Friday, October 24, 2014

A season of Races!

A super fun season of races is coming to an end and I'm a little sad.  I thought it would be fun to reminisce on the races a bit.

I would like to thank all of my friends and family that help me out to make not only the events happen but the hours and hours of training it takes to prepare for the races.  Dave and Bertha Woodworth, Dick and Jane Hall, Tanja Covington, Sally Crawley, Michelle Farnsworth, Kim Trupp, Kyann Covington and so many more.  But most importantly Dan Hall and my poor kiddos that spend so much time in the jogging stroller and bike trailer, Zoey and Skylar.

This year the fun all began 2 or 3 weeks before the RAGNAR Trail-Zion. My good friend Michelle sent me a message asking me if I could fill in for a runner that dropped out.  My answer came with absolutely no thought...YES...I really wanted to do this one when she was building a team but couldn't commit.  After I told her yes, I tried to remember the last time I ran...couldn't remember...oh well...I'll push through!  To say this race was one for the books is underselling it by a ton! It was by far one of the most fun yet craziest experiences of my life and guess what folks...I'm all set to live it again next year.  First of all, Zion..I LOVE it there..B-E-A-Utiful!  Camping...LOVE it.  Running on trails=way better than running on roads! So we get there late Thursday night set up our tents and try to keep the excitement level down so we can get some sleep so we can kill it in the morning.  When picking which runner we wanted to be I tried to be strategic and picked my legs to go in descending order. My first leg was 8.something and it was long and I was running I went through all the emotions...why do I do this to myself, I really should have ran on more trails before this, I can't run that narrow! (some sections of the trail were the narrowest single track I had ever seen), where is my bike? I LOVE this, wow it is gorgeous, I can't wait for my next run! It was time to rest up and get ready for my next run. I think it was 4.something. IT WAS STRAIGHT UPHILL!  Well for part of it...and then it was straight downhill, but at least your lungs don't burn going down!  It was my night run, it was dark and it was AWESOME!  One of my most favorite things is to be out on the night run and see all the lights bobbing up and down. It is so cool!  I wrapped up my run and got all snuggled up in my tent hoping to catch a few minutes of sleep before my last leg.  And then I heard rain...awesome.  For a few hours it rained and rained and rained and poured AND THEN IT TURNED TO SNOW! What!? Oh wait, this is Utah, not so unusual.  I finally got myself out of my warm sleeping bag and trudged thru the mud to find the runner that was about to go out and to help evaluate the situation.  She was up for the 8 miler. We made the decision that we needed to wait it out a little bit to see what was going to happen with the weather.  We headed back to camp and had a team meeting.  We were at minimum going to wait for daylight, it just wasn't safe to send her out.  About 45-60 min after out decision, the race got canceled. IT WAS CRAZY!  When I finally started to take my tent down there was about 6 inches of snow on it.  So much fun! Can't wait till next year!

Next up, The Little Red Century Ride.  100 MILES! That is a long, long way! Again SO MUCH FUN.  Tanja and I headed up for the ride ready to battle! We were camping in the big field and were not expecting the temperature to drop so low! We ended up spooning by morning :) Tanja forgot her helmet and bike shoes but with the help of some random strangers she got all geared up and was ready to roll.  We started off with some anxiety of the feat that was looming ahead of us but we forged on and set up a nice pace.  When we were half way we enjoyed a delicious subway sandwich for lunch...the thought of doing another 50 miles just wasn't sounding so great, but we lubed up and reapplied sunblock and saddled up anyways. After our lunch stop we encountered a hill that just WOULD NOT end.  It went on FOREVER!  After we made our descent at death defying speeds(Neither Tanja and I are huge fans of going too fast downhill on those itty bitty tires) we went a few more miles before we hit THE junction.  Go straight for 70 miles, turn left for 100 miles.  We turned left and then rode and rode and rode until finally getting to our next aid station. It was too far away in the heat of the day, I ran out of water, I had a camelback on and two water bottles on my frame. Once we arrived I had to sit still in the shade for about 20 min before I could drink eat or move, I'm pretty sure I was starting to experience heat exhaustion. I was so hot buy had goose bumps and was shaking, I was pretty sure I was going to puke all over the place.  But...we had gone that far, I was going to finish it! After a good break and feeling as decent as it was going to get we took off again.  We had one more steep hill and then if was flying on flats from there.  We finished! WOO HOO!

The first Tri of the season was the Rockcliff Triathlon at Jordanelle.   It was Michelle's first triathlon ever and I was super excited to be there for it.  We did the sprint.  We started out after the race director gave us a very, very enthusiastic speech ending in breaking a megaphone.  The water was great.  It took a few minutes for exposed skin and our heads to get acclimated but after that it was great.  Michelle doesn't love swimming like I do so this was a HUGE thing for her and she did AWESOME!  After we pulled ourselves out of the water and hoped on our bikes I started realizing how not ready my legs week, not long enough after a century ride!  It was smooth sailing until we turned to go back, the wind that we experienced was insane, I was terrified to take my hands off the handlebars so I didn't drink or eat anything for the rest of the ride.  We pulled into transition 2 and I was seriously unhappy that I was going to have to run.  I'm not a huge fan. One day I will be good.  I have convinced myself of this!  Michelle was great and endured my slow pace and we finish it together! I had not done a triathlon in a long time and my hunger for them ramped up after that race!  Michelle and I have big plans for bigger and better in the future.

