Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Aeries February Freeze Tall Timber Trail Run & Ultra 12 Hour Run

So what are you doing on February 1st, 2014, I mean, there isn't much going on that time of year.  I have this great idea, I really think you will like it.  Come to Grafton, IL and run a 6 mile trail run or a 12 hour Ultra Trail Run.  They will both be awesome events with really great schwag.  

This is going to be one of those events that you do once and never want to miss again.  See all the race info below.  

Registration is now open, with a 300 entry limit for the trail run and a 150 entry limit for the Ultra run, there is also a team division for the Ultra, so grab two of your closest friends and hang out in the dark for 12 hours, all you have to do is run a little. 

This race is being managed by the Metro Tri Club, the same people that bring you the Pere Marquette Trail Run.  And the course is very similar to the PM run also, so be ready for a challenge.

Online Registration:

Monday, October 7, 2013

SHivering Icey Trail Run

The inaugural SHivering Icy Trail Run was so memorable that all of us at ROCK Racing have been asked dozens of times over the summer if we would be organizing the SHITR II.  We told everyone that asked “Yes”!
Now it’s time to make good on those promises.  The SHITR II will go off on January 11, 2014 at 5pm, starting from The Mound.

Once again we will run our favorite trail - Lost Valley in Weldon Spring, MO.  Great single track, great parking, hills, fast-flowy sections, techy sections, and open after dark.  It is the perfect place for what we have planned.  And this year a section of the gravel double track has been replaced by more of the rocky singletrack we all love.

Come join us for a 13.1m trail run on some of the best singletrack in the area.
What could make a trail ½ marathon fun you ask?

Let’s do it in the dark.

In January.

Reserve the date on your calendar now 1/11/14.  5pm start time.
(Actually read these race reports from last year, if you still want to run then put it on your calendar!)
Truthfully though it was awesome, awesome in a way that only the people sitting around those tables at the Mexican restaurant could understand.  We had all endured something together and even though I didn’t actually talk to every single person who was there I still feel a bond with everyone of them, and that is something you can’t get from a road race.
If you missed out on the race this year then you should totally feel jealous, and if you see someone trying to merge in traffic with a SHITR decal in their window you should give them room and allow them to move because they are badass and deserve your respect.  Next year the SHITR will be even better!  Don’t miss it. - (Patrick Albert, Adventurer)

And once again…This picture might or might not be a clue to the mystery event....if there is one.

(More details coming soon on the Facebook event page – like the sticker logo contest) 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Berryman Adventure Race 2013

Two Thumbs Up
This was my first time competing in the Berryman Adventure Race in 4 years, so I was excited that it fell on a weekend that I had free and could join in on all the fun.  Usually Chuck and I do adventure races as a 2 person coed team, but this race we did as a 4 person coed team because Chuck’s son Jacob wanted to do it and our friend Keith also wanted to try a longer race. 
Chuck (Master Orienteerer)
Jacob (Unruly Teenaged Boy)
Keith (Fast Grandpa)
Robin (Slow Girl)
Just a few weeks before the race Keith was hospitalized for a health issue and wasn’t sure he was going to be able to race, but luck was on his side and he was well enough on race day to make it. 

Chuck’s wife Lori came along and was our personal photographer, we would be seeing her a lot throughout the race, which I love because she takes great photos. 

We also had a group of friends, Jenny, Jim, Travis, and Trent, otherwise known as Team Jenny’s Angels, who were doing this as their first Adventure race. This was their first adventure race and first time as a team, so this was going to be interesting.  I just told them to take their time with the navigation and have fun.  

Jenny and her Angels at the start of the race
We hit the pre-race meeting then both teams gathered in Chuck’s room to plot the checkpoints and do some preliminary route planning.  Our plotting went well, and we helped the other team with plotting to make sure they were going to start off on the right foot. We were in bed by 10:30 with plans of leaving for the race start by 5:15 am the next morning. 

