Fast Runs

You may be thinking to yourself, “I can tell by her blogs that she’s doing a lot of eating…and not a lot of training.” Well, pat yourself on the back; you’re right 🙂

I came back from Orlando at the beginning of the month with a sore throat. I knew I was getting sick but was cheerfully optimistic about recovery time. I trained through it like a zombie through a shopping mall. Put my head down, charged forth and kept on keeping on. You’d be correct to guess that this didn’t help me get over the plague. At. All. It continued to worsen to the point where I couldn’t work out and it would have been rude to do so (what with the coughing, hacking and mucus-ing everywhere). So I took a week off, and then a week easy. Now, I’m back into things.

Friday was a fast 7-mile run with Joe. Let me tell you a little something about Joe. When I agreed to train with him, I told him I was a slow runner. He said that wouldn’t be a problem because the distances we were doing required a slower pace. Perfect. Easy. Thanks, Joe. But now I have to rescind that thanks because none of the runs we have done have been slow. Or easy. I like to be pushed, but hope that here soon we are finally going to run those 10-minute miles I was promised. Joe? Did you hear that?

Friday: 7 miles on trail at an 8:32 pace. That’s fast for me even at 3 miles.

Saturday: (keep in mind this is after a fast run Fri night, then Kettlebell class an hour later) About 11.5 miles on trail at a 9:08 pace. Woo and hoo! What a great run. Though I did have to admit to Joe that there was one point I threw up in my mouth a little. He said he was close to the same. I think this friendship just may work.

Oh, did you think you were going to get away without a Paleo update? Un-pat your back; you were wrong.

The lightheadedness is gone and my skin is looking better. Not that I had yucky skin to begin with, but I’ll confess a semi-embarrassing secret to you: one of the major reasons I wanted to try Paleo was that I was waking up in the morning and looking old. Wait, wait, I know I’m not 18 anymore and I’m not trying to hold onto youth forever, but I’ll face the facts, it was enough to make me frown which wasn’t making me look any better.

Out of bed, I had puffiness, I saw dark circles for the first time and my skin was blotchy and ugh. After a couple of hours, the blood meandered back to my face or some other such science wizardry and I would look like myself again. I don’t know how I connected that to eating…salt and bloating or not enough nutrients or irritated skin, but I had an inkling that Paleo may just keep the puffiness at bay, which it did! It’s a miracle! These days I look the same out of bed as I do the rest of the day, my skin is getting glow-ier, my pores are less gunky and I feel more 28 than 40.

Because blogs are just better with photos, here is a dramatic re-enactment of my mornings before Paleo:

"Who is THAT?!"

"If this were Delta, I would get charged $75 for those bags!"

😩

And a mere 18 days on Paleo:

Rock on, cavemen.

The Fountain of Youth not enough for you? Well, here’s more: my teeth feel cleaner. Is that even a Paleo thing? I don’t know, but by the end of the day on Standard American Diet (yep, that’s right, the food that the rest of you are eating has an acronym that spells SAD), my teeth felt coated with a grainy film. Who’s the culprit? Is it you, Sugar? Or you, Wheat? Whoever dunnit, nowadays my teeth feel clean from brushing to brushing which I enjoy immensely. Yucky teeth are the worst.

P.S. I apologize for the bombardment of blogs. I’ve never subscribed to that theory that more is better. One blog a week is the perfect number for me, not too much for me to write, not too much for you to read. Believe me, I don’t fancy myself so important as to imagine you are just sitting there, refreshing my blog, on the edge of your seat as to what I’m eating for dinner. I’m just super jazzed about this Paleo thing; I want to shout it from my little blog platform! And when I get excited about something, I want to share it with everyone I love. So, consider this a big compliment that I love you and want you to be healthy too. Hopefully, once the novelty wears off, the blogs will taper back to a one-a-week deal, but also hopefully, I will never lose this zeal for Paleo 🙂

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Another Paleo Update. (Don’t hate me!)

Geez, more Paleo?! Yes, this is my life now. Food was always my life, but now I feel as if I have justification to blog about it. Other people are interested in Paleo too, right?

My most recent Paleo complaint (luckily there haven’t been too many) is the clean-up. I hate to do dishes. Hate. It. Lucky me, my guy knows that golden rule: if one person cooks, the other cleans. Oh, how I love that rule. Unlucky me, my guy has been sick for the past two months. He’s been keeping up pretty well, but recently it’s gotten bad. So, that leaves me to cook AND do the dishes. As if cooking wasn’t taking up a large amount of my time, now I have to add rinsing and scrubbing to the list of things that keep me from bed and sleeping. Because, let’s face it, though I try very hard with the help of my Tetris skill, not everything is dishwasher compatible.

