Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dam 2 Dam run - Success! YeSSSSSS!!


I planned this run because it was down south where the weather was warmer and I was already going to be down there for work. Efficient little minx aren't I?
Why run in February you ask? Well, this little goal of mine to participate in at least one race a month this year drove this crazy decision.

The weather forecast called for cold with snow/rain. I almost talked myself out of it! I am NOT a cold weather runner and the thought of running 5 miles is cold wetness did NOT appeal to me! But, in the end, I knew that if I passed it up and just went home, that I would regret it and be disappointed in myself. So I drank a Monster (timed to kick in at race), put on my lucky good girls, and bundled up in my favorite cold weather running gear.

The race was held at the beautiful Sand Hollow Reservoir State Park in Hurricane, UT.
I got a little lost driving out there and ended up at the resort, not the park. My mistake. I got some directions from a VERY old man wielding a leaf blower (BTW - there were no leaves) and got back on the right track.
I had to go early to check in and pick up my packet that included my bib number and t-shirt. No way was I putting on the t-shirt. I already had donned my warmest running clothes and bought new gloves and headband since I had forgotten to pack them. Promptly went back to the car and sat with the heater blasting for the next 40 minutes while I laid out my goal for this race. Finish in 45 minutes or less. That would be pushing me, but could realistically be attained if I worked hard. A reasonable goal.

They only allow 300 runners to participate and it is in the runners series qualifying for the St George Marathon. I did not know this when I registered. I quickly found out when I got out of the car to catch the shuttle and saw all the runners who were going to participate. These are RUNNERS! These are folks to eat girls like me for lunch during a run. These are people who, for them, 5 miles is like a warm up. Young, beautiful, rock-hard-body runners! Okay, some old birds and a couple of families with their young kids, but they appeared to be the families of the people hosting the event. They were there for fun. Crap-a-doodle I say to myself, what have I gotten myself into?

I get in line for a shuttle and end up in a van with some of the older dudes and hear one of them talking about how he has done the St George marathon for the past 17 years. The others pipe up mentioning how many times they've done it etc. I am quiet, listening and getting sick to my stomach.
The run is around the reservoir from one dam to the other. Hence the Dam 2 Dam name. So basically we are driving the course backwards. I am checking it out and now getting very worried. Rolling hills, okay. Pavement, okay. Wait. The first 2 1/2 miles is rocky, uneven, mostly uphill packed red sand with soft spots? CRAP! Okay, revise goal. Let's give myself 50 minutes. The Lavender Days 5k last year taught me that uneven, rocky ground can definitely slow you down just out of fear of hitting a rock and twisting an ankle.
Okay, goal revised. Still feeling a little sick to my stomach. Is it nerves or the Monster? Should I have eaten breakfast or gone with my traditional empty stomach? Should I have peed one more time before the shuttle? Wishing Splenda was here. My first race completely solo. No hubby, no gym rat friends, no one. Not feeling happy. Too bad, nothing to be done about it now. You're here M, you have to follow through. It's only 5 miles for crying out loud. You've raced further. Stop the nasty voices in your head. Shut them up and just go run.

