Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bear Lake Monster Half Marathon Trail Race

Could this possibly be the the Bear Lake Monster? If it is then he's in pretty rough shape.
Oh what a race this was!  I wasn't even signed up to do this one until about 2 weeks ago.  I had fretted and worried about not having a race to run this weekend since it was to be my longest run of 20 miles for the marathon training and I just knew I didn't want to head outside and do 20 miles all on my own.  When this race showed up on Facebook advertising a last minute half price entrance I immediately jumped all over it.  I am one to not pass up a good deal.  (never mind the fact that I had to drive 3 hours away to get to it.)  In fact, after it was all said and done I thought to myself  "You drove over 200 miles away just to run 20 miles, what were you thinking?"  Oh, that's right, I tend to not do that sometimes.  I'm all about the adventure!

My son-in-law Wade and my grandson Miles came on this adventure with me.  My daughter had to work and so she didn't go with us.  We got to the Logan area on Friday night and Wade's parents were so kind to let me stay at their place.   It's so funny to hear my little grandson call us all "PaPa"  He hasn't quite learned how to say grandma yet so basically he has 4 "PaPas".  What a funny little guy.
Scott, Wade, Miles, and Kristy 
After some visiting and getting unpacked I headed to bed and set the alarm for 4:45 am.  Bear Lake was an hour away and I was planning to run my 7 miles before the half marathon which started at 8:30 am.  Well, as I laid there I heard the rain pounding and the wind blowing and tossed and turned all night.  I would wake up every hour to look at the clock and it had only moved about an hour.  It was a disasterous night's sleep.  I got up and got ready and headed off to Bear Lake.  The weather had eased only a little bit but the sky was still pretty gloomy looking.  As I drove into the canyon it still continued to pour down rain. I got up to Bear Lake at exactly 6:30 am and checked in and got my race bib and packet.  The rain just wouldn't stop and so I ran back to my car and waited and waited. My friend Jody was up here camping and called me and asked me if I wanted to come lay down in their trailer.  I decided to just go ahead and try to sleep in my car and then I could listen if the rain would stop.  Finally about 8:00 am the rains stopped and the skies started clearing and things were looking up. Unfortunately, I didn't get any miles in before the race.  Ugh....that meant doing all of them after.
This is where packet pick up and the start and finish line were held.  Precisely at 8:30 am the half marathon people were sent off.  I think there were around 50 half marathoners, so it was a pretty small race.  There was also a 5K and 10K which started a little bit later. 
Jody and her hubby were at the KOA campground just 1/2 mile down the road and happened to see a bunch of runners going by.  They came out and found me and snapped this photo.  I ran over to her and tossed her my jacket.  I was so glad I didn't have to run the distance with that thing weighing me down. 
The roads were perfect after all the rain.  Not too dusty and not too muddy.  The weather was cool to start but would heat up later in the day.
A view of Bear Lake about 1/2 way up the mountain.
Direction signs are always helpful in a race.  You sure couldn't miss these!
I was a little bit afraid of running into wildlife but this was the only moose I saw on my run.
This race was just so nice for the fact that I was on dirt and I wasn't in any big hurry to try for a PR.  I know that trail races are just slower for me so I was just enjoying the scenery and the fresh morning smells.  The long gradual climb to the top though was pretty tough.  A little over 1000 foot gain in 6 miles.  Coming back down though was pretty sweet.  That's where I really have a good time.  Around mile 11 I look up to find 2 people running towards me.  I wondered who had gotten lost or who was just out for a stroll in nature.  Well look who found me??
My cute friends Jody and Doran.  They decided I needed some company and I'm so glad they did.  It's so much fun to run with other people who understand my craziness.  They continued running with me all the way to the finish line.
This fun gal is Lori and I met her for the first time last week at the Top of Utah half marathon.  We belong to a Facebook group called Runner's Anonymous and it was such a pleasant surprise to get to the first and last aid station and see her there volunteering.  Races certainly couldn't be done without their help! This photo was taken with only a little over a mile left to run in the race.
Coming on in to the finish line area
Checking the clock and being pretty content with that time for a trail run. Yes, I'm holding my bib because I never got it pinned on me in time.  I had it stashed in my pocket until I got to the finish line.
Ya, I was a little worn out physically but I think even more so mentally with the challenge I knew that still lay in front of me. 
A quick smile and showing my medal before getting ready to head down the road.  This time I would stay out of the hills and just run on a beautiful paved biking and running path around Bear Lake. I planned to just go out 3 1/2 miles and then turn around and come back.  I ran back to the KOA with my friends and said good-bye to them and then set off to get it done.
Breaking it in half like that helped me mentally but I'm telling you what, those 3 1/2 miles seemed to take forever to get done before I could turn around.  Well, once again when least expected I see somebody coming towards me after I had reached my halfway turn around spot around mile 4.  It was good ol' Doran.  He decided he didn't want to sit around on his duff all day and he wanted to keep running.  So there he was to keep me company on the last 3 or so miles.  That was a huge boost to keep me going.  Thanks Doran!!
When I got back to the finish line area where my car was parked the race people were just about cleaned up and ready to leave.  They were just a tad bit surprised to see me and wondered what I was doing so I explained.  The race director decided I needed a treat and gave me this coupon for a free raspberry shake.  You can better believe I would be enjoying that a little later!
My 2 fingers is supposed to stand for 20 miles.  I think I'm rockin a pretty sweet hairdo as well!
My total time for the half marathon and additional 7 miles was 4:43:55.  Wow, not a great time at all but I got it done.  I know I forgot to turn off the watch as I was visiting at the end of the race and getting stocked up to head out again.  But, we'll just see what happens on September 22nd.

