Thursday, August 9, 2012

the et half marathon 2012 race report.

this past saturday i was lucky enough to finish my 8th half marathon!! it wasnt something i had originally planned on, but took form sometime in may. i realized after my funk that to wait and run my next half in october was just too long to wait so i found the et 1/2 marathon which happened to be local! now by local i mean based in las vegas but the actual race was located about 2.5 hours away in rachel, nevada. and by rachel, nv i mean on the extra-terrestrial highway, right outside area 51! oh and it started at 1230AM. it was an adventure in the making.

at 645p richard and i headed over to the hard rock hotel to meet the race people so we could hop on the bus that would take us right to the start line. you have the option to drive, but i would have never actually found it and this was just sooo much easier. plus everyone else was there too so it was more fun. we got there much earlier than we needed to, but worked to my benefit as i found out my garmin was dead about 20 minutes before we left the house! luckily i brought my charger and was able to find a plug while we were hanging around before loading the buses. it was kinda nice to be early and not have to rush at all.
right at 830p they rounded us all up to head to the buses. it was like a mad dash to find a good seat because all 10 buses were packed full of runners and spectators! as we settled into the ride richard happened to notice what row we were in...
coincidence anyone??
at about 1015p we all started to wake up because we noticed our bus slowing down. not really knowing what time it was we all went into panic mode as we hadnt really eaten our prerace food or had enough water. soon the director was coming on our bus asking for empty seats, turns out there was a huge something that had hit the 1st buses windshield! it looked like a massive boulder had been thrown straight into it and glass had actually made its way to half way back on the bus. luckily no one was seriously cut, just a little shaken. mind you we were out in the middle of nowhere and it was dark as all get out. so they dipersed the runners amongst other buses and off we went again.

right on time we arrived at the "black mailbox" where the full marathoners and 51kers would take off. it was much chillier than it had been in vegas and the air was so clean! it was also the 1st time we had really seen where we were, literally in the middle of nowhere. ::confession:: i am legit scared of the dark. no, not kidding, like really scared. what was i thinking doing a midnight race in the desert! we loaded back on the buses and headed 7 miles down the road to the 1/2 marathon start.

it was a quick start, no sooner than we were off the buses, were they lining us up to start the race! luckily ours was a straight shot down the highway to the little al'einn inn where breakfast awaited. as we started we all noticed it was quite a bit windier than we expected. then we realized the hill mountain we had to climb. i say that because the first 6.5 miles were straight up with an 800 foot elevation gain. it was the hardest hill mountain i have ever climbed in a race. i took more walk breaks than i wanted to, but there was no way i could make it all the way up without them.

we had been warned about possible animals on the road, of course my biggest fear was snakes. so you needed to keep your music reasonably low and a headlamp/flashlight on at all times. this did not sit well but i played by the rules and actually had a set of headphones with only 1 ear working so it was perfect for this race. i would love to say i settled into the race and just didnt worry about them anymore, that would be lying though haha. as we got to the top of the hill mountain the wind finally subsided just in time for the downhill of course. i stopped for a minute to refill my waterbottle and noticed my music wasnt playing the same way. i tried fiddling with it for a minute only to realize the other earphone had now died! that meant running the 2nd half of this race in the dark on a very lonely highway with no distraction.

after walking for a minute i decided i had to get going and started flying down the hill. i was trying to get around other people partially to not be in the middle alone and it felt sooo good to not be climbing anymore! you could see the little al'einn in the far distance and it was motivating. from then on many of played leapfrog catching up then falling back with one another. i stayed toward the middle of the road with my headlamp bright so i could see anything that popped out. i kept hearing things in the bushes which totally freaked me out! this race was on one very lonely highway.

finally it felt like we were getting close as i hit double digit miles and passed the really cool extra-terrestrial highway sign i really wanted a picture of but there was no way i would start again if i stopped. my legs were definitely starting to yell at me and i was ready to be done. i finally hit the 12 mile marker and started making some deals with my body. my garmin was not showing me a friendly time after that climb so i readjusted my goal a few times and headed in as fast my little tired legs would take me.

i made the only turn toward the finish line at mile 13.05 and couldnt be more excited to see that timeclock, even with a not so nice time flashing. i crossed the line to half marathon #8 with a huge smile plastered on my face!! it was really dark and hard to find richard who had stayed on the bus that took the specators straight to the end. i saw a few friends and grabbed some water then spotted him. i recapped the race in true "just finished" fashion and was really having trouble breathing. luckily he had my inhaler which i actually had to use for only the 2nd time ever after a race.
finally, a ufo!
the only 1 i actually saw!
we walked/hobbled around for a few minutes then headed inside for the runner breakfast supplied by the race company. now richard had started hearing some not so good things about the food, but i needed something. thank goodness there were bananas and apple slices at end of the line. all the food looked terrible and i was extremely glad i had packed my own peanut butter and jelly sandwhich to eat! soon we headed backed to the bus we trudged, we were ready to go home since it was already about 330a.
finsh time:
for as unadventorus as the ride was up on our bus, it was 10-fold more crazy on the way back. 1st it was either all or nothing with the airconditioner. i had brought warmup pants and a pullover, best packing choice ever next to the sandwich! still on that bus after sweating for 2 hours then getting cold i was freezing as was everyone else on the bus. plus this one wasnt nearly as nice. it was missing arm rests, the bus driver kept drifting into the grates on the side of the road that woke everyone up, and then it was blazing hot and stunk after he finally turned the air off for a bit. it took even longer to get back and we were all sooo thankful to finally arrive safely at hard rock 3 hours later.

food later that day was interesting. i was starving all day but not getting to bed until 8a i was more tired than anything else. plus i had to save up some calories for the dinner we were meeting my parents for later that night...

the oo lookie sundae!
the famous frrrrooozen hot chocolate!
all at the world famous serendipity
at caesars palace.
overall it was quite the adventure and something i can cross off the list! i dont need to sign up next year for this one, but glad i went outside my comfort zone a little to do this race:)


Megan said...

It definitely sounds interesting, and you can certainly say you at least stepped outside your comfort zone!

The part about Ragnar I am terrified of... TERRIFIED OF... is the night legs. Eeeeeek.

Nicole @ The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie said...

You are so brave to run that whole thing in the dark! I'm scared of the dark too :) That plus the hills.. yikes! That is such an accomplishment - way to go! Yay for 1/2 #8!

I love the frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity - I plan to have one promptly after finishing my Vegas half in December ;)

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