Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Warrior Dash 10.10.10

Race: Warrior Dash - Mid Atlantic
Date: Saturday, 10/10/10
Location: Quarryville, PA
Race Type: Run/Play/Get really dirty while going through an obstacle course
Division: 40-44 yo
Time: 53:14 (16:54 pace for 3.15 miles!) OH YEAH!!! The slower the better on this course!

Race Report:

I was very excited to register for this race. It seemed like the perfect way to end my big triathlon season. Of course, all triathletes know that the SEASON might end but the TRAINING doesn't! So, I knew I needed to "proceed with caution" to this race. When I registered for the race it was supposed to be somewhere in Maryland but, a few weeks after registration, they moved the race to Quarryville, PA. It was about 45 minutes farther than I had planned to go but with my "OBX gang" (plus Elizabeth) traveling with me I knew we would find interesting and fun ways to spend the additional time on the road...and I was right!

The trip to PA was nice and calm. Our wave didn't start until 12:30 so we didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn to drive to the race. Once we made it to the race venue we started to understand the phrase we read so many times that this would be "the craziest frickin' day of your life!" This race is inspired by several competitions - Navy SEALS training, American Gladiators, Eco-Challenge and Ironman! So, yeah, I knew it was going to be nuts!
Ginger, Me, Elizabeth and Becky - nice and clean - representing the tri community with our goggles and awesome TRI CHICKS ROCK body marking! 
Photo by: John Vandenheuvel

Run: 3.15 miles

It's so hard to call this just a run because it is way more than that! At the start line you almost get toasted with the heat from the fire jets shooting out from the start line poles.

Photo by: Jason Kopp

The best part about this race was all the cool obstacles. The worst part was I couldn't take pictures of all the cool obstacles for fear of getting my camera dirty. So, I had someone else take pictures for me and I've graciously been allowed to use pics from other Warriors (and/or their photographers!) for the purpose of this blog. Next year I'm wearing a video cam!

So, yeah, it wasn't a race like I'm typically used to running. It was chip timed, however, which confused me a bit. Yeah, it's cool to know what your finish time is when you are running a race but the Warrior Tri Chicks and I knew we were out there to have FUN - we had no concern about finish time. Of course, that is totally obvious by our 16+ min/mile results!
  • "Tunnel of Terror" - The only reason I could think of for calling this the "Tunnel of Terror" is if you got caught in the tube behind someone that smelled really bad. Otherwise, you were just crawling through a big black tube on your hands and knees.
    • "Tanker Trouble" - The first big bottleneck of people. We had to stand and wait our turn to get over the trailers (aka tankers). You needed a little upper body strength to get over this one so I was thankful for all those Crossfit workouts - particularly the pull ups (did I just say that???). Anyway, after I managed to get up to the top of the first trailer I looked beyond the trailer to see that I had FOUR trailers to crawl over! YEAH!!! Once all four of the Warrior Tri Chicks got to the top of the trailer we did a little dance for all to see and then headed toward the second trailer. On the way down I became the first of the girls to fall flat on her butt! I was so paranoid I was going to injure myself and not be able to race my half marathon in November that I ended up falling instead of jumping down with power from that trailer. But, I got back up on my feet, dusted myself off and finished the obstacle with strength and power.
      • "Hell's Hills" - Large mounds of hills. You could play it "safe" and take the edge of the hill or you could be a real Warrior and climb up to the top of each hill. I figured if I was going to do this race I was going to do it right so I took on every challenge that came my way (well, almost every challenge...keep reading...)
        • "Hay Fever" - This was a big pyramid of bails of hay that you had to climb over. Pretty simple.
          • "Cargo Climb" - My husband told me prior to the race that these look harder than they really are. Really? Because I thought this was pretty easy. This was actually one of my favorite obstacles for several reasons. First, because I was able to convince the photographer to get a rockin' pic of me and my tri chicks heading down the obstacle. Second, because standing on the top of this obstacle you could see a huge portion of the course. Last, I'm normally afraid of heights but I don't even recall being scared for one second. I had overcome my fears (at least temporarily).

