Thursday, October 29, 2009

USARA Nationals - race report

It's a long one! Probably my longest report in a long while. Thank you to Kip for posting it, with a few photos:

Monday, October 26, 2009

USARA Nationals - brief recap

Team Vignette (me, Dave, Kip) raced the USARA Nationals near Denton, TX last weekend. John was supposed to race with me and Dave, but his knee is still healing. Thank you to Kip for stepping in at the last minute!

We got to bike on pavement for much of the first half of the race, plus we paddled on the lake for over 6 hours. It was pretty windy, but we managed to keep the canoe going in the right direction and we found all the checkpoints on the water. More biking, a couple short trekking sections that we enjoyed (except for CP9), and then more biking on pavement. I'm not a fan of running on pavement, but I'll bike on it any day.

The second half of the race looked to be mostly on trails, but we detoured around the worst of them. The main Greenbelt trail could not be avoided, but luckily it was 10 miles (out and another 10 back) of mostly solid hard-packed gravel. It was covered in water, thin layers of mud, and an occasional muddy puddle, so we got wet while riding it, but we could still ride fast and it was more cold (being nighttime) than nasty. A bit more on-foot orienteering, then the sun came up (yay!). Our final challenge was riding 4.5 miles of awful, thick muddy equestrian trail that we were required to take, and we disliked it intensely but at least it was the last thing we had to do so we pushed through it. There was supposed to be a 7-mile trekking section at the end, but that got removed (to our dismay). But at least we were done. We rode 110 miles total!

We finished in 13th place overall, out of 68 teams. Our whole goal was to do the best we could while still enjoying ourselves for the most part. Dave towed Kip on the bike, I led the paceline a couple times, we stopped at a convenience store for snacks, we didn't rush through transition like normal, and we raced for ourselves instead of getting caught up in the competition (since there were a lot of other teams around us much of the time). We started out in the back of the pack and had fun slowly moving up, and we were really happy to clear the whole course and finish as well as we did.

I'll write a longer race report, but that's a start for now :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A pain in the knee

We went to College Station last weekend for John's rugby reunion. It was fun meeting his friends from way back, and John played a bit of rugby. He would have played more, except his knee got bumped during a tackle and now he's walking all gimpy-like. He had it diagnosed as a sprained knee, hopefully nothing more serious than that.

This weekend's USARA Nationals is out for John, bummer. Kip has graciously stepped in to replace him at the last minute. I haven't raced with Kip in almost a year, so I'm looking forward to that at least!

John is putting a tiny bit of weight on that leg today. We're hoping for lots of healing in the next 2 weeks so he'll be ready to go when we get to New Orleans. Positive thoughts!

Good luck to all adventure racing teams coming to Pilot Point this weekend!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Haunted Navigation

Last night I joined Sheila R, Sheila TB, and Sally for some biking around downtown Austin looking for "haunted checkpoints". Too much fun! Many very creative costumes, I was impressed. I guess I was dressed as an aspiring Hardrock 100 runner.

Our team, the "":

With Amazing Robyn, the Too Cool Magician:

Shoal Creek, where a ghost is sometimes seen speed-walking:

Playing around at the Neill-Cochran Museum:

Nice lighting on the Capitol, although we never found the tall ghost with a mustache walking the grounds:

Two random ladies at the Driskill who agreed to join us in our photo - one of them was celebrating her 21st birthday:

Who knew Oilcan Harry's is haunted?

At the finish, with Sheila showing off her devilish tail:

Thanks to Steph for putting on this fun event!

High Trek Adventure - San Antonio

John and I, along with Jason and his stepdad Mike, raced last weekend in San Antonio. It was a High Trek Adventure race, a nice tune-up for Vegas next month.

We had a good time, running from Augie's BBQ toward downtown via the awesome fish sculpture on the Riverwalk:

Not much in Maverick Park - except this sign:

20 people in front of the Alamo! This one was easier than I expected:

John and Jason have done work for Melrose - we knew right where this store is located:

Bonus photo - us and 3 strangers wearing sombreros - cool!

Frida Kahlo in the Mercado:

Mi Tierra - a tough anagram, but Jason figured it out (nice one!):

The Vogue building - too bad we didn't also get a photo of the chalk street art going on below our feet:

We had some trouble locating the Medusa Lounge...

On the way back up Broadway we stopped briefly at The Painted Lady Inn for our final photo:

From there we jumped on a bus toward the finish. A couple stops later Jason and Mike also jumped on the same bus - fancy meeting y'all here! Instead of trying to out-run each other back to Augie's, we opted for a tie finish. An excellent conclusion for a race where we helped each other out and managed to end up on the same bus home.

Us with Jason, the race director:

The Japanese Garden waterfalls - very pretty (the waterfalls, I mean):

It was fun to be racing again! Now we have 3 nationals events in 4 weeks starting next weekend. Should be fun (and busy)!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

That's a lot of meters

Jamie Donaldson from Colorado ran in the Leadville 100 this summer, and I had the privilege of watching her finish the Burro Race at Boom Days a couple weeks prior. Not just a fast (really fast!) runner, she seems like a nice person I'd like to meet someday.

Anyway, last weekend she set an American record at the 200 km distance while competing in a 24-hour race:

My favorite part of this, beyond her amazing achievement, is how the USA Track & Field listed the distance she ran: 200,000 meters. I think I'll adopt a meter-based system for my training and race recording.

Go Jamie!