Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2012 Race Schedule

Just so you know what I've got planned this year (and so my stalkers know where to find me)...

January 15 - Tough Mudder - Done and blogged about. Check.

January 28 - Scavenger Dash and costume contest - with Christy. The first year we came in second. Last year we came in 8th. Second place in costume contest the first year, tied for costume contest win last year.

February 11 - Spartan Race (Super) - another mud/obstacle run. 8+ miles, 15+ obstacles - with Christy, Brian, Irene and Wayne.

February 19 - People Saving Pets Walk empowered by PetSmart Charities and costume contest for the dogs - with Pat and Christy's daughter, Miranda. Last year it rained and was soooo cold. It was sad because so many rescue organizations brought out pets for the adoptathon but no one stayed after the walk. I sincerely hope for better weather this year!

February 25 - Great Urban Race and costume contest - with Christy. Our race history: 3rd, 4th, 1st. We haven't won a costume contest yet, though we were finalists the past two years.

March 10 - CitySolve Urban Race and costume contest - with Christy. Our race history: 2nd and 1st. No costume contest wins.

April 1 - Urban Bike Adventure and costume contest - with Pat. This is a new race and it will be my first one on bikes.

April 7 - Toro Loco - with FRANKIE! And Brian and Irene and their kids. And some girls from work with their dogs. This is a mud run that has two divisions, easy and hard. The easy one allows you to run with your kids and your dogs. Dogs at a mud run? I love it! They are raising funds for Southern Arizona Humane Society. And they let you do both courses for the price of one. I love them already.

April 14 - Firefly Run Illuminated Night 5K and costume contest - with Brian and Emily. This is also a new race. It's just a regular ol' 5K but it's at night and they give you glow sticks. I bought it on a Schwaggle deal, plus with my Active Advantage membership, it was practically free.

April 21 - CityScape Adventures and costume contest - with Pat. Race history: 1st place with Christy the first year, 1st place with Pat the second year, plus a finalist in the costume contest. I should blog about that race, huh?

May 19 - 5K Foam Fest. Another new race. It's an obstacle/mud/foam run. So far, I'm doing this one alone. Come on, people.

July 7 - Extreme Heat Coon Bluff Adventure Race - with Irene. This was my first ever adventure race. Race history 16th, 11th, ?, and last year I missed it because of my family reunion.

August 11 - Extreme Heat Dreamy Draw Adventure Race - with Irene. I don't remember how we did our first year, but last year we got 6th out of 19.

September 22 - Gilmore Adventure Race - with Irene. My favorite race!! This will be our 5th year! Race history: 2nd place for 2-person female team and 17th overall, 1st/7th, 1st/3rd, 1st/6th. While proud of all our great finishes in our division, I have to admit there have never been more than five 2-person female teams and last year there were only two!

October 20 - Extreme Heat Night Adventure Race with Irene. We got 3rd out of 19 last year.

November 3 - CitySolve Nationals (Miami) with Christy. We got 8th, 9th or 10th at the CitySolve Nationals in 2010 (the scoring was a little wonky) and we didn't go this past year.

- or - Scavenger Dash Night Race with Christy or Irene. This is new!
- and November 4 - TGen 5K for Pancreatic Cancer with work. I've done the TGen 5K twice and have gotten in the top 3 in my age division both times. It helps that this race is scheduled on a weekend where all the real runners are doing the New Times 10K or the women's half. :)

November 10 - Great Urban Race Nationals (Las Vegas) with Christy, if we qualify! Race history: 14th, 65th, 38th and one costume contest win. We're all over the place on this one.

November 17 - Rugged Maniac with Karissa. Another mud run. Last year was super-duper fun!

December 9 - 12K's of Christmas and costume contest for people and dogs - with Emily and my pups. Last year we won a prize in the costume contest. We went as gingerbread men and gingerbread dogs. We need a new theme for this year. Suggestions are welcome!

