The Triing Lizard

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Am I really doing this? Am I really moving to Colorado? Do I really want to leave the town that I've spent the last 8 years of my life, where I've learned what it means to really be a grown up, had my first real date, my first boyfriend, my first broken heart, bought my first house, learned how to fix a broken toilet, how to install new electrical lines, new plumbing, cabinets, and I learned how to take care of myself, self reliance. I learned the importance of friends and family. I got in shape. I became a triathlete. I went from answering the phones and hating my job to moving up and into a job that I enjoy and that challenges me, and allows me to use my analytical and problem solving skills. I went from starving student to career woman.

So I had my interviews yesterday and they hinted that I'm going to be offered the position. So I'll be doing my same job (at least for now) and then potentially I might be asked to do projects that will be lead out there.

Am I ready to move to Colorado? Yes. The mountains, the outdoor activities, tons of biking and hiking trails, people who care about the environment, who try NOT to hit bikers and runners, a house with a garage, huge parks, open spaces. Am I ready to leave Baltimore? That is a tougher question. Really, I'm not leaving all of these memories and experiences behind. I'm bringing that stuff all with me. The things that I am leaving behind are the familiarity, the routine, my friends, my aquaintances, the Wine Underground, Volleyball House, my adventure racing team, ARMD, the Trail Snails, my coworkers (even though I'll talk to them I won't get to see them every day), the Avenue, and the eclectic interesting diverse culture of Baltimore, my house, my neighborhood, my neighbors.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My first Adventure Race!

Me, Jess, and Sara before the race

Race Report:
Start of the race was we had to send one member to do a run about 1 1/2 miles out and back to get the team passport, we sent Jess b/c she is our fastest runner. She was back in no time at all, our passport was as follows: run, canoe, bike, and then special challenge section. Other teams had the courses in different orders.

What we could have done differently on the run course:

We were still getting adjusted to the scale of the map so I'm not sure I would have done anything differently but if possible I would have not missed that one trail we needed to take to get the one checkpoint that we overshot.

Transition to the canoe. We got our passport stamped, grabbed our bailer and throw bag which I then carried up the massive hill. Fast transition here. Set my watch to go off every 30 minutes so we'd remember to eat. That alarm system worked well for me.

Canoe time!
5 miles around a Lake, pretty flat water with some wind, made steering a little bit of a challenge but not too bad. We had three checkpoints here and landing the boat was a little tricky a couple times especially with other boats coming in and out.

I was in the back steering, Sara was in the middle sitting on a crate that Jason happened to have in his truck (thank you Jason!!!), Jess was in the front. We worked well together, switched when we were tired, sang songs when we started to get frustrated at how long it was taking, overall I think we did well. It was annoying to get passed by all these buff guys with super huge arm muscles. If we only had those muscles we could go just as fast! This is definitely an area we all agreed that we needed to work on. But I think I did a good job of steering, there were some other boats that were going right and left and pretty much anything but straight so I felt pretty good about how we did despite getting passed by some boats.

At the end of the canoe section there was a team challenge where we had to tell the volunteer how to measure 4 units of water from a 3 unit and a 5 unit cup. Luckily it was from a movie that Sara had seen so she got it right away!!

What could we have done differently?

Train for the boating section, I haven't canoed since June when I did 26 miles down a river with my sister and nieces. The river really helped us along but I didn't realize it at the time...

Transition from canoe to bike, we had a bit to do here in terms of making sure we had all the necessary gear. Sara and Jess took a little longer in transition, I was getting impatient but eventually we set off.

Biking time!

