Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fake it 'til you Make It

I've been spending some mental energy trying to find my way back into a training routine and have pretty much come to the conclusion that I just need to use this mantra for now: "Fake it 'til you make it".  In other words, even after slacking around most of the month of September - I don't really feel the mojo coming back.  I'm not really "missing" training.  But my scale has seen a little upward creep (just a couple lbs, but I don't like the trend).  And I think the mental funk is a vicious circle with the lack of training not really helping.

I happen to know that this philosophy has worked for me in other areas of my life in the past.  Throughout college, I had a lot of doubt as to my ability to get through it.  But I always pictured those four years as a torrential rain storm that you just had to duck your head down and charge through.  Fake that those doubts weren't there until I proved to myself that they were unfounded.  And then after our kids were born, let's just say that we had kind of lost that loving feeling.  I tried seeing a counselor that was offered through our employee assistance program in hopes of finding some coping strategies for how overwhelmed I felt most of the time.  He was completely clueless (note to self - don't ask a male counselor with how to cope with being a working mom).  But while I was on the verge of calling it quits, I decided to fake it for a little while and hope that things would get easier as our babies grew - which for the most part turned out to be true.  I'm glad I didn't let a little downswing in the cycle of married life be the end of it.

So for now, I'm going to set a goal to get in 3-4 workouts a week and just pretend to myself that I am enjoying them.  Usually, I am glad I did it (whatever the workout is) once it is over.  And I know from last year that as I see progress in my abilities, that reinforces my positive feelings towards workouts.  And I know that with more excercise, my moods on all fronts should even out a little which will make me a happier person in general.

So the other day I texted my "bike dad" Walter and set up a ride for this morning.  He needed to go pretty early and it was only 50°, but it worked out fine.  I dressed for it and only noticed the cold on my ears and nose.  We did a 23 mile loop around Jefferson City with plenty of hills to "build character" (his words).  I was sucking wind after almost no biking this month.  But I hung in there and "faked it" enough to finish. 

We had stayed up late last night at a 40th birthday party for a couple friends.  Thankfully, I chose not to drink so I wasn't hungover, but a nap was in order.  The weather warmed into the 70s and after napping, my husband and I took a walk for a couple miles around the neighborhood.  Hope that keeps me from being quite so sore tomorrow.  I have a super long day on tap with trying to prep a set of preliminary street plans for presentation to the City Aldermen on a project about an hour from here.  So tomorrow I'll give myself a rest day, but I'll have to see if Stacy wants to run on Tue night to continue my "faking it".  If she can't, I'll just have to do it anyway and pretend I'm enjoying it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Finding my Happy Place?

What is with me?  Last summer I was totally on board.  I did most of the workouts in the "Just a Slice Above a Couch Potato" training plan and finished my first two sprint triathlons.  Then I continued on through the winter with mostly getting in weekly S/B/R workouts (until the cold got the better of me and I tried to build my running up while letting biking mostly go).  With the mild winter, I managed to get back on the bike and get a bit more consistent in the pool by completing CTER's 140.6 between mid-Feb and mid-March.  With the purchase of my new-to-me road bike, I ramped up to doing longer bike rides.  But there were signs.  The wheels were coming off the rails as I approached the race season.

Somewhere along the way, I ran out of training mojo.  I managed to finish my first duathlon in April with only two actual brick workouts.  Then I was kind of hit or miss through the busy times surrounding the end of school and trying to find my way through my first summer of having both kids home.  But I still managed to hang in there with at least a few workouts to prep for two more sprint tri's.  While I had major improvements from my 2011 races, I wasn't feeling the love and could never really make myself to commit to the "what's next" races that I was browsing. 

Part of me wonders if it is because I had started to feel a bit more complacent - the victim of "good enough".  My weight was out of the "morbidly obese" category and was hanging pretty stable in the low 160's without a lot of "effort".  I was a little faster (though still at the back of the pack) and had a little more endurance (never really felt like I couldn't do what I set out to do).  I was still occassionally heading out for a long bike ride or a long run with friends - odd when nearly all my training in 2011 was done solo.  Compare 2011 when my husband lacked faith in my ability to finish my first tri, I set out to prove him wrong - to in 2012 when he lacked faith that I could finish anything longer and I let him convince me it was so.

