To Hell And Back

I have been struggling with my running lately.  Running at the heart rate that is ideal for fat loss for me is quite difficult and I cannot sustain it.  Therefore, when I run, it is quite discouraging to barely be able to do a half mile before having to walk and recover, as I train my body to run at a faster heart rate which translates to 2 min/mile faster.  I know this is a temporary problem and if I stick with it, I will be running a 5k again in no time and for SURE won’t be last ever again.  But it is hard, ya know…

So in an effort to pick up some motivation, I decided to volunteer at a race called Dances With Dirt-Hell.  Hell being the name of the city this race takes place in.  Dances with Dirt is quite the famous race around these parts.  It is a 50K and a 50 mile Ultra-Marathon and it is also a 100k Relay, all on trails.  Ideally, really muddy trails.  There are water crossings, and allegedly there is one hill so steep it has a knotted rope to pull yourself up!  To add to all the fun, the relay teams create team names and costumes to go with it!

Yes, folks, this sounds like my kind of race.  The muddy part anyway and the team theme idea!  I don’t know about these crazy distances though!

I showed up on Friday night for registration camped out and was up and registering these crazy runners again at 5 AM.  I had so much fun!  The ultra runners came first in the morning.  They started running in the dark at 6:45 AM with headlamps on.  As soon as we got them going, the relayers showed up, in costumes!  At this point I had no idea that people wore costumes to this or that there is a CONTEST for best spirit displays.  There were the DD girls and the Karate Kid guys, the CHIPS officers and even the Chip N Dale runners.   Oh MY!  There were the strange guys wearing nude colored shorts and leaves around their waist and the Mean Girls who ran with a bull horn yelling at all the other runners.  Add to that the Acid Trippers, all decked out in 70’s gear and you can only imagine what kind of crowd there was!

After registration, I was assigned a job title of “Parking Rat” over at an area that the runners will pass through and exchange runners 3 times.  Once again, I had no idea what I was getting into.  I had no idea how crazy parking would get.  That part of my job would be to stand behind a backing up car to prevent it from continuing to back up and hitting another car I have directed to a space.  As it was a relay we had racers coming and going all at the same time and some were in a crazy hurry and were flying down the parking lot aisles.  Which of course I did not like since there were so many people around, so I simply stood in the middle to force them to slow down.  I also got to see how, not only the runners were dressed up, but the relay vehicles that carried the team mates to the different exchange points to meet their runner, were also decked out!

Yes.  I got to be bossy.  I got to be in control.  And all legitimately so. It was a blast.

But I signed up for inspiration, so you might be wondering if I found it!

Yes, I did.  While watching the relay runners come through was super fun and exciting.  Seeing the ultra runners pass through aid stations was incredibly inspiring. Many had taken falls and were bruised and muddy and bloody.  Some were battling through aches and cramps that I can only imagine and yet they were all so thankful for us volunteers.  It was incredible to see someone come through at mile 21.5 and know they are only 1/3 of the way done then to see them later at the finish line!  They did not give up.  Even when I thought they should have called it.  They continued to run.  Or walk.  Or limp.  Whatever it took to make it across that finish line, because that is what they set out to do.

So yes, I am inspired to keep doing what I do until I can do it better than before.

As for an ultra marathon?  Umm no.

A 100k Relay?  I would love to do Dances with Dirt in Hell.  However, I have learned that it is by invite only!  Those who have run it in the last 2 years will be invited to next years Dance. If it doesn’t fill up within a certain time period, volunteers from this year will be invited to form a team and run.   The chances of that happening though are slim.  These teams have been doing this for years!  There is now a rivalry akin to high school or college football that occurs.   They know who their competition is and they gun for them every time! Another Parking Rat I spent the day with has been volunteering for 2 years in hopes of being able to make it in with no luck!

With that said, I am forming a team.  A team of 5 that has 90 bucks each ready to go on Jan 1st.  So IF I get a chance to sign us up…there will be no delay.

oh yeah, and as to how I was feeling just last week in my last post?  I am doing better.  I still don’t have my results from Kelly yet so I have no idea how I am doing, which is frustrating, but I also know she has been preparing for her own competition this week.  Now that it is over, I will be on her to get me the results.


5 thoughts on “To Hell And Back

  1. How FUN! Volunteering at an event like this sounds like a blast, I will have to keep my eyes peeled for something similar in my area. I’m SO impressed that instead of pouting or throwing a tantrum or giving up, you found something inspirational to keep you dedicated to your running. That’s AWESOME, Kim. Keep up the great work and I can’t wait to hear about your results. What pace are you striving for to keep your HR in the target zone? I’m a slow runner and know how frustrating it is when I try to go faster only to have to start sprinkling in the walking breaks!

    • Oh, I did all the pouting and whining, just didn’t write about THAT!! haha

      I can’t wait to hear about my results either!

      My target HR for running is 151-161 bpm. It puts me at about a 15 min/’mile pace. I can sustain a 17 min mile pace. SO it takes 2 min off, which is HUGE!!!

      I highly recommend volunteering. It gives you a whole different perspective of what kind of work goes into a race! I think there is an ultra out in Seattle, Jason at Run4change has run it I think!

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