Sunday, September 11, 2011

Red Rock 2011 - Phazed and Confused

My husband asked me the point of paying $100 to ride in a van and spend 2 days running 186 miles with 11 other people on my relay team. I just finished one of those silly races yesterday. My team consisted of 12 people: me, my brother Steve and his daughter Madison (age 14) and my brother Robert and his 14 year old son Adam and my client and now friend Corey. In the other van was my friend Marquessa and a bunch of her friends I had never met before but I can now call friends. we weren't in it to win any awards - This was a first relay like this for most of the people in my van. There are 2 vans with 6 people in each - snow van and Sun van. The snow van starts the race in the mountains at Brian Head Ski resort and they trade of runners for about 30 miles then the Sun van takes over for about 30 miles and so forth until 186 miles and over 24 hours later we cross the finish line together in Zion canyon. This is my story: Our team name was decided "Phazed and Confused". Our team was selected - a bunch of ladies in one van that I hardly knew that were all great friends for the SNOW van and my van of mostly family and one client in the SUN van. The money was paid about $100/person. The day before the race started I was putting together final preparations - getting decorations for the van, printing maps, shopping for food... I was at Walmart when I got a call from a Police officer that they had my 3 year old child.... "what?!?!" I dropped everything and came home as fast as I could... the kid was fine - he is a crazy kid - I will write more about that in my personal blog with that story and carry on here with the red rock relay story... So... my stress level was high - off the charts... had a lot less time to do all the things I wanted to before going to the race the next day. The Snow van part of my team was coming in late and I would not be able to meet up with them before the race - SO I left their gear they needed with one of the team member's grandmother in Cedar City and HOPED they had it all together. Luckily they had run races like this together before and were well prepared. I still worried of course since I had not met most of them. The next day - I had to work in my Studio til I had things settled with a new staff member and Sub for my Zumba instructor. The Snow van had already started their legs of the race up in Brian head while my brother Steve and his daughter and Corey met up and we got ready to take off. By noon 4 of my 6 people for the Sun van were ready to get up the mountain and meet up with the other van and other team members we were missing (Robert and Adam). Robert had a teaching workshop he was in charge of and just could not leave as early as he hoped. Adam had a cross country track meet he was in and we would not see him until about 8pm in Cedar City. I let Robert and Adam figure out the solution to their problem with scheduling on their own. So they sent a friend "Burke" to cover Adam's first leg - technically you are not supposed to do this... but... I was OK with it since in reality Adam was running hard in a race over 3 miles under 7 minute miles and would be the equivalent of taking a good leg in the redrock. Problem one: no cell service in most of the mountains and we can't find Burke. On a fluke we run into him at van exchange on 3 hours after we had agreed to meet up and several miles away from the place we decided. I took a deep breathe and focused on looking for the people I had never met in the other van on our team. Snow van showed up in a flower theme. our van had chosen a Camouflage theme. Team Phazed and confused was living up to it's name. it was good to meet these ladies finally and cheer on their 6th runner coming in to finish the end of the first legs of their race. They said they had run through lightning storms and hail storms in the mountains and they were freezing! Legs 1-6 done! Our van's turn! Steve took leg #7 our first leg for our van. 5.8 miles of an tough uphill! considered very hard. Steve is one of the strongest runner when it comes to someone who can push hard - run long and take on any challenge. I purposely gave him the hardest legs of the race. Sorry - Steve - but congratulations - it means I have great faith in you and your ability to kick some serious butt! Steve finished leg #7 in 48 minutes. Leg #8 4.6 miles hard uphill battle again was assigned to Burke filling in for Adam. Burke is a funny guy and know my brother Robert from working in the School district as a principal. we still hadn't met up with my brother Robert yet... Leg #9 2.9 medium difficulty - uphill.I did it in 20 minutes. The hardest part was the lack of oxygen at over 10,000 feet. my lungs were bursting! 2 kills for me and no one passed me. (a kill refers to how many people you pass up) Leg #10 - 6.4 miles of a downhill now called "the quads must be crazy" I assigned that one to my client Corey - a new runner that had just started racing last year - mostly 5k's and a 10K. we had been working on training together and we were about equal in ability. when Corey finished he said the toughest part was his lungs struggling for air at that altitude. Corey did great and finished in 47 minutes. Leg #11 - 6.6 miles Medium - downhill. we Met up with Robert at the start of this leg. he was able to break away from his School district responsibilities and meet up with us finally. he started this leg at 10minutes to 8pm and finished in 40 minutes. a FAST timer for this distance. especially for our team. It was fun watching him meet up with another runner along the route and push together toward the end. #12 - The last of the first legs was for Madee - age 14. 