I still feel so inspired by the bloggers that have conquered the various triathlon race distances.  But I'm not in the frame of mind to know what I want to work towards.  Do I want to someday do an Ironman?  I'm not sure.  It seems so far out of the realm of reality right now.  But maybe I need some kind of super big hairy ass goal to motivate me (though probably not THAT hairy).  Maybe I need something to push me out of that comfort zone.  I don't know what it will take for me to find my "happy place" with regards to my training (or other areas of my life too).  Struggling a bit with it all right now.

But I don't want to be sitting here in a year still wishing I had done more.  I don't want to be sitting in the same 5 lb range of weight (or worse yet - having gone back up any).  I don't want to be still searching for my "happy place".  So I need to come up with a course of action and start down the path.  Even if I take some wrong turns along the way, I want to break out of this mental rut.

I'll probably do a few 5k's this fall, but probably more along the lines of "racing to train" than anything.  Races are fun and most of the 5K's benefit some kind of charity.  But I need to figure out how to recommit myself and get on some kind of plan, working towards some kind of goal.  I seem to need that.  Lots of things to think on.

Side note: I have the disposable camera from the Epic Mud Run and the Prison Break ready to get developed.  I'll do a proper race report and picture dump soon.  SuperKate had the best report on the Prison Break though so if you don't follow her already - go over there and check it out!

Want to give a shout out to my running friend Susan who finished her first half marathon this weekend.  Another source of inspiration right here with me!  I can't wait for our next run to hear all about it. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Night Run

So after a long day of getting almost everything done except the million and one things that I really needed to get done, I rushed home from the office (ok, not technically "my" office - the surveyor's office) and got home just in time to miss out on the housework (oops) and catch the tail end of a paltry dinner (frozen pizza) and rush back out the door to take my daughter to Brownies where I got conned into taking on a FOUR-badge booklet on the Wonders of Water (in OneHourIronman language - my "bailiwick" so I guess all will be ok).

But also while at Brownies, Stacy called and I reluctantly agreed to go for a jog at 8:30 - this being the only time she ever seems to break away from her own household/mom duties to go.  Put on my neon/reflective shirt and away we went into the night.  Mostly on sidewalk and in my relatively quiet neighborhood for a little over 3 miles (same as Sunday). 

We got to talking and I am curious - weigh in all you nerdy number people.  Do you think you burn the same total calories (energy) to cover 3 miles regardless if you are running or walking.  Now I realize that if you are a speed demon - you might do this in 20 min and if you are a slow ass walker it might take you 45-50 min.  But in the end, aren't you moving your mass (a constant for this scenario) from one point to another (distance constant again) - so shouldn't the work to accomplish this be equal if you don't regard the time it takes?  So I plugged it into my Sparkpeople app and it turns out that no - going three miles at 10 min/mile (trust me this would be my all out run pace) should burn around 372 cal vs. three miles walking at 15 min/mile would burn around 251 calories (this may be using the stats I gave it for my age, weight and sex to figure so just go with me on the numbers).  The first scenario would take 30 min and one would take 45 min.  My theory is that it shouldn't matter, but then I pulled my really geek move and looked into my Physics book for the definition of "work"= Force x distance; and we all know that F=ma (Force = mass x acceleration).  But my mass stayed constant and my distance is constant - so it must be in the acceleration (though in my examples I assume a "constant velocity" in each scenario so is my a = g (acceleration due to gravity))?

My husband thinks this is why I should NOT spend the money on a fancy Garmin sports watch.  He thinks the engiNERD brain wouldn't be able to contain itself with all that data to analyze.  I mean, look at the tangent I can end up on over a simple 3 mi walk/jog.  Anyone think my husband is right? 

Tomorrow I'm off to do some field work (surveying should always be done when it is supposed to be nice out).  Probably take another couple of workout rest days so I'm ready to do the Prison Break on Saturday!  Gotta hit the showers!  Good night!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekend Workouts

The weather in Missouri this weekend was amazing.  My idea of just about perfect (save some wind) - 70's, sunny.  Saturday we went to the Labor Day parade (no idea why it is always the weekend AFTER Labor Day) and actually had to move to a sunny spot in order not to be a little chilly.  Fall is slowly creeping into the air (not to worry - my luck is that it will get super hot at least once more).  Then my daughter went to a sleepover and I kind of kicked back watching "Prison Break" (TV Show) on Netflix.  Oops.  Killed a perfectly good biking afternoon (though watching my flag stand out straight made me less anxious to jump on my bike).

