Tag: nevada

RACE #139: Jackpot Running Festival

Running, running, running, walking, walking, walking, running, running, walking, walking, walking, think about running, start running, quickly go back to walking, walking, walking, running, walking, running, walking, think about running, running, walking, walking, walking.

Oh, the life of an ultra marathoner.

It’s seriously no joke.

It’s such a different beast.

With as much walking, jogging, running, skipping, drudging and sludging one does during an ultra — once you hit that magical number of 26.3 miles — your life, mentality and sanity just … changes. And, I just love it. It’s a community that I feel right at one within. They are my kind of people.

Going into this weekend I have done three ultras since my first 50K in November 2015 — all in which were point to point or out and back courses. Which I all loved. But, I had never done a timed race. Meaning — I sign up for a race that allows me run as much as I want within a specific amount of time.

These kind of races are fairly popular with the uber-ultra runners. Those are the crazy runners that sign up for 48-72 hours and crank out 200-300 miles within that time limit. Now, while I am not one of THOSE runners, I love the concept and idea of running for time with no real pressure of cut-offs and mileage. You just do what you want and can do.

I dig that.

I really dig it.

And, that was why running this race, the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival, was very appealing to me. After flirting with doing the 24 and even the 48 hour race (it took me 38 seconds to come to the conclusion that was stupid) I decided to sign up for the 12 hour race — for a couple reasons.

One, I didn’t want to train for anything longer (especially during the winter — which has turned out to be a good decision) and, two, my friend Jill was going to run the 12 hour race for her first ultra. So considering those two points — it was an easier decision than what I was making it. A true win, win.

So the 12 hour race it was.

Having not done a timed and looped course like this (besides the New Year’s Run Resolution — which I don’t know if I’d count since it’s an indoor track) before, I had to rely on friends that have done these kind of races and specifically THIS race. Being a Vegas race in the middle of February you’d think it’d be fairly mild — but from years past it’s gotten kinda sketch with hot, hot weather. So that’s what I kind of prepared myself for throughout my training.

But, instead of running through Satan’s kitchen oven, we ended up getting a visit from Lucifer himself. Yeah, no joke. Major Storm Lucifer was heading our way — the forecast leading up to the race just called for rain. 10 days out it started conservatively at 70% reaching 90% by Thursday evening. By the time it gets to 90% I don’t know why they just don’t up that to 100% — but, I’m pretty sure meteorologists don’t for the sake of job security.

Anywho, needless to say,  we were going to be wet.

Having run the Ogden Marathon a number of times and being quite accustomed to running long distances in the rain — I kinda knew what to expect. Sure, I’ve never run an ULTRA in the rain, but I knew it could potentially suck and that I would need to OVER prepare myself.

So that’s what I did.

Packing before I left home was an adventure and a half. I packed four different drop bags of changes of clothes. I figured I could change every 3-4 hours if needs be. I knew that if I had a change of clothes every few hours that would really help me mentally get through the rain. That really helped me through the last three rainy Ogdens — KNOWING you have a complete set of dry clothes waiting for you really helps you mentally.

Did I over pack? Yeah, you betcha. Besides extra clothes, I packed away extra shoes, surgical tape (for my nipples), baby cream (for chaffing) and an array of applesauce packets, gels and caffeine shots. I just didn’t know what to expect — so I basically packed the kitchen sink.

Once in Vegas Jill and I grabbed our race packets on Friday night. At this point the weekend had already started with the 48 and 24 hour runners. And, it was already raining. Lucifer wasn’t dumping that hard at this point, but we knew the worst was coming because it had flooded Santa Monica and a number of areas in southern California. It wasn’t a matter of if, but when it hit us.

And, luckily for me — but, unfortunately for the runners already on the course — got SLAMMED by Lucifer in the middle of the night. So much so that the course had to be redirected because the reservoir we were running around overflowed in a couple of areas and washed out part of the paths. It even swept one runner off their feet.

By the time Jill and I got to the race on Saturday morning the changes were made and instead of running 2.38 miles per lap, it was an even 2.5 miles. For someone who struggles with math I was grateful for this change, but that also meant that we had to ascend and descend up a pretty steep hill twice (unlike once in the 2.38 mile loop). As much as I wasn’t looking forward to that, there wasn’t much to you could do at that point — so you had to do that stupid steep hill twice.

Our race started at 8am along with the six hour, marathon and 100 mile races (I’m pretty sure there were other distances that started to, but I’ve got “ultra brain” so I can’t remember them all). There were quite a few of Utah runners in this group and it was nice to see a few familiar faces. But, when the gun sounded at 8am — we were all off running our races.

My game plan for the race was fairly simple. Start off conservatively and then gradually speed up so that I could reach my goal of 35-40 miles. I stuck with Jill to start off the race and we kept ourselves at a pace that kept us on pace to minimally hit 40 miles in 12 hours. It was a lot of fast walking, running down hills and minimal breaks at aid stations.

