Monday, December 19, 2011

A Month of Facebook

This is for my parents, Irene and Anne. You people should get facebook so I don't have to post this stuff twice. But since I'm nice and because copy/paste is easy, here are my November facebook posts to keep you up to date. If you are my friend on facebook, you can move on...nothing new to see here.

November 2:
Jill is going to Scavenger Dash PhoenixSaturday, January 28, 2012 at 12:00pm.

November 3:Coyotes! — with Patrick at Arena.

November 4:
Corky, my latest foster, is now up for adoption at the Arizona Humane Society. If you are looking for a small, peppy friend to play with, go get him!

November 5:
I am so glad it's raining so much tonight! My backyard could use the water!

(This was after I left the hose on all day and overflowed the pool and completely flooded my backyard. Moron.)

November 8:The mail guy at work just told me that I remind him of a female Willy Wonka.

November 8:
Not to overshadow my really cool news about being likened to Willy Wonka, but something even MORE EXCITING has happened today. My sister has joined facebook! This is truly a good day!

November 16:My Frankie was "just a dog" at the county pound. A dog who needed a home. I game him a home and he's been loved and safe and happy ever since. Please go adopt a shelter dog this weekend.

November 16:Amazing Race is accepting applications again. Who wants to apply with me?

November 16:I never know what to expect from my cleaning lady. One week she's stealing my converse, the next week she's bringing potting soil and pots to re-pot my plants. Today was a re-potted plant kind of day. :)

November 19:
I'm officially out of shape now. Camelback just kicked my butt.

November 23:
December 10th - the 12Ks of Christmas! Running with Frankie and Georgie and dressing up in costume (duh). Proceeds go to Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. Come join me!

November 23:At the Coyotes game...first of 3 this weekend!

November 26:
Frankie got 2 Q's at the agility trial today. The boy loves jumpers!

November 27:Al does not like it when I read the newspaper.

November 30:
Free Wendy's burgers on Central between Jefferson and Washington. Frosties too! Woo hoo! I love free lunch.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

We Won the Great Urban Race National Championships!

Christy and I went to New Orleans for the Great Urban Race National Championships. 119 of the top teams in the nation came to New Orleans to compete and...CHRISTY AND I WON!!

Draggin' Ass:
Dragon CostumeOkay, so we won the costume contest and not the actual race. But we got those super awesome foam fingers!! So, yeah, pretty much we rock!

In the actual race we placed 38th out of 119, which is much better than last year's 65th place finish (which I didn't blog about because it was so crappy) and much worse than 2009's 14th place finish. It was also much better than we thought we did, so we are guessing a lot of teams received penalties. The clues required that teams bring a lot of stuff back to the finish line so maybe people lost stuff along the way.

If you want a full race recap with clue sheets and all, you can go read the winner's blog here. I've just got a couple stories to share with you.

It was a really fun race! There were challenges or activities at every checkpoint - which is AWESOME! We were doing fairly well until we got to this challenge:You had to unscramble these letters to form the names of 8 local beers. They gave us the first letters of each so we thought it wouldn't be too bad. We were wrong. We looked online and we looked at beers in the fridge behind the bar. We wrote stuff down, crossed out letters, guessed, were told we were wrong, again and again. We debated whether or not to give up but figured we had already spent time so we'd better finish. Dumb. Our big mistake was not leaving right away. We finally gave up and stopped to use the restroom on the way out. While Christy was waiting for me, she overheard a couple teams discussing the correct answers on their way out. I'm not ashamed to admit that we used the answers we heard and then reworked the puzzle to make the other answers fit. After about 45 minutes, we got it right! Seriously. 45 minutes on one clue. Dumb.

At this point we knew we weren't going to even come close to the top 8, so we just had fun the rest of the race. And it was fun!

