Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mesa Falls Marathon

What could be better than running a marathon through the Targhee National Forest, by Lower Mesa Falls, on a great trail adjacent to a river, and through rolling farm lands?  Turning it in to a girl's trip!!

Michele and I had trained for the Full Marathon and Kris for the Half.  We headed out of town on Friday morning.  I am sure that all of our husband's were concerned about the three of US on a road trip!  But we were READY!!

Michele drove and we made great time!  It was terribly windy though.  Sometimes the car would swerve violently on the road when a gust hit it.  "How was the marathon Jodi?  I don't know, we DIED before we got there!"  It was blowing the car all over the place!
I was playing with my phone calendar as we headed through Twin Falls.  Michele and I were planning when our trail runs would be now that school had started.  We decided they would be every Tuesday.  So, I start planning one for the Tuesday that we get back from the marathon.  Luckily Michele reminded me that we are supposed to take days off after the race.  Oh yeah, that's right!

We only had a few bathroom breaks despite the fact that Kris' husband said we'd have at least ten!  At our first rest stop we sent a picture to him and said "Bathroom break number 5!"  We thought we were so funny!  But then he texted back a zinger, "That's good, 3 less than I would have guessed!"

Kris and I found Ashton, Idaho on the map!  WooHoo!  How excited are we?

We stopped for lunch at Subway for a carb load in Idaho Falls.  Michele and Kris got wheat bread which has 10 grams of FIBER!! I warned them!  Don't have extra fiber before a race!  Needless to say I got regular ole white bread.  

While Kris was personalizing her sandwich she was accentuating the "S" on all of the food titles,  "I'll have lettusssssss.  And cucumbersssssssss. And onionssssssssssssssss."  Finally the Subway worker said, "Are you hissing at me?"  Kris looked at him and in her scolding tone replied, "Oh you'd KNOW if I was hissing at you!"

So we hit the road again.  Now, I had no idea exactly where we were headed.  I left that all up to Michele.  SO when we passed the sign to turn right to go to West Yellowstone, and Michele DIDN'T turn, I didn't say anything.  I thought she knew exactly where she was headed.  Apparently Kris had the same thought process.  She too saw the sign, watched Michele pass it and NOT turn, and thought to herself that Michele must know a different way to go.  About 10 miles later Michele said, "This doesn't look right.  We should have passed bear world by now. Did you guys see the turn to West Yellowstone?"  Oops.  We had.  So I turned on my phone and used the maps.  Turned out we were headed north instead of east and were way off!  We had to turn around then head through some tiny towns on an old highway.  The detour added an hour to our travel time.  Michele was telling us we failed as co-pilots.  Then she called her husband and "tattled" on us!  Too fun!

We DID make it to Ashton despite my and Kris' ability to aide in the navigating.  We checked in to our hotel.  The debate on who was going to share a bed had to be settled.  Michele announced that she was a cuddler, Kris and I yelled at the same time, "You get a bed alone!"  Then we figured we'd get a cot and I would sleep on the cot since I was the youngest. It turned out the cot was $10.  We are all cheap so we opted out and agreed I would sleep with Michele.  "But," I warned her, "I kick. And if you touch me, I will give you a black eye!"

As we unpacked Michele got out a can of Axe Body Spray.  She said her husband had sent it with her for the bathroom.  He said when you share a room with three guys you need it.  Well, we are not guys and didn't really need it.  But we laughed and placed it ceremoniously in it's place.

Then headed over to the Elementary school to pick up our race packets.

The race packet was in a potato sack and had our shirts in them too.  They were nice ones, my only complaint was that the year wasn't printed on them.  Kris said hers looked too small and she was going to have to lose 5 pounds to fit into it! 

The school also hosted a spaghetti feed.  There was really no where else in town to eat so it was nice that they offered this.  The girl serving the spaghetti flopped about 5 pounds on my plate and then asked, "Is that enough?"  Holy cow!  Is that enough?  I wouldn't be able to move if I ate all of that!!  But we all smiled and said, "Yes, thank you."  Side bar, none of us did eat it all.

Bed time was to be at 9:00 PM.  We were all getting tired anyway by 7:30.  So we prepped for bed and laid down and watched the Bering Sea Gold Diggers on the Discovery Channel.  Dumb, but intriguing at the same time.  We hit the lights and were falling asleep when suddenly....

"When the moon hits your eye like a big-a pizza pie, that's AMORE!"

It was so loud it jolted us all awake.  It was Kris' ring tone for her husband, who had called at 9:30!  Despite being told not to call after 8:30!  After she talked to him, Michele and I couldn't fall asleep because that song kept running through our heads!