Complaint remedied: We went to Moe’s. Before going cavepeople, Jerritt and I ate at Moe’s about 2-3 times a week. More realistically, closer to the 3. So, we always knew the first flex meal we would have would be at Moe’s. But I’ve been wary about flexing. I’ve read that people feel worse than crap after eating grains and dairy while on Paleo. And it’s still close enough to Dec. that I remember how crap feels. I don’t really want to go there. At least, not yet. Surely, pizza or ice cream will lure me there one day soon. But back to Moe’s night.

This was Jerritt’s flex meal, though he didn’t flex too hard. He had a little cheese, and a little taco shell, but most of his cheat was sweet tea. For me, I did zero flexing. Unless you count the flexing of my awesome willpower. I had (I warned you this was coming…where I list out every morsel of food in my meal…) chicken fajitas with no tortillas. SautĂ©ed green peppers, onions and mushrooms. Lettuce, pico, and sliced jalapeños. I dumped salsa on top, got a cup of guacamole and refused the chips. It was the best Moe’s meal ever. Better than queso-drenched nachos. Better than tacos with sour cream and shredded cheese. Better than that awesome taco-wrapped-in-a-quesadilla they have. Incredible – 1. I can eat at Moe’s without fear. 2. You can have Paleo food without feeling like you’re missing out. 3. Om nom nom nom. I did have a little stomach discomfort the next morning, but I’m hoping that was because of the half pound of jalapeños that I ate with my food. Scientific experimentation is the only way to find out for sure. Back to Moe’s!

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I <3 Paleo

I have drunk the Paleo Kool-Aid and have found it most refreshing. I’m so freaking excited about this new lifestyle. I spend an obscene amount of time on Paleo blogs, I’m obsessed with everything coconut, and I’m looking at food processors that stray into the $300 range (a girl can dream…). Even last week, I felt myself become elated when while grocery shopping, I found a bottle of No Sugar Added Ketchup. Score. Why am I so excited about No Sugar Added Ketchup? I honestly don’t know. If I had to venture a guess, maybe it’s because I’ve always loved food and am always thinking about food.

This is how bad it can get: I love seeing food in movies. Sometimes, I will put in a DVD and flip to the scene where they are serving food. Don’t believe me? My favorite part of Ponyo? When they make the bowls of Ramen. My favorite part of Twister? When they go to Aunt Meg’s house and cook up steak and eggs. I don’t even like steak. Most likely, if I’ve seen a movie, I can tell you what foods were eaten in which scenes. I’m just weird.

Remember when I first started doing triathlons? The thing I enjoyed most is that we had to travel to Panama City or Jacksonville for the events. Panama City = Volcano Nachos at Margaritaville and Toasted Coconut ice cream at Kilwin’s. Jacksonville = what else? Cheesecake Factory. Please excuse my Homerism here, but mmmmglargerahhhh…Cheesecake Factory… Plus, food just tastes so much better after a race. It’s a fact.

So, is this Paleo thing just an excuse to feed my gastronomic obsession by looking at pictures of food, googling recipes, meandering down the produce aisles, or constantly shoveling massive amounts of fruits and veggies into my mouth? Perhaps. Is it a little over the top that I’m already deciding on what date-based delicious snack to prepare and stow in my suitcase for my summer trips? Likely. Is this an innocent way to spend my time and a healthier obsession than others? Definitely. I love these Paleo people, their Paleo food and their love of working out. I think we have the beginnings of a beautiful friendship.

P.S. Just a warning. I can definitely see myself becoming one of those people who take pictures of their food and blog or Facebook about it. You know those people. I just can’t help it. I love food.

Random pictures of me eating:

Volcano Nachos. Told you.

Massive food after the Death Race.

Flat Stanley. Wait, I didn't really eat Flat Stanley. No Flat Stanleys were harmed during the taking of this picture.

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One 50K and lots of cooking.

