Tag Archives: endurance

Race Recap-Coulee Cactus Crawl, AKA the Hardest Race I Have Ever Ran

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June 1st marked the fourth race weekend in a row, with myself previously doing the Spartan Sprint, Woody’s RV Half Marathon and the Calgary Half Marathon.. So naturally, I thought it to be a good idea and run a 20+ mile trail race in the coulees of Lethbridge. Yes, I did know what I was getting myself into—-the coulees and landscape of Lethbridge is extremely cross country and challenging. But I figured I was up for the challenge.

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I went into this race telling myself this was for completion, not time.. I was fine with that, as looking at previous years’ results, there were many DNF (did not finish) results in the solo categories. You can enter this race as a solo runner, or as part of a relay team with up to five runners. The way the five legs were set up created a few repeat areas in the course, as relay transition areas were located on flat areas at the top of the coulees. These spots also had water, which I used to refill my hydration belt, and a good resting point, which I took advantage of for a few minutes each time I reach a peak.

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The weather in Lethbridge had been questionable all week and inconsistent—some days reached 80 degrees, and other evenings we would have a hailstorm. The weather at the high noon start time of the Coulee Cactus Crawl was in the mid 60s, reaching the 70s, with very little cloud coverage. For a short 5k, this would have been fantastic. The cloud coverage didn’t show until about 3.5 hours in. But, regardless, the race started at Fort Whoop Up at noon, and away went all the first relay members and all the crazy solo runners.

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I felt pretty strong the first leg and ran all the hills, until I hit the incredibly cruel climb to the college parking lot where relay exchange #1 was located. No exaggeration, but this incline was about 50 meters at a 75 degree angle of elevation.. Once to the top, you checked in with the volunteers, who recorded your time (no chip timing). People in the exchange area then realized how much of an idiot I was, because my bib had a black number that was between 1-30. All relay e members had red numbers greater than 100. Runner #1 checked her sanity level, got some water, and barreled down the hill to continue on leg 2.

The long and short of the race was that as I moved on, I knew for my own survival and wellness, I would need to walk up any steep-grade hills as I felt necessary. Some I could run the first time I met them, and then later, I would have to power walk. Yes, I had done some of these “obstacles” before on marathon club runs (the wooden stairs by the Sugar Bowl are a bitch) but there were some very narrow, unstable areas that I had to be cautious around, mainly because I wasn’t use to these extremes. I did see some fantastic areas of south Lethbridge that I did not know existed. I plan on using these trails in the future with my husband and dog, as the views were gorgeous and breathtaking. I have a new appreciation for individuals who call them selves trail runners, as it takes a different level of athleticism to complete this type of course competitively!

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By the time I finished, 4 hours 56 minutes and some odd seconds had passed. The course totaled 21.5 miles, as told by my Nike+ GPS watch. If you are curious of the route, elevation, and craziness of this route, click the link below, as it shows my turtle-like paces through the terrain:

Andrea’s Coulee Cactus Crawl Run-2013

I ended up not finishing last, which was fantastic. I was one of four women to run the race solo. I even got a medal for finishing 2nd in women under 40! (There was only two of us, but hey, I will take what I can get!)

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This race was a great experience, and I am happy I registered and mustered on through.. I got to see parts of the city I live in that I never knew existed. I gained a new appreciation for runners who partake in trail running and ultra-race events. I also want to thank Runners Soul for putting on this fantastic event, as the concept of being able to do a relay race through this beautiful landscape is fantastic. Also, the chance to run it as a solo idiot is fantastic too 🙂

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So, what am I all about?

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Hi everyone. You are reading my first “official” blog entry. Yes, there are three other posts previous to this, but they were trial runs, because I really have no idea what I am doing when it comes to web page stuff. I am planning on regularly updating this page every Sunday. I am trying to figure out and learn the best ways to keep people updated and notified, so be patient as I learn how this whole thing works. I am hoping to reach a wide audience beyond my close family and friends.

Those of you reading today, January 6, 2013, are probably either family or friends who clicked my link on Facebook. Hi! But, on the chance there are outside readers who stumbled upon this, I am going to start today by doing a little introduction. I am Andrea. I am 28 years old. I live in Lethbridge, Alberta, but am from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My husband is Dan. He owns the landscape business Healthy Soils. We met while in vacation in the Bahamas in 2007 (Awwww). We have a beagle named Snoopy and two cats, named Faron and Woodstock. Saying I am a fan of Peanuts is an understatement! I teach high school math at WCHS.

I am an only child. My mom still lives in my childhood home in Franklin, Wisconsin. My parents and I took advantage of traveling and getaways whenever possible! Since October 1991, our favorite family vacation destination has been Walt Disney World. We went on six magical vacations together! I participated in track & field since middle school, but started running endurance races during my freshman year of college. Since then, I have competed in 7 full marathons (26.2 miles), 5 half marathons (13.1 miles), and numerous 5/10 kilometer races. My dad has never seen me run in any of my road races. On April 25, 2004, he passed away from a heart attack. He had just finished his Sunday morning run. He was 51 years old.

For the first 3 years after my dad passed away, I had no feeling. I now realize I was in denial, avoiding that this happened. I was in disbelief. After those years of being in shock passed, I felt anger, sadness, discouragement…I didn’t want to talk to anyone, partly because I didn’t know who to talk to. I was scared to talk to my mom, because I didn’t want her to be upset or sad herself. None of my close friends or family had gone through a situation like this, so I didn’t want to talk to them. It has now been close to 9 years and I am finally now finding ways to deal properly with this. I have always let my mind wander about ways to honour my dad in a way he’d appreciate.

For a few years now, I casually would look to see if there were any road races, 5/10/21/42 km, which raised money for heart disease research. There are none. American Heart Association and the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada have events like Hoops for Heart, Jump Rope for Heart, bike races, etc. Any of the half and full marathons I entered always had a choice charity to fundraise for. But they were never ones I was deeply passionate about. So I am taking matters into my own hands.

This year, I am embarking on a running journey. I am registering for more half marathon races than I usually run. I will try and participate in more 10km and 5 km races. I am going to join a running club. And I am signing up for the Walt Disney World “Goofy Challenge” in January 2014, where I will run a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday. This race has always been on my endurance race “bucket list” so there is no better time to do it than now. I am going to be raising money for heart disease research during this year. It’s not that I am taking pledges for miles run, or asking others to run with me. I am asking for YOU to support me in this racing journey as I run in memory of my late father, Andrew A. Lammers.

I will be updating this website throughout the year, chronicling my training journey. Like I said before, I plan to update this blog every Sunday, but I may update with short entries throughout the week that have general training information. I will also be posting reflections on past races, Disney vacations, and my dad. Everything strangely ties together. There have also been a lot of events from before my dad passed away and after that have helped lay the path to this very moment. By sharing this with the world, I hope that it will help me heal a little bit more.

Enjoy my site.
Je me souviens-Running in Memory of Andrew A. Lammers-To Infinity & Beyond!