Thursday, October 1, 2009

TransRockies Race Stage I: Buena Vista to Vicksburg

Let the games begin!
20.1 miles: 5hrs finish time

We woke up after a great night's sleep, took one look at our facebook pages, furrowed our brows, and exclaimed, "what the hell?" then burst out in a fit of giggles. The previous night we had been discussing our "little piggies" and how we do positive vs negative self talk and motivational "power" speeches to get us through difficult sections of our races. It is amazing the amount of physical pain you can endure when you override your mind and just let your body flow through the motions. It is very zen-like once you get to that point...the endorphins kick in to protect from the attack on the pain receptors in your body and push your mind into a euphoric state. Everything is greener, brighter, happier, richer, vibrant. Not many get to experience that feeling because they are afraid of the pain, they give in and give up to the pain too quickly. Our favorite saying during the Coastal Challenge was, "No little piggie, that isn't fear/pain you are feeling, that is excitement!" Needless to say, our facebook comments were very random and silly reflecting this idea. It went something like this:

and so we meet again my little exciteable piggie. no you cannot massage out my knotty spots...

thanks to my very special peeps giving me kick ass shout outs and revvin' my engine. these bitches be craaazy! see y'all on the flip side...


We ate a good breakfast at the hotel lobby, loaded up our luggage, then headed over to race start and grabbed a few more bites there. Black coffee for me, thank you very much. We were both dealing with nervous bladders so made frequent trips back and forth to the ladies room. Eventually it became such a congestion of runners that we joined forces and just shared bathrooms with the sexes. There were men in the women's stalls and vice versa. Yeah, cuz that's how we trail runners roll.

It was great to see all the families at the start line: Little blonde pig-tailed girls in summer dresses doing twirls at their runner mommy's feet, parents pushing strollers alongside their running spouses in support, boyfriends and girlfriends cheering each other on and giving last minute smooches. It was a calming environment; not the hard-core competitive feeling you get starting a road race. Intense focus and negative splits of road races are replaced with eagerness and excitement to get on the trails for some amazing panoramic views, great billy-goat hill climbs, and deliciously fast downhills. You narrow down your target finish time to full and half hours instead of minutes and seconds. Negative splits I say? Toss those out the door! It is nearly impossible to gauge exact time and "negative splits" for trail races due to the dramatic changes in elevation, technicality, and trail quality.

We lined up, scanned our ankle chips, and shot out of the shute a soon as the gun went off. We started off slow (probably too slow but we figured we had six days to run right?) in an attempts to calm our excitement/nerves down. The run was beautiful! It wrapped around a mountain and ended up alongside a river at camp. Mostly dry dirt roads with a bit of plush sandy stuff (not a fave but I'll take it over concrete). Very sunny and a little desert feel to it.

Salomon was offering cameras to runners to shoot their theme of the day "Are We Having Fun Yet" in hopes of some great prizes that night. Steph and I grabbed one and had a great time running and shooting to our hearts desire. Some great photos we had were:

1. Steph literally wrapping her body around a lamppost in protest to starting the race. I had one leg braced against the post and my arms attempting to tear her off the post. It was probably the best pic hands down of the day. As it looked very un-posed and theatrical.

2. Me hiding my body in a Recycle bin with just my eyes peeking out.

3. Someone had dumped some water out of their bottle which produced a little trickle of water on the cement. I crouched over it as if I was taking a leak and pasted on an "oh my" expression. We had runners behind us laughing at this one.

4. Mid run in a very desert-like area of the trail we came across a well picked animal skull with a spine attached. I laid down next to it and pet/kissed the little guy. We cuddled for a bit then ran on. (oh and I got a pic of Steph peeing off the side of the trail too...unbeknownst to her).

5. There was a dead end sign branching off the trail. Steph laid under it pretending to be dead.

6. At the last aid station/check point we met "John" who was to become one of our bestest buddies at the race....oh and he was good looking to boot! He was shirtless and we got our pic taken with Steph and I on either side of him. At the last minute I asked if I could pinch his nipple...and he said yes. So we snapped a pic of that:)

(ok you caught me if you noticed that we are wearing a totally different outfit. We lost the original pic to the Salomon camera "crew" so had to have a re-do the next day. John saw it in his heart to allow us to pinch his nipple yet again....)

7. During the last 7 miles of the course we were on a back cement road. We had befriended a guy we named "L.A." who was a military dude. He was having altitude sickness issues so we decided to walk with him for a mile or two. During this time we had him take a pic of us attempting to hitchhike to the finish line. A car actually stopped for us so we got that pic too.

L.A.'s partner showed up and started drilling him on trying to run faster (ignoring the fact that the dude has altitude sickness and this is the first day of SIX). It got a bit uncomfortable and I whispered to Steph, "let's run!" and so we did.

Crossing the finish line was the best feeling. We were a bit sore but spirits were soaring. We had seen some amazing views, some good conversations, and had one hell of a runners high. It was at this point that I discovered tuna fish mixed with crunched up plain potato chips. Yep sounds gross right?! I KNOW!! I normally wouldn't eat this (in fact there is a childhood story about me and tuna fish that involves projectile puking in my father's brand new truck that has followed me ever since so I don't really eat canned tuna much) but for some reason I devoured this after each day of the race. It was delicious, salty and packed with protein.

We found a creek off the side of a big bridge and eased our way into the freezing waters to help mend our legs. Soon other runners joined us and it became a bit of a bonding experience. Again we did this after every single day of running. It was intensely painful to get in but once your lower body became numb (yep even the girly bits) the pain evaporated and you stayed in another five-ten minutes. Only then did you pull your body out of the frozen depths to a brand new set of legs. It was great.

Not only did we have a great day running, but we had so much fun and silliness too. Unfortunately, and totally against our beliefs, we didn't win a singe picture!

Leslie from Banff Trail Trash- this was her third time at TRR and this time brought her husband.

Dancing in the Gore-Tex rain chamber. I actually won a jacket from them! Woot!

That night we both took a hot shower in their AWESOME mobile shower van. Oh yeah, and if I haven't mentioned it already, this race rocked a thousand times better than The Coastal Challenge. I am in awe....
Dinner was fajitas (which we learned we should get to dinner early or you end up with left overs and no sauce for your fajitas). Salomon gave out free enamel mugs for hot cocoa around the campfire along with a pocket flashlite. Steph and I decided that although the campfire was really cozy, we should head back to the tent to get a good nights sleep. Hope Pass had our names written all over the trails:)

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