Plotting the night before the race
The next morning seemed to come fast, but I slept well.  Jenny and I shared a hotel room so we made sure we were awake on time and ready to go.  We met our teams in the lobby, grabbed some breakfast and were out the door.  It was a 30 minute drive to the start and it was way out in the deep woods. 

Team ROCK Racing
We parked, filled our drop bags with food, staged our bikes and got ready to start, the gun went off and we headed out.  We had decided to take a different path than most teams, there were only about 3 teams who took this line. 

Which way should we go
I think it was the right decision because we did not have to wait in line to punch our passport when we got to the CP.  As usual Chuck was our map guy and I had the passport and clue sheet.  This is how we always work as a team, so we kept it this way even with a 4 person team instead of a 2 person team, like we usually race. 

Jacobs got this
As we headed for CP2, we ran into Team JA, they were also looking for CP2, so we found it together.  We headed off South for our last CP before the bike, while they headed North for their two remaining points. 
Team Jenny's Angels
As we ran into the HQ / TA to get our bikes Lori was standing there taking photos and giving us an update and what teams had already been through.  We talked to some guys from Arkansas while there and ate deer sausage that Keith brought along.  We also took off our adventure pants, since we would be on bikes and we were so covered in beggar lice that they were weighing us down. Keith had shorts on in the woods, so the hair on his legs were covered with beggar lice, at least we could just take our pants off, he worked all day to get those lice off his legs. 

Beggars Lice
TA 1
Getting ready for the first bike leg
We started out on the first bike leg and it was mostly all single track.  It was really tough, with lots of sand, gravel, roots and boulders.  We weren’t too far into the bike and I turned a corner and came to a dead stop in the deep sand and crashed into a downed tree.  I was so tangled in the tree that it took a while to get out and I had to pull tree limbs out of my spokes and my brakes.  I finally got back on my bike and rode up to where my teammates were waiting, wondering what happened to me. 

We were back on track and soon arrived at a cave where a CP was inside.  We ran in to stamp the passport, but none of us had a head lamp on so we were just trying to guess if we were checking the right box or not.  We headed out thinking there was a trail around the cave, only to find out that we had to go though the cave, at least this time we had our bike lights to get us through.

The Boys coming out of the cave
We were back out for more single track and then we came out to ride hill after hill of loose gravel.  We did hit some pavement for a while and it was one of the few places that we had some really good downhill.  In fact we hit 41 mph on the downhill in this section.  I was just hoping that we didn’t have to ride back up it. 
Jacob and Chuck
I kept getting dropped off the back, every uphill I would fall behind and the guys would stop to wait, but as soon as I got close they took off again, so they were getting a minute to recover while I never had any recovery time, so I kept falling further and further back.  They couldn’t just take off and leave me because I had the passport they needed me, but I got to the point where I felt like I was the 4th wheel and the only reason I was there was because I was the girl and they needed one to be a coed team.  As the day went on Chuck fell back closer to me and Jacob and Keith were off the front, usually waiting at the top of each hill, taking it easy catching a breath, so that they could stomp my ego again when I caught up.

Taking a nap while waiting for me to catch up
We made it to the canoe put-in and thankfully we had the light canoes, there was a lot of canoe carrying to get in and out of the water.  

The hardest part of the race
Lori was there taking photos, and it was nice to see someone who wasn’t in race mode and wasn’t thinking what a slug I was, and constantly stopping and waiting for me. 

Lori taking our photos
We got in the canoes and headed out.  

Jacob and Chuck
Robin and Keith
This race had a little bit of an interesting twist, there were optional points thrown in that could be picked up by any transportation mode as long as they were picked up before a designated CP.  On the map it looked like there was a rock road that we could use to get close to the points. So we picked up a couple canoe CP’s than beached, unloaded bikes and headed out for points, 41 and 42.  Oh and these points were worth 2 points each. 
Jacob and Chuck
Robin and Chuck
The section of road we had to cover to get to these points started out uphill in deep gravel, oh and that was after you got out of the sand.  It was tough but we made it.  At the first CP we had a gear check and after some digging in our packs we came up with all the needed gear, so we stamped our passport and headed out. We picked up the next point quickly, and we were really surprised to see how many people had chosen to trek to the points. It would have taken us at least an extra hour to trek it instead of bike it.  We headed back to the river and we were looking forward to some downhill to get back, but the downhill was in deep gravel which made it very scary, at least for me.  At one point I was flying down a hill, fish tailing in the gravel, I couldn’t brake or I would have gone down, and to top it off, bikes were coming toward me, all I could do was yell, “look out”.  I am so glad everyone scrambled out of my way.  I mean I wanted us to do well, but taking out the other teams with my bike just didn’t seem right. 