Just when I was deep into sleep I heard noises and felt movement.  Michele was up messing with the blankets and covers.  "What are you doing?"  I asked.  She replied, "I am freezing!"  When I suggested tat she turn off the A/C she answered, "No because then Kris will kill me!"  As it turns out, Kris was cold too.  But we didn't find that out til the next day!

We had to get up at 4:00 AM to get ready for the marathon.  Kris was nice enough to drive us to the school to get on the bus.  This was extra nice since her bus didn't leave until 7:30 AM. 

The bus was so HOT!  I was getting nauseous.  As we drove I kept asking Michele if we'd be in the forest or not.  She had promised me that this run was in the forest.  She denied ever having said this, but I KNOW she did.  After a 40 minute ride, we stopped.  Happily for me there were trees and it was foresty.  We were at the startt line, Or were we?

First of all we all needed to use the bathroom really badly.  But we couldn't find the Porta Johns!  We also couldn't find the start line.  We asked one of the bus drivers and he pointed us in the direction.  Michele says you should never trust an overweight, smoking bus driver.  Turns out she was right.  He pointed us in the OPPOSITE way! No one knew where to go.  Finally about 7 of us just hit the trees to go to the bathroom.  What a relief.

When we FINALLY found the starting line, Michele told the race director that the bus driver was pointing everyone in the opposite way.  He replied, "OH NO!" and took off running.  Eventually everyone got rounded up and we were ready to start.  There were a few Porta Johns so Michele and I decided to go "one more time".  Better safe than sorry when you are about to run a marathon!  I then experienced something in a Porta John that was a first for me.  The smell inside was so terrible that I started to dry heave!  I was so close to throwing up. I knew I couldn't or it would ruin my race.  It was terrible! 

Luckily I held it all in and lined up for the start.  The race was 15 minutes late (thanks to the bus driver).  Michele and I had thought about a remote possibility of catching up to Kris on her half-marathon. But with a late start, no way now.

Interestingly in our race was a man who is going blind and running marathons blindfolded to raise money.  His name is E.J. Scott.  (Click on his name to read about him).  It was pretty cool to see him at the start line with is guide.

Did I mention that the start was COLD?  It was freezing!  We took off running and Michele said, "Why didn't we wear gloves?"  It was around  32 degrees.  Our fingers were so cold that I couldn't move them.  My head itched and I couldn't even wiggle my fingers in order to scratch it!  Then my arms started to tingle.  I kept asking Michele if her arms were numb and I 'd hit them to check.  We really did have a fun time! We were running with a type of "Jazz Hands".  Constantly opening and closing our fingers in order to keep the blood flowing in them.  After about half a mile I asked, "Can you get frostbite in 5 minutes?"  (I googled it later turns out you can!) I looked around at a few other runners and saw that they were running with clenched fists.  I tried it, much better!  So I told Michele and we both changed our strategy.  I think it wasn't until mile 5 that we started to feel our fingers and arms again. 
We met some nice people and really enjoyed the friendliness and scenery of this race.  One girl who came up from behind us commented that we had "amazing calves" and she was going to keep up with running if it meant she could get calves like us.  We have to take her word for it because well, in all honestly, we can't see ourselves run from behind. 

Running through the forest was nice.  The road was light gravel and easy on the feet.  At mile 9 we both commented that we felt as if we needed to go to the bathroom, AGAIN.  We held back from drinking.  At mile 10, we were sure of it.  At mile 11 we darted for the trees! We didn't care who might see us.  As we were in the trees I yelled, "I can't believe how much I have to go!"  This was taking forever!! This run was great! :0)

Another point in the race I started to hear this "clicking" noise.  It was very annoying.  Finally I couldn't stand it anymore and I asked Michele, "Are you making that noise? What is it?"  She not only wasn't making it, she couldn't even hear it.  Another runner running by us said that it was a time bomb.  "Our sports beans are actually bombs and they are gonna blow during the race."  Then she ran off.  That was weird.  Runners are by nature eavesdroppers.  They listen to what ever you are talking about, offer their two cents, then run on.

We got to see some beautiful scenery, the best of which was the lower Mesa Falls.

Michele didn't think I looked at it long enough, but I did see it!  Kris was mad at me for not taking a picture!  Those ladies!  I easily got one off the Internet!

