Tag Archives: desert rats

Desert Rats 10k Race Recap

Better a little late than never right?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

I’ve also been waiting for the professional race photos to be posted onto Gemini Adventures’ website. Mission accomplished on that front! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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. ๐Ÿ˜„ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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!! ๐Ÿ˜ 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. ๐Ÿ˜„

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! ๐Ÿ˜‚), 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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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. ๐Ÿคฃ

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

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!๐Ÿ˜

Now, if I remember correctly (and I probably don’t ๐Ÿ˜‚) 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. ๐Ÿคฃ

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 didnโ€™t have any pizza. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚). 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. ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

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 ๐Ÿ˜‚). 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. ๐Ÿคข๐ŸคฃBasically 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. ๐Ÿ˜‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜„ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‚). 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. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

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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Upcoming Adventures

Things have been kinda quite around here lately! Aside from some chicken drama we haven’t really had much going on since Christmas time. That’s going to change here very shortly though! This spring is going to be a busy one and I’m pretty excited about sone of the things that are going to go down and the adventures that are going to be had!

First on my list is my upcoming trip to Colorado! That’s this week actually!

So currently, the plan is my brother is driving here from Illinois to pick me up and bring me to Colorado with him (Luke and I only have one vehicle and obviously he’ll need that to go to and from work, so this was the option that worked best for everyone). I’m not sure what my dad has planned for the week, but on Saturday we’re going to be driving from Longmont to Fruita (about a 5 hour drive) and then do some hiking there. Then we’re going to stay at a motel there and then on Sunday is the Desert Rats 10k trail race that we’re doing together. After that my dad and I will head back to Kansas where obviously I live and he might stay the night, and then he needs to to take care of some stuff in Illinois so that kinda works out well for him.

We’re planning on squeezing in as much fun as possible in the short amount of time I’m there and I’m sure we will! I’m very much looking forward to spending some more time in Colorado. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Views while hiking up Rabbit Mountain with Luke and my brother on Thanksgiving of 2017

Next on the agenda is the Running With The Cows 5k! I’ve done this race twice now and I absolutely love it! One day I’ll end up doing the half marathon. Once I get over my fear of racing in warm weather. ๐Ÿ˜‚

So this is coming up on May 11th and my dad is doing this one with me as well!

I’m not sure when he plans on coming here from Colorado for that, but no matter when he does I’m sure we’ll end up having lots of fun! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Running With The Cows 5k, 2018

Later in May one of my brother-in-laws graduates from high school so Luke and I will be driving to Minnesota for that! We’ve been going on vacations in the summer with Luke’s mom’s side of the family so we actually haven’t even been up to Minnesota since 2015! Crazy stuff!!

So aside from celebrating the new high school grad I’m not sure what all is going down while we’re there but I’m sure it will involve some fun stuff! Last time we were there we went to Itasca State Park. That was super cool! Especially for a group of people who all used to (and a couple still do) live near the Mississippi in Illinois!

Unfortunately no running events will be taking place while we’re in Minnesota. Hahahaha that would have been fun though! Maybe I’ll look up some races and see if I can swing one while we’re there. ๐Ÿ˜‰ honestly though there probably won’t be time for that.

Itasca State Park, October 2015

Alrighty, so those are the big ones coming up soon! Of course we’ve got all sorts of smaller adventures along the way. Like starting our garden for instance. Now that spring is finally here we’ll be getting that started soon! I’m very excited about that. I wanna grow ALL OF THE THINGS! ๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿ…๐Ÿฅฌ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿฅฆ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŽƒ

And I’m sure at some point we’ll be making our way back to Illinois again. Another of my brother-in-laws girlfriend just had their baby on March 19th. That’s kind of a whole thing, but I’m sure Luke’s dad will convince him to come meet her before too long. I mean, she is our first…”official” (for lack of a better term.) niece.

Hahaha Luke’s whole side of the family is a little bit confusing and I’m not about to get into all of that here. But we do already have a couple of nephews and a niece on his mom’s side. They just aren’t directly related to Luke. But this new baby is like for reals related to him. So “official” sure. But not our first niece or nephew or relative of that sort. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Anyway, right now that covers the majority of the races I’m doing this year. For now. There’s always the possibility that more might be added to the schedule though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

But for now there are only two other races on tap for 2019; the Longview Half and the Gobbler Grind Half, which I’ll be doing with my dad again. Jeez I’m beginning to think he likes this whole racing thing! ๐Ÿ˜ I’m currently trying to convince him to do Longview with me too, but that one is the day before the Gobbler Grind. Yeah, I’m trying that again. ๐Ÿ˜‚ But anyway, he’ll be coming back to Kansas again for that. We had an absolute blast running it last year!

So, will I be seeing any of you guys there on November 10th?!?

This is such a fun race held in Overland Park Kansas! I can’t say that the whole course is super pretty because it is in a pretty big city and I ain’t a about that life, but a lot of the course is on a super pretty paved trail that follows a nice little creek. I actually used to run on parts of the course all of the time back when Luke and I lived in an apartment in Overland Park so I thought that was super cool!!

And don’t even get me started on the volunteers! They were the best!!

If you’re looking for a fun half marathon in the Kansas City area I can’t recommend this one enough! And of course you can use my code GG19AD to get $20 off of your entry fee!

http://gobblergrindmarathon.com

Right now that comes out to be about 33% off, but once the price increase my discount stays the same at $20, so if you wanna save a little extra money now is the time to register!

I hope to see you there!!!

So yeah, I’m pretty excited about my upcoming adventures! Both in the near future and the ones happening later this year! Yay for exciting adventures!!

What about you? Got any fun adventures coming up soon?? I sure hope so!

