Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Red Eye Relay Photos

You can read my review and results here.

The course elevation chart
Here are a few photos I took while out on the course.  As you can tell, once darkness fell, the camera was the least of my priority!  I was just happy to get a few shots so you can see how dark it truly was.  I will add the photos from the Red Eye site once they are uploaded.

Our Team Photo

 Starting the relay

                                                      Jaclyn and our "crew chief" Larry

Jason coming into the exchange point from his first leg

Jason & Jaclyn making the exchange

Jaclyn finishing an extremely hot 6 miles!

Jaclyn & Dan handing off at the exchange point

                                          Taking a time out to pose by one of the course signs

Jaclyn & I

Dan & I handing off at the exchange point.  A leg of down hills, gun shots and a "meth house"! ha ha!

Safety first!  Jaclyn suited up for her first leg in the darkness

Jason and Jaclyn at the exchange point, about 12:15am

Jaclyn and Dan exchanging on the track, the start of our 2nd 50 miles!

                                                                        Dan waiting to run

Dan running his final leg at 7:15am

Our team finishing on the IU track

Red Eye Relay Results and Review

4 runners, 1 van driver, 100 miles with 21 legs in the books!

What an awesome event!  It was hot, it was hilly, it was humid, we were tired, we were delirious, at times I was stuttering and could barely form a complete sentence.  Ask me if I would do it all over again and my answer would be "absolutely"!!  Not only did we have a kick ass team, but we had a kick ass crew chief too!  Such an amazing first time relay and first time running through-out the night! 

Bare with me, as this will be very long.  I plan to write about the event in one post and do another post with pictures.

Let's start from the beginning.

Saturday I was up at 6am.  I wanted to be sure I did not forget anything and I needed to be to Jason's house by 8am.  We had a 4.5 hour drive to Dan's and then another 1.5 hours to IU-Bloomington Campus.  With a slight delay, we were on the road for IN by 8:30am.  We arrived to Dan's house and Jaclyn (another teammate) and Larry (her husband/our driver/best crew chief ever) were already there.  We had rented a mini van as our SAG wagon for the event.  We loaded all of our stuff in, stopped for a quick bite to eat and hit the road.  By the time we made it to IU, it was already going on 97 degrees, 104+ with the heat index. and the humidity was ridiculous!!  We made our way down to the track, checked in, got our swag bag and went back to the van to stay cool in the A/C.  We had about an hour and a half before we needed to be back on to the track for our team meeting at 5:15pm. 

I was running our first leg at 5:30pm, the time we chose to start the event.  It was 97 degrees and humid!  I had to run one lap of the track, out on to the side walk and on to the roads.  The leg was short, 2.22 miles total, but it wasn't all that easy considering the weather.  I came in at about an 8 minute pace and made the exchange with Jason.  We piled in the van and drove to the next exchange point.  Bad move.  Jason had to run a hot, hilly, humid 6 miles.  When he came in, he was spent!  This was the only time we made the mistake of not checking on our runner.  Jaclyn had to run 6 miles and she doesn't do well in the heat.  We made sure to stop every 2 miles to either give her ice or change our her water bottle.  If we could get her through this leg, the rest would be much easier on her.  Of course, she made it just fine and even passed a runner!  She made the exchange with Dan and he was off to run 4.5 miles of straight up hill.  We stopped about half way to see if he needed anything and then made our way to the exchange point.  This is where we would hand off for my 2nd leg, 3.85 miles of down hill.  I was feeling really good, but the team made sure to stop off by the "meth house" just to make sure I was ok.  Nothing like running down a dirt road in the woods listening to gun shots.  At the next exchange point, it was time for Jay to suit up.  We were required to wear safety vests, head lamps and a rear blinking light.  Jay's leg consisted of 7 miles on a gravel road with a giant killer hill.  We made sure to stop along the way to see if he needed anything.  (In fact, we made sure to stop for every leg we ran.  It was way too hot to not check on our runner regardless of the distance!)   He made the exchange with Jaclyn and she headed out for her 4 mile leg in the darkness.  If I remember correctly, this was a relatively easy leg for her.  mostly downhill.  She made the exchange with Dan who was running close to 8 miles.  Dan, again, had to run mostly up hill.   We made the exchange for my 3rd leg/first leg in the dark and also my longest leg of the event; 6.50 miles.