When we got to the spot where the half marathon started, we found out that their race had started on time.  All plans to try and catch Kris were now gone.  I had to later confess that I had slowly hatched a plan to leave Michele at mile 13 and really push it to catch Kris.  We headed on to an old railroad track trail and I was still considering the possibility of really pushing the tempo when "Whoops!"  I stepped funny on a rock and rolled my ankle!  (This is the same ankle I rolled funny on our night run a few days ago.)  It hurt so bad!  I limp ran a few steps and gritted my teeth and kept going.  While I loved the scenery and the trail and the terrain, running on dirt and rocks was now killing my ankle.  The uneven surface was torture!  Every step sent sharp pains up my leg.   This then cemented the fact that I would NOT be attempting to catch Kris.  It was probably an unwise thing to try anyway.  Michele did remind me that I sometimes do run stupid when I am alone.  She is wiser after all.

So Michele and I plugged along.  Running along the river was so pretty.  We did find ourselves completely alone though.  No runners ahead of us, no runners behind us.  For a brief moment we wondered if we went the wrong way.  But to our relief at a long stretch we could see our new friend "Kim" a ways behind us.

After three miles of the trail we came out o the road.  Michele HATES running on roads.  However, the even surface was a welcome relief to my ankle.  We kept plugging away, me wincing with every step.  Michele said I was doing a very weird "limp-run".  But it was working.  The course was now rolling hills.  Some of the rolled up a lot, so we walked.  The people who lived along the course were amazing.  They were running the water and aide stations, they had sprinklers aimed at the road for us to run through and they were very friendly and encouraging.  It was actually (despite my pain) a  lot of fun.

As we neared the end of the race, I was in enough pain that I was struggling not to cry.  A man joined us and started matching our pace.  He was annoying Michele because he talked so much.  I just let them talk and concentrated on finishing.  We got to the point that I could only run a quarter mile and then I'd have to walk a bit.  Michele was incredible, like an elite motivational coach.  She talked me through it, called out distances, encouraged me and let me set the pace.  I am glad we were together.

When there was only about a .3 miles left of the race I just wanted to be done.  So I said, "Let's do this."  We picked up the pace and started to run it in.  No more stopping.  As we turned and could see the finish line I sped up.  "Slow Down!" Michele yelled  "No you speed up!" I retorted.  Then she called to me, "You slow down and I'll speed up."  We ran down the chute with our hands together and held up high!  Since we had dressed and look alike the announcer said in the microphone, "And we have Twins finishing."  Haha, leave it to Kris to yell at him, "They are SISTERS!"  She is great!

Now that I can sit back and look at the race and experience, I thought about something Michele has said before and now realize what she meant. "There is something about doing the race for fun and enjoyment that is so much greater than racing it."  Older and wiser.

Now we can't forget about Kris' run.  Her Half-Marathon started at 8:00 AM.

 She told us a bit about it.  First she made a friend on the bus, but doesn't remember their name.  Throughout the race she paced with an older lady who seemed to be the same age.  See despite what Kris may say she is COMPETITIVE TOO!  She didn't want to lose this lady and have her beat her out of an award.  She kept looking for a lady in green (meaning me).  Kris knows me so well that she had guessed my secret plan to try and catch her.  What she did not know was that our race had started late and I wasn't actually running, I was limp-running like a wounded deer!

At one point in the raod Kris got stuck behind a combine!  She couldn't get around him until he moved.  Not something that happens to runners very often I would wager.

We are so proud of Kris because as it turns out, she got third place in her age group!

And the lady she was pacing was from Brazil, same age group after all BUT she was a marathoner and she got third in her age group too!  Amazing!

We all had a great time!  Michele declared that we now must have an annual girls trip road race every year!  And yes, it is already planned!

Kris mentioned that she couldn't BELIEVE Michele held hands with me across the finish line.  She had tried to get Michele to do that at a marathon and Michele wouldn't because that would make them look "weird" like more than friends "weird" if you catch my drift.  We all just laughed and Michele shook her head.  "I am older and wiser now" she answered.

The road trip home was uneventful.  We didn't get lost, we had burgers at Wendy's and we laughed and enjoyed the drive!
OH!  And one last thing!  That weird clicking noise during our race that was bugging me?  Turned out it was my race bib hitting my hydration belt.  Haha! Funny!

There are a lot of other things that happened that other people will never understand.  They will forever only be funny to us:
1)  Kris lives in the house "you know across the street" from Michele
2)  Can't stand up from the toilet
3)  What to do if you are too warm in the Hotel - skivies by the window
4)  If you don't want to work you can just "roll" off the boat
5) Coming out of the gas station barking because I stayed in the car

But to keep the blog short (too late) I will end it here.  If you'd like to read about the race, click here:
Ashton News: Mesa Falls Marathon

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