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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Outer Limits Death Race Camp

one should rather die than be betrayed
there is no deceit in death
it delivers precisely what it has promised
steven deitz

This past Friday night I traveled to Rhode Island to participate in the Outer Limits DR camp  with the Foster Brothers, Bruce and Jeff, two of only thirty-five athletes (out of two hundred total) to finish the 2011 Death Race.

So the training started off as it usually does for me....I got lost and drove by their house like two times before Sheri emailed me telling me that everyone was watching me drive by the house…ugh nice way to start the night…a real confidence booster…"oh good now the dumb blond in running tights has arrived we can commence the training" ; ) I participated from 7 pm until 8 am when I left with just two tasks remaining knowing I would need sleep and recovery if I wanted to run my race on Sunday.

We placed our bikes in the garage, signed a waiver, got a swag bag courtesy of Joe D, put on our packs and started the fun.

The following description of the tasks may be wrong…I will probably write what happened out of order or I may have skipped one task, I may have made the distance we traveled during a task or between tasks too short or too long...but it was a long night in the pouring rain so forgive me if I f it up....after you read this you will get the gist of what they do at Outer Limits.  Be prepared to work hard and fyi....try not to bitch while doing it....Bruce and Jeff are super supportive and respectful guys but if you complain you will get some good natured ribbing : ) The brothers do the entire camp with you and they will push harder, do more and have big shit eating grins on their faces when they do complaining really does you no good.  Just smile and put your faith in Bruce and Jeff...they know what they are doing.

So here is a summary of the camp from what I can remember....I ran a race today and I am fricken exhausted so I have done my best to recount it...

 1. Search through contractors buckets located around the yard filled with mud and water for an item that turned out to be small green Lego piece…I found 2 red Lego’s so I was the only person without a green Lego…uh oh…that can’t be good….the year of Betrayal…hmmmm

2. Partner up. Packs remain on for most of the tasks starting with this one. Play catch with a 20lb (at least) rock you throw and he catches and he throws and you catch…that is one rep….do it 499 more times…it was during the second task that I did the worst damage to my hands ripping off the flesh on both palms (the rock tore right through my home depot work gloves) and they hurt for the rest of the camp. To be able to “catch” the rock I made sure to use my legs and squat down with each catch.

3. Indian carry (extended arms overhead) with a squared off stump…so heavy I was unable to run to the front of the line without balancing it on the top off my head…needless to say by mile two I needed to ask to carry the stump in my arms as I was going to knock myself out. We did this Indian carry for four miles at least with pack carrying ax, saw, food, bladder, change of sneakers, clothes, rope, carabineers, cords and other various things …up and down hills and this was when the rain began in earnest and did not let up until around 4 am : ) FYI the result of carrying a fricken log on the top of my stupid head is that today I have a wound that can only be described as “breakfast cereal” like on the top of my head… all night long said wound (unbeknownst to me) wept pus and blood all over my pillow and then hardened up to the size and feeling of a frosted fricken flake…

4. We met up with the Tire Guys family and friends and a huge truck and trailer filled with wood. And another truck and trailer filled with the 2 huge tires and two smaller ones, cement blocks, 50 lb bags of sand, wheel barrows, contractors buckets (ugh I hate contractors buckets: )…I knew then this was not to be some vanilla training camp. We had to take out the wood and stack it in 6 piles..there was around 10 pieces of wood in each pile..not as bad as the wood at DR but there were some HUGE stumps in there. We started to cut the wood and then we needed to stack the wood back in the trailer…I was able to do five out of my ten and then Mike (what a sweetheart) jumped in and helped me finish my stack off. The bottom line is I am very light I can’t get the weight behind me to get the ax out of the log if it sticks. Nor does a whack constitute a split in the wood for me…it usually takes 7 to 10 whacks to shave off a piece!

6. I think we stopped at a dirt section off the road first to do some plyo stuff…we did push ups and frog jumps and this weird thing with our feet up on the huge tire and our hands on the ground and three of us per tire moved around the tire (that was hard) and some jumping jacks and sit ups..then we got back to our wheel barrow, bucket, tire brigade and started off back in the road.

7. This was a tough walk at least 3 miles and we arrived at a farm that is owned by a family member. Here we had to swim across a pond (everyone got PFD’s yippee!!!!!! ) Then belly crawled through a horrible smelly swampy river with mucky squishy mud then get out and filled a wheel barrow with wood and stack it then go back and start to chop 10 pieces of wood (some of them big huge stumpy pieces) then go back in the pond and crawl through the swampy section then stack your chopped wood then back in pond and swamp and then cut three pieces of wood with a hand saw off a huge tree, then do this Lego thing ( I did not have said green Lego piece so I was excused….betrayal…. hahahaha they had to do a bunch of burpee stuff then again I was still cutting at my wood….I was the last to finish my wood (just like at DR) and I still had two pieces when I was sent back through the pond and mucky swamp then headed over to the hand saw…I cut a section of the wood and then we were back on our walk with our buckets, wheel barrows and tires.  Before we left the farm I had the option of taking some person's Lego and I took Mike’s as he helped me cut wood earlier in the night. I thought I could do his next set of burpees as a thank you to him…Mike and I should have remembered “betrayal” is the theme for 2012 : )