I’m sponsored! Kinda. Sorta. Okay, here’s the deal. You know that Dawn and I have been working, working, working to get our BFF Dog Ranch off the ground. Well, it’s happening. This is going to be the magic year. And it may end up being only a moisture-wicking shirt to claim my pro status, but my New Mexico 50K is now a BFF event. The training plan has been made and the goal for this event is twofold: to finish and to train injury-free. You may laugh at me in my dorky 80’s-looking, soccer-wannabe compression socks, but I think my knees recover faster when I wear them. Also on the stay-healthy agenda is lots of active isolate stretching; ice, ice, ice; joint supplements; and anything else that may be suggested. Yes, I’m doing it all! For those non-athletes out there, this means for every 40min run, there’s at least an hour of follow-up stretching and icing behind the scenes. What can I say? I’m committed.

The one-week Paleo Diet review: Clean eating is being pretty good to me so far. It’s definitely a process with some ups and downs but in general, it’s not as difficult to do as I thought it would be. It’s a lot of money (more meat and fresh veggies than I’m used to buying) and a lot of time (cooking Every. Single. Night.). I’ve had some really yummy recipes (like this one: Fast Shrimp) and some not so yummy recipes (the oven is not always my friend). I’m not jonesing like I expected. Every now and then, I’ll think to myself how nice a bowl of ice cream or a slice of pizza would taste, but I haven’t fixated on one non-paleo item to the point of obsession. I’ve lost about 3lbs. To clarify, I lost 3lbs in the first three days. Everyone says this is the water weight. And my only complaint other than the time suck is that I’ve been lightheaded. Research turned up that this is due to my insulin level dropping (causing there to be less sodium in my blood stream) plus the drop in blood sugar equaling less blood volume thus lower blood pressure. The sources also say that this should go away after three to four weeks on the diet, which seems like a long time to me, but they also promise that after that initial period, I’m going to feel like a super woman. World, be warned!

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What’s up with me

After two years of anticipation, I'm finally at Harry Potter World! With the conductor of the Hogwarts Express 😀

Sometimes I feel like it’s going to be hard to top 2011. There was the Death Race, yes, there was that, but also so much more. 2012 was supposed to be my year off from racing to focus on more outdoorsy, family oriented activities like tent camping and mountain climbing. But here we are, one week into the New Year and I’m signed up for the Tallahassee 1/2 Marathon in February and will soon be paying my entry fees for a zombie run in Atlanta and my first 50K in New Mexico! It doesn’t take much peer pressure to get me to agree to a race.

Just a little catch up:

Finished! With my prized orange headband and free beer.

The Tough Mudder Race Review – This race was in one word: awesome. I hadn’t properly trained, of course, having taken a lengthy 4-5 month sabbatical after the Death Race. Having fulfilled the self-promised three months off, I had seriously gotten used to getting home from work and not having to leave immediately to work out for a few hours. It was nice. And if I hadn’t already paid over the summer, I definitely wouldn’t have gone. But as things stood, the plan was to go down to Tampa for the day, take things nice, easy and slooooow and just have a good time.

The atmosphere at a Tough Mudder is infectious. People are dressed in costume and no one takes themselves to seriously. Over the course, I had to have assistance with a couple of obstacles, but there was always a fellow racer right there to give you a hand, or shoulder, up. The race was do-able and I felt good throughout, but was actually surprised by how tired I was at the finish. I still had energy and was smiling, for sure, but my legs and arms were like jello that had been sitting in the sun for a little too long. Before going, everyone told me, “Oh, after the Death Race, this will be cake for you!” so that was kinda the mentality I had going in but don’t underestimate the Tough Mudder, you do need to be in shape to make it through without being miserable the entire time.

Some highlights:

– I did the monkey bars! Doesn’t sound that impressive, but I knew going in, without a shadow of a doubt, that I was not going to be able to make it across the monkey bars. I could visualize my fingers betraying me as I fell several feet in the pool of water below. And these aren’t your standard playground monkey bars, these are Tough Mudder monkey bars – they angle up and then angle down like a gently sloping “A.”

– I learned a pretty profound thing about myself. The entire race (about three hours for me), I had time to reflect on the upcoming obstacles. There was plenty for me to fear (falling, drowning and getting shocked): the cargo net that I had problems going over at Adventure Race Training, the 10-15 feet jump into cold water, the electroshock obstacle, and the unknown, but the one thing that had a grip on me with tunnel vision-like worry was the Everest obstacle. This is a 10-15 foot half-pipe that you have to run up, grab the top lip and pull yourself over. Most people can’t accomplish this by themselves, but usually there is a Mudder at the top with an arm out to help lift you up. The entire race, I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to do this and I’m terrified that I’m not going to be physically capable of completing the obstacle and will have to, gasp!, go around. There you have it folks. Me vs. My Fears? Not an issue. I’ve been there, knocked them down. Don’t give it a second thought. Me vs. Not Being Able To Do Something? A horrible thought, I don’t even want to talk about it. Oh, and if you are wondering, it took me three attempts, but I was able to mount Everest with some help from a few nice Mudders.

