Monday, April 23, 2012

RACE REPORT: Labor of Love 10k | Finishing My First Double

Labor of Love is directed by Calico Racing.  Calico is known for it's very challenging courses with incredible scenery.  You can also find Calico Racing on FACEBOOK

Labor of Love is the only 2day Event on the Calico Schedule and draws in racers from all over.  Last year, the event dealt with snow (yes, in April in Vegas) and this year - we went opposite.  Heat.  Heat into the 90's.

I went for the back2back 10k's.  My most hated and dreaded distance and not only that, but two days in a row.

Before I begin to give you my report - take a look at this Elevation Chart.  Not only is there a HILL at the beginning - but the elevation is quite high (5000+). 

Labor of Love has multiple distances - 10k, Half, Full, 50miler, 50K and 100 miler (both days, with the exception of the 100 miler that starts on Saturday, only).

Race was at Lovell Canyon.  About 35-40 minutes East of Las Vegas, towards Pahrump.  

Day 1 - gun time 8am.  After a small dip down in the road, we began our 3 mile uphill climb.  Two things that set me up for potential failure on this race day.  1) I forgot to take my allergy meds pre-race (left them at home) and 2) I didn't use my rescue inhaler pre-race.  I know VERY dumb mistakes, huh?

At Mile 2, I regretted those mistakes.  I had my first of 2 asthma attacks on the course.  I am grateful I had my rescue inhaler with me.

By the time I reached the top of the hill at the turnaround - I was at 34 minutes.  I just ran a 5K in 34 minutes.  Really?  My PR is 24 minutes and I just did a 5K at 34 minutes?  I was not the only one struggling.  I think there were more walkers than runners that morning.

Coming back down the backside, I thought I would have a breather. Wrong.  Right after 4.5 I had another asthma attack.  Inhaler time.

Never had I had an asthma attack DURING a race.  I have had difficulty breathing, but never having a full attack.

Around 5+ I met up with a newbie runner guy.  This was his first race.  I think his name was Mohsen.  He as suffering from side stitches.  Yes, I was playing coach. Sorry, it's a part of me - I can't ignore it.  So, I gave him my typical pointers and we agreed to run the rest of the way in together.

At the 5.75 mark, fellow Ninja teammate, Chris Clark came out to meet me and run me in. Thank goodness he came back to me, as he had to chase down my inhaler when it fell out of my belt!

Finished time:  59:00

Wasn't my worst 10KFinish Time, but certainly was the most difficult course I have encountered.

Somehow, with that time - I was still #1 in my Age Division.   Go figure.

Day 2 - in preparation for this day.  I was determined to race it smarter.  I knew a PR was out of the question.  This course is too brutal and the heat takes everything out of me.  But, I was NOT going to have another asthma attack (or 2).

  • I did my Neti Pot the night before and the morning of the race.  I took my allergy meds and ate closer to gun time (for added energy).  I wore my visor to keep the sun out of my eyes.  I even brought little hand gel coolie things.  My mind was made up to feel and run better on this race day.

Much smaller race group.  My goal was to somehow beat my time from Day 1 and not let that 3 Mile Hill conquer me.  I was going to conquer it.  

Gun time: 8am.  I immediately started at a slower pace.  Around 9:30.  I knew I could make up time on the back end.  My only goal was to get up that hill without an attack.  If I can accomplish that, I can do the rest.

In the past, I have conquered some BIG hills with no problem.  Red Rock and ET.  But, both of those were at night and I couldn't see the hills.

Looking back to Day 1 - I kept looking up the hill and mentally, I think I got defeated (flash back to Hollywood Half).  So, this time, I kept my head up, but my eyes shifted downward so all I saw was about 20 feet in front of me, at all times. 

Boy, what a difference it made!  When I did pass someone - I was like "whoa! did I just pass someone on THIS hill?"  

I briefly walked through both of the aid stations to pour some water on myself and get a 15 second breather.

I actually felt really good at the turn around, but I felt my energy disappearing (stupid heat) so, instead of pushing, I let gravity take control and I just followed.

Walking through the last aid station gave me the last bit of umph I needed.  At the turn around I knew I was 4th Female Overall, which gave me an automatic 1st Place in my Age Group.  Passed a few several more runners.  One passed me.

Heat got worse and I finished in the nick of time.  57:00ish.  I had beat my previous time by 2 minutes.  I wasn't as tired, and NOT ONE asthma attack.  It was very difficult to breathe because of the heat and elevation, but it was manageable.

At Labor of Love, you receive a medal for Day 1, Day 2 and for running both days.  I received a "cactus trophy" for both Age Group awards for both days. The Calico Racing RD always gives out very unique awards.   Not bad for a weekend's work, huh?.

(After I received my medals I looked and sounded like Mr. T.)

By the Lovell Canyon Sign with awards and Ladybug's Ball.

Now for the fun part - runner friends picture time!

Day 1: 
Rob Erekson (he did the Half)

Sheina Torres (she did the Half)

Day 2:
Casey Cherneski (she did the Half and got 2nd Place Female Overall) - I really need to fix the way I pose for pictures, my legs look really weird in this shot.

Julia Beavers.  Such a sweet person and great friend.

My FAB-O Ladies, Lovelace Domingo & Celeste Sportsman.  They volunteered at the Finish Line
Casey, me and Emil Cheng.  He did a Reverse Goofy Challenge (I will let you figure that one out)

Despite making some stupid race mistakes on Day 1, I am very happy with the weekend.  I learned some new things about myself and I feel I am doing better at my 10k's.  I can't believe I just ran two races, back-to-back and my worst distance, 10K.

Glad I did it and will do it again, next year.

(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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