Archive for the ‘Races and Events’ Category

Race The River Triathlon 2011

Me on the right, shaking hands with the ladies who earned 1st and 2nd place

The Race The River Triathlon in Coeur d’Alene Idaho took place yesterday, which was July 24th 2012.  The race allowed 800 athletes to enter.  Your’s truly had the honor of participating.  I placed myself in the Athena division (which is anyone who weighs over 150 pounds) for the competition, and earned 3rd place for the division!  My final time was 1hr 25min.

One of my race buddies received 2nd place for her division, which was the 60-64 age group.  The other got a goodie bag from the race officials because it was her first ever triathlon.   

The structure of the race was a little interesting.  I honestly had my doubts that the event would go off smoothly, luckily my doubts were misplaced. 

Review of the race

PRE RACE- My race buddies met at my house at 5:00am, so that we could get to Coeur d’Alene and get set up in the transition area before it was too crowded (CDA is about a 45 min drive from Spokane).  Because I have a hard time finding my bike after the swim I purchased two helium balloons to tie on the bike rack for easy visualization!  It worked really well.  After the race I received several thanks, as many people used them to find their barrings.  The transition area was well-organized.  At 7:00am the transition area closed, the race volunteers were extremely strict about the transition area rules.   

THE SWIM- The swim for this race took place .5 of a mile up-stream of the Spokane River.  Participants walked the half mile to the start.  At the start athletes had the option of putting personal items into bags marked with their race number and having volunteers transport the stuff back to the transition area.  This was great!  It worked really well, and I was able to wear shoes and warm clothes untill the start of my wave.  Which I really appreciated because my wave was last (7:45am) and it was cold.  The chilly weather gave me great apprehension about participating in the race.  I had no desire to plunge into a cold river.  It was almost worth folding before starting to skip getting wet.  I questioned why I decided to do another one of these races up untill we were signaled to start. They told us that the water was about 65 degrees.  brrr. 

The swim was an in-water start.  Two boayes marked the starting line.  Treading water was a little difficult because the current wanted to carry us towards the finish line. The swim was lined with well prepared volunteers in kayaks, and some treading water ready to assist anyone in danger.  I felt very safe.

At the end of the swim we had to swim into a ramp that was half way under water.  Only 1 person could enter the ramp at a time.  This wasn’t a problem, and there wasn’t a bottle neck effect when I arrived.  There was then a stretch of deck where we were able to stage shoes prior to the race.  This is because the transition area was about two football field lengths away from the water.  I also left me towel by my shoes and ran with it back up to my bike.  This portion of the race gave me a lot of apprehension at the start, but really it worked out nicely.  I liked having my shoes on before I reached my bike, and I liked towelling off while I ran towards the transition. It made me feel like I wasted less time in transition.

THE BIKE- This was my first race on my new fancy pants bike.  A Specialized Dolce Sport.  Which was a bribe gift from my mother.  (SPOILED ROTTEN!!! haha!).  In all of the triathlon that I have participated in the bike has been the hardest section for me.  Having this bike made a SIGNIFICANT difference.   

This section of the triathlon was the scariest.  It was 11 miles long, but racers had to do 3 loops along the same path.  We had to keep track of our own laps.  I had no idea who was on which lap.  The path was constantly full of riders.  At one point I felt like I was some where in the tour de france.    I like to be a bit more spread out so I can tell who is passing me and who I am passing…. this was just a cluster of people who could be way ahead or way behind my position.  The race had 2 gradual inclines, one a bit more challenging than the other.  Mostly it was flat. 

During the bike I passed one man, who was sporting super bright and super tight red bike shorts.  On top he wore a tight camouflage (the print was like what a hunter would wear) dry fit shirt, which was tucked into those red shorts. Just to help you with the mental image: On the bottom half this guy was pretty lean, but up top he was fighting a beer belly.  I am guessing he was about 5’6″ tall.  He was huff’n and a puff’n but determined to keep with me.  As we were both exiting the bike portion of the race he aggressively repeated about 10 times: “Pain is weakness leaving the body! Pain is weakness leaving the body!”  This made me smile and helped me stay motivated during the run.

THE RUN-  The run was 3 miles long.  I averaged 9min 40 sec miles. The run was mostly flat, with one little steep hill.  There were volunteers handing out water and directing racers.  The were wonderful and did their job very well. 

