Wow. What a long, exhilarating day. So...I decided to create my own blog since some friends I know have them and talk about their training and races.
Ok so let me just explain a little bit about why I wanted to do this race. Anyone who knows me knows I love adventure. And endurance sports. And endurance athletes. And exercise physiology/kinesiology. And the great outdoors. I love the people I have met along the way and the whole field that you can study. My sister told me about this race sometime back in January or February so I looked at the rules and saw that you could do this race with a partner. I knew the perfect person to ask: Rachel Nypaver. Let me explain.
Facebook is a wonderful thing (Well love/hate relationship with it haha) I was introduced to Rachel and her sister Sandi through facebook from a trusted friend. Anyways I saw they were going to run 260 miles across Ohio to raise money for charity. I thought that was pretty darn cool. So...you know I just communicated through facebook to plan out when they were coming through Medina so I could meet up with them (this was over winter break so I was home from school.) I found them walking through Medina (Sandi actually developed a stress fracture along the way and had to finish the last 20 miles or so a few weeks later.)
Anyways...that's how I met them, was able to run with Rachel when I came home for spring break (I was coming back from injury so only 5 miles, but still a good time to have a chat with someone). I figured she'd be up for a race like this one, (Rachel and Sandi have inspired me to get into more of this :) since she'd already been through one 100 mile running race and a few other ultras. The race was 36mi cycling, 6 mi kayaking, 8 mi backpacking. Ok...I'll stop rambling-onto the race story!
We couldn't train together since I was here at school in NW Ohio and Rachel back home in Cleveland. We pretty much figured we'd be ok. LoL. (Well...I had to borrow a friend's road bike, I'm used to my mountain bike, took it out for a few times the week before, returned it to him, then picked it up again the day before the race. And Rachel had a road bike, so I was hoping to borrow one, it was very nice of my friend. Kayaking-Both of us had only kayaked once in our lives. I'm usually a positive person, so I told her...eh don't worry, we'll be ok, we'll figure it out in the first mile or so. We were just a little worried we may flip it. Backpacking-Rachel borrowed her sister's pack and I borrowed my friend Lori's. It had to be 20% of your bodyweight. We figured we should try to run with it on. Didn't really train with it on either LOL I just practiced running with it 1 mi, I don't think Rachel did at all haha)
Cycling: Started out at a pretty good pace, was able to pass some people, and pretty much stay at a nice even pace for most of the way. Many of us got stopped by a train, but the train actually stopped for us I think?, and everyone was so cool and friendly, each helping get everyone's bikes and bodies up and over the train. :) Off we go. Then...Rachel and I were about to get stopped by ANOTHER train. But wait. The gaits went down...there was a volunteer standing at this one...I started slowing down thinking we'd have to stop. No..the guy yelled "Come on you can make it, you can make it!" So we totally had to speed up over the tracks, duck under the gates and made it. Phew! I think I was screaming after that one :) Ok so we're riding for awhile...and we rode down this hill..I was about ready to ride straight but Rachel, thank God she noticed the arrow on the ground pointing left...I almost ran into her and fell lol! Phew, good catch Rachel! I should have practiced riding a road bike and grabbing my water bottle, because I reached for one of mine, the 24oz with gatorade in it, took a sip, tried to put it back down, and dropped it. Rachel was like oh we can go back for that, but I'm still not the best at turning on a road bike so I told her I'd leave it I didn't want to come to a stop and fall off in the race lol. Anddd a little ways after that we finished woooo! It was nice to ride with someone because we basically just chatted the whole way.
Kayaking: Hahahaha we got off our bikes, put them down by my car, then grabbed our rental 2-person kayak and had to CARRY it half a mile! That was probably the toughest part of the race. Guys totally had us on that one. We get to the loading area...the volunteers yelled out, "You girls are doing great, how long in the kayak, an hour?" I responded, "We have no idea! We haven't done this race before and we didn't even practice the kayaking!" They told us to kayak tandem. We paddled off, totally didn't have to worry about figuring it out in the first mile, we got it right away :) No flipping, nice pace, again, just chatted the whole time LOL! Oh we had to get out of the kayak, carry it up this little, muddy hill, then put it back in the canal (we were in the river for most of it) for another 400yds or so. That was a little harder because we had to maneuver through some logs and trees. We almost ran into the first place female team (we think, the results are not up yet). By the way, if anyone knows them, we meant to say good job after the race-they were so nice because they helped us over the train. We were so depleted after the race, lol, a little out of it we were! When we got to the transition from the kayak to the backpacking-took us awhile to find our packs because they were just randomly placed in lines the grass LOL our packs were NOT close to each other (adventure races....:) We changed shoes and socks because we were all wet and muddy and were off on our backpacks!
Backpacking: Roseann was an idiot and lost her water bottle on the bike, forgot her camelbak in the AM which she was going to drink during the ride, so only had 1 water bottle. I tried rationing it out until the backpacking lol, and Rachel was kind enough to share hers with me along the way! Ok...this was the tough part for me. Rachel is a strong ultrarunner, and even though we had heavy backpacks on, I knew she would be able to do it still :) I was counting on her to help me through it, and she did, thank you Rachel! So...after walking it out a bit, we started running! Then I had to stop because my heart rate was beating too rapidly and breathing was hard. Rachel said we should power walk and run because that's what they do in ultras sometimes! We would say, "Ok...from this tree to that tree...we'll run!" Haha that was pretty fun actually, I liked our strategy. About mile 5 or 6 they had a water stop woooo!!!!!! So...I must have drank around 10 of those little dixie cups they had. Rachel filled up her water bottle...and (I'm so delirious at this point that I forgot about my water bottle in my pack to fill up LOL so we shared hers again). We continued on running and walking, then ran to the finish! Woooo! It was a blast!
And...one last thing...while we were racing this race...her sister Sandi was racing and won the Ice Age Trail 50 and qualified for Western States 100 in June woohoo!!!! And...a bunch of my friends from the Cleveland Area are running the Cleveland Marathon tomorrow, so I wish them all the best of luck and hope that they achieve their goals!!
It is a privilege to know many awesome endurance athletes and have the chance to race or train with them! If you believe in yourself, work hard, and follow your heart (you must listen to it closely...), you can achieve your biggest hopes and dreams. :) Thanks to all who have helped us along the way!
And a BIG thank you to my friend Lori and her husband who got us sand for our packs, let me borrow one of their packs, described the race to me over many times, and helped us in the morning before the race started!
Oh yeah..our time was 5:12. Don't know race splits yet or what place we were in, doesn't really matter though because our goal was to just have fun! And we sure did! :)
Oh gosh another thing I forgot to mention...Rachel...ran 50 miles last weekend in a race that she WON! (50s Fo Yo Momma Trail Race) And then raced with me this weekend lol! What a trooper!