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Sunday, February 5, 2017

January 2017 Arizona Oracle Rumble Half Marathon.

Arizona is very prickly.

Unlike the Redwoods which are soft to the touch and damp, the Arizona environment is the complete opposite. I don't think I have been pricked so much- in a short amount of time- in my life. 

It was so prickly they gave us a comb in our entry bag and I though, oh how nice they want to make sure our hair looks good for the pictures. NO, you use the comb they provided to take out the cactus or whatever the heck pricks you during the race. It's better to use the comb to remove the prickly things than your hands.  It is now in my Arizona Racing survival kit.

Yes during race cations I live off GU and Vega

here is my drug line of choice

taking vitamins during travel is a game changer
packed a foam roller in my suitcase, yes it takes up room but the relief from breaking up lactic acid is so worth it.
wont race without one.

Ok so the trip. We headed down to SF to see my mom for her birthday.
Brought her flowers and wine and took her out to dinner.
 Yay including family birthdays into my Race Cation.... got to get it all.

Then the flight was pretty seamless. SFO has a yoga room and I got to get into the yoga zone before the trip which was really awesome. There was 3 other people in the room; one guy doing what looked like Tai Chi or QiGong, a woman doing yoga and a guy who was breathing heavily and doing a yoga/ab workout.

The rules of the Yoga room are no cellphones and keep quiet. It was just a room with full length mirrors on one side and hardwood floors. They had a few mats and blocks and a foam roller that has been slightly flattened lol. I brought my own roller and was happy to whip it out and roll before the flight.

We got to PHX and rented a Ford Escape in Red.... we were thinking about the Corvette but come on- were racers not race car drivers.

We stopped in some town on the way to the middle of nowhere and got the FIESTA PLATTER! We were so hungry and wanted one of everything on the menu and the fiesta platter delivered. We will probably talk about this fiesta platter for a long time. So good and the first time I had greasy food in a long while. I love Mexican food!

We got pulled over because our fancy rental car has 4 headlight features; 1. headlights with no tail lights 2. headlights and tail lights 3. headlights and tail lights 4. headlights and tail lights. We got pulled over because we were in stage 1.... WHHHYYY is this an option? I've never been in a car where the headlights were on and the tail lights were off. Thank you officer for bringing this to our attention. Also gas caps are now obsolete.

We got to the Lodge in Oracle, AZ and it just felt like it would make a great place for a murder movie. But it was cheap! So cheap though that we would of been warmer sleeping in the car with the heater on.... price of running the car all night vs. the hotel room.... the metal fence garbage can of bud lite filled almost to the top right out of our room really topped it off. Not what two women traveling alone would call comfortable at all.

yeah Now I have a new rule; if the hotel room is less than $100 I think it would be more efficient to sleep in the car. This is why I can't rent corvettes and need to rent maybe a van/SUV for sleeping in next time.

There was no heater in the hotel room and it was literally freezing out. I had to call the front for an extra blanket and towel. I tried to turn on what I thought was a heater but it was an air-conditioner and even set at 80 degrees was still blowing out cool air. Welcome to the desert in January.

So we slept in ALL of the clothes we packed on the trip. Race gear as the bottom layer.

We got up to head to Oracle State park. Stopping on the way to the gas station for coffee and a snack. Then parked and defrosted in the car until the shuttle arrived.

It was a short shuttle ride to the sign in, but it was below freezing. Like 18 degrees with wind chill. It's hard to safety pin your bib on your shorts when it's that cold. They did have a little fire going and some propane heaters.

Bathroom wait was a little long and stinky. I get that composting toilets in the middle of no-where reduce water waste but these 4 toilets where not equipped to handle 150 people all at once. Some portapotties would of been nice, maybe next year.

Then we couldn't find the starting line.
 Where they gave out T-shirts was a general map and the T-shirt guy said he didn't know where the starting line was... maybe right where the finish line was?


 SO I had to ask the women who was setting up the finish line and she told me it was on the road.
SO we went to the road and there was a sign that said HM with an arrow and we started walking up the path until we figured out that wasn't the starting line.