But for now, I need to start packing!! Colorado here I come!!

~Ashley

Ya know, just me hanging out with an Elk on my last trip to Colorado, March 2018

Spring 2019 Races

I have officially got two races lined up for this year already! Hahaha that doesn’t exactly happen often. I don’t really race much and I’ve never had two races lined up this early in the year! ๐Ÿ˜Š Well, technically I was registered for both of these races in December before the price increase, but whatever. ๐Ÿ˜‰

After Christmas I had several Visa gift cards burning a hole in my pocket and I figured a race would be a good thing to spend one of them on, so I decided to do the Running With The Cows 5k on May 11th. I’ve done this 5k in 2016 and 2018 and absolutely LOVED it, so I figured why not do it again? Plus it’s only 15 minutes away from my house, so super convenient. ๐Ÿ˜

The 5k is really just an add on to the half marathon they have though. One day I’d like to do the Running With The Cows half, but last year it was pretty hot and humid for May and I’m kinda terrified of doing a longer race on a hot day. Like, that’s one of my biggest fears. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Which is kinda dumb, because so far of done all of my half marathon training in the summer because I’ve always done my half marathoning in the fall. But I don’t know man, training in warm weather and actually racing in warm weather just seem like two very different things to me. Eventually though I am gonna suck it up and sign up for this half, but this is not that year. Besides, I just go to this race to pet the cows that they have there.๐Ÿ˜‰

I got to feed this mama cow last year! ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿ˜Š

Alrighty, so not a very exciting story about how I ended up registered for Running With The Cows, but how I ended up registered for another spring race is!

So on December 30th, the day before New Year’s Eve and two days before all of the price increases for race registrations, my dad and I had been texting back and forth for awhile. He had found these cool “Sloth Running Team” t-shirts and he sent me a picture of them. Well I said that we obviously needed them because they also say “we’ll get there when we get there” on them, which is something we said A LOT during the half marathon we did together in November. After that I got nothing but radio silence for about 5 minutes and then the next text I got from him was a screen shot of the order confirmation for two “Sloth Running Team” t-shirts. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Obviously I was pretty stoked about that. So I asked him what race are we running next? He had found this trail running festival thing in Colorado in April and wanted to do either the half or the 10k there. They also have a full marathon, 50k and a hundred miler (I think?). Luckily he didn’t want to do any of those. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Anyway, I wasn’t sure about going to that because it’s hard for me to leave my small petting zoo behind. Especially now that the chickens are laying eggs. Luke and I noticed that they don’t seem to like it when I’m gone. While we were in Illinois for Christmas and then New Year’s Eve we only got one egg each time we were gone and that was over a few days. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Poor chickens.

My hens are laying some really good looking eggs though! And theyโ€™re tasty too! ๐Ÿ˜Š

But I told my dad I’d talk to Luke about it and see what he thought. In the meantime, I told him that I was doing the Running With The Cows 5k again, which he and my mom actually spectated at in 2016, so he knows how neat this race is. After that I got more radio silence, and then a screen shot of his registration confirmation for Running With The Cows. ๐Ÿ˜‚

So the Sloth Running Team will be tackling another spring 5k together! Last March we did a Whiskey Run 5k together and I’m pretty sure that’s what go him hooked on the whole racing thing. Hahaha I’m ok with that though! That’s how we ended up doing a half marathon together in November. That was an absolute blast!!

Anyway, I talked to Luke about the trail running thing in Colorado. He said while it’s hard to deal with everything around here on top of him working, he could handle it if I wanted to go do one of these races. So I told my dad that I was going to be able to go and to send me a link to their website so I could register, and asked him exactly which race am he wanted to do because we hadn’t really figured that out. ๐Ÿ˜‚

We eventually decided to do the 10k because that was the shortest race at this festival thing. I live in Kansas at 862 feet above sea level, according to my Garmin. My dad lives at almost 5,000 feet above sea leaving in Longmont, CO and that elevation change is rough. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I found the elevation map for this race which is in Fruita, CO and it is to too terribly crazy, so that’s good. It’s still gonna be hard as hell though.

Anyway, we didn’t end up registering that day though. My dad wanted to talk to my brother and see if he wanted to do it with us. But at that point in our conversation my dad had to go to work, so I didn’t hear anything else from him until the next day.

In the midst of our New Year’s Eve festivities at Luke’s dad’s house I received yet another screenshot from my dad. This one was a registration confirmation for the Desert Rats Trail Festival 10k on Sunday April 14th (which is the day before the Boston Marathon. I’m not sure why that’s relevant, but that was my first thought ๐Ÿ˜‚), for the both of us.

See that fun fact? Yeah, thatโ€™s what my dad came up with for me. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

My brother didn’t want to do it, so it’s just gonna be the two of us again. Oh well, we have lots of fun doing these things together. My brother doesn’t know what he’s missing! ๐Ÿ˜‚

So yeah, that’s what I’ve got lined up for this year so far! I’m probably going to do another fall half marathon and at this point the only thing I’m really not sure about is weather or not I’m going to be doing it alone or if my dad will be with me. ๐Ÿ˜‚

But for now, this road runner who lives in Kansas is gonna have to figure out how the heck she’s gonna cover 6.2 miles on a trail in Colorado. I see lots of hill repeats in my future. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’m also going to have to start getting used to running with my hydration pack again. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t actually need to carry any fluid with me on a 6 mile run. But the air is much more dry in Colorado, so I’m thinking it would be better to carry water with me. Especially since the aid stations at this event are pretty far apart.

Anyways, those are my plans for this spring! My year of big goals is already off to a good start and I can’t wait to see how my dad and I do in these two races!

Happy Tuesday!!

~Ashley