Bad Shrooms

Bad Shrooms…..or 14.2 can kiss my ass ….or Never Mind the Vomit….or Kentucky can suck it. Not sure which is the best title for this blog but they all apply.

Let’s start with the Crossfit Open. Thursday night 14.2 is announced and it’s 3 minutes of 2 rounds of 10 overhead squats at 65 lbs for women, 95 for men and 10 chest to bar pullups. If you finish 2 rounds you get 3 more minutes and add 2 more reps to the squats and chest to bars. And so on and so on and so on. Well, F me! That’s 25 lbs more than my max overhead squat and I barely can do a pullup let alone a chest to bar. I figured I was definitely getting a score of zero and would be completely out of the open after one round. This was not what I thought the Games was all about. I know I am newbie and most things are still hard for me but I thought the open was designed to encourage everyone to participate and  get excited about Crossfit. This guy said it best. I completely agree with his take on the Games so far this year. On the other hand, I have heard amazing stories of people doing things they never thought they could do because that was the workout so they tried it. Well, that’s what I was going to do. Go into the gym Friday morning and give it my best shot to get at least one Overhead squat at 65 lbs.

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Taliana and Camille showing us how 14.2 is done. These girls are beasts
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show us how chest to bar is done

You know what? I did just that. It took a lot of practice and patience and help from the coaches but I got that one full squat with 65 lbs over my head and I was quite happy. Now I was ready to take on the 60K in Kentucky!

MEME-One-of-the-greatest-moments

I packed up the rest of my gear and headed to Kentucky with Kim and Tripp. We had heard that they had had a lot of snow and ice the previous weekend but I was surprised to see how much snow was still on the ground as we drove to Grand Rivers. We got an email on Wednesday from the race director and this was his take on the trail conditions:

This is just a quick note to tell everyone that we will be ready to go!  The trails drain very well, so I don’t expect them to be anymore than wet perhaps.

They don’t get shoe sucking muddy.

I spent the morning walking the trails.  They are snow covered, but presented no problem to me in navigation.  I suspect they will be mostly melted by Saturday, but could be quite messy.  Please plan accordingly in selecting your shoes.

So, no big deal, right? A little messy but weather will be good. We checked in and picked up our race numbers and got a very nice T shirt and hat. Our condo was super close to the race start and we met up with the rest of the group. There were only small town restaurants nearby so we chose the Yacht Club in the place where we were staying. The service was rather slow but the food was good and everyone had a nice dinner. We got back to the condo, made our final preparations and went to bed. Around midnight my stomach started feeling queasy. I went to the bathroom and hoped that it was just my imagination. Nope, the feeling kept getting worse and next thing I knew I was puking up the entire contents of my stomach. Awesome!

My first thought was oh no I am keeping Peggy awake and she has a BIG race in the morning (she was doing the 50 miler). My next thought was how was this going to affect my race? I washed my face, brushed my teeth,  I assured Peggy I was fine and I was able to fall back to sleep.

No one else had gotten sick that night so the only thing I could think of was the mushrooms I ordered with my steak. They did not look fresh. They were either from a can or a bottle. I should have not eaten any of them and I paid the price. I was able to keep some toast and coffee down. I didn’t feel great but I didn’t feel bad so I was going to just do my best.

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Looking calm and ready to take on the day
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The Atlanta crew ready to show Kentucky what we got

The race started at 6:30 am and we met up with the rest of the group from Atlanta. We had people doing every distance – 23K, marathon, 60K and 50 miles. The weather was cool but it was supposed to warm up and be a nice day for running. Kim and I planned to do 4 and 1’s and just keep it easy. We had to be starting our third loop by 1:45 and finished by 5:30. We had more than enough time. The race started with a 1.9 mile run on road and then we hit the trails for 3 loops and then back to the finish line. The trails were snow covered but runnable and we executed our plan without too much trouble. I was surprised at how much snow was still on the ground plus there were quite a few water crossings I was not expecting. Most could be made without really getting wet. There were 4 hilly sections towards the end of the loop but nothing super crazy. We finished loop one and we were doing good but it took a bit longer than I had expected. We saw a Faraz and Leslie who came out to volunteer and cheer us on and we headed out on loop 2. I told Kim I was really not looking forward to doing 2 more loops and Kim reminded me I could not think like that. I just had to take one loop at a time. My stomach felt fine and although I was slightly tired, I was still doing good.

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Loop One – look at the lovely snow!
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Loop One – feeling good and enjoying the snow

Loop 2 was completely different than Loop 1. The trails were now super slushy, muddy and messy. It became harder and harder to run without sliding in the mud or getting super soaked. I knew that time would eventually come but I was going to keep my feet as dry as possible for as long as possible. We power walked and tried to keep a good, consistent pace but we were constantly avoiding streams, mudslides and standing water. I was beginning to sweat that 1:45 cutoff time. There was lots of cursing and “what do you mean no shoe sucking mud?” We were always in sight of Tripp and Kathy but somehow we lost Tripp when we finished loop 2. We made a pitstop and at that time Kim said the three of us are going to stick together and get this done.

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Is this a water crossing or a stream? No, this is the trail.
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Mud puddles formed from melting snow are verrrrry cold

Loop 3 was different than Loop 2 in that now the entire trail was thick, nasty mud or running streams. The small water crossing were now huge and required you to get wet up to your shins in order to cross. No more dry-ish shoes. This was the last loop. We made the 1:45 cut off by 20 minutes but we were going to have to move very quickly to make it back by 5:30. We hit the first water crossing and my feet were frozen solid. It was like walking on frozen blocks of ice. It never got better and I thought my feet would never be warm again. We kept on chugging along and as long as we kept up that pace I thought we would make 5:30. I have never had to work so hard to maintain a 18min mile. We finished loop 3 and made it out of the woods at 5:05. Now we just had to run back down the road (on our painful, frozen icicle feet) and into town. We made quick time and finished at 10:48.

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The 3 LBL Blondes finished with our 60K

Holy hell! I never imagined it would take nearly the entire time to run 37.2 miles. That was insane! Kim and I had a silly idea about listening to a audiobook while we ran this race. Ha!

We still never saw Tripp after loop 2 but we were confident he would make it back. Sure enough at 5:29 we see Tripp running down the road. We started yelling and Faraz told Tripp to run as fast as he possibly could and Tripp finished to wild cheers at 10:59:50. It was like an Ironman midnight finish!

Everyone had a great day but none of the 50 milers in our group made the cutoff. The 11 hour time limit was going to be tough in good conditions but with the snow, mud and water it was a hard fought 50 for anyone who made it. This was a distance PR for me and here is the buckle I have to prove it. It will also probably be the only buckle I ever get since a 50 or 100 miler does not seem remotely fun or necessary right now.

IMG_1092.2014-03-10_125836What an amazing weekend! PRs at Crossfit and longest distance ever run. Great time with friends. Lots of laughter and cursing! Looking forward to a little bit of rest, catching up on some things and getting back to more Crossfit. I am shockingly not too sore after this weekends escapades. Maybe Crossfit has something to do with it. I still have 3 more weeks of the Open left and a 10 mile night trail run at the end of the month. Spring is here and more hours of light. Lots to be feeling good about. I will check back in next weekend after 14.3.

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