Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Death Race Camp #2- One Week Later....DUH!!! Did I really do that?!??!

Have you ever taken a plate of food that was too large but realized, I can't finish all that??!!?!

I started feeling that way after 6 hours of Death Race Camp #2 this past weekend. In my delirious state on the Tuesday after my 26 hour push in Death Race Camp #1, I had a mental breakdown and cried and said "I want more DR camps! I am going this weekend!" Buzzed on adrenaline all week, I was psyched up to give it a go again, just 7 days later. Several people told me "don't over train too early". "Take a rest, this is hard stuff on your body." "You are not 25!" But, I had to figure it out on my own. After a tough conversation with my family about how much time the Death Race was going to take from my life over the next 5.5 months and with advice from veteran Death Racers, I said, fuck it, I have got to figure this out on my own, I am going to Death Race Camp #2.

And, boy, did I feel it.

I was definitely fuzzy headed all week from the exertion and the lack of sleep for two days. I did not sleep starting at Friday at 6am, got 6 hours of crappy sleep in the Amee Farm Greenhouse Saturday night after training for 26 hours straight of training, and then had to drive home and be a mom and spouse for the remainder of the day on Sunday, sliding outside in the snow with Aida and chasing her around, recapping my training with Seth over dinner. I did not sleep for 72 hours.

Then, Andy sends out an email "Death Race Camp #2 next weekend". God damn it. I am doing it.

So, I tried to rest up all week as best I could. I was not horribly sore but I was tired.

So, I woke up at 3:45am Saturday morning so I could be on the road to be at The Trailside Lodge in Killington by 6am. The roads were black ice so I left early, by 4:30am. Other racers had spent the night at the lodge. I just could not leave my family for another night so I decided to leave early in the morning. I packed my car the night before and hopped in and left. Don Devaney had messaged me that I needed to be there at 6am to leave with Andy. I texted Jordan, my training partner (thank you for training with me!), and told him the same.

I arrived at the lodge by 5:45am. Everyone was there. Most had spent the night and it was nice to meet new people and see others. So glad to see Michelle again! She and I would be the only women at this camp. I think there were about 10 racers total. Andy arrived and the day began!

We were told to have everything we would need for the next 12 hours and that we would not be back to have access to our stuff until after 6pm. So, I made a quick decision to strap my winter boots onto my pack and to leave my snow shoes in the car. I had my ax (I love my ax), a backpack of food and change of clothes, hand saw, water, hiking poles, etc. It still felt heavy but whatever. I still need to work on that.

So, Andy announces we will run the 6 miles to the Amee Farm, Killington to Pittsfield. Dark, slippy roads and on coming traffic made in interesting! I trudged along, Jordan and his friend Dana ran with me a bit and then Michelle came back and ran with me. We had some awesome conversations and that made that 6 miles fly by. We talked about our hurdles and life challenges of the past few years. We had some good bonding. We are both inquisitive women and it was easy to connect right away. She is a gem and man do I feel so lucky to have gotten to know her.

Joe Desena met us half way or so. The side roads were so slippery that Andy decided that we were going to go to Joe's house for "exercise time". Oh boy. So, we took off our shoes and headed into his "barn." This was not like the sheep shit barn we spent hours in the weekend before, kids. So beautiful. We were instructed to do 100 burpees. Michelle and I stripped down to sports bras (sorry for my hairy armpits, boys) and then part way through, Joe said "Andy said we should do 300 instead." So, we kept chugging along. I cheered Michelle on and we got them done. Joe then told us to do jump up pull ups. He had a pull up bar on a barn beam but I could not reach it even with 3 sandbag/pancakes so we found a fourth and that helped. We were instructed to do 150 reps in sets of 10 and in between sets, do 5 spartan squats per leg. Alright! So, I did about 110-120 pull ups and about 60 squats each leg and then Joe said it was time to do some quick yoga stretching. He lead it. Ah, that felt good but my quads were spent.

Next, get our stuff back on and get back outside. We ran the mile to the Amee Farm and Don was there and instructed us to build an igloo to fit 11 people. Since no one brought a bucket, we had to do 300 burpees each.  But, a smart racer said "we can do 1100, 100 a piece". Don said FINE. So we did 100 each, got a bucket and were instructed to only take snow that was in between the greenhouses. This made us walk a bit but whatever. Don timed us and at one point said "you are running out of time! You can buy more time with burpees! 500 burpees will get you 15 extra minutes!" So, Michelle and I volunteered to do the burpees. Laura, a Spartan employee, joined in and so we divided up the burpees equally and chugged away. Boom, we got them done and the igloo was coming along nicely. After we were finished with the igloo, Don instructed us to go inside the greenhouse, take a quick break, get water and food, and listen to Thomas, a volunteer, tell us what our next task was. Don first said we needed to do 50 more burpees. Ok, I had done 650 at this point. JESUS. So, after that we were told that the next challenge would be a mental challenge. We had to first make a decision if we wanted to be solo or be a part of a team. Four people chose to be on a team, the rest of us, solo. Then, we were told that we had to go outside and get one of the Spartan Chariot of Fire sleds, fill it with 12 inch logs and then haul it up Joe's Mountain.

