Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Caveman Run Recap- State #37; #2 for 13 in 2013.

State #37- Nevada- Vegas Baby!
Half Marathon #44

Call me maybe crazy, but I had zero desire to do the traditional "rock n roll vegas' race to cross Nevada off my list. I knew I did want to run near Vegas so I had something to do while in the state, but it didn't necessarily have to be in the city itself. 

For those who have run Ragnar Las Vegas, it starts in Lake Mead which is the home of Hoover Dam and not to mention GORGEOUS! (and also the largest reservoir in US according to wikipedia). I stumbled across the Caveman Run which is also housed in Lake Mead and knew I wanted to go back... 
BCBS is well known in the triathalon world in Nevada, and they decided to enter the 'running world', with the introduction of the Caveman 5k / 12k/ half marathon. I actually prefer smaller races so I was happy to be a part of their inception, as well as escape winter for the weekend and enjoy 70 degree, not a cloud in the sky weather 

Start and finish line area

Finish line chute we would have to run down eventually 

Killing time before the race starts

Much like my half the week before in Chattanooga, I didn't have any significant goals for this race. I thought it would be great if I could beat my previous half time, 1:49:21, but wasn't sure how my breathing would react with altitude so I wanted to make sure to go out somewhat conservative so my lungs didn't feel like the would explode. 

In true Lisa forgetful fashion, I left my ipod in the car (we got shuttled to the start line), so I was able to quickly take some songs on my phone that were more "upbeat" and create an on the fly workout mix to use on speaker if I needed the extra motivation- whew, crisis averted. 

  • Startline was reaaaaaaaaaaal laid back- no national anthem, no frills, just line up "competitors in front, other runners in middle, walkers in the back" and then a count down 3, 2, 1 and we were off. 
  • I knew the first 4 miles were all uphill so I had to hold back, but sadly I don't think I could have gone much faster if I tried. This whole no music thing stinks when you can hear yourself breathing and you sound like you're having an asthma attack. The first mile I let people pass me as I settled into a slightly less wheezing "comfortable pace", where as miles 2-4 were all about just trying to close the gap between me and others so I wasn't all alone running (I caved after mile 2 and put my phone on speaker so I could have music rest of race) 
    • As you can see from below photos, course was scarce so yes, I was solo pretty much the whole race. 

  • Although first 4 miles were uphill, we did have some nice downhills between mile 4-6, HOWEVER, once mile 6 hit I lost the mental game...
  • First 5.5 miles were an out and back to the the start area where we then joined the course with the 5k and 12k, so it was neat to finally have more people around, albeit they were going in the opposite direction as myself, but nonetheless it was nice to cheer others on. 
  • Once mile 6 hit I realized that the REST OF THE FREAKING COURSE was on trails!!! By now you could say I'm a veteran to half marathons, which on the downside means I don't look at course profiles and descriptions as closely as a new runner would because I know I'll survive. I remember seeing something about smooth terrain and trails, so I didn't give it much thought that over half the race would be trails--- awesome. 
    • After my first mile on the trails I peaked at my split and saw a 9:24 (that i worked really hard for) I came to this realization that pace wasn't going to matter and just enjoy being outside, revel in the weather- being appreciative that it was snowing back in Nashville... and of course, take some photos! 
  • As the name suggests, there were a TON of caves we got to run through. The nice part about the caves was that it was shaded and the ground was smooth sand vs. rocks and dirt everywhere else. The bad part about the caves (although pictures look deceiving) is that it was pitch black in them- the darkness mixed with the stark contrast of how bright it was outside = THAT MUCH HARDER TO SEE which led to Lisa falling a grand total of 4 times

