Tuesday, May 28, 2013

RACE REPORT: Desert Dash Trails of Fury AM Volunteering & Moonlight 5k

The week had not gone as planned.  I had planned for 10 months to travel to Riverside, to support my running buddies in their Ultra Marathon quest.

A few days prior - there were a few attempted child abductions in our neighborhood.  My kids were witness to one of the attempts.  Although my husband had taken off the weekend, so I could go to Nanny Goat - I knew my place was to be at home.  If I had left them, my heart wouldn't of been in the event and that would of not been fair to the runners who were going to depend on me.

I made the choice not to go to Nanny Goat, without hesitation.

That left my weekend open.  My running bro's (Rob, Ryan & Scott) are the Desert Dash Race Directors and invited me to come volunteer at their event on the weekend.  Seemed perfect to me, if I had not committed to Nanny Goat, I would of been at their event.


Our aid station was for the 10k and 30k'ers.  The course was on the hilly terrain of Cottonwood - about 15 miles, west from my house and at the base of Red Rock Canyon.

This was my view from our aid station. 



Here is the Start/Finish:





With my Running Bro's -

"3 RD's and a Volunteer"


Our aid station was an Ultra station, so we spent time setting up with all the goodies of Coca-Cola, sports drink, candy, banana's and oranges.  I also put out some Island Boost fueling.

We were fortunate, we got to to see the runners start, come by our aid station (kinda sorta) and then they looped around the mountain behind us to come into our aid station.

10k'ers came through first.  Many of them used our aid station to stop and take a breather.  Trails are not for wusses!  I am glad I brought Island Boost - the runners were loving it.

About an hour after the last 10k'er the first 30k'er came through. Let's just say, he was running faster on a trail than I could at a full 5k sprint.  He was blazing fast.

They also had to make two loops around the mountain.  One by one, they came by. Then...I saw the 3rd place guy again. Yet, the original 1st and 2nd - had not passed me.  That concerned me. So I raced up to my Running Bro's/RD's and alerted them of a potential lost runner or two.   They knew one had decided to take a different course - but the other...we had no clue.

They set out to look for runner #2.  Yea, they found him. He had run the wrong course on the second lap and ended up running a Full Marathon not a 30k (19.2 miles).

As all the 30ker's made their second lap around the mountain and through our aid station, that was our cue to take down.  As I finished, my youngest was bugging me (aka pestering me) to run one of the races at night. I refused. I have a very strong PHOBIA (not a fear, a PHOBIA) about running on trails at night.  I have horrible night vision and the thought of getting lost, tripping, falling in the nighttime...did not appeal to me.

Kid wouldn't let up.  So, I chatted with the RD's and asked them about the course.  I decided to walk the 5k course and see what it was.  I thought, I would CONSIDER a 5k...that's the shortest distance and not much time to panic.

I walked it and felt the course was fine.  Easy enough during the daylight hours.  Nighttime, not sure.  So, I let the RD's know if I show up at night, I am racing.  Running Bro, Rob Erekson looked at me in surprise. He knows my nighttime trail phobia. 

On my way back to my house...I had convinced myself I was going to try.  I quickly ate some lunch, gathered my gear and headed back.   I actually felt really calm about running at night, but it was still daylight.

I brought my headlamp and had two knuckle lights in my hands.  With my poor nighttime vision, I needed it.  we started at 7:30pm and I am glad I wore my arm sleeves. It was getting nippy.  I was getting anxious - I just wanted this over with. I was at the place of no return, I couldn't back out.

5 minutes before gun, I consumed a Passion Fruit Island Boost.   I knew the course well enough to know that running in a sub35 was going to be next to a miracle. This was a technical trail with a good incline before the half way point.  I would need some energy, even though I was not going my street 5k pace. 

Gun goes off and we get moving.   Sun is setting fast.  I turn on my knuckle lights and headlamp, so it's on when I need it.

The climb to the half way point was not fun. I was 2nd Female, at this point and I will say I passed a lot of men, younger men walking. Trails are not for the faint at heart, boys. :)

Reached the top of the hill and it was pretty much downhill the rest of the way. But, again - this is TRAIL...and it came be more dangerous on downhills (slipping, sliding, etc).

A few steps into the downhill and the darkness arrived.  I looked behind me and a runner was no where to be seen.  For a few moments, I wondered if I was on the right path.  I ran and kept running.  My heart was pounding, not from the run, but knowing I was out there AT NIGHT.

I worked to control my breathing and keeping focused on avoiding any hazards that may be in my path.

Leveling out, I could see the Finish arch, not too far ahead of me. They had lights all around - it was such a beautiful sight! 

Running through the Finish Line - Running Bro, Scott Gibson meet me at the Finish withe a big smile and a 2nd place Female Overall award.  The clock said 34:00:03.  I had beat my goal time by 1:00 and I ran at night!  

When I finished,  all I wanted to do was puke, but I didn't.  Nerves settled quickly with a bottle of water.  Once I got the ground to stop spinning around...I realized I had tackled that phobia.  Wow.

Will I do it again?  You betcha.  




The day after the race, I took my sons and husband to the trails.  Here I am at the top of the mountain, before the downhill.  Love this place.  My youngest son seems to have a natural talent for trails, so I gave him, his first trail lesson (picking up feet, how to read the trail for dangerous spots, etc).   We are planning his first trail race for September and I will accompany him. 


At first, I was very disappointed I couldn't go to Nanny Goat, but I know I made the right choice for me and my family.  No regrets.

c) C. Ragsdale 2010-13
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Charlene L. Ragsdale - Las Vegas, NV
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