Paco has a mustachio.

Rest in Peace Paco-Taco – My first Hounddog and best friend died on December 8th. And no, the world did not come crashing to a halt like I always thought it would. Even you that know me may not know that I considered Paco my soul mate, he was meant for me and I was meant for him and we were perfect together. He was my favorite dog, my Angel-face-baby-boy, and after he left, I thought maybe the source of my happiness. He was not a dog. He was an old soul that I loved more than anything else (don’t worry, Jerritt already knows).

Of course I know that I’m not the first to go through this grief but it just felt wrong to be without him. There was lots of crying, lots of down days, and lots of confusion. I never allowed myself any serious “what-ifs” because I know that kind of grief is more wounding than healing. But I do wish there was more I had done with the time right before his death. The Monday before he died was his birthday and I bought him some of his favorite toys and almost took him to the dog park. But Monday became busy and he never got to have his toys and didn’t go to the dog park. He was sick by Tuesday and the last time I saw him alive was Wednesday. Paco, I’m sorry that you didn’t get to rip apart one last dot or go “woo woo woo” at the intruding dogs at Tom Brown. I wish that several weeks before he left me, when he had run up to Linus’ area at MoJo’s on the way outside, I had let him play with Linus, his old best pal. Instead, I hastily shooed him outside to potty. Paco, I’m sorry that you didn’t get to have that grumpy old man contest with your favorite grumpy old man.

Other than that, I think Paco and I had a very good life together. A short life, indeed, maybe I could have had a few more years, but I’m grateful for every growl; whale-noise; woo woo woo; nose-kiss; jibbity-jab; shredded towel; shredded rug; shredded scarf; shredded t-shirt; shredded blanket (can you see his favorite pastime?); nice-to-meet-you-mr-paco-taco; high-pitched cry; bell ring; early morning tail wag; quick-stepped waddle up the stairs; leg lean; scratch, scratch, scratch at the bed; flip of your soft, floppy, pizza-ears; and every sit down pow wow where we would look into each others’ eyes and profess our mutual love of one another without words. Megan and Paco, For-Eva.

Call me a Cavewoman (for now) – I’ve made the leap. During the holidays, I abandoned my normally healthy eating habits to partake in the large amounts of junk food flowing into MoJo’s thanks to our sweet and generous clients. A cookie here turned into three cookies here, plus some chocolate bars, plus a candy cane…boiling down to a me that felt like crap for two weeks. Attributing my ill-health to too much sugar, starch and carbs, I was ready for a cleanse and a change. Enter the Paleo Diet.

Though it’s been on my radar for some time now, there were many reasons for me to not jump on the bandwagon. 1st – I was vegetarian, and cutting out dairy was not an option for me because that’s where I was getting almost all my protein. 2nd – I am very wary of any diet that cuts out entire food groups. 3rd – Yes, that’s how our ancestors lived many years ago and that’s how we evolved to eat, but wasn’t the average life span of a caveman 30, maybe 35 years? What’s the body do on a diet like this after that?

Yet here I am. I cut out the dairy, grains, legumes, processed sugar and alcohol and am seeing what ensues. I’m back on the fish and the chicken (free-range, non-cannibal, of course). The goal is a month to let my body tell me if this is right for me or not. Maybe I will add back some healthy grains and some greek yogurt, but for the most part, I’m enjoying what I’ve seen so far (though it’s only been 5 days…). I’m having fun with new delicious recipes, enjoying eating healthy foods again and feeling less sluggish throughout the day. We’ll see where this goes.

Training Resumes! – Now that I’ve signed up for some races and have the feel once again for what it’s like to have muscle tone, I’ve become re-addicted to working out. I’ve begun going every day again with some twice-a-days thrown in there too. There has been Bootcamp, Adventure Race Training, Sweat Therapy and long trail runs. Who knows what crazy people I will meet or what crazy races they will talk me into 😉 Welcome 2012!

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When there’s no weather, it’s just atmosphere.

