Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Mishmash - Beach Palooza Endnotes

Thanks for all of your patience during this week of palooza posts.  I promise, this is the end.  But really, if I hadn't been posting all of the crazy pictures, I would have just been whining about my upcoming surgery.  So see?  I saved you from that.  P.S.  Come back Monday for the whine. ;)


Speaking of that race (oh, WERE we???), I saw on the BP facebook page that one runner had videoed the race as he ran it (In a ridiculously fast time of 27 minutes. Seriously?!?  I have no hope of ever running a regular 5K in 27 minutes, much less one with obstacles!  Poor guy, he definitely didn't get his money's worth, either.  Slow and steady, dude.) - I guess he strapped the camera to his chest.  Anyway, even though he speeds up the boring running parts, it's a little long, but if you want to see the race as it happens (and the obstacles that we didn't manage to photograph), here are the You Tube links:

Part 1 - Around the 3 minute mark he hits the platforms.  Pause it and look how far it is from one to the next.  Nevermind how easy he makes it look. ;)
Part 2 - Must have been a waterproof camera, as you'll see when he goes in for the icy swim!

After the race we hung around and watched other runners jump over fire.  It was really fun to cheer them on - I felt a strong kinship whenever an overweight woman did it.  Yes!!!  You GO, ladies!!!  Love that they were brave enough to get out there and do this - I wouldn't have had the nerve 100 pounds (or even 50) ago!  Then we went out for a late lunch - we were all STARVING.  When we walked into the restaurant, Jeff immediately notified me that he wasn't splitting a burger with me - he wanted a whole one.  So fine, I made the sacrifice and managed to eat one all by myself.  We did get a huge cookie to split:
This picture cracks me up because Kelly is dispensing Motrin from her gigantic bottle to all of us - she poured a handful and we were all "two please" and "four please" - well, maybe you had to be there.  We weren't going to let a little pain stop us from enjoying the rest of the day!

And speaking of pain - yes, my ankle hurt more than normal.  But not enough to stop me during the race, luckily.  So I guess it's a good thing I'll be having that surgery on Tuesday.

Later on, after we finally got cleaned up, we hurried to the Strand, where our favorite places were:  Fit to Run and La King's Confectionery.  Unfortunately, Fit to Run was closed!  Sad faces:
 My favorite running store!  We went back on Sunday and got to shop and chat with the owners - they run the USAFit Galveston program and do a lot of runs from the store.  Except for the occasional hurricanes, Galveston would be a really fun place to live!

Since we couldn't get our running store fix, we went for the next best thing - ice cream at La King's!  Kelly and I posed while Jeff took our picture:
Notice the man making creepy eyes in the window?  Chuck slipped into the store and managed to get in the picture and make us laugh when we realized what he'd done!  As you can tell, we had a good time. :)

Oh, and finally - the best ice cream in the world:
Now THAT'S what I call a race reward!

I know you are probably Palooza'd out, and I thank anyone who is still reading after this week.  I have to tell you that this was such a fun race to do, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  To paraphrase what Anne wrote in one of the comments this week, "obstacles" became "confidence builders" and that is so true - I felt about 10 feet tall when I finished this race.  Loved every minute of it!
My medal - this was a fun one to earn!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Beach Palooza Recap - Part 4

Bear with me - we're almost at the finish line.  But first, we got to play with giant beach balls!
That's Chuck heading in to the beach ball pit - you had to make your way through a bunch of elastic "ropes" first, though.  Sounds simple, right? 
Hah!  Woman down.  At least it was a slow descent to the ground - I got tangled up and  managed to hit the sand.  Holding onto the elastic the entire way down - hey, it really stretched!
 But look - immediately, this nice young man was offering me a hand up.  That was the cool thing about this race - strangers were helping each other all over the place.  Nice!
 Jeff paused from throwing beach balls at me long enough to take this picture - this was a fun obstacle and definitely felt very Beach Palooza-like!
Jeff and I exiting the ball pit.  I managed to stay on my feet at this end!

(The next pictures are lifted from the official photographer's site, and, as someone who worked for a photographer for four years, I feel the need to say that I did buy some of these pictures...I know they work hard at these events, and count on selling some shots to stay in business.  Of course I don't want to wait for the real pictures to come in the mail, so you're seeing the proofs.)

OK, here goes - this is what I was most excited about...FIRE!  We jumped FIRE!!  Twice!!!  It was scary and exciting and crazy and I'm so glad we did this!!!
 This fire looked to be at least 5 feet high as we approached it!  OK, maybe just in my mind.  But still - FIRE!
Jeff and I, catching air!  Although I think I actually went through the flames more than going over them.  Short legs, what can I say?
 This was an exhilarating feeling, to have jumped FIRE!  Twice!!
 Chuck was just to the left of Kelly (in the picture) - we all jumped at the same time.  I wish the photographer would have caught all four of time(!) we'll have to be closer together.