Just before the river on the downhill I saw a giant copperhead snake and it had it’s head up striking, I went as far as I could to the tail end of it to get around, I was really scared I kept checking to make sure it hadn’t jumped on my bike. I would have a photo, but there is no stinking way I would have gotten anywhere near that snake to take one.  Back at the canoe everyone was talking about the snake, at least I wasn’t the only one that it scared. So we put our bikes back in the canoes and took off again. 

Loaded down with bikes
As we paddled down the river, we came upon a team that had their canoe stuck under a log, they were taking bikes out to try and dislodge it, we asked to help, but they said they had it under control, but a paddle and helmet was floating down the river.  We started paddling harder to try and catch them, we grabbed the paddle first it was lodged in some trees, then we went after the helmet.  Once we had both we stuck them on a sand bar where the racers could see them and we paddled on.  

It didn’t take long to get to the TA after the gear rescue, we pulled our canoes out of the water and carried them up the hill and of course Lori was waiting and took some more photos of us.  It’s really nice having an “in” with the photographer.  

We ran up to the CP and picked up the next map. Chuck and I sat down and started plotting the maps while we ate and Keith and Jacob talked to Lori to get the scoop on all the teams while they ate.  

Plotting the second map
Chuck Plotting
We headed out to for the next CP’s planning on only picking up the CP’s that were close to the road and on the way to the canoe put-in because we only had 2.5 hours before the cutoff time at the canoe.   
As we headed out we were running the down hills and flats and walking the up hills.  I started to fall off the back again, which was just normal for me for the day, and Jacob let me grab the loop on his pack and he started towing me, when he got too fast, I grabbed on to Keith’s pack and he started towing me. For a while I kept up only because of the tow.  

What I looked at most of the day
We quickly realized that we would be trekking through some really tough hills and that we would also have to ride some of those same hills on the next leg. It was so frustrating to know that we were going to have to ride up those awful hills.  In fact as we started the second canoe leg I was so disheartened by the fact that we were going to have to ride up that giant hill, that I started thinking to myself, “this hill will not beat me”, and you know what, it didn’t.  And then if worrying about the hill was not enough, it started raining.

The rain just kept coming and it got really foggy out, then Keith started singing the oldies, which Jacob knew none of, and I started feeling old, because I knew all of them.  I was starting to feel a little beat and then we saw a rope swing in the distance, it was like we were just out on a float trip.  I said we should jump off the rope and Jacob said, “I will do it” so Chuck paddled up to the rope and Jacob grabbed it then jumped off the log onto the rope and into the water.  It was exactly what we needed to pull us out of a tired funk and the rest of the paddle went pretty well. 

Jacob jumping off log
Fun on the rope swing
We reached the TA, and saw Team JA there, they were having a rough time, but seemed to be in good spirits even though they had been doing a bit of swimming during the canoe leg.

Travis and Trent
We were back in the TA, doing more plotting, this time in the rain, we checked our time and made a plan on what CP’s we should shoot for to make sure we finished before the cutoff.  

Plotting under a campers tarp, he was very nice to let us use it
Loading up for the next biking leg
We headed out for CP 25, it was dark by then and I had to tell the boys that in the dark they couldn’t ride with me off the back because I might miss a turn, they said no problem we would all stay close, ha….ha, that didn’t work out to well.  We had a little issue of Keith and Jacob getting ahead and me and Chuck at the turn for CP25.  We figured sooner or later they had to look back and see we were not behind them. 

