Did you know that there are gigantic, natural sand dunes in Idaho? Proof:
On Saturday I ran a 10k along the ridge of these dunes and on the surrounding sandy trails. I signed up for it months ago, on a whim when they opened registration for $10. The irrational side of me thought, “This sounds fun! Let’s run for six miles through sand!” As soon as I told my friends that I signed up for the Bruneau Beast they put it in perspective for me: “That sounds awful.” “I hate sand in my shoes.” “You couldn’t pay me to do that race.”
But, stubborn mule that I am, I insisted on running anyway. The day before the race I rode up to the Foothills Learning Center with the kids in the bucket bike. Not an easy ride. It was good pre-race cardio. When I was parking the bike I managed to somehow bash my knee on the rack and get a serious bruise. My knee immediately started aching and didn’t stop all afternoon and evening. I felt a little sick to my stomach thinking that I might not be able to run at all because of a stupid mishap. Felt like a flashback to last summer’s sprained ankle fiasco. Boo. I spent the evening icing my ankle, taking ibuprofen and finding elaborate ways to wrap KT Tape on my knee. Worked like a dream, though! I woke up, bright and early at 4am, with no pain at all in my knee and ready to head to Bruneau.
I left at 4:30 for the hour and a half drive out to the dunes. The race started at 7am but I wanted to make sure I was early enough for packet pickup and to warm up. I didn’t bank on the fact that the race was tiny and there would be no line at checkout, plus it was chilly and mosquito-y enough that as soon as I grabbed my bib I sat in my car and played Mahjongg on my phone until I needed to warm up. After a five minute jog and some stretching, it was time to go!
The emcee for the race was dressed as Darth Vader, obviously. Lent a slightly ominous tone to the event. 10k and half marathoners started together and between both distances, there were probably only 200 runners. Having no idea of how I would fare in the sand, I started midway back so I wouldn’t hold up a ton of people. The first 1/4 mile or so was on regular trail so it helped me warm up a bit more before we got to the sand.
And then we got to the sand. And oh, what a lot of sand it was.
Approximately the next two miles of the race were navigating the ridge of the three gigantic dunes. The uphill was a slow, steady hike where I focused on stepping in foot holes of the gal in front of me. It made it less slippery that way. The downhills were so fun because you could just take huge, bounding leaps and FLY down! The tough part about the ridge is that everyone is stuck single file so jockeying for position is nearly nonexistent.
As soon as we came down the dunes we hit the first aid station and it seemed like a perfect time to empty the massive amounts of sand that had accumulated in my shoes. Once that was taken care of I headed to the trails which were very loosely marked and meandered around the back country of Bruneau. It was beautiful! My legs were exhausted so I allowed myself a couple of small walk breaks but was amazed at how well I was able to power through. Turns out, I’m a lot stronger than I thought I am!
Now comes my big mistake: not emptying the sand from my shoes at the second aid station. I didn’t want to waste the time and decided to just finish strong. Wrong. So much sand had built up that my shoes were fitting me as if they were two sizes too small. The sand rubbed a huge blood blister on my second toe and it felt as if my toenail was tearing away (cue nauseous gagging). Half a mile from the finish I stopped to check on my toe and it made me miserable. My toe hurt so bad that I decided to walk to the finish. But then I realized that walking still hurt and was only taking longer. I limp/walk/jogged to the finish, so relieved to be done.
I had no idea of what my pace would be in the sand and just hoped to finish under two hours. It was pleasantly surprising to see that my time was 1:22 and that I came in seventh place overall for women! I feel like now that I know some mistakes that I made, I could actually be a contender to place next year. Booyah!
Sunday was a rest day. Whew. Monday was supposed to be Body Back but my toe was still killing me (and my knee decided to flare up) so I decided to stay home and ice and rest.
This week has been a million degrees (seriously! A high of 98 on Tuesday!) and of course this is the week that the kids were signed up for a late afternoon soccer camp. Nothing drains your energy quite like sitting at a park for two hours during the hottest part of the day. After soccer camp on Tuesday, Alex and I came home and decided to embrace the heat by doing this workout by Pumps & Iron in the yard. I decided to be a multi-tasking genius and grill chicken for dinner while we did our workout. DON’T BE ME. After severely charring our dinner and having our children start throwing dirt at us, we had to call it quits after the fourth round in a last ditch effort to not be completely neglectful parents. But, considering how sweaty we were from working out in 98 degrees, I’d still call it a full workout.
Wednesday was rest day (and cheat day!). Bring on the Patio Wine Wednesday!
On Thursday I taught Stroller Strides at Kleiner Park in Meridian and the kids got to play in the splash pad afterwards. We had the last soccer class in the afternoon (which was a disaster from Jasper’s perspective) and then I was supposed to have Body Back again. And again I skipped it. It was a good time for me to remember that even if I have prior obligations, sometimes my family just needs to come first. My kids definitely seemed like they needed mama at home.
This afternoon I am heading up to Stanley, ID with my friend Sam because our team is running the Sawtooth Relay tomorrow. We have an 8:15am start time (which is awesome!) and I’m running legs 2 and 8. I feel ready for the running but am also ready for it to be over because I want our schedule to normalize a bit. Alex and the kids are staying in Boise so I feel a little bad about ditching them for races two weekends in a row.
Details about Sawtooth soon to come!