Ralston Creek Half Marathon

This weekend was race #2 of 2014 for project Two Little Feet.

I was once again back in Colorado.

I left home Saturday morning. I had planned on meeting my parents in Casper and then riding the rest of the way with them. Thankfully the weather was favorable for us to make it down safely.

We stayed with some friends that lived literally 5 minutes from the start.

Saturday night we carb loaded with some delicious mac and cheese. We snuggled in to watch the Olympics and before we knew it it was 10 pm.

My race start was 9:45 and Mom who was doing the 5k started at 10. So there was no real hurry to be up early in the morning.

As always I never sleep real well the night before a race. This was no different. I found myself facebooking at like 4 am because I couldn’t sleep.

I had an alarm set to go off at 7:15, but was wide awake at least a half hour before.

I took my time changing into race day clothes. The temps were hovering right around 20*. I felt confident in what I was putting on. I had compression socks, Under Armour tights, two long sleeves and then my short sleeve Two Little Feet shirt. I said a little prayer to the 9 guys I was honoring. I was able to keep my emotions in check a little better this time, but still I could feel their presence immediately.

Had my normal breakfast of oatmeal and had bananas and peanut butter in tow to the race.

We got to the starting line about 8:30 ish. Plenty of time to pick up our packets and bibs. My mom kept saying she was putting on more layers. I told her to stop thinking out loud because she was starting to make me feel like I didn’t have enough clothes on. I made a decision to put another long sleeve on under my short sleeved Two Little Feet shirt. We sat in the truck until about 9:30ish. They started one wave of runners at 9. And then another wave at 9:45.

When we headed over to the start I was cold and I even had extra layers on. I decided to jog up and down the street a little bit to get the blood flowing because no one wants to start a race with frozen muscles.

Weather was foggy all day, windy, cold, humid.

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With in no time it was time to start taking the extra layers off.

See you in 13.1(9) miles!

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Mile 1: 7:42

Doesn’t help it was a downhill clear section of the race. Once I got moving I forgot about the cold and the wind. My face was a little frozen, but I was hoping that would change once we got on the path in the trees.

Mile 2: 8:10

This is more where I wanted to be all race. The course was a walking path, which was absolutely amazing, but it was also shaded so there was a lot of patchy spots of ice. This was probably the worst mile all day.

Mile 3: 8:19

There was a gradual incline the whole first half of the course. It wasn’t visually noticeable, but my legs sure told me we were going uphill.

Mile 4: 8:16

At this point we are finally kind of seeing some “downhills.” I have my watched tucked under my shirt so I can’t even look at it to see how far I am or what my pace is. This race was strictly ran on feel. And I felt pretty good the whole time.

Mile 5: 8:43

This is where things get interesting and also I can really start to feel the presence of the guys. We are headed up little switchbacks uphill, then we turn onto a road and run straight up the hill.

Mile 6: 9:00

I hit the top of the hill. I was relieved to see a nice long downhill. I think the guys were messing with me and kept it foggy all day so I couldn’t really look ahead at what was coming. This mile was heavily downhill and I was really enjoying it. As I crept closer to mile 7 I could see the mile ahead of me. More switchbacks and this time it was up an even bigger hill. Oh boy. The honorees sure do know how to keep me on my toes, but they do know how to push me through the harder times.

Mile 7: 9:31

There was an aid station at the base of the hill. I grabbed a cup of water, walked through the aid station and then dug deep and told those guys to get me up this hill. I took off and wasn’t going to let myself walk until I got to the top. I could only guess what the other side looked like.

Mile 8: 7:58

When I reached the top of the hill it overlooked a reservoir, which you couldn’t see because of the fog and low sitting clouds. As I topped out I got a nice blast of cold air hitting my face. I took it as the guys were telling me to get my butt in gear. It was all downhill from here. Time to really fly and have some fun. My cheeks got a little extra cold being on this hilltop, which only made me cruise faster to get back down into the bottom.

Mile 9: 7:43

As I hit this mile I was excited to be back down in the trees and on the first half of the path that we started on. I kept telling myself I only had 4 miles to go. That’s like an easy afternoon run.

Mile 10: 7:51

Everyone had pretty much spread out now. I was slowly trying to catch the people in front of me. As I caught one person I would find the next person. I only had a 5k left. The bad thing is 2.5 miles of this 5k was the icy part that I fought with at the beginning of the race.

Mile 11: 8:32

I had to go to the bathroom so bad. I couldn’t think about it or it killed me. I stopped taking in water at the last two aid stations so I didn’t continue to add to the “having to go potty” dance. I kept pushing towards that finish line. I knew I had a crew waiting for me!

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Mile 12: 8:14

Oh I knew we were close. I knew that my family was right around the corner. I knew I had one final climb to get to the finish line.

Mile 13: 8:14

I was happy to be back on the open, clear road. I looked ahead towards the finish looking for my family. I spotted my dad from a ways back. I could tell he saw me because he turned to all the others to tell them I was coming. When he looked back towards me I raised my hands in the air and he raised his 1 crutch in the air back to me. I felt my emotions start to creep in. I felt tears well up in my eyes. Seeing them gave me that extra boost to finish strong.

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Photos courtesy of Greg Poirier via Two Little Feet on Facebook

Mile 0.19: 1:21 (7:22 pace)

Finished strong into the chute! I felt good. I never felt exhausted.

Finish time 1:49:31

94/484 overall finishers. 24/282 female finishers. 7/38 F25-29 finishers

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I was extremely happy with my race. I gave it the best I could. Again, not an easy course. The weather and course conditions weren’t perfect but it could have been worse.

Right after I finished I heard someone yell my name, I turned around and was excited to see someone who’s very special to this project!

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Meet Julia!

You will see her again in April! I was so extremely happy that she came out and braved the cold to see me finish! I’m even more excited that somehow she managed to find me! 🙂 See you again soon Julia!

I grabbed a hot chocolate, some warm noodles, a water and hopped in the truck.

The 9 guys on my back chose a different way to show me they were there with me throughout the day than the 4 honorees in January.

I never once doubted I was alone, again. It was fabulous to feel their presence with me all day long!

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Posted on February 11, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Great job Ash! Well done. I met Julia a few weeks back in Evergreen. Small world. Keep on keepin on 🙂

  2. Awesome job!!! Great pictures, too!! Go you!!

  3. Keep up the good work

  4. Great Job Ashley are you going to run the canyonlands half marathon? We would love to come out and support you if you are.

    • I am I am! 🙂 My mom and husband will be running the 5 miler and I’ll be running the half! I would love to see/meet you.

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