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Vicki Stephenson's Blog

23 Posts

In December of 2009 I had a chance to meet Active Toby here in Las Vegas. I picked him up from the airport after he had just finished a race and was going to be doing the Las Vegas Marathon the next day. As we drove to the hotel we started exchanging stories; our stories, when he heard mine he said I should share it with the community. I said ok and we went our seperate ways.  I thought about for a while and was like I should but just really wasn't feeling it.  I posted a note about the race on facebook and probably thought that was good enough.   I've toyed with the idea several times and still hear Toby saying "you should share it with the community."  each time I think about...  So that tells me I should share it and not put it off any longer.


People ask me when I tell them I running for my dad's memory was he a runner?  No he wasn't a runner or an athlete, he was a kind and gentle soul who taught me wrong from right and always told me I can do anything as long as I put my mind to it.



My Story:


In December 2001 I received a call from my mom saying "Vicki it's your Dad."   I had just started a new job and was lucky to have ten hour shifts because it was on my weekend.. So I packed the kids and went to Kingman Arizona.   We took him to the hospital and they medvac him here to Las Vegas. From there we probably lost a week; I know that talking to my dad afterwards he doesn't remember a thing which was probably a good thing.  I have several memories during this time I won't forget; You see the cancer was all over his body including his brain.   There was the time I was visiting him and mom , he got up and simply stated " I want to go for a ride." walked out the front door opened the door to my car got in and shut the door...  We drove for about 45 minutes turned the car around and went home. He was satisfied..  Towards the end we had to restrain him to the wheelchair because he would wonder off and forget where he was, noises also bothered him. He ended up confined to the hospital bed at home...


A friend of mine shared with me the Let Go and Let God poem.....   The week before he died I was visiting with them and I went into the bed room I had just came back from a run.... My  last conversation I had with my dad went like this he opened his eyes and looked at me and his voice was clear he said " Did you do your run?" I said, "Yes Sir!"  that was the last time we spoke ...... Before I left mom and I  went into the room and stood by the bed he opened his eyes didn't say anything but mom and I told him everything would be all right and taken care the boys and mom would be fine he just nodded and closed his eyes.  A week later I got the call the he had passed on.



That was 2002 this was 2009  seven years later I did my first full marathon in his honor and fininshed it . It wasn't pretty but I completed it and that's why I run...............

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Race Day

Posted by Vicki S. Jul 22, 2009


Wow to describe the feeling that lasted  at least until Monday is indescrible...  



Thursday, we drove to Bryce Canyon Utah and set up camp.  My best freind joined us later that night I mean later she decided to visit the mechanics shop (lol).  Another story..



  Friday arrived and my system decided to go screwy; I didn't  do anything different I kept the same routine in prepping for my race that I usually do and prepared my gear that evening. 



Saturday arrived nice ,cool, crisp, and clear; with my system back ontrack..4  am wakeup  sure came early, but it was enough time to get my game on.  Both races started in different locations mine started at Ruby's Inn and went to the town of Cannonville; Cathy's race started in Cannoville. So the rest of the gang left me to be alone with my thoughts around 5:15 so she could get there before they closed the road.



We had been given bags to put are unneccessary gear in like sweats things needed in the cool air, but not while running; so I handed mine to the UPS truck and found a place to stretch and warmup.



The Half started at 6 am sharp as I turned my IPOD on I noticed it was on the redline, I knew I could run without music so I opted to turn it off and observe the secenry for the fisrt half.   Well my system decided to put it its two cents in; however the lines long at the porta potty so I kept running.  I wasted some time at one of them ,because I didn't know the lady that beat me there was sick (hope she's feeling better..



So I resumed running finally at mile 7 I had to stop.  I used an energy gel at mile 8 I was feeling pretty good.   Mile 9 I turned the IPOD on at mile 10  I couldn't make out the zero and thought it was 11. til I got closer.. I



Mile 10 my legs went dead I hit the wall BIG time... I started walking some then ran then walked to mile 11 repeating the same routine.



