RACE RECAP: Hoover Dam 5k | Celebrating a Friend & My Favorite Place to Race

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Brings back memories of my first sub 2 Half Marathon (2011)

My first, 1st Place Overall Win (2012 – same course, different event)

My last 1st Place Overall Win (2015 – same course, different event)

The 6 Tunnels/Lake Mead/Hoover Dam area is my sentimental place to run and especially race.  This is the place I ran a 5k the day after Ladybug passed away in 2011. While this isn’t the same course, it is the same area and I love being there.

I registered for the race primarily to be with good friend, Jeff Liu as he completed his 50th State with a Marathon.  He actually finished in September, but because of the lack of concern or foresight of that RD, he did not have a qualifying race and had to do Nevada again.  I knew he would be happy with the BBSC events and it would surely qualify for a 50th State Qualifying run.

My brother registered to run the 10k and I opted for the 5k.  Since I have run several 5k’s out there, my mind was on a specific course and never entertained the idea it would be a different course than what I have run in previous years.  Error #1, study the course map before you run.  If I had, I would of not been so confused during the race.  More on that later.

We arrived to Boulder Beach to a very chilly morning.  Jeff, Kirk and I were ready to go.  Kirk and I sent off Jeff onto his quest and got ready for our start. 10k’ers started 5 minutes before us.

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At the 5k gun, I headed towards the familiar hill to take us onto the course, what I didn’t know – we would turn left not right.  I really don’t like the left direction, it’s a pain in the butt steady climb. Not something I want to do within the first 1/10 of a race, when I have not even gotten into my groove.

So, we head into the climb, and I am sitting around 4th of 5th overall. I knew if I could hang onto 4th, I had an AG win for sure.  As I was coming up on the turn around I was closing in on 3rd place racer.  At the turn around I made the decision to gun it.  My strength is in the downhill and the 3rd place would keep up or fall behind.  I passed 3rd place and held onto that for a bit.  She came back and zoomed by me but she didn’t hold onto it. I passed her again and closed in on 2nd place.  I passed 2nd place and this is where it gets weird, very weird.  I know this course and I know the turn to go back to Boulder Beach.  Even though the runners ahead of me kept going, I turned down the wrong road.  Once I discovered that, I had to turn back and onto the course.  My mind went south after that.  Okay, the next turn was Boulder Beach, but when I looked at my Garmin the course was way short.   That was confusing me and I was using way too much energy and brain power to try to figure this out.  Came up on the turn off to Boulder Beach and I was instructed to keep going straight.  Okay, that is when my brain truly checked out, that made no sense!  Where was the turn around?  Was the course long not short?

I started to run and I could feel my brain melt down. At the Mile 2 mile marker….I stopped. I stopped on the course, yes I did.  I said, “this isn’t adding up, we have to be going the wrong way!”  A gal whizzed by me and took 2nd place.  At that moment, I saw the turn around up ahead and ran towards it.  Whoever said that running is all mental is true.  I lost this race because of my brain, not my legs.  In fact, on the decline, I was between a 6:27-7:12 pace.  That shows you how much I screwed up if my overall pace was 8:37 for the race. (see that drop after Mile 2?  That is when I stopped)

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I held onto 3rd OV place for the Women’s 5k.  I didn’t deserve it, I ran a horrible race.  Not my proudest moment and not because my time sucked, but I zoned out and couldn’t regroup.  That is inexcusable for an experienced runner.  Despite my mental disaster of a race, coming into the Finish at Boulder Beach is always a treat for me.  I am taken back to my first sub2 Half Marathon and my two other OV win’s.  With Lake Mead ahead of me, there is something special about this finish location.  

As soon as I crossed the finish line and the announcer said my name, a few people came up to say “hi” and a “congrats” but the one I was most excited about was seeing my previous teammate, Chris Clark.  It was so good to see him, again!

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Shortly after, I received a text from my brother he had finished the 10k and he earned 2nd OV.  The 10ker’s ran to the Hoover Dam parking lot and were shuttled back.  So, all in all it was a good race for the Running Siblings.

The Awards ceremony was fun!  All the podium finishers were happy and the crowd was very celebratory.  I have had many podium finishes, but it is always a treat when all the winners are on the podium. Lately, there is only 1 or 2 of us on that podium.

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My brother and I went up to the Hoover Dam hotel to have a quick meal and then back to the race Finish to wait for Jeff. While I was waiting, I was able to walk around with Ruby, she is owned by the staff at BBSC.  Cuddling with a dog at a race is always a good thing.

Soon enough, here came Jeff into the Finish!  He was an official 50 stater.  What a relief and we could celebrate his quest is finally over with.  Congrats, Jeff!!!

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Despite my mentally horrible race, I am so glad I went.  I find it so peaceful to run out there.  Before, I felt Ladybug.  Now, I feel Ladybug & Honeybear and that is pure heaven to me.

Cheers to all the racers and BBSC!

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Race Day essentials:

Shirt:  Glukos Energy 

Headband:  Boni Bands

Arm sleeves:  Nike

Shorts:  Brooks

Socks:  Running Skirts Compression Socks

Fueling:  No electrolyte replacement needed for my 5k

 

Next up:  Triple Dare Resolution & Revolution runs on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  It will be my first time to meet these RD’s and I am very excited to get to know them.

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Charlene L. Ragsdale – Las Vegas, NV
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