What's missing? The Oyster Race - they aren't coming to Phoenix this year. Boo. The Warrior Dash - done it, don't need to do it again. Urban Dare - we are going to be on vacation. Hybrid Adventure Games - they don't have their schedule posted. They had better hurry as my year is filling up quickly!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Hello there, reader. Allow me to introduce you to Peanut who is the current star of my foster rotation. This is Peanut: Peanut is a 5 year old pug/chihuahua mix, which I'm sure you could have guessed by looking at him. I don't know how he manages to be squishy-faced like a pug and pointy-faced like a chihuahua all at once, but he does!

Peanut was found as a stray. He had a collar and tag on, but the tag information was a dead end. Boo.

When he was found, he was not putting any weight on his back leg. It turns out that he was suffering from a luxating patella, which is a fancy way of saying "dislocated kneecap". And I bet you assumed from the cast that he was just another dime-a-dozen broken legged foster. Oh, no! Peanut is much too fancy for the ordinary broken leg.

When Peanut arrived at Casa de Pequeno Diamante, he was muy gordo. A little fattie, if you will. I don't allow fat dogs, so his 10 pounds was brought down to a much better 8.7 pounds.
He was on cage rest for the first four weeks, which means that if he wasn't in his crate or x-pen, he was in my lap. When in his ex-pen, he is a huge complainer! Bark, bark, bark! When in my lap, he is content as can be.

"Oooh! Are you about to pick me up?! Yippee!!"
Now that he has been cleared for freedom to roam the house and walk around like a regular dog, I understand why he was so fat. He is a PIG. He wants to eat constantly. He starts demanding his dinner two hours before it's time to eat. He'll scratch at the door that leads to the dog food until I physically have to remove him. When we are in the bedroom, he tries to get my attention and have me follow him out to the kitchen. He wakes up at 6:00 am every day, barking like a fiend. I figured it was because he really had to pee, but I know now that he was saying "GET UP AND FEED ME NOW!" Apparently his original owners allowed themselves to be bossed around by a little peanut. Not me! He will remain svelte for the duration of his stay and his records for his new owner will recommend watching his weight to help keep his knees healthy.

He will occasionally play with toys.But mostly he wants to cuddle or eat.

During his cage-rest period, I would put him on my lap while I worked on the computer. He always tried to get in the way, just like a cat. Finally, I gave up fighting with him and I let him crawl up onto the desk. And he promptly plopped down like the table was the comfiest dog bed ever. This is his favorite spot now.As a matter of fact, he is right there, right now. His head is on my wrist and his butt is tucked up against my other wrist and he is snoring as loudly as a true pug. What a silly little doggie!

He also likes to burrow in the covers. He's kind of lazy about it, so you have to lift the blanket up for him and then he'll crawl in. I make him a fort out of the extra pillows when I take a nap. He'll crawl right in and take his nap. One day he was burrowing in the pillows and he managed to crawl into the pillowcase and he wouldn't come out. I had to turn the pillow upside down and dump him out. He was not very happy by that turn of events!

He will go up for adoption this week. He has lots of good traits (housetrained, crate-trained, wonderful with cats, tolerates dogs, extremely affectionate [i.e. needy], a great cuddler, he doesn't shed, which is odd but true) so hopefully he will go quick. His one bad trait (barking like crazy when he is crated and you are present) may not do him any favors though, as he will be in a kennel with adopters on the other side who may not appreciate him yelling at them. One of my co-workers has a potential home for him, so that would be ideal. The less time in the shelter, the better. This dog likes his companionship!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tough Mudder Recap

Alternate Post Title - I Am a Weak Mudder

Pat, Miranda and Mitchell all went with us to the Tough Mudder on Sunday. Between the 3 of them, they had 4 cameras and took over 700 pictures. That is too many pictures for a full recap on the blog. I created a Picasa album with 160 photos captioned to document the entire course. Click the little picture below to read/see the whole story.
Tough Mudder - Team Pink

Here is a brief recap, as brief as I can make it. You know I have a tendency to talk a lot!

