Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Obstacle Race Recap (Quick & Dirty Series, #3)

I have never been interested in doing an obstacle race.  It just seemed kind of silly to me.  But, in the spirit of "don't knock it until you try it" I did kind of want to do one, just to see.  "Lucky" for me, my BFF Michelle's boyfriend is the owner/organizer of an obstacle race in Michigan, so she asked me to volunteer and compete in the race with her as moral support.  Or something.  So I did.

I'm leaving the name of the race out of this recap, since I don't have much positive to say, and I'm "friends" with the race director.  (Technically swampfoot was the first time I ever met him, but BFF's BF is an F by default I think!) 

I actually bailed out the week leading up to the race, because my bike crash was on Sunday and the race was Saturday of the same week.  The thought of tearing my hands open on ropes/monkey bars and filling the wounds with mud and gunk just didn't seem all that appealing.  Or intelligent.  Especially since I'm a nurse and need to use my hands (and wash my hands) frequently, hand wounds are a major hindrance to my daily life.  (Yay, Tegaderm).  Well, needless to say my willpower failed me and I ended up doing the stupid race.  It helped that I found a pair of fingerless weight lifting gloves out on the course while I was volunteering, so I was like, yay! hand protection! 

  • Some of the obstacles were challenging.  If you're into obstacle stuff I guess maybe this one wasn't bad?  I guess I don't really know. 
  • Organized by local guys; it's not a national chain or anything like that.  
  • I got a medal, a drawstring/cinch bag, and two shirts (one for volunteering and one for participating). (I don't have pictures of them, but they're nice enough.  Except my shirts are both too big, but that's not the race's fault). 

  • My heat had very few people, so the course was kind of empty while I was running
  • Unsafe/isolated obstacles with no volunteers and no other participants nearby.  
    • Since I was largely by myself, I definitely felt like each major obstacle should have been staffed with a volunteer.  For example, climbing over one of the tire wall things, it was really slippy from the mud, and I could have easily slipped and fallen off the wall.  There was nobody around.  If I had gotten injured I'm not sure how long it would have taken for somebody to find me. 
  • Minimal photography
    • I feel like if you're going to be sloshing through mud and doing badass shit, there should be somebody taking some damn pictures.  I saw maybe one photographer on the course, and in my hunt for pictures I didn't find any of me.  There isn't a way to search by bib number, so it's possible that I missed them.  The photos are scattered in at least 2 different websites.  One of them is by heat (there were start times every 20 minutes throughout the day), and one is just a mass photo dump.  
  • No post race food or drinks other than water bottles. 
    • Seriously???  I mean c'mon.  I feel like a bagel and a banana is standard fare.   There was a booth way down where you could buy food if you were so inclined.  
  • As of today, didn't see any results posted on the website.  I know the race was electronically timed and the results were shown at the finish line, but I would expect a link to be uploaded to the website by now.  (Update: found the link on their facebook page, didn't see them on the website though). 
  • The race was advertised as having over 40 obstacles.  On a four mile course.  Sounds pretty crazy right?  Well, yeah, I guess you can rack up obstacles if you count every single log lying in the path as it's own obstacle.  Probably 30 of the "obstacles" were logs.  
  • Volunteer organization was kind of lacking
    • As I said above, I felt that they didn't have enough volunteers to cover all of the obstacles.  
    • There wasn't a lot of pre-meditation in where volunteers were assigned.  When I checked in as a volunteer they just kinda willy nilly put me somewhere.  I felt that more structured assignments would have helped ensure adequate coverage. 
    • We were always running out of water and cups and having to radio for more, with unpredictable response times. 
    • The volunteer I was with was just dipping the cup into the water jug, so her hands were all in the water.  I felt like that was a little unsanitary.  Plus there was dirt in the water, but I guess it's basically everywhere all over all the participants anyway, so it probably didn't hurt anything. 
RESULTS: I actually lost my timing chip before I even started the race so I don't have my results.  Don't really care either.

PICS: I didn't take a ton of pics,  but the few I have are below. 

