically for women, it is very pretty.  Got it filled up with water.  There's only one clasp, at the chest, hmm that seems strange.  Anyways, put it on, adjusted the straps.  It felt pretty light and comfortable.  Started running and I was amazed how little it bounced around... sweet!  The only thing was that I wasted time trying to figure it out... so my second loop started a little slower than anticipated.

Ran the second loop.  There's always a point in a race where I just want to go home.  I just think to myself,  I don't want to play anymore.  Then I think, for God's sake, Chris runs 100 miles, I don't really know what I have to complain about.  That usually helps me shove aside those feelings and I start to think about all the good things... I'm able to run... it's really beautiful out here in the woods... all the people at the races are very nice and are becoming good friends.  That's better.

Started my third loop.  It was raining now, which was nice because it kind of cooled off a bit.  Didn't get wet though, the trees were sheltering us from the rain.  Towards the end of the third loop it stopped raining and the sun came out.  It was going to be a hot day.  I managed to get 30k in just under 6 hours.  It was a hard course, but I think I did okay.  By the end of it my foot was sore, but I did a lot of standing around the night before, which I'm sure didn't help.

After I finished my race, I grabbed a burger and sat around for a bit.  I thought I'd better set up the tent, so I can go and have a nap.  I was going to help out with the 5k aid station starting at 8:00pm until 8:00am Sunday morning.  I set up the tent.  Went to blow up the air mattress... dammit, we forgot the pump... so much for that.  Oh well, the ground was fairly soft, so it was okay.

I came back from setting up the tent, went back to the start/finish to see if maybe Chris was going to come through soon.  There he was.  He had to stop because his ankle was giving him trouble.  Not good.  He has to save that ankle for Pikes Peak!!  So he decided to not risk it.

I went to the tent and tried to get a little sleep before my aid station shift.  It was really hot in the tent, there was so much activity going on, the best I could do was about an hour or so drifting in and out.  I hope that was going to be enough.

The good thing too is that my friend Tracy was going to be helping at the aid station too.  I hadn't seen her since last year at Haliburton, it would be nice to catch up.  When the time came to start my shift, Stephan came to the start/finish to get water and stuff.  I got a ride with him. 

The rest of the night was helping fill up water bottles, making some grilled cheese sandwiches.  At around 4:00am got pretty tired, so had to drink some coffee.  At 8:00 there were a bunch of runners who ran out of time, so they were hanging out waiting for a ride back to the start/finish.  Tracy, Chris and I decided to walk back to the start/finish, that would leave more room in the car for the super tired runners.  We got back and I decided I had better try to get a little sleep before driving back to Toronto.  I laid down in the tent.  It started raining.  Even though there's a tarp over the tent, it was dripping in.  Very annoying.  I managed to get about an hour.  I thought, that's the best that's going to happen right now.  We decided to pack things up and get on the road.  We got back to the city before noon which was great! 

Had a great time at Dirty Girls again this year!  I think that if I decide to help with an aid station again, I won't run anything, either do one or the other.  It's different when I crew Chris because I can at least get a couple hours of sleep here and there. 

Now there's some talk that I might try to run 50k at Haliburton this year.  Still have to think about that.

Next race:  Pike's Peak half marathon... getting pretty nervous about this one.