While I very slowly walked a few hours at the New Years Revolution Run on New Year’s Day, I decided that I was ready to try “racing” (insert sarcastic snort) at Jackpot 2016. Why not – since I had already registered for it a year before.
My biggest concern was not the race – it was would my back hold up to the long drive to and from Las Vegas. If it did – I was going to feel capable of doing more races this year.
I went down with no expectations. My A plan was to do a 50K over the course of 24 hours. Even if that meant walking a lap (about 2.3 miles), resting for an hour, walking a lap, etc. But I would have even been happy with a half marathon. The whole point was to survive the drive.
I drove down on Friday. The plan was to stop and stretch out my back as needed – but an adjustment a couple of days before followed by cranking down on my SI belt allowed me to only stop for gas and food (and I mainly relied on a cooler I packed for that).
Once I reached Las Vegas I immediately went to the course in Henderson (at Cornerstone Park). I was so happy to see some of my ultra friends and family. I had a great visit with Martha Ettinghausen – who I had not seen since Jackpot 2015. Davy Crockett wandered by as did Diane Durden and some others. Said hi to Ed Ettinghausen and Susan S. as they lapped by several times during our visit (they were doing the 48 hour race).
After packet pickup opened up, I grabbed my packet and headed down to the strip to the Hooters Casino. (It was the cheapest I could find). Not very impressed. When I went to stretch that night it was obvious that the floor had only been vaccumed of “obvious” dirt in a while. I ended up trying to roll out my back and hip on the bed because the floor grossed me out.
I did wander over to the Strip for a little bit and bought a crepe for dinner (Caprese Salad in a crepe form is delicious) and then went over to the Excalibur to buy my son-in-law some dragon shirts (I like to spoil him too).
Back at the hotel my insides objected to the little amounts of less healthy food I had eaten that day and the night before (I was babysitting some boys while their mom had an emergency c-section and didn’t pack food well). Made me realize eating junk food was not worth it – but also let me go into the race several pounds lighter (without going into nasty details). I was very happy at that point to be at a hotel with a toilet instead of sleeping at the race course with portapotties.
I was so excited to get to the race that I got there a couple of hours early (and I was still on mountain time) and got my personal aid station set up and visited with more friends.
The race started at 9 a.m. Pacific Time and I set off at a very slow walk. Rosemary Larrazabel walked with me the first few laps. I gradually improved my pace as my body warmed up, and ended up settling in most of the day around 17 minute miles.
I really like the course at Cornerstone. You loop around quite a bit for each 2.3 mile loop and get a variety of concrete, asphalt, dirt, gravel and rocks. Plus you are able to see people at multiple locations and I love watching the lake and waterfowl as I pass it.
I just took it easy all day. Probably my slowest marathon ever and I didn’t care. About the half marathon mark I got worried because my hip started seizing up – but I rolled it and did some gentle stretches my chiropractor suggested and was able to get my SI joint to pop back in. I did this a few times and it worked – so success!
The day was hot – but not as bad as last year. I enjoyed meeting some new Utah runners and we were thrilled to be out of the crap/inversion that we had left behind. Still, I was glad to have night fall. I was hoping at this point to keep going for a few more hours, but around 8 p.m. I could tell my core muscles were tired of trying to keep my back in place and decided to call it a night.
I set my alarm for 5 a.m. Of course, some stupid person (looking innocent) did not realize that locking the doors from the remote while inside the car and then unlocking them manually to go to the bathroom at midnight would set off the car alarm. That woke me up completely. I was able to go back to sleep and got up in time to do a couple of laps as the sun rose and the day started. I was also happy as I went back to the race to see that Davy had just finished his 100 mile race and helped him load his vehicle.
I stopped the race at a little over 35 miles. I could have probably done one or two more laps – but was still concerned about the drive home and my back was really tight. Rolling out my back after the race was painful – but paid off as I had no issues driving home.
I can’t explain how good it felt to get back to racing and to feel like I was finally making progress after several months of being laid up.