We got back together and punched CP25, but as Chuck got to the bottom of a hill heading out to the road, he blew a tire.  His bike is tubeless but there was a big gash in his tire, so he had to tube it.  He put the tube in and used the CO2 to air it up, the CO2 got stuck open and he blew the new tube.  Jacob gave him his tube, but it was the last 29’er tube we had, with the gash we worried about another flat.  Just about the time Chuck finished putting in the second tube a team stopped to talk to us.  They were nice enough to give us one of their 29 tubes in case we needed it. I don’t know the team’s name, but Thank You! 

Next we headed to CP29 it was in the single track section, but before we got to it we somehow missed the turn to the single track and ended up at an old silo, we knew it was wrong because we had not seen it earlier in the day when we were on that same section. We turned around and found the trail head.  Just before the turn to the ridge that CP27 was on we stopped to eat something and another team rode up, they said they were done and riding back in, but we wanted to get 27 so we let them go.  

When we made it to the ridge, we realized that 27 was really a long way out on the ridge, so we decided to skip it and headed back to the finish.   

Riding in the dark
As we rode into the finish we saw Lori taking photos and Travis, from Team JA waiting for us.  We were looking for the big finish line but it was gone. The generator went out so no finish line. It was kind of disappointing, we really wanted to ride under the finish line. 

This was long gone when we finished
We turned in our passport, got a team photo and headed to the food, which was really good, especially the cheesy potatoes.  Then we all changed clothes, I had to use a water bottle to pour water over my legs and arms to try and get all the sand off before I put on clean clothes. I think it took 3 showers to get all the sand off me. 

Now 2 days after the race, I am covered in chiggers, and my ego is bruised because I kept falling off the back. I have no excuse, I felt good, I just couldn’t keep up with them, but I did ride up every one of those stinking big hills, the ones that most people were pushing their bikes up.  It’s hard being the slow girl with 3 fast boys. 

Three Fast Boys
Photo Credit: Lori Vohsen.. click here to see all photos

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cyclocross - LaVista Park 2013

If you have been following my blog, you know that I purchased a CX bike this year, really to use as a gravel bike, but I figured since I had it, I may as well do a few CX races.  I “competed”, if you can call it that, in a CX race last year, but I rode it on my mountain bike.  It was probably the hardest I have ever worked in a bike race.  I was in oxygen debt the entire race and when I got off the bike I almost fell over my legs were so shaky. 

After that experience, you are probably wondering why I wanted to try it again.  I wanted to see if it was just as hard on a CX bike, it was, but it was a different kind of hard.  It was less of me just trying to muscle the bike through the course and more of me trying to go faster.  Riding a CX bike on the course is WAY easier than a mountain bike.  I was still in oxygen debt by the end, but it was because I was pushing myself, not because it took everything I had to muscle a mountain bike through the course. 

Photo Credit - Russ Darbon
I really suck at getting over the barriers, so if I plan to continue racing CX I need to work on that.  I roll up to the barrier and am off the bike while it’s rolling, but when I get back on, I’m at a complete stop.  I need to learn how to jump back on the bike.  I would say my dismounts are average, but my remounts, well let’s just say there is a lot of room for improvement. 

I made a rookie mistake of course.  I knew the race was 45 minutes and the ref told us it would be 6 laps, but it ended up being 5 laps.  So this is how it happened, I was in the back 3rd of the field and coming around on the 5th lap and there were two girls right in front of me, I felt pretty good, so I thought I would just sit behind them and on the next (6th) lap, I would wait until about half way through the lap then jump and pass them.  So I was just taking it easy keeping in a close range as I rolled through the lap only to hear the ref say, you’re done.  I was like “what, I’m done, we have another lap”.  No one was complaining about having one less lap, but that just through my strategy in the trash.  I mean really it didn’t matter, it would have put me 8th instead of 10th and neither of these were in the money, but it was just the fact that I really thought I could get the two girls in front of me. Oh well, lesson learned, I won’t wait next race, I will go when I have the chance no matter what lap I’m on. 

