Saturday, July 16, 2011

RACE REPORT: 4 Mile Notch | 8K Elevation + Uphill = What A Race!

I achieved the goal I set out for myself in December, 2010.  My goal was to have raced 11 races by the same time in 2012.

Pretty happy - that I achieved that goal in July :)

Today was Las Vegas Track Club's Annual 4 mile Notch Run at Mt. Charleston.  About an hour north of Las Vegas.  Elevation 8K++++ and ALL uphill.  As some will say, it's pretty "sick".

My mindset for this race/run was for training.  I felt I was ready to tackle some serious hills and how see would my body react in very high elevation.  When I was in SLC (elevation 5k+) I had no problems, but 8K, that could be another story.

Set out on our morning with the entire family in tow.  First time to take the doggies, too.  Could not leave little Daisy Mae all by herself, so we had to take her.  Plus, we didn't want to leave Honeybear alone and feeling left out, so we brought her, too.

About 45 minutes away - I get pulled over by a motorcycle cop saying I was doing 87 in a 55.  First, I thought the speed limit was 65, and I think I was only doing about 68.  If I was doing 87, then all the cars passing me were over 100 mph.  Oh well.  He proceeded to ask me where I was headed and told him about the race.  And lo and behold, he let me off.  I have not been pulled over in decades, so I was relieved.

Now, I know I am going to be late.  Being late is a BIG pet peeve of mine.  I always arrive 1 hr before gun time.  Not happening this time.

Then, I turn on the wrong exit - and realize half way up the mountain, I am on the wrong side of the mountain.  I drive like the "Dukes of Hazard" (as my husband puts it, LOL) to the other side of the mountain and I make it to the Finish Line (15 minutes before gun) and in the knick of time to catch the shuttle to the Start Line. 

As we are driving UP to the Finish Line I am thinking, "this is not a hill, this is a MOUNTAIN!"  Ears are popping, etc.

I begin running the race with my runner friend, Casey (Vegas).  She is so cool.  I love her attitude and how she races and trains = SMART!  We agreed ahead of time, if either of us wants to run ahead - please do.

Here is a picture of the Starting Line.  Don't let that little bit of level fool you.  We are running UP to that mountain you see in the distance.  Yea, UP

Start time - and we are off.  From the beginning, I kept telling myself this was only a training run, who cares what my time was.  I was testing our my legs, breathing and my shoes (first race with the Brooks T7's).  Wherever my legs lead me - that's where I go. 

First Aid Station was at Mile 2 and I walked through it.  I wasn't tired, but I was planning for fatigue to set in, soon.  I was surprised my legs were not hurting as bad as I thought they would be.  REALLY surprised my calves and glutes were not barking at me after a 2 mile uphill run.  My first real proof that all my glute strength training is finally paying off. 

At this point. LOTS of runners were starting to walk.  I decided to just keep an easy pace - why push it?  It's a training run, period. 

Got to Mile 3 and that is when I started to get a little dizzy.  My breathing was fine (thanks to my Rescue Inhaler pre-race) and all these months of training myself to deeply breathe during runs/races.  But, the elevation was climbing and I could feel it.  I walked again for about 1/4 of a mile, but at a quick pace. 

Trying to make it up that Mountain at Mile 3

When I picked up running again, I was holding steady at 10:50-11:15 pace.  Just where I thought I could be, but willing to back down, if I needed to.

The last 1/2 mile is a large switch-back UP, UP, UP a hill.  Good grief!  I wanted to crawl - not because of soreness, but I was really feeling the elevation. 

I dropped it down to 12:00 to save myself to the finish.  At the last 100 yrds, I sprinted - as another training episode, as I typically don't sprint to the end. How would my body react at the point of fatigue and sprinting?  Fine, I think.

I crossed at 47:10

No one is more surprised than ME, at my finish time.  I thought there would be no way I would finish before 1 hour.  Afterall, it was a BIG, BIG hill (I stink at hills) and high elevations. 

A few runners who follow my Blog, FB page and Twitter came up to me at the end of the race.  That was so sweet - thank you for saying, "hi"!

Met up with my family and then I went back to the Finish to find Casey, I knew she was not too far behind me.

I think Casey and I were both surprised it wasn't harder than it was.  The hills didn't bother us (SURPRISE!) but the elevation got to the both of us, somewhat.   Casey did great (details coming later)

We walked over to the Ski Lodge for refreshments and waiting on the Awards.  Here is a picture of the Ski Lodge area.  Very close to the Finish Line.

Mt. Charleston Ski Lodge area
LVTC gave away some KILLER Raffle prizes = ski packages, helicopter rides to the grand canyon, haircuts, etc.

Time for the Awards - and another surprise! I placed 3rd Overall in the Women's Master Division (yes, another third place!).  Unfortunately, there was a slight mix up with the Trophy company and the Master's Division Trophies didn't arrive in time.  (I will receive it later, don't worry).  Here is a picture of me (courtesy of Casey) with my Invisible Trophy  :)

Holding my 'Invisible Trophy' (don't you just love my baggy shorts? - I need new ones!)

Then, onto the Age Division Awards - I was SO excited to hear that Casey won 2nd Place in her Age Division!  GO, CASEY GO!  Here is her picture with her Awards Medal

Casey with her 2nd Place Division Award!

I am very happy with the outcome of this race.  Not because I received another Trophy (almost - LOL) that I was able to tackle the mental block of running hills.  I can say that these new shoes are better than I thought.  Loving them, even more!

One last picture - I have been waiting a long time for this to happen.  Below is a picture of me with Honeybear (blonde), Daisy Mae (puppy) and Ladybug's tennis ball.  Having my "girls" with me is the best trophy of them all!

Me, with my Girls and Ladybug's Ball

(c) C. Ragsdale 2011
Celebrate Your Finish,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Certified Sports Nutritionist, Running Coach & Public Speaker
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  1. Looks like a pretty place for a race. Congrats on finishing that tough race with a great time and getting 3rd place!

  2. Thank you, Tina! It was a pretty place to run, I look forward to running there again


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