Sunday, November 10, 2013

Desert Dash 10K: tasty coffee, a race wife and the difficulty of other people's children

I flew home for the weekend on Friday night and since D had to work Saturday, I decided to run a 10K Saturday morning.  A great idea to pass the time.  The alarm alarmed at 6, and for some reason, my first thought of the morning was a thought that should have occurred when I registered for the race a few weeks ago....how in the world to get there?!  My car, I should have remembered, sits in an airport parking lot in another city.  Luckily D rushed his morning for me and drove an hour out of his way, to drop me off before heading to work.  I was on my own for a ride home though...

The Desert Dash 10K starts at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park, just a few miles outside Las Cruces, New Mexico.  It's near the Bataan Memorial March is held, if you've ever been out that-a-ways.  The scenery's a little greener than El Paso but with the same rugged hills and today, nothing but cloudless blue skies with chilly fall sunshine.  We could not have asked for better weather!
This is the course!

 And even more fortuitous, Leah and her two little daughters were at the race! 

I like a break on the way to the starting line, too
 The course path is the winding and hilly jeep and mountain bike trails of the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park.  The race supports the Asombro Institute for Science Education, which hosts school  programs within this unique desert environment.  I think it's a great cause as I grew up going to science programs in nature parks and that's why I enjoy the outdoors still.  I would hope that all kids get to see their world through such a place and that's what this Institute hopes too. 

I felt like a little tank of lactic acid from the very start of the race.  I put in a few more miles last week than planned, too.  The trails are sandy, and rocky, with gullies and shrubbery and so trail shoes are a must.   I run at my utmost the entire course and though it wasn't a fast time, I could not have done better.  I felt the sting of the altitude, too.  At over 3000 feet in elevation, my sea-level acclimated body was gasping for air early on.  I finished in 50:55 putting me 5th female, 2nd in my age group, 19th overall.  I'll take it!  The race is mostly uphill, be forewarned!!

10K starts at the white gate.  THIS white gate.
I am so glad I decided to wear my brand new Mizuno Wave Ascend 7s for the race.  My ankles would be toast if I'd worn the less substantial Wave Riders, my go-to.  More on those new shoes later!

The prize for second and third place finishers?  Whole bean coffee from local roasters Picacho Coffee.  I love that their entire operation is solar-powered.  D and I ground up some of my winnings this morning and enjoyed a lovely cup of their Full City San Francisco Roast.  

Solar power is tasty, thank you for my morning boost, Rancho San Francisco
 First place finishers received lovely flowerpots with a desert plant growing in them.  I wish I knew more about that, and I sure wish I'd run a little faster :)  Maybe next time?

The 10K started at 0900, the 5K 15 minutes after, and a Kid's 1K at 0930.  All races are mostly out-and-backs.  Same day registration available, with shirts, goodie bags, raffle prizes.  I even won a "registration prize" of a free pontoon boat rental at Elephant Butte.  So crazy!

Leah walked the 1K with her kids. I am so proud they made it the whole way, actually, I was pretty confident Leah could make it, but her littlest one is new to this walking thing.  Her 2-and-a-half year old won a prize, a collection of cute animal stickers and fun kid activities.  I thought it was really nice for the kids to get a finisher's medal.  

Leah's husband is deployed right now and I guess because I know her kiddos so well that when we go places as a quartet, people sometime assume *we* are the parents (not that there's anything wrong with that!); a constant source of amusement for me.  I can't just say, "oh, no, no, please, these are NOT my kids," because to divest yourself of your friend's children is a hurtful thing to do, and I of course love those little gals as if they were my own.  My not-a-parent-much-less-married-to-a-woman status is evident as I am clueless about some unspoken set of child rearing rules that I violate continually.  I am never sure that kiddos shouldn't play with bird poop or eat hard candy or drink coffee or whatever.  I know running into roads is bad, but that's unwise for all people and animals.  I really had no idea that it's bad form to let a 1 year old feed herself yogurt without a spoon while she blissfully navigates a rocky dirt path all on her own on shaky baby legs.  Of course no yogurt ended up anywhere except on her person, the other indication that I'm no parent, uh, hey, I think YOUR kid needs YOU to clean 'em up :).  I catch myself attempting to reason with 2-year olds as well, and that's nothing if not a dead giveaway of childlessness.

Yogurt junkie
 Anyway, my race wife Leah rescued me from the desert and took me home since my husband was at work.  It's a bit confusing at first but we've figured it all out now :)

Fall racing is here, with cooler temps reviving me.  I signed up for a halfsie in December and am training to break 1:45 if I can crack the altitude...what's your next big race or goal?  I already have this Desert Dash 10K on my "to do every year until forever" calendar, but up next is my first Turkey Trot of the season!