This was a weekend of firsts. Let me narrate.
First, I had a sleepover at Jessie's house (a first), so that we could get an early start on our trip. At 2:15 a.m. our alarm clocks rang to get us on our way for a 3:30 a.m. departure (another first) for a group trip to Moab for a five mile race (a first) and a visit to Canyonlands national park (first #4).
Jessie drove the car I rode in, and I slept off and on, while Jason kept Jessie awake, and Dave and Jim slept. Jen drove the other car with Morgan, Jake, and Mark. We arrived at 7:00 a.m. to pick up our race packets, and, of course, for a quick bathroom break. Jen, Morgan, and I went to find the women's restroom, and upon entering, a man stated that he was almost finished and would be out quickly. We looked at each other perplexed at the situation of finding a man in the women's restroom (next first), and busted out laughing when it was Jim that stepped out and didn't even look us in the eye as he passed. Apparently Jim mistook the the men's restroom as being closed--it was open on the other side of the building.
Since it was so cold (about 24 degrees), we did a little bit of prepping and stretching at the gym where our race packets were, before we headed to where the busses were located to take us up the canyon. Since we would be at the start of the race for about an hour or more before the actual beginning of the race, we took along iPods and a frisbee to throw to keep us company.
They dropped 739 runners off at the Negro Bill's Canyon trailhead parking lot on Highway 128, where our little group occupied about 1/6 of the parking lot for our pre-race warmup of throwing the frisbee (again, a first). Probably the best warmup ever because it was so fun and I didn't tire out one bit. Plus, I it warmed up my ungloved hands in the below freezing temps.
Our actual start line was about 1/4 of the mile down the road, which our little group jogged to and sang "Viva la Vida" to keep our energy going. We were right next to the starting line (you guessed it, a first! and in the sun!) and were laughing and guessing how we would do since we really hadn't trained for the race (except Jake), and were running it anyway (first #8). I honestly figured that I would be running about a 9- to 10-minute mile based on my previous week's result in the Rex E. Lee 5k where I ran about a 9-minute mile. As a side note, I ran in honor of my grandmother, Barbara Johns, as a cancer survivor--one of the myriad of trials and successes she has had in her 80+ years of life. Running in honor of someone, and running the Rex E. Lee run were each firsts, but they didn't happen this weekend.
I didn't feel absolutely stellar, but I didn't feel too bad either, and just enjoyed the scenery along the Colorado river. At about mile 2.2 of the race, this awesome Japanese drum group was playing, which could be heard from about a 1/2 mile away as it echoed on the canyon walls, pounding out a beat that really motivated you to keep on moving. I've never heard a Japanese drum group (almost to 10 firsts), and really enjoyed their energy.
I finished the race at 42:47, with an eight year-old girl--I was so impressed at her stamina and ability! And I was absolutely delighted that I had finished so quickly, beating my projected time by minutes. Amazingly, I placed 78th out all the 5-mile runners, 35th out of all girls/women, and 3rd in my age group (25-29)! I've never placed in a race like that in my life, and considering I haven't run too many, that was pretty darn awesome (first numeral X). In fact, all five runners in our group placed in the age divisions: Jim 1st, Dave 2nd, Jake 1st, Jessie 1st, and myself 3rd. I've decided that from now on I will abide by three things for all races: not train much, run with Jessie, and warm-up with frisbee throwing.
Canyonlands was had absolutely beautiful vistas, and we enjoyed the scenic overlooks and small hikes to these amazing vistas. Plus, as you can see, we had a blast taking pictures, laughing and joking the entire trip.
The last first (#11) of the trip was a visit to Cathy's Pizza and Deli in Green River, a well liked, clean, little joint that where I got great fries, a chicken sandwich, and a blackberry shake. I recommend it if you're planning to eat in the area. Great way to top off the a weekend of firsts for the trip.
Good times. I love trying and doing new things, and I love my life.