Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wet and Wild Challenge Race

This morning was the Blount Memorial/Mountain Challenge Wet and Wild Challenge Race. It was a race designed as a team event for 2-person or 4-person coworker teams. I partnered up with my coworker Kari, who is in much better shape than me. There wasn't really a lot of information provided up front for the race, so we didn't know what to expect.

The Turtle and The Rabbit
Kari met us at the house at 7:15 this morning so that we could carpool since the race location was about 30 minutes away. Our team name was the Turtle and the Rabbit. Can you guess which one of us was which animal?! Our team colors were neon. Neon is a color, right? We arrived at Maryville College and saw the other people at the make-shift registration table. We signed in, got our shirts, and decided to go on a bathroom hunt.

At 8:30 the team captains (that was me) gathered around to get the rules and basic plan for the day. See, as I mentioned above it was a team race so all the events were geared around team building. We had 6 events to complete during the race. We were told that we were allowed to strategize and complete the course and events in any order that we wanted. The events that we needed to complete were: three 1-mile run/walks, wet t-shirt contest, wheelbarrow, canoe carry, 100-second dead hang, and a tower climb.

After our 8:30 captains meeting we had 5 minutes to confer with our teammate(s) to decide how we wanted to complete the challenge. We decided to do it in this order: wheel barrow, wet t-shirt contest, canoe carry, dead hang, walk/run, and tower climb. We were lucky that this was a do what you want kind of thing because David was along to take photos of all our efforts and in most other race environments spectators aren't allowed on the course. Below is a shot of each of our events!

We started with the wheelbarrow. You remember this field day activity from elementary school, right? Let me tell you, it's a lot easier to do when you are a kid (and when you don't weigh over 200 pounds). 
Kari "wheeling" me around.
Me "wheeling" Kari around.
Next, we have the "wet" t-shirt contest. See, this one was a bit lost on us. The t-shirts were frozen and the guy handing them out kept saying, "here's a hint, water melts ice." Well, I kept thinking that you were supposed to run through the water after we got the frozen shirt on. Suffice it to say, I'm an idiot. What they wanted you to do was to go soak the shirt in the sprinkler and then put it on, but I didn't do that. No, we didn't do that. We pulled the damn frozen thing apart and then I put it on and we ran off... No wet t-shirts for this girl on a 55 degree morning! No great shots of us pulling the shirt apart, but you can kinda see Kari grinning from my reaction to the cold.
You can't tell, but it's cold...

See the sleeve standing up straight - that's cause it's frozen!
Then we have the canoe carry. You had to dress out-which means put on your PFD and grab a paddle. Then you had to carry the canoe across a field and back. 
Dressed out - with my paddle in the PFD so I didn't have to carry it, too.

Hefting the canoe.

Almost done! 
Then we have the dead hang. On the registration form for the race they said that it was 120-seconds. Last weekend Kari and I decided we would practice hanging. It was a good idea, too, because we needed to practice. The bad thing about this hang, even though it was 20-seconds less than we had anticipated was that it wasn't on a pullup bar. It was on climbing pegs (is that what they are called?). No thumb holds. Terrible for your grip. But, we were smart, and Kari is tough, and we rubbed our hands in the dirt and hung on (pun intended) for the duration. When Kari couldn't go I jumped on. When I couldn't hang on any longer (5-10 seconds?) Kari would jump on. We got it done pretty quickly. Thank God. 
Hanging in there!

Rocking it out on the hang.
After this we decided to run a little. The loop was just under 1 mile. We ran two of the loops (well, walked and ran because I was concerned about my ankle since it was on grass) and came back to the tower to see if it was open, but all 5 belayers were working with people so we finished our run. It wasn't terrible and my hip flexor held up much better than I anticipated.
This picture makes us look like we are running, but we're not. It was a bitch of a hill.
Then came the tower. Luckily for us, Kari had climbed this tower at her freshman orientation (or something like that), and knew what to expect! I'm so thankful that she did it, too, because I don't know how I would have been able to do it. Here's just a few of the most flattering shots we've got. She did an amazing job. 

Finding footholds


Coming down (and almost landing on someone climbing the tower) after successfully reaching the summit.
We completed the course in one hour and 8 minutes. Kari wanted to finish in under an hour, and I bet we could have if we hadn't had to get Kari into a harness, but finishing 8 minutes over the goal was worth it for her to be safe. All in all it was a great morning. We had a blast and determined that we'd like to do it again next year!

I was chewing, but this is us post-race!
After we got our snacks we headed back to Knoxville and grabbed a pint at our favorite watering hole. Yes, it was before 11:00, but when you've walked more than 8,000 steps before that time in the morning, you deserve a cold one! And - I wanna say thanks to Kari. It was a great experience and I'm glad that we went through it together.

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