View of part of the reservoir

Mark passing me near mile 10ish- just shy of 1 mile ahead of me

  • There were more hills, more sunshine (I got a WICKED sunburn on shoulders and neck) and of course more stupid gravel, rocks, and turning of my ankles
  • Right at the turnaround was Hoover Dam- unfortunately we didn't get to see the Dam itself during the run, but Mark went back the next day after dropping me off at airport to snap this photo:
  • Around mile 10.5 I decided I wanted to be done, but I couldn't keep pushing myself--- I was hot, tired, my hips and ankles hated me, and I was ready for the hot tub. I ended up pulling an Iowa and Nebraska and took off my shirt for the remainder of the race. I tell you what ladies.. you want motivation to get abs for summer--- run shirtless and then look at your race photos when they are posted.... HUGE incentive there to not have to look at that again ;)
  • Despite my pace slowing down, it appeared that everyone else's was too- I ended up catching 2 guys that were in the distance which was a great ego booster, however didn't do much for me picking up the pace. 
  • After I made the decision to not care about pace after mile 7, I never looked at my watch again, so I was just hoping that I somehow broke 2 hours-- pretty please. Much to my surprise I came in at 1:52:47--- I swear I'll never understand my body's reactions and matching up my pace as I felt LIGHT YEARS away from my pace the week prior... not a measely 3 min off. 
Although I didn't feel great this race, had a hard time getting my breathing steadied, was constantly battling with my ankles, and again dealing with my heart issue, I actually enjoyed this race. The sights were breath taking, I was never having to fight a crowd to pass someone, and everyone out there truly was just "enjoying the run"--- something I often forget to sit back and do. 

Mile 1: 8:10
Mile 2: 8:34
Mile 3: 8:12
Mile 4: 7:59
Mile 5: 7:40
Mile 6: 8:12
Mile 7: 9:24 <--- as so the trail portion of race begins..
Mile 8: 9:02
Mile 9: 8:32
Mile 10: 9:51
Mile 11: 9:12
Mile 12: 8:53
Mile 13: 8:25
Mile . 11 6:20 

In a race this small- its hard not to place--- I knew I was the 5th female to finish overall, but lucky for me that the 4 in front of me were in different age groups, thus I placed first in 25-29. They ended up only giving a medal to first place finishers, + a sweet transition bag---I promise there was a 3rd place finisher, she just left before awards since it took quite some time to get started (they did 5k and 12k first--- luckily I had no where pressing to be) 

I was having issues with my camera not recognizing my SD card, so a fellow half fanatic that I was chatting with while waiting around agreed to take my photos and send them to me... I ADORE the running community, thanks HF Kirk Buckley!!!

Sporting my winnings :)

Apparently for the first year they decided to just give medals to first place finishers, not  reven or 2nd got one. Whew man did I luck out- I hate not getting medals for races I travel to.

Overall it was a great experience for a bare bones, back to nature race. If you like crowd support, large running field, bling, swag, after race food etc- you might want to skip it. If you're looking for a race with AMAZING views along the entire course, than I would look at Caveman 1/2 for a potential Nevada race. As with all races in its first year, there is a "working out the kinks" process, so it can only get better from here! 


  1. great job!!! congrats on taking your age group, looks like a nice race!

  2. Congrats on your big win! Glad you got a medal. Whew.
    I found one in NV that goes over the Hoover Dam and through a bunch of tunnels. I wonder if the tunnels are the same caves you ran through?
    See you soon!

  3. Congrats, Lisa! Fantastic job for such a tough course... first four miles uphill? Ouch! So cool that you placed!

  4. Wow, what a great race, nice scenery! Those photos are making me crave some sun. Awesome job placing & kicking some butt despite thinking you weren't doing well AND falling 4 times. OUCH!

  5. Whew you got some spam comments. How annoying!
    Great job on the half marathon, except for the falling part ;)
    I would be upset if I traveled there and then didn't get a medal too, you did luck out!

  6. THe first thing I said to myself here when I saw the unshaded course was "I hope she wore sunblock". Yikes! How cool to be running through caves though. Congrats on snagging AG 1!

  7. WOW!!! it's got to be tough traveling out west first off, then running a race that ends up with rocks all over the place. No bueno. BUT, ummm, you hit the podium sister!!! When are you coming to KY?? HAHAHA!

  8. This race looks so beautiful! I love when a state race gives a great picture of the area and a feel for the locals. I also think its so freeing when you hit the point of no longer looking at the time. Great recap!

  9. Way to go Lisa! Loving all the sunny pics:)

  10. Congrats on FIRST place!! I love they have podium, that makes getting your medal so much more special!!!

  11. Congrats on winning!!! WOWZA!

  12. Congratulations!! That's so exciting! Sounds like a fun race even though the first two miles are uphill, I think the cave part is really cool!

  13. What a cool race! Most of the races on my calendar this year are back to the basics. Essentially you just run! Congrats on the finish!

  14. congrats!! it looks beautiful too! i can't believe you don't check out the courses for each race :)