Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: That's a Wrap! A Year in Review

Turkey Trot 2011
The stars were twinkling in the cloudless black sky as I met up with some friends for my last run of 2011. There was ice on the roads and we could see our breath in the air.  It didn't take long to set off with nothing more than knuckle lights to illuminate the trail. Darkness isn't something I fear or avoid. Today there was a sense of poetic justice in the fact that I started my run in the dark, viewed a spectacular sunrise midway and stretched my pleasantly fatigued legs in the light under the clear blue sky. This phenomena accurately reflected my year in fitness.

2011 started off with a forced two month long sabbatical from all exercise. It was a time of contemplation. Folks around me were eagerly planning their race calendars and setting goals. Things were too uncertain for me to jump on board. I would have to be patient.  The cold, dark winter fortunately ended.  When spring finally rolled along, I ever so cautiously resumed my training. I had to keep a conservative level of activity.  Most challenging was graciously saying no thank you to tempting offers to run with others who were in different places speed, distance and difficulty wise than I. Without a doubt, I missed my long, rigorous workouts and the regular surge of endorphins, but more than anything, I missed the fellowship of other runners and my identity as a runner. What kept me going was that I was able to maintain a moderate level of activity in three sports. I was heading in the right direction and would soon be joining my friends and races again.

I reinvented myself as a triathlete during spring, the time of rebirth and new beginnings.  I had a ball training for and taking part in the Albany Sprint Triathlon and Heart of the Valley Sprint Triathlon.  The later, which I did with fellow tri newbie and dear friend remains a highlight of 2011. While I missed distance running and running my annual marathon, the cross training proved to be better for my body. Cycling was making my legs stronger, swimming was strengthening my upper body and running was an all-around fun, awesome workout.

Tanya and I at finish line at Heart of the Valley Sprint Triathlon

Tri High!
After my short and sweet triathlon season ended, I could no longer resist the beckoning trails. I would need to first overcome what I refer to as my PTS (+I + DNS) D (post traumatic stress, injured, did not start disorder). The trails are where I injured myself while training for a 50K. Dare I try again? Perhaps if I started short, slow and easy? Maybe it would be okay, as long as I refrained from regimented training and steered clear of races? Yes, I would run trails again, but solely for enjoyment!

Enjoying a spring break trail run with my honey and trail hound.

North Shore Trail with my running momma friends

Reflective run at Mt. Pisgah
At around the time I got my trail feet back under me, my dear running partner got injured. It was like deja vois.  She had an injury quite similar to the one I had the previous year, had to take months off running and missed races she had signed up for.  She handled it with grace, wisdom and a sense of humor.  I was such a stink butt when I got injured.  I really admired her great attitude and determination to make her way back to running by taking the time off, running in the pool and doing pilates.  I desperately missed her company on runs, felt guilty running without her and found that running just wasn't the same without her.  We braved the chilly temperatures and swam the outdoor long course. It was super fun swimming together. 

Before I knew it, the school year had ended and it was time to leave for my summer on the east coast.  I couldn't stray too far from my training though.  When my month-long working vacation came to an end, I would have Hood to Coast.  Training away from home in the humid, record heat wave east coast proved to be yet another challenge. I slacked. I whined. I made excuses. I watched the empty entries in my training log grow. Nonetheless, I did experience runs in Central Park, NYC, historic Boston and on the beautiful trails of New Haven, CT.  When I was really dedicated, I headed to the air conditioned hotel and campus fitness centers to slog away miles on the dreadmill and pump iron.

I'm in Central (friggin') Park!
Somehow I managed to stay conditioned just enough to run the 2011 Hood to Coast with my team of fellow parents of twins.  My cantankerous foot started squawking just a few weeks prior to the race so I was quite nervous about running all three of my relay legs. I was pleasantly surprised at how well my feet and legs held up. I even managed to throw down on my final leg down and sail through my final leg straight through the finishing chute at Seaside.  It was quite the rush!

Hood to Coast
After being away from my beloved bicycle for a full month, I was thrilled to throw myself into cycling. It was probably a good thing too as my feet were bothering me enough to resume acupuncture, ART and massage treatments.  I had very little time between September and October to rebuild my cycling base. 100 miles seemed like an impossibly long distance but that was what I had set out to do.  My longest ride to date was only 67 miles.  I hoped that I had it in me to complete the full century that I had blabbed to the whole world about.  I did have a Plan B in my back jersey pocket.  If things got too rough out there, I could downgrade to the 75 mile route. Much to my surprise, the Harvest Century proved to be not only a piece of cake, but a fun time in the beautiful outdoors in the company of fun cyclists.  The weather was pleasant, my bike cooperated and I felt like a million bucks riding out there.

