Sunday, September 18, 2011

Columbia Muddy Buddy recap

Today was the first race I ever quit.

The race was the Columbia Muddy Buddy and I had won two free entries ($150!) for myself and a friend. I chose my friend Sarie because she was thinking of doing a mud run back in June but it didn't happen. She's also someone I think is pretty cool and don't get to hang out with much but would like to be better friends. Sarie isn't a runner but she ran the Race to the Roses 5k with me and ran the whole thing where I ran and walked. Even though I came in faster than her she's got endurance and I knew we'd have a fun time with this one. Plus, there are a ton of random obstacles on the course and a huge mud pit at the end, who wouldn't want to do that??

So the run is actually a run and mountain bike event. The course was at Milo St Iver Park in Estacada, Oregon (about an hour away from Portland) and it was two 3 mile laps then a rope climb and a mud pit crawl. The biker starts out first then about three minutes later they let the runners go. After each mile you come to an obstacle and depending on whether you're running or biking in you complete a different one.

The stronger runner starts so I started off running but quickly ended up at the end of the pack in my wave. I had a slow start to my morning and didn't feel warmed up at all. I guess it was because I wasn't really treating this like a real race and was just doing it for fun. Plus at the start there were a couple big hills and my knee is kinda screwed up. (I hurt my foot and knee last week during the Pints to Pasta 10k). This was the last race I had planned for the season so I was determined to still do it even if I had to take a vicoden to do it. And I did. Looooopy race!

I think both Sarie and I were pretty exhausted this morning but I know she especially was since she had a late night. I don't want to say I was upset at her but I'm almost an OCD-ish planner and I was really excited about this run so I read rules, watched a lot of videos, looked up info on the course and she didn't do any of that. I was a little bummed that the weather was so rainy and chilly because I knew it brought her down a bit and I feed off the energy of others. I don't want to say I wish I picked someone else to go with but I guess I kind of also like sharing the excitement of events with people. By the time she cheered up it was less than 10 minutes to our start and I wasn't feeling especially peppy. It sucks because I wish I was that type of person who could power through and be super positive and cheer someone else up but I'm not really good at that with people I don't know too well.

Back to the race: she started off on the bike and I ran. When I came to the first obstacle she wasn't in sight and had taken off running which was a good sign! I booked it on the bike to try and catch up since she would need the bike next. Can I just say, holy crap was that part of the course scary as shit! And so was her roomies bike. The second mile of the course was, by far, the scariest for the bike because of narrow trails, steep hills, drops and um.. all the people who hadn't mountain biked before. Now, I've never really gone proper mountain bike riding either but today I rode fearless. Or at least it looked that way. I didn't really have much of a choice because the brakes were so sensitive and in a propel-yourself-over-the-handlebars way, not in a safe way, so I just went with it. I passed a ton of people (and a lot were in my wave) and made up for my slower running time.

I saw Sarie at the second obstacle when I ran in so thankfully she wasn't waiting for the bike yet. She finished and took off on the bike and I did a net climb up to the top of one of those big slippery slides that you go on as a kid at fairs. It was pretty freaking awesome.

I grabbed some water (okay, Columbia, why no electrolytes?) and started my run. The first 1/4 mile of that mile was flat and then it was pure hill. I ran about 1/2 of the hill and thought I could see Sarie and really wanted to catch up. At the top I was about 20 feet behind her, cheered her on and she took off on the bike. I ran down the hill and up into the field for obstacle 3 (an uncomfortable hunched over maze). I saw her resting by the bike but I had finally felt warmed up so I did the maze got some water and came back to get the bike onto the second lap. I was looking forward to it because it meant my only run was that steep downhill trail run and I was looking forward to more biking!

Sarie was still at the bike though and kinda hunched over. She told me sometimes she gets really dizzy and has vision issues when exercising which I didn't know at all. When she told me she had passed out about 6 times before in her life I started to get worried. I wanted to keep going but definitely didn't want to make her feel guilty at all so I suggested us to both walk the course together. We started off and within the first 100 feet I could tell she wasn't going to make it. I know she didn't want to let me down and she isn't a quitter but there was no way we were going to finish without her being sick - and that's never worth it. I still don't like the idea of dropping out of a race but I guess I did learn my lesson last week when I kept running after I tore something in my knee before mile 1.