The facts:
Course length - 12.5 miles
Number of obstacles - 29
Number of obstacles I completed - 26 (skipped two, failed one - I am a Weak Mudder)
Number of obstacles Christy #1 completed - all 29! She is the Toughest Mudder.
Injuries - pulled groin, bruised heel, bruised skull
Teammate injuries - Irene hurt her ankles; Brian had terrible chafing from wearing loose shorts; Brian, Irene, Christy #2 and Wayne all have big bruises; Christy #1 came out whole, just a little sore.
Time to complete course - 5 hours for me, Irene, Brian and Christy #1; 4 hours for Wayne and Christy #2. The four of us walked the last 7.5 miles to accommodate Irene's ankles and my groin pulls.
Strongest teammate - Irene is freakishly strong. Seriously, it was frightening.
Was it tough? YES!
Was it fun? YES!

There were six of us on our team - Christy #2, Wayne, me, Christy #1, Irene and Brian.There were two obstacles that I was most afraid of - the Arctic Enema and Walk the Plank. Arctic Enema is a big ol' dumpster filled with ice and water. You jump in and swim across, going under the barrier in the middle. This scared me for two reasons, 1) I'm really sucky at being cold. It's a very serious issue I have. I moved to Phoenix for this exact reason. 2) My biggest fear is to be deep under water. Granted the barrier was only a couple feet down, but that is still deeper than I am comfortable with. This is Enemy #1: This is me jumping in!And this is me afterward:I tried to swim under the barrier off my initial jump in and I ran smack into the wood barrier with my head. Frick, that hurt! I had to come up, take a breath and try again. I'm an idiot. And I now have a bruise on my skull. But I did it and I didn't die!

Walk the Plank is a 15' high platform that you jump from, into really cold water. This scared me for the same two reasons as the first one. Cold and being under water. Jumping into water is the absolute worst for me. When I go under I get all disoriented, I don't know where up is, I don't know how deep I am. I panic. It's terrible.

This is Enemy #2:This is me jumping in!This is me afterward:Yes, I was crying. And shivering. And terribly unhappy. Everyone agreed that they went way deeper than they were expecting. I think I went about 7900 feet under water! It freaked me out so much that I started crying while I was still under water, which of course made me panic even more. I am an idiot. But I did it and I didn't die!

They say that this is how you overcome your fears. Whatever. I am still just as terrified, probably even more so, of jumping off high things into water. I HATE IT!

My favorite obstacle was this:They bulldozed away sections of the road and you had to jump the trenches. I like to jump things! Of course, this was the obstacle that injured me. I am not very flexible and I pulled both groin muscles in the jumping. And I'm not coordinated enough to jump and land on my leading foot and continue running. I can only do the grade school running long jump style of jumping where you land with both feet. Landing solid like that and not continuing the momentum really screwed up one of my heels. I think I bruised it like I bruised my skull. I am an idiot. But it was sooo fun!

The worst part of the race was not my two hated obstacles, but just plain old being cold. The temperature was in the 50's with no sun at all. Through the course of the race I added on dry gloves, a dry hat and two coats (carried in Pat's backpack) but I was still shivering uncontrollably for the last two hours. I am such a wuss - everyone else made it through with just a long sleeve shirt. They were cold, of course, but no one else was disabled by the cold like I was. At one point I could barely stand up. Miranda and Mitchell had to stand around me for body heat until I was able to go again. But despite being completely miserable, I was having fun!

Why I am a Weak Mudder:
There were two obstacles I didn't even attempt. Both were near the end of the course. My excuse is that I was cold, which is so lame. The first skipped obstacle was Electric Eel:Those are electric wires, some of which are live and shock you. That wasn't what scared me. Brian and Christy said they barely hurt. What prevented me from doing it was that the tarp was covered with water and ice cubes. I was so cold at that point I could not make myself get wet again. I am weak.

The other obstacle was Shock Therapy:There were four sections of these electric wires to run through. I watched grown men get shocked and fall face first into the water. This one was a combination of not being able to make myself submerge in cold water and being scared to get hurt. Christy and Brian said the shocks hurt like hell. I think in the state I was in at that point, the shocks would have killed me. I am a wuss. Weak Mudder.

Some of the other obstacles...