Will it be 75 or 100 miles?

Celebratory beer and dinner with cycling buddies after the century
Running the Warrior Dash with a dozen tutu clad mommas in "bad ass" knee highs also proved to be a ridiculously good time. It was more challenging than I had anticipated and I was more competitive that I had planned.  It seemed that no matter what I did, swim, bike, run, or otherwise, I enjoyed the heck out of it. How amazing it felt to be active, strong, fast and happy again! All those months of recovering and slowing rebuilding were finally fading from my memory. I now had the wisdom to fully appreciate what I was able to do. The sun had finally come up again!

Tossin' back some brews in our fuzzy horned hats and bad ass socks after Warrior Dash
I celebrated turning 40 with my first running ever race as a master, a half marathon trail run and had a dream-come-true prom themed birthday party all on the same day!  Around this time I stepped way out of my comfort zone and joined the Oregon Track Club Master's speed group. My training emphasis would be to stay injury-free, increase my speed and to maintain my multi-sport fitness base.  Silver Falls was a gorgeous event with a great crowd and a nice physical challenge for me.  I was going to hang up my racing shoes and chill out for a while. Then I decided last minute to shoot for a new 5K PR in the local Turkey Stuffer. Holy cow is it fun to run short and fast! Sure enough, I got myself that PR. As much as I missed marathon training and running super long trail run, this shorter distance deal was keeping my body healthy and happy and allowing me to develop the speed that I never thought I had.
Silver Falls Half Marathon
Yee haw! That was FUN!
I decided to put marathons and ultras on hold for a year, however I was itching for a BIG challenge. There's nothing like training for weeks on end for a very specific goal and then going out and tackling it.  I registered for Boise 70.3! This half Ironman event will take place June 8th.  It's almost time for me to officially start training! Last night I did the math for the first time and realized that I will be swimming, biking and running for seven to eight hours! I decided to join a half marathon performance group in January and shoot for a new half marathon PR at the Corvallis.  This got my wheels turning and wondering if I should also seek extra support for swimming and biking.  Last week I checked out Multi-Sport Advantage Tri Club.  I am looking forward to training with fellow triathletes in this amazing gym and tri community.  I think I might have officially gone over the deep end after such a slow, cautious come back.

Today under the rosy glow of the final sunrise of 2011, I said a prayer of thanks for all that I had experienced this year. Thank you body for healing and for all that you've allowed me to do. Thank you spirit for believing that blue skies will follow the dark clouds. Thank you family and friends for supporting, encouraging and joining me in this journey. Thank you beautiful places to swim, bike, run and be with loved ones. Thank you running partner, running buddies and running peers for the countless lessons, reminders of the limitless possibilities and zest for the sport. Before I knew it, we were coming out from the forest canopy on my last run of 2011. When we emerged, a gorgeous, crystal blue sky awaited us. The sky, like my year in training had come full circle. Thank you universe!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Forty Year Old Trail Running Mom is Crowned Prom Queen

By the time I got home from Silver Falls State Park, I had six hours before my out-of-town guests' arrival and the festivities to commence. I showered, ate a big breakfast, apologized for being a family slacker then retreated to my bedroom for a nap. When I woke up and caffeinated I felt good as new! I would be able to party the night away after all.

I couldn't believe I was forty! I kept telling everyone that I was turning FORTY! Everyone misunderstood. They tried to console and reassure me. "Life begins at forty." "My forties have been my best decade yet."  What they didn't understand was I wasn't mourning! I am proud as a peacock over the fact that I'm stronger, fitter and faster than ever at forty! Forty is such a powerful number. I feel like it should always be proceeded with an exclamation point. I'm a forty! year-old working multi-sporty momma and I would be going to the prom in just a few hours.

Living in the uber casual granola town of Eugene, it is very rare that I have the opportunity to dress up in formal attire, wear high heels and put some glam in my hair, makeup and jewelry.  Here are the before and after shots. I don't even look like the same person!