5.4 miles of a fairly easy run into Cedar City. Madee did it in 50 minutes. Madison has never done a race like this and was in for a great learning experience. this was her warm up for some tough running coming up. In Cedar city we met up with our final runner Adam -my nephew also age 14. he had just finished his cross country meet and had run his 3.5 miles in 20 minutes! GREAT time. He has a LOT of untapped potential as a runner. we counted that as his first leg of the race since Burke had subbed for him on Leg 8 in the redrock. Met up with the Snow van again and it was their turn to take over legs 13-18. It was now dark outside and they would be running in the night from about 9pm til 2am - sometimes in the dirt. we wished them luck and parted ways. after hanging out with family in Cedar city, getting some food at Subway - running into friends, and visiting for a while, we headed out to the next van exchange site to get some rest and prepare for our running in the wee hours of the morning. The ladies in the Snow Van had given me a 2 way radio they would communicate on with us since there would be no cell service in Newcastle. we settled down to sleep in the van or on the church lawn and tried to block out the noise of other teams laughing and talking. I wrapped my sleeping bag around me and leaned the drivers seat in the van back and drifted off to sleep. I was in and out of sleep for less than an hour when our 2 way radio crackled with a message "HEY GUYS we are pulling into the church now! our runner is about a mile out!" CRAP! REALLY? that was A LOT faster than planned. So I woke Steve up and we paced up and down by the runner exchange looking for our other van. apparently, other people had 2 way radios on the same frequency.. Lots of teams were talking to each other and announcing their arrival to the exchange. nearly 2 hours later at 1:55am our runner came in. I had nearly NO sleep and it was time to get going again. Steve started out Leg #19 - 8.4 miles of a 2am run. he did it in 62 minutes = 7.3 minute miles. Leg #20 was a nice and easy 2.4 mile jog. I gave that to Corey to let his lungs recovery and prepare for his toughest run yet tomorrow... He finished in 25 minutes. Leg #21 - 3.6 mile hard uphill - MINE! As I started I wondered why I was silly enough to assign me all the uphill runs. BUT... I really enjoyed it! It was a steady climb, but it was only 3.6 miles. I knew I could do 30 minutes of a tough workout. it took me 39 minutes. I had 3 kills. and no one passed me. It was dark outside and I was running through Dixie National Forest - thoughts of bears and mountain lions were in my head. So I decided to make some noise and catch up to the runner in front of me. once I caught them I decided to push to the next runner. I knew if I was near someone I was less likely to get any wild beasts interested in me. I loved that run actually - it felt great. and my knees gave me no trouble. I passed several people and was feeling like I had given it everything I had til the very end. I wasn't sure If I could keep running uphill to the end, so I started goofing around and singing the "rocky theme" as I neared the end. I heard people cheering and realized it was for a woman behind me that I had passed once already and she kicked it in to try and pass me up. I turned and saw her and yelled "oh Hell No!" and kicked it in too! so we had a real race to the finish. (I won) we gave each other high fives and thank you's for the push. that was fun! Leg #22 - 5.2 miles past Mountain Meadows - Robert took this leg. Sometime before this leg he had shared with us about a time he was running and found out he was being watched by a mountain lion. - great.... thanks for sharing... Off He goes into the dark. He finished in 38 minutes. Leg #23 - Madee age 14 started her 4.5 mile run at 4:30 in the morning. It was pitch black outside. Madee's head was full of the stories of mountain lions. she was so scared... poor girl. Robert (her uncle) told our brother Steve (Madee's dad) that he could run with her if he wanted. Steve said Madee would be fine. we would keep her in our sight and let her push through. SO, that is what we did. She did awesome! what a trooper - she pushed through her fear. we could hear her whooping and yelling and clapping her hands. I told her at one of her water breaks that if she caught up to the people in front of her, she "would feel safer and be less likely to have any wild animals interested - at least that's what I did..." She listened - that girl picked up some serious speed! her normal pace is about 10 minute miles... but she finished off with 8 minute miles and had several "kills". WAY TO GO! Leg #24 - 7 miles - Adam also age 14. He asked us how serious we were about this run and if we needed him to run fast. He started off on a nice easy stride just taking it easy. Robert said Adam loved to run but only would run as fast as he felt. If we told him there were people in front of him - he would pass them. So we let him know there were 5 people ahead of him he could pass up. "OK... " and off he went. it was fun watching his stride pick up. He just kept going! He started by doing about 9 minutes miles and finished with 7 minutes miles. Adam brought us into Veyo where the Snow van was waiting to start their final legs of the race. They had not gotten as much sleep as they had hoped either and had to run their last legs of the race with very little sleep. they took legs 25-30 through Snow canyon park during sunrise - my favorite part of the race. we drove on ahead and went through Snow canyon park into Ivins to get some rest at Robert's house. we arrived around 7:30am and slept til about 8:30am. I crashed on my brother's couch. Steve and Madee got the guest house. Robert and Adam got their own beds. and Corey and I each had