Thursday, November 4, 2010

No Booboos + No Throwing Things = Success

An amazing thing happened last Sunday at The Edge adventure race – no crabapples were thrown. Didn’t even come close. Bill handled the maps like a champ, I didn’t fall off my bike (but I did get off and run with it more than I rode it), I only got stuck in sticker bushes three times and we managed to come in second in our division. We’ll take it, considering that the night before I literally brushed a cobweb off of my bike and Bill’s breaks were broken until about 48 hours before the race.

The start was a half-mile (or so) out-and-back run to break up the field. Lucky for me, only one person per team had to run, as the return included a dive into a grody and chilly pond to grab passports for the race. At first I was going to run but as soon as we found out a dip would be involved Bill volunteered, knowing that I would be freezing for the rest of the day if I took this one for the team. This ended up being a good decision as he was one of the first runners back and we headed off for a mile run to the canoe section of the race.
Run Billy, run.

As soon as we started I felt great. We moved relatively hard along a paved road and then up and over a hill – the site of the crabapple pelting. Fortunately, Bill hadn’t done anything warranting me throwing crabapples as there were none to be seen. The first canoe checkpoint had nothing to do with paddling a canoe. Instead we got to portage the damn boat up the hill we just ran down to grab the CP.

The portage was only about a quarter of a mile, but I suck at portaging. A lot. The fact that Bill has more than a foot on me doesn’t help as I am either jumping up into the air to try and touch the boat if he is carrying it or he’s bent over like the Hunchback of Notre Dame if I am actually holding any weight. We worked together OK on the way up because it was a hill but were pretty much terrible on the way down. The rest of the paddle was uneventful. The day was beautiful and I kept thinking that this race had to be the antithesis of the New York Marathon. Only a few teams were on the water. Calm and quiet.

Swim Billy, swim.

We dumped the boat, ran back to transition and had to complete a short obstacle course before heading out on the foot section. Fortunately we were able to run most of the way except for a brief, but steep, bushwack. The navigation was straightforward (at least it seemed that way to me – Bill had the map and hardly had to look at it) and we were back into transition and onto our bikes.

I was scared. I’d ridden in this park a bit and knew that it is home to many rocks, roots, holes, rando piles of cement and other junk that makes me fall. The checkpoints for this race seemed to necessitate hitting every damn rock in the park. I spent a bit of time on the bike and a lot of time pushing/pulling/carrying/dragging/kicking it, too. We eventually headed out of the woods, onto a road and up a steep fire road for the last CP. I was surprised by how good I felt after almost four hours on the course until I realized that I better feel good because that’s more or less how long it will hopefully take me to run New York.

Instead of heading back the way we came Bill decided to have us barrel down a hill and through a parking lot before crossing a short bridge to the finish. Turned out to be a good decision as we managed to cross the line before a team who had picked up the last checkpoint just before we did. Although I felt like a bit of a yank because they seemed like nice guys. But I guess it's a race.

Team Crabapple Pie
We packed up our stuff and decided to hang out for a bit. Suddenly, I felt like absolute crap. For the next hour I curled up in the grass trying not to barf and felt like someone decided that it would be fun to stab me in the belly with pins, needles, javelins and harpoons. I have no idea what happened – usually I might feel sore the day or two after a race, but only once before have I felt so horrendous after a race. Finally I felt less bad so I slithered out of the grass and we headed home for naps and to scrape the dirt off.

That is all.

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