Tag: las vegas nevada

It’s time to bet big … on myself

“I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself.”

Beyoncé

When I started running, I had no idea where I was going. I started because I wanted to lose weight and I knew it would help me in that goal. But, beyond that, I had no idea where it was taking me?

Less than a year into my weight-loss journey my trainer, Kevin, challenged me to run a 5K in the midst of a plateau. He gave it to me as a challenge to work towards. So, I put in the work and ran my first 5K. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t fast. But, I did it.

But, then something happened. I looked at my results and said — “I can do better.” So, I set out to train for another 5K. One that I could run that would be faster and much, much prettier. And, I did.

So, I just kept running trying to improve. This lead not just in the desire to run faster, but longer. Soon, I had my eye on a 10K which naturally lead to a half marathon.

Training for my first half marathon — I thought THIS would be it. This is the crowning achievement of my running career. The thought of running any further — especially a marathon — was unfathomable. I wasn’t a REAL runner, so I couldn’t possibly do that.

Well, after I ran my first half marathon in July 2011, I ran another and another and another. I got faster and actually enjoyed running 13.1 miles — then I started entertaining the thought of doubling that mileage.

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And, before I knew it I was registered for a marathon. A FREAKING MARATHON! That race distance that only REAL runners run.

Once again, I thought this would be my crowning achievement in running. When I crossed the finish line I could cross off the accomplishment on my bucket list and go back running half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. But, then something happened — I signed up for more marathons. And, before I knew it, I had run a total of three marathons by the end of the year.

By this time I had a goal to reach 180 races by age 40. So, I kept training and running. Along the way, not only did I enjoy the accomplishment of racing, but I made countless friends and created many enduring friendships. Running was changing my life in nearly every faucet of my life.

But, it hasn’t always been a smooth ride. It’s been quite tough at times, actually. Whether it was dealing with my Mom’s breast cancer, the death of close family members or battling my own health issues — the common denominator has always been — running.

Running wasn’t a way to escape reality, but a time I could deal with reality. Running gave me time to process the challenges. It gave me moments of reflection, motivation and inspiration. It was leading me where I wanted to go.

Nearly three years ago I started having problems with my thyroid once again. The health issues took me through a roller coaster of emotions. It was frustration being as active as I was — and feeling fatigued and slower. Not only that but I was slowly gaining weight after a years of maintenance.

But, I didn’t let (or want) those issues to stop me. They couldn’t stop me. I had a goal at hand. Plus, I knew if I stopped I would signaling the white flag of defeat — which I could never do.

So, I just kept running.

I was much slower. And, it took a harder toll on my body, especially in regards to my stamina. But, I was now one of the last runners to finish, but I kept going.

Around this time I looked for ways to keep me motivated. I knew just running wasn’t enough. I had to do something new — something that scare and motivate me all in one.

And, since I knew I wasn’t getting faster, I started looking at longer distances — ultra races. I knew a number of ultra runners who spent their weekends in Utah’s backyard and it always appealed to me. But, running anything longer than a marathon didn’t.

That lack of appeal eventually subsided and I found myself registered and committed to running a 50K. So, despite everything going on with my health — I trained for the 50K around a schedule of marathons and long runs. It wasn’t easy, but I did what I needed to do to prepare myself for the race.

When race day came I was lucky enough to run with some great friends that helped me get through those 30-something miles on Antelope Island. The last half of the race was spent trying to meet cut-off times, dodging stubborn bison and battling the dark after my headlamp died.

But, I made it. And, I earned the title of ultra runner.

The accomplishment felt like crowning accomplishment of my running journey. After spending over 10 hours running 30 miles of dirt trails — I couldn’t think of any reason why any sane person would do anything longer.

Then I remembered — I wasn’t sane.

Within a few months I got talked into running a 50 miler. I wish I could say it took a lot of convincing, but it didn’t. It was the first time I formally met Blu Robinson and Jed Jensen from Addict II Athlete and they casually talked about the 50 miler like a novice runner would about a 5K.

And, like any long distance race I’ve run, I found myself registered and committed to running the Pony Express Trail 50 Miler. The biggest selling point was that each runner was required to be assisted throughout the race. Meaning, I had a car stalking me — stocked full of fuel, water and food throughout the whole race. This basically translated to me that I wouldn’t die.

My training for the 50 miler was no joke. It was tough. I did a number of 20 milers, including one on a treadmill in the middle of the night. Not to mention a number of marathons specifically laid out to help prepare me for my 50 miler.

