Monday, April 1, 2013

RACE REPORT: Laughlin Half Marathon | Redemption is Sweet

2 years ago at the 2011 Laughlin Half - my hip blew out at Mile 8.  I will never forget the pain, the isolation and the fear.  At that moment, my running changed.  I changed my training, my nutrition and form.  That was the last running injury I had. 

I had no desire to return to that course or that event, until I pace RnRLV 2012.  Once that demon was tackled I knew I had one more...return to Laughlin.  The only problem, I really hate that course.  Boring, dry and just ugly.  The RD is a great guy - makes the event as fun as possible - but there is only so much you can do on this course.  If I was going to die on this course, it would be from pure boredom.

I registered for the Laughlin a few weeks ago.  I didn't announce and I only told a few people.  I didn't want fanfare or everyone worried about me.  I didn't even wear any of my sponsored gear. 

Days leading up to Laughlin Half, I was participating in the Tracy's Racing Virtual Crazy 8 (that's a different race report!) and I knew that Laughlin Half would be the perfect race to end my Crazy 8 streak. 

I suffer from insomnia, rarely - but it decided to rear it's ugly head the night before the race.  The last time I looked at the clock, it was 12:30am - I had to get up at 2:30am.  At the most, I had 2 hours of sleep.

I was also taking my 12 and 14 yr old son. It was important for them to see me Finish this race, upright and healthy.  In fact, I had asked them to meet me at the last .10 to run me into the Finish Line. 

I somehow peeled myself out of bed at 2:30am, showered and ate.  I started my day with Pinole pancakes and a NutriBullet blast of bananas, strawberries, apple and almond milk. 

We made it out the door at 4:30am and started our 2 hour trip to Laughlin, NV

We arrive right on the dot - 6:30am for packet pickup.  Met up with fellow Running Trooper, Kirk Buckley

Kirk's brother took this picture of me at the Start.  At first it was chilly enough to have those arm sleeves on (they didn't stay on for long)

We started the race and I pulled back to settle into my pace of 9:30.  I had made up my mind pre-race that I was not pushing it and I would keep it at a 9:30-10:00 pace.  I would run it strong, but it would not be a fast pace for me. 

Within the first mile, I was reminded why I hate this course.  Dirty, uneven and boring.  I never run with music, but I put music on, which really messed up my rhythm, too.   It's flat as a pancake, probably and elevation gain of 3 feet in one spot. 

Coming up on Mile 5 - the head games started. This is where I knew something was wrong...I saw the spot where I pulled off the course to do a stretch in 2011.  I breathed a heavy sigh of relief, I was not in that place again.

Temps were rising...spiffy.  Not.

My tummy started to grumble and I knew it was nerves.  Every mile I got closer to Mile 8 and that is where the hip went POP and it was the end of my race in 2011.  Despite the music and me chatting away with Ladybug, the demon was circling my brain.  There was no avoiding it, I had to face it, square in the eye. 

Turn around at 6.5....

Mile 7....

With every step, I felt my stomach get more and more queasy.  I have never dreaded a mile so much, as to see that Mile 8 mile marker.  I was healthy, I wasn't injured - but to see that mile marker again - I didn't want to. 

I saw it in the distance. At first, I crossed over to the other side, I didn't want to look at it.  Then, I realized I had to. I had to be right on top of that sign to kill this demon that has haunted me for over 2 years.  

I came up on the sign (it's very small) I JUMPED over it and as I landed - tears started to stream from my face.  I actually stopped running and sobbed in my hands.  Mile 8 was now behind me.  5 mile to go and my stomach is still doing the Tango.

One porta potty stop.....

Then...going into the bushes.... the last aid station, 11.5 another bush stop.....

I probably lost at least 10 minutes with all those stops. Who cares. 

Despite that...I was doing well.  Sub2 was out of the question, but I would make it by 2:15.  I could finish in 3:15 and I would be happy, at that point.

I was holding a pace of around 9:30 and felt fine (except I needed to use the bathroom again  lol)

I saw my kids off in the horizon.  I could see them cheering on the runners into the Finish Line.  Even in the distance, I could see the moment they spotted me.  It was a victory for them, also.  They saw their Mom coming in...upright and not dragging into the Finish Line.

At the last 1/10 they met me and ran with me, holding my hands into the Finish Line.  Kirk got these pictures- 

Typically, I would be devestated to see a 2:13 by my name...not this time.  I had conquered and squashed my demons of 2011. 

In 2011, my boys helped me to the Finish Line - this time, they ran with me in victory.  This was also the first time they have run with me on the course.  This picture is going on my wall. 

I couldn't be happier with the race results and it is done. No more Laughlin for me.  The monkey is off my back.  Not only did I conquer that course, I won 3rd in my AG! 

Fellow Trooper, Kirk Buckley won his Age Division & I won 3rd in my AG

Completion of the Crazy 8, 3rd in AG and with Ladybug's Ball

I will always smile when I see these medals
Onward...and I couldn't be happier!

(c) C. Ragsdale 2010-13
Run F.A.B.,

Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
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*San Francisco Marathon Ambassador 2012-13
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1 comment:

  1. I ran this race 2011, and enjoyed running along the river. Since I like the Lake Havasu Half (now London Bridge Half), I make the trip for that one. Glad you made it an enjoyable experience.


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