My sweet husband turned into a blushing teenage boy when he put my corsage on and received his boutonniere.  I love this man, my groom of 19 years!  We left our children in the care of our trusty sitter, threw the booster seats into the back of the Euro van, swiped the Annie's cheddar bunnies off the seats and piled into our "limo" for the night.  Our first stop would be Ambrosia for a pre-prom dinner.  When I arrived I was touched beyond belief to see all family and friends in formal attire seated around an intimate circular table under glowing light. I felt honored and terribly spoiled. These wonderful people had gone out of there way for me, little old me. I couldn't stop smiling and laughing. I was with the people that I love.  I am so thankful to have each and everyone of them in my life.

Sister, childhood friends, husband...

My amazing runner-momma-rock-star-friends. How cute are they?

Sister, witness to 37 of 40 years of my life.
Wait, there's cake too?!
Sweetest man in the world
After dining, drinking and toasting, we made our way to the prom venue, a local dance club.  My super running partner friend Laura had transformed an area of the club into a classic prom scene complete with backdrop for prom photos, balloons, sparkly, mylar stars and glitter. This prom night was grander, more fun and sweeter than any prom I could have ever imagined! My high school prom couldn't have ever measured up to this amazing event.  We danced the night away, visited, laughed, snapped countless photos and were silly.  Nearly a month has passed since this night to remember and I still find myself smiling, feeling warm and fuzzy and sifting through the priceless photos from this event.

Thank you SO much for each and everyone of my family and friends who played a part in my prom-dream.  You mean the world to me.  I am filled with gratitude.  I will never forget this amazing milestone birthday or my first and only prom experience.  I love you all.

Now for the pictures of the night to remember.

Prom night at Cowfish!

Tearing up the dance floor!

80s prom attendees!

Adorable, fun couple with some serious dance moves!

Hey, I ran a half marathon this morning & I'm dancing in heels!
Fellow runner parents of twins. A force to be reckoned with!

How cute are they in their retro prom garb?

I have the coolest friends!

Coordinating purple prom attire
Fun was had by all.
Oldest and dearest friends.
Loved the melding of old and new friends. Everyone had so much fun!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Silver Falls Half Marathon Pre-Prom Race Report

Photograph courtesy of dailymile
My prom just so happened to fall on the same day as Silver Falls Half Marathon.  It would be my first race as a "master" (over 40 year-old). I hadn't raced since I ruptured my PF back in June of 2010.  It had taken me over a year of recovering and gradual build up to be back in the game again. I was chomping at the bit. You know those wild horses with flared nostrils bucking, trying to get out of the rodeo pen and whip the cowboy right of it's steaming back? That's what felt like. Recently stricken by the competitive bug, I was ready to TEAR IT UP!

Race morning was dark, cold and wet. Tanya, Chelsea and I huddled in the picnic shelter at Silver Falls State Park as close to the fire as we could get without spontaneously combusting. Dang, it was COLD! As far as I'm concerned, Chelsea earned the medal of valor for protecting countless children from perishing in the flamage.  Somehow she managed to do so without so much as one nasty glance from a parent who had been caught slacking on the job or a whine, protest or salty tear from a child. I put on as many layers of clothes as possible, borrowed a hat, chatted with fellow Eugene trail runners until it was time to line up at the start line.

Since I had turned forty and thus became a master, last Thursday, I had had the song "Master of the House" from Les Miserables in my head. Apparently that is my theme song of my fortieth year. I couldn't get this song out of my head and unfortunately knew only 5% of the words. I mentally sang "Think he's quite a lover but there's not much there" line at least 50 times.  We were off with the lacidasical starts that only trail races offer.  Mercifully it had stopped raining, but it was bitterly cold.  With my aversion to being boxed in, I made a break for it.  I needed some elbow room.  First couple miles were on the roads so we had room to spread out before hitting the single track

Once I got warm and loosened up, I felt awesome. No foot pain whatsoever!  It was going to be a good day on this gorgeous course.  If I was lucky, there might even be a half marathon PR in store for me.  We ran through wetlands, in and out of forests, behind giant waterfalls, along white-peaked streams and up and down huge flights of stairs. It was all scenic single track trail of which I never bored. The smells of cedar and anise were amazing.  Aide stations with water were well-placed and staffed with friendly volunteers.  I chose to use my Nathan hydration pack so I wouldn't have to stop.  The more tired I got, the harder it was to drink out of that thing.  I did opt to drink water from a cup (what a luxury!) at the final aide station.