Once race day came I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I relied on my training and just focused on the goal at hand — getting to the finish line.

There were a lot of ups and downs — physically, emotionally and even spiritually. But, after nearly 17 and a half hours — I got to the finish line. I reached my goal — I ran a 50 mile race. I did something I felt at times nearly impossible, even just days before the race.

But, I made it.


“If you think you can — you can!”

Ronald Reagan

I really fell in love with the longer distances — for a number of reasons. Not only did I love the physical challenge, but I really learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about pain. Because that happens a lot during an ultra race.

I never cried as freely and openly as I did at mile 45 of my 50 miler. But, I learned how to process the pain I was feeling — and control it. Being able to manage and control pain is a remarkable feat and I believe a true test of one’s character. Ultra races were becoming great teachers to me.

Since that 50 miler, I have run a couple more ultra races. A couple weeks after that 50 miler I ran the Antelope Island 50K once again (cutting off nearly an hour on my time — mind you!), in February I ran 40 miles in 12 hours at the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival in Las Vegas and then there was my ill-fated Salt Flats 50K that I DNF’d last weekend. But, if I didn’t fall ill with the flu I would have tackled that beast!

My favorite ultra race so far has been the Jackpot Running Festival, I like the idea of a timed race on a looped course with the goal to see how many laps you can do within that time. Not only do you get an aid station every two miles or so, but you’re literally competing with no one else — but, yourself.

Jackpot has a number of timed races — a 6, 12, 24 and 48 hour race. They also had a 100 miler, marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K, but most of the runners did one of the four timed courses. The winner of the 48 hour race managed over 210 miles.

Yeah, you read that right.

In fact there were nearly 30 runners who ran over 100 miles, including six runners who ran over 150 miles. Mind boggling numbers if you ask me.

I read all of these results as my legs were still recovering from my 40 mile run — and I couldn’t shake the feeling that “I could do this” from my conscience. Every time I dismissed the thought — it just came back stronger. Even when I reminded myself of the pain I experienced at mile 45 of my 50 miler — the feeling remained.

So, I did the only logical thing that came to mind — I signed up for the 48 hour race in 2018.

Yup.

I signed up to run my first 100 mile race.

Typing this makes it feel very surreal to me, even a couple months after doing so. I am running a 100 miles. The thought makes me want to pee my pants out of sheer terror and excitement all in one emotion.

I’ve kept my registration relatively private since February. I’ve told a couple of close friends and family members. Heck, this is the first that my parents are hearing of this news. It’s just been a lot to process and this is a HUGE goal and milestone for me.

I still have my doubts about my ability. And, I am sure others do too. Heck, my parents definitely do, because their fear of my running is that one day my legs will fall off.

But, I have to at least try. I have too.

I have to try.

I have to try.

I have to try.

I’ve journied so far from my first 5K — heck, from the couch itself — that I can’t stop myself now without trying. To borrow a phrase from a favorite song of mine, “If you never try you’ll never know, just what you’re worth.” (Fix You, Coldplay).

When I stepped on the scale back in 2009 to start my weight-loss journey, I started the journey accepting failure — and success. I didn’t know where my decision that day would lead me. I accepted the consequences to my decision to LIVE my life. And, it’s lead me here.

I don’t see this decision any different. I am accepting the possibility of failure with the determination of success. I don’t know what lays ahead for me in the next nine months — but I’m going to find out. I’ve got a training plan in the works that I fill will give me the chance of success come February.

The motto for the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival is “BET BIG. RUN LONGER” — it’s something that’s on their shirts and medals. And, it’s something that I took to heart during my run this past February — especially since I signed up for the 48 hour race.

I feel like I am betting big with this goal. I am betting big on myself. Because, this is a gamble. There’s no guarantee of success, but there’s also no guarantee of failure either. So, I’ve got to place my bet.

But, unlike casino gambling, I can control more variables to my advantage. I can control my effort. I can control my training. I can control my preparations — both physically and mentally. And, I can control the odds come race day. But, with a goal like this, it’s going to take much more than this — in essence, I am not just betting big on myself — I’m going all in.

So, all in it is!

As a reminder of this goal and the needed commitment and dedication I’ve been running with a poker chip on me since I registered for the race. Every run — training and race — I run with it on me. I’ve tucked it in my pocket, but I really should make a necklace out of it to keep it on me better.