a different couch. waking up hurt... So, we were off again to meet our other team members at the Washington Community center and finish off the last part of the race. This was the final and most difficult stretch of the entire race. the sun was now up in the southern Utah desert in early September. None of us had run in heat like we were about to do. The Snow van arrived at the community center - gave us the water sprayer and some hugs and their runner came in about 10:17am. Corey was off for his final run leg 31 - 5 miles of HILLS!!! Ouchy... Corey was tired. his lungs burning... and he pushed hard. I was really proud of him pushing through the toughest part of his entire race. He finished in 55 minutes. I saw him looking ahead and trying to kill the next person in front. He worked hard and sweat hard. Great job buddy. Corey said this was just barely past his ability enough to just push him the right amount. I asked him if he would do the red rock again int he future and he said "ask me tomorrow or next week. that was painful. But my knees don't hurt. we'll have to see." My husband Bill was volunteering at the end of this exchange. it was good to see him longboarding around the parking lot. what a cutie. Corey's wife, Karyn was also there cheering her man along on his race. he gave a nasty sweaty hug. She LOVED it! Leg 32 - 6.8 miles mostly uphill was assigned to Robert. He was beat and this was tough. I think I am just repeating myself on the last legs of the race... it was hot, uphill and tough! Robert did awesome and finished in 56 minutes. It was awesome seeing my big brother who wasn't sure about doing this race originally - really do this well. He is a great guy, a strong runner and was a lot fo fun to have around on this race. I was so glad to have him on my team. Leg #33 - MINE 5 miles - LOTS of hills! I said I loved hills... well I did until about the 3rd one on this route. I handled the first 2 ok. then I was tired. really really tired and I still had 2 miles to go to the end. I had 3 kills and no one Killed me - so I felt good about what I had accomplished. a lot of people were walking by this point. I slowed down in a neighborhood near my fitness center when along came a breathe of fresh air... Thanks Cherie for showing up when I was exhausted and cheering me on. It's funny how much that means and what that bit of moral support can do to boost a person. I did take a couple of walking breaks to catch my breathe and pushed on to the end. I ended up with about 5 kills and almost caught the woman who finished right before me. she collapsed as she crossed. I didn't know if she was okay so I sped up my pace just to see if I could check on her. what a way to make a girl run harder - pretend you passed out... she was fine. But I sprinted in and felt good that I could pull that out of me. It was tough... and I was done! Leg #34 Madee - another tough up hill in the heat run for 6.2 miles. I had reminded Madee that her safety was first and if she ever felt like it was too much to let us know. She got her head band soaked with ice water and pushed on. She took several wat4r breaks, we sprayed her down often and she pushed on. Her mom, Ronnie and her siblings were there now cheering her on as well. we were all proud of her. She had NEVER done anything this hard before. she was tired, hot and pushing in 90 degree heat to do a final leg of this tough race. Robert hopped out when Madee had about a mile left and ran in the rest of the way with her. how awesome to see an uncle running in with his tired niece and help her finish off strong. I love seeing people do things they aren't sure they can do and do it anyway. after Madee finshed she kept saying over and over "I've never done anything like this before in my life!" i felt really connected to her accomplishments emotionally. Leg #35 - 7.5 miles - HARD uphill.( and repeat) Madee handed off the run to her dad Steve - a drill sergeant or he said his title changed to something else. He gave his daughter Madee a big hug said "I love you" and started his uphill run in the heat. Steve started feeling some pain halfway into his run and had to walk out a bit. He finished in 71 minutes and apologized to us for it. no apology needed. way to go my brother! So glad you were there with me. Leg #36 - the final leg 6.7miles - HARD another steady uphill. Adam took us into the finish line. the kid can run like a gazelle! I am sure his track coach loves this freshman runner that never tires. Adam finished this 6.7 mile uphill run in 41 minutes! not too shabby at all for a 3rd leg of this tough race! I have an awesome nephew! way to go buddy! he really is fun to watch run as he just effortlessly breezed passed everyone else. we met up with everyone just before the finish line and ran in as a team. we had to keep yelling at Adam to slow down so we really could run in together. That was really really hard for him. he kept slowing and it just was never slow enough for the rest of us behind him. we finished the race at 4:15pm.... about 30 hours after we started. I love this race! I love my team! I got to know my family better and met new friends in the other van. I can hardly wait for the next one. as I told Madee and the others in my van Saturday morning before the final stretch - "what I love about these kinds of races is that it pushes you to do more than you thought you could do and that translates to the rest of your life. being able to push past these hard challenges reminds you that you can do anything in life and no challenge God gives you is really too much. You can always do more than you thought your could." I can't wait for next year! I want to do more of these! Pictures to follow later...

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