Mile 12 never looked so good as I came around the last curve I saw my best friend waiting at the corner waving and telling me I'm almost there...  She started running in with me then she started coughing pretty bad and had to stop. ( chest congestion) I couldn't if I was picking up the pace , I came down the chute and was sprinting both of my calves cramped up on me with a few yards left I crossed the finish line.



I did a post race review with my husband and it was determined that if I had used my last gel pack at mile 11 I might not have hit the wall, I am also thinking about adding an extra water bottle for my electrolytes (have 3 instead of 2)..   Plus carrying a gel flask or instead of 3 packs make it 5 or 6.



I know that I can do 10 miles with no problem so that will be my long runsfor a while...



MOst importantly I finished in 3hrs 11min  01 sec.     I missed my goal by 26 min, but hey I finished and that was the primary goal..  



So now I will get my 13.1 sticker and put it on my truck and  am looking forward to my next race Which ever one that will be. I do know for sure it will be Valley of Half Marathon...



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Training is moving right along

Posted by Vicki S. Jun 11, 2009


Well it is four week until my first half marathon. I am excited a little nervous, and some what daunted by the  mileage....  I completed a 5 mile run Saturday in 1:06 which is pretty much right on my pace.   I did a 3 mile run yesterday and will be doing speed work to night and sunday will do my long run.      Even though I haven't  done my event yet I am already planning to do the half marathon in Sonoma next July.   My cycling hasn't been on the way side I am just focusing on the running right now....



There is a running group that I am thinking about joining but just a little unsure even though I know a few of those people...  So that is my challenge to get a good 6-8 mile run in next Wednesday Night  and get over the I'm not fast enough syndrome and have the run push me to my limit and then some.  



I really enjoy the challenge and have lost another inch from my hips..  Yeahh



So if you are reading this and have any tips  I would like to here them......



I would like to say the highlight of my run yesterday was when I saw the sprinklers shooting into the air I couldn't resist getting in the water......



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The Slump

Posted by Vicki S. May 26, 2009


For about the three weeks I've been in a slump......  I am training for a half marathon at Bryce Canyon in July  I was averaging about 5miles befoire the slump hit....  You see hear in southern Nevada we are what you call a desert which our temps get hotter than most places and earlier...  so that means you have to get up earlier and work your way into the heat. My problem was getting up at 5:30am.........



Well that ended today and I'm back on track I got up at 5:30 and was running by 7:30 done around 8:30 (with warm up and cool down)  What really suprised me is that my time hadn't changed that much..



I am averaging about a 13 minute mile which I think is a good pace for the  distance I will be running....  I ran three miles today and felt good and strong.  There is a run with the devil run in Boulder City the end of June, I will be doing the 10k as a training run and would like to shave some time of of my 1:32:37 10k I idd in November... We will see being that it is a lot hotter and we start later that's why its called Run  with the Devil.  



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The problem and solution

Posted by Vicki S. Mar 26, 2009

After getting back on my feet from Solvang I did a Tour de cure clinic last Saturday.  I was talking to a friend of mine and told her what happened. We went through everything leading up to the ride and during the ride.  I was properly hydrated, had my gel, sustained energy, and my peanut butter banana honey sandwiches (That have become a staple on my rides)............ So what was missing electrolytes.   I have not really paid to close attention to the amount of salt I loose and should have been paying attention to my chin strap on my helmet,  the base of my sports bra and the sides of my face.  So now I know what to do and can take this experience and learn from it.

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Hello all,  I made it back from my first century ride, however the invaluable experience I gained was more valuable than finishing a 100 mile ride.   I completed 40 miles of the ride through some of the most beautiful country.  For those that haven't been to Solvang it is very pretty with lots and lots of hills.  BIIIIIIGGGGGGG!!!!!!!! ones.



