Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Ragnar Challenge

RAGNAR RELAY WASATCH BACK 2009:  What an experience!  I'm so glad I was able to be a part of it all.  Here's the rundown of how it all went.

VAN-MATES:  Neil, Taylor, Jamie, Kami, Sara, Sly, Ali, MaryAnn, & Sue (taking the pic).  We were the all-stars of our team, and it was great making new friends.  We definitely had a great time cheering each other on and making each other laugh.  Kami was runner 7, Jamie runner 8, Sara runner 9, Taylor runner 10 (he had the "Ragnar"), I was runner 11, and Neil was runner 12.  Ali was bike support, MaryAnne was driver, and Sue was all-round support.

THE WORST OF RAGNAR:  Not being able to compete 100%.  I injured my upper back pretty seriously 4 days prior to the race.  That meant I had limited trunk rotation, so I couldn't get a full arm swing in, but what was worse was I could only use about 1/3 of my lung capacity as it KILLED to breath deeply.  That totally messed with my stride, pace, pretty much everything, not to mention the shoulder and trap pain I had due to guarding.  I had to drug up on schedule in order to endure the run and the car ride.  On top of all that, it's allergy season which meant I would have bouts of sneezing fits, which was also painful.

THE BEST OF RAGNAR:  I've listed my top 5 best memories of the race below.

#1 - The "one mile to go" marker.  It was the best feeling to see that marker, although I think either that was the longest mile EVER, or they lied to us and there was actually 2 miles to go.  Either way, it meant there was a light at the end of the tunnel and that was comforting.

#2 - Meeting up with Tony.  Unfortunately, my brother was on a different team "The Slowskys", but we kept in good contact via text messaging, and were able to see each other at a few of the exchanges.  His encouragement definitely kept me in it.  Especially the text he sent me to "suck it up" when I asked how to  treat a blister.  What great advice.  Ha ha.

#3 - The cheering.  It was such a comfort and a nice break when I saw our van and everyone cheering me on as I ran.  It wasn't just limited to our van either.  Everyone cheered everyone on.  It was such a great atmosphere.  Along with the cheering, came our little +/- game.  We would get a point for every person we passed, and lose a point for every person that passed us.  It kept things competitive for us, and made us work harder.

#4 - Ending my first run and realizing that I CAN do this, injured and all.  One of the funniest moments was when I slapped the bracelet on Neil, and he just stood there instead of taking off.  I was wondering if he was wanting a good luck hug or something.  I just slapped him on the back, and said... "Let's go Neil."

#5 - Spending time with my friends Kami & Neil.  There's no better bonding experience than something as challenging as this.

MY FIRST LEG:  3.8 miles - Very Hard.  So my first leg was basically 3 or so miles straight uphill, then straight downhill the rest of the way.  I was able to go a good 7 minutes before I had to walk.  I guess not too bad for doing absolutely nothing but recovering for the 4 days prior.  I then worked out a good system of running the length of 2 cones, and walking 1 during the rest of the uphill stretch.  I began my leg Friday at 3:30 p.m. and finished in :38.  One girl thought she had me as she passed me during my "walk" portion, but in my head I was saying... "Just wait til I reach that cone... then you're mine!"  And... she was.  I owned her immediately.  I finished with a +6.

MY MIDNIGHT LEG:  7.3 miles - Hard.  This was one of my favorite legs of the race.  It had slight up hills, slight downhills, but was relatively flat.  I had never run with a head lamp, or reflective vest, but it was fun, and I was glad I was prepared with a headband, because apparently the head lamp kept slipping off everyone's head, but I had no trouble.  My ran began at 1:49 a.m. Saturday morning, and it was a 7.3 miler.  I was nervous about the distance, but at about mile 3, I finally figured out a pace I could deal with and get enough oxygen for the longer distance.  The weather was perfect, and the run was peaceful.  Unfortunately by changing my running stride, I started to develop a blister under the arch of my right foot at around mile 5.5, and I was starting to die.  I kept on and dealt with it and finished in 1:05.  I finished at a -2 for this leg.  One of those was because I had to re-tie my freakin' shoe twice.  I was SO annoyed!

THE FINAL LEG:  7.3 miles - Very Hard.  My last leg was 7.3 miles, mostly downhill with bits of uphill.  That was a challenge as the bounce didn't feel too good on the back or the knee, and it rained for most of my leg.  I was worried about my blister I acquired the night before, but good thing I have good instincts as I drained it and put vaseline on it before I ran, and followed Tony's advice of "sucking it up", and it didn't bother me at all during my run.  I started my leg around 10:55 a.m. Saturday morning, and it took me 1:11 to finish.  I finished at a -10 for this leg, which put me at -4 overall.  I guess considering, that wasn't a bad score.  I was still proud that I finished strong, and boy did it feel good to be done.  18.4 total miles in less than 24 hours!

THE FINISH LINE:  Not exactly what we had pictured.  Normally, the entire team runs together for a short distance across the finish line.  Well... Neil had the last leg, and took off like a bandit.  Unfortunately, the race bible didn't have directions to the finish line for the van people, so we were lost for 40 minutes and Neil crossed without us.  We eventually met up with him and van 1 for a final "Team On 3" pic with our medals.  We finished 122 overall and 84th in our division with a final time of 28:55:38.  If only I was 100% I'm sure I could have shaved 30-45 minutes off of our time.  It was a great first experience, and can't wait to do it again next year.  There's even talk of doing the Ragnar Relay Las Vegas October 9-10th.

