Monday, June 4, 2012

My Wyoming Marathon

They had a GREAT looking finisher medal
     Woke up early on the morning of June 3rd, to meet the race bus to take me to the start.  Even just walking to the bus at 5am I could tell it was going to be a warm day.
Runners hung out at the Casper Events Center before the race started, the officials had drinks and bagel breakfast and other items for runners to snack on.  This was up on a hill above the town, so from there you had a great view of the sun coming up over the valley as you waited for the Casper Marathon to begin.

     Race started at 6:30am with the gunshots of some local ROTC members, they had the full marathon & relay start first and the half marathon started 30 minutes later.  There was hardly a cloud in the sky and the officials said at the start that we were only going to have light 7mph winds along the course.

The first few miles were nice, just gradual rolling hills.  The sun was up and even though it felt like it was already 70 degree's out, it still had the morning air feel to it.  The first 6 miles was an area fit for lots of deer and antelope, just grassy rolling hills and quite a bit of nothing else.

     I had something happen to me that has never happened before, sometime between miles 4 and 5 I was having issues with my right shoe.  At first I thought I just stepped on a rock, but after a few checks I realized that wasn't the case.  I was getting annoyed with the sound that my shoe would make every time I would take a step, but I just told myself to get used to it and get over it.  It wasn't until several miles later as the sound got a bit more annoying, and I got into the double digits in mileage that I realized what had really happened.  One of the gel or air pockets that are built into the shoe for comfort and additional cushion had popped.
The particular Saucony shoes I was wearing were different than most, they not only had the extra cushion support in the heal but also up in the forefoot area.  I had popped one in the forefoot area, lucky me:)

     Well eventually after a circle around up on top, we were able to take the downhill drop into the valley below and then the turn onto the paved trails that run along side the North Platte River.  Miles 7 & 8 are early on in the race but myself and other runners were already realizing by then that the heat of the day was coming on in full force.  So far up until this point I had zero shade, and even on the trails the few tree's along the river weren't throwing shade anywhere near the trails direction.
My favorite part along this part of the course was natures sounds.  Being a small race all runners were pretty spaced out, and for the most part you could run alone.  Near the river the crickets and bugs were loud as ever, and it sounded like hundreds of croaking frogs, and several different kinds of them.  So here nature provided my music.  (I don't run with headphones in races anymore.)  For a girl who loves the outdoors, I loved this part!
View from the race start looking out to Casper

     Mile 9 we passed right next to the finish line, and also the area with practically the only shade on the course.  This race I had my sister and her cute adorable kids come with me.  Since our hotel was right next to the finish line and her kids had woken early she brought them out to cheer for me before they went to breakfast.  It was fun having them there cheering and waving at me.  I haven't had family out cheering me on a race course in many years, this was really fun (excluding finish line cheering:)!  I waved again to them from high up on the bridge as I crossed the North Platte River and looked down to see them below, it was fun to see them, made my day!

     The rest of the course is when the sun was a seriously unforgiving killer, man it was HOT!!!  We were still on a river trail, and the hills were slight and rolling aside from a few steeper spots.  But there was literally NO shade.  The sun just beat down on us, I felt like I was seriously baking.

     The volunteers along this course were GREAT!  I do have to mention them, not only were they happy and cheerful to every runner, but they were more than accommodating.  They were out in that hot sun too, but at times some would walk up a ways from the water stand to give you one glass to cool yourself off with so you'd be ready for another by the time you got to the actual stand.
They had ICE too, I was SOOOOO grateful for that!  I'd take a cup of ice every time and dump half of it on my head under my hat, to slowly melt over me while I ran.  You may laugh at this, but I'd take the other half and discovered the sports bra is a great place to dump a bunch of ice into, to also slowly melt down you over the next mile or so.

