Saturday, June 13, 2015

Yellowstone Half Marathon

I have not blogged in quite awhile.  My life has taken quite a few curves and side roads.  My oldest son left for Panama to serve a 2 year mission for our church.  Then my health took another weird turn and it took me quite a few months to get it all sorted out.  But now, I'm back!  (applause)  I am not the same runner I was....but I am back nonetheless!

This last weekend we went to run the West Yellowstone Half Marathon together; me, my sister Michele and the Bossy Bandit (Kris).  It was our girls trip to run a race.  This is part of the reason the blog is back!

Kris drove her NEW CAR!! It's such a high tech car, even Kris was unsure how to operate it.  Michele put her glasses on and tried to help.

 The drive began with a lot of deep thinking and sharing of some serious stories.  It was getting a bit too serious!  Luckily I had brought along the printout version of our blog from 2 years ago.  That got us laughing and having some fun.  When I was done Kris announced that the blog needed to be resurrected!  So here it is.....

It was predicted by our spouses that we would need at least 8 bathroom stops.  We were also on the look out for Share a coke bottles with MY name on it!  I found both Michele and Kris already!  At the first stop we found a Dan..... well Yippee!  We did take a lot of bathroom breaks though but just not 8!!!  A selfie to document it.

Road trip memories on the way there:
  • Kris' car has voice recognition.  Michele and I spent several minutes screaming at her car trying to get it to call "Stud Muffin".  It never worked.
  • Arguing over whether Kris will drive to the gas pump itself or if she will see if the hose reaches to her parking spot.
  • Dave told us to look for the "indian lying down" formed by the mountain range.  We never saw it.  When Dave asked if we did, we lied.
  • As we grew nearer and nearer to Yellowstone, suddenly we heard a BANG!  Because of the elevation the Lays potato chip bag had burst open.
  • Michele decided to bring Pickle flavored pringles.  I hate pickles.  When she opened it the ENTIRE CAR STUNK so bad!  I was dying!

  • I tried to explain a cool story about a lady who played the saxophone, Kris was confused and miss heard me.... not G rated.
  • We passed a large building.  When we were trying to figure out what it was Michele dropped a knowledge bomb on us.....  "It's a churchy retreat."  No, no it isn't Michele.
  • "Can I have some of the licorice rope please?  Wow, thanks for such a generous piece Michele."
  • Comparing what we had packed for the run, Michele had brought her YakTrax.  It was 90 degrees outside.  Good thing she brought those....she may just need them.  

Arriving in Yellowstone we went straight to our hotel.  We sent in Michele alone to check us in.  She was gone quite a long time.  She came out finally and announced that they had NO reservation for us and the ENTIRE town was booked.  We followed her back in....

To summarize, Michele was NOT happy.  They kept asking her if the room could be under any of name besides Kozel.  "No!"  She kept telling them.  They finally had to get the manager.  After digging through the compute he asked, "Do you know anyone named Kris Rayells?"  Are you kidding me?  How did the room get put under that name?  At least we did have a room now!  First order of business?  STRETCH!  That was a long car ride!

We then discussed what would be the best way to go to the race expo and pick up our packets.  After researching it on her phone Michele had it all figured out, "Step 1 we have to leave the hotel.  Then we need to decide if we walk or drive.  It is a 10 minute walk there or a half hour drive."  No folks that is not a typo, that is what Michele really said.  So we drove.

Our race shirts were awesome.  It only took 3 tries for Kris to get hers.  First it was too small.  Then it said 5K and then finally it was right!

The race directors had taken every one's names and made it in to the shape of Montana.  We each found our names easily, way cool.

The evening was spent shopping, eat WAY too much spaghetti (I neglected to show them the appetizer choice) and tipping bus boys.

We called it an early night.  I took my medicine and started getting pretty loopy and silly, noticing that Michele and I laid down in the EXACT same position!!  Then we all became experts on avalanches and saw a disturbing man fall on thumbtacks (well Michele closed her eyes on that part).


We had special shirts made for this race.  They read as follows:

Kris - I am the oldest, I make the rules
Michele - I am the middle, I am the reason for the rules
Jodi - I am the youngest, the rules don't apply to me!