8. We walked another 2-3 miles at (least) to a school. We met up with Sheri there (she is AWESOME) and we had to do a bunch of crazy stuff here including: flipping a huge tire across the field (I could not do so they had me walk back and forth the football field with a cement block) teaming up and doing this running thing back and forth across the football field carrying the two cement blocks, walking around track with an egg g on spoon and not drop then run with egg on spoon and no drop…if you drop egg you burpee back and forth across field as punishment. Then we placed all of the wheel barrows and tires and buckets on the trailer and headed to the stadium stairs then we did box jumps with pack up and down stadium stairs (I had to take pack off too heavy for me) then we did smaller bunny hops with pack up and down stairs then we went and did hill sprints with our packs on (steep hill!!!!) 3 sets of 4 sprints front, backwards, side and other side. Then we headed into the woods…this was awesome..the rain started to pour sheets and we were bushwhacking completely off trail through swamps and then we came to a deep swampy muddy section with string tied all across and we were on our belly dragging our packs through this section under the strings that got closer and closer to the ground as you moved forward (if you knocked string you were punished) This was easier for me then the guys as I am little and I can’t remember who, Bruce or Jeff, laughed and said hey that was too easy for you as I never even really had to get my face close to the muck : ) We had to have walked at least an hour through this section and came out around 3 am near the state trooper barracks  where we met up with Sheri and we had to say good bye to Tim cuz he had to go to work for 7!!! Here was where my offering to take Mike’s Lego screwed him…Sheri had a big basket filled with yummy treats (she had fruit and water and Gatorade for the entire time…this was soooo well run I can’t even begin to tell you what an amazing job they do) and only people with a Lego could take a treat : ( poor Mike..and the rule was I could not share my treat with a non Lego holder…at this point I was tired and getting cold…it was funny that all the guys were like love the rain and I was starting to shiver…I was the only one wearing a rain jacket!!! I guess I need to pack on some body fat lol

9. When we left this stop after enjoying our treats we had to leave carrying a 50lb bag of sand….now I am all about trying to do what the guys do and not calling on my “girl card” but holy shit that is half my weight!!!! So I asked the guys if I could take some sand out after I unsuccessfully tried to heave it over my shoulder. They took out about 20 lbs and I had a still very difficult but doable bag of sand to carry. We had to walk three or four miles of the Blackstone river bike trail carrying these sandbags…I held it in my arms like a baby…my hands at this point were killing me so I had to keep the bag balanced on my forearms…this section took some time and I talked a bit with this guy Dennis who is a friend of the brothers helping out but mostly I walked behind the guys and just got lost in my own discomfort and pain…it is when I am separate from the group and I can just “exist” within my own pain and discomfort that I know my little body is capable of so much… I know that the Peak 500 come May will be perfect for me as I do best when I am alone....when my mind tries to fuck with me and I am alone I don’t let it…when I am with others I can get out of my head and I find myself talking too much or not focusing on the task…the devil comes to me in the guise of a group…now when there is a group challenge I am fine…but the walking and carrying heavy things..I need to just lose myself : )

So when we got to the end of this walk I was supposed to take off but decided to stick around for more. Sheri had the trailer and she had a yummy bottle of hot cocoa and let me have her fleece jacket as I was freezing…we filled wheel barrows with 2 cinder blocks…Mike and I shared one cuz they only had four and the other three guys pushed theirs the entire time..Mike and I took turns..the hills were tough…I admit when you are my size and have to do the same weight as bigger guys it can be overwhelming but it helped that I was able to share the task with Mike : ) We pushed this up quite a few big hills and then through a down town area to one of the brothers garage spaces where he holds equipment. We dropped off the barrels and started off on a hike carrying yard rakes….hmmmm we walked another 2 miles or so to a trail head and entered into the woods where eventually we came to one of the brother’s daughters cross country teams training trails…we walked a while and then we were told to “rake” the trails clean of all the debris until we came to the field….we did that until we reached the field then we walked further until we eventually came to a church where we went Sheri and Dennis gave up our rakes and headed back out on another section of trails. These were really gorgeous trails and we all had some nice conversations as we hiked along. We eventually came out to a state park kind of place where I was taking leave from the group. I knew that they had one more task to flip the huge tires up and down an abandoned ski hill and then do a workout around the tires and then mountain bike 20 miles back to the house…I realized if we were 20 miles from the house and we went through the woods and the bike path we had to have trekked at least a marathon or 50 k distance throughout the night carrying and pushing and pulling crap…no wonder I was tired ; )

We took a group pic and I said my goodbyes as I drove away I watched the two brothers hefting up that huge honking tire ready to push it to the base of that mountain and spend the morning doing something that most would never experience in a life time…and yet for them it was just another training day.

