Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Full Circle

I've spent the last week in Moab, providing support for a team (Chasing Manhole Covers) during the Adventure Xstream Expedition race. Despite sleep deprivation and crazy weather, it was a great time!

The team was lead by a friend I made at camp back in March, Tim (also known as my terrific kayaking partner and just all around great guy). Also on the team were 2 other racers that attended the camp, Wendy and Kent. I didn't really get to know them back in March so I wasn't too sure what to expect. What I found was that Wendy is one of those people that you immediately feel comfortable around and is a blast to be around and talk to! Kent is a riot - a quiet guy that had a contagious laugh that would make me want to laugh right with him. Rounding out the 4 was the lovely Melissa from England who, in the middle of the race, would ask me how I was doing. I would say encouragement is her middle name. (oh, and she always has a smile on her face... always!)

The race began noon on Thursday and went until noon Sunday. It was quite the experience to be support for an expedition race - while you don't suffer like the racers, you definitely experience the same lack of sleep that they tend to go through. I figure I got about 7 hours the entire 3 days, while the team only got about 3-4. The first 2 days I got no sleep at all (it was either too hot or too crazy!) and was feeling it the second night - it hit me right in the middle of a long drive to the transition in the La Sal Mountains (not good when you have a 500 foot cliff along the side of the road!).

Since most of you don't follow adventure racing, let me give a little lesson on what support entails. Most races will have transition spots where the support crew meets the team and provides them with a place to change, eat and stock up on water and food for the next leg of the race or at times to sleep. My job was to make sure the transitions went smoothly and everything they needed was there and ready for them. I drove Tim's truck and trailer, which contained all their gear and lots of other fun stuff.

Despite suffering through high temps in the canyons (where many struggled with heat exhaustion) and snow in the mountains, the team did terrific! They finished the entire course, a first for all of them. They all faced their own challenges during the race; sleepmonsters, stomach problems, sickness and a few falls. Yet they struggled through and made it as a team to the finish line. They all are amazing but the women have given me even more reason to work hard for next season - they are an amazing inspiration to me! There was talk of me doing a race with them, maybe my first 24 hour one. I have to admit that while it scares the hell out of me, I would trust them completely for my first longer race. I think some of my remaining fears and insecurities would be challenged in a big way!

So, what's next? Some down time. I have a leg injury that I need to let heal and then I'm going to concentrate on my running again, something that has been lacking lately. I might even hire a trainer to help me get ready for next year. I'm really looking forward to the break.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's my Birthday...

and continuing with the tradition of the past 5 years, it has truly sucked. Nothing was as bad as last year when we were in Kansas to bury dad. Yeah, that one tops them as the absolute worst birthday ever. But today, well, was just no fun at all. Between my car breaking down (AGAIN!), a fall on my bike that has me downing some pretty good pain killers, deciding to shorten my trip to Moab (that totally sucks) and a whole bunch of other little things that are making this day not so pleasant.

Despite that there were some moments that made the day good. Mom calling me from Hawaii to sing me a happy birthday, my friend Kandel doing the same (with what she called her "not so good voice" - I thought it was great!), everyone at work being so supportive and doing little things to make my day special, and my friend Glenn who has saved me a bunch on money to fix my car.

And then there was this video that a friend sent me - it made me laugh out loud in the midst of everything and I thought I would share it with you. After watching this you'll understand why I want to work at REI - as I read on someone else's blog "is it bad that I think this is perfectly normal?"

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A new me... again.

The past few weeks have been crazy - I won't bore you with all the details but I'll give you a bit of a recap of the mayhem:

1. Climbed Pikes Peak with a friend and her daughters. Actually, we attempted to climb Pikes Peak but got to the last 1/2 mile and ran into bad weather. We hitched a ride to the top with a very nice couple from Arizona then sat in the summit house for two hours while it rained, then sleeted, then snowed. Finally the weather cleared, we hitched a ride down to the halfway point of the trail, and hurried down the rest of the mountain, only to be rained on again. Despite that, it was a great girls day, we had a blast!

2. I also attempted to climb Handies, a 14er in the southern San Juan Mountains, with my Albuquerque friends Linda and Jerry. Everything conspired together to derail this climb, starting with getting lost; having to park 4 miles from the trailhead due to a bad road; the stomach flu hitting me just as we hit the trailhead; I had blisters the size of Maine and about as painful as they can get; and the final blow, I bottomed out my car on the road and ripped my oil pan. $400 later, I have decided that a jeep would be a much more appropriate vehicle for me. And I STILL haven't summited a 14er this year!

3. Spent the weekend after the Handies climb four-wheeling in that same area, which was convenient since my car needed to be picked up in the same area. It was a great weekend, perfect weather and absolutely gorgeous scenery. A great time!

4. Finally, I ran my last Adventure race of the season this past weekend, the 6 hour sprint outside of Kremmling, CO. I ran with my friend Glenn, who was a great partner and a blast to run with. We biked 15 miles, all uphill (at least it seemed that way!), trekked 7 miles, then kayaked down the Colorado river for a crazy 7 miles. We did really well, kept up with the middle of the pack until we ran into some bad luck - Glenn had 2 flats and a brake issue, so that put us behind just about everyone. The kayaking was the highlight, we had some great class 2+/3 rapids that had us hooting and hollering - an absolute blast! I feel pretty good about the race, I rode most of the biking section, even the technical parts. Now I've got some downtime and plan on doing some off-season training - I feel like I have been playing catch up this whole season, doing just enough training to get me by. Now that I have time, I plan to use it well.

And finally, I have, once again, made a change. Not exactly a big one but any women out there will understand how it can affect you. I got a new hair cut, one that is so completely different than anything I have had before. Being a gal who has always had curly hair, it's a little weird having straight hair - but i love it and I thought I would give you a chance to see it for yourself

DJ, you have done yourself proud... thanks for the new look!