NEVADA  -  Red Rock Canyon Marathon
State #17
Finish time:  5:41:17
Nevada is the second state I've ran since living in the RV.  I kinda
miss the host hotel scene.  This time, the campground was closer
to the start than the host hotel, so I took full advantage and slept
in.  The Marathon Maniac photo was scheduled for 5:30, and I
didn't want to miss it, but even though we went to bed at 8:00 the
night before, I was still tired when the alarm went off at 5:00, so I
took my time.  Here was the view driving in.
I knew it was a small race so we could cut it close, and we did!  
Richard got me to the start line 6 minutes before the 6:00AM
start.  Here I am, my usual pre-race "it's too early for this" smile.  
What do you expect, the moon is still out!  
As usual, as soon as the race started, I perked up.  Off we go!
Within the first mile the sun started hitting the mountains and the moon was setting.  The
red colors of Red Rock Canyon started to show.  
Since Red Rock Canyon is a national preserve, we had
to sign a statement that we would not disturb any of the
protected desert tortoise that live in the area.  Good
thing they told me, otherwise I would have thought this
sign was meant for me as I slowly trudged up the hills!
The first 5 or 6 miles were really
tough.  Normally the first few
miles are tough anyway because
I'm just getting warmed up, but
these were slightly uphill, and
into the wind.  Wind?!  No one
called for wind!  I had been
excited for the hills, but the wind
was really pissing me off.  This
pic was about mile 7.  The wind
had finally died down, and I was
on a small downhill portion of the
first major uphill, so luckily I was
happy when I saw the official
photographer.  The elevation for
this run was intense.  Uphill the
first quarter, downhill the
second, back up the third, and
finally downhill for a finish.  Once
I got to the top, I was having so
much fun hauling ass down to
the halfway point.  Here is what I
love about out and back runs - I
get to see everyone!
Normally on a loop or one-way run I'm just at the back and have no entertainment.  On
out and backs, I get to see everyone as they head back while I'm still trying to get out.  
This time, I was cruising downhill, encouraging all the runners who were struggling to
come back up the hill.  (Fully aware that that would be me in about an hour.)  I was in
front of the prettiest rocks on the course when Marathon Maniac Jeff was on his way back
up the hill and offered to take my picture.  So thankful for Maniacs on the course!  
Then I got to the bottom and it was time to turn around and go back
up the hill.  At this point it started getting hot.  The race director had
said it would be about 40 at the start (it was COLD!) and about 60 at
the finish.  What I always fail to do is adjust that for MY finish time,
which is an hour and a half later than "average."  It was at least high
60s, if not into the 70s.  Hot and uphill and I was wondering why I had
been so excited to run this hilly course.  As soon as I crested the hill
and started putting in 9:30 miles downhill, I remembered why I like
hilly courses.  I'm fast on a downhill!  About this time, Richard drove
though and started keeping me company, driving up a mile or so and
waiting.  Since the hill had lots of switchbacks, here is a pic he got of
me way down the hill.  He is standing in the road where I had just ran,
and I'm on the road down below.  Can you see that little dot of yellow,
next to the orange course cone?  I'm kinda dwarfed by the scenery.
Another drawback to running slow is losing the "official" photographers.  As I
came back to the spot where the guy had taken my picture on the way out, he
was packing up!  I said, "here I come, get ready" and he said something about
not being ready and needing to take a break.  What?  A break?  From sitting
in your chair taking pictures?  I've been running for over four hours!  Sheesh!  
Even that didn't spoil my good mood as I cruised down the hills to the finish.  I
loved this run, felt good the whole time.  My #1 goal was to stay away from the
6 hour mark, my hope was to beat my Sedona time, and I did both.  
I sure look happier in my
finish pictures than that
grumpy girl who faked a
smile at 5:54 AM.  In fact,
looking back through my
photos, my smile gets bigger
throughout the run.  I LOVE
finishing a marathon!  Can't
wait for the next one!