Dino Half – Post Race Recap

Dino half

(So, it turns out I had already written my Dino Half Recap. I just never edited it or published it.  Clearly. Geez!  Here it is; This event took place on May 4th; Read it as if it’s only been a few days after that…….)

How do I sound the most excited in written text and on a blog?!?!

I’ll give it a try:  YAYAAYYYAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What an excellent race!!!!!!!! All I want to do is fill your entire screen with exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (But I wont).

Why am I so excited? I’m going to make you wait till the end…. muahahaha

 Last weekend, Like a month ago A long time ago, I took a couple friends on a quick road trip to the eastern side of Utah, barely over the Colorado border. We were heading there to run the Dino Half Marathon!

This was another of my last minute, spontaneous ideas.  I saw this race advertised on the side bar of Facebook, of all places, and was sold when I saw that participants get a dinosaur medal. Score!

So, friday after work, I picked up Shay, dropped off my animals at my Mom’s and picked up another friend, Duncan from Fort Collins. THEN we made our way to Utah.

Driving buddies!

Driving buddies!

Luckily I got to sleep most of the drive, being exhausted from my lack of sleep all week long. We did stop in Steamboat Springs on the way to eat some pre-race nutrition. It took a lot longer than we expected and we didn’t get into Utah until midnight.

The worst picture ever!

The worst picture ever!

We set up our tents as quickly as possible, set all of our phone alarms and got about 4 hours later. (I kinda have a habit of running races after little sleep).

Morning came a little too fast and we had to pack up and get ready by the light of our head lamps as we shivered in the cold.  My brilliant idea was to just walk around with my blanket around me…it worked, I just got some strange looks from other ladies in the bathroom. “I was cold,” I said, as we all laughed.

After finding our way to the last minute packet pick at the race finish/bus pick up, we finished getting prepared by changing, feeding ourselves and having Duncan drop Shay and I off at the race head. This was going to be Shay’s first Half Marathon! (And she brought her doggie along to run with her!)

Somewhere in the beginning of the race

Somewhere in the beginning of the race

The Event:

WONDERFUL! One of the most fun, well put on events I have ever been to! Seriously! I found out that the guy who runs this event, has a dozen other races throughout Utah including one that’s free for veterans. He picked a beautiful, easy, well marked course through the Dry Fork Canyon. The ONLY, tiny things I’d complain about is that there weren’t enough port-a-poties at the start, and there wasn’t really anywhere to park at the start (they had shuttle service buses that dropped off 99% of people but for the rest of us, we had to be dropped off by others. We chose to drive because Duncan wasn’t running). There may have been minimal, side of the canyon, sketchy parking a little bit further up, but no way to get back to the car post-race.  So we had to wait until gun time while we stood there freezing.

The cool thing about this race was there was a “Sprintasaurus” competition added in. For a half mile section marked out on the street, they had chip scanners. This was where you could run that half mile as fast as you could!! I was completely focused on my pace and energy level and chose not to participate. I loved the idea though. It allowed other people that may not typically place in either their age group or an event, a chance to win. Very nice touch.

My Race:

Holding my pacing sign!

Holding my pacing sign!

I really wanted to PR. I wanted to test my fitness level and see how my training was going. My previous half marathon PR was was 1:51:37 (I actually have been thinking this whole time that it was 1:54) Either way, I wanted to beat it. They had sent out a race email to us a couple days before, annoucing that they had hired race pacers. PERFECT. I decided to run with the 1:50 pacer to help me.

I was the only one that wanted to run with that group, so I lucked out and pretty much had my own personal coach. Jorge was his name. He was super friendly, helpful and encouraging. We talked pretty much the entire race; something that really help distract me. At one point Jorge has said we didn’t have to talk, but I insisted that talking would be beneficial.

We talked about running in general: pacing techniques, tips for my upcoming marathon, his running history and story, his family (his wife was actually up ahead of us pacing another group) as well as our lives.  I learned a lot in those 13.1 miles. A lot about Jorge and a lot about myself. I also learned a lot about my running ability and the power of mind over matter.