We walked back to where we started the race and went over to watch the people come in at the end. She needed some juice or something with sugars but we never actually made it that far before she felt better. At that point we had been out for about 10 minutes and lost at least 20 minutes of time and even though it wasn't competitive I still felt weird about going back onto the course like she suggested we do. Plus I knew she was feeling bad and her getting sick again wouldn't have been good!

Then she said, "well, how about we just finish the race, go over the rope wall and then the mud pit?" and I'll admit, at that point I wasn't too excited about it. Plus the timing chip on our shoe would have us coming in with a semi-decent time and I didn't want to fake win any awards! I suggested that we go get our timing chips snipped off our shoes and oh my god were there questions from a ton of people asking us why we weren't muddy. I also saw the finishers medal and because I'm a big dork who keeps my race bibs and (rare) finisher medals I wanted one! So we went for it... ran to the rope wall then plunged into the super freaking cold mud. It was gritty and scraped our knees and got in places that mud should never be but it was still something I'm glad we did. Even though the entry was free it was still nice to be indited into the hall of muddy buddies!

I don't know if I really felt any sort of accomplishment from today though. I'm happy we went through the mud but after rinsing off and getting yelled at by really grumpy muddy people when my hose accidentally sprayed them a tiny bit (jeez, lighten up!) I just wanted to go home. We changed into dry clothes, collected our free samples from Bare Naked Granola, Muscle Milk and some Chex Muddy Buddy mix that I never, ever want to see/eat again (I ate almost a whole bag today - puke!). I drank 2 sips of crappy beer and Sarie successfully charmed her way into the beer garden because she didn't have her ID.
Haha - Rule #1 of a race, ALWAYS bring your ID!

I was getting irritated because it began to rain, I was chilly, my knee hurt bunches and I needed some real non-sweet food. The drive back was long and I felt so much better after a shower and some real food!

All in all it was fun but I do wish we were able to complete the whole course. I also learned that using one of those old school big sharpie markers (the kind contained in a metal tube) makes shirts stink like whoa and gives a lot of awful headaches. And it stinks up houses. I also finally learned how to draw a proper piece of cheese as I designed our shirts!

This was the back:

We also both wore over the knee yellow socks with Cheese and Monster written on the back of each sock. Both the shirt and the socks were thrown out, which was intended! I also left my shoes there. I was hoping there was a donation pile but I couldn't find one - but I was saving those shoes only for this event! Goodbye my old Asics, you served me well and got me through many miles.

There were a bunch of pictures during the race but I know they'll try to get us to buy them for lots and lots of money. If the race was $75/each then I don't doubt the picture prices will be ridiculous. Sarie and I did recruit one picture guy to take some before we left the course to get a few proper pictures, which I was happy about since neither of us had cameras! He snapped at least 6 pictures and fiddled with his camera a bunch so hopefully there is at least one decent shot in there! I'll post anything that I can.

I also owe an update on the Eugene 1/2. I have pictures so I'll make a short post soon! The race went great and I beat my previous time by over 20 minutes so it was pretty sweet. I got really sick about 2 hours after the race though with unfun stomach issues on top of the flu-thing so my promised update didn't happen. Sorry blog world. Maybe once I start sharing this blog with people I don't talk to every couple days I'll feel more inclined. Since, ya know, that was one of the reasons I started it. My problem is I either write the worlds longest synopsis on the race the day of (when I typically don't have fun exciting pictures to post and keep people entertained) or I wait and then feel lazy about writing about the race from two weeks ago.

I will become a better blogger, I promise.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Eugene Women's Half (Pre-Race)

First things first, I didn't run on Wednesday. I did go and pick up my race numbers for the series (55) but I was feeling really uneasy about the whole thing. I won't go into details but after an encounter with the aforementioned person, I split. I'll probably be running the future ones, but I set some boundaries.

Moving on!

I'm in Eugene and it's EARLY! 5am early. It is the earliest I have ever woken up for a race and I could have slept until 7am if I wanted. Two days ago I started feeling a bit off and the acupuncturist made a comment about my lungs. He was right, I had been feeling like my lungs were irritated and dry for a few days now and just overall not 100%. Last night my throat was itchy, I had a mild fever and an ear and body aches so I turned in at 8pm. Problem was, I couldn't sleep because it was before a race!

I had broken that "no sleep before a race" thing back in May. I even slept super well for my last half, which felt amazing race day. But I guess being in a hotel, not feeling too great and having a race means no sleep! I woke up at least 30 times, no joke. It's okay, it reminded me of previous race nights and I kept saying to myself, I sure hope this one is good!

