Sunday, November 21, 2010

Living History Farms Race 2010 Recap

LHFR  was 7 miles of fun in cold creeks, mud, woods, fields, and all done surrounded by questionable characters from all genres.
  This years experience was a stark contrast for me from last year and on the positive side.  I PRed by 8 minutes without even trying.    It was a fantastic gauge of my fitness from last years race and I had more fun feeling stronger and more graceful jumping over logs and scrambling up the sides of hills.
My time from 2009 was 1:21:11 and I came in 679 overall woman and 84th in my age group.
This year I was 333 overall out of 3649 women and 41st in my age group out of 543 with a time of 1:13:51.  I am really wanting to race this next year!
   I learned some lessons from last year that I implemented this year with success. I left in plenty of time to make it to the race without having to run and jump the fence to get to the start line.  I did not have to wait in traffic or wait to park.  I sat in the van listening to music and staying warm before heading to the start line.
I ran a couple barefoot trail training runs with my buddy Forey in preparation to run this race barefoot but when the weather forcast said it was 29 degrees on race morning I decided to use my Vibrams Five Fingers KSO Treks and Injini socks.  I also wore some Zensah tights under my brown pin stripe pants and skirt.  I had a Merrell shirt on under my blouse and lacy strapless repurposed brides maids top.  All these running gear tools kept me quite warm under the cold wet race conditions. I have been wanting to test out the tights like this and they did not disappoint!  I stayed warm despite being wet and as long as I kept moving I was nice and toasty.

It felt strange not to be barefoot however a minimal shoe like the VFF did well in allowing for enough ground feel to feel confident in my posture and movements and yet protect my feet.  I hit my foot on one of those little cut off 2 or 3 inch saplings hidden under some leaves that probably would have damaged my foot if I had not had some protection.  I don't know how Forey does it!!

 At the beginning of the race there is lots of milling about checking each other out and looking for friends.  See the horse guy in the middle of the photo chatting with a bee?  It was quite chilly and the downside to the VFF is that when you are not moving around much, the cold from the ground seeps into your feet through the minimal sole and my toes started to feel numb from the cold.  So I tried to keep moving and stay out of the wind.

Heading to the start line were Ken and Barbie still in the box and a more than one set of Things.  The start of the race is based on gun time although we had timing chips for finishing time.  I don't think my time was much off though since I was pretty close to the front. Maybe 30 seconds or so could be counted off.
A superhero looks around while Mustard waits for Ketchup to tie its shoe. Beach balls were hitting people in the head everywhere and I tried to see team Never Nude from Arrested Development but I couldn't get back to them once people started to pack in to the race area.
My helmet really accentuates my pitbull jaw line and dimples.
 Here I am out of focus waiting for the announcement to the Baby Boomers and hoping Mustard doesn't puke behind me.  The announcement was started by an older gentlemen asking the boomers to raise their hands.     There were some cheers and then the announcer asked if the boomers liked to use computers.  There were some choice comments and laughter. The announcer then proceeds to tell them to suck it up and get with the times since next years registration will no longer have the mail in option.  Groans and moans followed shortly before the National Anthem.  The tall guys next to me that were blocking the wind could really sing!!

My clean and very cold feet waiting to get moving while snapping photos of my fellow crazy runners.
This guy was pretending to be a baby bird waiting to be fed a last minute snack before the gun goes off.
Not long after we had the usual lurching start and stop followed by laughter and a trotting start to the funnest race ever.  Gravel roads quickly reassured me that my choice in using FAT (Footwear As Tools) was a wise one.  The cold increases the discomfort of stepping on sharp pointy objects.  I wanted to enjoy this race not just get through it.
I thought of KittyK when I took this picture to document the terrain when some random ladies arse crashed my picture!  So I rolled with it since there were many people showing off the junk in their trunks!
The scenery could have been worse for sure. The Things were always there with their bright blue hair. Too bad the photos are a tad bit blurred.

Red tutus, mice, and underoos make me giggle.  The Run, Eat, Drink team had two out of three right anyways or at least their t-shirts say they do.  Hearing the comments from others about costumes is just as funny as seeing them yourself.   I didn't meet up with anyone at the race so I made friends along the way.
But its ok to laugh by yourself especially at events like this!
I would love to be a race photographer and get pictures of peoples fronts at a race.  I heard someone make a dragon comment and the dragon guy said he was some Japanese character that I can't remember now.

We ran through the different areas of the old town area of the farm.  The race was sponsored by the Iowa Beef Council and there were signs along the way.
 "Beef.  Its whats for runners."  is what the sign says.  Its hard to read though when the eye is drawn to the tall rather handsome looking fella with his tighty whiteys on the outside of his pants.
This tunnel is the reason that the race caps off at 7,500.  The total was met this year in record time by the way.  I want to stay up late next year and see if I can sign up right at midnight when it opens. Have you ever noticed that people get loud and crazy when in a tunnel?  There wasn't any bunching up at this bottleneck closer to the front but last year we had to wait a bit and sort of shuffle through.
This guy looked cool but must have been freezing in that suit.  It has a blower in there to keep it inflated.  Humans are brilliant in the comedy department.
This photo should be in one of those caption contests.  Fairies running next to the Bung Racing guy. This is Beavis and Butthead heaven right here. 
I really wish I would have followed Santa and his reindeer and watched how they made it across all 9 of the water crossings!
Maybe Venkman helped them after clearing the ghosts out of our way.
There was a definite underlying Dr. Zeus theme with a wacked out version of "The Fly Went By" being played out.  A pirate and parrot chasing a cow.....chased by grass man....
chased by Cougars oh wow.  Alright enough with the cheese.
This race was for the most part run by adults.  I was inspired by Anne who I believe was in the 70's and over category.  She was moving along a fast pace when I came up to her!!  I want to be like her when I am her age. There were several kids running it as well.  There was a 10 or so year old that was trying to scramble up the side of the steepest and muddiest hill while being pulled up by his dad. He reminded me of my oldest son Sam.  It felt weird for a moment to think that I had an 11 year old kid. Weird.