So after a quick trip to McD's for dinner (don't even get me started on how far off the rails my eating is), I decided to suck it up and go for a ride.  I decided to try to see what kind of pace I could get with a moderately hard effort for 45 min-hour.  I did a little over 15 miles in 1:02.  Pretty solid for me since I included 3 decent hills and one monster hill in there.  I did three interchange/Scholastic loops so there were plenty of flat miles in there too, but a solid ride.  And I felt it a little when I got out of bed this morning.

But another beautiful day dawned and, after mass, I mostly wasted it reading a good book and stalking a friend that was doing IMWI (his first).  The pics his wife put up on FB and his splits had me cheering like a crazy person in front of my screen.  His final time of 10:33.03 just had me stunned - and even that is placing 24th in his super speedy age group.  So proud of him as I know he has been working hard.  Ever inspired by anyone who can run a 8 min/mile once much less 26.2 times after a huge ass bike ride and long ass swim, I texted Stacy to see if she could go for a jog tonight.

Weather continued beautiful today and the kids played outside a ton.  Bill grilled us some pork chops for dinner and 8:30 was here before I knew it.  Threw on my running clothes right before she came and we headed out for 3.5 miles around my neighborhood (in the pitch dark, but there are some street lights - one of which is broken grrr).  Nothing crazy fast, but a workout nonetheless.

I did decide to sign up for the Prison Break next weekend.  I wish I hadn't thrown my mud run shoes away this week.  Grr...totally wasn't thinking on that one.  (big "L" on forehead)  Will have to see which shoes I'm going to sacrifice this time.  Totally stoked to hang with some of the Team Virtus folks and of course their best member Superkate!  Yay!!  I also have half of a disposable camera to use up on the course so I can share pics of both last weekend and next.

Friday, September 7, 2012

More Book Reviews

I've continued to get most of my books from one of the two public libraries in my area (Jeff City and Columbia).  I've read most of the books that are running/triathlon related from the Jeff City library so I ventured out a bit earlier in the summer.  That is how I ended up starting the Twilight series in June.  I couldn't wait to go back to the library so I ended up borrowing the 2nd-4th books from my sis-in-law.  I also read portions of some Dave Ramsey books.  I think we already subscribe to a lot of his philosophies that I didn't find them that interesting.  Seems like it is written to be read by those desparately to dig out from a financial mess.  My husband is a big fan though and hijacked two of the books and seemed to enjoy them more. 

So instead I dug into an enjoyable book by Tim Russert called "Wisdom of our Fathers".  After the release of his book "Big Russ and Me", he apparently received a lot of letters from people about their dads and things they they learned from them.  He whittled them down into this compilation.  They were divided into broad categories based on the type of lesson (and even type of dad) with a short commentary by Russert in each section.  Some of the stories were funny - most were touching.  I read this shortly after the 2 year anniversary of my father's passing so it probably touched me more than if I had read it when it had come out in 2005.  I recommend this if you need a good gift for your dad.

Like my training, my reading was a bit hit or miss, but I also read (warning - I may have a bit of a Lance Armstrong fetish going on):

"How Lance Does It: Put the Success Formula of a Champion into Everything You Do" by Brad Kearns - I only read about half of this pretty short book.  It read more like a "self help/business" book.  In other words, it was kind of dry.  Though some of the stories from people who've had brief encounters with Lance Armstrong were cute - I didn't think the book offered that much about being successful and thought the lines drawn between obvious things (like "hard work") and Lance Armstrong specifically were a bit weak.  I finally gave up when it came due at the library after yet another renewal went by without me finishing it.

"Lance Armstrong's War" by Daniel Coyle - I took this book on face value without real consideration to the latest in the Lance saga.  Mostly I thought this book painted Lance Armstrong as a fierce competitor who worked with experts to maximize his power to weight ratio, put in insane training hours on tough terrain and then assembled the best team around himself to ensure the TdF wins even while being dogged by "the trolls" trying to find any shred of evidence that he cheated his way to his wins.  I thought it also added some interesting background on some of his competitors, teammates and former girlfriend Sheryl Crow.  Like Armstrong's book "It's Not About the Bike", I liked the in depth look at what goes into preparing for and racing the TdF.

