After enduring a head cold (my first head cold in 2 years) - I wasn't sure I would have the strength OR breathing capacity to run this race.
When I woke up in the AM, I felt really good. Other than two plugged up ears.
Met up with fellow Ninja Teammate, Angela W. and we carpooled to Lake Las Vegas Resort.
The past few days had been quite cold and blustery in Vegas, so this mornings sunshine was a nice change of pace and so welcomed.
I had to wear one of my headbands to keep the brisk air out of my ears. Since they were plugged up, I didn't want to risk any ear injections (which I use to get often).
Here was the Finish Line chute. I think it was impressive. The Start was not too far away.
We started a little later than planned, but no one complained. First the 21k'ers started...then the 10k'ers and then the 5k'ers.
We were immediately on a dirt and gravely trail. Gee, that's why they call it a Trail Run, huh? The only time we went onto the pavement is to cross the street to get to the other part of the trail. Maybe 5 steps.
As I made it to the first decline, I knew that was the hill I would be running to get to the Finish Line. Immediately, I went into my Mantras. There was NO way I am walking that hill, even if it is at the end of the race.
More dirt, more gravel. Watching the runners ahead of me and seeing what path they were taking. I wanted to go through any areas that was free of debris.
Turn...and there it was - the first hill. My head wanted to quit, it really did. But, I started pumping my arms, keeping my intensity steady and I powered up that hill. I already saw loads of 21k, 10k and some of the 5k'ers walking. I said, "that is NOT going to be me!" The aid station came - I SO wanted to stop and wet my mouth but I wouldn't let me brain tell me I was thirsty. It's just a hill. Slay the Dragon.
The hill continued for at least half a mile and I would say it was steeper than the mountain I encountered at the Hollywood Half. I was passing people all over. (No one was more surprised than me).
At the turn around, I saw 3 women come back the other side - which meant I was in 4th place. I knew if I stayed in 4th place, I was guaranteed 1st in my Age Division (1-3 in Overall).
As the descent of the hill we just climbed, I took a deep breath and just let my body do whatever it wanted to do. THEN, I really started passing people. I passed two more ladies and even said, "so sorry I am passing you! I could see she was so defeated I had passed her. I kinda felt bad, she was running such a good race until then. I was about 45 seconds away from the First Place Female. I thought, I might be able to gain some time. So, I just pushed as hard as my feet could take me.
And I am feeling really good. Breathing is not labored.
Then, the last hill right about the 2.75 mark. Again, swung the arms and got up it and I was home free.
As I came across the Finish Line they said *I* was the First Place Female and I immediately pointed to another and said, "NO! It's her!"
We had a good laugh and the Announcer said,
"2nd place is good....and oh wait...you are 50 YEARS OLD!!!! That's REALLLLLLLY good!"
And we laughed some more.
The First Place Finisher handed me some water and we congratulated each other. That was really nice of her.
I drank some water and waited for Angela to come in. When I saw her coming in, I realized she was going to meet her goal and I stood at the Finish Line - just beaming. I couldn't be happier for her.
My Finish Time (remember, it's a TRAIL RUN) 27.58 (new Trail Run PR).
I finished 2nd Female Overall and 1st in my Age Division. They did not Award the Overall's but recognized each of the Age Division Top 3 with Medals and standing on the Winners Podium. I have to give kudos to Xterra. That was a great touch and runners SO appreciate the time they took to make each winner feel special.
Here are some of my photos: CLICK HERE to see the Xterra FB Photo Gallery
|Receiving my Medal, 1st in Age Division. (I still get teary-eyed when someone puts a medal around my neck)|
|Winners Podium for Age Division (3rd Place was absent)|
|Too much fun on the podium!|
|Okay, serious photo time|
|POST RACE: Angela & I|
Can't wait to run more trails...
(c) C. Ragsdale 2011-12
Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Running Coach, Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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