Fall proved to be the perfect time of year to run these trails.
(Photo courtesy of Pacific Crest Stock Outdoor Adventure Gallery)
My one and only minor complaint was that some of the fellow racers lacked what I consider to be common trail etiquette.  Here's what I wanted to tell them and the rest of trail running newbies:

1. If you hear others on the trail, scoot over to a side so they can pass.
2. Do not have the volume of your MP3 player turned up so high that you can't hear fellow runners on the trail. Better yet, don't listen to music at all. Aren't the sounds of nature and chatting with fellow runners company and entertainment enough?
3. Encourage or at least acknowledge the other runners on the trail. A wave, smile or grunt is plenty but jokes are even more appreciated.
4. If you pass someone, do so politely. Perhaps tell them that you're sure they'll pass you once you get to an uphill section.
5. Runners, walkers, hikers and bikers going downhill have the right of way.

Gorgeous trails. Put this race in your race calendar! I'll be going back next year.
I loved this course! It was like being on the "Rave Run" page of a Runners World magazine. It took extreme restraint not to stop and snap photos along the way. I was trying to keep my pace steady. I had no Garmin. I relied solely on perceived exertion. I was definitely working out there but still feeling good and ridiculously strong.  My training on hilly Ridgeline had been great practice.  The final hill was a doozy and the only section that I power walked.  There was quite a crowd cheering at the finish. I was thrilled to see 2:02:32 on the clock as I passed through the finishing shoot. YES! I managed to run that baby with a 9:21 minute mile pace.

Lovely flights of stairs around mile 11.
(Photograph courtesy of Ski Anything)
There was bread, chili and lots of prize drawings at the finish. I unfortunately didn't earn any but was uber proud of two women that I run with who placed in their age group. Prizes were gorgeous Silver Falls photos in rustic frames.  I have aspirations of one day placing in my age group. Today, though, I'd have to settle for 15th.  It was time to scoot on out before we caught hypothermia out there. The warm van and sweet conversation of my friends made our two and a half hour ride home go by quickly.  I was feeling anything but cute in my sweaty muddy trail running garb.  It would take some serious smoke and mirrors to make myself prom worthy.  Hot shower, food, power nap, coffee and  plenty of eyeshadow were in order. Remaining question was would I be able to don heels with my formal attire or would I have to wear the new trail shoes that I had reserved for the occasion?

Fun day on the trails with friends. Super proud of my fellow trail running mommas!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

To Prom or not to Prom, that is the Question

Back in high school I opted out of prom. Why should someone as evolved as I, participate in such a sexist, capitalistic rite of passage? Hardly any of my friends were going, it was expensive and would likely be a spend the night feeling socially awkward. I considered pulling a Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink and going just to prove a point.  She looked super cool in her custom-handmade dress, had the company of the always entertaining Ducky and Andrew McCarthy decided that he wanted to be with her after all. It was possible that I could have a good time, but I wasn't willing to risk it. The years passed.  Entire decades passed and for some mysterious reason, I couldn't get over the fact that I missed prom.  

“You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could've, would've happened... or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.”Tupac Shakur

I tried to move on. That didn't work. I tried to move the fuck on. That didn't work either. Twenty two years late or not, I needed a prom. I had a milestone birthday coming up in a year. What better way to usher in a new decade than having a prom-themed birthday party? I bashfully mentioned this idea to a few friends.  They thought it was a great idea (or at least were willing to indulge me). I was giddy with excitement and nervous energy! Would anyone show up? Would it be hokey? Would it be the prom of my dreams? Would it fill that prom-less void in my life? Oh my! I'm forty and I'm going to the prom!

 Tupac and I. This photo was taken at the site of my future prom..

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cycling a Century

Follow that pumpkin!
 Could I really do it?  I've only been cycling for a little over a year.  My longest ride to date is only 67 miles.  My feet were so sore this week that I could barely walk, let alone lightly exercise all week.  It had been raining all week.  I hadn't bothered to acquire rain gear.  I just didn't feel like it.  Even on a good day, cycling a century would be a challenge, but adding my lackluster mental state, made this feat seem virtually impossible. As if that wasn't bad enough, Aunt Flo came the eve of the century! Being the loud mouth that I am, I told folks near and far about my century.  I had been talking about it ad nauseum for the last few months.  Folks I hardly knew, hell, strangers knew about it.  There was no chickening out now.