I even got a surprise visit from my dear friend Tricia and her husband who were in town for the weekend as well (they were staying like 5 minutes from the park). They both finished that lap with us — and I must say — I’m grateful they snapped lots of pictures while doing so, otherwise I don’t know how many I would have had?

But, it was a total surprise and mood booster to get a visit and encouragement from them both.

Initially I wanted to stay with Jill and on this pace for at least a good 6-7 laps (15-18 miles–ish) before pushing it a bit faster. But, I ended up sticking with her for nine laps (22.5 miles) partly out of rhythm and partly out of the rain. We weren’t getting slammed by rain, but it was getting a little heavy and I wanted to wait a lap or so to have it ease up so I could start pushing my effort a bit more.

But, after I finished my ninth lap, I just had to go. I was starting to feel anxious and the last thing I wanted to do was get a panic attack in the middle of an ultra —- so, I said goodbye to Jill, grabbed some grub at the aid station and just booked it. The rain was coming down a bit harder, but I just didn’t care — I just wanted to run. So that’s what I did.

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I ran a lot of stretches that I had been fast walking and just lost myself in my thoughts and music. And, I almost immediately hit mentality and frame of mind that was slightly nirvanic. I was focused mentally, emotionally and spiritually and I just felt strong — so I just chased that balance.

And, it felt great.

I cranked out three straight really good laps with this focus, before I slowed down a couple of times to visit with a few other runners. That’s the one thing I absolutely love about the ultra community, you get to meet and talk with some amazing people — not just runners — but people. And, I love to just LISTEN to them. It’s such a different vibe from road races that I just dig.

But, after a couple laps making friends I had three laps (7.5 miles) left to hit 16 laps (40 miles). When I realized that I still had about 2.5 hours left to hit this I felt extremely excited because 40 miles was my stretch goal. And, I was reaching it. This gave me a third — or maybe fourth? — wind that this point.

So I kept going.

During my second to last lap I caught up again with Jill and we stuck together for the homestretch. I had two laps to get my 40 miles and she was on her last lap to get to 35 miles which was her race goal as well. It was dark by this point but we both kept just going. We were both exhausted, but we cranked out that lap — and though she reached her 35 mile goal, I still had one more lap to get my 40. And, somehow I talked her into running that last lap with me.

I really don’t know how I talked her into it?! I am almost sure she just kept following me on accident as I kept going — and, by the time she figured out what she was doing — it was too late — so she just finished the lap with me. Either way, I was proud of her effort and was grateful for the company.

As we approached the finish line — for the ABSOLUTE last time — I grabbed my camera for the homestretch (like I did when she ran her first marathon) and recorded Jill crossing the finish line with her hand in hand with her daughter. It was a tender moment and yet another moment I will cherish, because this journey has not been easy for Jill — but, she’s done it and it’s a journey that her kids will cherish.

After an exhilarated moment of celebration — we still had about 20 minutes until our 12 hours were up. While it was slightly tempting to try to get one more mile in, I was done. My body got to that 40th mile and just said — ENOUGH. So, that was enough.

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But, I can’t tell you how proud I was of myself to reach that 40. I kept telling myself that 35 miles would be GREAT to reach, but I knew I was lying to myself. I knew I could do more and I am glad that I pushed myself toward that. And, I have to credit a lot of that toward my diet change, I have so much more energy and stamina just in the past month. I felt like a true Hashimoto’s Warrior out there on the course.

I feel like a few more months of consistency and training that stamina is just going to get stronger — and I am excited for that. I am excited to see what I can do and test my limits a bit more and more. I really want to do the race again next year and either push for 50 in the 12 hours — or why not go for the 100 miler?

Why not?

I should temper some of that excitement, but it’s hard for me to that after struggling so much with my health the past couple of years. I was robbed of my stamina and energy on many, many workouts, runs and race — and now that it is coming back — I want to push myself. Because I KNOW I have the mental capability to run longer and stronger — I just need the rest of my body to meet up with the mind. Which I feel will come in time.

Anywho, I can’t be any more excited for this past weekend’s race and festivities. It was nice to get away even if I went straight into the eye of Lucifer, because I got to spend some quality time with great friends. It helped recalibrate priorities, purposes and focus for me — and I just needed this weekend.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


RUNNING MILES

105.55 miles

RACE MILES

56.82 miles

WALKING MILES

122.77 miles

MILES TO DATE

285.14 miles


Mama warned me about Vegas. #jackpotrunningfestival #race139 #ultrarunning @joshruns180 @fit.phat

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When you’re in Vegas, you naturally visit your Vegas girlfriend. It’s just what you do. #vegasgirlfriend

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A trip to Vegas isn’t a trip to Vegas without a fountain show at the Bellagio! #vegasmust

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RACE RECAP #86: Dogtown Half Marathon

86-dogtown

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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