  I had to shove the kid up the hill at one point when he was falling and starting to pull his dad down with him right on top of me! Sorry to grab your arse kid but I wasn't going to let you loose all that ground you had just gained and land on me in the process.  They both made it up and I laughed out loud at the top when I realized that it was the same hill that I had to stop and bend over trying not to throw up last year!!

We passed by my future house design minus the pond and add some hills and more trees.
  Just around the bend from the cool house was the precursor to the mud and water crossings.  I do not envy the other thousands behind us that got the worst of this patch of yuck.  There were huge holes and limbs hiding amongst the grass. Again, how Forey runs this barefoot is amazing!

  Its good form to help your fellow runner out when they can't get up the hill and are stuck.  At one of the middle water crossings I grabbed some chick under the arm and hauled her up out of the water when she tripped trying to get up out of a creek bed.  It wasn't all altruism when she was going to take me down if she fell and she was slowing me down but I was glad to be there and keep her from going in the water up to her neck!
Notice the guy with the running figure tattoo on his calf.  He and his buddies, one of which was wearing VFF would be around from this point on.  I just couldn't shake these guys!  Hi Jeremy if you are reading this, nice to meet another VFF wearer!
This is the first of nine water crossings and the easiest by far.  I realized quickly that it takes too long to get my frozen hands out of my gloves to get my camera put away in the plastic water proof pouch that would tuck into my SPIbelt.  I didn't want to bunch up traffic and just bounding in the water and then scrambling up the bank on the other side in one big mass of movement was the best approach for the water. If you take too long someone would eventually push you in anyways and I didn't want to find that out for myself!
  I spotted the kilt wearing guy on the right and wondered if he had to wear underwear.   Don't stop and talk people, just dig in and go!
I found that my gloved fingers and VFF toes made for super easy ascents of the muddy banks.  The ground feel of the VFF was incredible albeit painful at times over the larger rocks in the stream beds.

  This is the last of the photos from the actual race course.  After that first dip in the icy water I found that the faster I ran the warmer I stayed so at that point I ran like a barbarian.  I love the light quick steps of being a barefoot runner.  I zipped in between people and felt confident of my footfalls since they were right under my center of gravity.   It was one of those days when everything seemed to be in sync with my body.  I think it must have been the goggles.
  There was a long downhill right before the end that I was so glad again to be wearing minimal shoes for.  I leaned forward and went with it without worrying about my soles getting chewed up on unknown hidden objects in the tall grass.  I was flying down that hill and at the base there was a huge long to climb over.   I had enough momentum built up that I just leaped on top of it and then lept down.  It would have been ugly if I hadn't have nailed that move but man was it fun!
I recognized the finish line just past a line of evergreens at the base of the downhill with a log to leap over.  I kicked into high gear and finally thought about beating my time from last year.
  I gave it what I had left and sprinted to the finish to see my time at 1:13:51.  There were many volunteers waiting to cut off the timing chips and hot apple cider was calling my name up the road.
Here are some dirty Things with saggy pants and a dirty dude in a red dress.  Oh how I love this race!
Rock on.
Have you ever noticed that photos never do justice to hills or mud?  
They served stellar hot apple cider of which I had four scrumptious cups. Maybe it was five...
They also served donuts, bagels, and hot beef stew with homemade biscuits provided by The Machine Shed.
If you don't know already, I have loads of ridiculous food intolerances.  Two of my four sons share my intolerance to gluten, casein, soy, and most nuts.  The limitations are appreciated when I am trying to maintain healthy eating habits and that hot cider made the call of those donuts a little less tempting!
Just as I was ready to leave I ran into Forey.  He is an icon at local races with his barefoot ways.  The race officials made him wear underwear this year.  Really, why would a guy in a loincloth wear underwear and what is with our aversion to nudity in this country anyways.  Bunch of prudes!  Forey said he would rather run naked but had to abide by the rules.  You kilt wearing fellas will understand I'm sure.  Forey wears a kilt to run in most days and has for years now.
We walked around looking at costumes while filling up on more cider and getting some stew for Forey.  I was amazed at how many people wanted their picture taken with him.  I mustered a few smiles but my heart was not in it any longer.  I was frozen and  longing to hunt down my van that I didn't remember where I parked and get home and into a hot shower.  Being cold sucks after a while!
I sat around the house watching Harvey Birdman with my dear hubby and relaxing.
The race shirts are awesome this year with a bright blue color and sweet graphic and go well with my goggles.
Goggles always look better with a little bit of mud on them. 
Until next year Living History Farms Race, its been uber fun and thanks to the volunteers that make this race the best race of the year!  

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I provide Bradley Method childbirth education, doula, belly casting, placenta encapsulation, and post partum doula services.
I serve families in Kitsap County, Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo, Bremerton, Silverdale, Kingston, Port Townsend, Bremerton, Port Orchard, and the greater Seattle area. email me atangiebeehotz@gmail.com with any questions you might have