Just one more obstacle left - the icy swim.  They weren't kidding!  I don't know how they managed to make the water so cold, but it was.  And it felt dang good.  Some people were wading through it, but the race officials were encouraging everyone to plunge in, so of course we did!
 Jeff and Chuck going for a nice swim...
 Check out the guy on the left - he was going all out!  Love the enthusiasm...wonder if he realized the "pool" was only two feet deep?
 Kelly and I getting ready to slither into the pool.  It was salt water.  Really, really salty water.  I think I was laughing as I dipped into the water and got a mouthful - blech!
Soaking wet never felt so good - this was the perfect obstacle to end the race!

After that, we headed to the finish line! 

This shot cracked me up, because the photographer caught OUR photographers doing their thing!  It's really great to have such supportive husbands who not only are willing to participate in the crazy adventures that Kelly and I sign up for, but also carry the camera and document our fun.  Thanks, Jeff and Chuck!
And the view from the other side...
Woohoo, finished!!!  We did this race in the leisurely time of 1:13 - yes, a 5K in an hour and 13 minutes.  Hey, we wanted to get our money's worth - why rush through it?  (that philosophy originated from the original slow runner, John Bingham)
Hot, sandy, wet - and extremely proud of ourselves!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beach Palooza Recap - Part 3

Remember how in Part 1 of the recap, I noted that everyone was walking to the obstacles?  After that platform one, I understood why.  Not only was it hot, but dang - the adrenalin would ramp up for each obstacle and then you'd need a bit of a breather before the next one.  Which was the super high cargo net climb!  We watched other runners doing this one while we waited for our wave to start.  The first thing I noticed?  There were no pads on the ground, should one fall.  I was thinking there would be gym mats, or some sort of inflatable bouncy thing.  But no.  Just hard sand.  That would probably explain why the waiver we had to sign at packet pick up was so long!
This is what we saw before we started the race.  *gulp* That thing is HIGH!  My conservative estimate is four stories.  My mind's estimate was 100 feet!

Now, maybe I was on a bit of a high from getting through the platform obstacle, but for whatever reason, I was pumped and ready to climb this one!  My strategy going into it was to climb near one of the support posts, thinking that the ropes might be a bit tauter.  Not sure they were, as there was plenty of give and sway, but I just held on and climbed up.
That first step up was a doozy!  I know I'm short, but I don't normally notice it like I did during this race.  Almost every obstacle was made for tall people.  But that's OK - my short legs and I made it!
Going up!
Photo op - I surprised myself at how comfortable I felt on the ropes!
King of the world, baby!!!
On solid ground again - now THAT was fun!!!

Kelly faced her fears on this obstacle - she does not like heights, but she did it.  Be sure and check her blog for her take on this.  It was so exciting to watch her conquer this obstacle!!

After the cargo net, we faced a series of sand dune hills.  Now, before the race, we noticed that runners were dipping down when they reached the bottom.  We thought "oh, they must have dug a hole" - um, guess what we discovered on our way down the first hill?  They did, indeed, dig a hole...and filled it with water!  Fun times, fun times!
Jeff at the very top, followed by Kelly and Chuck.  Up a hill, down a hill...
Running through the water, climbing up the hills...all in a day's fun!

Not pictured is the fishing net crawl, due to the "no butt shots" pact that Kelly and I made, and also the chain-ladder obstacle that you crab-crawled across (we were all doing it at the same time) and the walk the plank (again, all doing it at the same time).  That one was scary - you walked up a narrow plank, then down (I got on my hands and knees at that point) and then it leveled out and I stood up and walked across and then down to the sand.  Even Jeff was a little uneasy on that one - the planks were very narrow.  I discovered that my childhood dreams of being an Olympic gymnast on the balance beam (hello Olga, hello Nadia) were probably best left at that.

Next up...giant beach balls, FIRE, and an icy swim!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Beach Palooza Recap - Part 2

I know I promised the REALLY scary obstacles, but since I have pictures, here's another set of walls.  We had to climb through them - along with some high walls, we had to make sure and duck so we wouldn't bang our heads.
Kelly's foot is all that I'm showing in this picture due to our "no butt shots" pact we made about all the pictures that were taken.
More climbing, pulling and heaving.  Hey, we earned our bruises!
Kelly liked this shot because her foot touched the ground before Jeff's - there was a little friendly competition going on between those two runners throughout the race!

