#42 Mojave

  • May 16th, 2015
  • Mojave, California
  • Mojave Marathon
  • Sharon: 2:59:00
  • Tim: 3:00:00

 

Well I’m older now but still runnin’ against the wind
– Bob Seger

 

42 down only 10 to go.

Before I launch into this weeks windy race report I have some exciting news. Well it’s exciting news to me. And probably to Tim as well because I will be using his body for my homework. I’m starting massage school in July. This is something I have wanted to do for a while and will fit in nicely with my current skill set. “She has a skill set?”, you might be thinking. Yes, yes I do. I’m an ACE certified personal trainer, a certified Yoga instructor as well as a Reiki master. In Tucson, clients would sometimes ask me if I know a good massage therapist. Maybe next year I will actually start working again instead of spending all my time trying to beat the computer at Scrabble (expert level, thank you very much) and glaring at smokers on the promenade. I could offer personal training followed by a massage, packages. The message school is only 6 blocks from our apartment. It’s so nice to be back in civilization.

This race was in Mojave (4 hour drive) so we got a motel (Motel 6) Friday night. Thinking it would save time, I suggested that we eat at Del Taco. What is wrong with me? In my defense I have eaten at Del Taco before running in the past and been okay. Del Taco is my favorite fast food restaurant. I have discovered the common denominator in a fast food, bad tummy, run, is french fries. We have made a wise decision not to eat fast food before races anymore.

I was looking forward to this race because I love the desert but it had a few unexpected challenges. This race turned out to be harder than anticipated due to crazy wind. The first half of the race was run into a viscous headwind.

#42 Mojave

Just a bit of wind

This was a hard, dusty, dry, trail race on some annoying trails. The first trail was a jeep road which sounds great but was actually a weird rolling pitted surface. It took extra focus not to twist an ankle. This was my favorite part of the race because it looked so cool. We ran through a Joshua Tree/Windmill alien looking landscape. They sure had the windmills in the right place.

#42 Mojave

Joshua Tree, Windmill forest

I thought the course could have been better marked. At one intersection there were 3 possible routs and they had an arrow that appeared to me to be between 2 of the directions. I stopped to ponder this and took the path I thought I saw someone on in the distance. I ran for a while without seeing anyone or any markers. I was pretty sure I was going the wrong way (I wasn’t) so I ran back until I saw another woman. I ended up doing 13.8 not 13.1 miles. This section was next to the railroad tracks and was rocky. It was rocky and sandy.

In the distance I saw Tim. I was afraid that he was having an a-fib problem again but he wasn’t even walking. It looked like he was waiting for me. He was. There was a rattlesnake (in full rattlesnake mode) right next to the trail and Tim was worried about me because he knows how oblivious I can be towards the end of a race. My hero.

#42 Mojave

Look closely

While I was happy to see Tim, running with him can be a bit frustrating, especially towards the end of a race. If I’m running with someone I like to talk and run, Tim is a silent runner. I like to listen to my music for the last half of the race. After repeatedly trying to start a conversation I turned on my music. That always seems to be Tim’s cue to say something, so I turn off my music thinking we will have a conversation but no – he had only one sentence in him. This happened a couple of times. The last half of the race was run on a road. This intersection at least had volunteers to ask whether to take the road or trail.

Usually I have nothing but praise for the wonderful volunteers donating their time for runners but the volunteers at this race were a mixed bag. This race was a fund raider for the track team so a lot of the volunteers were students. There seemed to be no middle ground. About half of the volunteers were great and enthusiastic but the other half were teenagers who didn’t even pretend to want to be there. A note to race directors. Please do not force students to “volunteer”. Rude, sullen teenagers who make no secret that they resent having to do this does not make for a great race experience.

Because we were single file on the road I ended up jamming out to my music and pulling ahead of Tim. I didn’t realize that he was having an allergy problem. Tim is very allergic to the desert. [ I also had an a-fib issue the last few miles. – Tim ]

It was nice that they had an indoor hanger to sit in after the race but there were was a serious lack of food. They had sandwitches for sale ($7) that looked like they came from a gas station. Really – you need to feed runners after a race. Too rub it in they had free pizza for volunteers only so kids were sitting around eating pizza. We couldn’t get out of there soon enough.

