Monday, August 18, 2014

24 Hours of Shale Hell


10589687_605939556684_1450642774_nWell, I have had my first DNF, technically speaking.  If only in the manner that I couldn’t go continuously for 24 hours, nor could I finish my fourth lap.  Thank you 24 Hours of Shale Hell for that!

The start and finishing for each lap of the 24 Hours of Shale Hell (Hell) was the first Pick Your Poison and the finish was at the Tarzan Swing.  This was a bit different than their other events that either start in the center field or up at the barn and start with the Oxfords and Teeter Totters. As the Benson Bear Challenge #3 was currently taking place, we did register down in the center field.  We were able to park (free as always) next to the Tarzan Swing, set up tents, canopies, and whatnot; we had access to porta-johns, a grill; the medic was stationed here and a fire was started at dusk that was kept going all night.  This was also where your support crew was set up ($40 registration fee per crew member).

I opted to camp Friday night, the drone of the race track down the road lulled me to sleep without a coyote howl to be heard.  With a mornings worth of time to fill, I opted to help Jill stuff bags for the Benson Bear Challenge #3, registered a few of the Hell racers, and then was stationed out at the sandbag carry to direct 5k and 10k racers on the correct loop.  Was a beautiful day for a race and I was able to see Sandy and Michael on course.

It wasn’t long before I had to start getting ready for my event and made my way up to the tent.  Before too long had passed, Rob was pulling all ten of us racers together for a meeting.  The rules were simple:
- As many laps as you could manage safely in 24 hours.
- The Tyrolean Traverse would be closed from dark to sunrise.
- Penalties would be normal the first lap and scaled for each lap as follows:
Lap 1 – 30 Spiderman Push-ups (every obstacle, not 25 for most and 50 for 4)
Lap 2 – 15 Spiderman Push-ups
Lap 3 – 15 Spiderman Push-ups
Lap 4 – 20 Jumping Jacks
Lap 5 – 10 Inchworms
Lap 6 – No Penalties
Lap 7 – 5 Lunges
Lap 8 – 10 Flutter Kicks
Lap 9 – 10 Arm Circles
Lap 10 – Balance 15 seconds on left leg, repeat on right
Lap 11 – We shall see
- We were to help each other, if someone was down and hurt, if they were on course and weren’t being safe/smart, etc
- That we were to check in and out on a white board after every lap and let the medic know when we went back out on course.

 Rob suggested a first lap of sticking together with a 2:30 lap pace, especially for the people who had never been on course.  I know I spoke up immediately and said I knew the course and wouldn’t be able to keep that pace, I was fine alone.  I did start my lap with another female racer, Serena, a Shale Hill veteran and high school classmate!  I spent the second half of the lap with the other two female racers, both elite racers out of Canada, Jen and Sara.  I was able to give them some tips on several of the obstacles!  Can’t wait to see them again in September at the Killington Beast.  After my first lap, Sandy, Michael, and Adam decided that I wasn’t going to do any additional laps on my own, of which I am very grateful.  I had the pleasure of Michael's company on my second lap, someone whose racing and attitude inspire me.  My third lap, Adam accompanied me and other than my slip on the loom that resulted in a small panic attack, I never seemed to stop laughing.  The taco’s Sandy got me were the best food I ate all weekend, if you do a race at Shale Hill, volunteer, or are just in the general area, West Coast Taco (I think that's the name) is worth a stop, cash only!

 Over the course of my 3 full laps, I was able to scale the 8 foot wall, climb the HUGE slant wall, walk the top of the loom, and more.  All things I had either never done before or just learned the previous weekend at a NE Spahtens training day.  I will be honest, other than a few Spiderman Push-ups in my first lap, I didn’t do any penalties.  I wasn’t there to beat myself up with penalties, just to see how far I could go in 24 hours.
There were very few volunteers stationed on course but there were plenty around and mobil on course.  They were great at keeping the on-course fires burning, candles burning, and refilling the water stations when they were told they were empty.  There was a crew stationed at the Bucket Carry with a fire that definitely lifted my spirits.

The decision was made about 3:30 to close the course due to heavy fog that left runners with no visibility beyond the few inches in front of their noses.  Incredibly smart decision!  This was just after I got back from my decision to stop less than a quarter of the way into my fourth lap as my left hip flexor was not happy and I couldn’t lift my leg over even the smallest of obstacles.  The medic seconded my decision but also respected my decision to rest, see if stretching would help.  It didn’t.

