June 2006
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Month June 2006

let the hazing commence

tonight was my first time at the wednesday night group run. i was feeling good from a run last night and the race last weekend and hoped i would fit in with the crew. we met at lookout mountain (the location of these runs changes every few months) and started up the mountain beautiful trail. we went up and up and up. then, some more. yeowsers, what a way to break in the new girl! i sucked. partially because i was afraid of another asthma attack, partially because the terrain was more difficult than i am used to. i thought it would be better on the downhill, but that trail ended up being real rocky and for the first time in months, my injured foot became a bit sensitive. argh. afterwards jim (my friend who leads the runs) told me that tonight’s run included 2 of the more difficult trails on the mountains. thanks man. there are definitely some great trails up there and i do look forward to feeling better and running better in the future…

Siege the Day!

Only 1 week after I moved from Atlanta, I drive back to catch a race – The Siege on Fort Yargo Sprint Adventure Race. I was looking forward to actually racing and not being behind the scenes for a change. I drove down Friday evening and crashed out at Ken’s place. The alarm went off at 5am and I struggled to not press snooze. We were out the door soon and on our way to Norma’s to pick her up and our canoe. With her husband Johnny in tow (both of them are former teammates of mine; Johnny got picked up on a team last minute), we were off to Winder, GA.

We got there around 7:15, dropped off our boat and gear, then got in line. And waited. I was a bit frustrated, as I had emphasized to the directors the need for several lines – the race was sold out with 100 teams. That means 300 anxious racers needing to check in within 2.5hrs. It’s little details like this that as a racer I remember, and something I strive to make go smoothly in the races I direct. Anyways, the line eventually moved, although the race started about 10 minutes late. Luckily though I didn’t really hear racers complaining.

Norma, Ken & I before the start

We got our transition area set up with gear organized for quick ins & outs. Then we dropped our packs off at a truck (our intructions said we’d retrieve them at CP1) and headed to the start line. We snagged a position near the front and at the sound of the gun (ok, it was really just Chris or Zach’s voice), we were off! We beelined for the lakeshore for a short swim to the other side. A short run to CP1 followed, where we retrieved our packs from piles of hay. My bite valve had come unlocked and was dripping – I hoped not too much escaped. We then followed the powerlines through some big hills (see the race map here. I felt strong and set the pace up and down the first, with Ken and Norma following. Then all of a sudden on the second hill things just stopped. My breathing was off. Then I was gasping & wheezing, my heart pounding like crazy, and my sight narrowed. Asthma attack! Wow, this is only the second time this has ever happened to me (the first being at the Blue Ridge AR earlier this year – ironically, also after a swim). We walked until I could regain normal functioned then started with a light jog. About a half hour later I noticed the feeling was 100% gone and picked up the pace again, luckily with no more problems today (but it was on my mind the entire time. Freaky!!)

We headed in to the TA, picked up our bikes, and set out to explore the great new singletrack that YABA/SORBA has been building out here. I hadn’t ridden the trails yet but loved them! Early on it was a bit congested and one eager beaver chick was rather rude about wanting to pass (I ususally have no problem scooting over, but this section was particularly tight and twisty and there simply wasn’t the space). There was a section of whoop-di-doos that came up and my gearing was a bit off for one up that was a bit longer than the others. I stepped into it for more power and bam, my left calf cramped up at the top. I fall over with a tree catching me nicely and stretch it out with Ken’s help. Norma fed me some magical pill later that I must go find. (normally my e-caps do the trick, but the heat combined with my lack of riding lately was probably too much to combat). I did go slower for awhile afterwards afraid the cramp would catch again.

After the biking (and a few mystery events that we nailed), into the canoe we went. We paddled strong and Norma kept us on a tight line, wasting no effort. We even managed to pass a few teams along the way. Each checkpoint had a number associated with it that we had to write in our passports. Strange, as a few were the same. At the far end of the lake we came to another special test that was a bunch of algebra using these numbers… stuff like the square root of cp20 times cp18 squared minus 7.. etc. At first glance we were like whoa! But with my stellar high school geekiness coming thru, we got it quick. 1793: the year Fort Yargo was built!

