Team Devil Horns Takes on the Quad Cities: A race report

This past Sunday, some friends and I ran the Quad Cities Marathon Relay.  For those of you out-of-staters, the Quad Cities are: Moline and Rock Island, IL and Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa.   (Oh, who am I kidding… I had to look that up. I’m from Illinois and I had no clue.)

A few highlights:

  • Packet pick up/pre-race went pretty smoothly. A nice local lady recommended the Blue Cat Brew Pub in Rock Island for dinner. The food was great, but the service was terrible. I was the only one brave enough to try the beer and it was just okay. I’d definitely go back and try some of their other selections some time.
  • The Quad Cities are a LOT nicer than I expected. I guess I didn’t know what to expect, but they had really cute shops, a quaint downtown area, etc. Definitely worth a visit.
  • Race day weather was *perfect*– it was a little chilly at the start and I got goose bumps when I was waiting at the relay exchange zone, but it was perfect for running. Sunny and about 67 or so.
  • The course was breathtakingly beautiful– It was a 5 person relay and 4 of us had scenic routes. There were 3 bridges and 4 towns. One of my teammates got to run on the Interstate bridge from IL to Iowa. Most of the routes ran along the river and it was just a picture-perfect fall day.
  • I’d never run a relay before, so I was a little apprehensive about getting from one leg to another and making sure we didn’t “miss” one another. Luckily, they had a well-organized shuttle system to transport runners from the start/finish line to their legs. My exchange zone happened to be 1 block away from our hotel. I could’ve walked there, but I wasn’t familiar enough with the area, so I rode the bus from the start/finish line and waited for about an hour.
  • My leg was the middle leg, so I wasn’t able to watch any of the other exchanges, but we didn’t get lost and no one had to run an extra leg because the next runner wasn’t there. Definite plus in my book.
  • The exchange zones themselves were well-run. There was a volunteer with a bullhorn yelling out bib numbers so you didn’t have to worry about missing the exchange. Each relay exchange was well-stocked with water and snacks, too.
  • Speaking of snacks—this race went above and beyond in the amenities department. In addition to the usual water/Gatorade/Gu, they had oranges, bananas, cold sponges and even Vaseline on the course. Which made for a *really* funny story when one of my teammates mistook the Vaseline for Gu.
  • As far as the actual running, it went pretty well. I haven’t really been training and the last two races I’ve entered have been disastrous (think: walking during a 5K). My leg was 5.6 miles and my *only* goal was to finish without walking… which I did.
  • The course I ran was scenic and uneventful for the most part. I ran from Rock Island (which isn’t an island) to Arsenal Island (which is). It’s also—according to Wikipedia the largest government-owned weapons manufacturing arsenal in the United States. (which explains the COUNTLESS volunteers in uniform—HEL-lo!!). The last mile and a half or so were along a scenic river path. I had studied the map prior to the race but forgot to pay attention to the mile markers, so when I got towards the end I was having a hard time calculating how much further I had to go.
  • I’ve never run on the second half of a marathon course before and I have to say—it’s different. The only people on the course were uber-fit marathoners and relay participants. So, for the most part I felt like I was running a training run. A training run with occasional snacks, a cold sponge and a gorgeous view of the river!
  • There was very little crowd support, at least during my leg. It didn’t really bother me because I only had 5.6 miles to go, but I think if I was running the half (or the full) I’d probably appreciate a little more crowd support.  But maybe my expectations were too high from my experience running the Illinois Half-Marathon in my hometown.  The volunteers were super nice as was almost everyone we met in the Quad Cities. Good folks, they are.
  • The race was definitely good for relay teams– there was a designated relay meet-up spot where we met our last teammate and we all ran in together. We each got medals and nice tech running shirts. No lame-o cotton t-shirts for this relay team.
  • After the race, we had our complimentary beers (Miller Light) and headed home. Everyone was raving about the course and the weather. Well, everyone except Bobbi who ran the last leg. It was a brutal out-and-back with no river view. She wasn’t impressed, but I can’t imagine how it must have felt for the marathoners to have to do that in the last miles of 26.2.
  •  I think the only *real* complaint we had about the race is that it is gun-timed and there are no splits for individual runners. I ran with my phone and my RunKeeper ap, so I know how fast I ran, but no one else does. And since our team started near the back, we don’t have accurate timing. Again, the scenery and “intimate” feel of the race definitely make up for this, but it sure would be nice to have more accurate timing
  • I’ve totally re-caught the running bug and wonder how much better I could’ve done had I actually *trained* properly for this race.  However, it taught me a valuable lesson:  It seems as though I’m more motivated by successes than failures.   I thought the last two botched races would be the “wake up” call I needed to get me running again.  Turns out, running *well* is what I needed to get going.  Running well, great friends, beautiful scenery, and a perfect day!

If you’re looking for a small(ish) fall race, I highly recommend trying it out. We are definitely going back next year and some of us are thinking of running the half. They also have a 5K and a 1 mi fun run for the kids. I really can’t say enough good things about this race and the Quad Cities in general.