One of the tic tac toe clues was to take a picture of 10 strangers lined up by height. We saw a big crowd at a cable car stop and asked them to do this with us. As I started directing them to get in the right order, they told me that they had already done this for one other team and that I was a lot bossier than that team. Me? Bossy? :) At the end of the race, we had about 15 minutes left to finish by the cut-off, and we still needed one more tic tac toe clue - a picture of us on a mechanical bull. We had seen a bar with a mechanical bull the night before, but we couldn't remember where. We asked people as we ran and they suggested Bourbon Cowboy. This bar was about 2 minutes from the finish line so we were pretty confident we would finish in time. Until we got there...and it was closed! We did not have time to find another bar. Feeling defeated, I started knocking on the door. And the cleaning lady actually answered my knock. At about this time, another team came up also needing the picture with the bull. I explained to the cleaning lady what we were doing and what we wanted. She agreed to let us in! I couldn't believe it! Woo hoo! Then the other team rudely told the lady that they were coming in too. Ok, whatever. I would have done the same thing (but hopefully less rudely). And it was fine because we agreed that if they took our picture we would take their picture. All good. But then, as I was giving the girl her camera back she elbowed me out of the way to get out of the bull pit first. Literally, with her elbow in my chest! Wtf? Rude! She should have been thanking me for getting us into the bar in the first place, not trying to beat me up. They tried to beat us in a foot race to the finish. You know I wasn't having any of that! I hoped that Christy was prepared to keep up, cuz I was gonna kill myself sprinting if I had to just to beat that bitchy girl. Christy was prepared, we ran like hell and we beat them. Ha.
We finished an hour and a half after the winning team. Ugh. But we did beat the first place team from the Manhattan race, so that was good for our egos. All in all, it was a really fun day and a good trip to New Orleans. Our friends AJ and Olivia from Phoenix were there and it was fun to hang out with them. We got to see our race acquaintances from other cities and that was fun, too. Thanks, GUR, for another fun time!

Oh, and we are taking suggestions for a clever pun-ish costume for 2012! Send me your ideas! Draggin' Ass is going to be hard to beat.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Busy Day, Part 3

After doing two 5K obstacle runs and driving 125 miles, I took a quick shower and joined my team for the Arizona Treasure Hunt. The Treasure Hunt is for teams of up to 6 people to race around the desert (in a vehicle, as this is about brains not athleticism), at night, solving complex clues. Actually, the whole thing is pretty complex. They publish a rookie guide for first timers that is TWELVE pages long! Basically, there are 26 clues to 26 spots and you need to find as many as possible in 5 hours.

A few weeks prior to the hunt they give you a list of hints that may or may not help you solve the clues. On the evening of the hunt they have a bunch of tables set up in a parking lot with more hints that may or may not help you solve the clues. At the start of the hunt, you are given an envelope with a whole bunch of crap in it (which, you guessed it, may or may not help you solve the clues), a HUGE map with locations noted by pictures or words that mean nothing until you solve the clue, and your first location.

The clue locations are hidden out in desert areas so there was a bit of running around searching blindly. When you get to the clue location, you find something there to solve. It may be a visual clue, like this one:or a working visual clue that you have to physically manipulate to solve. For example, one working visual clue was a bowling ball return (yes, hidden out in the desert scrub) that you had to put a bowling ball into and when the ball rolled down, it hit some switch that caused the clue to light up. A bowling ball? Yes, we brought a bowling ball on the hunt, along with a big list of other suggested items to bring that may or may not help you solve the clues. I was very sad that we never got to use the 10' pole.

The bowling ball clue was solved with no problem. However, many of the others were a bit too vague for us. The one above? From looking at that you were supposed to get that the fox represented Guy Fawkes, which we got (from a hint about Remember, Remember the 5th of November, which has to do with the Gunpowder Plot in the 1600s in England). But from there you were supposed to figure out that the answer was "1606" which was the year he was killed. That's kind of a big of a leap don't you think?

We got through about 7 clues in the five hour time frame, which was good for 71st out of 78 teams. We didn't get last place!!

