My office job’s busiest week of the year is always the week of the Rock N Roll Las Vegas race. The week is so busy and packed I never have time to think of anything but meeting deadlines, getting things updated. This year was no different.
My Coaching clients were also busy, some tapering for this race, others racing in other parts of the country, some training, all doing so well…kept busy keeping tabs on them. I’m a lucky Coach to have some pretty amazing athletes.
Bottom line what all that means is every year when Rock N Roll Las Vegas comes around, it sneaks up on me. I never have time to think about it, get nervous. It’s just…here. I was lucky enough to be able to work with my Coach and the great folks of Altra Zero Drop Footwear at the expo. I had a blast meeting and greeting people.
As a virtual Coach, sometimes you may never get to meet a client in person. I was lucky to meet one of mine, Lori, who flew in for the race. We have become fast friends and seeing her in person was a great plus to the whole weekend. It was nice to meet so many PRS Fit Teammates and IRC members who were in town for the race. Meeting everyone really added a lot of energy to the event.
Anyone who knows me knows I can talk to a fence post, at length. I know no stranger. However, on race day I completely change. I become a bit of a hermit. I try to avoid social media, don’t really talk to anyone, I just slip into a zone. I laid down for a nap, I slept, hard. I woke up with a start, to my house shaking. To say the winds were howling was an understatement. All that was missing was a crazy woman on a bike outside my window and a dog named Toto. I thought to myself, I survived the merge of 2011! I can run in this! Wonder if I could hook up a sail? No?
I dressed, putting on my game face. Downed my Generation UCAN and hopped in the truck. Having “connections” my husband was able to drop me right at the corrals. I am very lucky to be able to do this.
I hopped in what my son calls the “Runner’s Bathroom” and headed to the corrals. I had time to spare. I usually get a little, well, a lot twitchy at this point. I get very internal. I sit off to the side and just people watch. Walking toward the corral I saw, sitting on the curb a familiar neon shirt. I snuck up behind Lori and plopped down on the curb next to her. This kept the twitchiness away. I still was not nervous.
They called us to the corrals. I hugged Lori. We shared “good luck”. I saw off to the side the PF Chang’s Dragon entering the corral. Was so happy to see it, another client, Teri, was one of those carrying the dragon. I was able to give her a good luck high five before the start.
They started condensing the corrals and we moved forward for the anthem. Don’t know who was singing because I didn’t hear a word…not one. My heart went into my throat and started pounding in my ears. Nerves hit like nothing I have ever had before. I had had a sprained ankle, I had been sick as a dog, the winds were howling, how on earth was I going to pull this off???? In my head I heard my friends, the entire coaching staff of PRS scream at me: “SETTLE!” (inside story), and I did, just that….
I was in corral 2. In 2009 I started in corral 55 (if I remember correctly). I have come a long way. I had crib notes on my hand from talking to Coach times to meet in order to reach my goal. I looked at them one last time and took a deep breath. The gun went off and away we went.
The first three miles always are the worst. Always. I’m no spring chicken and it takes a while for me to warm up. At mile 3 I looked at my notes on my hand, 2 seconds ahead. Good to go. Mile 6, 30 seconds behind but feeling good and fluid.
Mile 7 my body said “ aaand we’re done here”. Excuse me??? I’m barely ½ ways there?! I don’t think so! I did a quick body check. Nothing sore, legs strong, body relaxed. I was tired, very tired. I was mentally prepared for this after being sick for so long. This is when the fight began. I argued with myself from that point on, yelling in my head to suck it up. I was nailing my times. Nailing them, even while stopping at each water station and walking a little at each, I was ahead of the game. I was struggling, but I was truckin’.
Somewhere around Mile 8 I heard my name yelled (confirmed later it was who I thought, thanks Joe!) that voice yelling my name gave me that extra energy to push through. Mile 10 I had a 5k to go, I was in the home stretch, I was going to do this! I turned the corner and slammed into the wall. Not that wall, but a wall that Mother Nature decided would be a fun one to throw into the mix. 30+ mph head winds.
I came to a dead stop. The wind pushed me and several other runners backwards. I looked in front of me for someone tall to draft behind…no one to be found. That’s usually pretty easy since I am 5 foot nothing.
Game change. My brain and I had a discussion. Don’t push through the wind, push between gusts. I tried running, but would literally get pushed backwards and/or sideways. My average pace was slipping, fast. I did a quick calculation; Goal 1 was out the window. Goal 2, a PR (personal record), was still doable. I would have to fight the winds, but I would do it, or die trying (figuratively speaking).
Mile 11. Ow. My body was crashing. Fighting fatigue and the wind was taking everything out of me. Mile 12. I was spent. I was walking, a lot, feverishly checking my pace and time. I would NOT lose a PR, I would NOT. I fought with myself to quit walking, the winds kicked up, I kept pushing. I have never fought this hard in a race, ever.
Then I saw it, the finish line. I looked at my watch…I had an iron clad PR, how much of one, was up to me. I kicked it up and gave it all I had left to the finish. I did it, with nothing left in the tank. A solid 4 minute PR. A medic grabbed me by the shoulders “You good?” she said. I smiled “I’m gold”.
I walked through the finish shoot, keeping moving so my body wouldn’t lock up. Refueled. Relaxed. I was reflecting on all the positive changes from the race from last year. It was a huge difference. In my opinion I saw no flaws this year. It went very smoothly.
Then I saw them. The tears started flowing. Since 2009 when I first started running this race, my husband and son have greeted me at the finish. For this, I am truly grateful. They were there….and yes I repeated “I’m gold”.
Special thanks to:
Coach Jeff for helping me add yet another PR to my resume.
Coach Jeff, PRS Fit teammate Jorge, and Lori’s husband Anthony, who all fought the crowds and were there at the finish to support us.
My sponsor Coolibar. It has truly been an honor to be a Coolibar athlete this racing season.
PRS Fit Sponsors: Altra Zero Drop Footwear, Zensah, Raw Elements, Polar, DeSoto, 1BandID, Swim Spray, Generation UCAN, Rudy Project, injinji, KT Tape