For the first 2 miles, I couldn’t feel my toes or feet. I knew they were hitting the pavement, but they were numb from the cold (I’m tellin’ you – THAT’S how cold it was!) and I couldn’t feel what was happening. Then they thawed, and oh man did that sting! Luckily that didn’t last very long.

The course was mostly downhill with only one uphill that got me; but it only lasted for a quarter mile – at the most.

For most of the race, Jorge told me we were doing well, and ahead of schedule!!! His pacing schedule wrapped around his wrist dictated where we needed to be time wise at each mile; even adjusting time for the inclines/declines and allowing for time to walk through the aid stations.

(Speaking of aid stations. They had plenty, about every 3 miles, each with water and powerade. One even had a GU station. I took my GU at about mile 6, chocolate flavor (and I actually didn’t mind that flavor – thinking about using this one for my marathon – which yes, I did use this flavor!). I just wish I had saved it until later in the race.)

At one point, Jorge handed me the pacer time stick. “You’re going to be pacer now,” he said, “just keep this pace up. I’m going to run up and check on my wife.” He noticed that she wasn’t doing as well. “How can you tell?” I asked. He replied that he just knew her; it was her posture, speed, and energy that tipped him off. Impressive and romantic, I think! He ran up ahead, held pace with her for a moment, then returned back to me. “Great job! You’re still on perfect pace!” (In case you’re wondering, his wife wasn’t feeling that well, side cramp If I remember correctly, but recovered shortly after his talk/motivation and she kept her pace group on target as well).

Huge smile as I see the time on the clock!!!

Huge smile as I see the time on the clock!!!

Jorge stuck with me until there was 3 miles left. He encouraged me to run my own race and saying “it’s all you! It’s all YOU!.” I charged ahead, but hit my wall at mile 11. This was the only time in the race that I was hurting and wanting to quit. I felt great all the rest of the race but those last two miles killed me!

Jorge passed me, still keeping to his schedule, but having him in sight, in front helped a ton.

We came around a couple corners, and I caught my first glance at the finish line.

Finally! I kicked it in gear, passed Jorge again as he stepped back and cheered me on finishing in UNDER 1:50 at….

1:48:55!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah! I beat my PR by about 2 minutes and finished under my goal time! And guess what else?????

I PLACED 3rd IN MY AGE GROUP!!!!!!!!!! And! It was the big age group: 20-29!!!

AND I got a cool dinosaur medal and a plaque!

When I saw what time was on the clock, I almost wanted to cry! (Although, I’m saving my tears for my first full – which I didn’t really end up crying like I thought).

The After Party:

After taking my shoes off my feet as soon as I possibly could, I was just lolly-gagging around, people watching as I waited for Shay to make her way to the finish line. She predicted that she would have finished in 2:30 based on her training runs, I thought I had time. Sure enough, at 2:02, I saw a doggie round the corner! I ran around the field (in my socks, mind you) and cheered her on!

I’m sooooo proud of her for A) finishing her first half and B) Running it sooooo fast!  She also took 24th in the Sprintasaurus with a time of 3 min and 14 seconds!

We took a bunch of pictures, talked to a bunch of people and hung out so I could get my 3rd place plaque.

IMG_20130504_101917All in All:

Great event! Well organized and great camaraderie! I highly suggest adding this race to your race wish list. Plus, they change the dinosaur on the medal every year!!! After the awards, they had a kid’s race around the field. It was super cute!

We met the race director and told him our story. He seemed to love that Shay ran with her dog and loved that we came from Colorado!

IMAG1507

That’s the race director, initiating the kid’s race

Afterward:

We were going to climb (as in rock climb); after all, that was Duncan’s bribe for coming with us; but we were all pretty tired and had blisters on our feet. So instead, we ventured to Dinosaur National Monument. I had been there as a kid and really wanted to see it again. After looking at Dino bones, we decided to head back to the land of Denver.

Shh...don't tell....      Photo Credit: http://skinpoetryphotography.wordpress.com

Shh…don’t tell…. Photo Credit: http://skinpoetryphotography.wordpress.com

Rawr!! Dinosaur!