Team Everything is Better With Bacon:Ian and Kiri were our top solvers, followed closely by NFBF and Irene. Irene was our best clue location finder, just as she is in our adventure races. Christy was the driver, so she was a very valuable team player. And me? Um...I held the opened clue envelopes. And I brought snacks.

Despite our very poor finish, we are ready to try again next year! We are trying to crack the top 60!

A Busy Day, continued
And then....after two 5K obstacle courses, one 5-hour treasure hunt, a steak dinner at midnight, 180 miles driven and getting home at 1:30 a.m., I got up at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday to host/work a work event. The work event was our firm participating in a 5K, this one without obstacles. I ran it, took 3rd for my age group and got a new PR! Being well-rested to do your best is a myth. :)

Just a note on that age group thing...this 5K was a fundraising race to support pancreatic cancer research. It takes place on the same day as the New Times 10K and the Women's Half Marathon, so all the real runners were participating in real events that day.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Busy Day, Part 2

After the AZ Urban Race, I went back home for a few minutes, then it was off to the Rugged Maniac. Jamie agreed to go with me and take race photos if I bought him ChickFilA. That was a pretty good deal.

The Rugged Maniac is an obstacle/mud run, a lot like the Warrior Dash. It was awesome!

Rugged Maniac vs. Warrior Dash
I think the Rugged Maniac was WAY better than the Warrior Dash. I admit that this may not be a fair comparison as I had a 10:00 am heat in the Warrior Dash with 8 zillion other people and a 1:30 heat in the Rugged Maniac with only 24 other people. Really! My heat had only 25 people! I basically had the entire course and all the obstacles to myself, which was awesome! At the Warrior Dash we had to wait for obstacles and had to try to get over walls without getting kicked, which wasn't so awesome. I thought the Warrior Dash course and obstacles were kind of boring. The Rugged Maniac course was full of hills, some that required ropes to get up, and the obstacles were cooler. The post-race party area of the Warrior Dash location (at a music venue outside of town) was better because it was grass versus a gravel lot at Rugged Maniac (at a motocross venue), but I don't like to hang out and party after a race so that is of no importance to me. Spectators at Rugged Maniac had full access to the course which they did not have at Warrior Dash. I don't know how other cities compare, but in Arizona, my money goes to Rugged Maniac!

Here is the race, in pictures:

Waiting for the start with my very few fellow racers.That guy in the orange tripped over the caution tape when the gun sounded. He didn't even lift his feet to try to get over. He just started running. It was pretty funny.

The first part of the race was mostly running.There were some hills and some rope climbs, too, but mostly running.

The start of the fun stuff with a series of small walls:
Then we had a series of posts to jump and balance on. In the course map online, this was supposed to be surrounded by water so you'd get wet if you fell off. Arizona is too dry for this, I guess. This one was really fun!A jungle of tires:
The first of the mud pits:
I didn't get very muddy on this one. This was a really cold day and I was putting off getting wet as long as possible. Pretty wussy attitude for a mud run, huh?

Then came the best obstacle of all, the big slide. No avoiding getting wet on this one!
That lip on the end of the slide sent me flying in the air. It was awesome! It was enough to make me go completely under water when I landed.

The slide pool finished with this obstacle:As a bonus, I found someone's vampire teeth floating in the mud.

Up a really big hill:

Down a really big hill:
Up another really big hill that required ropes to get up:
Over a cargo net:
From the top of the structure, you had to jump off and land on a high jump mat. The guy standing there catches you if you bounce off, like I did. There was another structure next to this one. There was a girl on the top of it who was scared to jump off. She must have been there a long time because she was in a heat ahead of mine. The guy at the bottom was saying "Ok, ready, 1...2...3!" and she'd say "4". It was pretty funny. I wonder if she ever jumped or if she just climbed back down the way she came up.

