Desert Rats 10k Race Recap

Better a little late than never right?! πŸ˜‰

I’ve been trying to sort through all of my thoughts on this race, but I still haven’t been able to pull them all together. I’m gonna try though! But this post might end up being s jumbled mess. πŸ˜‚

I’ve also been waiting for the professional race photos to be posted onto Gemini Adventures’ website. Mission accomplished on that front! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜‰

That being said, I still have a ridiculous amount of photos thanks to my dad. He’s become quite the shutterbug and we definitely stopped more than once just so he could take pictures. But I mean, I can blame him when the views from the course looked like this…

Anyway, let’s recap this thing!

So, the day before this race my dad and I drove about 5 hours from Longmont to Grand Junction, which was super close to Fruita, where the race was being held. We made a few stops along the way, including one stop to take around 3 hours to hike to and from Hanging Lake. I won’t go into all of that again since I’ve already written about that here. But I will say that whole adventure was super hard, fun, and beautiful. Not exactly something I’d recommend doing the day before a race, but I don’t regret it. πŸ˜‚

After that adventure we made a stop for some burgers and then made our way to one of my dad’s drivers houses (my dad basically runs several FedEx terminals). He invited us to stay the night with him and his family so that we didn’t have to stay at a motel. That was super nice of him and he and his whole family were super welcoming and incredibly nice. 😊

I ended up getting to bed around 11 that night and I’m not sure when my dad finally made his way to bed. But we were up before the sun at 5 am Sunday morning. The guy we stayed with laid out breakfast for us the night before; a couple of water bottles, some instant oatmeal, bread, candy bars, and an invitation to anything in the fridge or pantry that we wanted. I definitely like oatmeal before a run though, so that’s what I stuck with. πŸ˜„ So we ate, got dressed, and loaded up our stuff into my dad’s van and then made our way to the staring line in Fruita.

It only took us about a half an hour to get there. So we actually got there super duper early at around 6:30 am. The race didn’t even start until 8:30 am. πŸ˜‚ So we drove up this pretty gnarly Jeep trail. That was a bit iffy in my dad’s van. But it was fun.

This was AFTER we made it back down the super iffy section of road we went up. πŸ˜‚

We didn’t go too far though. There wasn’t a lot of parking for this race so we made our way back to the starting/finish area and snagged us an awesome parking spot.

We sat in the van for a while. Talking, people watching, and sipping at water and nibbling on a few snacks. Packet pick up started at 7 am, so we got out our stuff right as they open up. Being some of the first people there definitely had its benefits! Along with our bibs and participation shirts, we also got buffs. They had a limited supply of them that were donated to them so not everyone got one. Hahaha I was pretty stoked though! Mine sure came in handy during the race. I wiped my nose on it more times than I can count. πŸ˜‚

After we collected our things we stopped at the port-o-potties. There weren’t many of them but at this point it was still pretty early so no one was in line. Score!! 😁 Hahaha after our business with the port-o-potties was taken care of we went back to the van to warm up because it was pretty chilly out that morning. And of course while we were there we pinned on our bibs and got the rest of our gear ready.

Before we picked up our bibs we obviously needed to get a selfie with the starting line. πŸ˜„

At about 15 minutes to the start time we shed our outer layers (and oh boy was that hard! It was still pretty chilly out! πŸ˜‚), strapped on our hydration packs, and made our way to the starting area. We also marveled at the line for the port-o-potties and we’re grateful that 1. We went when we did and 2. Didn’t have to go again. πŸ˜‚

There was very little organization going on. Half marathoners were mixed in with the 10k-ers and as far as I could tell no one was really lined up according to pace. It wasn’t really a super big deal though because this was a really small race. Just several hundred people really. Those aren’t negatives though! Just facts. 😁

A race official counted us down but honestly we couldn’t hear him all that well, but it was kind of easy to tell when we were supposed to take off because everyone cheered and started moving forward. πŸ˜‚ So we took off down the trail, starting with a slight down hill that I definitely didn’t feel and sure didn’t notice until we had to climb up it on our way back to the finish line. 🀣

That downhill was short lived though! We began one of the bigger climbs of the race (and there were several) in the first few minutes. Those climbs KILLED me. My legs were actually pretty prepared for them thanks to the hill work I had done on my treadmill, but my legs were also sore sand tired from our hike the day before. And unfortunately that never went away… That wasn’t what actually killed me though. It was the elevation. Here in Kansas I’m just about 1,000 feet above sea level. I. Fruita Colorado we were at 5,000 feet and we gained around 600 feet getting up some of those hills. I’m sure that’s not a lot for you mountain runners out there, but for this flatlander who also happens to be exclusively a road runner it was TOUGH.