Rawr!! Dinosaur!

Additional Info:

Dina Half Website

If you want to read Shay’s post on it she writes her own blog and you can check it out here. Be warned! There’s a horribly gross picture of her bloody foot; but you can also check out a ridiculous picture of me sleeping in the car.

Crazy Horse Half Marathon – Post Race Recap!

(You’re regularly scheduled Tuesday Newsday will not by posted today due to a special Post Race Recap. Tuesday Newsday will resume next week. Thank You.)

I had the best race EVER! I’m just going to start off with my awesome news/brag: NEW PR!!! I beat my old PR by about 6 minutes!! My new personal record is now 1:51:37!!!!! (Last one was 1:57:19) AND I got to knock of another state! I’m sooooo excited! Can you tell!??

On Sunday, I ran the Crazy Horse Half Marathon in South Dakota. The race started at the Crazy Horse Memorial and ended in good ol’ Hill City. (Hill City is about 30 minutes from Rapid City, right by Mt. Rushmore). So far, this has been my favorite race, although I have just begun my project, so this could and probably will change in the future.

The morning started out brisk and cloudy. I always hate race mornings for the first 2 hours before the race starts. I get super nervous every time and it’s always cooler than it will be during the run, so I sit there and debate about what to wear. I usually go with my gut feeling of the shorts and t shirt every time, but there’s always that voice in the back of my head going…”but I’m soooo cold right now!” I did leave on my sweats until right before the race to warm up in and keep my legs warm while I waited.

We arrived to Crazy Horse without any problem and I found the information table where my packet was being held. Now, this was lucky for me, because there is not actually supposed to be race day packet pick up. I had to email the race director and she said she’d hold mine for me since I would be arriving in SD after the expo where everyone else got their packet (and I couldn’t have it mailed because I registered late). My mom dropped me off while she found parking so I could get what I needed and warm up.

THE RACE: I love how this race started! The announcer stated that there would be traditional indian singers and as soon as the drums started, we would start! Since it was all done by timing chips, it was a nice and gentler way of starting than just by a gun going off – especially since it always takes a couple seconds to get to the actual starting line with the crowd.

Waiting for the race to start

It was a super fast race after the first 3 miles; but in those first 3, I had flash backs of the hilly Horsetooth Half…given, not NEARLY as bad. But the beginning has some nice hills, one, we ran twice because the path loops around. After you’re out of the Crazy Horse Memorial Park, it’s all downhill from there!!! Seriously! The rest of the course was a slight downhill!

“The Handoff” I decided I didn’t want my sunglasses, so I gave them to my “support crew” aka: my mom!

Super FAST course! I loved it! I cruised it! I passed people left and right! I felt sooooo fantastic 90% of the time….

There was the 10% that I had the worse side cramp I have ever felt. I’ve only gotten side cramps occasionally and am unsure what is going on. It was at 8 and half miles that I was almost doubled over in pain. I did end up walking for no more than half a mile, pinching my side and taking deep breaths in and out. A very nice man that passed me shouted encouragements: “You got this! You can do it, keep it up!” and totally made me feel better. The pain subsided, finally, and I started up again… slowly at first, really focusing on my breathing. Once I saw that 9 mile sign, I picked back up the pace and cruised to the finish line, and the side pain never returned.

I think I’m finally figuring out my potential and my rhythm when it comes to racing. I’m getting to know my body more and more. I’m understanding what I can and can’t do to it. Remember my weird back/side of the knee pain? Well, it still hurts, but I think I figured out the cause. I was noticing that every once in awhile I take a random step with my right foot turning in…I think this is straining and abnormally stretching that tendon…and I’m wondering if new shoes would fix this…I have pretty high arches and these shoes are well past their intended milage and the wear and tear of the arch support could be the cause of my random twisted stepping…. (I just can’t afford new shoes at the moment). THOUGHTS?