  • Ultimately, I find sliding into mud pits and jumping over stuff just for the sake of it to be kinda....silly.  I was more on board with the physically challenging ones, like the monkey bars or climbing walls, but the random runs through man-made muddy water pits or literally going down a slide into a pit mostly just pissed me off.  I don't mind natural obstacles at a trail run (like muddy areas, or a downed trees), but all the man made "obstacles" just weren't for me.  
  • I told the organizer that I didn't have fun and I wouldn't be doing it again.  I might volunteer for him again next year if Michelle is still with him though.  They definitely need the volunteer manpower! 
  • The gloves and tegaderms didn't really protect my hands.  Just held the mud in place under the dressings, haha.  I didn't end up with a wound infection though, thank you peroxide and bacitracin ointment. :) 
  • Sorry for being a negative nancy.  It happens sometimes. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Lifewalk 10K Race Report (Quick & Dirty Series #2)

This race was....I don't remember when.  Late July perhaps?

It wasn't really a "planned" event.  Justin and I decided he needed to get a race under his belt before the Crim and this one fit the bill timing and location-wise.  It was on Belle Isle.  There was a 5K and a 10K.  We did the 10.

The Good:

  • It was for a good cause.  (Gift of Life, organ donation)
  • Lots of fun activities, things to see, dancing.   It would be a GREAT event to take your kids too.  
  • Medal and T-shirt included. 
  • Flat/fast course. 
  • Great post-race food (pizza, fruit, granola bars, water, lemonade, etc)
The Room-for-Improvements: 
  • There were no awards for runners who placed!  Justin got first place in his age group at his first ever race, and we saw a bunch of awards up on the stage so we waited FOREVER so he could get one, but they were all for non-running things, like fundraising and stuff like that. 
  • The course was short.  I majorly PR'ed whether I look at my pace on my watch or at the "official" time, but the official pace/time are inaccurate because the course was quite short.  D'oh.  The same thing is true for my 5K PR right now.  Here's hoping I can beat them both eventually.  Otherwise I'll be stuck with LIES for PRs at the 5K and 10K distance for the rest of my life!  Still, I got 2nd in my age group with a 46:11.  Justin beat me by like a minute, at 45:something.  Punk. 

Justin looking quite dead post-race.  He went out too fast and was hurting pretty bad at the end, but hung in there.  Lesson learned! 

Race Tee.  Sorry it's wrinkled. 
Finisher's medals. 
Justin hustled a 4X volunteer shirt from the volunteer manning the volunteer booth.  Hahahaha.  

I uploaded some videos of the festivities below.  




Catch Up Post. Bulletinated. (Quick & Dirty Series, #1)

  • Yes, I know I just invented the word "bulletinated".  I like it.
    • Ironman Maryland.  All 140.6 miles of it. October 2015.  Be there or be square.  
    • (In the picture to the right, apparently substituting the shark fin for a jellyfish is actually a pretty valid concern). 
    • I have been upping my swimming and running game pretty well, but cycling is still my achilles heel.  My goal is to get comfortable on the bike this winter, and learn about maintenance and such.  Pics below are from Common Cycle's Mobile Repair stand which I volunteered at this past Sunday.  I learned a ton and definitely want to make volunteering there a regular thing! 

  • I have a marathon coming up. 
    • I don't think I every officially announced that I registered for the Harrisburg Marathon.  It's November 9th.
    • I'm going sub 4 hours and it's going to be a breeze.  Seriously.  Maybe even sub 9:00 min/mile pace.  
    • My friend Lina is pacing 4:15 there, Michelle is running the half, and my boyfriend is running his first ever marathon.  It's going to be awesome. 
Random photo for you.  (Taken in the middle of a 40 mile bike ride, during which we stopped at a cider mill.  To ride an inanimate cow-bench.) 
  • I have a half marathon coming up. 
    • Heroes on Hines is this Saturday.  Gonna give it my all, but not tapering or resting for it, so we'll see what happens.  Wouldn't mind going under 1:50.  (Current PR is 1:53:something, from May). 
  • I still owe you a bunch of race recaps. 
    • Third Coast Relay.
    • Lifewalk 10K. 
    • Swampfoot 4 miler.
    • Great Lakes Relay. 
    • Woodstock
    • Dances with Dirt Relay.
    • (No promises that they'll ever get written. )
  • I wrecked my bike like a month ago.  It rather sucked. 
Not to worry.  All healed up now.  No major damage to me or the bike, other than destroying my aero bars. 

There, now you're all caught up!  It's like I was never gone.  All is right with the world.  

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