Monday, July 18, 2005

An Account of W.A.R. - Women's Adventure Race

This past weekend my sister Emily and I participated in W.A.R. It was an adventure race for teams of 2 women that included mountain biking, running/walking, a water portion, and mystery events. It benefitted the Young Survival Coalition, a group supporting women under 40 with breast cancer.

I ran across W.A.R.'s inspiring website when I was training for the triathlon. One night when Emily told me on the phone about her recent work-out efforts, I mentioned the race to her and asked her if she wanted to do it. Then next day I emailed her the link. She used to work for a breast cancer foundation. It looked like so much fun, and was for such a good cause, she couldn't say no.

If you know Emily, you know that she is not a natural born athlete. That is what makes her participation even more inspiring! Although it is not her nature to sign up for something so adventurous, she stepped outside her box and did it anyway. She bought a mountain bike, and she practiced running on the treadmill at her gym, and took the plunge.

Part of the challenge of an adventure race is not knowing what will be asked of you -- we knew there would be some running (up to 2 miles) and biking (up to 6 miles) in between mystery events (which could be anything from obstacle courses to word puzzles). And there would be a water event, in which we'd have to take a water craft of our choosing (anything from an inflatable canoe to a kickboard).

The morning of the race was exciting; so many teams of women, many of them in inventive costumes -- because there was a costume contest as part of the race. The best costumes we saw were 2 women decked out like Wonder Woman (red boots and all) and 2 Valkyries a la Wagner. Several teams had capes, too. We just had matching athletic tops.

First up was the jog. I assured Emily we could "hustle" more than jog. Part of the jog included scrambling up a huge pile of gravel and back down again. We jogged through the trees, and the smell of pines, sunscreen, and OFF reminded me of camping. At the end of the jog we had to clip our feet together and walk back 3-legged.

Then we got on our bikes. Along the bike route we stopped for many mystery events. Once we had to put on fuzzy handcuffs and go through a ropes obstacle. Then we had to walk across a 8 inch pipe on the ground without falling off, otherwise you had to start over. Emily crossed with no problem. I went 3/4 of the way and fell off. I started over, then fell off at the same point. Only the 3rd time I had better luck! We got back on our bikes. It was hot. We stopped in a field and picked up a quiz. Stationed around the field were 7 questions (math and word puzzles) and we were required to answer 4 correctly before moving on. We did 5 to be sure. Emily was great - quickly making 3 letter words out of "WOMEN" and solving the word scrambles while I wrote down the answers. We got all 5 that we tried correct- wohoo!

As we returned with our bikes, Anthony and the kids spotted us! Anna leaped and danced around us, shouting, "We found them! We found them!" Colin ran to me an giggled. We were thrilled to see them, and to know the race was half over. We grabbed our float and went down to the lake.

Anna let us use her whale float, Shami (Shami because its a girl, and Shamu is apparently a boy name). We were also required to were life jackets which were a big pain! The lake was just gross -- tons of mud and seaweed most of the way out. It was sprinkling when we got in, and by the time we got to the first buoy, they waved us in due to lightning. We were glad we got to do the water portion and cool off in the water. There was also a float contest, so some people had made really creative floats with PVC pipe and decorations. The canoes were definitely the fastest and cleanest, though.

We got back on our bikes for another loop and it really started to pour. This was great for us as it had really been heating up before this. It was not so great for the volunteers on the course, who were shivering in their drenched cotton T-shirts. I also worried about Anthony and the kids, but apparently they were fine under a tent.

The course was muddy and the rain drops were stinging our shoulders. We saw one older lady fall off her bike. Fortunately she was fine, and got up as we passed, saying, "Its OK - I'm tough!" We didn't fall, though we did push up some hills. The cool rain gave Emily a second wind. Soon we could see the end!

At the end of the race, we had to run the "Gauntlet," an obstacle course like on military training camps. OK, it wasn't that hard, but you get the idea - over a rope wall, rolling under ropes, crawling through tunnels, then wallowing through the above muddy tank to get to the finish. It was muddy and gross, but we were already mucky and soaked, so we just laughed through it.

At the finish line we got a medal, a $50 spa gift certificate, and hugs from Anthony and the kids. Then there was a large meal by Carrabba's - grilled chicken, penne pasta, and Caesar salad -- it was awesome. Emily and I waited for a free chair massage, and Anna got one, too, saying shyly, "I like it!" Then we drove home for a well deserved shower.

We did it in 2 hours, 12 minutes, and we figure we were in the 25th percentile (about 75% of the finishers in front of us, 1/4 behind us). Click for Emily's version here. It was loads of fun, and I was so proud of Emily for doing it with me!


Anonymous said...

That's awesome you guys took part in that women's race! It looked like you guys had a great time,despite the different,hard challenges. Love you all-Bevie-

Emily said...

Thanks for your support, Jenn! It was fun, and I was happy to have completed it. Now, we can plan on Dallas' W.A.R. in September!

messymama said...

Wow. Jenn, you never cease to amaze me. And now you've corrupted Emily. Watch out Stephanie! They're coming for you next! But seriously, good on ya', ya' crazy Amazons!


Daddy said...

You both look like little tadpoles coming out of the water!
I'm glad you did it, it looks like it was a lot of fun.
By the way, did you know I have a new computer?