I put the last bit of my vacation time to use by giving myself an extra long weekend. I took a half day on Friday and a half day on Monday…all for the Living History Farms Cross Country Race in Urbandale, IA. Oh, and I spent some time bonding with my Iowan familia!
On Friday afternoon my mother and I headed out on the first leg of our road trip…Eau Claire, WI to Des Moines, IA…a glorious 5.5 hours of mother/daughter bonding. Right… The important part of this segment of the story is that we survived! The whole world knows my mother has issues reading a map, but I also need to add that she has trouble reading off the directions given by her GPS. Yup, the GPS gave her instructions and she had issues relaying them to me.
We met my cousin for packet pick up and dinner in Des Moines on Friday night. Earlier in the day she asked what time we would get down there. I told her between 6pm and 7pm, depending upon the driver – I drive faster than my mom. I should have said “depending upon the navigator”! Yay, we had some issues. Again, the important part is that we made it down there, alive and bruise free!
After we picked up our packets we headed to the Machine Shed for a pasta buffet. It was pretty good but the best part was the warm blueberry pie with ice cream at the end! Hey now, I was running a race the next morning…I needed my fuel!
The Living History Farms Cross Country Race is pretty popular and the hype behind it involves all the fun the runners get to have as they jump down an embankment, trot into a creek and then climb up the embankment on the other side…all in the beautiful weather that Iowa has to offer in November (note the sarcasm). The crazy runners do this multiple times and this year I had the honor of becoming one of those crazies!
I think we cross the creek about 6 times…I’m not sure, I lost count. I couldn’t feel my feet let alone formulate consecutive numbers in my head! I mean, my brain clearly wasn’t functioning…I was voluntarily running through knee deep creeks in November!
I ran this race with my cousin, Danelle, and her cousin, Jane. [No, I’m not related to Jane, it’s a mom/dad side of the family thing.] They picked me up at my hotel at 8:30am and we headed over the Living History Farms for the race. The race started at 9am and they had this timed out perfectly. We literally parked our car right near the finish, walked to the start, took a potty break and wiggled into the mass of runners. We stood at the start for about 10 minutes! This is awesomely wonderful when it is a sweltering 26 degrees! At least the crowd of people kept us warmer!
We started out and the first three miles were relatively uneventful. I overdressed a bit (who wouldn’t it was TWENTY SIX degrees out and I was planning on running THROUGH WATER!) and had to do a bit of finagling to get my long sleeved shirt off while running. I managed to do it…I’m talented like that.
The first creek crossing was just after Mile 3. All three of us were running together at this point and we followed Jane as she ventured out to find a route where we could bounce across on rocks. She was better at this than Danelle or I and she scampered on ahead of us. I told Danelle that I spent 5 hours in the car with my mother and paid good money for this race…I should probably experience it for all it was worth! We decided we would man up and actually go through the water for the rest of the crossings. Yay, we are dumb!
As soon as the water hit your body you were in instant pain. It was beyond discomfort, it was pain. While you were in the water your body would at least feel “numb” but as soon as you climbed out of the creek and started “running” again you realized just how stupid this race was! It literally felt like you were running on ankle numbs with bricks attached at the end.
It was mentally tasking just trying to convince your frozen feet to move forward. As soon as we got out of the creek we were running on an uneven forest floor and up hills. And by hills I really mean mini mountains…there was some tree hugging and weed yanking involved in a few of the uphill climbs. It was so difficult to keep your footing. Usually the soles of your feet let you know what is going on down there…this doesn’t happen when they are frozen!
Aside from my feet I was surprisingly warm. I wasn’t shivering and I was sweaty, my feet were just painfully frozen! My shins/calves didn’t even hurt, just my feet. The heels of my feet felt like a solid rock and my toes were not fans of being cold and wet!
We finally made it across the finish line. Our finishing time wasn’t impressive compared to a 7 mile road race, but this was no road race. I was happy to just get across the finish line! The official results aren’t up yet (well, they are, but only for the top 20 of each age group…we weren’t that fast) but we finished somewhere between 1:15 and 1:20 I think. I’m happy…I survived!
After the race we helped ourselves to donuts, hot cider and hot stew before heading back to the hotel for a steaming hot shower.
What does a person do when they have wet, muddy shoes, not outside faucet and two more days of traveling? Toss the shoes in the shower to ditch the mud and then hope for the best!
I’m sure the housekeeping staff loves this race weekend…there were quite a few runners staying at this hotel and when we walked in from the race the lady at the front desk mentioned that I wasn’t nearly as muddy as the others!
Once I was warm and dry we headed to the Jordan Creek Mall where we met Danelle and did some wish list shopping. Then Mom and I excitedly hopped back into my car for the three hour drive to Davenport. Again, there is sarcasm…we once again had issues with my mother properly reading the GPS and repeatedly changing our route. Eventually we got to our destination and all was good!
Oh, and is it any surprise to anyone out there that I am battling the beginnings of a head cold right now?! My throat hurts, my head hurts, I’m tired…ick. Is anyone surprised?! Yay, me neither. It is that stupid wannabe runner that lives inside of me that makes me do this!