I broke out the pre-adventure racing jeans for the Team Photo. Size 20 to size 10. Yeah-ya!
The Lighterknot was another well run event, as we've come to expect from the Pangea Crew. Greg and everyone else associated with their events just could not possibly be more encouraging, supportive and sweet. And did I mention I have a mega-crush on their photographer? He's totes adorbs (yes, I know how that sounds and I don't care) and it doesn't hurt that he still manages to take decent pics of me despite the fact that they are taken at the potentially most unflattering moments.
Helmet hair, sweat, dirt, etc, this pic could still be SO much worse.
Dave and I take turns drawing the marble to see which discipline we start on. It was my turn this time and I drew the Trek marble.Happy dances ensued because we have found that we both really prefer to start on foot. It's definitely my strongest of the three disciplines and I'd rather start with what I am strongest with and make the most of the energy I have. So off we went. After the first checkpoint we went off trail to cut a corner hoping to get ahead of the team of 18 year olds. With their navigation skills (they had some) and their youth, we knew they'd be tough to beat. So a trail blazing we went. Dave did a great job cutting the corner and we emerged from the woods back on to the trail, at the same time we see the kids (Team Slack Pack. No, that's really their name. I'm not being catty) come around the bend. Oh well, if we hadn't taken the woods they'd be even further in front of us.
And so it went, we leap-frogged with them and a couple of other teams all day. We ran, ok jogged, the entire Trek portion for the second race in a row. That's a big deal to us.
Still feels wrong that in the ARs and at Crossfit the running portions are my favorite parts. What happened to me?
No navigation issues at all. Maybe others found faster or more direct ways, but Dave led us to every one all day without a hiccup. Well, there was the one CP on the paddle for which I disembarked pre-maturely. No, I didn't fall in. This time.. The clue was that it was "on a mound." So just as we are thinking we are getting close, there was a very obvious mound alongside the river. We stopped, I hopped out, but didn't see anything. So a couple of minutes were lost there, I suppose. Just as I was giving up and getting back into the boat another team came by and assumed it was the spot. I yelled, "No, no! Keep going! It's not here. It's too soon." At least one team member seriously questioned my honesty for a moment.
I assured him that I was not lying and we had a very fun banter with them for the rest of the paddle. Which reminds me, listen up ladies! Another bonus to the ARs, besides ya know, inspiring and being great workouts, getting you outdoors and providing a sense of accomplishment, they often provide a fair amount of eye candy in the way of cute twenty/thirty-somethings. Just sayin'.
Anycuties, we felt hella strong on the paddle. All those push-ups and pull-ups at Crossfit are definitely paying off in my paddle strength. And it continues to amaze me how well Dave and I do paddling together. I guess after 18 years together you're either going to be really good or really bad at that kind of thing. Though I know the key to our success with the races (and again the measure of our success is very personal and does not necessarily have anything to do with how we appear on the leaderboard) is that we leave it all on the trail. Do we occasionally snip at each other? HELL. YEAH. But we let it go immedi-freaking-ly. And of course, we give each other as much positive encouragement as possible as well.
On to the bike. The bike, like the last race, was the bike. I still don't feel like I am as strong on the bike as I could be. Now that the weather is getting more friendly I definitely need to make more time to ride off road and build up a little more endurance. I'm going faster and longer every race, no doubt....but I know I have it in me to do better.
The end of the race was actually quite exciting. On our way in we knew we had cleared the course, but we had no idea where we were in the standings. Just as we reach the homestretch we saw a team of runners giving it all they had to get back. And then another team on bikes comes flying out onto the road from the trail that took you to the Boat TA. I gave it all I had but we couldn't catch the team on bikes, though we did catch the runners. (I'm not that slow) What fun!
We ended up in 5th place. I'm not going to lie, we'd really like that Top Three someday, but we really couldn't be happier with the progress we have made this year. In January of 2011 as I was preparing for gallbladder surgery I set the goal of doing the Missing River Race. I was over 250 lbs and I knew it was time to make some changes. Dave and I had always watched things like the Amazing Race etc and thought "we could totally do that!" When I stumbled onto the Pangea events on-line, I thought that this could be just the thing to inspire us both to eat better and start getting in shape. I started working out some, but quite frankly had not hit bottom enough to make the changes needed to have some serious weight-loss. And then in May I found that rock-bottom. If you care, you can read about it here. But my point is, we are so happy with how far we have come...how the ARs (among other things) have resulted in a complete lifestyle change for our entire family this year. Have I mentioned Dave has lost at least 30 lbs this year and is working out regularly for the first time in all the time we've been together?
Yeah, the ARs have done that. They've inspired us to work harder, try harder, be better. It's prepared me mentally for the challenges of Crossfit which symbiotically, makes me better at Adventure Racing. Are we ready to move to the Elite class? Not quite yet. Call me Goldilocks, but for me, the 3 hour races (for now) are just right. Though I did just sign us up for next month's 4 hour Turkey Burn. Crap.
Till next time, stay dirty!