So what did I learn for starters I need an extra day to check my equipment instead of waiting until the day before. (Thank goodness Solvang has a bike shop)  Both of my tires (not tubes) had cuts in them.  I started the ride probably excited, and nervous since this was my first major ride; the weather was cold so I didn't stretch out like I should have.  Usually for my training rides I just ride and stretch later during the ride.  Hills were a big factor , that's what did my legs in; my quads were in spasms. I tried stretching on and off the bike even coasting no luck.  I had to call to it at 40, while waiting for my knight in shining armor I continued to stretch and my hamstring cramped up.  My hydration and nutrition were right on target it was just on of those days that the body wasn't going to do what it was trained to do.



Now I am adding more strength training and hill repeats to my workouts.   I will definately be back for more I am hooked. 



My reward..... bycycle tatoo on my ankle will have to  wait until I finish the full 100.



I was so nervous I don't have any action shots.



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Behind schedule

Posted by Vicki S. Mar 3, 2009


Well so far training hasn't  been kind to me or should I say the factors haven't played nice.   After I recovered from sinsus infection and stomach bug I got attacked again by my sinsuses.  So my riding has been limited and haven't been able to run since I couldn't breathe and would be hacking up a lung or something else.



However I haven't backed down from goals and have seen some improvement in my riding.  I am attending training clinics for the tour de Cure that has included a spin class as welll as longer rides.



My training ride Saturday was 30 miles and was not with out incident. I had a flat,  learned that valve steams a different sizes, and how to use my CO2 pump.  Jason had pink eye so I didn't make Zion which after what took place it might have been for the best.



We are still planning to go to Solvang where I will be attempt one of my goals of a century ride.  I am also riding in the morning before work and will ride saturday and sunday.



I will be starting running again Thursday. Probably a short 20 minute run until I get back up to my 6 mile mark.  Then I can start increasing distance.



Oh one more thing if you ever have congestion get Mucinex  it works.



Until next time Happy training.



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Winter Training

Posted by Vicki S. Feb 14, 2009

Winter here in Las Vegas has been a hit and miss I have managed to get some training days in. Not many I had 2 40 minute runs last month and 1 day of cycling. I also had a stomach bug and a sinsus infection the last two weeks of January.






ON the 7th I did my first spin class ever. It was fun and hard that's what makes it challenging. No ride that day the rain was just pouring down.



Today I did a group ride at red rock canyon. It was appx. 17.7 miles.. Both of these last rides are training rides for the Tour de Cure that is coming up in April.



My goal to do a Century should be happening on the 28th of February it is the Zion Early Spring Century. I am strong enough and will get a some more rides in before then. I also am doing the Solvang century ride in March so that one will be a nice warmup.






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The New Year

Posted by Vicki S. Jan 11, 2009


My goal of doing a New Year Race didn't work out the way I had planned.  So I met up with a group of cyclists met some new friends and saw a couple of old friends at Dunkin Doughnuts around 9:30am. We rode at 10:00am (no doughnuts) the route was our infamous RedRock to Blue Diamond loop.  Perhaps one of the more scenic rides here in southern Nevada. We did approximately 24 miles round trip.  What a ride it had flats, HILLS, and downhills.  Of course pizza was waiting for us at the end of the ride. 



So yes my new years started of right even if the plan had to improvised and adapted to.



My goals for this year are



2 half marathons



1 full marathon



2-3 century rides.



For now havea wonderful and fun filled New Year



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The finish line shot

Posted by Vicki S. Dec 5, 2008

Last of the photos

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More Pictures

Posted by Vicki S. Dec 5, 2008

If you haven't figured it out yet  we take lots of pictures.

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Thanksgiving Day

Posted by Vicki S. Dec 5, 2008

Thanksgiving day arrived. Everyone including my oldest son was up at 5 am. BY 5:30am we were ready to leave, the garge door was open and guess what it was raining. For Las Vegas that is an accomplishment.


