Friday evening was fairly low key. We ate at a restaurant in the casino called Saucy's (a bar-b-que place) where, after more internal debate than I thought was possible over a dinner choice, Ashley ordered an entire chicken-in case she got hungry later. The problem was that the mini bar and snack bar in our room were on sensors. You literally could not open the fridge or bump the snack tray without being charged for the $6.95 candy bar. And so, Ashley had no where to put the left over chicken and although the front desk promised to bring an 'additional fridge up for your use, free of charge', it never arrived. Thus, a wasted half-a-chicken.
Saturday was fairly uneventful. We slept in, went for a run in the foothills which I found out about on this great website: www.renorunning.com, ate the most delicious lunch at this stellar cafe we accidentally found http://www.stockpotinc.com/. I ate fresh chicken tortilla soup with a spinach salad and a turkey (real turkey, not lunch meat) pesto sandwich. Talk about a flavor orgasm. Unbelievable. My number one recommendation if you ever happen to find yourself in Reno.
Most of the afternoon/evening was spent in our room, trying to study (Ashley) and work (me) while half-watching a cheesy movie marathon-featuring Matthew McConaughey. Dinner was fairly unmentionable, Baja Fresh burrito and some red wine in the comfort of our room. Then it was early to bed in light of an early rise.
Race day. 6 am wake-up. I drank a cup of water and half a bottle of a Naked coconut juice smoothie. I ate a banana and a Luna bar. At 7:15 we left the hotel and drove the 10 miles to Damonte Ranch high school. After picking up our race numbers and a couple of visits to the Honey Buckets we began our warm up run, drills, and strides. We had plenty of time to spare-which is how I like it. The race, however, did not start on time. The 9 am race start was more like 9:12 am. I raced the 10k and Ashley gave the 5k a go.
The thing about fun runs is the bat-outta-hell mentality of the kids that come to these things. I have learned it is best to let them do their thing and try not to run them over when they fall back hard core after 300 meters. The 10 and 5k races began together and the first mile is a gradual climb. After which the 5k participants do a 180 degree turn and head screaming back down the hill. The 10k keeps going for about another mile and then turns sharply to the right and onto a narrow path along a canal. It then takes a sharp left where you run out 100 meters then turn 180 degrees around a cone and go back, take another sharp left and head down the path again. Around mile 3 you take a sharp right onto a neighborhood road and this is where you begin to run into the 5k walkers and joggers. Not a problem, since there is lots of room. By mile 2 the leader had left another woman and I in the dust and about mile 3 I took off and put a good amount of distance between myself and number three.
My lungs were seared by mile 4-I believe the elevation is around 6,000 feet- and I was struggling running on my own. Suddenly, out of nowhere an older guy came up behind and ran slightly ahead of me as we climbed the hill for the second time. It was a key for me to have someone to race at that point. First, I had to crap (badly!) and second I was sucking wind. At mile 5, I was able to revamp my body and put all my focus toward a strong finish. At mile 6, I gave one final surge and as I crossed the line I was fairly convinced I might die. As with any time I race at elevation, my sinuses felt like someone had stuck a red-hot poker into them. Needless to say, not a pleasant feeling but it was trumped by the fact that I can truly say that I left just about everything out on that course. That makes me happy. And my flats speak to this fact.
Retirement for these puppies.
Placed 2nd out of the women and 6th overall. Walked away with some cash and fairly satisfied with my effort. We hit the road quickly and were home within 5.5 hours. The 6:30 am long run on Monday felt surprisingly effortless, minus the final 5 minutes. Aside from a sore left calf and a few gnarly blisters on my left forefoot (might have pushed the flats one race too many), I am no worse for the wear. Ready to roll on.