September 7, 2009

I Earned My Man Card. Then I Returned It.

Wow. We did the BEAR Beach Extreme Adventure Race yesterday. Wow. I will do my best to explain what we went through, but I know it won't be adequate. Here's the very lloooonnnggg RR.

We arrived at the start about an hour early and I saw a snake in the grass immediately. I, of course, freaked out and ran a 100 yard dash. My team was embarrassed, especially considering I was, by far, the most feminine person there. We prepared our kayaks and supplies; then we made our way to the gathering of all teams.

Our first task was to use a compass to find a sign w/ information about some bush that is famous in FL. That didn't take long. The next thing we had to do was transport our kayaks to the St. John's River. David and I had our kayaks stacked on a set of wheels; Scott and Will had to carry theirs. The walk was about a mile. We were finally in the water and had to paddle to one end of the river, do a challenge, then paddle to an island. Right off the bat, the team left me in the dust. David stayed in view, at least, to make sure I was still in the land of the living. When I finally got to the other side, Will had already gotten all of our information that we needed for the trip to the island. On the way there, we were to find a channel marker and record the information on it. Will and Scott decided to swing wide to get the information; David and I would go straight to the island. At this point my arms started to hurt. I was still getting blisters, even with the gloves. The water was rough and the sun was beaming. We finally made it to the island, and our task was to count the fire pits on the whole island. The island was in a circle with small trails heading off the main path. (The race rules made us all stay together.) As we ran on the main path, I would dart down the small trails to count the pits, then catch back up w/ the group. I was really glad to redeem myself for the slow kayaking. Also, I am used to running and fueling, etc, so I was able to change back into my life jacket and drink a little while running back to the kayaks. I got a head start, but the group caught up w/ me quickly. I NEVER QUIT PADDLING. Will finally passed me, and I could see him paddling, then resting, etc, but not me. I keep on paddling. It was hurting badly. My arms were past burning. Serious pain had set in, but I could see the dock where we would finish that section. When we finally did finish, my arms were shaking so badly that I couldn't even lift the kayak onto the wheels. It was bad.

When we got back to the main station, we had to first jump a hurdle without touching it. I failed. The boys finally picked me up and threw me over. Next we had to walk on 2 balance beams. This part was easy. If you fell off, you had to start back over. Next came the worst part of the whole day- walking across a rolling log w/o falling off. I tried 3 times and failed. The guys told me to try going faster, like running w/ big strides. I absolutely BUSTED it. I fell so hard. Then I repeated the same thing- BBBAAAAMM again. I tried a few more times, and race directors finally told me to go on through. At this point, I was feeling like a real failure- sucked at the kayak AND the rolly log. We had to climb the wall next, and I sailed over it w/ no problems. Next we got ready for the biking portion.

The whole thing was a puzzle- reading clues and finding our way. We rode to the first checkpoint and had to slingshot a tennis ball to hit a target. One team member had to hit the target. I didn't even know how to hold the thing, so I obviously failed. All of us did. Our penalty was to change a bike tire. This is where things started to get kind of funny for us. We already knew each other pretty well from training and other things, so lines of communication were wide open, maybe too wide. LOL. I was assisting w/ the bike tire change and *might* have gotten some sand all over Will's camelpack. Um, lots of cussing on that one. I sort of thought it was funny b/c I was covered in sand from my Rolling Log Busts, including my camelpack.

The next part was down right ridiculous. We got to mud/swamp that was up over our knees. We were walking our bikes, of course, and it was the most disgusting thing I've ever done. It's not like it was a little ways, either. This rocked on for, probably, 3 miles. Ugh. I was so mad and frustrated to be in that stuff that I could've hurt someone. I ran into a log under the water/mud/swamp. The log gashed my leg, so I'll probably die of malaria in the next few days. Scott made the last of the female jokes for the day after I told him that I would not be speaking to any of them for the rest of my life, for getting me into this crap (pun intended).

I came out of the mud first and got on the bike. The wheels were so jammed w/ nastiness that I fell right over into a brier bush. The bike was on top of me and I was stuck. We got that taken care of and rode awhile more. More mud, more trails, blah, blah, blah. The puzzles were pretty easy for us, so we never got off course or lost. Towards the end of the bike, Scott and David started to fade, but Will and I held strong. After the mud was done, I was feeling a lot better.

