Monday, November 19, 2012

Living History Farms, '12

This past Saturday was the 34th running of the Living History Farms Off Road Race. Our friends, Joe and Jacqui and their girls, came down for Joe to run with Bill and I. 
*note- If you want to run in this race, you have to sign up pretty much the night the registrations begin. Last year it was filled in 3 days. This year- 1 1/2 days!!*

*another note- Don't wait 'til the last minute to hit the toilet. With 7500 runners, there isn't enough time. If you are a guy- great, here's a tree. If you are a girl- hold it in. I guess you could squat, but I squat so infrequently that I decided not to test it out. *

*another, another note- If you really want to run the whole thing, not walk because the crowd won't let you run, start towards the front.*

On to the running. It was super gorgeous weather. Just slight wind, sunny and about 42 degrees. That is kind of cold for onlookers standing still- but just right for a good run without needing to shed layers.

The tunnel was not congested when Joe and I passed through, though some nice teens decided to stomp through the puddles ahead of us. Joe called it "roost". Soon after that, Joe and I split. I wanted to kill my time and Joe didn't want to be killed. Bill had blazed way ahead of us at the start, so now we were running singularly (if you can call 7,500 runners singularly).

Also running singularly was a buck in the field next to me. I saw it racing pass me, it's eyes orbs of terror. I don't know how to count the points on a buck's rack, but he was older-ish and I'm sure he considered that morning to be the worst morning of his life, short of actually being hunted. I kept going, but wondered how he and the crowd were going to work out.

The first creek crossing was fun. Last year, I had time to decide when and how I want to cross. This year, I just wanted to get across as fast a possible. So I chose a straight, steep line, which proved a little too steep for my 5'4" frame. After a few attempts, I got a boost from the rear (literally) from another runner and pulled/slightly dragged up from a runner on top. That's the only crossing that is a little difficult. The rest, you can pull yourself up with a rope or climb, etc. After the reaching the top of a couple crossing by almost climbing with my hands and crouched down body, it reminded me of my worst running dreams. The dreams where I literally can't run- but somehow I can crawl.

Five miles in, I spotted a portable. I decided I should empty my bladder. My time was good and if I stopped here I could press on full speed for the last two without worries of warming myself. Plus, there was no line! Guess what? When your heart rate is at about 75% max and you suddenly decide to stop, it takes a while for other functions to happen. That over and done with, I felt much lighter and pressed on. I caught up to the pack of jailbirds that I wanted to pass and kept up with the high school boys who dragged me up the creek bank. The only guy I couldn't keep up with was a swift-footed, smooth as butter barefoot runner. The sombrero donning, maraca carrying, poncho clad group made for a nice swish swish sound in cadence to our tromping and labored breathing.

Right here, I'll admit I had to stop again. This time because I had to catch my breath. I was so mad about it. I had to step to the side and suck in some big breaths because I couldn't focus, I couldn't pull myself together and I couldn't force myself up a hill that was the last hill before the home stretch. Next year, I WILL NOT STOP ON THAT HILL!! That's all I can do about it now. 

I looked a terrible, painful fright. Last year, I smiled for every camera I saw. This year, I hoped they never took my picture. I forgot to focus on my form when I got tired, though I did manage to tell myself to open up a little on the last hill, once I got going. The focus thing again, got me.

Despite two breaks of about 2 1/2 minutes, I stepped across the finish line with over a minute to spare from my goal time. I finished 28th in my age division, just a little over a minute from breaking the top 25 which was another goal of mine.

I grabbed some water, chocolate milk and a donut and directed my weary self back to the race course to find my cheering section. Thankful for Erin and Molly's coats, I wrapped my chilling body up in them and watched the costumed and non-costumed runners go past. 
After Joe and Bill returned from the car, we headed back up the hill to slurp down some beef stew and warm drinks. 

Here are some pics Audrey took. Unfortunately the white balance mode was off (she didn't know it) and so all the pictures have a blueish tint to them. Let's just call it artistic photography 'cause I'm really glad she came to the race and took pictures.

Mustard beat Bill

But not by much!! Bill in his lucky green shirt. No worries, I wash it in between races.

No one knew Sponge Bob had secret running abilities

Audrey's friend, Abby (in the white shirt) and her dad (in the hat) tearin' up the race course, as usual.

Those are the best legs I've ever seen on Dorothy. The flying monkey- wait- does Dorothy bring back one from Oz? Did he sneak in her basket with Toto? Is there are sequel to the story I don't know about? Is this the next Broadway musical? 

Me. I don't even look like I'm running. Should have been driving my knees forward. I guess I really was in one of my nightmares.
But when Luke saw this pic, he said I was the best. He's my favorite kid now.

I overheard him say "Pbth, Blh! Hombres, my mustache is in my mouth!"

Is green face paint more aerodynamic? 

Under his shirt and tie it should say Super Dad

How do the runners around him feel? A crab is beating me.

His sign says- Will run for stew. Whatever it takes, buddy.

Joe proving that the color of your legs, his being MN white, has nothing to do with performance. :)

You may want to seriously consider taking that costume off once you cross the finish line. Post-race runners are ravenous!

Was he really running or just pretending?

06 and 12 are the daughters of my friend, Tori!
Joe, me and Bill smiling much bigger post-race than pre-race!

This is my favorite runner in the whole wide world!

Come join us next year!


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