            Photo by: Anna Wie

            • "Walk the plank" - For a bunch of tri chicks in tutu's this was the perfect obstacle. I even did a little ballerina twirl on my way across the plank.
            • "Blackout" - This was similar to the "Tunnel of Terror" except there was hay all over the ground and you weren't confined in a tube. But, you still had to get down on your hands and knees to get through this obstacle.
            • "Mossy Maze" - Picture a forest with bungee cords draped everywhere and you have to get through the cords to reach the other side. That's what this obstacle was all about.
            • "Breathless Bog" - Okay, here is where things started to get interesting!!! As we came around the corner we see this pond full of green scum.  Now, I had just recently taken a pic of a pond just like this (see below) and I had NO DESIRE to go into that pond! But, I'm a Warrior, right? So, I HAD to finish this obstacle. As soon as my body got into the water I realized why it was named "breathless!" The water was so cold it took my breath away! THEN I had to somehow get my cold body over these huge logs rolling around in the water. I was fine going over the first few logs but then I came upon these ladies rolling the log TOWARD them rather than AWAY from them. I tried probably 5 times to get over that thing with them rolling it towards us but I just couldn't do it. I told them to roll it away from them but I don't know what they were thinking. Maybe the cold water had already reached their brains. The longer I attempted to get over the log the more I kept thinking I was going to freeze to death before I got out of this water. Becky came over and tried to help pull me over but with the log rolling me back in the other direction it was just too difficult. Finally I decided to go head first and I **almost** had my entire head in the water. And, to top it off - I got a mouthful of the green goo! By the way, this was the first obstacle that I pulled my goggles off my head and over my eyes! Best decision ever!
            • "Warrior Tri Chicks Flying Mud Zone" - This was an extra "obstacle" that most race participants didn't have to overcome. But, as Warrior Tri Chicks, we were all so excited to finally get dirty (yes, I know it sounds odd) that we decided it was time for a little mud fight. It was almost like we were all four thinking with the same brain because the mud started flying everywhere as if on cue! 
            • "Warrior Wall" - we had to climb over several walls that were about chest high. This was where Ginger decided to bite the big one. She was one tough Warrior Tri Chick but the mud was a little too slippery and down she went. She made up for it later, though (keep reading...)
            • "Slithering Swamp" - the "swamp" wasn't so bad but the hill we had to climb after the swamp was a little challenging. Imagine a hill with a pretty steep incline all covered with mud. Now picture trying to climb it with basically nothing to hold on to. There was carnage everywhere! But, the Warrior Tri Chicks forged up the hill in style!
            • "Muddy Mayhem" - This is where you separate the true Warriors from all the others. And, I've gotta say this is where I fell short of a true Warrior. Did I go through the obstacle? Yes. But, did I DIVE into a mud pit like my friend Ginger. HECK NO!!!! There is NO TELLING what was in that mud pit and there was no way to determine how deep the pit was. Was I going to throw my body into that pit without prior knowledge of what was in it? NO WAY!! Will I do it next year? Maybe! After getting into the mud pit you had to crawl low so as not to get barbed wire fence across your backside!
            Although I don't have a picture of Ginger jumping into the mud pit this is just about what she looked like!
            Photo by: Dave Ricci: www.cameramandave.com
            • "Warrior Roast" - This was AWESOME! Jumping over fire pits really makes a gal feel like a true warrior. I kinda wish they would have had more fire pits along the course it was so much fun!

            Me - just after jumping over the last fire pit
            Photo by: John Vandenheuvel


              If you would have told me a few years ago that I would be running a race that included getting muddy from head to toe I would have thought you were nuts. But, here I am. Muddy as can be! 

              Becky, Ginger and Tracy post race
              Photo by: John Vandenheuvel

              The Warrior Dash was an amazing race. There were fire trucks to hose us down after the race and I needed to go through the line twice to even get half way cleaned off. After we all got "reasonably clean" we had a nice time sitting around at the post-race party watching other people complete their race and yet others who were totally clean getting ready for their wave to start. They had a live band, food and drinks post-race. I even ate my first Turkey leg!
              Tracy & Elizabeth eating our first Turkey Leg!
              Photo by: Becky Wellhouse

              This race is on my "must do" list for next year. I need to make sure I don't plan any big races immediately following this race so I can have a mindset of "reckless abandon" next year. I loved the feeling of pushing myself through obstacles I never thought I would do and it felt GREAT! This is not a race for wimps. However, most people would be able to complete it. I saw many people walking on the run path or slowly going through/over/under the obstacles. But, for the true Warrior - you've gotta do it right! Attack those hills, jump into the mud pit, and never ever stop running...unless you fall! The biggest sign of a true Warrior is just how dirty they are at the finish line - not how fast they ran the 3.15 mile course!

              Lessons Learned:
              • There is no need to bring a duffel bag full of shampoo, conditioner, soap, towels, etc. Just bring a plastic bag with a change of clothes and a towel. Shower when you get home.
              • Wearing a costume was awesome but it should be a costume that doesn't weigh 20 lbs once it gets wet. Also, it's a good idea not to wear white. White will NEVER get clean and you'll have to ditch your clothes.
              • Turkey legs aren't all that good
              • Bring your ID with you to the finish line so you don't have to walk all the way back to your car to prove you are actually 21 years old!

              Friday, October 1, 2010

              New Triathlete Series II: How to find the right winter cycling gear

              It is sometimes difficult to determine exactly what clothes you should wear while riding your bike in less than perfect weather conditions. Nothing is worse than being cold and wet while riding your bike. It may take some experimentation to determine exactly which clothes work for your body but, in general, you should follow these guidelines:

              Keep your torso and legs warm: Your base layer should consist of a moisture-wicking material. On your legs, cycling tights are the best choice since you’ll want the comfort of the chamois next to your skin. A second layer, such as fleece, should insulate and keep you warm. Finally, a third waterproof outer layer will protect you from snow and rain as well as insulate you from wind.

              Keep your hands warm: Wear full-finger cycling gloves that insulate and protect your hands. Remember, you’ll need to use your brakes so make sure the gloves aren’t too bulky.  If you plan on riding in rain or snow, wear gloves with a waterproof outer layer.

              Keep your feet warm: Wear wool socks which allow your feet to stay dry. Shoe and toe covers are a good option to cover the mesh section of your cycling shoe and provide protection from moisture.  You can also purchase cycling shoes specific for winter cycling

              Keep your head warm: Your primary areas of discomfort when cycling in the winter are likely to be your ears and nose. Cycling caps and balaclava’s can be worn under your helmet. However, the balaclava provides protection for not only your head but for your neck, ears and the side of your face. Balaclava’s made specifically for cycling typically have a thin inner layer of fleece and an outer layer of spandex.  Your nose will more than likely go unprotected unless you wear a ski mask.

              This year, don’t let the cold weather deter you from getting outside for an exhilarating ride. 

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