Wow. I thought I was going to have an anxiety attack on the side of the road.  There wasn't a soul around, no street lights on any of the roads, my light wasn't bright enough, I second guessed myself on the turn (saw the arrows but then thought "what if it was left, not right"), to say I was scared would be an understatement.  Then head lights come from behind and it's my team.  I got another head lamp from them and all was good.  Until I hit the puke zone.  From the details provided, it said my leg was down hill all the way.  I should have looked at the elevation map because that was far from the truth.  I know exactly what they mean by 'puke zone' because I almost did!  I had to walk up that hill.   My exchange at this point is at the same location where I made the exchange after my first leg.  Jay's 3rd leg will take him back to IU, running 2.22 miles-the opposite direction of my 2.22 miles out from IU.  He will run on to the track where he exchanges with Jaclyn.  She will proceed to do the same 2.22 miles as leg #1. 

We are 50 miles in/half way done!  It's now 1am.

This is where things started to get rough for me.  I was tired, but couldn't sleep.  I could barely form a complete sentence. I was felling "off".  And running in the dark was tough.  My first leg in the dark I thought for sure I was going to have an anxiety attack on the side of the road.  I was second guessing the way I turned, there wasn't a soul in site, no street lights, to say I was scared would be an understatement.  I was so relieved when my team finally pulled up.  I got another head lamp and it help tremendously!!  And then there was the leg with the fire.  Yes, a fire.  I was running down the road and up a head in the distance I saw what appeared to be smoke and fire truck flashers.  As I approached there were a few fire trucks, they had the road partially blocked and were putting a fire out.  Come to find out, that spot was supposed to be an exchange point.  A few days prior to the event, we were notified of a change due to "an incident with a trailer".  This was said trailer and someone decided that night was a good time to torch it.  At least it made for an interesting portion of that leg.   This was also my last leg in the darkness.  My next leg would be 2.22 miles in day light!  I have never been so happy to see day light before.  I felt like a new person.  It got warm but I didn't care.  I could see without using a head lamp.  I had out last leg of the morning; 2.22 miles back to IU track.  My teammates met me at the gate going into the track and we ran that last stretch to the finish line together! 

Our time was 14 hours, 47 minutes and some odd seconds.  Not bad at all considering most teams (49 out of 62 to be exact) had 5-7 people on each team.   In fact, I think we kicked that courses ass!  From what I could tell, I would say majority of the non-ultra teams had 7 people.  To finish in 27th place out of 62 teams with 6 ultra teams finishing before us certainly impresses me!   I can't wait to be red eyed next year!

And let me tell you a little bit about Larry, our "crew chief".  I really didn't expect anything but for him to drive our van.   Boy, did I underestimate what he would do.  Not only did he drive us around for close to 15 hours but he made sure to hand off cold water bottles, refilled the ones he retrieved from us running, handed us cold cups of water to dump over our heads, etc...  He made sure we were well taken care of!  He went above and beyond the call of duty.  I just hope he marked his calendar for 2012.  ha-ha!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bloomington or Bust!

I head out of town tomorrow for the Red Eye Relay in Bloomington, Indiana.  I have never taken part in a relay so I am quite nervous.  I do not want to let my team down.  We have assigned our running order and not only do I run the first leg, but I also run the last.  Very cool, but is also contributing to my nervousness.  You can have anywhere from 2 people to a max of 7 people on a team.  We are in the Ultra Mixed category w/ 4 runners (2 female and 2 male).  The earliest start time is 4pm, but we chose 5:30pm.  We are positive we can win our category.  Another reason to make me nervous!  You can not finish before 6am and if you do, you receive a 30 minute penalty.  If you finish prior to 5:30am, then you get a DQ. 

Below is a list of each leg (mine legs are in bold). Our running order is me, Jason, Jaclyn and Dan.  You must maintain that same order through-out the entire race. Jason and I end up running a total of 24.75 miles, Jaclyn runs a total of 19.22 and Dan runs a total of 31.28 miles. 

I need to go over my packing list as well.  We need to be 100% self sufficient. We need to bring any fuel we may need through out the event as well (i.e. clif bars, bananas, electrolyte drinks, etc...)  I must to bring multiple pairs of socks, shorts and sports bras.  Jaclyn has our race team singlet's (2 per person) which she attempted to tie-die.  Dan & Jason have our rear lights, head lamps and reflective vests.  I also will bring a handheld water bottle, flash light, mace, towels to soak in water (to cool down due to the high temps), Garmin, hats, etc....   Dan has reserved a mini van for our team so we can have room to stretch out in between our legs.

Although I am nervous, I am also very excited!  I think this is going to be sucha  fun and exciting experience.  It's not everyday you run through-out the night and into the wee hours of the morning.