Dedicated to Thor:

Wonder why the blogging stopped after the Death Race? Well, that’s a simple answer: because my training stopped. I had a nice month off (as promised to myself from myself) from all training and when I thought I could pick back up with a nice 5 mile run, my knees told me otherwise. I fell back on active isolated stretches but even that didn’t help my knees to heal. I had pretty much given up on long distance running, telling myself I can get by with 3 mile runs more frequently when the weather turned cool and I felt the pull of the trails. But even having doubled my intake of glucosamine and fish oil, I couldn’t get my knees past a 3 mile road block. Then, I got a message from my former Death Race training buddy saying that he would be back in Tallahassee for the marathon in February and wouldn’t I like to join him? Of course I would! Just gotta get these knees going again. I made an appointment with a kinesiologist recommended by a running friend and he straightened some things, realigned some things and gave me a couple of stretches and exercises to do at home. I’m now up to 6 miles before the knee pain hits, but that’s a far cry from 26.2 miles with just 3.5 months until race day.

As for my Tough Mudder training? You guessed it…non-existent. I did write up a work-out plan. I did start it and last for 2 weeks. Then, I fell off the wagon, it ran me over as it sped forward, and I’m just an all around lazy bum now. I really did think that I could workout on my own. I thought, “I can bike without paying for Sweat Therapy rides.” I thought, “I can do upper body without going to Boot Camp.” I thought, “I know what needs to be done and I have an event coming up, so that’s my motivator.” Nope, nope, and no. Really? I know myself better, I was just pulling the wool over my own hopeful eyes. In order for me to workout, I need 1 of 3 things (preferably more): 1) a paid membership to a good workout program 2) a very real and exciting or scary deadline (a race) or 3) a training partner who is motivated and dependable to meet me at designated times. I think most people are like me in this respect. So, I’ve signed up for Kettlebells at Boot Camp Fitness and Training and finally got Jerritt on the hook for a century bike ride next year. Am I pretty excited? Yeah. Am I barely able to move after Tuesday’s Kettlebell Skills Clinic? Most definitely. We will be biking 3 days a week, Kettlebelling 3 nights a week and I will hopefully be running 3 or more times also. I haven’t given up hope for that marathon, Thor, but I’m pretty sure the 3:30 is out of the question. Miss you and our 4am, 18-mile runs.

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DR 2011 Race Report: Part 7 – The End

Sunday, approximately 12pm

I check in with the volunteers and am told to find Andy or Joe for my next task. Most people are doing farm-like chores – I see lots of wood and wheelbarrows and such about. I find Andy and he looks surprised to see me and asks me if I’m still in. Of course I’m still in! I just came down that freaking mountain! He gets on the walkie and says something like, “who said that Megan Mays dropped? Because she’s standing right in front of me and is still in the race.” Then he starts ticking off tasks left to do: go get bucket from Colton Camp, bring bucket back down, fill at pond, take back to Colton to have water measured, leave bucket, go to Roger’s to leave log, come back to Amee, plant cucumbers, do test, and he tells me, “so you might as well finish.” And I think, “yeah, might as well finish.” He was so nonchalant about it even though I’m looking at 8-9 more hours of work and have been going for 41 hours straight. In my mind, if Andy thinks it’s possible, then it is. I’m about to finish this bad boy.

He then directs me to Joe who thinks for a minute and tells me that the rocks lining the drive all need to be deadlifted. Just to clarify, I ask him if I’m allowed to get help on the bigger rocks. He reluctantly allowed help (saying he would prefer another athlete to help, but that they were all busy) from my support crew, looking at Anita and Laurel.

Laurel’s got this. We start around the circle, and she’s taking most of the weight. Some rocks need all three of us but for the most part, it’s all her. After some weak protesting about not doing the brunt of the work, Laurel says something to the point of, “he said that we could help you on the big ones, not that you had to do the lifting.” In tricky terms, this is true. Ricky had come back from the Death Race Camp in the spring warning me about listening closely to their words, how they would say something like, “put water in your bucket,” which most people took to mean, “fill up your bucket,” but which actually meant, “put any amount of water in your bucket.” So I acquiesced. Laurel is literally a rock star. Muscles bulging, sweat pouring down, blood from a ripped finger dripping on the stones…she knows how to get this done. It takes no time at all and the rocks have been lifted.