I wish they had the starting line well marked. This created was too much starting anxiety for me and I could of been using that energy to warm up my legs in the freezing cold temps instead of anxiously waiting to see where the starting line was going to appear.

The only mark of the starting line was a piece of white gorilla tape. So next year if the person who puts the gorilla tape down could also write out HM START with the gorilla tape on the road it would of be really awesome. There was also a white piece of gorilla tape for the shuttles to stop and turn into the parking lot. I figured out that wasn't the starting line but it was questionable.

So we gathered by the tape and the director who looked cold and tired gave us a not so pumped up speech... (maybe have a position open for someone to start off the race who isn't so exhausted and has a good motivational presence would be a tip for next year) and we were off....

Let me start by saying it was so cold my boogers froze in my nose and my legs cramped up. This was in the first quarter mile. I have trained a lot and never experienced this before. This made it really hard to breathe and with frozen muscle cramps made it very hard to start the race. We were at 4100ft.

The first part of the race was up a slow drawn out hill that turned into a rock climbing/ hill running experience. Then would even out and climb and descend. It was intense. Probably the hardest run I have done to date. AND it's a trail run so there is only room for one person at a time and when you step aside to let people pass you get pricked by everything. Yes, even trees are prickly.

Probably at mile 4 I was warm enough to take my fleece jacket off. I was really happy I wore wool socks. It was hard to dress for this occasion. Yes there was 1 guy wearing shorts and a tank... everyone else had some sort of jacket/ hat/ ear muff/ face shield combo going on.

We hit the first water station, which I thought on the website said 3 miles... well if that was 3 miles I am really out of shape... but the station aids let up know we were at the 6 mile mark- ok half way! They had tailwind, water, oranges (that were just about frozen) and bananas. I think they also had some GU and maybe a portapotie.

Then we were running in the shade down a dry river bed- except for one part that was kinda wet. You didn't want to get your feet wet in this race... it would of been too cold.

my rabbit ate my shoe lace on my right shoe, timing chip on left shoe.

So then you make the decision do I put my jacket back on while I'm running in the shade or do I keep it off so I won't have to take it off when I warm up.

I choose to keep mine off- It helped me run faster.

Rolling hills... cactus.... selfies... rocks in shoes.... beautiful views.....

one runner commented on the patch on my backpack and we had a discussion after the race. His hair was longer than mine and more beautiful.... lol and he invited me out to race in Sac March 4th... well see.

and oh yeah it was 13.4 or 13.5 miles while a traditional half-marathon is 13.1 so yeah the extra distance was hard.

They marked the trail with orange tags and we never got lost. But it was a crazy experience running in the desert; I can see how people get lost and die out there. We couldn't see the finish line or in which direction the trail was heading except for right in front of us. It was really hard to tell where we were, where the finish line was and how much farther we had to go.

My time was 3:03:21:22, I was 67th out of 96 and I was the 29th female out of 50.

on the way back to the car we met a yoga teacher who plays rock music during his class. Going to try rockin' yoga this week :) Acoustic guitar is awesome.

We did it! First race of the year and it was def. difficult. We met up with our friend who also helped direct it, where she challenged us to do a half-marathon in every state. And we agreed on doing a destination race together too.

Then we made it to the Oracle stake house. I loved the decor and the history of Oracle. I really loved the red velvet curtains around the booths. Here is my victory meal.

And off to Phoenix we went to meet up with some friends and go on a hike.

The hike was cool... great views of Phoenix. My right foot was sore from training earlier in the week and as long as I could walk on my toes I was fine.

how cute is that shirt? This is what female racers want.

did I mention how much I love Mexican food- will switch out refried beans for black beans next time.

We flew back early Sunday morning and I slept on the flight. Drove home Sunday and was at class on Monday.... It's Saturday now and It was a challenging week and I can't wait for a rest day tomorrow.

Looks like my next race is Feb. 11 in Eureka, Ca (2 miles- Valentines Day race) and then I'll head back to Phoenix to meet up with my buddy to do a Spartan Sprint and Super in Fort something or other Feb 25 & 26, 2017. Foggy Bottoms in Ferndale, Ca March 12 (4 mile), Spartan Vegas March 18 and 19. Spartan Sprint in Diablo Hills, Ca April 2. 

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