Countdown to Castlewood

Why stop at 1 adventure race? In four days, I'll be racing with a guy from STL in the Castlewood 8-Hr. It's not MO, actually, I haven't even met my teammate. His name is Jake. And he's from STL. You now know just as much about my teammate as I do. Oh well, should be fun anyway!

The only problem I foresee is this damn cold. I was hoping it would pass quickly, but I'm feeling worse today than I did yesterday. It could be a very long day on Saturday. And with Rocky Raccoon just around the corner, I need to run 10 miles on Sunday after we get back to KC. Oh the endurance life!

Actually, I have a feeling that Rocky will be my last ultra for quite a while. After doing an adventure race, I don't see myself doing more ultras anytime soon. I'd rather train for an 18- 24- or 48- hour AR than train for another 50. There is no course, there is no boredom. I never once asked myself "Why in God's name am I doing this?" which goes through my head regularly during an ultra. Adventure racing requires you to pay attention and requires a much greater skill-set than ultras. And, a repeated theme here is this: I like to go fast. And going fast in an ultra can be devastating. My goal for Rocky is to just have a good race so when I'm done I don't feel like I have any unfinished business. I'm sure I'll come back to ultras eventually. Just not anytime in the near future.



I thought I was going to make it out of Wisconsin a little road-weary, but no worse for wear. Wrong. Enter my kryptonite: 2-year old Kayden with a running nose and sneezes that can (and did) cover an entire dining table. But she's just too cute not to play with, so Aunt Sami came back with a cold.

So I'm taking it a little easy, drinking lots of water, and going to bed early. Hopefully the worst passes and I can breathe freely again before Castlewood on Saturday. Yikes!


Happy Thanksgiving!

I have a laundry list of people and things to be thankful for: my husband, my family, my friends and training partners, my career and house, and the annual holiday trip to WI; just to name a few. Since it is currently 18 degrees outside and I have a 15 mi run planned a little later, I am also thankful for Smart Wool, thermal running clothes, and hot showers.

I am well into my Rocky training, I'm doing an 8-hr adventure race next weekend in STL, and I've been climbing well and actually started a 5.10a route at the gym which I'm confident I can finish. So while I haven't been blogging consistenly, I haven't been hibernating, either. I recently joined www.dailymile.com and have been tracking my workouts there. I'll post more on that later. I have some holiday shopping, a winter run, and a nap on my to-do list today.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Smithville 8-Hour Advenure Race

Found a couple more pictures!

It was 30 degrees when I woke up the morning of Smithville. I had my coffee, my gear, and I was getting everything ready outside, waiting for MO to come pick me up. First thing we notice, I had a flat on my front tire. Again. This was the 4th tube I had changed and I was starting to get annoyed. We decided there must be something in the tire that keeps puncturing the tube. Wonderful. We (by we, I mean MO) changed the tire at the bike drop and hoped it would hold air through the race.

Even with all of the required gear and layers, I was cold waiting for the start. There were people everywhere with packs, lights, maps, coffee, food, and God-knows what else. I felt woefully unprepared. And more nervous for a race than I've felt in a long time. MO seemed fine - he had more faith in my navigation skills that I did.

The race started with orienteering, then transitioned to canoe, orienteering, bike, orienteering, then bike to finish. The Adventure Racing atmosphere is informal and laid back, exactly what you'd expect from a bunch of people who were ready to spend their day tromping through the woods. We started with a simple "Go!" from the RD and everyone took off.

The beginning is chaos - people everywhere in dark wilderness. Really, you can follow the steady stream of headlamps for the first half hour or so. We were doing well, running some sections until I made a very stupid mistake. After check point (CP) 6, we followed a team dead ahead of us to #7. Except it didn't make sense. I felt disoriented and confused, I couldn't make sense out of where we were or what was on the map. We wandered around for a little while until I realized that was CP 8, not 7. Damn damn damn damn! So we quickly backtracked to 8, punched it in the correct spot on our passport, then headed to 7 to punch that in one of the "do Over" spots, and then get back on course to CP 9. I felt awful. I should have been paying attention. Newbie mistake, I guess. But we were the only team that backtracked, so the team ahead of us had to have missed it too. Oh well, on to the canoe!

We canoed for 1.5 hours and I really enjoyed that part of the race. I was in the stern, since I have raced canoes back in college. I knew I was going to be sore the next day, because that is a specific muscle set that doesn't get used often.


