Monday, January 9, 2012

RACE REPORT: Running from an Angel Half Marathon | Surprise!

Finally, 2012 Racing Season has begun.

I began my racing season at the same race course I did in 2011.  Except this time – instead of running a 5K, I ran the “Running from the Angel” Half Marathon.

 It’s not the steepest hills I have run, but I knew it would be a challenge for my body and mind.  Check out that grade just after Mile 6. Yes, it is as steep as it seems.

My race attitude was this:  

1) I am still not 100% (going into my 4th week of PT)
2) I have not logged sufficient miles to do anything "amazing"
3) Very tough and hilly course
4) Would be happy with a great finish and not have to use the porta potty. LOL

I did have a pacing wristband.  I had set my pacing to be around the 1:59/2:00 mark. This was purely a test to see where my body was and I felt that was a good place to gauge myself.  I certainly didn’t expect to finish within that time.  I thought at its BEST, I would finish around 2:05-2:15.

Beautiful weather.  Of course – in my favorite place to run and race:  Lake Mead/Hoover Dam/6Tunnels area.   This time, I was racing the opposite direction of Hoover Dam/6Tunnels.  No trail – all road. 

I chose to wear my Half Fanatic singlet this race.  I realized a few days before I would be moving up to the next level at this race, so I thought it would be appropriate to wear the singlet, again.  I was wearing shorts, but I also brought a whole host of clothes with me, in case it was colder than I thought.  Luckily, I didn’t need to add clothing, just a Bondi Band under my visor (to keep my ears warm).  Half hour before gun, I consumed gel #1 (PowerBar Strawberry Banana)

For the first time, ever – I had to ask where the porta pottys were on the course.  Just a mental prep, now I want to be prepared, just in case (good grief)

I started the race with good running friend, Casey Cherneski.  She and I were using this race as a training run for Surf City.  She will be running the SC Full, and I am running the Half.   At the start, I knew she had never subbed2 on any of the Calico Races (she has on other races), so I was hoping this would be the time she would do it.   

Pre-race, Joyce Forier (Race Director) traditionally announces those who have birthdays on race day (she makes them race with a b'day hat)  I had made arrangements with Joyce to wish my son a Happy Birthday (since he was volunteering).  Nothing like seeing hundreds of people wish your kid a Happy Birthday.  It was a great way to start the race.  Thank you SO much, Joyce! 

Gun goes off.  I hate the first ¼ mile – BAM, it’s a hill.  I am so use to it; I just cruise up that little incline. 
My goal was to get into my pace by mile 3.  With the rolling hills, I knew I couldn’t get into it quicker than 3.  Around Mile 4 – was the first porta potty and I smiled.  Why?  I knew I didn’t need to use it on the course!  YAY for no porta potty time! This was also the first aid station – time for gel #2 (PowerBar Kona Punch)

At Mile 4 I felt steady, so I turned on the tunes.  Up and down, up and down the hills.  And one REALLY big downhill (which turned into a big UPHILL climb after the turn around)

I love the turn around, it gives me a chance to high fives runners coming back and give them encouragement. 

When I got to Mile 8, I could feel my energy start to fade.  Time for Gel #3 (Power Bar Kona Punch).  
That gel kicked in around Mile 9-10.  I looked at my Garmin, I realized I was faster than my testing pace.  So, I kept moving, not pushing, but moving forward.  As the declines came, my speed increased and I said at one time, “Ladybug, what ARE you doing!  I don’t need to go this fast!”  LOL

At Mile 11 is when I started passing people.  I think this is what surprised me the most – both directions, I was passing runners on the INCLINE?  Seriously?  Really?  Huh?

At the last decline, I was feeling the “weeeeeeeeee” factor going on.    Feeling good.  Little fatigued in my back (I am going to bet I was bending over), but everything felt fine.  

Then, the turn for the finish line and it’s all downhill.  I knew I would be at sub2.  

As I came flying into the finish – I could see my b'day boy son with his b'day hat on.  That was a hoot.  

Greeted by friends and family – I was all smiles and disbelief.  I was not supposed to do this, at least on this day.  I felt good, not light-headed and most importantly no pain.  I think my body passed the test.
And NO stopping for the porta potties!!!!

My thanks to each of the volunteers at the aid stations – you were the absolute best.  A few of you knew my name and didn’t hesitate to call out by name as I came through.  Thank you!  You knew the mental game that was going in my head during that race, and you pushed me through it.  

My time – 1:57:31  I was 2nd in my Age Division (Awards given to 1st Place only)

My friend, Casey?  Oh yes, she subbed3 – 1:55.  Also, her good friend, Jill subbed2 at 1:51.  

My Vegas Redemption Run is complete. I have my mental mojo back & I feel very ready to race Surf City. 

As an added bonus, I finally earned my Calico Half Slam Award '
(for details, please see

Hand-crafted, Calico Half Slam Award
Me and Joyce (Race Director) with my Half Slam

 Other pictures - 

 Jill, Me & Casey (I didn't crop the picture - I wanted to keep the beautiful background)
Me and Ruth Furman

Scott Gibson, Calico's Timing "Guy" & friend of my family.  
He is also one of the runners responsible for helping me get over my fear of running hills,
during last year's training. 

 And of course, finally - my picture with my Finisher Medal and Ladybug's Ball

(c) C. Ragsdale 2011-12
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Running Coach, Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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