King of the Mountain, Don
buckets and buckets of snow!

So, Michelle and I got our sleds and immediately went over to the pile of split wood that myself and other death camp 1er's had split the weekend before. We started filtering through the pile to see if there were 12 inch logs but they were all bigger. So, I took out my hand saw and starting trimming some. Jordan, Dana and Michelle helped each other cut pieces with axes and loaded up their sleds. Ok, it was time to start towards the mountain.

Holy shit, the sled was so heavy. It was 40 degrees out and the sweat started pouring off of us. We got to the river and Michelle, Jordan, Dana and I decided not to cross it but to go up Tweed River Drive instead and then up the .8 mile (?) up to the top from there. So, we hauled and hauled, I was way behind having a hard time keeping up. I had talked to Don a little earlier about how tired I was most likely from the suckfest of the weekend before. He agreed but did not offer any advice. He was in Don/Director mode. Understandable. Anyway, I was struggling and Jordan stopped to pull both my sled and his at the same time. We hooked them together with one of Michelle's carabiners. How can he pull both sleds?!??!!? Good god, must be nice to be young and strong! So, I was frustrated with being exhausted and wanting to pull my own weight. I helped Jordan pull the sleds for a bit. We got to Tweed River Drive and had a pow wow with Dana, Jordan and Michelle. I told them my body was junk from the weekend before, should I really be doing this to myself right now?? I kind of got upset and Michelle talked me down saying that absolutely, I am spent from the weekend before and that we are not spring chickens any longer and that back to back camps is ambitious...that I still had 6 miles to get back to my car and this is camp and that I already got alot out of it for the day. She was speaking the perfect truth and I listened. Jordan said this is about self improvement and that made a huge impact on my decision to stop there and head back the 6 miles to my car.

Getting ready to cross the river with the sleds!

Michelle, Dana and Jordan getting near the top of the mountain! Beasts!

So, I gave them my turkey sandwiches, gave and received big hugs, and started my hike down Rt 100 to my car. After a mile or so, I changed back into my wet sneakers and just trudged along, hoping to not get hit by a stupid car. I got in a great zone and just meditated the whole way back. It took me about 1.5 hours to hike back. How come no one picked a woman up carrying an ax???! I was happy to see the "welcome to Killington" sign because I knew the lodge was in Killington. ;) Actually, I was content (yet tired) to just plod away and think about the day and what I had accomplished:

1. 650 burpees
2. helped build and igloo, hauling craploads of buckets of snow
3. ran 6 miles with full pack, ax, etc
4. 110 jump up pullups
5. 60 spartan squats per leg
6. bonded with Michelle ;)
7. hauled a sled of wood for 1.5 miles (?)
8. Hiked 6 miles back to my car
9. know that I gained strength physically and mentally
10. finished 9 hours of the 12+ camp #2

1. It is ok to take someone's help if it is offered.
2.Verified, again, that Jordan is a kick ass training partner.
3. Training is there to not only get me stronger but to expose any weaknesses so that I can work on them over the next few months.
4. I am 40, almost 41. I am not 25. I am just starting on this endurance event journey. I am strong but I have a lot of work to do and it also will take me longer to recover. Be mindful of this and drop the crazy expectations that I can keep up with someone in their early 20s.
5. I don't like to quit. I am stubborn. This is helpful to know. ;)
6. take your time and try not to do too much at once. Space these big trainings out. It is super tempting since Pittsfield is only 1 hour away so when these trainings are offered, it is hard no to say JUMP and head there. Not sure when the next one is but it will be super hard to sit it out if it is soon.

I have just signed up for Traprock 50k in CT on April 13. I am going to get running again and figure out a way to work in my DR training and yoga. I need more hours in the day!!!!! Balancing all this and having a full time job and a family sure is interesting! Glad I am a good time manager and that I have super awesome experienced athletes in my life who I can talk to and get advice.



  1. finally taking some time to read blogs while eating lunch...lessons learned at that camp are invaulable...we do DR for ourselves and therefore we cannot compare our experiences to others...it is you against you out there and the goal is to have fun...when I quit last summer no one called me out..no one cared.... they were too busy immersed in their own battles...I try very hard to remind myself that in truth no one really cares whether or not I fail...people are only rooting for everyone to succeed and if they don't no one thinks poorly of them...we celebrate success of those we love and we smile and pat their backs and say "you'll get em next time" when they fail...that is called being human...

  2. thank you, Michelle! I am learning so much from the DR journey and from you. Look forward to being out there with you again. XO