Yesterday I left Portland at about 1pm and hit a lot of traffic on the way down. This meant I took a few dorky car pictures

I even took a picture of the bottom of my dress, which I scored at a thrift shop for $2. It's grey, ties in the back and has a horse on it. What more could you want?

On the way to Eugene there are some Buttes, which are essentially just big hills randomly placed around the country-side. I don't get it geologically, but I've also never looked it up. I never had heard of a butte until I moved out here. I had just drove from Seattle to Bend to visit my mom's childhood friend Cindi and I remember asking her what the heck was up with all those weird hills? Well, apparently they have a name! I've educated many people since then on this. And it is pronounced "beaut" as if you were saying the first syllable of "beautiful". :)

Traffic started to pick up outside of Woodburn, which is an outlet mall so that was the only picture of the Butte that turned out. I did take a picture of my average highway gas mileage for this trip because I wanted to brag:

The unfortunate part of that is my normal in town gas mileage is lucky if it is 24mpg. Highway mileage is great though so road trips and this car are best friends! On a side note, I'll actually own this car next June. I bought it with 20k miles on it and have put 35k on in the past 4+ years, which is pretty decent. (And also means I've only taken a couple road trips) I am pretty sure I'll own the car before it has 60 thousand miles on it, which I think is pretty awesome!

Alright, back to the real stuff - the race. I arrived in Eugene around 3:30 (which was great time considering I was in 20mph traffic for a good 1/2 hour. I found my hotel, which is really a motel, pretty easily since it was right off the road I came in on. For it being off such a busy road it has thankfully been really quiet!

Also, while the space is pretty unclassy looking it is actually not bad at all for a ~$60/night room. I'm staying here for 2 nights for $140 and that includes $15 of hotel taxes. Thankfully I booked this trip a month ago before I moved!

On that note, I went around selling clothes last week for gas money for this trip and I actually made $34, which considering most of the clothes were going to go to Goodwill or put on ebay, I was stoked. I brought the store about 25 items and she took 7 for a store retail value of $96. Store credit was worth 50% and cash was 35%. I also received $40 in store credit at an outdoor shop which means more camping gear!

Back to Eugene: Bear in mind, it is early, I've not eaten breakfast or had coffee - the latter of which I can't have before a race, so I'm a bit scatter brained!

I checked into the hotel and opened up the door to this sexy room. Which hey, the bedspread is ugly but the bed isn't horrible and I have a mini-fridge and microwave!

I walked downtown to the 5th street public market, about 3 blocks down and 4 blocks over and picked up my race packet.

The whole packet pick up was pretty organized and we got pretty cute re-useable bags:

If we registered before August 1st we also had customized name bibs. I tried to be clever and put a heart next to my name but apparently no one has <'s in their names so they gave me a bib that said:

I was cracking up just thinking about people cheering me on during the race saying "go Brie 3!! You're looking strong!" so I decided to try and change the bib but all I could find was a blue pen at the hotel. I tried my best to make a cheese sign over the 3 but when I left cheese holes it looked ridiculous so I just wrote the word CHEESE. Then drew another cheese to the left of my name. My bib is butchered and kind of sad looking now:

Oh well!

The race shirts are okay. They are technical shirts, which is nice but the screen print is SO tiny and the green/purple contrast makes it hard to read. It's not a shirt I'll wear a lot but it's better than any of the cotton ones I own! Maybe the newness of having a lot of race shirts is just starting to wear off.

Last night I ate some Laughing Planet because I knew it was close-by and fairly inexpensive (and tasty). I had a bowl of carbs ;) I just went to the inn's breakfast area and got myself a bagel and coffee (which I will only drink part of!). I also got two packets of oatmeal and some applesauce for after the race.

It's an hour and 1/2 before the race! I've checked the weather and it looks like it won't even get into the 70's until 10:30-11am which is good news. I'm nervous and hoping to get a bit more energy from this coffee. I almost put applesauce on my bagel and also tried to go into the wrong room so I think I need it.

I need to figure out what I'm wearing and get ready! I plan to leave the hotel at 7:15 and head on over to the race for an 8am start time. That'll give me about 30 minutes of hanging out before the race, which is perfect.

Eeek, okay I have some nerves right now! I'll update later or tomorrow with thoughts/results! Wish me luck!!