Leg #NameCheckpoints Distance Cumulative
1Easy CheeseA to B 2.22 2.22
2PorkchopB to C 5.95 8.17
3Malaria MillerC to D 5.90 14.07
4Wild Turkey RunD to E 4.40 18.47
5Death Dog HouseE to F 3.85 22.32
6Gravel Gone WildF to G 7.00 29.32
7Smokin' the BearG to H 4.02 33.34
8Lakeside Ass Whoopin'H to J 7.86 41.20
9Bolting Bologna LegsJ to B 6.54 47.74
10Hard CheeseB to A 2.22 49.96
11Easy CheeseA to B 2.22 52.18
12PorkchopB to C 5.95 58.13
13Malaria MillerC to D 5.90 64.03
14Wild Turkey RunD to E 4.40 68.43
15Death Dog HouseE to F 3.85 72.28
16Gravel Gone WildF to G 7.00 79.28
17Smokin' the BearG to H 4.02 83.30
18Porthole PottyH to I 4.63 87.93
19Grape ApeI to J 3.23 91.16
20Bolting Bologna LegsJ to B 6.54 97.70
21Hard CheeseB to A 2.22 99.92

Friday, July 15, 2011

If it isn't broke...

Ordering the neutral Brooks Ghost 3's was a mistake.  First I ordered a size 9 narrow but my right toe was at the end so I ordered a 9.5 narrow, which also happens to be the size I wear in Brooks Adrenaline.  Well, they were too big!  not only was the toe box HUGE but I had to pull the laces much more than with the Adrenaline's.  I gave them a chance though and ran 6 miles in them on Thursday morning.  It just didn't work out so I sent them back. 

Luckily, I had placed an order at my local running store for a pair of Brooks Adrenaline's on Saturday and was able to pick them up Thursday evening.  I headed back out to run 4 more miles.  Such a smoother ride. 

I've tried 4 times now to run in a different shoes but keep coming back to the Adrenaline's.  I've tried Asics, Mizuno, Nike and the Brooks Ghosts.  I really want to find a light weight racer for tempo runs or speed work though.  I am starting to wonder if there will even be a brand out there for me!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rollie Hopgood 5K race results and new running stuff

I made a last minute decision to race a 5K on Saturday.  I've been running daily, but not putting in the time or energy to do any speed work.  I figured a 5K would be a great way to force myself to run fast.  I got to the race site about 45 minutes before the 9am start.  I hit the rest room and then ran a 1 mile warm up.  I made my way to the start line and tried to push towards the front.  at 9am sharp, we were off.  When we reached the one mile marker the volunteer reading the times yelled out 6:40.  Crap.  No way can I keep that pace.  I am not sure what I was at when we reached the 2 miles marker.  I was extremely hot and did not want to look down at my Garmin.  Around 2.25 miles, we ducked into the woods.  What a relief.  Out of the sun and into the shade.  I was trying to keep up with this guy who had been just in front of me the entire race.  I passed him, but a few strides later he passed me.  I ended up crossing the finish line in 21:55, 7:04 pace.  I had wanted to break my previous 5K PR of 21:38, but today wasn't the day.  My time was good enough for 1st place in my age group and there was only 1:09 between me and first female overall.

After the race I did a 1 mile cool down and spotted my Uncle, Harrison Hensley.  He looked great!!  I hope that I can still run a race at his age.  He's 79!  He took 2nd in his age group. 

Here's my gold medal.  :-) 

Official Results:
Time: 21:55
Pace: 7:04
Place: 1st / 17 in Age Group
Overall: 39/284

In other running news, I purchased some new gear.  I ordered a pair of Brooks Ghost 3's on a whim.  I have always ran in Brooks Adrenaline which are a stability shoe.  I found the Ghosts, a neutral shoe, on Running Warehouse for $59 plus an additional 20% off!  Not only that, but they come in a narrow!  So for that price, I figured I would order them.  Of course, I ordered the wrong size.  I like a little more room in the toe box.  I ordered another pair in a half size bigger and shipped back the ones that were too small.  I hope they work out.  If not, I will return them since I also ordered a pair of Brooks Adrenalines from my local running store.  They never seem to carry narrows in stock. 

The Brooks Ghost shoes I ordered

I am sure you can see Kara's book in the background of the photo.  I had a 40% off coupon for one full price book for Border's.  I was having such a hard time trying to decide which book to buy.  I had the Runner's Palate, Runner's Diet, Complete Book of Running for Women and Kara's book in my hand.  I decided to go with Kara's book.  I am saving it to read while camping at the end of the month. 

I also ordered 2 singlets and 1 short sleeve running top from Running Warehouse.  Again, it was a steal!  $39 for all 3.  They should arrive tomorrow so I hope they fit.  If not, RW has free shipping on all returns so no sweat if I need to ship them back.