"Every Second Counts" by Lance Armstrong - I had admitted that after I read "It's Not About the Bike", I was anxious to read the "rest of the story".  I enjoyed the sequal almost as much as the first book.  I didn't feel that it was quite as in depth on the personal side, but I'm sure some of that comes with the celebrity.  While he hints about the reasons for the demise of his marriage, he definitely skipped some gory details and painted his ex as a good mom who was in a pretty impossible situation and tried to make the best of it.  He hits some of the same highlights as the first book talking about the journey of life that is the same for all of us - to make every second count because you never know when you won't have another.  I did find it annoying when he quoted himself though (quotes from first book).  The latter part of the book had some in depth coverage of training and racing the TdF again that was enjoyable and interesting to contrast with Coyle's book.

"No Mountain High Enough: Raising Lance. Raising Me." by Linda Armstrong Kelly - There were parts of this book that were redundant to the other books, but this really was more of Linda's personal story.  Obviously as a young, single mother, her life was inextricably intertwined with her son's and thus the overlap, but there was a lot more about what led her to make various choices (good and bad).  She talks a lot about her career decisions and how she moved up through the same work ethic she modeled for her son - if you want something, go out and get it.  Find a solution to whatever is in your way.  I think this would be inspiring to any young woman.  She tells her story with a lot of insight on the lessons she learned along the way. 

"Grace to Race" by Sr. Madonna Buder (aka "Iron Nun") - this book had an interesting story both about how this woman answered the Lord's call to service as well as how she became a runner and triathlete in the last 30 or so years - in what many would have treated as their "twilight" years. The first half of the book focuses more on her personal journey to becoming and serving as a nun. This part was well written and interesting. The more that the story got into her various athletic achievements (and array of injuries - geez!), the more scattered I felt like the writing became. It was still an interesting story, just harder to get into a "flow" of the reading. I checked up on her and at age 82, she recently became the oldest female (person?) to complete an Ironman (Canada 2012). Pretty freakin' cool!  Such an inspiration!

"Courage to Start" by John "the Penguin" Bingham - I only finished about half of this book and there was a hold on it so I could renew it.  I thought it terribly belabored this "courage" thing.  While I liked that it encourages all of us (even the slow as shit ones) to get out there and do it - I think I subscribe a bit more to the "SUAR" approach.  Maybe the book would have been more appealing to me before I just made the decision to "do it", but only a few times have I worried about being the "penguin".  Most of the time I am able to focus on just being happy to be out there doing what I used to not be able to do. 

I've started reading a book on Total Immersion swimming (though I suspect I'll need to check out the DVD to really "get" it).  Of course it would also help to actually GO to the pool to work on my swimming - ugh.  Meant to go today, but worked until too late.  I've also started Jeff Horowitz's book about his first 100 marathons.  So far, so good.

Still trying to get my hands on Chrissie Wellington's book - Columbia library has it, but so far I haven't bothered to put in a request for it.  My son just finished with his copy of the Hunger Games (and already blew threw his school's copy of the 2nd HG book and is on to the 3rd).  Any others that I shouldn't miss?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Epic Mud Run Recap

This Sunday I did something I've never done before, but hope to repeat again - I ran the Epic Mud Run near Columbia, MO (at the expo center behind the Midway Truck Stop which you may have seen on the Travel Channel).  Ultramax Sports is known for their quality triathlon and running events, but for the last two years, they've added the mud run.  This year, nearly 3000 people did it (I think they said 700 last year - and they added a Jr Mud Run this year for the kids). 

The kids ran a shortened course earlier in the day.  Our friend's son (almost 12) did the kids race (which he thought was too short for the older kids - I think a mile), but we were the mean parents that left our kids at home.  It was really handy having their son there to hold a bag with cell phones, ID, etc.  After seeing how family friendly the event was (and other families we knew there), we could have brought ours and may let them come next year.  We just weren't sure about leaving them unattended while we ran and both my husband and I wanted to do it.  Oh yes - this was another first - my husband who hasn't done a competitive event in over 20 years, did the race with me (he ran cross country and track in HS, but was never one of the super speedy guys and just walks now for exercise).  I'm a little annoyed that he totally showed me up.