Anyway, the first 1.5 miles were the hardest. I think. Hahaha honestly from this point on everything is a blur. The aide stations were each about a mile and 1/2 apart and that’s what I’m kinda basing everything on. πŸ˜‰

So by the time we made it to the first aid station we were DFL (Dead Fucking Last). At least as far as the 10k-ers went. But considering how small the race was and all of the other circumstances that was pretty unsurprising. And honestly, not at all upsetting. I went into this thing just wanting to survive it and to have some fun. I knew it was going to slow going and I had put any kind of ego aside for this one.

Anyway, the volunteers at the aide were all super awesome. We got many complaints on our Sloth Running Team t-shirts, and I got several laughs and sympathetic looks every time my dad told people I was from Kansas.

Ps. Next time I do a trail race in Colorado I’m wearing a shirt that says “I’m from Kansas”. Just so everyone understands why I look and sound like I’m dying. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Anyway, the next 1.5 miles were much more rugged. There were loose rocks and the rail definitely got more technical. Honestly though I had so much fun on the harder (but more flat/downhill!) sections of the course. Having to chose you’re footing and trying not to trip over rocks was a lot of fun! And I was actually pretty good at it!

You can definitely see the rocks in this photo, but there were more fun sections of the trail than this!😁

Now, if I remember correctly (and I probably don’t πŸ˜‚) pretty close to the next aide station and the half way point there was part we had to kinda scramble up! Oh man, that was hard! My poor lungs were just not doing well this less oxen than they’re used to. But we both made it up it. With lots of huffing and puffing on my part. 🀣

At the next aide station I took a little cup of tailwind to drink and a couple of Honey Stinger gels (score!!). I don typically like gels for fuel while running because they upset my stomach but I took some just incase. But at this point I was doing pretty well on just water and a Gatorade that I had stashed in my hydration pack.

This side station was located on Pizza Overlook. Sadly they didn’t have any pizza. πŸ˜‚

After we left the second aide station is when we ended up running around the rim of the canyon (at least I’m pretty sure. Hahaha like I said. Everything is a blur. πŸ˜‚). Pictures will never do justice to how beautiful it actually was.

After a few twists and turns we stumbled upon the one and only race photography. Shout out to him for sitting there and waiting for our DFL asses. πŸ˜‚ of course I had to be a total dork for my photo. But at the very least I was being a total dork during a super hard 10k with some incredible views! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈ

On the way to the final aid station at about 4.3 miles were we’re blessed with some amazing downhills. The trail was still a little tricky but I picked it up quite a bit going down those hills (around 10 minutes per mile pace according to the one time I actually glanced at my Garmin πŸ˜‚). That was a ton of fun!! At this point we were starting to head back the way we came and the last aide station was also the very first aide station. We were also heading back up hill. Yuck. 🀒🀣Basically the whole last mile was uphill, with one super short down hill in the middle of it.

The finish line was just on the other side of that hill on the left side of this photo.

We crossed the finish line at the EXACT same time, cheering and holding hands! That was pretty cool! And according to the official results, we weren’t actually DFL. Hahaha neat! But also still, not a big deal. πŸ˜‚

Once we crossed the finish line we were handed our “medals” (really just a dog tag on a chain, but still super neat!), and made our way to the food tables were we got pancakes, fruit, coffee, and a few other things, although they did have quite a bit of other post race snacks as well. πŸ˜„ we found a nice place to sit and cheered on some of the first half marathoners to start running in.

After we ate we went back to the van, wiped ourselves down with wet wipes and I changed my shirt (and managed to get out of my wet sports bra without showing any boobies to the world. πŸ˜‚). And then we started our 17 hour drive back to Kansas.

So yeah. This was my first trail race ever. My first official 10k. The farthest I’ve ever run at 5,000 feet above sea level, and the slowest 10k/race I’ve ever done. It was hard. It was beautiful. And it was absolutely so much fun!!

Apparently we’re doing the half next year. Hahaha we’ll see about that. 🀣🀣

But for now, the next race on the schedule is the Running With The Cows 5k on May 11th here in Kansas! I’m very excited about that!!

Until next time,

~Ashley

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2 thoughts on “Desert Rats 10k Race Recap

  1. AJ

    I love your shirts and the fact your dad will run with you! I completely get the altitude thing as I live at sea level and notice the impact on my running when I’m elsewhere!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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