My husband who's seen my pre-race, PMS infused tapering week madness knew exactly what was going on.  When he tried to tell me that everything would be fine.  I was ready.  No need to work my tail end off, I was tapering.  I have pre-event jitters coupled with PMS.  No biggie.  I was ready.  I have the best cheerleader in the whole world but I would hear no word of it.  "This is different!" I insisted.  Don't tell me I'm awesome and ready because I'm not!  In fact, I'm thinking of downgrading to a 75 mile ride!  In hindsight, I recognize how utterly predictable I am and how well this man knows me. 

It turned about to be an amazing experience, beautiful, well-marked course, super fun fellow cyclists, fantastic support and both physically and mentally easier and more fun that I ever anticipated!  I enjoyed each and every mile of this event.  A few of the highlights were:

  • Enjoying the sights and sounds of this beautiful course around the quaint little towns that surround my hometown.
  • Cycling with my friend Janel, whose been my cycling inspiration.  We met a little over a year ago at surf camp and become fast friends.
  • Reaching my maximum cycling speed of 40 MPH cruising fearless down a steep hill.  What a rush!
  • Not getting lost or needing to turn around once, thanks to the great pumpkin course markers. 

Here's a brief photographic tour of the Harvest Century, the first of what I hope to be my many, many, many centuries.

My bike "Princess" at the first rest stop, a sweet turn of the century white church complete with steeple and grazing horses across the street.  I enjoyed hard boiled eggs, donut holes, apples, oranges and salted potatoes.
Halfway done at this point.  I could chose the 75 mile or 105 mile route at this point.  100 miles, baby!  Wahoo!  Janel and I had finally connected.  I had had lunch.  I was having the time of my life and felt like a million dollars.

Look at this madwoman!  The bike isn't even carbon and look at that height!
Crossing the river on the Canby Ferry.  So far, so good.  God, this was fun.  Can I do it again next weekend?  Little did I know that all the serious hills were 70 miles into the ride. 

Janel surfacing from behind a ginormous hill with a smile on her face.  Look at that beautiful blue sky!  Janel and I rode with a group of six cyclers, some were quite the characters.  Miles sure pass quickly in the company of chatty bikers.

Beer, BBQ and lots of belly laughs at the finish.
 So, my dear readers.  What lesson does this blog post hold for you?  Find something that seems larger than life and beyond your capabilities and go for it!  YOU CAN DO IT (and so much more)!  Believe in yourself!  Live life big!  Don't make excuses!  Go for it!  You only live once!  Do it with no regrets!  Carpe diem!

Warrior Dash Race Report

Bad Asses reporting for duty!

The Warrior Dash proved to be crazy fun.  Everyone should participate in this event at least once in their lives.  I signed up with a group of fellow momma women warriors.  We plotted, planned, ordered matching Bad Ass socks, painstakingly tied strips of tulle on elastic to create our signature tutus, decorated our vehicles, booked accommodations at a cool funky brew house hotel and arranged for a group photographer to capture our moments of warrior greatness.  What we didn't do much of was train.  I mean, really, it was a mere 5K!  Sure, there were "12 hellish obstacles" between the running but competitors drink beer, eat giant turkey legs on bones and wear fuzzy hats with horns afterwards.  How tough could it be? 

Warrior Dash: Craziest Friggin' Day of Your Life!

We arrived to our battleground.  It was quite the production!  Reminded me of a giant music festival.  We decided to check out some of the obstacles to see what we were up against.  Maybe this wasn't such a joke after all.  You could really get hurt out there! Climbing over slippery cars in a scrapyard, jumping over fire, jumping from shaky platform to shaky platform, swimming through water and up and over unwieldy logs, crawling under barbed wire, flinging yourself up and over cargo nets... Perhaps we should have done a little obstacle training, perhaps some upper body weight training?  Too late now.  Good thing I was just doing this for fun and not to win! 

After much anticipation, our wave finally started.  I believe I heard someone say that there were 300 to 400 people in each wave.  It was so crowded!  One of my race pet peeves is to be locked in and stuck behind people.  I don't like to be slowed down.  My girl, Chelsea and I decided to make a break for it.  She took one side, I took another and we sprinted up the steep hill that forced most participants to hike rather than run.  It was muddy, slippery and rooty.  We were passing people left and right.  It was an awesome feeling but I hoped that we weren't using up all the gas in our limited tanks. 