We loved the shirts until Michele said she felt like a newbie runner since we all dressed alike. Haha!!  Who cares right?  We looked and felt great!  Well if you don't count the fact that I woke up with a raging nose bleed and then realized that I forgot my hydration bladder!  I put on my pack (waterless) and use a small 8 ounce bottle that Michele had brought.  I didn't think it would be a problem....WRONG-O!!

At the start line we realized how many people were there.  Holy Cow there was 3,000!  My comfort zone is to race with about 400.  There was so many people, so many people!

Waiting at the start line while Kris stretched

Kris Stretching

The race itself wasn't too technical or steep hills that we are used to.  What was hard was the elevation!  I had no idea that it would affect me so terribly BUT it sure did.  We started at 6700 feet and climbed up to 7200 feet.

It started with a headache and a lot of thirst.  I could not get enough to drink!  This is not good when you are only packing 8 ounces of water between each aid station!  Then I got a bit dizzy.  We had left Kris in the first half mile because she had to go to the bathroom.  She just followed some guy into the woods to pee.  She also she has a new injury that forces her to really slow down.  Eventually I had Michele get in front of me to help prevent me from pushing myself to hard and let her set the pace.  I did let her know that when she handed me her baggie to put in her pack she needed to SUCK THE AIR OUT of it!!!  She ended up pulling a few minutes in front of me because I was struggling so much.  The scenery was beautiful though, the volunteers friendly and the course fairly easy. 

 The few bad things were of course the crowd.  Did I mention there were TOO many people.  Also the other runners were RUDE.  Oh my goodness. One lady went tearing through the mud and splashed all over Michele, with no apology.  So Michele took it upon herself to yell at the lady.  "Ah man!  You got me all muddy!"  Then Michele tried to make friends with her and asked her what her name was.  She told Michele her name and then ran off.  Wow, didn't even reciprocate the gesture!  Then there were the walkers.  If someone decided to walk they just POW started to walk.  No concern about those of us running behind them.  Oh don't get off the trail when you need to walk, I enjoy having to jump into the weeds to prevent myself from hitting you!  The major part of the race was spent zig zagging around walkers!  It was exhausting.  We saw one lady running with her daughter.  He daughter was struggling and the mom kept saying, "Just relax, you are fine."  The poor girl did not look fine and was almost in tears but mama dear did not care!  The worst runner award for the race goes to "lady with stroller".  This woman would barge in behind people and yell "Walkers to the right!"  She just pushed her way through and around people in a very brusk and rude way.  I ran next to a guy fart-er.  Now we all do it when we run, but this guy, wow.  Kris shared her biofreeze with someone, yes Kris to the rescue once again.

The elevation must have effected quite a few people because all three of us saw a lot of people fall down.  I sure did feel like it several times.  Near the end I was so tired and dizzy that I contemplated sitting down on a rock and just waiting for Kris to come by.  But I figured that since I was at mile 11, I should just keep moving towards the finish line.  After the race I realized that it was a combo of poor hydration, elevation and my new medications that made this race so difficult for me.  When you have a bad race, you learn from it and then move on.

Second in coolness only to the scenery were our race medals.  They were intense and so heavy!  It almost hurt to wear it!  Fun day despite it all.  We can always manage to have some fun regardless of our circumstances.

We had one novelty that we don't usually get on our girls' trip races.  We got to shower before the drive home!  That was AWESOME to say the least!  And as much as we had sweat, it was probably good for the interior of Kris' car that we were clean and smelling fresh.

The ride home was pretty uneventful.  That is if you call getting of the interstate to get gas and go to the bathroom and then the exit to get back onto the freeway is closed and you have to take some long weird detour through the back roads of Declo uneventful.

We had a great time and like always, we learned a few things along the way.

  • Apparently the name Jodi is so rare it does not show up on any Coke bottles
  • Do not run in races with 3,000 runners on a trail system.  It is too crowded!
  • The rock Indian does NOT exist
  • The police will strip search some people right alongside the freeway
  • When the GPS is taking a weird detour it keeps telling you to "Proceed with caution"
  • Bacon sandwiches are as near to heaven as we are ever going to get right now
  • It is a regular practice to skateboard along the highway in Montana
  • When you pack for a summer race, water is more crucial than yak trax
  • If making a hotel reservation, note that it can be in anyone's name!

But like always, whether we ran a good race, a bad race, or somewhere in between it is always a great thing because we simply ran.