Our friends picked up our packets the night before, but the packet pickup line never seemed long.  We could totally have done it day of without a lot of issue since the waves of 200 people each were spread out by 20 min and a lot of folks came early to bring kids.  But we got there with plenty of time to spare and caught up with our friends right as their son was coming down the last obstacle and running through the finish line.  There was a lot of just standing around.  Visited with a few other people we ran into that we knew.  There was music and the kids were jumping in this big pool of water to clean up.  They didn't load the start corral until about 15 min before the start.  We registered early and were in Wave #1, but our friends were 40 min behind us in Wave #3.

This year I think the race directors were trying to add in stuff from other non-traditional races that people seem to be "into".  Truthfully, I thought it was a bit unnecessary.  In the start corral, they handed out this "color" stuff to make it into a quasi-"color race".  They were little plastic cups of this colored chalk stuff and people were throwing it at each other.  I saw one poor sap breathe some in and look pretty uncomfortable.  I guess I just didn't see the point.  Maybe "color races" are "cool", but it seemed kind of stupid to me.  This was the only part of the race where it appeared.  Some people's color didn't come off in the water hazards, but most of mine did.  Have some minor staining on the shirt I wore.

The other thing that they added was some of the Fearfest Zombies (a local haunted house that runs for a couple months in the fall).  They were in the first set of obstacles (in the stock barns).  We had to run through the barn in the first 0.5 mi or so and the "zombies" were all around you while you crawled over and under and through things (walls, pipes, etc).  This was somewhat physically taxing with the climbing and such, but not the least bit "scary".  In some areas there wasn't enough light to really "see" the zombies (could only make an "outline" out of them) and some areas there was enough light that they just didn't look scary.  And there wasn't any part of it where you were really trying to avoid them other than to get past them.  While I know there are these "survival runs" and stuff out there - just seemed like it was a "reach" to include them here.  The Mud Run is cool enough without them.  Save your pennies next time guys.

Back out into the sunshine and soon it was time to run up a long, steep, muddy hill where they had a fire hose keeping you and the hill WET!  Then across and around, over and under some wood post obstacles and then on to the BIG slide.  WAHOO!!  This was the best part of the whole course.  The big slide was FAST!!!  It was watered and slick and landed you in a giant muddy water pit.  Pure awesomeness!  Then out to go over a muddy hill and up the grassy hill and on to the next obstacles.  I think about in here was a hay maze that you had to duck walk through which wasn't very fun (hot, and there were dead ends!).  After a bit more running, there was a water hazard you had to wade through and then climb out of over a big mud pile (with knotted ropes to hold onto - key here was putting the rope between your legs so you pulled on center - FYI).  Then running over and under a few more things before you entered the woods and ran on muddy trails and through a big muddy ravine (which was relatively single file and you had to climb out of on a slick muddy rope and tires).  Then through more rough trails and mud and up a long hill (which my husband decided he wanted to jog up, but I could just walk). 

After we came out of the woods it was another water hazard and you had to go under these posts that were just above the water - which had bags of ICE thrown in it.  I was sweating from the running even with weather that was pretty overcast and not nearly as hot as it could have been.  The ice water didn't feel that bad, but my legs were pretty numb for a couple minutes after that.  Luckily you entered a "high 5 zone" where the course loops back on itself and runners were coming at you to "high 5".  So I tried to run and keep up with my husband.  Over and under some more walls and posts and then return through the "high 5" area.  I was starting to get pretty tired from slogging through the mud obstacles - hard when you are slipping everwhere.  But we knew we were closing in on the end. 

Over another big muddy hill and down into another water obstacle where you basically had little room to keep your face out of the muddy water (going under poles).  Kind of hard to get out of that one and I slipped the first time, but my husband hauled me out the 2nd.  Then a little longer run across grass to the final slide.  Only waited a minute or so to go down.  As I went down, I tried to turn to take a pic of my husband coming behind me and hit a less slick spot and stalled a bit.  He ran into me (didn't hurt) and took us all the way to the bottom into a big pool of water.  It wasn't that deep and I didn't expect to go under, but I must have not gotten my feet down in time and all of a sudden I had water up my nose - nasty muddy water!  Sputtering, I crawled out and ran across the finish.  The good news is that this washed the worst of the stuff off of me.