Water tunnels:
Muddy and wet:

The BIG wall:I used the edge to climb up:
This was right after the water tunnels so my hands were muddy and wet. On my first attempt to pull myself up, my hands slipped right off the wood. Ouch.

Better prepared the second time, I got up and over:
Final obstacle, the fire jump:Actually, the final obstacle was the really steep hill up to that finish flag!

Woo hoo! I am a Rugged Maniac!
Thank you, Jamie, for taking these awesome pictures! Maybe I would have liked the Warrior Dash more if I had pictures of it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Busy Day, Part 1

I bought a ticket for the Rugged Maniac with a Groupon. It was only $25 - what a deal! I sent the link to all my friends. I got only one taker! Some people weren't interested, some people were already doing the AZ Urbanathlon that day, and some people just don't like hanging out with me. Then, the one taker canceled his purchase because he remembered he was supposed to do the Urbanathlon. So, no takers. Gr. I guess I was going to be a solo Maniac. Boo.

A few days later, I entered a facebook contest (cuz that's what I do) whose prize was an entry to the Urbanathlon... and I won! I figured I would do that race instead of the Rugged Maniac so I wouldn't have to race alone. By the week of the races, none of the people who were supposed to do this race had signed up. What a bunch of slackers. So, now it looked like I was going to be a solo Urbanathlete. Boo.

Whatever. I am an independent girl. I don't need no stinkin' friends. I decided to do both races by myself! I arranged my heats in the races so that I could do the Urbanathlon at 9:00 am in Scottsdale and the Rugged Maniac in Buckeye at 1:30 pm. For the record, Scottsdale and Buckeye are about 70 miles apart.

The AZ Urbanathlon was a 5K obstacle race put on by Mountainside Fitness. I had very low expectations of them for many reasons. First of all, they put a ton of money into this race. They had commercials, they were partnered with the Diamondbacks and had ads in the stadium. They advertised A LOT. For the money they spent and by being affiliated with a large organization, you would think they would have done a little due diligence with their name, but they didn't. They ended up getting sued by Men's Fitness, who has trademarked the Urbanathlon name. Mountainside Fitness probably has lawyers that could have done a trademark search. Even a quick google search when brainstorming names would have shown that the name was already taken. Stupid. So, they changed the name to AZ Urban Race, and lost $15,000. Second, their website had a whole section about how they were benefitting Make A Wish and how runners could buy pedicab rides to skip the running part of the race and just do the obstacles. . Then, all of a sudden, that section of the website was gone. Huh? Not that I would have done that, but it was unprofessional of them to advertise that part of the event and then take it away with no explanation. Third, the obstacles just looked lame. They were supposed to be things you'd see in a normal urban environment. I'm sure the race's target audience were those people who are too wimpy to take on a Warrior Dash type race, so nothing against them on this one, but for me, it seemed like it would be pretty dull.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the race. It was well organized and the location was great. It was at Salt River Fields where the Diamondbacks play for spring training. I was right that the obstacles weren't very exciting, but we did get to run through the stadium. They used the outfield lawn seating areas as running hills and we got to run up and down the stairs of the stadium. That was pretty cool. This is the only picture I took. Well, it was actually taken by a stranger in the parking lot after the race. We jumped that type of barricade as our first obstacle.

To show you pictures of the other obstacles, I had to steal the following photos from other blogs on the race.

Cable Spools:Sandbag climb in a moving truck. This was kind of fun:
Running in the stadium (this was the coolest part):
Low crawl (this wasn't supposed to be a mud run, but it had rained and it was too cold for the ground to dry, so we got a little muddy anyway):

Stadium Stairs:The last obstacle was to jump over a pair of cabs and then a pair of cop cars. The last two photos are me, taken by the official race photographers. It would cost $18.95 to get one medium sized digital copy without watermarks. No thanks! :)

And that was the AZ Urban Race. I'm glad I did it, but I'm also glad it was free! Even though it was a decent event, I don't think I'd pay full price to do it next year.