And, now for the pictures:

Me flashing the Devil Horns at the finish line. (I hope to use this one day as a "before" picture)

Erin, Bobbi, and I on our way to the finish

Team Devil Horns Finishes together

Celebratory post-race beer!

SWAG

Metal

August 2010

I mentioned in my last post (way back in July) that I like to use this blog to record/remember things I’ve done.   So, here’s a quick re-cap of August 2010:

August 6– Pond day with Erin, Kim, Jamie:  Perfect weather. Perfect day.  Most amazing Frito/peanut butter/chocolate “dip” ever.  Ah-mazing.

Erin, me, Kim, Jaime at Erin/Jaime's cousin's pond in Sullivan

August 7– Run 4 Raley.  3rd year in a row.   2nd year “running” it, even though I walked almost half and came in a min slower than last year.  Yet another running FAIL.

August 20– Jersey Shore Bunco

Yes, I'm orange-- I planned it that way!

August 21– Twin City Travelers take on the St. Chux Derby Chix.  I wasn’t chosen for the 14 person roster, but I made one helluva cheerleader!

photo courtesy Jeff H.

August 24-26:  Trip with Kyle’s family to Tunica, MS for his birthday.  I came out the “winner” by only losing $100.

that's me outside our "roadhouse" hotel. Casino/lobby was very country-western, rooms were 80s "glamour"

August 27–  Second TCDG bout.  This time it was the ‘Paign (my team) vs. The Dames (newly formed ’3rd team’).  We lost, but it was a great experience. 

That's me in the pink helmet offering a whip to our Jammer, Therafist

August 29/3o–  Kyle’s birthday celebration extravaganza.  Good times had by all…

One of the "tamer" photos from that night...

Updates

Derby updates: Derby is pretty much consuming my life.

  • We drafted a 3rd team, the Damagin’ Dames and got 2 great new players on our team.
  • Our league is now a WFTDA Apprentice League.  This is a big deal for a 7-month old league.
  • We had our first intra-league scrimmage vs. the newbies from the Circle City Socialites We WON!   This is a super big deal for a bunch of people who had never really skated together and had zero idea what we were getting ourselves into.
  • I bruised (and then re-bruised) my tailbone at the scrimmage.  I also fell and bruised my hand pretty bad, but I’m okay. No serious injuries to report.  Just a blow to the ego.
  • We formed a  travel team.  I made the 20-skater roster. Our first practice was this past weekend and it was TOUGH, but fun. 
  • The first travel team bout is August 21 vs. The St. Chux Derby Chix (I’m in love with their logo).  Only 14 out of the 20 players will dress, but I’ll be there whether I skate or not. 
  • Our next home bout is August 27 at the Savoy Rec Center.  It’s my team (The ‘Paign) vs. the newly-formed Damagin’ Dames.  I’ll let you know when tickets go on sale.  I may or may not be skating.

Running updates:  not much to report, since I’m not really running these days.

  • I skipped a 5K last weekend due to my tailbone issues/lack of training.
  • I’m signed up for the Run 4 Raley August 7.  I should probably do some training so I don’t have a repeat of my last 5K debacle.

Life updates: you know, the stuff that *isn’t* running or derby

  • I was without a washing machine for a week and a half.   Mine broke and it took a while to get a new one.  We got a top loader w/o an agitator.  It makes weird noises, but at least I can wash my clothes.  Too bad the laundry *still* isn’t caught up.
  • Our Annual girls’ boat trip was a couple weekends ago. I took exactly one picture, which isn’t postable. 
  • Kim’s wedding was this past weekend.  She looked amazing.  It was a super fun time.  I have *slightly* more pictures of this event. I’m not my usual camera-happy self these days.
  • There’s a reason work is called “work.”   I’ll leave it at that.
  • I’m going to SoIL this weekend to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and niece.  It’s been waaayyy too long since I’ve seen them.
  • Maybe I’ll take a book. I think I’ve finished TWO books all year.  I’m sadly behind on my reading.

Blog updates

  • As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not blogging much these days.  I’d make a bunch of excuses, but the truth is– I don’t really enjoy it anymore.   I feel like there are plenty of other ways to track what I’m doing and the blog seems redundant.
  • However, I’ve referred to blog posts REGULARLY to remember what I’ve done.   So maybe I’ll continue posting “big” events.
  • Or maybe not.

Things that currently bug me, grammar edition

In an effort to prove that I have more things to talk about than running and derby, here are some grammar gripes.   All of them (with the exception of #2) were witnessed in ONE day of facebook postings.  I’d like to copy/paste the postings here, but there’s always a chance  I could embarrass someone and lose a reader.   And I can’t really afford that!

#1–  People who don’t know how to use an apostrophe.  And I’m not talking about whether it’s James or James’.   I’m talking about people putting apostrophes in normal words.  Like Friday’s.   Not the restaurant chain, either.   Like “I have Friday’s off this summer.”   Here’s a handy guide in case you need it:  http://theoatmeal.com/comics/apostrophe/.

#2– The number of times I used “like” in #1.

#3– Nouns as verbs. I get it… let’s Google someone.  Let’s facebook our relationship status.  Whatever.  But people do not verse one another in sporting events.  They PLAY one another.   Verse is a paragraph in poetry or a part of a song.  Not an action. 