The last half mile… or quarter mile, of the race was snaked through the park around a pond.  I would just like to say that I HATE when a race doesn’t end right as you hit the park.  It is so hard to run that last section winding around and around not knowing where the stopping point is exactly.

THE END OF THE RACE-  As racers crossed the finish line a volunteer removed  timing chips from ankles as another volunteer handed out bottles of water.  There was music, an announcer calling out names of finishers and keeping observers entertained.  There were orange and banana slices as well as muffins.     Each participant was able to get a sandwich, chips and water at their leisure.  There were 3 different kinds of sandwiches, and tasty pickle wedges to go with them.  *Yum*

The transition area was opened back up to athletes, but a volunteer ensured that bikes leaving the area matched body markings and race bibs.

AWARDS- Finishing times were posted, but not all of them.  Some people stuck around just in case they placed, which somewhat sucked for them.  The awards took about an hour and a half to complete.  Between medals the race officials handed out door prizes.  The door prizes were pretty awesome.  Some of the prizes were compression socks, gift certificats for new shoes, visors, hats and race IDs. 

FINAL GRADE- I would give it a B.  The race didn’t earn an A because of the super-duper cold river, scary crowded bike ride, winding through the park at the end of the run and not posting race results completely.


Cherry Picker’s Trot, Green Bluff

Grower PhotoCherry harvest has begun in Green Bluff, wich is a farming community in north Spokane.  The cherry season is celebrated with many festivities, one of them is the annual Cherry Picker’s Trot. Though the trot has been around for 33 years this was my first year of participation.  On the Green Bluff website the trot was advertised to be 4 main activities; The pit spit, tot trot, hamburgers/hotdog feed and of course the 4 mile cherry picker’s trot.  All money made on the event went to help the community fire department.

The Pit Spit- this is a competition where cherry pits are spit for distance.  The record for men is currently sitting at 43’2″ and for women 32’9″.  Each competitor gets to spit 3 times. (3 free cherries!  woot woot!).  I figured that I could get pretty close to the record, seeing as how I am a competitor… and I am a very good spitter.  I should have practiced.  My technique just wasn’t getting the job done.  My farthest spit was 20’9″, which didn’t get it done.  Next year, I will be prepared.

The Tot Trot– Wanting to take full advantage of the festival I recruited a 4 year old boy, son of my good friend to come with me.  (I also brought two 6 year old boys, an 11 year old girl and my dad for a little adult back up).  The tot trot was a a short loop in the grass roped off with flags.  The kids were broken down in to age groups; 0-2, 3-4, and 5 year olds.  The little racers were super psyched, and ultra competitive.  I over heard little guys bragging about their speed and how they were going to win.  Just before the kids were let loose a surprise visitor came to help them run.  Otto!  The local baseball stadium mascot.  My little  competitor’s parents got married at the local baseball stadium, so you can bet he was super psyched to have such an honored guest to run with.  At the end of the event, each kid received a red ribbon.   I wanted one!

Hamburger and hot dog feed– for $5 people had the option to choose between 1 hamburger or 2 hot dogs.  They also received a bag of chips and a pop.  We fed 6 people with $20! Very nice. 

The Cherry Trot–  The fee to enter the race was $20 for a whole family (6 or less people), or $7 for an individual.  this did not include a shirt, which were offered for an additional fee.  Being a little on the broke side, I went for the family fee with no shirts.  If I had been on my own I probably would have gotten a shirt and ran the race.  With kids it would just be a walk, and not as t-shirt worthy.  The trot was a four mile loop around the rolling hills of farm land.  All of the kids did great!  I carried tired little legs on my back maybe a total of 1 mile. The walk was a challenge for my dad, due to diabetic foot surgeries, but he pushed himself to the end!  He was determined to not be last.  our finishing time was 1hr and 30min.  I am guessing the last walker made it over the finish line about 5 minutes after us. 

Other stuff–  It surprised me that the event included several other options for fun, if you had money to spend.  There were pony rides for $5, roping for $2, a ride on a little caterpillar train pulled by a man in a tractor for $2, for .50 kids could feed a dixy cup full of grain to some donkeys, there were snow cones, ice cream cones, pie, cherries to buy, extra shirts to buy…. and a band to listen to for free.  As you can guess, the kids wanted to do everything!  I had planned to buy them hot dogs, and that was it.  The begging was difficult, and I wished I had requested a little dough from their parents and would have if I had known so many things would be available to tempt children in to spending my money 🙂 .