We paddled hard back to the TA, where we faced the last test in this section of the race: the mud pit! Hopefully Rick captured some great pictures here. Upon exiting, prissy Ken had to go wash off in the lake, while Norma and I waited to get the instructions for the last section of the race: a rogaine. The race planned to use a tough navigation course to end with, so that the more experienced racers would get a challenging sprint race; but since the points were optional, newbies didn’t have to get any, giving them the chance to finish the entire course. Our goal was a top finish, so we copied the points and dashed off once again.

We contemplated the points and tried to come up with a plan of attack that would allow us to get the maximum # of points but still leave us time to get back to the finish within the 5 hour time limit. 1 point inparticular (OP3) seemed a bit out of the way, so we decided to get 5, 1 & 4, then loop back around, cross the lake, and get 2, 7, 6 & 8. OP1, however, was smack dab in the middle of a blackberry kudzu forest. Nasty stuff! We finally found it and tried to keep it hush hush from the other teams lurking around, but they picked up on our nonchalant front and quickly snagged it too. Because this point took us a bit longer, we had to nix OP8 from our plan, so we finished with 6 points in the end.

The finish line was my second point of frustration with the race. There was merely a table with a clock and a few volunteers writing down finishing times and checking passports. Because the rush was on to get the OPs and get back before the clock struck 5hrs, it was madness at the table. For those of us aiming for a top spot, it was frustrating to just wait and have the seconds tick by. I finally weaseled my way to the front, sorta feeling bad for sneaking ahead of others, but honestly, most of them probably weren’t in our situation.

In the end, we finished 6th in the co-ed elite division (out of 61 teams) and 9th overall (out of 100 teams). We’re pretty psyched with these results and happy to have had a great time while racing too.

getting settled!

Well the move is nearly complete (a few straggling items left in Atl to bring up this weekend) and my organization not too far off. I have a few boxes still left to put away, dependent upon the rearranging of some furniture in my living room (that is a two person job, which isn’t always the easiest when you’re in a new town). I did get invited to a post-Tuesday night ride dinner, even though I don’t yet have a road bike to participate in the ride (that’s next up on my wish list!)

Liz was up in town to help with the move and I was able to take her kayaking on the chickamauga (forgot the camera!) and hiking on signal mtn. The cats are adjusting well, even though 2 large barn owls that live in the backyard make me nervous when Ollie & Lenny are exploring the yard.

This weekend is the Siege on Fort Yargo, the TrailBlazers’ first sprint adventure race. I helped out with the design (great logo eh?!), but will race it with Ken & Norma (Team Blazing Saddles), so I don’t know much about the course. With temps getting into the mid-90′s, it’ll be a rough day no matter what!

Now that I have internet hooked back up at home, I should hopefully catch up on some race reports, picture postings and such. Finally, life feels like it is getting in order!

A24: this weekend…

I leave in the morning for Adventure24, the race my friend Kevin and I put on. This is only our second year, but we must have done things right the first time around, as we got shout outs in 2 magazines this year: we made the list of “Things to Do in the Southeast” in the June issue of Backpacker Magazine, and was listed in Experience Life Magazine’s calendar. We’re looking forward to having some great weather and a great race. I’ll report back after!

finally back… i think.

the last 2 weeks have been good. i’ve been able to (both physically and time-wise) train like normal: several solid runs during the week, spin class, and some singletrack riding. yesterday i ran 9-10 miles at the river and today did 11 at kennesaw mountain. it wore me out (perhaps a noon start time was not quite ideal!), but i felt good and it was satisfying. the next 2 weeks will be pretty crazy (A24 this weekend and then moving the next!), but after that my schedule will be that much better – no more trying to basically work 2 jobs. The WebMD contract gig will go away (bye bye normal paycheck), and Eyeprojector will be back full time, daytime (and leave my nights for me!) life will be good.