Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Desert RATS Stage Race, Day 2 (Race Recap)

Tuesday, Day 2
Having never really been asleep, I was out of my sleeping bag EARLY. Thankfully, there was instant coffee and hoped I would be able to get more alert before heading out for the second longest day. We found out at our meeting the night before that due to flooding (in the desert, who knew?) that we would not be running the "normal" course and what was supposed to be 39 miles was "only" going to be about 34. We were also told that day 2 is sort of the "make it or break it" stage and that if you could complete THIS day, chances were pretty darn good that you would be able to complete the entire distance.
Can you see how hot it is going to be? Millions of degrees, at least
I had NO idea what to expect. I didn't know if my legs were going to rebel completely and if I was even going to be able to run. The "fast" people started out... fast. I figured I would start with a run/walk (no set interval times) to conserve energy. I knew it was (obviously) going to be hot and I had tons of time on the course so I figured I would just take it easy and hopefully not bonk. The first section of the course was relatively flat on dirt roads.

There were some amazing views early on and we had a short jaunt through a small canyon where I made sure to take a selfie.

I got passed by a huge group of kids on their bikes (we think it was a Boy Scout troop) and one of them yelled "we think you are awesome!" In fact, I think I am awesome too! There was a decent amount of climbing on this day as well, but nothing that took my breath away like that steep climb on the first day. Unfortunately, as time has passed I already cannot remember a lot of what happened on that second day.


The first aid station cut off of the day was at mile 17.5. I was never so happy to arrive at an aid station. I was SO DAMN HOT. I filled my buff with ice and draped it around my neck. It cooled me down substantially. We had four miles to the water drop at mile 21. Then we had a LONG stretch until the next aid station around mile 28. I was behind Tara (who power hiked with poles) and I was DYING of heat. It was for real so hot. We were on a boring stretch of road that paralleled the railroad tracks. And it just went on and on and on and on. While the aid station cut off for Westwater at 17.5 had been generous (1:45 pm, allowing almost 7 hours to arrive), the one at Cottonwood at mile 28 was 3:30 pm. I did NOT want to miss that cutoff. I passed Tara with a few miles to go and did a lot of walking to get to that aid station. I made the cutoff by about 15 minutes (although we found out later the cutoff was a misprint in our journal and really had until 5 pm to get there). Leaving the aid station and the bottoms of my feet felt like they were ON FIRE. I walked almost the entire last 6 miles to the finish. On the longest road EVER.

Coming into the finish line for this one was AMAZING to me. I was so happy that with completing this day that I had an excellent chance of finishing the whole thing. It really put me at ease for the rest of the week.

Day 2 was unfortunately NOT the day for everyone. There were quite a few drops, including Traci (a super talented runner from Florida that was having difficulty with the altitude and the dry climate), Anita (who got lost very early on) and Jane.

Garmin Time - 9:47:01
Garmin Distance - 34.43 miles
Elevation Gain - 2,172 feet
Mile 1 - 12:58
Mile 2 - 12:54
Mile 3 - 14:23
Mile 4 - 14:22
Mile 5 - 16:50
Mile 6 - 17:39
Mile 7 - 14:34
Mile 8 - 15:08
Mile 9 - 14:04
Mile 10 - 16:48
Mile 11 - 16:32
Mile 12 - 17:12
Mile 13 - 24:28 (climb to the top of the mesa)
Mile 14 - 14:53
Mile 15 - 17:06
Mile 16 - 15:07
Mile 17 - 15:12
Mile 18 - 14:52
Mile 19 - 26:09
Mile 20 - 15:13
Mile 21 - 16:09
Mile 22 - 16:02
Mile 23 - 18:00
Mile 24 - 17:57
Mile 25 - 17:29
Mile 26 - 16:23
Mile 27 - 16:52
Mile 28 - 16:43
Mile 29 - 22:29
Mile 30 - 19:03
Mile 31 - 18:45
Mile 32 - 19:14
Mile 33 - 19:11
Mile 34 - 19:18
Mile 34.43 - 16:14

The end of the day did NOT go well for me. My feet hurt SO bad when I got back to camp. After taking off my shoes I discovered I had the biggest blisters, on both feet, in matching places - on the ball of my foot. It felt REALLY good to sit in the shade. While I hadn't been exceptionally bothered by the heat on the first day, THIS day seemed insanely hot. I was drinking and drinking and drinking and my body was just soaking it up. It was also a bit disconcerting that I was not that hungry. Maybe that can be the new diet plan? Exert myself on the surface of the sun to reduce my appetite?

The other issue I was having was with my contacts. My right eye felt like I was going blind. Over the course of the day my vision got cloudier and more blurry. By the time I took out my contacts my right eye couldn't see color or focus on anything. While my contacts had also bothered me the day before, it was not this bad. I was seriously concerned. Even closing my eyes hurt. I made the decision that I would have to run the next day in my glasses - which was not going to be fun, especially with how bright and sunny it was. Boo.

At the nightly meeting we were told that our short "9" mile day was going to be closer to 12 to make up for some of the distance we were missing from current day due to the course changing. I was really dreading trying to run on my torn up feet.

Sheri's awesome husband, Pete, loaned me a sleeping pad. I still did not sleep great but at least every rock in the desert wasn't jabbing me in the back.


  1. oh man! I think you are awesome too, the heat would have knocked me right out of this. and the blisters sound so painful but the views look amazing!

  2. "Exert myself on the surface of the sun to reduce my appetite?" --> Funniest thing I read all day!


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