#4– Pretending people are your family, when they’re not.  Or calling out one’s relationship when talking directly to them.   Examples:  calling someone a “sister” if they’re not, using the word “girlfriend” to describe a female friend, referring to a group of unrelated people (coworkers, teammates) as a family.  (I realize this isn’t technically a grammar issue, but roll with it).

#5– Extraneous letters, especially the letter ‘d.’    It’s congratulations or congrats, not congradulations or congrads.  Yes, even if the person who is being congratulated happens to be a graduate.  Also, just because we shorten it to “fridge,” doesn’t mean there’s a d in refrigerator.

Note 2:  I’m sure there are typos/grammatical errors in this post.  Feel free to point them out.  I deserve it.

Humble Pie: Kracker Classic 5K Race Report

I ran the Kracker Klassic 5K this weekend in my hometown (there is no link–that’s how small this race is!).   I was actually kind of excited to run this one because the race used to run by my house as a child and we always had a water station set up in our front yard.    Since it was a hometown race, I knew the route would be boring, but I’d see a lot of people I knew there*. 

I think this is my 6th 5K, so I should be fairly used to them by now, right?   Uh… No.  I FAILed miserably.   There are all kinds of excuses for why this happened:  heat, humidity, strength training the day before,…. etc., etc. 

But the bottom line is this:  I haven’t really been running consistently for months.  I thought it would be no problem to do “just a 5K.”  The morning of the race, I wasn’t really feeling it.  And I hadn’t pre-registered so I seriously considered skipping it, but I was kinda hoping to validate my surprise PR from last month.   I figured if I could finish under 32:00 I’d have an “official” PR to report.  No dice.  

My time was 34:5x, barely under 35 and almost a full 3 mins slower than last time.   This is my 3rd worst 5K time ever.  I ran better hungover for crying out loud!   I even took walk breaks. . .   in a 5K!   I ran a half marathon, damn it, I should be able to eek out 3 measly miles.   But I didn’t. 

The running gods have served me a piece of humble pie and I’m eating it.  I ran this morning with a renewed sense of purpose. I will NOT let heat/humidity keep me from training anymore. I *must* improve my times.  Otherwise, all that hard work for the half seems all for nothing.  I don’t even feel like a “real” runner right now.   

——-

* I did see a lot of people I knew there, which ended up being more intimidating than I originally thought.  However, because it was a small hometown race, I actually knew a lot of the winners, which was super cool.

Foto Friday: Warrior Dash x2

I actually had a completely different post planned for today, but then I got an email that the professional pictures from Warrior Dash were up.   I was stoked that they were even able to read my bib # for some of these.   I haven’t *quite* finished looking through the “lost and found” pics to see if I can find myself diving into mud.   Rest assured that if I do, part 3 will be on the way!

Charging the Hills

Navigating a mud slide

Jumping over fire!

And again (This is my fave. I might have to purchase)

Apparently my dismount is less-than-graceful!

I am a Warrior!

This past weekend, I participated in the Warrior Dash Midwest, a 5K (ish) trail run with 12 obstacles thrown in for good measure.   I “ran” it with my friend NIkki, but–to be honest– we did a fair share of walking, so I consider it more of a fun run than a race.  Potatoes, pot-ah-toes.

The Warrior Dash is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced… and I had no clue what to expect.  I hadn’t really trained for it and was a little nervous about the obstacles. Our heat started at 10:30 and it was already SUPER hot and sunny.   But, my lord, it was SO MUCH FUN.    We jumped over cars, crawled through tunnels, scaled walls, climbed up cargo nets, jumped over fire, etc.

And then there was the mud!  There were a total of 3 mud obstacles, but–as always– they saved the best for last.  After the fire jump, you have to crawl under barbed wire in a HUGE mud pit.  As soon as I came up to the pit, I hear the crowd chanting “Dive. Dive. Dive.”   So I dove.   I got mud in my eyes… in my ears… in my nose… everywhere.  It was sooo much fun.

The after-party was the best part… lots of nice people gave us their free beer coupons and we had a great time conversing with other Warriors.   The bling was pretty nice, too:  A standard cotton tshirt, a cool medal, and–wait for it– a warrior helmet!!  Can’t get much better than that.

On to the pictures (many of which were “borrowed” from other people’s facebook pages…)

I was most intimidated by the cargo net

The hay bales were much easier than I expected. More like "hay steps"

The fire jump was FUN... much higher than anticipated

The Army crawl throuh mud was definitely the most fun!

Correction: The afterparty was the best part!

Beer!!

Costumes!

Mud!

New friends! (this lady was clean when she started. Then her kids hugged her. We wanted our picture taken with "the mom")

Bling!

There was mud everywhere…

On our shoes

On my legs (note the pieces of hay/straw stuck on them, too!)

On my face

In my ear

on my camera

and my bag

We finally got hosed off by one of these...

but only managed to get *kinda* clean (and a LOT sun burnt for me)

In the end, I finished in about 46 minutes.  I’m not at all concerned about the time, though. It was SO.MUCH.FUN.  We’re already thinking of what we’re going to do next year!