We set in the truck after getting our packets to stay dry an dkeep our muscles warm. The rain finally stopped around 6:15. We got out of the truck around 6:20 and started our warmups. It was humid, damp and cool: thne the sun came out and warmed everything up. Needless to say we ended up taking some clothes up.



The race started lated and to show Jason's independence he wanted to start up front. So he started up front and I started towards the back. So anyway the run started and I finally caught up to Jason (within earshot) never could catch him.



He time was 38:14 I finished in 38:27. HE shaved 11 min. of off his time from 4th of July.



Check out that determination on his face coming across the finish line.



I did get my oldest son to be the photographer. He did a good job.



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The Rest of the Story

Posted by Vicki S. Nov 25, 2008


To finish this story I will be running a 5k with my son on Thanksgiving day.  I did tweek my ankle just a little on some rocks, it is better.  They are calling for rain here in Las Vegas. It will be an interesting day If it rains. 



Happy Thanksgiving to all.






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The Big Day

Posted by Vicki S. Nov 25, 2008


Saturday has come and gone.  You couldn't have asked for a better day to run.  To follow up from my previous blog I will now disclose my schedule.  It actually started Wednesday night.  I worked from 1p to 9pm.   MY work schedule for Friday and Saturday was 7p to 1a. With Thursday off.  Yes you are reading that right Friday night 7p to 1a with  the race starting at 8a.  with my normal schedule I usually work earlier in the evening, and normal store hours. To make a long story short I stayed up late took naps in the day time and had the luck of the gods with me.  I actually got home by 12:30a nd went straight to bed with a wake up time of 4am.   The drive to Overton, NV was about an hour and 15 mins.  My husband Dan and Jason my son went with me.



Valley of Fire is a state park that is gorgeous. As we entered the park the sun was coming up painting the sky purples and reds. Crusing along I found my self going to fast and so did the ranger. He let me go man was I lucky.  By missing the traffic we found a great place to park.  I the early morning chill I picked my packet up and ate my breakfast consisting of grapenuts and a banana with an hour to kill before race time. SInce I like to stay organized I set my gear up and stowed the things I didn't need.(stuff bags sure do come in handy). Then at my husband's suggestion I sat in the truck  with the heater on and warmed up. About 20 minutesuntil race time I got out and started my prerun/race warmup and we made our way to the starting line.



Waiting for the start I ran into a couple of my friends.  The race was off. Imagine  your self running through redsand stone cliffs, a slot canyon and just wonderful scenery..  I train with hills most days. Oh maybe those are inclines.  The course started flat then went into a climb.  A climb so steep that a majority of the runners  walked up this hill (including me) then we ran.  My friend Abby was behind me so I stopped and waited. She is just starting to run. Once we crested we started running again. Abby told me not to wait for her, because she didn't want to hold me up. I told her no  I would run with her.  Well we ran together and walked and ran talking and having fun. Her goal was to finish around 2 hours mine was 1 hr. and 30 mins.  We both finished in 1:32:37.  It was a great experience and we both recieved our finishers medal. All the work and preparation was worth it. I have never experienced a runner's high like this one.



My son took the pictures.  SO I didn't get one of the hill.



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Jazzed UP!!!!!!!

Posted by Vicki S. Nov 20, 2008


Well here it is zero week and man I am excited.  My gear has been ready since Tuesday the water bottles are in the fridge the post run snack is ready to go.   I changed the shirt for the race twice.   THe weaher is susposed to be cool that morning and warm up to around 74.  It is what you call the true desert.  I am still not sure if I will run in pants or shorts (will have both).  My goal is 1:30 for the 10k.  I could give you  a run down of how hectic my schedule will be from now until then, but that means I would be thinking about it. Afterwards I will desrcibe it. 



The only draw back is my son is unable to get his last training run in, however if last week end after running 2 miles is any indication (the week before was skipped) he did it in 23:11, he will have no problem. Probably even shave some time off from his last one.



My husband is going and will be taking pictures so I hope to have some great race photos.



Until next time.........



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