This year, I chose to run the 5.4 Ascend (ran the Half last year), since I am running St George Marathon next weekend. I needed to save my legs. I remember all too well the harrowing uphill at the front end and the screeching downhills on the second end. I don't need that a week before St George.
In addition, I wanted to see how my legs would respond to the hills vs how they responded at the ET hill in August. If you recall, I began suffering from Mile .10 at ET with heavy legs. It's been plaguing me since March of this year.
Since the Red Rock canyon is steeper than ET, I felt it would be a good test to see how I am progressing in my healing.
Arrived at the shuttle pick up location and loaded the bus to take us to the Red Rock Visitor Center. By this time, the Half Marathon already started. We unloaded and I did my final warm up and jog to loosen and evaluate how my legs were feeling. Not too bad. I am careful to overly confident, as I know it could change in a second.
Headlamp on and and gun went off at 8:30pm. We made one loop around the Visitor Center parking lot and then up the hill towards THE WALL.
After the parking lot, we were all up hill. I knew last year, it took me 1:15 minutes to climb that hill. If my legs were holding up, I had hoped to finish in less than a hour. A girl can hope, can't she?
I kept my pace around 11:00. We had a group of speedy teenagers with us, so many of them were ahead of me, of course. Around Mile 2.5 I could see some of them start to slow down. In fact, I heard two of them right behind me and one kept saying to the other, "are you okay? are you okay?" I then had two teenagers on each side of me. For a moment I thought, "oh geez, here I am almost 51 and running with teenagers!"
Then I thought again, "OH WOW, I am almost 51 and I am running with teenagers! YES!"
I wasn't pushing for speed, I was in a complete radar mode - aiming at my legs. Every step I took I monitored it. I was waiting for the HEAVY to go "HERE I AM!!!"
Through the aches and pains of going up that mountain, I didn't have the heavy legs. The climb was difficult, but not even close to the fatigue I felt during ET from Mile 2, onward.
When we got to a short level place, I was waiting for my legs to say "ENOUGH!" - but they actually felt good. When we reached the Wall...I took a big gulp and looked at the teenage boy and said, "let's go get it, kiddo"
I told him if he needed to walk, I would walk with him (he had been throwing up). He did walk and I walked too. My legs needed a little break and I felt I needed to bring my heart rate down.
At Mile 5 - it levels off and I ran into the Finish Line with NO fatigue and heavy legs. As they were clipping my chips, I noticed that my legs weren't shaking as they have been so many times before. That put a smile on my face.
I look at my Garmin and it said 59:11. If my Garmin was correct, I had achieved my goal of finishing under an hour. I walked a few paces passed the water and just looked up in the sky and said, "thank you!"
You see...that run had many different meanings to me. As always, I had a Ladybug charm on my shoe. On the other foot, was my Mother-In-Law's shoe charm. Took it out for a test "run" before St. George. And finally, in honor of all my running friends, who lost their running buddy, Pete Mingwah this passed week. I ran as a show of support for their love to him.
It was an amazing sense of relief to finally feel good about myself at the end of a race and knowing I had done my best that I could do at that night. I wasn't thinking to myself, "what the heck happened to me?"
Nothing else mattered. I knew my legs were finally on the recovery path.
I walked over to the timing table to see my buddy, Scott Gibson and see the results. When I saw I got 1st in my Age Group, I smiled. But again, the feeling I had of completing a race without the heavy legs was the best award I could of received that night. My official time was: 59:08 and I was BEYOND happy!
In addition to seeing my name, I also saw the name of Nino Toll. I had to meet him! He was one of my fans on my FB page. His wife directed me to where he was and I had to finally meet him. That was nice! He also won his Age Division. So happy for him!
We were shuttled to the Half Finish Line to food/water and awards. After after crackers & hummus. Yes, that was one of the post-race food options. The RD handed out the awards. I received a nice stone tealite holder. After eating, I saw a man with a Half Fanatic shirt and I asked him to take my picture with my awards and Ladybug's ball. His name was Kirk and we had such a nice chat. Glad we met.
The event was great, as any Calico Racing event's are. I am much more confident going into St George. If all things go well with the rest of my taper week, I have a good feeling how my legs will respond on the hills, on the front end of the race. I feel I can get through the St George course much stronger than I planned.
Every race serves a purpose and this one, far exceeded what I anticipated.
(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-12
Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
*Sponsored Brand Ambassador for RobKellerMD.com
RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist & Public Speaker
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