I ran it last year (the 5K) and have run it's sister/opposite race (Running from an Angel twice)
There are those who enjoy running in the heat - but, I don't. I physically feel my body start to implode at anything above 80 degrees. This year, I had added more miles in the heat, so I was more acclimated.
I chose to run the 5K again - so my sons and I could volunteer at the Finish Line. If you have never volunteered at Calico Racing, the RD has a great program. For every hour you volunteer - she will grant you a $10 credit to use towards a future race registration. Many racers (including myself) use their credit to pay for their races. Great help on the bank account.
We arrived at 5:30am. I have several friends who were going to run the 50 miler and Full Marathon, so I wanted to be there to cheer them on.
Running With the Devil is located at the Lake Mead Recreation Area. Of course, my favorite place to run and race.
After their weigh-in, the 50 and Full Marathoners started. Got to see Mitch (the one who just finished his 100th Full Marathon) and Ultra-marathon friends, Michael and Kimberly. I missed seeing several of my friends, but caught them as they Finished. Most don't know - I met Michael and Kimberly two days before my first Half Marathon in 2010. They remember me as their scared-to-death racer who was about to embark on their first race. And yes, they were right, I was convinced (at that time) I was going to die if I ran 13.1 miles.
Next up - the Half Marathoners.
That was my cue to warm up and loosen up. I was going to start in 15 minutes. My throat was scratchy and I just felt funky. Nothing major, but you know when you feel right or not-so-right. I warmed up by running the first .25 of the course. This year, the 5K'ers and 10K'ers were running the bike path parallel to the street (where all other racers were). I ran that part as the last stretch of Hoover Dam Half. I forgot how rolling hills it was.
No goals. It's Devil. PR was out of the question. It was already 90+F at the start. Just run and let whatever happen, happens.
Ran onto the bike path and the race field thinned out pretty quick. I quickly found a silent running buddy (didn't know his name until we finished) and soon discovered we matched each other's stride and pace. So, we just kept running together. Never saying a word to each other. I believe we had this unspoken agreement we were going to push each other to the finish. That was fine with me.
Up and down, up and down, up and down and more up and down. (Good grief) At the aid station, I grabbed the water and wet my mouth. Up and down, up and down...then I noticed the turn around cone was missing. I THOUGHT I saw it - but the front of the pack ran passed it. My silent running partner and I followed and as we passed, I looked down at a cone with a sign and realized it was Calico Racing sign. I stopped and said, "this is it!" He said, "it is?" I think we both just stood there for 20 seconds and not sure what to do as others were going forward. So, we went back the direction we came as I knew that was the turn around. Eventually the front of the pack caught up with us and ran passed us.
At that point, I realized how far I was ahead of the rest of the female racers. I have to admit I was quite confused. I am usually the one chasing the front runners, not the front runner.
Okay - so we lost time at the turn-around, but we quickly got back into our pace of no slower than 7:55. As we came up to 2.85 I had to slow down, I could feel the heat cramp coming on the side- so instead of letting it happen, I just slowed it down. It tried to convince me to run with him, but I knew better. I was less than a half mile from the Finish.
Turned the corner to the Finish and I was still thinking, "is this for real? Am I finishing as the First Female?"
Talk about self-doubt!
I had worked on achieving this goal for almost two years and all I could think, "no way this is happening"
As I crossed the Finish, I met up with the silent runner guy and he told me, "you won! You won Female Overall"
I said, "really? Okay, let me see the results" (still not believing it)
Not until the RD put the Award in my hands was it reality. It was at the same location, I ran my first sub2 Half Marathon. Ironic, huh?
I met up with the Overall Male Winner and he finished in 22:##. That shows you how tough the course was (and the 'oops' at the turn around). Typically the men beat me by 10 minutes, if not more. This time, they beat me by 4 minutes.
I didn't have a stellar race - I didn't feel like the stars were aligned, but it was a good race and I felt great achieving that goal and knocking off another Devil Finish. I did PR from the previous year - by 8 seconds :)
This year's time was 26:00:2
I still didn't know what to think, I even forgot to have my picture taken with Ladybug's Ball....but I know she is okay with that, because she is always with me (with or without the ball). Here is my picture with the Finisher Medal and Award
Here is a close up of the Award and Medal (not actual size)
Since I began racing in 2010, I have used one strategy for my speed work sessions - Fartlek's. I did try going back to the track and it zapped my confidence. But that's ME. Running on a track doesn't nothing for ME. I know it works for others, but it doesn't work for ME, and many have chosen to criticize me for not running on a track ::merollingeyes::
I went back to Fartlek's in April. Glad I did. If anyone thinks Fartlek's are easy - please let me take you through a Fartlek session and then tell me it is easy. My Coaching Clients hate me after a session. Think it isn't effective?...allow me to show you my proof:
In 2011 - I dropped 8 minutes off my 5K, 15 minutes off my 10K and 30 minutes off my Half Marathon times and multiples Overall and Age Group Awards. I never once stepped foot on a track in 2011. When I went back to the track in 2012, my times dropped and I was mentally out of whack.
Went back to Fartlek's - and I am back to where I was in 2011. Don't knock Fartlek's until you try it and I am not a lesser runner because I don't do speed work on a track.
I believe for ME, I must train where I race = road. I learn how to sprint on different terrains, corners and inclines/declines. Running on today's race reminded me of many roads I have run those Fartlek's.
As I sit here and glance over at my First Place Overall award - I know, there will be many more 2nd or 3rd places or no Places, at all. No race will guarantee I will always be The Winner. But, today - I am the Devil First Place Female Winner and I am not ashamed to say that.
We did it Ladybug, we finally did it.
(c) C. Ragsdale 2011-12
Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
Running Coach, Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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