Ann, Robin, Kate, Kristen - Photo Credit: Russ Darbon
It was a lot of fun and I got to ride with Kate, Kristen, and Ann on a perfect day in September.  I will do another CX race this year and then decide if it’s something I will continue doing.  I mean I have the bike, all I had to do was swap my gravel tires for CX tires and I was ready to go. Oh and get this, I did the tire swap by myself with no help, I didn’t even have to run into the bike shop for an expert to fix what I messed up. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

River Bluff Half Ironman 2013

Sometimes I ask myself how I get talked into doing such crazy stuff, like competing in a Half Ironman when I’m in no shape to attempt a race of that length.  If you don’t know what a Half Ironman is, it is a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. 
I have competed in a few of these races in the past, some with awful results and others with good results, so I know I can do it, it’s just a matter of how much I will suffer.  So when my friend Jenny asked me if I was interested in competing in a Half IM, I thought, “oh heck, why not”.  I should never make spur of the moment decisions like that, but of course it always sounds like a good idea 6 months out.  After I agreed I asked a few more friends if they wanted to do it, and the only taker was Russ, I’m pretty sure it’s because he is as insane as I am and never thinks about the suffering this could cause in the future.
So we got a training plan from our friend Jeff, but none of us stuck to it very well, life just kept getting in the way of good training.  I think Jenny worked the hardest and did more long brick workouts than Russ or I.  The long bricks I did do, didn’t go well, it was mostly just me chasing Jenny and Russ and them slowing down and waiting for me to catch up.  Going into the race, I was not feeling like all was going to be well, in fact, by race day, I just wanted to get it over with.
So race weekend came and we carpooled to race.  The race was in Ashland City, TN, but the closest hotel we could get was in Kingston Springs, about 18 miles of winding roads away.  On Friday we drove directly to the race site in Ashland City to pick up our packets and get a good look at the course.  The website said that the bike had challenging hills and that the run was flat. Russ said that he thought the swim would be flat also, thanks for that Russ, you were right.  The bike course was two loops, so we decided to drive the second loop which was the last 31 miles of the course.  We quickly decided that our estimated times we each had in mind, were out the window and that the bike would be more of a survival ride than a race.  The hills were enormous, the first hill on the second loop was 6 miles long.  There was maybe 4 miles of flat in the entire bike course.  We quickly re-evaluated our strategy as we were driving to the hotel.

We typed in the hotel address in our GPS, which we call Karan, and Karen took us for a nice long sightseeing trip around the TN country side, it took us an hour to get to the hotel when it should have taken 25 minutes, but at least it was scenic.  We finally got to the hotel, and as we were checking in, we noticed that women’s wrestling was on TV. We were making a few comments about the wrestler’s uniforms, like how do they wrestle in those boots with all that fur on them, I think we may have offended the desk clerk, we think he may have been really watching it.  He did give us directions though, in case Karan decided to send us on the scenic route in the morning.
Morning came early and by 5:15 we were on the road to the race.  We got there at 5:45 and it was still dark, plus there was a really thick fog in the air.  In fact we couldn’t even see the river when we drove across the bridge. We had to park about a quarter mile away from the transition area, so we made the long trek with our bikes and our gear.

Jenny read to race
Russ ready to burn it up

We quickly racked our bikes and started sitting all our stuff out, hoping that we didn’t forget anything.  After about 5 trips to the Johnny, I realized I didn’t have my bike shoes out, so I ran back to transition and got them out.

You can see the fog
Next we went over and picked up our race chips and put them on our legs.

Then we had another racer take a before picture of us, because we knew that we would not look near as good in the after picture.

Getting Ready to Race
Then we started the waiting game.  Since the fog was so thick, you couldn’t see the water, or the buoys or any boats in the water, we couldn’t even see the bridge and it was right near the start.  So every 15 minutes the DJ would announce that the race start would be delayed by 15 minutes.  As we waited, Mike and Kathy Wever showed up.  They were in Nashville visiting relatives, so they came out to cheer us on.  Mike was also planning on riding the bike course.  