Cons

  • Crazy wind
  • Hard to run on trail
  • Some volunteers were so unhelpful they bordered on rude
  • I thought the course was poorly marked (Tim thought it was OK)
  • No food at the end unless you bought it
  • No seconds on the timing (First time I have seen this)
  • Cheap medal
  • A general tired lame vibe

Pros

  • Parking near start
  • Day of race packet pickup
  • Incredible views of windmills and Joshua Trees
  • Many volunteers were eager and helpful
  • Nice looking cotton t-shirt
  • A jumping castle for kids
#42 Mojave

Sharon contemplates stealing pizza

I didn’t hate this race as much as this report would suggest but I don’t recommend it. I loved the views but overall this was a race that had too many negatives. There were just too many people who obviously didn’t want to be there or care. I got a real – lets get this over vibe. Even though they had a nice after race space it didn’t seem like anyone was hanging around. Still, running through Joshua trees and windmills is pretty cool. If you decide to do this race bring some food. And watch out for rattlesnakes.

#42 Mojave

There are no words to describe how much I love getting comments

6 Comments

  1. This looks like a beautiful place to run if you just want to go out alone, and not deal with snotty teenagers. And that is a damn fine snake, but I think I would have added some serious speed to my pace getting away from it! I can’t believe they didn’t even have a banana for you guys! How hard is it to get a lousy bag of bagels for folks? The shirt is nice, though. You’ll have to do a “favorite shirts” recap, just so we don’t go into withdrawals when you stop blogging weekly. And that is seriously awesome about the massage school, what a skill to add to your already-awesome credentials!

    Hey, I just got a race listing that showed the Gateway to the Gorge is open for registration — should I sign up in your honor and use it as a Planned Parenthood fundraiser?

    • You can bet I didn’t hang around to pet the snake. Tim took those photos. I didn’t even see it but I heard its rattle. I’m really looking forward to going back to school mostly for something meaningful to do. I don’t know anyone and am a little lonely so I hope I can make some friends at school. I laughed so loud when I read your planned parenthood quip that I think the whole coffeehouse gave me a look.

  2. Finally, I am logged in, thanks to Tim, as I couldn’t get in to post earlier.
    Well, this sounded like an interesting race with a mixed bag of things. I couldn’t get in to the other site to congratulate you on coming in first place! Hey, if you come in first place and there are only three runners, so be it!
    This will be short as we are getting ready for Alaska!
    To be honest, I never talked at the end of my races as I was focusing on the last half mile or mile to go. I did like to talk with someone during the race but not at the end. It was funny with you and Tim exchanging music and words though!
    We are proud of you going to massage school and know you will do well. John and I have been going to Bob for 10 years now. He believes in an hour and a half and I will take no less now.
    How rude of the kids to eat pizza in front of you!
    You guys look great and so happy.
    Thanks again, Tim for stepping in and getting me set up.
    Much love to you both,
    Jane and John

    • I’m glad Tim was able to help. I wish I knew what to do to make it easier to comment because I love reading comments. Have a great trip. In 1992 me and my friend Erin spent the summer in Alaska. It was beautiful.

  3. desertmarilyn

    Wow! First of all, is that a new shirt, Sharon? The new shirt, I should say? The before pic looks worse than the after picture, must be the wind. Although the backdrop of the jet is pretty cool. I have driven through that area with the wind farms, and it’s always, always windy. Which, like you said, is a big duh as to why there are so many windmills! Sounds like the race was interesting, but not a great one. I’m sorry to hear that Tim’s a-fib is still acting up. It was hilarious to read that you listen to music because Tim doesn’t talk, and he started to talk and interrupted your music. (Remember the story about the man with the watch and the woman who cut her hair?)

    Anyway, so happy that you’re truly on the downward side of the 52 race marathon. I imagine the first couple of weeks of “nothing to do” weekends, you and Tim are going to be at 6s and 7s, wondering how to fill your time. Please please please, take a few weeks off before you start the next marathon project (which we all know you will do!)

    Glad you’re starting school, you will excel because you excel at everything you do, including marathon Scrabble, and especially including yoga instructing.

    BTW, Jane sent me an email this morning telling me she cannot log in to leave a comment. I’ll forward it to you so Tim can see it.

    Hope to talk with you soon. Love and hugs to you both, have a great time at your 43rd this weekend!

    • Not a new shirt and during this race I remembered why it was not my go to race shirt. Black is too hot. I think I will go back to the falling apart white shirt. At least I know it is chafe resistant. Living in SD we are not at all worried about filling our weekends. We have a list of things we want to do. Our next project is training for a marathon. We plan to do about one race a month to train so I’m not going to stop writing my blog but it won’t be weekly.

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