Time for the race to start. I am superstitious and HAVE to be at the start line. Always. I would rather start right at the line and get passed up, than have to feel like I have to catch up the whole race. Siren sounds and off we go. Immediately, I start quick out the gate. Big Mistake. M, you do this every time to yourself! You start too quick. Okay, back to the voices in my head as I get passed by runner after runner. As long as they are dudes, I'm okay. Oops, that one is a chick, crap. I spent the whole first 3 miles with this strange twisted conversation in my head while hanging it down watching the ground EVERY SINGLE STEP! Hit mile 3 and pavement. Aaaaah. Pace picked up significantly, starting to pass other runners. Feeling good. I can actually look up now and take in the scenery. BREATHTAKING!! The beautiful lake, surrounded by red rock, black lava, and snow capped mountains in the background. The sun was shining bright, a few puffy clouds in the sky, and it was truly beautiful! I had now hit a nice even pace and the conversation in my head turned much more positive. I passed the water station and a couple more dudes. There had been plenty of girls pass me, enough that I lost count and stopped trying to figure out if they were in my age group or not. I was just focused on finishing in 50 min or better. 45 would be a blessing! We curved around the lake and I see the next dam ahead. About 2 miles left. Kept my same pace, but now off pavement and onto solid packed dirt. Okay, I can handle this. Back to watching the ground for stray rocks, but they are not as worrisome at this point, very few to contend with. Pass a couple more dudes and that totally lifts me. I'm able to pick it up just slightly. I look ahead and can now see the finish line and the flag lined chute. Hit my next arrow on the podder and let Justin Timberlake bringing Sexy Back totally take me home. With a 1/2 mile left, I gave it everything. Full stride sprint as hard as I could. The last few steps I thought I was going to drop!Came in, but what? No clock to check my time? WTC?? Oh well, I saw them writing times down as we came in so there will be something. Just have to wait. I notice the dude right in front of me in the chute glance at his watch so I ask him if he happened to get his time. He says he forgot to click it off, but right now it was 40:15. WHAT?!?!?! Are you kidding me?? 40:15?? And then, it happened. I started to cry. No way, did I do it that fast. NO way! I head to the boards to check but my age group isn't posted yet. Okay, then that means I might have been first for my age group. No, don't get your hopes up. Walk around some more, make some calls, eat a muffin and get a drink. Check the board again. Nothing in my age group. Look at the top overall female winner who was 31 minutes and some change. WOW! Nicely done whoever you are!! Still nothing in my age group. As I am standing there, a race official comes over and posted the Overall Female Masters winner.Wait, that's my name!! What does that mean?! She kindly explains that it means that I was the winner for the Female Masters age group which is 40 and older. WHAT?!?! I check my official time: 40:01! NO WAY! I just couldn't believe it. The tears again. I didn't check to see where overall I came in. I didn't check to see how many were even just in my age group. I was just so pleased by the time that I didn't even think about those other two things. More calls, and then the waiting. Waiting for the awards ceremony so I can get a nice little plastic/tin medal to add to my small starter collection. At this point, I can now take it all in. The scenery is amazing and yes it was cold, but I just went to the car and got my big coat on and kept the gloves and headband. Total high at the point. Total high. The final runners come in and they begin the awards ceremony. The man announcing the winners said a few words about the race and then explained the prizes. Instead of a cheap medal, it was gift certificates to the local sports shop called Classic Sports (tried to find a link - no such luck) that was sponsoring the race!SWEET!!! The top overall winners (including me) got a $40.00 gift certificate! Niiiiiice. Small problem, it has an expiration date so I was going to have to delay my start home and stop at the little shop. And little shop indeed. Didn't find much that I needed but finally came away with an ultra cool bag that I have been wanting for a while now, just wouldn't spend the money on it.All in all, great race. I totally expected it to be a small town, disorganized fiasco. Instead, it was very well run, organized to the last detail, staffed with plenty of help, and everyone including all the participants were super friendly, nice and welcoming. I will definitely add this to my list for next year! Too bad the runner's series that gets you in to the St George Marathon is full. I'll have to take my chances in the lottery......

19 comments:

tiburon said...

I am so proud of you I can't freaking STAND IT!!!!!!

CONGRATS again.

And thanks for letting me hear you cry.

We both realized a dream on Saturday.

tiburon said...

Oh and you are smoking hot.

tiburon said...

And you will probably get a shout out on my blog for being so awesome.

I may or may not mention that you cried.

tammy said...

That is awesome!! I am so excited for you! And I may or may not be crying myself right now, just because I cry whenever I hear or see or read about anyone else crying.

Pedaling said...

oh, my goodness-so incredibly, cool!
congrats to you.

i really need to start running again- i keep putting it off- this was the month i was going to up it a notch from nothing to something in the running department....my excuse for lack of motivation...
it's so cold outside and i despise the treadmill inside.
HELP!

Omgirl said...

Way to go, Girl! (And I am referring to your choice of bag, of course). But nice job on the running too. Hehehee.

veronica said...

That's fantastic! Way to go!

nikkicrumpet said...

CONGRATS you strong little running machine! I am so impressed! And if that picture was taken after you ran all that way I'm going to scream...how can you be gorgeous after that much work???

MiaKatia said...

So proud of you!!! Congratulations!!

Martha H. said...

You're my hero!!!! You are truly amazing!

kimberly said...

That's great Melissa!! You are an inspiration!!

Melissa P said...

That is awesome! You are an inspiration to us younger slackers. I read about you on Tiburon's blog.

Kritta22 said...

COngrats!! You are a superstar!! Love the bag!

You are seriously awesome!

Coming over from Tiburon's blog

Suzie said...

Came over from Tib's to say "way to go"
Congrats on begin first, congrats on doing it & looking good while you were!
Truly awesome.

Mindi said...

my dearest melissa--YOU KICK ASS!!!

like i knew you would.

i am even prouder of you than tib. which says a LOT.

WAY TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

queenbee4 said...

wow! This is amazing!

So said...

You rock!!!

Anonymous said...

OK, so apparently, you beat out my very good friend in this race by mere seconds!!! She said she was trying her hardest to beat "this girl" at the end, but couldn't catch her. She took first place in your age division, but not the masters! You are indeed my hero!!!! Great Job!!!

~ Kim Peterson

PS - No blog, so I guess my comment is anonymous!! :p

Becca said...

I met you at lunch today and was so excited to come and read about your race! You rocked it and even though I hardly know you, I am so proud of you--I'll keep my fingers crossed for you and St. George!