Although I think I discovered the problem, the pain of that tendon didn’t bother me much until after and especially the next day. I wanted to use the laser from work on it again, but someone had borrowed it from the clinic. The discomfort I noticed the most for this race was my aching feet and ankles. Otherwise, this race was fantastic.

Oh yeah! I forgot to mention, I almost got hit by a car! LOL? Not that much of a laughing matter, but seriously, I literally was inches from a car. Right at the end, the course crosses a street (the only street it crossed) and there was a race official stopping traffic. I looked up head; there was a break in the runners so he let a few cars through. He saw me, and held up his hands and stop signs to stop traffic, So I kept running. Well, the next car really didn’t want to stop I guess, and I was in the grove. I looked up again, and the car was inches in front of me, going way too fast for the intersection anyway.  I took an instinctual step back in surprise, the car passed, and I continued running, all in a matter of  seconds; then hearing the crowd yell at the car! The next race official said, “Man, he wanted to take you out!” I just laughed and kept running.

THE COURSE:

I highly, HIGHLY recommend this event to you all! Such I wonderful event altogether! The course was BEAUTIFUL! Starting at Crazy Horse was fun, and after you exit the park, the rest of the run is on the Mickelson Trail, bordered by color changing aspen trees the whole way. You crossed lots of streams and big valleys (be careful of the handful of bridges though: the slats we crooked and weirdly spaced out. You could easily get a toe stuck and trip).

The crowds were awesome and supportive. The trail was close enough to the highway that people could pull over and park, walk up to the trail and cheer you on. I even got some random little kid high fives!

There was plenty of water stations and the race volunteers were awesome. Everyone was super nice; I’ve super glad the race director set my packet aside to pick up race day. I know the crossing guard was doing his job when I almost got hit by a car; I saw him holding up his hands and the stop sign; it was the car that was impatient.

The only thing I didn’t like about the whole event, is after a few hours, they took down the blow-up finish line thing. There was still half marathon runners finishing, but they didn’t get the big grand finish line. I’m sure they had to take it down to set up for the marathon finishers…but still, I felt bad for those runners.

Also: although my half did not go a good cause besides bringing attention to the Crazy Horse Memorial, there was a kids 1K and fun 5K on saturday put on by the Run Crazy Horse Event where the benefits did go to the American Heart Association. If I was in town a day earlier, I would have definitely supported that!

THE FINISH:

If you look closely, you can see the time; although, it is a little slower than I actually finished because it’s displaying gun time and not my chip time!

I remember passing the last race official with him shouting, “you’re just 100 feet away! Almost there!” As I smile at him, he continued, “That’s right: Smiling as you finish!” I pick up the pace, saw the time clock and finished with that same smile! That official race photo better come out good!

Like I said before, I finished in 1:51:37, 10 out of 48 in my age/gender group, knocking off about 6 minutes from my PR! Looks like my birth state did me well.

Run Crazy Horse – Pre Race Review

I’m super excited for this race!!! I haven’t been this excited for a run in a while. Here’s a few reasons why:

1. It’s in South Dakota. My birth state and I get to knock off another state! I was born in Ellsworth Airforce Base, just outside of Rapid City and the race takes place in the beautiful Black Hills just outside of that.

2. It’s a half marathon….and totally counts for my long run this week for marathon training.

3. It almost all down hill…yesssss….PR here we come!!!

4. My mommy’s coming with me! LOL. I thought I was going to have to go alone, but my Mom asked if I wanted company, and I said yes, of course!

Last year’s medal

5. I get a medal! And they look pretty sweet from the pictures!

I’m running the Crazy Horse Half Marathon on Sunday. The race starts at the Crazy Horse memorial itself and you run downhill, into Hill City. The Memorial is to honor the culture and traditions of the North American Indians. The sculpture was started in 1948 and once finished, will be the the largest mountain carving. I saw crazy horse when I was a kid, I believe, and I’m curious to dig out pictures to see how far the carving has come since then.

I’ll be leaving after work today, heading up to Longmont to pick up my Mom and then driving the 6 hours to South Dakota. Were staying in a small town called Keystone thats only 20-30 minutes to the race start. The small hotel comes with a pool/hot tub, which I may or may not use after the race and has a free breakfast! Perfect!