After we landed, it was more orienteering, which actually went very well. Team had spread out and the points were more difficult to find, which meant I had to pay attention. This was the first time I really ate anything, even though I wasn't hungry. It was somewhere around 11 am and I couldn't believe how fast the race was flying by.


Next, we picked up our bikes to start the first bike leg. We also had a random gear check. MO started giggling when the volunteer asked about my headlight. Real mature, MO. :) I was apprehensive about the bike after the last few weeks and my biking frustration. But actually, the bike was my favorite part of the race! It was definitely the fastest I have ever biked. We did get passed by one co-ed couple, but we passed 2 co-ed couples, a 2-person female team, 2-person male team, and a 4-person male team. I was starting to feel good about myself! Back to the trail head for the final orienteering section.


The last section was going to be tough, but I was feeling good after Orienteering #2. We had 4 CPs left. We found the first two right away, and they were not easy. At the second, I talked to a team and they said they looked for CP 33 for an hour but gave up. They were hoping we hadn't found it either. But we did. I wished them luck as we headed out to the last point.


This point was going to be a lot of bushwhacking, but shouldn't be hard to find. There's an access road on the map, so we needed to get to the road, head west until it made a 90 degree turn, then shoot a bearing to the point. Easy-peasy, right? Wrong. There was no access road. So we walked, enjoying the afternoon sun and the gorgeous weather, until we hit the paved highway and I realized we had gone way too far. Damn damn damn damn! Not again! At least we didn't have to backtrack, we just had to get to a known location so we could shoot a bearing and get the last damn point. We got it, and still cleared that section of the course faster than most, but I was disappointed that I again screwed up because I wasn't paying attention.

The last bike was 30 min, and we made quick work of it. It was an absolutely awesome day, but I was glad to finish. We crossed the line at 8:00 exactly. If we were playing by The Price is Right rules, we would have won!


This was the most fun race I've ever done. Hands down. When we finished, I was tired and I was sore the next day, but it wasn't like after a hard 1/2 marathon or 70.3, where I can barely stand and want to throw up. It was just plain fun. Not everyone enjoys being tossed out into a park with nothing but a compass, map, your wits, and your partner, but I absolutely loved it. There are definitely more adventure races in my future!


Sock Monkeys!

OK, I know this is a little late, but we've been busy. And I wanted to get pics up while I'm still waiting for more pics of this weekend. I'll post about the AR soon, but at least you now know that I made it out of the woods alive. So you get Sock Monkeys instead.

Here's the gang at the race start. I ran the first 9 miles. Perfect weather, and no pressure. I ran into a friend doing the full, so I ran the majority of my 9 miles with her. Since John and I had a wedding to go to, I missed all of the post-race activities.
Josh's mom graciously made the 4 of us Sock Monkey hats for the race. They're awesome.

We finished in about 3:47, 24/132 teams total, 10/63 co-ed teams. Not too shabby, especially considering most team were 5 people and we only had 4. It was a lot of fun and I'd definitely do a relay again, but this time I'd like to stick around afterwards.
And I want to give a huge shout out to KM, who finally got registered for Boston!! If you were following the news, there was a HUGE SNAFU during registration and it filled up in 8 hours. KM just found out she got in! Who would have thought that qualifying was the easy part and registering was the hard part? Congrats KM!!


Countdown to Smithville!

Less than 3 days until my first Adventure Race and I'm feeling much more optimistic than my last post. Last Friday, I took off work to travel back to WI for a concert and to see family. My plane didn't leave until 5, so I took the morning as an opportunity to get a little more mountain biking in before the race.

I drove up to Smithville and I biked all of the trails rated Easy and More Difficult. I left the Very Difficult trails for another season. It was about 13 miles total and I didn't fall over once! (I also walked through the creek crossings and the rockiest of sections. Better to be slow than sore.) I then ran 3 miles and met John for lunch. It was the perfect morning and I only saw one person on the trails. I did see two people having sex in their car at the trailhead. Apparently I wasn't the only person having a good day!

Tonight I'm going to go through the gear list and pack my day pack. It is a 3 hour time penalty if you don't have any of the required gear. They have posted a little more information on the website and they said the check points will all be plotted on the maps for us. Which is good, but I'm also a little disappointed. I wanted to try that out, too. But if all we have to do is find the pre-plotted point on the map, then we should have no problems getting our points. I'm not saying we'll be fast, but I thought I would be more likely to incorrectly plot a point than not be able to find a point.

I'm excited. Smithville is fast becoming my favorite set of trails to bike/run in the area. I just wish it was closer.