We had the usual evening before a race, we picked up our (cloth!) bibs, went to a restaurant (Suds Brothers Brewery) for some pasta (where we saw Craig, Amanda and Chloe), and then headed to the hotel for some (broken, nervous) sleep.
All three of our alarms went off at 4am, which was a little shocking, and we started getting ready. I actually brought along my waffle maker and kitchen supplies so we could have waffles! haha! They had worked so well, so consistently during training that I really wanted to start the day off the same way. The whole wheat pancake mix we used is a just add water mix, so it was super easy.
The three of us found the start of the race easily, and got prime parking since we got there early as advised. Pretty soon it was time to start!
I really enjoyed those first miles. I met a woman from Longmont who had run the marathon the year before and was back for more. That seems to happen a lot with this race, which I took as a good sign.
We just talked and talked and those first 3 miles went by like nothing. As we approached the first aid station at mile 5.9, I started talking to another woman, DeeDee who was from Boulder and doing her first marathon, just like Tori. These girls are hard core to choose this as their first big race! Mad props.
The course just got more and more beautiful- don't let the bad photos fool you! When we were able to see the Colorado River, I just had to stop and take pictures, despite telling myself not to do that this time lol. The course has a lot of smooth dirt single track, but also a fair amount of rocky, technical terrain and about 6800 feet of climbing.
I came into the halfway point just under 5:14. Craig and Eric were there, having already finished their marathons, to help me grab anything I needed, my own little pit crew! The volunteers were awesome too, they filled my pack with water and got me some Hammer endurolytes (holy lifesavers) while I slammed a bottle of Skratch Labs (thank you, Tori). In my drop bag I had stashed my rolling pin, which I use to roll out my muscles instead of one of these (expensive) bad boys:
Finally, at the crossroads aid station, volunteers informed me that 2 guys were only about a minute ahead of me and to go catch them. I really didn't care about "catching" them, but I did want to see other runners on the trail. There were a TON of mountain bikers on the course, and many of them were really sweet and cheered me on, but a lot of them kind of forced me off the course, which was hard on my sore legs and also cost me some time after awhile.
I did end up passing one guy soon after the aid station, but it wasn't until Pizza Overlook that I would start going back and forth with two more guys. I think we were too tired to really *talk* but there was definitely a supportive, non-competitive vibe between us, at least to me. I saw a girl ahead of those guys too, but again, I was just not really caring about placement, and she seemed too far ahead to catch anyway.
Meanwhile, Tori was finishing up her FIRST MARATHON ever! I love that she picked a trail marathon to be her first! She rocked it:
I don't know what happened then, but when we hit mile 48, it was on. The only hills left were rollers and I just took off, feeling amazing. I caught up to and passed the girl (I told her she was kicking butt and that we were almost there, but she had music in so I don't think she heard me) and just flew down the mountain. I was so ready to be done and in those moments it was like all the pain just.... went away. I ran my fastest miles at the end and actually passed another woman in the home stretch, finishing in 11:17:09.
I know I shouldn't be able to finish that way, but my goals for this race were just to finish. I was really worried about my shin splints flaring up and had I ran harder on the first lap, maybe I wouldn't have made it through the second loop. I have no regrets. Desert RATS was a fantastically run event and we had such a great sufferfest!
Mixed Berry Powerbar
Caramel Chocolate Powerbar
1/2 chocolate peanut butter power bar
Bottle of Skratchlab Raspberry
2 electrolyte pills
1 Mixed Berry Powerbar
1/2 Caramel Chocolate Powerbar
Refilled my backpack TWICE, but volunteers did it, so not sure if I drank a whole liter and a half each time, or if they just didn't fill it all the way. Probably the latter.
2 orange slices
1 watermelon slice
~3 more electrolyte pills
Handful of cheese-its
Handful of potato chips
Cup of soda