I do want to PR this race which means I need to get under 1:57 which was from my race in Nebraska. I feel faster. I feel more fit. I think I can do this!!!

Who else has races this weekend??? Good luck to you! 

Run for the Zoo – Post Race Recap

Ready, set, START!

I had a GREAT weekend! It was nice to get away from my real life in Denver on a short road trip…even though it was only 2 days! My weekend started out great with seeing The Avengers in Imax 3d, my best friend got engaged, and I made my way down to New Mexico! It ended fantastic with a PR by 10 minutes!!! Yep, you read that right!!

Let me tell you about the Run for the Zoo itself first and you can also check out my Pre Race Review.  This ended up being one of my favorite races I have done so far! Held in Albuquerque, New Mexico the Run for the Zoo was an awesome race and the proceeds went to support the Albuquerque Bio Park Society which includes the zoo, the aquarium and the botanic gardens. I signed up for the 10k, but the event also offered a half marathon, 5k timed race and a 5k family run/walk. It seemed like a nicely organized race: lots of volunteers directing you toward wherever you needed to go, plenty of parking – free and pay (well, at least for our race – we walked to our car later and watched people circling to find a spot for the later races), and the all important – plenty of porto potties!  Everything was clearly marked and easy to find. We drove around the night before just to be sure we could find where the race started and where we were going to park, but then again, we were out-of-towners.

Finishers!

The course itself: AWESOME! It was very pretty. The 10k took you a short trip through the neighborhood then along the backside of the zoo where you literally ran right by the elephants! I thought that was sweet (but smelly)! Next, you turn to run on Tingley Drive which was very cute/pretty itself running along small little parks, ponds and by the Country Club. This part of the city was beautiful! After a couple turnarounds, you continue through the surrounding neighborhoods and end right in front of the zoo. The terrain was mostly asphalt with a little bit of gravel in the beginning. Also, it was pretty flat the whole way – not that I’m complaining. I really liked the course!

The RUN itself: Felt amazing! So, I already hinted that I set an awesome PR: My chip time was 51 minutes flat! You don’t know how ecstatic I am about this! OK, I know that the elevation is lower, but still! My previous PR for 10k was 1:01:19 during the Bolder Boulder last year. I ran this race in 51 minutes. That’s 10 minutes knocked off! That’s awesome to me! I feel very accomplished. This is the best I’ve ever felt running. No hip pain (phew), no soreness. I breathed heavily of course, but I never felt horrible…..maybe it was the altitude, or lack there of, but I don’t care! I’m so proud of my PR. I also took 4th out of 87 in my age group/gender; 36/536 for females; 163/986 total. My friend ran it with me and also did very well! I am running the Bolder Boulder 10k again this year in a couple of weeks, and I’m really curious to see how well I do. It will be a great comparison to see how much the lack of altitude really did contribute to my PR or if I’m just that much more in shape awesome!

The Zoo!

The Post Race: We had some race provided snacks (fruit, granola bars, bagels and gatorade) and well as a free Popsicle (my favorite snack) and the best part about this whole event…….. The zoo! We got free admission to the zoo and stretched our muscles post race by walking around and seeing all the animals. Great way to end the day, well, afternoon. We then hauled it 7 hours back home.

Overall, it was a great trip! It was a little too short for a vacation, but enough to sample Albuquerque. I got to taste some food, see parts of the town, and I even met up with fellow blogger Amy who writes Lavender Parking! We celebrated Cinco de Mayo with a margarita. Now, back to the real world…….

UPDATES! 

Next weekend, I actually DON’T have a race! This will be the first weekend I have off after running races three weekends in a row. I’m tempted to last minute register for a Mother’s day race but haven’t decided yet. But I’m back at it for sure with the Rugged Maniac on May 19th.

Check out my Project page: I have two states colored in now!! hahaha

Question for my regular readers: I didn’t talk too much about my actually trip….for those of you who read my blog regularly, would you like to hear about the travel parts of it??? Or just the running stuff…let me know!