     Many runners were complaining of the heat, I think just about everyone who spoke to me between miles 10-25 their only conversation was the heat.  Although I agreed it was hot, if I dwell on it or let it occupy my mind too much while still running it wouldn't be a good idea mentally for me, so I would just politely nod or say something else to them non heat related!
Maybe because I am from Utah and I am used to dry heat I knew what to expect and how to make sure I stayed hydrated enough.  If I am going to be honest, I think I prefer dry hot heat to humid hot heat if I have to run in it...
One runner said to me at mile 11, "if I didn't need this state on my list I would pull out of this race and call it quits, this heat is horrible".  (There were quite a few of us there running this race to knock Wyoming off out state goal lists:)
For me I wouldn't quit a race because of the heat, as long as I was hydrated and doing well.  I just kept thinking, if she is thinking thoughts like that now before even the half way, she's set for a miserable race!
Independence Rock

     I was doing pretty good with throwing the heat factor out of my mind until around mile 16, that is when I really started to notice that it was taking a good draining on my energy.  By now I had realized what my shoe problem was as well, and l I was glad there weren't many runners, because if someone had to run by my side the whole way, they'd be so annoyed with my shoe's popping and sucking sound every time I took a step.  The problem was, by the issues were becoming noticeable to me.  It wasn't only the sound, I was realizing that having an uneven shoe bottom was causing me pain.  Even just that slight dip in the foot area, messes everything up.  My hip all the way down my leg was hurting from having been running with the uneven shoe surface.

     Sometimes things happen that are out of your control, and a shoe problem is a big one!  I'd like to say none of it bothered me, but it did.  It was mentally wearing away at me little by little, because of that I was also letting the heat factor get into my thoughts way much too.
Once one or two things start bothering you, its apparently very easy to let several more into your mind to bother you more.
Miles 21-26 were horrible for me, I was barely hanging on mentally.  I was hot, (wasn't sure exactly but I knew it was upper 80's if not 90 degree's for pretty much the entire race.)  I was not only hot, but exhausted, my leg hurting, my foot felt like it had one major blister on it and truthfully all I wanted to  do was get to the finish line to get this race over and find some shade!

     Finally I crossed back over the North Platte River, and up the hill to the top of the bridge where the finish line was in sight.  Ended up having one of my WORST races ever, finish time wise it took me considerably longer to run this 26.2 miles than EVER before.  I was disappointed, but truthfully around mile 23 when I knew it was going to be a bad time, I kind of gave up caring too much and just put all focus on finishing.

     Thrilled to have it over, I just collapsed on a curb that had a little shade from a tree and sat there with not even enough energy to walk over and grab a cold Pepsi out of the ice cooler at the finish to drink while I rested.  (However, eventually I got up, and grabbed a Pepsi on my walk back to meet up with my sister - I love me a ice cold Pepsi after a hard run:)

     The Casper Marathon, even though it is a small town race.  The officials are energetic and fun, the volunteers were the same as well as amazing.  They cheered and were more than willing to help and make sure you had all the water, Gatorade or ice that you needed.  They had fruit and other food supplements too, but I didn't take any this race.
The course was actually quite beautiful, rolling hills, North Platte River, lots and lots of croaking frogs.  The only downside of the race is the fact that it is HOT, there are very little to no tree's for shade most of the course is full out in the hot open sun.  Welcomed is any breeze you could feel, which for us that day was practically none.
I give the race an overall thumbs up!  The officials can't control the heat, and knowing you were going to be running in that area of Wyoming you should have already known the terrain and lack of shade for the race.  So based on what they could control and their volunteers those aspects were AMAZING.  They deserve a thanks and job well done!!!

     The entire trip was one of my quickest marathon trips ever.  I drove into Casper the day before the race, and right after the race I drove back to Utah.  Didn't do much sightseeing unless you count all the antelope along the way:)  We did stop at Independence Rock on the way back.  The kids were asleep so we decided to pass on Martin's Cove.
I woke up this morning stiff and sore (I should be used to it by now...hahaha)  My right foot and leg is much more sore than the other.  My 2 blisters aren't too bad, nothing a week shouldn't heal (I hope).
At least my next race in a few weeks is in what SHOULD be a much cooler area!  Guess I'll see:)
Part of Independence Rock

 

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