After the walls, we hit the platforms, aka "Lighthouse Leap" - the race organizers had posted a picture of this on their Facebook page on Friday.  I saw it and got nervous.  I could just picture me jumping from one platform to the next, slipping on the sand, falling backward and smacking my head against the platform behind me.  Oh, and I may have (read:  did) shared that fear with Kelly.  Sorry for putting that into your head, Kel!  This one was scary.  People were going really slow on it.  People were also walking around other words, skipping it. 
Jeff climbed on the first platform and started across.
 I held back.  He turned and said "come on!"  I started on the platform that the woman in the orange shorts is on.  They all wobbled, but that one was REALLY wobbly.  So I climbed off and got on the platform directly behind Jeff.  Stood up and froze.  This was NOT going to happen.
This is me saying "do you SEE how FAR that next platform is?  I'm not jumping!"
I was just about to get off the platform here.  Then I told Jeff I'd only jump if he came down and held my hand to steady me.  At that point the man with the blue painted-on sideburns and mohawk held up his hand and steadied me as I jumped to the next platform.  What a nice guy!  What a scary jump!!!
From then on, Jeff would jump ahead, reach his hand out (and it was QUITE a reach - these were farther apart than I liked), I'd grab on and he'd pull as I jumped.  It was scary every single time.  But we made it across, and thanks to Chuck's photography, I have proof!
Somehow I ended up jumping ahead of Jeff - yeah, I felt pretty dang good about that one!!!
Landing on the last platform - nice shot, Chuck!  I was very glad to have had Jeff there for this obstacle...there is no way I would have done this one on my own.  Also?  I see challenges on Survivor where they do this, and I have a whole new respect for those contestants!

Next up?  The VERY HIGH cargo net climb...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Beach Palooza Recap - Part 1

You guys.  This was so much fun!  And scary!  Holy crap - I did not realize some of the obstacles would be as challenging as they were...when Kelly and I first signed up for this race, we saw pictures of pool noodles and giant beach balls - fun, right?  Oh my.  The fun stuff was there, but also some things that quite honestly, I can't believe I did.  There are days when I look at myself and wonder "who ARE you?" and Beach Palooza was definitely one of those days!  This was not something I ever would have considered doing back when I was overweight.  No way, no how.  Pretty cool how much my world has expanded as I've shrunk.

(I'm sure you all will be sick and tired of hearing about this by then end of the week, but because we ended up with so many fun pictures, and I can't stand to NOT show you everything, I'm going to break up the recap into several days.  You're welcome?)

Part 1
The strange thing about this race was that it started in waves...and our wave time was 11:30.  Which, normally?  You'd be finished and enjoying a nice post-race meal by then.  Also?  It was H-O-T in Galveston that morning.  Probably the upper 80s - and we hadn't even started running yet!  Welcome to Texas.  But hey, you can't really complain - being on the beach in late September under sunny skies?  This is when we get rewarded for living through those crazyhot Texas summers!

We picked up our race packets and posed with our pineapple hats - every racer got a pineapple hat and a t-shirt, and a finisher's medal at the end.  My kind of race!
I'm thinking our Christmas card picture?  LOL
I have no idea why my pineapple hat stem is going against the wind.  Always gotta be a rebel, that's me!

We waited in our corral to start, where we could see the previous waves of runners doing some of the obstacles.  We noticed that a lot of them were walking.  Huh.  We'd soon find out why they were walking!  Anyway, we started off, and I ran for the first time in nearly 6 months!  Being on sand, it felt strange, but still, it was so nice to actually run.  For a little bit, anyway - I had to take frequent walking breaks, but we all had decided to stick together, so we just enjoyed the race.  We ended up going a mile and a half down the beach - no obstacles, just running/walking.  Finally we hit the water station, got some much-needed ice-cold water, and turned around to head toward the obstacles.
We were really hot and parched - that water hit the spot!

First up was an easy one - we ran through hanging padded mats:
Here we go!
We giggled our way through this one!
I love this picture because it shows the relief on our faces at having completed the first obstacle!
Kelly and I being radical...

Then we hit the wall - literally.  A row of walls that we had to climb over.  I don't know about you, but the last time I climbed something like this, I was a kid, climbing over my neighbor's fence (hey, why go around and use the gate when you can climb over, right?).  The first wall was higher than my waist!  After a moment of hesitation, I just threw myself onto it and heaved over.  It was crazy - neither Kelly nor I could believe we were doing this...but we did!
I'm laughing as I heave myself over the wall!
Do you see the woman in the white tank top next to me?  See how the wall is above her waist?  These were tough for a short person like me!
I love this picture because it looks like I have my game face on and am RUNNING!  Mostly I was just happy to be done with climbing over those walls.

After the walls came the pool noodle forest - this is what sold us on signing up for the race in the first place!
This was colorful and fun!
While I have thrown my arms up in victory over conquering the pool noodles, Kelly was still having a moment with them and did not want to leave.

We all had sand in our shoes, but didn't think we'd be getting wet until the icy swim at the very end.  Imagine our surprise when we came across this - I'm proud to say that we went for it and splashed right in.

Next up...the REALLY scary obstacles!