THE RETURN:  It was nice to be home and take a nice hot shower and be clean again, but the best surprise of all was the awesome sign and balloons that greeted me on my front porch, left by Melissa and the kids.  It made all my "van-mates" jealous.  It's nice to feel loved.  :)

I now have 2 weeks to heal and prepare for the Freedom Run 15K.  This is Tony and my 4th of July new tradition.  This will be our third year competing.  I'm hoping for another PR.  Wish us luck!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Trip To The ER

Ok, so with 4 days to go before the big event I've been training for since February, some jackass at the indoor soccer arena decides he's going to show how macho he is by taking me out Monday night.  I went up for a header, and all of a sudden I get hit in the air with so much force that it completely knocks my legs out from under me, so I ended up landing right on my upper back and subsequently, my head bounced off the turf, which is basically cement with a layer of carpet.  I pretty much rolled around on the ground for a couple of minutes, trying to catch my breath as the wind was also knocked out of me.  As I headed toward the bench, I had a few choice words for the guy (sorry everyone for the language), and took a seat.  I had really considered going after him and breaking his nose.  After a few minutes on the bench, I decided I'd better head to the ER.  I was afraid I had a broken back.

As I got to the ER, things seemed to have gotten worse.  I couldn't breathe at all, and I couldn't move my upper body.  Luckily I have a great brother, as Tony came out to meet me there for support.  The nurse finally gave me a shot of morphine along with an anti-nausea shot (unfortunately in the butt), and things got slightly better as I was able to relax a little.  They wheeled me in my bed for x-rays, only to retake them because their machine was messed up.  After they wheeled me back to my room and the doc finally came in saying I had a broken rib.  I wasn't sure I believed him, because I wasn't tender on any particular side, just mostly in the center between my shoulder blades.  Tony had to take me home, as I was all drugged up, and they sent me with some good drugs and a prescription, but the best news that night was when my friends Neil and Kami stopped by as I was leaving saying we had won the game, Neil had scored 11 goals, and the winning goal was on the idiot who took me out.  They had switched him in goal to "preserve the win".  Ha ha.  I call that "karma part 1".

The next day, the radiologist took a look at the x-ray, and confirmed NO broken rib.  I guess I have a really bad contusion to my back, and I now have less than 2 days before the race, and sitting upright, lying flat, and breathing still pretty difficult to tolerate.  I can't really back out at this point, and may end up walking my legs of the race.  I hope I heal miraculously between now and then so I can at least run at a slower pace.  All I know is I will be drugging up!  Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Big Finish

If anyone knows me, they know that waking up is not one of my strong points.  Believe it or not, I DID manage to wake up at 4:30 this morning to head down to Provo for my big 5K race.  I should get a medal just for that.  Moving on... I convinced my friend Becky to run with me, and met up with her at the park & ride in Salt Lake.  We managed to get to the site by 7:00 a.m. and breeze through check-in.  Well... I did anyway, Becky had a couple of issues going on there as they couldn't find her name on the registration list right off, then she had to switch her shirt size.  After all that and a couple of bathroom breaks (her, not me... I don't do porta-potties), we did our 30 second warmup/stretch, and waited 15 minutes, I swear, for the gun to go off.  

I was off to a pretty good start, some hotshot girl thought she would be cool and get a jump on me, but I was patient and she it wasn't long before I passed her back.  Right off the bat, I had the worst case of dry-throat, and wasn't too happy about that, and half way through, I started getting pain underneath my rib cage, similar to being on a very bouncy boat ride.  I kept pushing on, and on the last mile, when the course doubled back and overlapped the first mile, I passed a lady who yelled at me... "You're the FIRST girl!"  I was excited and stressed at the same time to hear that.  I didn't want to lose my status.  I finally peered over my shoulder and saw "Pinky" not too far back from me, maybe 20 seconds behind.  Pinky was super tall and was wearing a pink tank top, hence the name "Pinky".  I kept going as hard as I could, slowing down a couple of times just for a minute, but picking my pace back up.  I ended up finishing with a 20:53 chip time (PR), which is a 6:43 pace, and 10 seconds ahead of Pinky.  Not bad, not bad... AND... I was able to maintain my lead!  I admit I was definitely suffering for a few minutes afterward, but it was all worth it.

Becky finished 3rd overall female with a chip time of 21:34, so she was not far behind either, running a sub-seven as well.  It was awesome we both got trophies, and a neat little podium to stand on, ha ha.  See what I mean about Pinky though?  She's freaking tall. 

So not only did I get a trophy and Seven Peaks water resort pass, but the top finisher for men & women received a Citizen Eco-Drive watch.  I LOVE races that give out prizes.  I think I'll try and defend my title next year.

Next up is the Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back next weekend.  Logan to Park City?  I run 3 legs for a total of 18.4 miles.  My first leg is straight uphill...that's going to be interesting.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Youth Relived

So just yesterday I was talking to Melissa and telling her the story of when I was young, probably around 12 or so, and I would run around the house in a hail storm as many times as I could until I could no longer take the pain.  Yeah, great game I know, but I LOVED it.  I guess I've always been pretty hard core.  Ha ha.  Anyhow, what a coincidence, because guess what happened today???  I was lucky enough to be at Tony & Melissa's when the hail storm hit, and thought I'd relive my youth.  AJ and Emily Ty followed along behind me on my fun adventure around the house.  It was GREAT fun, just as I had remembered.  I hope my tradition has now been passed on to Tony's kids.  LONG LIVE THE WELTS!