Bearing in mind that I have to be clean and at the church at 3pm for our mandatory sermon, I head towards Colton with Jerritt like it’s the first day, nothing’s sore, and there is definitely something to lose. I’m timing the trip up just in case I have to turn around before I even get there, but it only takes 20 or 40 mins…either way, there was plenty of time to make it back, down some Red Bulls and change. The volunteers at Colton were excited to see me again, telling me I looked much better than the last time they saw me. They gave me a bucket, a cryptic message about how much water needed to be in it when I got back (they refused to say how high the water had to be up the side, but the girls’ height was 2 inches less than the boys’) and sent me back to Amee. As before on every downward trek, my knees ached relentlessly, but I arrived back at base camp with over an hour to spare. I changed clothes, wiped myself down with some baby wipes, drank as much Red Bull as I could (for fear of sleeping through something important in the sermon) and talked to some of the racers that were hanging around.

While I was getting ready, the crew was devising a plan of action for the water-bucket carry back up to Colton. The boys figured I could carry the bucket, they could carry gallon jugs of water from the pond and I could fill it up at Colton. Laurel set off to ask an official if that was allowed or if I would get disqualified. The man she found said that I was supposed to carry water in my bucket, but if I were to spill some and need some more, I could get it from somewhere, emphasizing that last word.

Along the way to the church, I kept running into racers that I had met previously along the course. When they found out that I was still in, I got huge votes of confidence and lots of encouragement. Thank you, Death Racers. This much needed energy made me so happy when I needed it most.

It may look like I'm smiling, but I'm micronapping.

At church, we listened to a sermon about racing, death and religion but I can’t recall specifics because I really was trying not to fall completely asleep, but I do remember when Joe took the podium and said that there were 7 racers who were finished with the course and many others who were going to be going back out to finish after leaving church. He asked us to raise our hands if we intended to stay and finish. By his count, 22 people were still racing. Then he announced that we had all finished, the race was over.

What was I feeling at that exact moment? Disbelief and excitement. Disbelief that he was telling the truth…surely there’s a catch. Excitement that maybe he was telling the truth and I wouldn’t have to go back up the mountain! When it finally did sink in, I felt pride, relief and overwhelming surprise that I had finished. While finishing or reaching 48 hours (and there was a point on Joe’s mountain where I was just trying to get to 48 hours, the hell with finishing) was my goal, I never fully let myself believe that it was going to happen. And yet, here I was, one of 35 finishers. Out of 155 people that started and over 200 that signed up, I was in a small percent of those who stuck it out and kept moving forward.

There was a lot more talk about staying to finish the tasks if you wanted (and Susan was correct in assuming that the look on my face in one of the posted Facebook pictures was disappointment that I wouldn’t get to prove I could go on for 6 more hours) and I was torn with the idea for a few seconds. Was I really a finisher if I didn’t do the same amount of work as the other racers? But then the thought of going up another mountain sent my muscles into the fetal position so I had no qualms about stopping when Joe said it was okay to do so.

Relief? It's like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders...oh wait, that was the log.

Back at base camp, there was much rejoicing and much picture taking as can be seen here:

Overall, the Death Race really has been a life-changing experience. I met so many astounding individuals, rediscovered why I love each one of support crew (because they are caring, sacrificing, strong, amazing people), took myself physically and mentally to the edge and did something that few people will ever do (and live to tell): faced Death. I’ve said it many times, but will say it again – I can’t say that I had fun, but it was the most awesome weekend of my life.

Me, my skull and my frienemy, the log.

*********************

Afterword

In the 2 weeks following the Death Race, I would ask myself many times if I was a true Death Racer, having received much more support than most other people there (food and clothes at most checkpoints). Is it really Death Racing if there are people to encourage you, feed you and warm you up along the way? Also, the fact that I did not go up the waterfall haunted my steps. Ricky dropped after an amazing 33 hours 1/2 way through the barb wire after having climbed his way up the waterfall with his 3 ft log on his back. I can’t say for sure that I wouldn’t have done the same after ascending that treacherous path. A 180 degree turn from that thought is that I did see other racers taking shortcuts. At one point, Anita looked at me after 2 racers clearly did not do what they were told and I said to her, “they have to live with themselves, I have to live with me.” And that is the ultimate stand that I take on finishing the Death Race. It truly is an individual race. No one is watching anyone else, most of us have our heads down and we’re trying to force our bodies to move just one more step. The Death Race turned out to be whatever you wanted it to be and I accomplished what I set out to do: push beyond the reaches of my normal, comfortable life and see how my body and brain react. Regrets? The only semblance of a regret I have is that being a finisher means I don’t yet know where my limits are and that just means pushing farther next time.

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