But, it’s just this little $100 souvenir poker chip that reminds me of not just the 100 mile goal at hand, but the bet I’ve placed upon myself. I might be a cheesy little emblem, but in the three months that I’ve been running with it — it’s been my reminder to keep going, keep pushing and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I don’t dare say that this will be my one and only 100 miler. I’ve learned from my past that’s just a temporary lie I tell myself on occasion. But, I don’t know? And, I’m not worried about. My focus is simply on the journey in front of me.

This is a journey of a thousand miles. I know it will get daunting at times and there will be doubts. There will always be doubts. But, I know if I just focus on that footstep in front of me, it will take closer to my goal and a place I once dreamt possible.

It’s just up to me to take that next step.


“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

Stephen King

RACE RECAP #86: Dogtown Half Marathon

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Who let the dogs out? Who? Who? Who? Who?

I am sorry, I had to get that out of my system. I just had to. But, no one really wants to reminisce much about the summer of 2000, especially when it involves the Baha Men. Please forgive me.

Anyways, back to the point of this whole post … the Dogtown Half Marathon. Which was race 86 in my run towards 180.

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Even though we ran with each other last weekend, it’s always a treat to see Elsha. Not to mention to get our obligatory selfie!

The race held each February is held in Washington City, which is near St. George. It’s my second time running this race. And, while I enjoyed running the course in 2012 the course has been tweaked a number of times since then.

I was sweeping the course with Jill so more than anything it was going to be a party in the back. Sweeping is one of my favorite slots to pace, because it isn’t drudgery, it’s a party and can be VERY inspiring and motivating. Those in the back are “MY PEOPLE” as well, so I always have fun with it.

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Jill made this pin for me to wear of my Grandma during the race. Awesome, huh?

Since Jill and I were pacing it together we decided to make a vacation of it and after the race we decided to hop in the car with her husband and kid and go to Vegas for a couple of days. It was a pretty solid and fun plan. So we’ve been making plans for a few months for this trip.

After my Grandma passed away I wasn’t sure how the timing of her funeral was going to affect the race or trip. I would have dropped the race in a heartbeat if I had to, but thankfully there wasn’t a need to with the funeral being on the Thursday before the race, so it worked out fairly well. I did miss out on time spent with my cousins which I did feel bad about because I don’t get to see them that much.

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So, the race shirt they gave me was actually a woman’s shirt. I wish I could say this is the first time this has happened to me …

But, the trip was still on.

The Gabicas and I left Friday morning and stayed overnight in Cedar City after heading to St. George to get our packets. That seems like a lot of backtracking, but having lived in Cedar City all three of us were quite use to the ride. Plus our room was MUCH cheaper than anything we could find in Washington or St. George.

It was my first time spending overnight in Cedar City in over three years so it was a tinge strange. It still feels like home in some regards. But, there is just enough foreignness to it that it feels somewhat strange to me. Since we had a 45 minute drive to the race we had to leave Cedar by 6:30am. Long enough to get breakfast from the hotel lobby and run out the door.

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Cheering the runners off at the gun!

The pickup for the race this year was at the Staheli Farm in Washington City, this also served as the finish line as well. Quite honestly, I am trying to still understand why this was picked as the location for the race because … well … there were quite a bit of cows. And, well … cows … smell … like … CRAP. Especially, when it’s a lot of cows. It wasn’t a pleasant setting to say the least. In the morning it kind of smacked you in the face without warning and then after the race you just tried to avoid it the best you could.

Not a good location.

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The race was “cupless” so the race organizers gave each runner one of these small plastic poaches to fill up at aid stations. Not a bad idea!

The bus ride to the start wasn’t bad and the beginning of the race was actually pretty awesome. It was about … a mile … further than my first year running it? It was a tad hillier, but not bad at all. Since Jill and I were sweeping the course we cheered on the runners as they left the corral and then waited for a couple of the Double Dog Dare (run to the start from the finish and back) runners and then we started off ourselves.

The course for us was fairly lonely. There were 2:45, 3:00 and 3:15 hour pacers and with this being a winter-run they pretty much swept most of the people around them. So, Jill and I were able to encourage and cheer on runners doing the small out and back around mile three, but that was about it.

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Took some time out to fish … naturally.

We did stop at a couple of the aid stations and to thank the volunteers and let them know we were the last runners on the course. This is ALWAYS one of my favorite parts of sweeping, because depending on the race the volunteers varying from either race to race or booth to booth. Our first aid station was a bunch of kids who even made signs. Of course I stopped and got their pictures.