For more information about the training call 401-871-4448

Monday, September 19, 2011


Funny that something I had lost and was so important to me was found on the trails of Pisgah.  I say funny because the last time I ran this race my body completely failed me as I was in the midst of a health crisis.  My time was an hour slower in 2009...and if it weren't for Stas coming back out on the course after he finished to pace me my finish time would have been at least another 30 to 40 minutes slower.   I ecked out a few more races that year and got Stonehead but it taxed my body something fierce....I barely finished Stonecat...again relying on Stas to come out and run me in...

I got into WS for June 2010 and my goal was to head there and body was not healthy...I went into WS unprepared and I failed....I did not run again in 2010 but to pace Kev and Patty and Sara at their first 100's.  I did not run Pisgah in 2010....  I had signed up but never showed... my life was in a different place this time last year.  I was probably at a pop warner game to watch V. cheer : )  I think the time off in 2010 and into this year from trail running (in terms of racing) was a good thing for my psyche.  For three years I ran pretty much every WMAC race and was Stonehead... breaking records for most points and most races run for women.  I was in love with the trails.  It had come to define me though and was the only thing really at the time that mattered.  After WS I crashed and crashed hard...the trails and I went our separate ways..I could not find my bliss there..I figured it was lost to me.

I found other things that mattered and opened myself to new people and experiences during this time away from running..I was part of a family for the first time in my life and I found the Death Race.  My focus changed in terms of training.  I gained weight and  took time to figure out what really mattered and it did my body and soul a world of good.  But as it often is....just when things started to seem balanced in my life... I crashed again.  My body gave up on me and I was forced back into fighting mode both in terms of my physical and emotional health. Everything was lost...I was at my lowest point and I was coming to terms with the idea that joy was a word that would never pass my lips again...

and yet...just when I least expected a rises from the ashes..
I came to terms with what I had lost and I called a truce with my body finally being comfortable to let what ever higher power is out there decide on its fate...I went into DR with a sound mind and body and it was amazing...and yet it did not bring me back my bliss...I had come to peace with the fact that I would never feel that way again...I ran a few races and paced Patty and Sara at VT this year and enjoyed myself immensely and even had fallen back in love with the trails but the bliss (a thing hard for me to describe) was no where to be found..I signed up for Peak 500 hoping I would have almost 10 days on those trails to come to terms with what was lost and what I now needed to find to replace it..

and then yesterday a funny thing happened...when I wasn't looking for it I found it...on the trails of Pisgah I found my bliss.....isn't life a corker ; )

Friday, September 9, 2011

a bit of a tirade..

I am happy.
I feel healthy and strong and in a good place.
I am looking to buy a small home and just started the search and I am very excited.  My health is improving, my running is on track, my strength training is also improving.  I am at a very positive place right now.

So it is at this very balanced point  that I have decided to remove all negativity from my life...I want to surround myself with people who, like me, are less about talk and more about what kind of people do I want to cut out of my life?  I was thinking about it today and the result of this thinking is the following tirade lol.........................

I think the thing I loathe most is whining and lack of internal fortitude.  People who just crumble under pressure and think the world owes them something.  People who care so much about what others think..who come across as having a strong sense of self but in reality they are weak as they depend on putting down others to lift themselves up....passive-aggressive people,  people who use social media to create a "persona" people who talk big but deliver small, people who exaggerate their abilities, people who search for meaning by "jumping" on someone else's bandwagon or coat tails, people who care more about what they look like on the outside then what is on the inside....weak men and catty women (awful on their own and a terrible combination especially if you have to sit next to them at a wedding lol).

I think the things I admire most in people is inner strength, people who speak only when they have something important to say, people who do not rise up by stepping on the backs of others, people who do not preen like a peacock, people who eat pain for breakfast, people who would give the shirt off their back to anyone and never have to announce their good deeds to the world, people who admit when they are wrong, take responsibility for their actions, people who "suck it up",  "put up or shut up", "shit or get off the pot" people who have the balls to say to it to your face instead of behind your back, people who you can count on to have your back when you need them...people who in the face of adversity are stoic and most importantly DO NOT WHINE...

just saying ; )

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

loving things

I am falling in love with things...things I once loved and maybe lost a connection with or that I had not realized that I ever loved in the first place..whatever the reason I am falling in love all over the place! 

I have fallen in love with teaching again....12 years into the profession and just 2 years ago on the brink of despair as I thought I had lost my passion for it...well it is back and I could not be happier.....the kids make me smile and laugh and I feel it....the feeling like I am making a difference.... that I have the power to be a positive influence.  I have fallen in love with running trails again..oh and does it feel soooo good.  The fall is the best time to be in love with trail running...the cool evening runs on the pine needle covered the night air feels when you breathe it in...magical.  I am falling in love with this bigger and stronger body of is a slow shy love... one that I am not so sure about but that I feel could grow into something lasting and beautiful if I just give it a chance.  And finally there is a man who always seems to be there for me who asks nothing but gives of himself...who just wants to make me smile, who makes me feel safe and secure... it would be quite impossible for most women not to love this man....but then again I am not most walls are high and strong... my defenses impenetrable..but at least I have finally come to a point where I can smile at the thought of falling in love again...