Now it seems like this should be the end of this adventure but it doesn't stop here.  I decided to head down to the lake and go sit in the water for a little muscle recovery.  The guy at the state park entrance let me go in for free since I wasn't going to be hanging out here all day playing.  That was super nice of him.
I took off my shoes and socks and climbed in ever so carefully.  The water was a little cool and took my breath away.

The water was murky and a little disgusting but I was just grateful to be in some cold water after cooking in the sun.  Well, until I felt something squiggly tickle the underside of my leg.  I let out a big scream and didn't look to see if anyone heard me.  They probably already were wondering what some lady was doing just plopped down in the water all by herself.
I thought this was a pretty precious sight.  What a brave little dude on that board. He didn't look to be more than 18 months old.
Well it was time to say good-bye for reals this time to Jody and Doran and so I stopped by the KOA to do so and told them I was heading over to get my free shake and invited them to come along.  I was also pretty hungry from running all day and not eating anything but junky race treats, ie chocolates, licorice.  So I ate my super delicious shake and got a grilled chicken sandwich to eat in the car.  A big storm was brewing again and I was cold from sitting in the lake, so I decided to eat in my car with the heater blasting!
Jody sneaked a picture with my camera while I was slurping up my shake.  See what you get for doing that Jody?  It gets posted for the world to see :) Besides, it's a cute picture.
Good-bye Bear Lake.  Thanks for the memories.  I may be back next year.
I got back to Wade's parents house and took another bath.  I wasn't planning to take an ice bath but Wade and his mom had gotten a 20 lb bag of ice at the store for me and I couldn't NOT take a bath and not use it. I didn't want a perfectly good bag of ice to go to waste. Whoa!  This ice bath was by far the absolute coldest I have ever taken.  20 pounds of ice does not melt very fast.  After that I enjoyed a hot shower and then dressed and blow dried my hair.  At last I was warm!  We said our good-byes to Wade's parents and headed South towards home.
I was so tired and decided to just let Wade drive and so I tried to sleep but this little cutie kept saying "Wake up PaPa" so sleep was not going to be happening on this road trip home.  We stopped off at a yummy little place called Chipotle Mexican Grill before we got to Salt Lake and had a delicious meal.  By the time we got home sometime after 8:30 pm I was pretty tuckered out and ready for bed. What a long adventurous and fun day! 


Jen said...

Great job on your 1/2 and on getting your 20 miles in! Way to go! You'll be surprised on marathon day. No big hills or dirt roads. Don't even worry about your time based on that 20. You are a tough, in shape lady and things will be better than you expect! Love all your pictures!

Doran & Jody said...

What an AWESOME unpredictable day, you crazy woman!!