Rob was called away as he finished his second penalty free lap due to a family emergency but was able to call in at the finish to congratulate us all.  What a race director!
OH! SWAG! There were prices for the top three females and top three males (top male finished with 8 laps, top female finished with 5), and every racer got a special Hell shirt, Hell medal, Shale Hill sticker, and a $10 gift certificate to The Wheel House in Benson.  Even the crews got a special Pit Crew shirt.
All in all, this event was small, intimate, and incredible.  My one and only suggestion would be to build the cost of one crew member into the registration fee as I could not imagine, personally, being able to do this race without someone there as support.
I cannot wait to see where I can go in a year!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wild Rover Series - #3 Hynes Tavern 5-Miler 2014

Monday, November 11, 2013


Zero:Dark-Thirty. The time of day everyone should be sleeping.  I got up this morning to go running with Michele. We are going again tomorrow morning. We are getting in between a mile and a mile and a half in 15-20 minutes.  If we keep it up, eventually we will get up to 2 miles in that time frame. That would make me very happy.
Cheers to tomorrow morning.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Ragnar Relay Cape Cod 2014

I am officially signed up for Ragnar Relay Cape Cod 2014 with some of the wonderful New England Spahtens.  The team is myself and 11 other ladies.

Each runner has three legs and the first runner starts in Hull, MA and 200 miles later we are ending in Provincetown, MA. I am currently runner 11 and will get to run along the canal.

Currently I am running at a 14:20 pace.  Our team average needs to be 11:00 or less.  I have a lot of work cut out for me to get my distance and speed up to where I want it to be.

Starting Monday, I will be running with Michele in the mornings.  My goal is to run 5 days a week with Michele.  I haven't worked out a plan of attack for increasing my distance and mileage but figure getting out and running is a better start than not at all.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Yoga and wine.

Tonight was yoga! It's been two weeks and I missed it. There is something about moving, stretching, and guiding the body with purposeful breath and conscious thought that is extremely rewarding. Followed by a glass of wine. Perfect evening!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

What have I gotten myself into!

Its official. I am crazy! I have joined my fellow Spahtens in a chicked edition relay team for Ragnar Relay on Cape Cod. 200 miles with a team if 12! 
More details to follow once I truley absorb what this means.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Panic in the Dark 2013 - Race Recap

photo Panic in the Dark
This past Saturday, Stacey and I made our way to Lowell, MA for a 5k race unlike any other.  This race, Panic in the Dark, was a 5k obstacle race that had its own twist with zombies and scares.

photo courtesy of Vince Rhee & NE Spahtens
Running with the New England Spahtens meant we had the largest team and is always a great time!  Fred Smith of Smithfest Events sure knows how to put on an event.  As largest team, we had personalized shirts with the event logo on the front and our team logo on the back!  I am so excited to wear my t-shirt.  Major kudos.
Stacey and I knew we were going to be battle buddies and also signed on to run with Sandy and Amy who don't do well with the scares and had Kandice, James, and Jasmine running as protectors with us.  James was key for getting over a few of the walls. Thanks James!
The event started off with our wave being led out a hallway, provided with a headlamp if we didn't bring one, and led into a room for quick overview of the rules.  The film was interrupted with an emergency broadcast telling us that the zombie apocalypse was upon us.  Thumping on the doors was getting louder and zombies jumped out immediately after an guard member came out urging us to move out to the bus.  Through the hallways we went with more zombies before emerging outside and loading a bus that would hopefully take us to a safe zone.  I wasn't sure Sandy and Amy would make it out successfully and continue but they did! 
As we pulled into the safe zone, we were met by a swat team member who managed to maintain character even with our crazy group.  We were being dumped into the middle of a hoard and would need to be quick to escape with our lives.  Off the bus we went and we were racing down the road with gunfire and zombies abound.  
There was a great use of natural landscaping, some great scares with zombies and chainsaws.  While some zombies jumped out a bit too soon, many were able to get a scare from Sandy and Amy.  Our journey took us through a school bus with a zombie reaching down from the roof, a school with mouse traps and a zombie who knew Sandy's name.  She wasn't too happy about that and took off pulling Amy along with her death grip.  The spiked shoulder guy managed to sneak up on us after we passed him and sent Sandy and Amy running.  There was a bouncy house complete with zombie clowns. I think they were the most terrifying!  A super fun pumpkin carry, walls, Roller Derby zombies, and it was over.  I ran faster than I usually do and was definitely out of breath by the end.
I had a blast running with friends, enjoying the scares of friends, and being able to protect those who weren't sure they would even make it to the start line.  You ladies are amazing!
Matt Davis of Obstacle Racing Media
My trip would not have been possible without Matt Davis of Obstacle Racing Media and Paul Jones of New England Spahtens! A caption contest on the New England Spahtens Facebook page that was sponsored by Matt of ORM with the prize being an entry into Panic in the Dark.  I won. I was psyched and made sure to hunt Matt down before making the long trek home to thank him.