Before we knew it, we were at our first obstacle "Deadweight Drifter" where we would "wade through waist deep water" and hurl ourselves over logs until we made our way across a little cattle pond.  I stepped in and promptly found myself chin-deep in water.  WTF?  What happened to waist deep water?!  Next thing I knew, I had lost all footing together and was forced to swim with a mob of people.  It was mayhem!  I am a good swimmer, but this shit was scary!  Someone's head was just asking to be clocked by one of those unruly logs!  FUCK!  As if that wasn't bad enough, my cute, custom made sparkly tutu became water logged and sunk to my ankles.  I pulled it up and proceeded to hurl myself over a log that a kind, burly man spun for me.  Darn thing slipped again as I swam towards the next log.  I saw my tall long-legged friend Chelsea, fearlessly make her way across the pond and decided that I'd have to sacrifice my tutu.  Pulled the thing off and let it sink to the bottom of the pond.  Good riddance!  This obstacle was by far the scariest and riskiest of the day.  Was I ever glad to make it to the other side all in one piece.

Next we climbed and leaped our way over a bunch of busted, rusted cars in the makeshift wrecking yard.  It was slippery, some dashboards showed evidence of feet breaking through, there was even  sharp metal from here to there as well.  Maybe I shouldn't have snickered so much at the "hellish obstacles".  Chelsea was an animal out there!  Sheer determination.  She was not a woman to be fucked with.  She took on each obstacle as if it were a personal attack.  I hoped I could keep up with her!  The running portion also proved to be more challenging that I anticipated.  It was a 5K but it went up and down, up and down and up and down steep, uneven, slippery and/or rooty terrain.  It was trail runner heaven.  I  loved the running portion and really challenged myself to run it all rather than succumb to walking like so many of the other participants.  The obstacles turned out to be a nice opportunity to lower my heart rate and catch my breath.

Hellish obstacles that followed Deadweight Drifter and Road Rage:

#3:   Great Warrior Wall:  Climb a very tall vertical wall and slide down the other side.  The knotted rope proved to be ever so helpful on this one but the dismount was scary!  I had to put fear aside and hope that I wouldn't get splinters in my ass as I slid down the wood eight feet back down to the ground. 

#4:  Rubber Ricochet: Ram your way through a sea of tires swinging from ropes.  This was super easy but fun.

#5:  Deadman's Drop:  Another wall but this time there was a wooden ladder for the dismount.  Thank God!

#6:  Chaotic Crossover:  Bear climb over a long horizontal cargo net.  Not as easy as it sounds!

#7:  Barricade Breakdown:  Hurl yourself up and over a barricade, then roll/crawl your way through mud under barbed wire and repeat this five or six times.  This was FUN!

#8:  Satin's Steps:  Initially wasn't worried about these but they were wobbly!  My short little legs had to make great big leaps to get me over.  A fellow competitor jumped on my platform when I was on and nearly flung me overboard!

#9 Assassin's Escape:  Up a ladder and down a fire fighter pole.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!  Geez, this event is awesome!  Chelsea and I were making great time!  I was proud of us!  So much for not being competitive!

#10: Cargo Climb:  Climb up and down a very tall cargo wall.

#11:  Warrior Fires: leap over two rows of thigh high fire
Mothers of Multiples ain't afraid of no fire!
#12:  Muddy Mayhem: Scramble beneath barbed wire in a muddy soup then climb up a slippery slope and slide belly first to the finish line.

Being muddy has never been so much fun!
I finished in 39:46 which comes to a 11:22 minute mile average with the the obstacles.  I was 49th out of 598 in my age group.  Best of all Chelsea and I stuck together the whole time and raced our little hearts out.  It was awesome to be there to cheer on our fellow "Warrior Women" when they crossed the finish line with huge smiles on their faces.

Our post race bath in a muddy pond (tutus proved to be as effective as loofahs!), free beers, live music, fabulous people watching, fuzzy hats, "I Survived the Warrior Dash" t-shirts and turkey drumsticks that tasted like bacon followed.  It was a fantastic day!  We couldn't wait to sign up and participate again the following year.  Fortunately more fun was to be had since we had decided to make a girl's weekend of it.  Real showers, more beer and food and a soaking pool awaited us and the magnificent Grand Lodge.

I still smile every time I think of this crazy event.  It was SO much fun!  I highly recommend that you take the plunge, take a walk on the wild side and be a warrior!

Wahoo! We did it!

Our bath in a giant mud puddle.  Somehow we managed to get cleaner.

Post race festivities
Thanks for an amazing time and a memorable weekend Warrior Women!  Until next year!