Walls:Carrying heavy shit:Climbing up and down stuff:Balance beams (over freezing cold water, of course):And lots and lots of mud (cold mud, of course):

Tough Mudder is all about camaraderie. Some obstacles, like the walls, you can't do by yourself. People you don't even know jump in to help you. Brian heaved two girls over the walls. A team from Intel helped all of us up the half pipe:It was awesome!

I wanted to hate the Tough Mudder because it's expensive, then on top of that they hit you with a lot of stupid fees and they don't donate any of the registration fees to their charity, Wounded Warrior Project. However, I loved it! It was incredibly well organized, from registration to the best-ever water/food stations on the course to the finish line area. The volunteers were amazing! One lady peeled a banana for me so I wouldn't have to take off my gloves. There was applesauce at two of the water stations and the volunteers even opened them for us. There were port-a-potties on the course, everything was incredibly spectator-friendly, they gave out Under Armor t-shirts. I was a skeptic going in, but I was proven wrong. This was a top-notch event.

At the end, I was a little disappointed in myself for being Weak. If they could just hold one in the summer!! I love heat. I could be Tough in the heat, I just know it!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tough Mudder Prep

Tomorrow is the Tough Mudder, my first race of 2012! TM isn't timed so it is technically a "challenge", not a race. It is a 12.5 mile mud run with big obstacles...stuff like your basic wall climbs, mud to slog through and hills to climb. It also has not-so-basic stuff like electric wires to run through, 15 foot high platforms to jump off into really cold water and a 40 foot trash dumpster filled with ice water that you have to swim across.

I think the hardest part of the race for me will be the cold. I'm not good with being cold. And they start you right off with the ice bath so I'm gonna be wet and cold right off the bat! Yikes. To put it in perspective, I was shivering uncontrollably after the Warrior Dash and it was 80' that day and the mud wasn't even cold and I only got halfway wet. I don't know how I'm going to handle being in and out of cold water for 12.5 miles when it's 55' out. YIKES! And you have to fully submerge in the ice bath!

I figured that appropriate gear was my only strategy. And to make sure I had the most appropriate gear, I organized a Tough Mudder prep day. We met at my house dressed and ready to do a mini Tough Mudder with as many obstacles as we could find. It was silly and fun, but also pretty helpful.

Step one - jump into the 50 degree pool.

Yeah, jumping didn't happen. We are wusses and instead we walked slowly down the steps. Frickin' BRRRRRR!
My plan was to swim under, but I couldn't bring myself to go any deeper than this. BRRRRR! This doesn't bode well for ICE water.Next step - walls. We climbed over the block wall to get out of the backyard. We all managed the 6 foot wall. Too bad the walls in the real Tough Mudder are 10 feet! Or maybe 12?
We ran to the park for our next obstacles. There was discussion about how running would be in wet socks and should we not even wear socks? Wet socks were fine. No one got blisters. Irene added an obstacle on the way by pushing her two kids for the run:
By the time we got to the park, our tights and shirts were already nearly dry and we weren't cold at all. Of course, I was wearing a coat too! At the park we practiced crawling on gravel:We learned that gloves would be a really good idea! And maybe knee pads, too. Ouch! Then we practiced tunnels, or the closest we could come to tunnels:
Balance beam:Monkey bars:In the real Tough Mudder, both the balance beam and the monkey bars are over more ice water, so if you fail - you get cold and wet...again.

We decided on gloves for everything except the monkey bars. I decided I would need a camelbak. There are 4 water stations over 12.5 miles. I drank a lot in our 1.5 mile run to the park. I like my water! I also was able to make a shoe decision. I wanted to wear my Tevas but I was worried that since they don't have laces so I wouldn't be able to get them tight enough to prevent losing them in the mud obstacles. I wore them on the prep run, but they didn't seem to drain or dry faster than regular running shoes. I will wear running shoes instead. The gear prep day was fun and very helpful! We also decided that Christy's pink shirt was the warmest and fastest drying (and the cutest) so I bought one for all the willing participants on our team so we would all be cute together. Even Brian! :)

Tomorrow - Tough Mudder!