Cheering section
The later it got the more messed up things were going to be.  There were 3 races, the Half IM, Olympic Distance and Sprint Distance, all to be raced on the same course with different turn around points.  The swim for each was going to start when the  swimmers from the previous distance race were finished.  So the Half racers would finish and the Olympic would start, then when they finished the Sprint would start.  Well because of the fog everyone would start one wave after the next, so the Cumberland River was going to be quite congested with swimmers. For slow swimmers like me that meant that there was just more of a chance for me to be run over by a faster swimmer.  This was the case.
By 8:15, we finally started, but as soon as we got in the water, the fog started falling again and it was really hard to see the buoys.  At one point, I thought I was lost, I couldn’t see any buoys or any people, but then out of the corner of my eye I finally saw a couple swimmers.  I really thought I was having a good swim, I felt fast, well fast for me and I was pretty sure I was swimming in a straight line, but when I was getting close to the finish the sprint swimmer merged in and I began getting swam over the top of.  I had a bad feeling before the start that this was going to happen.  Plus as I passed the last buoy, there was a cable coming off of it and I got my arm tangled in it, I had to stop and pull it out, but I still thought I was having a good swim.  I came out of the water on the algae covered boat ramp that was really slick, but there were a line of people grabbing my arms and pulling me out, so it wasn’t too bad.  I looked at my watch, only to find out that I had the worst swim of my entire life.  Right then I felt defeated, I thought I was going to run into the transition area to find only my bike left there.  As I ran to transition I saw Mike and Kathy cheering me on and they told me that Jenny was out of the water, but in a slower time than anticipated and that Russ had not come out yet.  I felt a little better then because the swim had to be long, we all didn’t have a rotten swim day.  Of course a slow swim for Jenny still put her 23 minutes in front of me. 

We were all running our own race and in training both Jenny and Russ were killing me, I just couldn’t keep up with them, so I was pretty sure I would be the last of the team to finish.  I got my bike gear on, took an endurlyte and ate a peach cup then was on my way.  I saw Jenny as I headed to the turnaround on the first loop, she had a lot of time on me.  I made the turn around then saw Russ quickly catching me, he passed me at about 13 miles and he was just burning up the road, I tried to follow him, but he was gone in a flash.  At about 20 miles there was a crash and I went past the racer on the ground at the same time the ambulance pulled up, I barely made it though without being hit by the ambulance door opening.
I finally hit the turn to start the second loop and I knew how bad the hills were going to be. Just as I started up the 6 mile long hill, Mike Wever rode up behind me and he just hung off my left shoulder.  I was pretty frustrated by then, I was disgusted with my swim time, and I knew I really sucked at hills, so my bike time was going suffer along with my body.  I just kept chugging away, sometimes it would look like I was on a slight down hill, but it was just one those things they call false flats where it looks like its flat or down hill, but it’s really uphill.  A couple times I thought I had a flat tire because my bike just felt so heavy.  It was also really hot, well more like crazy hot, it felt like we were riding in an over.  At one point I grabbed my water bottle and my hands were so sweaty that I dropped it, but Mike yelled, I got it and he stopped and picked it up then rode up to me and handed to me.  That was the first good sign I got all day that things would work out.

