Sunday, September 30, 2012

Are we all crazy?

After deciding to do this bucket list I knew I had to add a few items that would be hard. Kyle approached me about signing up for the Red Rock Relay in September. It seemed like it would never come and in a moment of weakness I registered early in the year and added it to my list so there would be no backing out. For those of you wondering what the Red Rock Relay is let me give you some information. The relay started on Friday, September 7 at 7:10 AM at Brian Head Ski Resort and goes until Saturday, September 8th after we have completed a 187 mile course.  Our team consisted of 12 people (Tyler Bushman, Martin Taylor, Hal Fordham, Jason Nelson, Stephanie Nelson, Ange Nelson, Jason and Natalie Stefanoff, Kam, Kyle, Cody and myself), 6 in each car. Each runner is in charge of 3 legs as they run during all hours of the day on all kinds of different running terrain. Right after I registered for this race I started running, I ran on the treadmill, I ran on the street, I ran uphill and downhill. I was ready to attack Red Rock, then Kyle emailed out the legs and I had Leg 1, a 1.5 mile run to the chairlift at Brian Head and then a ride to the top followed by a nice leisurely 3 mile jog down a mountain.................... WAIT A SECOND! Did that email just mention a chairlift ride up a mountain?! Let's just say I have never been fond of a chairlift and would prefer to avoid them at all costs. Even the ride at Lagoon that takes you from one end of the park to the other shows up in my nightmares. I was no longer concerned about the run itself but I was freaked out about the ride up the mountain and the steep run back down it. I had numerous dreams up until the night of the event...everything ranging from the chairlift going out and me having to run up stairs to a serious of obstacles showing up as I ran up the mountain. I was sick over this race and tried to think of every reason not to go through with it, lucky for me I had already put it on my bucket list so I felt obligated to complete it. September came fast and I found myself taking a vacation day to go and run, I must be crazy. I left early on Thursday to meet Kam, Kyle and Cody in Utah, we then headed to Cedar City to check into a hotel for the night. My stomach was upset and I didn't sleep a wink that night. We woke up bright and early and drove to the ski resort to start the race.

The famous Redrock Truck!

So excited to run!

I put on the safety vest, turned up the music and lined up at the starting line.....5...4..3..2..1 RUN! It didn't take long for me to realize that it was a little harder to breathe at 10,000 feet and all that kept running through my head was that I was running towards something I didn't want to do, I rounded the corner and approached the chairlift. Kyle was there with a blanket to keep me warm and to offer company and a distraction during the ride.  It was a long 20 minute ride up the mountain to the very tip top where I was met by a guy that told me to start running on down. (Best Idea I have heard) The beginning was a little rough on a gravel type trail (I slid down within 2 minutes of running) I decided to slow down a little bit to ensure my safe arrival at the finish line. (And to make sure my ankle remained in one piece.) The trail was rugged and steep in several locations and runners were falling all around me. I kept on going and made it to the end...such accomplishment!

The view!

Finishing my 1st Leg!

Just taking in the "free" scenic view. (Yes the forest ranger patrol person wanted to charge us for the scenic overlook saying that we didn't pay for hiking or site seeing.)

1 leg down 2 more to go. Natalie (Jason's Wife) took off to conquer Diablo, Jason wore the baton through several miles, Kyle and Cody beat the heat and Kam brought up the rear and kicked butt.  We handed off to the second van and made our way into Cedar City to grab a bite to eat and get cleaned up.  We made our way to the next switch point and waited for our team. I was still nervous and couldn't wait for them to get there so I could run like the wind. Finally I spotted Hal grabbed the baton and I was on my way. My 5 mile run took me through the streets of Cedar City and down the highway out of town. About a mile into the run I realized that my ankle was having some serious problems (nothing out of the ordinary). I stopped tightened up my brace and kept on running.  The pain did not cease and tears were running down my face but I had worked so hard to complete this relay and I wasn't about to give up. I pushed through and couldn't be happier to see my team cheering me on at the switch point. I could barely walk but I had finished. I knew I needed to take care of my ankle if I wanted to even have a shot at running my 3rd Leg. Elevate, ice and load up on the Pain killers.

Kam kicking butt!

Handing off the bracelet!
Our truck finished their second legs and we again headed to the next stop to try and get some sleep.
Unfortunately there was nothing but a port-a-potty at this stop so we really couldn't clean up. We headed to a local church that they had opened the lawn to for all the runners. We laid out sleeping bags and......didn't really sleep. (Except for Cody he was out in no time.) After what seemed like 2 minutes (really it was over an hour) Kyle received a text saying their 5th runner had just started, Kyle got excited and woke us all up only to realize we still had over an hour to wait for them.  We had to switch around our last legs so Jason and Natalie could leave.  We were all sick, Cody was throwing up my ankle was throbbing, Kam didn't feel well.  Before we started the race Cody warned us that the 3rd leg would be all mental I now knew what he meant by that comment.

Do I really have to run again?

So happy to be awake.
After Jason and Natalie finished their legs it was my turn.  Deep down inside I wanted to run the whole thing but I knew my ankle didn't. I told them to go a mile up the road and wait for me because I didn't know if I could finish.  Well, the race had other plans. My trial ran straight out in the middle of nowhere, away from the road, looks like I had no choice but to run 3 miles. It was dark outside and I was running with the light of the headlamp (Which unfortunately attracts bugs) I have to say it is a mental game running in the dark, in the middle of nowhere, with no one around you. At first I thought it would be better if my music was really loud so I couldn't hear anything but I then realized I would probably want to hear something coming at me.  The mind games going on throughout this entire run were hilarious. It did help me run faster and I again finished.  My goal was complete, hardest and best thing I have ever done. We again finished and handed off to the other van then went on our way to the nearest shower. We got cleaned up the went and took a little nap at the finish line. When our team arrived we ran across together to celebrate the ending of a very fun and exciting journey.

View from the finish line.

I earned my stripes. They didn't come off for days.


Double thumbs up!

Metal and stripes!

 Can't be more excited to cross this one off of my list (and I hate to admit it but I hope to do it agian:

13. Run Red Rock Relay

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