When we got back to main transition, we had to walk a ropes course. This part was very easy and our whole team made it on the first try. We got our run directions quickly and were on our way. This portion was a bit more strict about staying together. Scott had been to the reserve before, so he had a lot of knowledge about where to go to find our answers to the puzzle. Again, we had no trouble finding our way or the answers. It was sort of like the island. We stayed on the main path. I would run ahead and gather information, then run back. Fairly soon into the run, David totally cramped and we were forced to walking at a snail's pace. More mud to trek through, at least this time it wasn't as deep. We had been at it for over 6 hours and were aiming for finish in 8. David worked it out, and we were able to run a bit, walk a bit. The backpack was really starting to irritate me. Mine was filled w/ the first-aid kit, in addition to all the gear we had to have. My camelpack water was hot and the straps were chafing my neck. Will was getting irritable and cussing. I was trying to laugh everything off, but they were not amused. At one point, Will started saying he saw race directors hiding in the bushing and they were checking to see if we were together. It really was a yellow plant, but he was convinced of this. It was pretty funny.

When we FINALLY got back to the finish, we had to do that stupid hurdle, beam, rolly log, wall thing again. I tried the log a few times. Failed, failed, failed. Finally they said that someone could help me. So, Will held his foot on the log and grabbed my arm to pull me across. When I was going over the wall for the last time, David (trying to be a nice guy) tried to help me by pushing on my foot. I snapped at him, "Don't touch me; I've GOT it." We laughed about this later b/c I had been so calm pretty much the whole way. Good news is that we got 3rd place in the Co-Ed 4 person team category! Wahooo! Final time- 8 hours, 19 minutes.

When we got finished, I was absolutely filthy. My mission had been accomplished- I kept up with the guys plus some. I held them back in the kayak and rolly log, but I was so stronger, maybe stronger than them on the rest of the race. After the race, Cindy (Scott's wife) said something about next year. "Um, no," was my reply. There's only so much that a girl should be dirty. The line was definitely crossed. In the shower, the water turned brown. I had to use 2 washcloths. The dirt under my fingernails and toenails could not be removed. I was burned and chafed. I have bad bruising on my shins and elbows. Scratches pretty much cover my whole body. Very unattractive and unladylike.

I felt better this morning, when at breakfast, the guys could hardly move, and I had just returned from my run. LOL. Of course, I can't move my arms, but that's a different story.

Today I returned my Man Card by getting a manicure and pedicure, followed by visiting The LOFT.

Oh yeah- I ran 98.75 this week! Not quite 100, but whatever, close enough w/ this Adventure race. Check back later for photos. I'm planning to buy some when they publish them on the website.


  1. Anonymous9/07/2009

    that is soooo tough! i am so impressed! AND you ran 98.75 miles!?! a mani and pedi are definitely in order.

    p.s. i loved your response re: next year -- totally made me laugh aloud in the libs :)

  2. Oh my god! That sounds like an absolute hoot!!! The kayaking sounded pretty miserable but sounds like you pawned the boys during the rest of it! I love that you followed it up with a mani/pedi and a visit to the Loft - did the guys join you?

  3. What pure craziness and you're the just the loon to do it! :-) Have to laugh too, at the need to reaffirm your girliness at the nail salon. Now about that mileage...woohoo! You're really setting yourself up for some fine racing this Fall.

  4. Oh goodness, this sounds like pure craziness!! I'm glad I turned down the chance to do one of these yesterday. Take it easy the next few days, I know I was tired for days after my IM and your race was only a few hours shorter.

  5. Did any of those guys do this while putting in 100-mile weeks? WOW! Sounds like fun, but I think I would be in your boat (haha) if I tried it. I bet I wouldn't be able to do the rolly log either. I love that each team member struggled at some point, and the rest pulled them through. That's just cool. Great job! Looking forward to pictures.

  6. Anonymous9/08/2009

    Well, you certainly earned your Man/Woman card...LOL

    Seriously, I thought I was reading something out of a "Survivor" transcript. Hope you didn't beat yourself up too much especially close to marathon day!

    Again, to do THIS plus put in almost 100 miles in a week again--VERY impressive, just make sure you save yourself a bit for that sub3 come marathon day..;)

  7. Interesting to say the least. Hopefully this will be a source of pleasant memories in the future.

    If you had to choose between the two next year: Would you do this again or head back to Auburn for a coaching camp? They sound equally painful to me. Damn, I'm getting old!

  8. Simon: Nope, I went shopping and manicuring solo. I don't think the guys would've been up for that. LOL.

    Mir: All the guys run, but not the distance like I do. In fact, they all tried to convince me NOT to do 20 on Saturday before we left.

    TFS3: I would choose the Beach Challenge. Seriously, I would.

    Thanks for the comments, everyone!

  9. WOW! That sounds like a Survivor Challenge on crack. You are a beast!

  10. I just liked that you got your run in the next morning, while the guys licked their wounds.
    I don't get these adventure runs, with the puzzles, and wall climbs, and all. I'm glad you had "fun."