Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Check Points

Jerad and I decided a few months ago we were going to train to compete in the Sunflower State Games Adventure Race.  I continued with my CrossFit training and added in some extra endurance and mountain biking and Jerad upped his running and biking training.  The first thing the race commissioner said when announcing opening rules was, "you can never prepare for an adventure race, you just do not know what types of obstacles you will be faced with..."

We looked at each other like, "uh oh." 

We got our passport, our topography map (that was 10 years old), and the rules...then we had some time to come up with a game plan.  There were 4 legs to complete and 18 checkpoints.  You could choose to do the legs in any order after checking in at the transition area which was at the south end of the park, a long ways from where we were starting.  The legs included canoeing/kayaking, trekking/running, and mountain biking.  We chose to stick to the order of the passport and do canoeing first.  Hiking and running second. And both legs of biking last.  We mapped out our route to checkpoint 1 and took off.  We ran through bean fields, forested areas, climbed fences and rocky ledges, crawled through brush, hopped over many fallen logs--just to get the first few checkpoints.  I remember thinking a few times, I know why they recommend wearing pants...

We survived the canoeing without falling in.  It was windy and people were falling in the water all around us. I was determined to stay dry because I did not want to run 5 miles and bike 15 in wet clothes and praise God we stayed dry. I am guessing we canoed 2-3 miles.  My arms were tired!

We unloaded the canoe and drug it back to the starting line. And took off on our running/trekking leg.  It was probably the most fun leg to me.  Thank goodness for general other participants who helped us out a few times, we got all the checkpoints for this leg.  It was beginning to get pretty hot by then.  I drank all the water from my Camel Pak dry so we stopped in at the nearest camping area and refilled our water supply. 

Lastly, we hit the bikes.  And then hit a wall.  Up until this point we were determined to get all 18 checkpoints in 6 hours.  They tell you those are the rules, so we were going to do it.  Heck! We'd been training for this...

Jerad had not eaten breakfast or anything yet because of nerves and his energy stores began to get low.  We suffered through the first 4 checkpoints of the bike and Jerad was good with stopping there and heading in to finish early.  Not me.  You see, this is where our levels of competitiveness began to differ.  I wanted to finish.  We were finishing, dangit!  I did not care if we were toast.  The commissioner said, "get all 18 check points..."  We checked back in at the transition area to head out on our last leg of biking and decided to rest awhile.  We had 1 1/2 hours left before the time was up.  Every minute you were late was a penalty to your time and checkpoints.  So we did NOT want to be late.  We cooled our heads off under the water fountains.  And I convinced Jerad to eat some food.  We resupplied our water packs and decided to maybe only get the closest 3 check points depending on our time.  Jerad was getting some energy back so we gave it a go.  We rode all the way to the other end of the park on some hilly trails that required us to get off and walk our bikes up and down, and zapped whatever energy stores we had left...and then we got really lost.  It took us a lot longer to get the last 2 check points.  We were down to 45 minutes left...there was one more check point left at the top of this hill and wooded area on our way back to the finish line...we would head that way and decide if we could make it or not when we got there.  Well, we get there with 35 minutes left...good! I knew we could get it.  Jerad was content with just calling it good and heading in.  I made my way up the hill in desperation to get that 16th check point..and turned around to see Jerad sitting at the bottom...refusing to budge. (there are so many real life analogies I could make here about how he keeps me grounded in reality...bla bla bla)  You see, part of the rules we were given stated that partners could not get more than 100' apart from each other throughout the race, or else they will be disqualified...we were pushing 100' by this point...but I could knew I could get to that check point if he would just come a little farther.  After yelling back and forth at each other up and down the hill....and my blood boiling...I came to the conclusion he was done.  He was good with our 15 check points, I however, was NOT.  Man, I was mad. And now we weren't going to get it.  I blew by him on the way back down the hill and on to the finish line.  I dropped my bike at the finish line and Jerad came in right behind.  The race commissioner asked if we were okay, we were pretty quiet!  HAHAHA.  My anger was that obvious? 

In my complete maturity, I threw my helmet down-picked up my bike-and stomped out of the finishing area back to our pout.  Jerad was thrilled we did as well as we did. He was pumped we made it this far in this heat. Especially being first-timers.  And all I could focus on was we did NOT get that 16th check point....GRRRRR!!!  I even said something to the like of, "well let's load up our bikes, we might as well leave...we didn't even finish!!"

After some coaxing, I made my way back down from the truck to the finish area to eat lunch with everyone and wait to hear who the winners were...the 3 college-aged guys beside us who were a team, laughed when we walked up and said, "notice there aren't many co-ed married couples doing this race??" HAHAHA.  "Most are first-timers and don't know better or get divorced before the next year's race!"

I won't lie, it made me smile.  Then laugh.
I still wasn't ready to give up my pity party though, so I quickly returned to a bad mood.

Jerad and I shared a few more choice words and then they announced the winners...
"First place, co-ed winners..who did an awesome job getting so many check points at their first race...The Wood's!?! Here are your trophies and medals...stop here and let us take your pictures!  Congratulations! You did awesome!!"

*crickets*  And Jerad's glaring stare and sly smile at me...
As I began to melt into the concrete in embarrassment and guilt...

15 check points is good?  Why do they tell you to get 18 then??  I did NOT know most first-timers stop at 10-12 check points or quit at 3 hours no matter where they are in the course....

Well, I'll be....
Now to apologize.  All the way home.

*As a side note, we are laughing about this now.  And would actually like to do another one. :)

1 comment:

  1. this is GREAT! Reminds me of our first/his last marathon I did with Jack pre-kids. This sounds like so much fun and I'd love to do this as a couple some day...thanks for the inspiration! I hope you two get to compete in it again!