My opinion– This was a FABULOUS event.  I think I would have really been able to enjoy the band, and enjoy the scenery of the race if I had been on my own or just with other adults.  I probably would have spent my $20 a little differently and obtained some of the delicious cherries we were all out celebrating.  Running would have been a bit less exhausting then kid corralling.  Going from 0 to 4 is a tough one to do in a crowd.

Warrior Dash, Washington

Jesse and I did the very first Warrior Dash held in Washington yesterday. The race was done in waves over two days in North Bend Washington, which is about 3.5 hours from Spokane.  I signed us up for the race back in March, it filled up some time in April.  I had wanted to sign us up for a Saturday wave but by the time I decided to take the plunge and pay the money only Sunday races were left.  This turned out to be a good thing because of weather.  It rained all day Saturday and was much colder than Sunday. 

The race was fun and had several perks.  For a $50 entry fee participants received a warrior dash cotton T-shirt, a fuzzy viking warrior helmet, a finisher’s medal and 1 free beer.  I, like most of the people in the race would have paid the money, and driven the three and a half hours just to play in the mud and do the obstacle course that was layed out over 3.5 miles of beautiful farm land.  Along with the free beer (which by the way there were 5 different types of beer to choose from) there were some pretty good musicians rocking out the entire time and people decked out in wild costumes were partying down all over the place. For a small fee there was more food and gear available to purchase, such as HUGE turkey legs for 6 bucks.

Even though the race was awesome there were some down sides.  We drive up to this huge parking area when first arriving… we pay $10 to park, which felt kind’a crappy as there was really no other option.  THEN we were shuttled to the place where the actual race happens, across the town.  The shuttles were big yellow school buses, which I must admit were kind of fun as the interior of the buses were finger painted all over the place with mud.  They PACKED the buses full, the isles were even full of standers.

Another down side was that the race really wasn’t that safe.  The course was riddled with ankle twisters in the areas that had vegetation, and the areas that did not have vegetation were muddy from the rain the day before and the constant trampling.  People were sliding all over the place.  A few people broke ankles just from running in the slippery/pot hole like conditions. 

The obstacles were pretty fun.  However, they too were pretty unsafe.  several of them were created out of two by fours and ply wood.  On a regular sunny July day they would have been fine.  In soggy North bend weather and a few thousand muddy bodies crawling over them they became a great place to lose footing and gain hurts.  One particular obstacle stands out in my mind.  The “teetering traverse”.  This obstacle was about 6 feet off the ground, and warrior dashers had to balance across boards to get to the other side.  We saw a rather unfit gal fall. Later we heard that one of the planks snapped in half with a group crossing the board at the same time, and another not so fit gal broke her arm.  Along with this obstacle there were walls we had to climb, made also of slippery wood, cargo nets, cars to jump over, fire to jump and of course mud to swim through. 

I had a blast.  I loved the challenge, I loved sharing this experience with my husband, I loved swimming in mud and jumping over fire.  I always love getting a medal and a T-shirt.  However there were a  lot of uncoordinated, un-athletic people in the race.  Several times I was afraid for my safety, and constantly afraid I would have the need to bust out my nursing school skills to do CPR on some pot-bellied warrior who had a heart attack and fell down the side of a cargo net while busting a bone through his shin amongst the mud and running crazies.  🙂 We signed a waiver though… so it’s all gravy baby! lol

Windermere Half Marathon, Spokane

This Half Marathon was in May.  After the race I felt like I had the flu!  It was the FIRST hot day we had, and none of my training was done in the heat.  My body was angry with me to say the least.  The Spokane Half Marathon is in October.  It will hopefully be cooler, I will hopefully be a bit lighter.  However, the Spokane Half Marathon will include several hills.  The Windermere did not.  The hills have me pretty freaked out.  I think I will start running the largest hill of the race every other week, just to take away the intimidation factor. 

It was a big deal for me to commit to running a half marathon.  It was then a big deal for me to actually start running on the treadmill.  It was a big deal for me when I started running out side, a very difficult transition for me to make.  It was a big deal for me to line up on the starting line and to get my medal at the end.  Now… Hills.  Hills.  Me. Yikes!

Jesse is going to do the half marathon in October too.  I am excited for him too.  I am afraid for him though.  He isn’t really following a training program.  He runs some.  He lifts some.  Maybe I should remind him of the super ginormous hills???