A year ago, when I was beginning my running journey (and could not even run 5 miles last August), I wanted to run the Calico Racing’s ET Full Moon. I set my sights on 2011. At that time, I had no idea what this race would mean to me, a year later.
On Saturday AM I set my alarm to go off at 2:30am, so I could ensure I would be able to take nap later on in the day.
At 7am I took my youngest son to a LVTC low-key 2 mile race. We both raced. Great morning and a great way for me to stay away.
At 10:00am – I went back to bed but the head started spinning and I couldn’t sleep. The last time I looked at the clock, it was 12noon and I woke up at 4pm to get ready to head to the Host Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel/Casino.
After a dinner of Pinole Waffle and a Chicken Sandwich – I headed out Hard Rock.
Immediately, I ran into a bunch of Maniacs:
A meetup with Ed, Mitch and Casey:
I also met up with Diane and Jacqueline:
(doesn't that just make your day to see me without make-up? Pretty scary, huh?)
The Race Director asked if I would be responsible for instructions, etc on one of the buses. My bus was #2
I had the opportunity to sit next to Becky – who I had not seen since this past Winter. It was great to catch up with her. (Dummy me, I never got a picture with her)
The caravan of buses took off for a 2 ½ hour trip to our first stop. About an hour out of Vegas, I lost phone service – so, I knew we were heading into the deep hills. Much to our surprised, a few of the buses went the wrong way and it delayed all our start times by 10 minutes. The Race Director - handled it with such class, it was only a small bump in the big scheme of the evening.
We arrived at the ET Highway (Black Mailbox) – which ironically is WHITE. This is the destination of where all UFO’s lookey-loo’s meet. The Full and 51K’ers started their race here.
Here is me at the Mailbox: (yes, I know it's dark - but it's MIDNIGHT in the middle of nowhere)
Back onto the buses and we headed to the Half Marathon Start. By this time, I was thankful I brought my arm sleeves, I was shaking. I knew it would warm up, eventually – but I was cold!
We start the race and I knew the first 6 miles was all uphill. The steepest incline would be around Miles 4 ½ to 6. I was mentally ready to tackle that hill and I paced myself to be at the 10:00-11:00 mark.
Remember, I was NOT going for a PR or speed. This was my redemption run – I NEEDED to finish strong, upright and injury free. This was my first Half Marathon since Laughlin. Time to put my demons to rest and get this monkey off my back!
By Mile 2 I switched on my iPod and began listening to classical music. It was very surreal and peaceful. The sky was brilliant and the Full Moon spectacular. Around Mile 4 I switched off the music and just enjoyed the peacefulness of the night. Along the route, I did hear a coyote or two – but never any snakes or other creepy crawlies.
Then 4 ½ mile came – and bam! The hill went up. I was now closer to 12:00/mile pace and I didn’t care. I knew I was about to reach the summit and I could come down on the other side.
I cruised all the way up the hill, never walking or even stopping at the aid stations. Took a hand off of water and kept going.
It was HEAVEN to run in cooler weather!
At the summit, I mentally evaluated how my legs, hips, etc felt. Everything was fine! My breathing was not labored and I felt good. It was at that moment, I felt like I was just going along for the ride. I really wasn’t tired – and my legs just kept moving – almost without effort. So, interesting.
Mile 7 was an incredible mile. I felt myself go downhill and my legs went into turbo gear. I started passing other runners. Mile 8 – for a few fleeting moments I remembered Mile 8 at the Laughlin Half and remembered this is where I called it quits. The mile I started hobbling and walking. Not this time!
Yet, this time – my legs kept moving and I was doing my best to keep my form where it needed to be. I was flattered when a few runners came along side of me and complimented me on my form. *blush*
At this point, my pace was steadily at 8:30-8:45pm, without much effort. (Surprise!) I felt I could run this pace the rest of the way.
At mile 10, I was fighting back the tears – as I realized the finish was within my grasp and my body showed no visible signs of fatigue. The only soreness I was feeling was in my lower back, which might mean I leaned over too much (from the waist). Once I lengthened my core and worked on a taller stance, the back didn’t hurt so much. Thank you, Chi Running!
Personal mantras kicked in and I kept my dialogue with Ladybug going…I knew she wouldn’t let me down!
Mile 11 – I saw Rachel, NV and the Finish ahead of me. Only 2 miles to go.
Mile 12 – I looked at my Garmin and I knew at my current pace, I would PR by a few minutes. I fought back the tears, again. “This can’t be happening, I am going to PR on THIS course?” Then, I said “let’s see what I can do!”
I positioned my body and leaned from the ankles to give me more speed and from Mile 12-13 I was at a 6:47 pace. Yep, that was tiring.
Turning the corner into the parking lot of the Little Ale’Inn – I was in shock. I knew without a shadow of doubt, I had PR’d.
I was met at the finish by my friend, Diane (pictured above).
This was the first Half Marathon I didn’t have any issues that made me stop or walk. I RAN the entire way. Every step of it was a run.
I sat down to eat and drink some water and reflected on the night. At the small breakfast buffet provided to us at the Little A'Le' Inn.
I had destroyed my demons and conquered the 5 month long issue that has been swirling around in my head. No more can anyone say to me that I was in capable of running a Half Marathon OR that my training was not effective. I had PR’d on a HILLY course vs. the Vegas Half (which is a flat course). I know sub-2 was within my grasp.
My Finish Time – 2:07:16
Here is a picture of me at the Little A 'Le' Inn sign with my Finisher Medal and Ladybug’s Ball. We celebrated a Victory today!
This race must be on the race schedule of anyone who can get there! It’s an experience I have never encountered before and SO worth it. I am so glad this is the race I ran my Comeback Race. I can’t wait for next year!
The most tiring part of the event? The bus ride home. I was SO tired, but it was next to impossible to get any sleep.
Next on my race calendar? Calico Racing Twilight Half on September 17, 2011. Bring on the hills!
(c) C. Ragsdale 2011
Celebrate Your Finish,
Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Certified Sports Nutritionist, Running Coach & Public Speaker
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