Monday, July 11, 2011

The alphARace inaugural event

So, as of Saturday we were three weeks out from the Warrior Dash and I'm really excited about it. I think it's going to be a fun day. 11 obstacles within 3.1 miles, including cargo nets, slithering through mud under barbed wire, fire jumping and climbing a wall. I'd never done anything like it before.

As a matter of fact, that made me a little nervous. I mean, I've run a few races but never anything with obstacles. I haven't really been training for it specifically, just running and doing normal strength training. (Not to mention, I'd wanted to drop a few pounds, which didn't happen!) Scaling the wall, I think, is the obstacle that makes me the most nervous, since I've never really tried anything quite like that. I'm sure that means I'm underestimating some of the other obstacles. You know what? I won't know until I try it.

So, anyway, Saturday morning I got up and happened to drop in on facebook (Who, me? You're kidding, right?) and saw a note from my friend Peggy, who mentioned a little race that was happening that day at the home of a couple she knows. She invited me to come. I mentioned it to Hubby, and he didn't want to go due to his knee hurting. I thought it sounded like fun, so Logan and I decided to go and leave Hubby and Jordan at home.

We didn't really know what to expect, but I donned my just-purchased pink camo shirt. I had wanted to wear pink camo for the Warrior Dash. The shirt fit kinda funky though, so I ended up stretching out the neck and tearing off the sleeves and ripping shreds off them to tie in my braids.

We headed out to the Curell family farm up in the northern part of the county. It was HOT. Like 90 degrees and bright sunshine on a farm hot, so I slatered us with sunscreen. I bet we'd both be as red as lobsters if I hadn't done that.

We got there and hung out for a few hours before the racing began. They were still working on the huge waterslide into the pond when we arrived. It made me a bit nervous. Also, the fact that NO ONE had ever done a trial run of the course made me kind of nervous. Call me Nervous Nellie! ;)

It wasn't really an organized race, so to speak. Like I said, I didn't really know what to expect. It turned out to be a friends-and-family sort of trial run so the guys who are putting this race together could get some photos and video for marketing their race, and also to see how the course worked. The distance wasn't actually measured out. They said it was around 2 miles. It felt longer to me, but it's hard to say because the heat really whipped me, I was super hungry when I ran and the terrain was challenging. Corn fields aren't exactly smooth sailing! :) The race wasn't times, and that was probably a good thing!

Anyway, the first running of the race was I think seven people. Five guys and two girls. It was supposed to be guys first, then girls, but the two had to leave early so they ran with the dudes. Oh, and one guy wore a rubber Obama mask. Holy heatstroke, Batman!

Here are the two girls that ran with the guys, posing by the hay afterward in their shirts.

Not everyone got a shirt, since it wasn't a sign-up kind of race, but I managed to snag one since I was planning to do some publicity work for them. Score! I got a black one and I love it.

The race began with a mad scramble up and over some huge hay bales and then off into the corn field.

We didn't go THROUGH the corn field, but around it. However, due to the terrain being dangerously bumpy (You had to be super careful not to roll an ankle, especially if you're me!) it was slightly easier to go a row or two into the corn to run. The run around the corn field felt pretty long.

Then it was time to cross over the stream a couple times. Once on a log, and once or twice by jumping, and then you had to climb up a steepish bank on the other side. There was a rope, but I didn't use it. The only river crossing photos I've seen so far have been from the kids' race. (Isn't that cool? They had a kids' adventure race, too!)

After the river part there was... oh noooo... another, BIGGER corn field to run around. I am sorry. I had to walk for a minute or two. I was so hot, I could HEAR my heart beat in my ears. I ran 10 miles straight on July 4 and it was easier than this. I am clearly not made to run in super hot weather. That's what I get for always doing my running in the morning when it's cool!

Most of the way around the corn field was some barbed wire to army-crawl underneath. I'm glad there wasn't a photographer at this point when I went under because I apparently army-crawl with my butt way up in the air. I kept snagging it on the wires. This is a photo of Gina Curell making her way under it though.

After that came two walls to scale. This shows Brad Curell going over one of them. Yes, he ran in this weird aqua suit coat thingy. Brad's one of the two guys that came up with this race.

After the walls, you finished going around the corn field and then headed into the woods. Here's me entering the woods.

I was hot. And red. And very ready for shade, a dip in the pond and POWERADE. (There was a cooler of water at the walls but I didn't want to stop and drink because I knew it was only a short distance to the end and I get kinda sick if I drink when I run).

Almost there!

After the woods HALLELUJAH! THE WATERSLIDE! Who cared if the pond was stinky and had a foot of slime at the bottom? Not me! I was the first girl to come in of the four of us that ran (the two that ran with the guys, though, would've smoked me if they'd run with the girls' group). I had to catch my breath before going down the slide, but after a minute, down I went

making my entrance into the pond with perfect cheerleader form.

Splash! (yes, that's me)

And yes, I got a BUTT CRACK FULL OF SLIME! Really gross. But it felt so good to hit that water.

And then I got FOOOOOOOD! They'd been barbecuing all day, but I hadn't wanted to eat a lot before running in the hot weather, so I waited. It was worth the wait. I got my purple Powerade, plus BBQ chicken, watermelon and TWO small pieces of cake. Supah Dupah Yummylicious.

And sitting in the shade, all wet and fed? AWESOMENESS.

After the girls all came in and made a splash, the kids lined up for their race. It was super cute.

Lo crossing the log in his first adventure race

Even fairies can run an adventure race!

Here's my friends Peggy and Kevin's son Andrew using the rope to climb the stream bank

Then they all donned life jackets and got their own chances to go down the waterslide.

Logan loved it. He got some great air

and enjoyed swimming around in the reflections of the silos.

In all, we had a fantastic day. A fun race and great people.

Since the race, I have learned that the guys who dreamed it up have big plans to not only continue holding events at the farm, but also to take it around the United States to different military bases, offering those who serve our country a way to compete, challenge themselves and have fun. Plus, they want to donate any entrance fees to charities that serve military families. One of the race founders has served in the Air Force and left right after the race to go back to Germany to serve in the reserves for the next three months.

I wrote up a story for The County Press, and hopefully it will be running on Wednesday.

If you want more information about the alphARace, you can contact Brad Curell at