Collected my finisher pint glass, a little shop towel to wipe my face, a piece of banana, baggie of pretzels and a gatorade.  I drank/ate while my husband got  his pint glass filled with the free beer.  I'm not a beer drinker so I skipped that.  We found our friends' son and then hung out watching the final slide and visiting with other folks that we knew.  Pretty soon, there were backups at the final slide which affected a lot of the later racers' times.  We finished in about 53 min.  The winners did it in less than half that time.  But there were places where you just couldn't get past people.  I think the only way to "win" this is to be in the first wave, go out fast and get in front of everyone.  I heard of a few people pushing past others, but for the most part everyone seemed to be out there to have fun and not take the "race" part of it so seriously.

Mud Run Power Couple - Post Race
Me, Craig, Anita and my husband, Bill
We took some pictures and talked with our friends and then headed out.  My tri shorts, Nike compression sports bra and dryfit t-shirt were the perfect clothes for this.  I wasn't even that wet after having stood around for a bit.  My shoes actually got muddier trying to leave the finisher area (past the big pool the kids had been splashing in) than they were when I finished.  So I rinsed off my feet with a little bottled water and wiped them with a towel rag my husband had brought and slipped on my flip flops to drive home (since dh had imbibed in more than one finisher beer - though he could have probably driven, why risk it). 

I took a waterproof disposable camera with me and will have a follow up post at some time with some super awesome pictures, but I need to finish the roll - darned thing uses FILM!  It was kind of a pain in the ass to run with and I didn't want to stop and take too many pics.  But I'm looking forward to seeing if I captured any of the good fun that was this race.  I'm a little suprised at how sore I am - pretty much all over, but definitely in my quads and hamstrings.  Bill said he was a little sore, but mostly tired yesterday from getting up early to go dove hunting.  Whatever.  The whole gang is definitely up for it next year and we'll have pictures and stories to recruit others with. 

We went to the Freeburg parish picnic for dinner and so the MMNW wasn't a number I want to write down.  My eating is totally off the rails still and I need to find a way back from that.  My training is still more miss than hit lately and I need to find my way back to that too.  Trying to work up the nerve to do the Prison Break race with Superkate in a couple weeks.  Haven't signed up yet though.  I'm worried how sore I'll be with some of the obstacles that Bob "Goldmember" Jenkins has been talking about - fence climbing? stairs out of the dungeon? hills? mud pits? For FIVE miles!  But it will be hard to resist a chance to do another completely different kind of race and hang out at the end at Prison Brews with Superkate!  Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Slacker - sort of

I was sore after my 5K last weekend.  The race was OK.  The weather was relatively agreeable (great for Missouri in August).  I didn't have mom duties so I could just get up and go.  I started out at a comfortable pace and managed to hold on for a while, but I had to do a little walking.  I was annoyed that I couldn't push it more.  Had a couple friends run it who "don't run much" (their words) and still smoked me.  I know I need to not worry about that, but it is frustrating.  Turned out it was the same route as the Ava Brown Memorial run in April (or at least really close to the same route) and I did it an ass hair faster (8 seconds I think 35:52 if I remember correctly).  But I must have pushed a little or not stretched enough or something because I was sore.  Grr...

Some of the other "moms" from IC and one daughter who ran too (me on the right)
So I took it easy on Sunday.  Then I spent most of the next three days getting work done and picking up kids from school and getting through nightly homework - blowing off any workouts that I could have squeezed in had I really wanted to. 

Thursday morning (Susan's new day off) we agreed to meet at the Katy Trail for a long run (with plenty of walking - seriously, I'm just not a runner yet).  So we did 8.4 miles on a mostly shaded trail before it got too hot.  It was a nice time.  She really needed it mentally and maybe I did too.  The time always goes fast when we are together and I only was hurting a little towards the end.  I didn't get much else done on Thursday as the internet was down and I didn't feel like driving somewhere to work.  So I read the rest of a book and started another.  I'll do a book review post probably next week.

Friday and today have been more slacking.  Read the rest of that book and will start another probably.  Tomorrow is the Epic Mud Run near Columbia, MO put on my Ultramax Sports.  I'm looking forward to it as I've never done anything like it.  I'm also looking forward to sharing it with my husband and two other friends (though they didn't get in our wave - they are 40 min behind us).  Need to run out today and see if I can find a waterproof disposable camera to take with us.  I'm thinking there can be some truly "epic" pictures.  I've read there will be zombies, color, big slides and lots of mud.  Lucky for the race directors, Isaac has brought the first inch of rain we've had all summer.  Should be mostly gone by tomorrow, but leaving humidity in its wake.  The goal is to just finish and have a great time - I like that!