Headwaters Adventure Race


EDIT: Photos from the race…not high quality but I’m nervous to order anything in case they DO look this blurry in real life too!

This could also be called ‘why there are no downsides or kayaks in ROJ’

First…how has training been? Actually I’m feeling good about my training. I did my 3 miles on Tues in the form of an hour on the treadmill…it doesn’t take an hour for 3 miles but I just do it for the extra whatever. Wed I went to Yoga and was starting to feel more steady in some of the poses. After Yoga I did another 30 mins on the ellip. I can’t help it I’m afraid to run in my neighborhood in the dark. However I DID wake up early on Thursday…which was also my 25th bday!! And I put in almost 5 miles outside on the road…go me! Not too much else to report.

Friday night was the start of my grand adventure. I have been freaking out for a while about how I signed up for this adventure race and I don’t know what I’m doing in a kayak or canoe! So I Googled the race and was hoping for some sort of review or comment or anything else to scare me or put my mind at ease. Well what I find is an odd brochure which explains helmets and life vests are required. CRAP. So I head over to neighbors and then stores looking for a life vest that isn’t 100 dollars from Dick’s. I know I’ve seen them at the thrift store and other cheap places. I find according to Walmart’s website they sell those big orange squares for 8 bucks. Sold. So I head to my local Walmart and all I find are the next level up and they’re about 13.00 I decide I can save money by going elsewhere. I head over to the thrift store arriving just before 9:00 well they closed at 8:00 so no go. I drive over to what Magellan claims in Walmart the next city over. I get there and it’s Sam’s Club…ok no go again. I go up the street to the Target and they have a HUGE selection, for kids and teens. CRAP. OK back to Stow to go to Big Lots…I arrive nest 9:30ish…and they closed at 9:00. Are you kidding me? So I go back to Walmart where I first started and I buy this blue life vest with white designs on it and I hate myself for spending an hour of my life trying to save 6.00 bucks and it didn’t even work. HA.

The race was at the same park as a duathlon I did last year so luckily I wasn’t lost or late. (Last year I arrived 2 minutes after the start…I signed a paper in someone’s trunk and took off anyway…and no it wasn’t chip timed). So we’re standing around talking and I find out almost no one else is a professional kayak-er (score) so I feel MUCH better. Then we find out this is not just a form of triathlon it’s an adventure race and there are surprises and tasks to be accomplished. Hmmm OK? I say to the guy next to me if the first task has anything to do with eggs I’m not gonna be happy. So task one during the run….bring an item safely back to transition. Task 2 during the bike….we will see. Task 3 during kayak, we must pick up a passenger and bring it back. I’m hoping it’s rubber ducky and I’m not liking that I get a passenger…the name of the game is keep Julie in the boat! Forget about adding people unless they’re gonna help.

We gather in the field and the horn goes off and we’re running. Within 2 minutes my fingers are dripping it’s so humid out, why? Grrr. I’m afraid if the weather is like this next weekend it’s not going to be a pretty 13.1 miles. We get to the half-way mark and I’m impressed with how many people are behind me and that I’ve actually passed during this time. Half way mark and I’m handed water and….and egg. Really? So I run a few feet with this baggie with an egg and it’s messing with my stride to hold something…so down the front of my shirt and into the sports bra goes the lil unborn chicken. I get to the end of the two miles and I’m VERY pleased to see under 20 minutes on the clock. In fact I’m pretty sure it was 18:30ish….9 minute miles! I get on my bike and I’m worried because I didn’t wear biking shorts and I’m not feeling like having a sore tushy. Amazingly I couldn’t tell. There are about a million HUGE hills. At least one a mile where you’re like WHOA who put this here? A few times I find myself walking with several other people. And not out of shape people…people in real gear with expensive bikes and we’re just not prepared for the hills. Around mile 7 we get our other challenge. We have to play corn-hole. I SUCK at corn-hole. Luckily we need it in the hole or on t board. On my second bag I get in on the board enough that they dismiss me. So back onto the hills. WONDERFUL> And of course I am scared to go too fast down a hill in an area I’m unfamiliar with since I’m convinced I’m going to fall off and get hurt. I get to talk to people here and there, but it wasn’t a pleasant ride. I find out later that several people quit during or after the bike portion. Not for the faint of heart.

Now the crazy part. We get to camp (finally) and I grab my life vest. Highlight of the day? They provided them….so I did all of that on Friday for nothing. grrr. Oh well I might need one again some day. A woman puts me in a kayak and I can already tell this is not going to go well for me. I’m so scared of flipping over but more so I’m moving in slow motion. COUNTLESS people pass me by, mostly couples in canoes. Darn my friends for not going! In the areas with open water I am okay. I paddle and look around and think about how Pocahontas or someone would do this back in the day. Then there are trees and LOGS and shallow parts where my kayak doesn’t listen to me and I end up beached or stuck. I end up stuck more times than I can count. At one point a couple in a canoe pull me off a log because I’m in the middle of the river and can’t really do anything unless I get out. I don’t get upset when I get stuck, it’s almost an adventure in itself to get free. Each mile marker is a wonderful thing to see, with cute pictures and facts. We go under a few bridges and people wave and cheer. At the last bridge they are taking pictures. This would be more exciting, except about a mile before hand it began to storm. So much for the staying dry. So I smile at the camera but I probably look like I swam the river. Oh well. A guy who is like going a million miles an hour and has a tube is giving us toys for the passenger part. He’s like the kayak Santa of the Cuyahoga River. I pick a giraffe…no explanation needed. About a half mile after this and with a little calmer rain for the moment I make it to the finish. A nice guy yanks me and my boat out of the river and I try to stand and fall over. Stupid legs. Another guy offers me his hand and we both almost fall into the river. Ha. I make it out and am barely able to drag the boat out of the river and up the shore. I do it though…and limp/run to the end. A little over three hours later I’m done…and with a 3rd place age group! Maybe 25 won’t be such a bad year? So far I’ve placed in every race I’ve ran at this age. LOL.

BTW what are those stupid little water bugs that can like run on the surface? Stupid bugs with their stupid smug faces…if I could see them. See how smug they are when I smack them with my paddle. J/K. BTW my shoulders are sore and my thumb has a blister…I love it.

I’ll totally think about doing it again next year. It was worth it, a little stressful and anxiety provoking for being a new item…but overall I’m SO glad I went!

2 thoughts on “Headwaters Adventure Race

  1. I'm so happy you have a blog again. I have missed your writing.
    It sounds like you are leading quite the adventure! I will have to live vicariously through you this summer. 🙂

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