Bike course...we chose to do a lot of it on the roads vs the trails b/c it was faster (advice from Sean, thank you)!! The part that was on the trails was tough, the trails were technical at points with a lot of rocks and roots. My training sessions with ARMD definitely helped me. Even if they were harrowing training sessions. :)

I was the weakest here, in fact I fell once while trying to get started b/c someone was coming toward me and I was rushing and I could clip out fast enough and down I went. I got some style points from a couple guys who were watching, they said at least I was graceful. :)

We really had trouble finding one of the points here. We had seen Sean on the way to the canoe when they were coming back from the canoe and he had given us a key pointer on bike #2 which no one could find (it was in a tree). But point #6 was tough b/c it was buried in these windy trails and we kept back tracking and everyone was trying to find it and there were people biking in every direction on this tough technical single track, it made it really hazardous (that's when I fell). We finally found it and then we were off to point 7 when we found point 8 which we weren't allowed to get yet (we had to get the bike points in order). So we finally went back to the place where 7 was supposed to be and all we saw was a bunch of racers changing tires. So we figured we had to find the point first and then go and change a bike tire as a team challenge. Well we spent a good 10 minutes trying to find the point but couldn't find it and then we went back to where everyone was and found out that there wasn't an actual point, that we just needed to change the tube! Ugh. So I changed the tube in a few minutes (I've practiced this as part of tri training and I managed to impress my teammates and the volunteer who was there verifying that we actually did it). We passed a bunch of teams at that challenge.

What could we have done differently on the bike?
Ask the volunteer before looking for the non existent checkpoint!!

Transition from bike to special challenges, we dropped our bikes, helmets, and headed over to the obstacle course.

This was pretty fast b/c we were starting to run out of time at this point. We had a little over an hour left to finish everything and I wasn't sure how long all of this was going to take us.
Special Challenges Time!
Obstacle course - cargo net where we had to get a bucket of walnut fruit things and ourselves over the net - easy enough, we poured the walnuts into Jess's bag and put the bucket in my camelback and we climbed over the net in no time.

Next was this course where one person had to be tied in via a caribeener and follow the ropes around some trees and the other teammates could create slack in the rope and help guide the person by telling them to go over and under which rope, etc. etc. It was really easy, Sara was hooked in, Jess created slack, and I told Sara how to go over and under, no problem at all.

Next was the spider web where there were a bunch of ropes tied between two trees creating what looked like a spider web. The challenge was to get all three team members through without touching the ropes. Sara went through the lowest one b/c she was the shortest. Jess went through the second highest one while climbing on Sara's back and then landing on my back (Sara and I were on hands and knees on either side of the web). And then I tried a few different ways to get through a different hole (we had to go through different routes) but I was having a hard time. So after a few attempts Sara grabbed the front of me, Jess took my feet and fed me through to Sara. It worked like a charm, easy enough. I can't believe they could lift me, must have been the adrenaline!

Forth was the stretcher challenge where we had to transport a member of our team on a stretcher type thing 200 yards, down and back. We dragged her instead of lifting b/c I figured it would be easier, which it was. Jess was the "victim" and Sara and I dragged her down and back pretty easily. At one end I kinda dropped her a little too hard (I temporarily forgot it was a person that we were dragging, I was getting a little delerious at that point) but luckily she was okay.

Then we ran to the end and we were done!!!

Post Race:
Ate some food, waited for Kathy, Sean, and Jason to finish. They had finished the course in less than 4 hours so they were able to do an additional running orienteering course for some extra points. Turned out they made an error in judgement on one of the points which if they had gotten it they would have come in 2nd but since they got some other closer points they ended up placing 4th overall. They still kicked butt - they were competing against some realy tough teams. They were bummed though.

Our limiter:

Canoeing, we need stronger boating skills, stronger arms.

We were the only all female team to finish the course within the 6 hours and we had 45 minutes to spare! So I think we did exceptionally well especially since this was our first adventure race. Sara was an amazing navigator and Jess could spot those checkpoints from miles away! It was so much fun doing a race as part of a team. I like it a lot better than racing on my own. I hope to fit in one more race with them before I move to Colorado.

This was a ton of fun. I really wish I could do these types of races more often. This is totally my thing. I loved every minute of it. Requires strategy, teamwork, mental work, physical strength and endurance. What a challenge. I can't wait for the next one.

Post race:

The core ARMD group: