May 12 was the NCARS 2 at Lake Norman State Park. The Waterlogged Dogwoods team was represented by yours truly and David Parsons-Foresi, otherwise known as the ‘hyphenates'. This was our first time navigating outside of Umstead (which we don't really count) and opted to do the five-hour race. We left at 5am and headed to Lake Norman where the race started on time after a pre-race briefing. During the Q&A, a guy asked if he could drive his car to the O-course. He wasn't joking. Doug handled it well and since this was a beginner-friendly event, I'm sure after the race the guy understood why it was funny question!
I decided that our strategy should be to do the O-course first, followed by the paddle and leave our strongest discipline, the bike, for last. This turned out to be a good decision. We biked down to the O-course and after finding the first one right away, had trouble with the second. David held the map most of the time but we looked at it equally. When we were walking around for what I decided was too long, we opted to go up to the road where we could see where we were and use our compass to get a bearing (first thing – know where you are!). David did a great job and we walked about 300 meters straight toward it. Fortunately, there was a guy there already because I may have walked past it since it was under a log and not as visible from the direction I was walking.
We then tried to get CP12 but after searching too long, I decided that we were losing too much time and needed to get back to the road and try for CP11. As much as i wanted to keep hunting for this one, Marcey's call on spending too much time on it was correct and we had to scoot. Excellent call Marcey (DPF) This one had David getting another bearing from the road and we didn't waste too much time. We ran back to the TA because I felt like we were spending too much time on the O-course and we needed to hustle. We only got 3 of 6 CPs but I felt good that I kept an eye on the clock.
We rode back to the paddle TA and hopped in and decided we would only get one mandatory point of the three CPs to make sure we had time to get the bike points. We paddled as far as we felt we could in the shallow water. I almost took Marcey's head off not turning the canoe fast enough. Sorry Marcey (DPF). This is true. I was almost decapitated but thankfully limbo skills were A+ that day. We jumped out and made our way around knee deep muddy grass for about 150 meters. I'm sure we scared a few snakes. I spotted the CP and we headed back to the TA. Jay Anderson (volunteer) said we had time to get another and encouraged us to go. I'm glad we did because we also found it pretty quick. I'm not often the first to spot the CP flags so yesterday I felt great that I found so many. The energy burst is better than a double-shot!
The last bit was the bike course and it was FUN!!!! Kudos to the course designer, Mike Dickinson, for forcing people to ride the sweet, flowy singletrack at Lake Norman. The singletrack is killer – well worth a day drip from the 919 (DPF). The CPs were not far off of the trails and there weren't so many that it felt like we didn't get to ride. David went ahead since he was faster. At one point he hopped off the trail too early and I passed him but we didn't know it. We got a little separated and he had scary visions of me lying by the side of the trail needing emergency help from being eaten by a snake, bit by a spider or knocked out cold. In reality I was waiting at the CP wondering if he had stopped to get a pedicure. I was having a serious oh BOY moment – where's Marcey and is she okay? She was fine, waiting for me. (DPF) It was about 9 miles in distance and about 1.25 hours for us to ride and get the CPs. Many points I forgot I was racing I had so much fun just riding the trails. YEP!!(DPF) This was, by far, my favorite part of the race. I always feel bummed when I am on a course with great singletrack and my navigator makes me bikewhack most of it (yes, I'm talking to you, Major). Anyway, David and I felt like kids and can't wait to go back and ride those trails again!
We came in at 4hrs and 35 minutes and felt that our strategy for the day was the right one. At first I was disappointed that we didn't get more O-points but then I realized that it is also knowing when to bag it and deciding which points are possible in the alotted time frame. I have no idea how we finished and get impatient waiting to post my report so let's just say we didn't win but I don't think we were last either! I needed to be racing with Bob because I realized after we finished I didn't take a single picture 🙁
I conjured Don Childrey and Bob May throughout the race and there were several times that I said “Look what I did!' to Don since he has been patiently teaching me to navigate. David did a great job with the compass and once again we had a great race together and complement each other well. I have raced NCARS races 4-5 times and have never been an official finisher due to mechanical issues, DQs, not getting a mandatory point etc. so it was great to finally finish an NCARS! This was my first NCARS race and I'm looking forward to my next!! (DPF)
On the ride home I decided I needed a post-race milkshake since the last one I had was at Nationals in October when David and I were driving back. I was mildly obsessed with getting one at Chik-fil-A because I had one there two years ago but it was too far away so we stopped at DQ for a small peanut butter frozen hot chocolate (OMG) for me and a small butterfinger blizzard for David. We needed smalls because, well, it's bikini season for David 🙂 Bikini season indeed. Marcey is an excellent teammate and enjoy racing with her and the car ride to and fro is always good car time. DPF
Our only picture
For Lisa – one gal's cool is another gal's cadaver!
April 15 I completed the Mountains to Sea Trail 50k trail run ultra race. Originally I was supposed to complete this two weeks prior but instead paced my winter running partner, Jay Spadie the last 50k (31.06 miles) of the Umstead 100. Since I had signed up for the race, I went to packet pick-up and got my shirt, but refused to wear it until I deserved it, meaning finished the race.
Two short weeks after the Umstead 100 I wanted to get this off my to-do list because I needed to start focusing on training for Adventure Racing and the Fools Gold 100 mile MTB race. I'm not really in 50k shape so I knew it wasn't going to be a breeze. Plus, two 50ks in two weeks is a bit ambitious!
Spadieman agreed to come out of retirement to do the trail with me, even though I would have completely understood if he never wanted to run another step again, because he felt he owed it to me for missing the race to pace him. It was no secret I was glad about this because the trail is pretty isolated and is an out and back from Blue Jay Park to the dam and I wouldn't have felt completely comfortable doing it alone.
Start of the run – Blue Jay Park
I set my little Runkeeper App and we took off at 7:58am. The run out was pretty steady and I felt good except for a blister popping up on my pinkie toe. Spadieman had extra kinesiotape so I bandaged it up and never felt it again. We turned around at the dam and started making our way back. I'm not sure if our route around the dam area was correct and we stopped to take in some of the views but I'm sure it was close.
Spadieman's art. He has a foot in there somewhere.
Proof – I reached the dam!
Drop bag courtesy of Spadieman
My time back was slower and the last 6 miles seemed soooo long. This route is almost all singletrack except for a few stretches of bridge (I dislike those stretches). I also had a cheering section of horseflies and mosquitoes pretty much the entire run while Spadieman had NONE. I entertained him by maniacally swatting at them with my hat. If I was kidnapped and tortured, just put me in a room with mosquitos and horseflies and I will succumb in an instant.
When we got back to Blue Jay Park we ran around the parking lot until the Runkeeper lady said we had ran 50k. I did five burpees and hobbled to the car to put on my shirt.
My total time was 6:43, a 13 minute pace. I celebrated with a Spadieman PB&J (heavy on the PB) and a java chip frappucino to go. I thought I would get a bunch done around the house when I got home but the only thing I accomplished was an Epsom Salt bath and a hammock encounter.
Next up – Race Directing the GEC Duathlon today, racing the NCARS2 Adventure Race and Old Dominion Riverrock Festival in May.
It is about 36 hours post Uwharrie and I am sitting in Whole Foods feeling like a rock star and looking back on such a great weekend. On Friday afternoon I took off towards Asheboro with besties Beth Hancock (running the 8 mile for the first time and a client of mine for this race) and Kris Kobza (running the 8 mile for the second time). It was totally a ‘girls night' type of thing as our topics ranged from the race, pooing in the woods, work, what we wear to bed and how we were going to kick Uwharrie in the Vag (we know Uwharrie is a woman because she is so TOUGH!). We checked into the hotel and had dinner at the Pizza Hut – thin and crispy veggie lover's with half the cheese. We were in bed at 8:30 trying to stop talking because we were laughing and I didn't want to get too riled up.
Didn't work though. According to Shasta, my sleep monitor, I slept a total of 2.5 hours. I felt it too. I was a total zombie. I have insomnia due to work and I have a hard time shutting my brain off. I had considered taking an Ambien before bed but it makes me feel hungover and I had to be up at 5:00am so I weighed it and made the decision not too.
At one point, I wrote K and B a note since I wasn't sure if I would be seeing them.
The race started with about .75 miles of rocky, rooty gnarly singletrack. It was hard to pass people and stay upright so I didn't take too many opportunities and knew it would spread out eventually. The best description of the trail can be found here. I felt good the whole way through the first 20 miles. I fast walked the really steep uphills and this is where I would gain time on people behind me. I have short legs and I can't bushwhack well but give me a trail and a mission and I can make up some time! It started raining about 10 miles in but not enough to soak my clothes. The trails from about 15-25 miles were pretty mucky and muddy (I doubt they EVER dry out) and there were a few creek crossings that my midget legs couldn't get over without just stepping in the water. At the 20 mile point I pretty much just grabbed a few GUs out of my drop bag and turned around.
The nice thing about the Uwharrie is that it is an out and back so I could count what place I was in by the women coming back. At the 20, I was in 13th place. I lost one place about 24 miles in when I crossed the stream only to realize that I crossed at the wrong place and had to cross back over. The poor guy that followed me probably wasn't happy either. I made one bio stop after 5 hours and kept truckin'. I never really stopped at aid stations, preferring to keep all I needed on my person. I would grab a cookie, a dixie cup of trail mix and a piece of boiled potato but that was about as long as I took. I went into every aid station with a smile because they were all so helpful and I was so happy. I got a ton of compliments or comments on my bright outfit, planned so that no hunter would mistake me for lunch 🙂
About 10 miles to go I was still feeling good and knew there was a girl (Erika Ebright) behind me. I had no idea who she was so it was nothing personal, I just knew I didn't want to let her pass me because I had already lost one place due to a bio break (only 2 the whole race) at the 8 mile. She would gain on me on the downhills and I would make some time on the hikes uphill. There was one three mile section that I swear was all uphill because it took me about 50 minutes! I pretended like she was Sasquatch chasing me because I knew he was out there somewhere….waiting to get me. When it came down to the last two miles I had to really kick it in. I picked up the pace and could hear her behind me. It is an incredibly rocky, steep up and then down to the finish. I ended up coming in 24 seconds ahead of her and waited at the finish to high-five her and tell her that she kept me on my toes!
Right after the race I was hungry and all I saw were meat hotdogs, chips and cookies. Nothing that I wanted to eat so we started walking toward the car. I got cold really fast and within 20 minutes of finishing I was changed, had a GU Recovery Brew and was driving toward the nearest Subway. There are really not a lot of options and by the time I got to the Subway, I was feeling sick and needed to eat. I hear there was soup at the end but I didn't see it and I don't believe the race had any of the famous Uwharrie cookies. They did have some delicious cranberry cookies, one of which I had on the course.
The Uwharrie race has fantastic aid stations and the best volunteers of any race I have ever done. I heard that the Park Ranger gave the RD a hard time because of some people parking illegally at the finish. Really? The area probably makes more money on that day than they do in months because unlike Pisgah, there really isn't much around the Uwharrie's.
A dinner at Porter's was derailed by a lack of reservation (who knew?) so I ended up having two small mediocre enchiladas two doors down. It was ok because I get really full really fast after a race and it is always the next day I am hungry. Both Kevin and I were in bed and asleep at 8:30 and no amount of insomnia could wake me up for a full 10 hours. It was the best sleep I had in months.
I actually felt good on Sunday and still do. I didn't really have any soreness and was just fatigued. I owe this to proper nutrition, training and a great chiropractor, Allen Ashforth. My big meal celebration was at Beth's house where we inhaled Chubby's quesadillas (my favorite post-race celebration food).
I was really happy with my performance, finishing 54th out of 148 overall (men and women) and 11th out of 28 women. My goal time was 10 hours and I beat it, finishing in 8:42. Also, Sasquatch must not have thought I had enough meat on my bones and devoured some other poor Uwharrie runner.
In the 8-mile race, Beth got 42 out of 231 overall men and women!! and 5th place out of 112 women!- Holy Mother of Pizza! This actually makes me more happy than my own finish. I coached Beth for her longest and her toughest race and could not be more proud of her.
Kris got 75 out of 112 gals and 181 out of 231 overall. That is great for someone who thinks she isn't a runner and spent the previous night convincing us how awful she was.
They both got me a Sasquatch shirt at the Eldorado Outpost which I will wear with pride. It was a great weekend with my friends, followed by a delicious lunch the next day and a super-supportive husband the entire weekend.
Beth and Kris, you were awesome. We showed Uwharrie where she can stick it and next time you have any doubts, any doubts at all, just remember
Waterlogged Dogwoods Adventure Racing Promo Video:
Check out our promotional video for the Waterlogged Dogwoods and the awesome sport of adventure racing! Special huge, giant, enormous thanks to Kevin Rader-Rhodenbaugh of www.kevinrr.com for the original music. To get the full effect, make sure you listen with speakers for the surprise at the end 🙂
Storm the Eastern Shore 30 Hour Adventure Race Report:
Storm the Eastern Shore started with just that, a storm!! The events leading up to the race were very stressful for me. We started with a three man team a couple of months out and the navigator was in a motorcycle accident and broke his wrists (good excuse). My other teammate dropped out on me for a family event nine days before the race without finding me a back-up. I had already asked everyone I knew that navigated to race with us before I was down to a solo and now was panicking because I was going to have to drop out. I made one more effort and asked Brent Eishen for the second time and he was gracious enough to agree. I only knew Brent a little from mountain biking so it would be a new experience. The one time we met up to practice paddling we immediately flipped the kayak and never even had time to practice after we finally got all the water out! BE: I was sure she was thinking I don't want to get a Kayak with him when we flip in flat water.
We left on Friday and drove up with BJ Creehan who was racing as part of Bees Knees to Cape Charles, VA about 4.5 hours away. On the way to VA it stormed buckets of water and was not even safe to drive. We were already storming the eastern shore. We had planned to camp but our campground was flooded and we found a motel near the race start. We shared a room with two solo racers Scott (2nd place overall) and Shane, and Brent was nice enough to sleep on a cot and let me have a bed (Thanks Brent!). Pizza for dinner and bed by 10:00.
After a good night's sleep (for the night before a race) we were all up at 5am. I had a good laugh at Brent wearing his paisley pj pants tucked into his knee socks and the image stayed with me and caused giggle fits during the entire race. After a 6am check-in we spent the next three hours figuring out our gear bin and packing up everything. We rented a kayak and were unhappy to see that we were the only one that got stuck with a touring kayak! It wasn't even a nice sea kayak. Brent looked it up online when he got home and it weighs 96 pounds (without all of our gear) and had an awful review.
Instead of a prologue at the start we had to run about four miles down to the ocean with our packs, paddles and PFDs, stopping to get a couple of points along the way. We jumped in the water with the kayak only to have our rudder break about five minutes in. The next 9 hours or so we took turns telling the boat what a big fat loser she was and she shouldn't show her ugly kayak face to the ocean anymore. We didn't like her. Brent's seatback was also broken and mine was unable to adjust so we had a hard time getting comfortable too.
Thankfully, the only time it was raining was while we were paddling so the weather was actually perfect the entire race. Not too hot and overcast. We paddled to CP 4 and I jumped out as the primary punch monkey for the race. Paddling to 5/6 we had to jump out and push the boat some because of the low tide. I lost my Keens twice due to mudsuck but we didn't waste too much time. I navigated through the water with the laminated map and we did take one wrong turn that I was unsure about right after we passed it. There were lots of little inlets and marshy areas so it was hard to tell where you were since the map changes as the tide changes.
We went on to 5/6 where we had a choice for a bonus point. We were afraid that we wouldn't get to the cut-off at 3p and lose the bonus points so we skipped it. CP8 was a portage of the Beast about a mile, punch and then portage back. We both thought this was kind of BS because it was a portage just for the sake of portaging and not to go anywhere but we had to go with it.
NOOOOO!!! Five steps with the Beast and the portage wheels broke! Probably because she was so heavy?!?!?! Brent is strong as an ox and dragged it about 300 meters and asked me if I could pick it up. There was no way. Our only other option was to take back the portage wheels we had loaned to BJ who we saw running back from CP7. It was easier for him to drag his boat along the shore in the water than for us to do it so he kindly gave them back to us. After pulling the monstrosity we hopped back in the Beast and opted not to get bonus CP9 even though we would have had time.
Then it was a paddlethon. Thankfully we ended up paddling at the same time as Bees Knees and could bounce navigating ideas off of them. It took super effort from Brent and I to be able to keep up with them due to combination of them probably being better paddlers and definitely having a better boat.
All in all, the paddle took us about 9.5 hours. I have never paddled so far. Someone said it was about 27 miles so I guess the route we took and a couple of wrong turns in the marsh areas was probably more like 29.
I was so happy to see TA1 but not happy to hear that we would have to paddle again the next day to the finish! We changed into dry clothes and were thankful that Rob Ward was there to help us a little bit and take our broken portage wheels back to the campground. It had been awhile since Brent plotted so he had to reteach himself. I initially thought Oh, s..t. but I could plot if I needed to. We marked up our map and took off.
Right off the bat we took a wrong turn and lost about 10 minutes. BE: On the map it looked like the road out of the park. Hit the road we needed to be on so all we had to do was make a right. Lesson #1 note to self, check the name of the road and or the direction by compass before you start) every race I have lessons = learn/remember something I said I would not do again. When we got to the first bike CP, Factory Refurbished caught up with us and left right before we did. We were a couple of minutes behind them at CP 10 but took a road we shouldn't due to a misunderstanding with the instructions and ended up getting somewhere about 2 minutes ahead of them. After we figured out why, I knew we would lose that point or at least get a penalty.
The first orienteering section started off terrible. We felt so defeated. About 6 other teams were trying to find CP 26 and 27 for about an hour. BE: Lesson #2 Do not follow others because you think they know exactly where they are going even if they are starting in the right direction. (often forgotten when in the heat of a race) After working with a number of other teams to find #27 we decided to work with them to find #26. Lesson #3 How do you find another point when you do not know exactly where you are. So we decided to find a known point and navigate by ourselves using basic navigation. This is run a bearing, follow the terrain, and pace distance. The next eight points were a breeze and we went almost directly to them!
We finally gave up and went to get the house ruins CP and found it right off. We were there at the same time as Natty Bros Mike and Jose and were all so defeated that we decided to team up. From that point on it became the Natty Dogs or Waterlogged Bros team. We ended up racing with them all the way to the last paddle. It made it really fun and was helpful for both teams (strategy is also choosing other people to work with!). At that point, we made the O-Course our b…h and found several CPs before calling it to move on to the bike. BE: We also decided to help some first time navigators showing them how to run a bearing and read the terrain. We had two other teams basically follow us to the points. Since they didn't really add anything to our group, Brent decided that he should eat half of one guy's stinger waffle. He took it right out of his hand.
The bike was fun at night and I drafted Jose for a good portion of it. I am usually anti-draft in training and racing (tri or mtb) but for AR it only makes sense if it works. We averaged about 17 miles per hour on our MTBs. Jose and Mike are super-strong bikers and Brent is a workhorse so if I wasn't drafting off of Jose, I was drafting off of Brent. And, I was STILL working.
The next O-course was a pirate's treasure map. A hand drawn map of a birding and wildlife area. It was a little frustrating because of it being hand drawn but everybody had the same advantage. At some point in the night, I had eaten several gels and didn't ration them appropriately and space out my caffeine. I think I had four 2x caffeine gels in about four hours. This was not a good decision. I had to use the weed facilities every hour, sometimes more. Thankfully I didn't hold us up and it was always when something else was going on but still, geez! I actually thought by later in the morning that I was getting a UTI from going too much + I was having other issues but both went away so I suspect it was just an overdose of caffeine. Ultimately, I came home with a butt eaten up with bug bites because it was the only place that didn't get sprayed with DEET. So, if you see me scratching my arse, you know why.
During this O course is when the sun came up and I gave Brent his gift for racing with me, a Wisp toothbrush. He agreed that I was the coolest teammate ever for carrying this for almost 24 hours so we could brush the grit off of our teeth. I was even more impressed that Jose brought an actual toothbrush and paste in his gear box and brushed his teeth at the TA before we took off!
The last bike section was fun but we struggled to stay up with Mike and Jose. I think they were either so psyched to paddle again or were so sick of us that they took off like lightening. We were actually averaging 17-19 miles per hour for the last bike section. I was drafting and hooked up the dog leash and both Brent and I were working hard to keep up with them. BE: I was amazed at how fast we biked. The 4 person pace line worked extremely well and all of us were flying on the road. I gained a lot of confidence when we went back to basics and I did not try to rush myself. Marcey was a great motivator and very patient which helped me to slow down and think. When we got to the paddle and found out it was 8 miles as opposed to the 4 we thought it was we again felt defeat. The first hour was pretty awful. At this point it was about 24.5 hours into the race and we were out of food and fluids. I shared my one bottle of coconut water with Brent and we paddled like zombies. Our arms were so fatigued and we wanted to set fire to that Beast. Once we reached the halfway point, I made a mental decision to kick it in to get the hell out of that boat. This encouraged Brent to also kick it in since he was actually having trouble even staying awake and was yawning every 5 minutes. When we finally reached the pier, we had to portage uphill about .5 miles. I was so happy to get rid of that boat!
We finished in around 26.5 hours and got all the mandatory checkpoints and a couple of bonus checkpoints. I told the RD about the wrong turn and he gave us a 30 minute penalty which was fair since we didn't gain even near that time. Maybe 7 minutes max. Thank you RD! I was very happy to see that they were grilling burgers and dogs and had VEGGIE burgers!!! No RD has ever had this. Note to RDs there were probably 4 of us, just while I was there, eating the veggie burgers so I am definitely not the only one
We took showers at the campground, during which I had to scrape/pick 20-30 things off of my left ankle. I have no idea what they were or if they were alive but my ankle now looks like someone hit it with a meat cleaver.
Results of the black things embedded in me. I am covered with them!
We had some food, said goodbye to everyone and took off for the drive home. Fellow Adventure Racers, I unpacked my entire gear box, hosed stuff down, put everything away and started a load of laundry immediately when I got home! Even I am impressed with myself.
What I learned from this race: Do not ingest too much caffeine at one time. My body just CANNOT handle it.
Racing with Brent was GREAT! I learned a lot from him. We never stopped once, which is how I like to race. If we ate or drank we were moving. At the transitions, we did what we needed to do and left. He is really fast at transitions and I was not as fast so it was a good learning experience. We always rode fast on the bikes and even though we didn't run any of the O Courses, we kept moving. He is probably the funniest person I have raced with and the most intense. Before every TA there was a plan and he was always ready to hustle. I would race with him again in a heartbeat, but not in that Melon-Farming kayak.
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