The first half marathon was the American Fork Half.  Only one week after the triathlon.  I met up with Michelle and her HOT runner crew to bus up the canyon and wait for the start.  Michelle was trying to keep it easy due to a knee injury so she said she would start with me, I knew it wouldn't last long, not much will hold that girl back!  After a rough start of getting my legs ok with the situation at hand I did really well and even got a PR!  I did do half the race with my eyes teary though.  The race is to raise money for cancer.  A lot of runners have tshirts with pictures of people on their backs...some with two dates! ugh. It was rough and my Brighton Family weighed heavy on my mind as well as a couple close friends who have parents fighting.  I think that's what pushed me to keep my pace up. It was an amazing run and I am sure I will do this one again.

Next up, the ECHO triathlon. Again I did the sprint.  It was a gorgeous morning that started out with a moose sighting.  My nutrition going into this was very poor.  I just didn't plan right.  I felt tanked the entire time.  But I made myself push on and I ended up getting a PR! What?!  Made me realize that I actually am getting in overall better shape and even though my nutrition wasn't right and I had no gas the whole time...I am stronger and faster.  That was a great feeling.

Sally and I signed up for the Wildflower Trailfest, we did the clinic but since it was an organized event I feel it still makes the list for races. :)  We got split up into skill levels and took off, immediately I felt like I was in the wrong group, I just couldn't keep up climbing up the hills.  This was my first ride on my mountain bike since last year and I had my clipless pedals, which I have always struggled with. (I made the decision on a Moab trip a cpl weeks ago that I will NEVER ride clipless again, best decision ever!)  Once we got to single track I actually started feeling better and was starting too keep up.  I was finally able to get in my pedals.  But wow it was a lot of climbing.  Finally it was time to go down.  I'm not that much more comfortable going down on my mountain bike than on my road bike, but I had the clinic leader behind me coaching me through the switchbacks, so much fun!

My third triathlon of the season was Bear Lake Brawl, another sprint.  It was my second time doing this one and I love this course.  It is great.  Water is clear. Bike is fast. And running is, well running.  The whole family went up for this race, I was super excited because Dan and the girls had not been able to be at any other finish line.  It was FREEZING in the morning! SO, SO cold.  If Dan and the girls weren't there I might have just crawled back into my sleeping bag.  I got myself up and down to the bonfires to warm up.  It was a great swim, I felt really good about it...the water was about 30 degrees warmer than the air.  I transitioned super slow because I couldn't feel my hands or feet and its really hard to pull a tight layer on top of your super wet layer.  The bike was cold but fast.  The great scenery helps make it go by faster I'm sure.  When I went into transition I realized I didn't have my bike shoes tightened down...oops...maybe I could have gone faster! I took off to run but I couldn't feel my feet! I ran until I got to Dan and the girls and then walked for awhile.  Finally about halfway though I felt my feet and ran the rest of the way.  It so awesome to see my family at the end, absolutely loved it!  Guess what? Another PR!

ST. GEORGE MARATHON!  The race that had been taking up so much time to train for was finally here! Michelle, Sally and I headed down to St. George ready to rock.  We took our time and made purchases at the EXPO, dropped some fuel on the course, we ate dinner and got all of our stuff ready to go and got ourselves in bed and hoped for sleep!  3:45 am comes so fast! We got out the door and on the bus to get to the start line.  That is the longest bus ride ever. EVER! Sally and I had a plan, stay together as long as it feels good. And Michelle...well you have learned by now that she is a much better runner than I and we told her we'd see her at the finish, after her nap.  And we were off! I told Sally we needed to get past Veyo hill together, we needed each other for that damn thing!  I was feeling awesome! (well except for a nagging feeling in my foot.) We got to the bottom of the hill and decided that it would be a good time to get some food out and munch, no sense running up that beast!  Once we finally slayed it I asked Sally how she was doing...I was ready to go!  I took off but could see her until mile 13 then I didn't see her for a little bit.  At mile 15.5 my stomach took a turn for the worse.  I had to stop at mile 16 to visit the porta potty.  After about 10 min I came out and saw Sally coming, I grabbed our stuff that we dropped and started walking with her.  She stopped for a bathroom break and I took off again.  The going was slow.  If I ran my stomach killed.  If I walked my foot killed.  I just kept pushing.  At mile 22 I turned and saw Sally coming up. I had never been happier in my life to see her.  I needed her support.  Not long after we helped a cute old man up that fell down.  Poor guy...just out of steam!  We passed the cutoff point, which was one of Sally's concerns and started winding around town.  By this point I was delusional and started singing at the top of my lungs!  MONY MONY!  We finished strong together and it was great!  We found Michelle resting by a tree and made our way back to the hotel.  We showered up, ate some yummy food, sat in a lovely hot tub and passed out!  And then the next day, because we are cool and crazy chicks, we hiked Angel's Landing! LOVE that hike!

The Haunted Half.  Only two weeks after St.George!!  The silly things Sally and I will do for a cool medal!  It was a good race and a fun course.  Sally and I both battled some issues.  My foot started acting up at mile 1 and around mile 6 Sally's leg decided that maybe it was done and it just wasn't going to do it any more.  But she is so much stronger than she thinks she is and we fought on!  We finished and I was so lucky to have Jane bring my girls to the finish line. Seriously best thing ever. The worst part about the whole food or water left at the finish line!  Wow!

The only thing I have planned for the rest of the year is the American Turkey Trot.  A 5k! Now that sounds nice!

Next year I am doing RAGNAR trail-Zion, RAGNAR Wasatch Back AND  Bear Lake Brawl Half Ironman!!!  I'm sure there will be others because I seem to enjoy paying for punishment! It is an illness I tell you!

Again, I am so grateful for a the people in my life that make all of this possible!