Dry Creek Half Marathon Race……or Clinic

Christopher Whelchel, Me, Megan Kimmel Post race Chill

This past weekend I drove to Boise, Idaho for my 3rd La Sportiva Mtn Cup race.  Thanks so much Zarephath Trading for helping to fund my trip! I’d had a pretty rough week and was looking forward to clearing my mind on the drive, racing fast, and spending time with the La Sportiva crew and my friends, Chris from Texas and Christine ,who kindly let us both stay at her house all weekend.

I was excited as the course was supposed to be hilly, not too technical, and perfectly suited for me!  It is amazing how a rain storm can change the dynamics. Race morning we were presented cold and rain for our pre race excitement. I did my best to stay focused and moving to keep my blood flowing and energy up. The other thing is the race director was great. His name is Jeff. Despite the weather, he held a fabulous race. It was well organized with friendly perfectly run aid stations at perfect places. Best of all, the dude is hilarious. I decided that nothing can come out of his mouth unless it is funny. That itself brought some much needed sunshine to the race experience! I want to go back to another of his races soon.

Dried into dirt, our mud fest doesn’t look so bad!

At race start, we headed up a big long 1.5ish mile hill before turning onto slippery single track. Now while I love my Newtons dearly, what I quickly learned is that I needed actual lugs on the bottom of my shoes to stay upright in the wet butter like clay.  Luckily the entire course wasn’t like that, but there were several long crucial sections in the beginning, middle, and again the end of the race where I fell again and again and struggled to even stand, let a lone run. I cried inside as I watched my competition who did have the traction (think of riding semi slick tires on slippery silt vs deeply treaded mud tires on a mountain bike and you may get the picture) simply run away.

One thing that was so amazing to me while I struggled during these sections, was the first time I fell, almost in slow motion I did the splits and then continued to fall backwards. Before I had time to hit the ground fully or fall down the hillside, someone reached out and caught me pulling me back to my feet.  Much to my surprise and delight it was Chris! My friend I had met at the Nueces race in Texas a few weeks prior.  This was especially remarkable to me as I am going to race TransRockiesRun this year through the Colorado Rockies. After a lot of thought, I had literally just chosen Chris to be my partner for the race. I was already thrilled to have him as my teammate, but the fact that when I would have gone down in this race, he was there to catch me even though I had no idea he was right behind me, is the coolest thing ever. I am taking it as a sign that we are absolutely going to rock that race! Thank you Chris!

Continuing with the race, I realize that in races things don’t always go our way all of the time. I did the very best I could for the day. Within the race there were a few road sections where I ran fast and fluidly to make up time. There were also some sections with sand instead of clay that I ran well on. But I wasn’t fast enough to make up any time on the talented racers ahead of me. I finished the 13 miles 13 minutes back from the winner and my friend Megan Kimmel at fifth female overall. She inspires me so much! She smashed the course record despite the conditions. Congratulations Megan! I want to run like you someday.  Chris was a minute ahead of me at the end.

The great thing about the off road races that I love so much are the people. It is never just about the races. Sure I want to do well. I am super competitive and driven to find out what Rachel is capable of. Someday I have it in my heart that I will do great things and inspire many to unlock their own potential.  But in the meantime, I love traveling to places to race,  meeting new people and reconnecting with race friends. I enjoy the community and soul that is so connected with the off road scenes.

Post race it was just like that. I love the La Sportiva Team. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Ian over the last while. He is the guy who is responsible for making the series happen. Yep he is present at every race. Great fun to converse with. Super sharp, and always has a great smile and a hug. The racers themselves are all fun, full of humor, and among the fastest in the world. I want to be like them!  They are so much fun to hang out with post race exchanging stories and eating and drinking post race beer sometimes as early as 10AM!

I am so happy that despite the craziest “core” workout I may have ever done, my SI joints which last year may have left me with a dnf stayed solid. I feel like the luckiest girl ever to have CW-X as a sponsor. I wear their compression tights and sometimes tops every race now, while traveling, and sometimes even when sleeping to help my circulation and recovery. Each time I wear them, my SI joints have stayed solid! This race was their ultimate test and they passed!

I appreciate so much everyone who helps me be able to race. It means the world to me. Next week I am looking forward to warm dry Lake Las Vegas 21k with XTERRA!  They hold another of my favorite series. I LOVE them and am looking forward to seeing the Team Unlimited crew and many friends in less than a week!