On the the loop there was a small out and back portion, I figured Jenny and Russ would have already made the turn by the time I got there because they were so far ahead of me, but to my surprise I saw Russ, and that was the second sign that things weren’t so bad.  Mike and I made the corner on the back side of the loop, where I knew for sure the worst hills were.  We made it to the first one and I’m not sure what Mike said, but I think it was something like “oh my gosh, you have to be kidding”.  We made it up and rode the entire hill, almost all the other riders were walking their bikes up.  By this time I had started passing people, one or two at a time.  I was counting and by the time I made it to the 50 mile mark, I had passed 17 people. I had also rode up three hills where people were walking their bikes and I made it all the way up. At 50 miles my demeanor started to change, from anxiety and suffering, to looking forward to being off the bike and on the run. I knew that at 50 miles it was pretty much all downhill for the rest of the bike leg and I was really looking forward to it.  I was flying at about 30 mph for the last 6 miles and it felt so good. 
I rolled into the transition and looked back, I had lost Mike somewhere on the last uphill and was not sure where he was, but I was sure he could find his way back, so I wasn’t worried.  I saw Kathy cheering me on from the fence around transition. She told me that Jenny had been out on the run for a long time, but Russ was only about 5 minutes in front of me.  I had on my bike shorts and wanted to change to tri shorts, so I put a towel around my waist to change, but it kept falling off.  Kathy asked if I needed help, but by that point I just didn’t care, so I just held it up the best I could and changed shorts, I think the crowd got a really nice view of a big white full moon.  I hoped I didn’t get a penalty because they announced the there was absolutely no public nudity allowed. 

I headed out on the run, and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t catch Jenny or Russ, so I took my time and stopped at the Johnny, then got some water, took an endurlyte and ate another peach cup.  It seemed like it took me ten minutes to get going, but I don’t know how long it really took. 
I started running out of the park, and I felt pretty good, my legs felt pretty good but, the ball of my foot hurt, I thought maybe my sock was wrinkled under my foot and that it would fix itself after a few miles.  As I ran I calculated where I would see Jenny and Russ, because the run was an out and back.  I figured I would see Jenny when I hit 5 miles which would put her at 8 miles, and russ at 6 miles which would put him about 7 miles.  As I ran I kept talking to other racers and the people at the water stops. By the way, this race had awesome volunteers and great water stops, they did an excellent job. I started to realize that I was passing people, a lot of people and when I made it to the 5 mile mark, I didn’t see Jenny, then came mile 6, I still didn’t see her, then at about six and a quarter miles I saw her, she looked really hot and tired and she said she was having an awful run, but she was still on her feet and moving forward.  She told me that Russ was right in front of me.  I saw him just a couple minutes later and he gave me a high five and told me to run him down.  That was really bad advice on his part, because that is just what I decided to do.  I didn’t really pick up the pace, I just stayed steady and I pulled another endurlyte out of my shirt pocket and took it at the next water station.  Then I just ran, soon I caught Jenny, who Russ had over took, it was about the 8 mile mark, then I just kept running. At about 9.5 miles I finally came up on Russ who had just stopped to get ice from a guy driving a gator down the trail.  I started running with Russ and we ran together until about 11.5 miles then as we headed off the trial and back on the road, Russ dropped off behind me.  I ran the rest of the way in forcing myself to just run from one traffic cone to the next and before I knew it, I was crossing the finish line.  Just a minute after I crossed the line Russ crossed the line, then a minute after Russ crossed Jenny crossed.  We all high tailed it down to the river and just sat in the river trying to cool off.  We didn’t care that we were sitting in the green algae, we would have sat in anything to get cool. 

We walked up to the food tent to see what they had left to eat and as we got there the awards for the Half were going on.  Out of nowhere I thought I heard my name called so I walked up and checked and I had gotten 2nd in my age group and 1st place wasn’t that far in front of me, so even though my time sucked so did everyone elses.  The heat and the hills take mercy on no one.

2nd Place
We went into transition and packed up our gear and had a couple “after the race” photos taken.  We were all glad it was over, but I think we all really enjoyed ourselves, maybe not the entire race, but we all had our moments.
We Made It

Jen and Robin team up to beat Russ
Russ and I had done the Half IM distance before, but this was Jenny’s first and she did fantastic, Russ also took a bunch of time off his previous race and this course was much harder and much hotter.  I on the other hand had the worst time of any Half IM I have ever done, but then again it was the hardest and hottest course I have ever run, so I’m pretty happy with my finish.
Well we all said we would do another, but next time we will pick one in a cooler climate with no hills.

One last note, this race was one of the most well run races I have done, the police were everywhere and they were excellent, emergency services were always near and everyone one them were smiling and supportive.  Other than the hills and the heat, I have no complaints.