It really reminded me of something my Grandma would have done. And, since Jill and I were running together she made buttons of her for us to wear. It was a touching tribute and a couple of the volunteers even asked me about who I was running for. It was awesome being able to share a little bit about my Grandma with them. Thanks again Jill for the great gift and memorial to my Grandma’s legacy!

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These are the faces of two people that are lost … L-O-S-T.

The run itself wasn’t that bad as well. Sure we weren’t running it for a PR and we walked a lot of it, we still had a lot of fun and talked about anything and everything. Something that Jill and I don’t have a problem with at all. And, you think with all the races and runs we’ve ran together we’d run out of things to talk about … but … nope. Not a chance.

When we got into the final mile of the race the course wasn’t as clearly marked as we assumed or thought it would be. Sure, we knew we were the last out on the course, but the markings got confusing and we missed our last turn. We ended up running right in the middle of a Parade of Homes showing. We thought they were runners from the race heading back to their cars.

Nope.

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Brown cow, brown milk.

So after running around some odd side streets we ran back to where we knew we could get back to the farm and just went from there. We still got in our 13.1 miles … actually 13.7 after the confusion. But, we made it! And, apparently we weren’t the only runners who had problems finding the last couple of turns. I think we just got lost because we couldn’t see any of the other runners around us.

But, still … it was fun. After a quick change of shirt and shoes we hopped in the car to head to VEGAS!!!


VIVA LAS VEGAS 2K15!

Since we were an hour and a half from Las Vegas from the race, it was an requirement for the Gabicas to visit Vegas. And, they were nice enough to allow me to tag along with them. The Gabicas LOVE Vegas. And, I am afraid even that is an understatement. Jill can pretty much tell you the history of Las Vegas, past hotels, current hotels, attractions and food. She is quite literally a walking Las Vegas Encyclopedia.

The stay in Vegas was pretty much that. We didn’t have much of an agenda, other than we wanted to run the Strip in the morning and make our way to the outlet mall. The remaining time would be spent on the Strip walking around and visiting the Bellagio fountains.

On our way down the Gabicas and I found out that our friends the Copelands were going to be down there the same time we were. So we worked our last second magic and arranged a meet up at dinner at Bobby’s Burger Palace on the Strip. Our friend Angie met us there and it turned into a little Southern Utah University reunion of sorts. Something we aren’t able to do much with everyone everywhere else.

It was fun to spend a night laughing, reminiscing and catching up, especially with Angie. The Gabicas laughed how the Copelands had moved closer recently, but it took a trip to Vegas for all of us to meet up. Such is life, I guess?

Anyways, the next day was spent at the outlets and again on the Strip with the Gabicas. Since I really didn’t have need to really buy anything I just ended up walking or pacing around the stores, mall and casinos while I waited for them. It wasn’t out of boredom or frustration, I actually did it because I wanted to. I was in the midst of a step challenge on my FitBit with my friends and I HAD to win! So, I WON!

I ended up walking an additional 5 miles after my 13.1 miles on Saturday and then 7.5 miles on Sunday. Come Monday morning my feet were shot. But, I won! That’s all that mattered. Plus, it really wasn’t that difficult, I just had to keep going and I was okay. Plus, it was just fun to keep going. I wish we did get the chance to run on the Strip, but my feet and legs felt like too much mush to even try that.

Still … here are some of fun things done in Vegas on our trip …

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I will most likely post some more pictures on my Facebook page in the near future. I just need to find time to go through my pictures. But, it was a fun trip with many little adventures and a dinner on Sunday night I kind of want to forget. But, yeah! Vacation is always fun!


MY DEAR MOTHER

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While in Las Vegas over the weekend I got a call from my Dad telling me that my Mom broke her arm. Specifically, her humerus bone. She slipped in the hallway right on her elbow and it just shattered as you can see in the x-rays. Her arm will be in a sling for quite a while and she’s still in a quite bit of pain, but she’s optimisitic it will heal properly.

I am sure I’ll post a bit more about this later. Please just keep her in your prayers.


MY 2015 MILEAGE

Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015

2015 Training Miles – 68.6 miles
2015 Walking Miles – 39.5 miles
2015 Race Miles – 35.55 miles
2015 Total Miles – 143.65 miles
 
Monthly Total Miles for 2015
January – 78.8 miles
February – 64.85 miles

TUESDAY MOTIVATION

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