Last weekend I made the journey across the sea with 2 of my super star buddies, Lynn & Kathy to race MOMAR Burnaby. This is the not-short-at-all summary!
MOMAR has the best race swag anywhere...and don't just trust my opinion- they have the awards to prove it! This year we got what has to be the BEST finisher medal anywhere on the planet...check it out in the photo above: Bottle Opener woot woot!
I have to say that I had a completely unique race experience at this past weekends MOMAR...I was in a very different head space- more like brain fog- then I have ever experienced during a race. I love to race- I normally feel a pretty big stoke during races- I rarely feel nervous, more like pumped up and excited about the adventure. I aim to work as close to my top gear for the distance/discipline etc. My senses are usually pretty sharp and I am fired up ready to go. Not so much this past weekend...
You could say I dragged my heels to the start line. My mind was yelling NO right up until a few days before the race. 10 months of focusing on healing my OCD and forcing racing dreams out of my head has created a bit of a monster in there:) I had a mini flare up the week before the race so I never actually got my mind to the start line until I was right there!
During the race I found it really hard to get into and stay in 'race mode' for any length of time. I would catch myself daydreaming like I was playing in one of my little solo training adventures. My race brain would yell- 'Snap out of it! You are in a race here! Wake up! Get going! (picture me slapping myself across the face:). I spent WAY too much time in transitions, tidying up my kit, snacking, undressing, dressing, fixing my hair (just kidding!) and socializing with the volunteers. Of course I was always moving forward and felt the burn (more than once on those awesome bike/trek climbs!) but I couldn't find any sense of urgency. Nor, did it seem, that I wanted to.
It was a great experience for me. I am passionate about mental training and work to harness the power of the mind. I have so much to learn and this race helped with that journey. Your mind set is a choice. I chose to race in safe mode, have fun, play and enjoy the day without stressing about pushing to the max. After 10 months 'off', it was time to run my ankle through the motions, and I think it was just what I needed:). I am happy to say that I had no pain during or following the race...Woot woot!
Now to the nitty gritty:
We stayed right on campus in the SFU Simon Hotel once again- which makes everything way too easy come race morning to get to race central and for race evening after celebrating, dancing and all that good stuff:). Highly recommend this if you plan to race it in 2013.
Race morning and the weather looked great. After a rough and windy ferry crossing the day before, we weren't sure what we were going to get! Don't count your chicks before they hatch, of course...
Race started with a 10kish paddle in beautiful calm waters along the shoreline with gaggles of geese here and there:) For the first time in so many MOMARs I had lady luck (or two) on my side and I managed to hop behind the ELM Fearless Leaders who were in a sturdy double kayak that broke the water for me nicely. It is super hard to find the perfectly paced double to catch a ride behind but the stars lined up and I managed to catch one with my buddies Lynn & Kathy! Good thing we went for one kayak session the week before lol:) HA! Serves me right- I got tendinitis in my left forearm as a result of givin'er with no training! Even Dave Norona the MC had to comment on my lack of kayak training when I ran through transition. I think his words on the loudspeaker were: "I bet she's glad that's over! Probably only paddles twice a year - at both MOMARs!" Dam you Norona! 1hour 20ish later we were off the water and running on heavy legs up the beach to CP1.
The second leg of the race was a trek that was about 45 minutes and took us from sea level straight up the guts of Burnaby Mountain via 500 stairs. It was pretty awesome, actually. Nice route selection boys! We had to self navigate and find a few CPs during this leg before transitioning onto our bikes.
Onto the bikes and down the Trans Canada trail to seek out some single track. Good times! Long ride for me at about 1hour and 45 with a mix of technical single track, multiple steep climbs (I am guessing most peeps were hike a biking the Waterline and Cardiac Hill...twice!). Then into transition for the first Orienteering section up at SFU.
I took my time chatting with the helpful orienteering volunteer and settled into map mode before heading off. Luckily we had spent some time exploring the campus the day before and we had scouted out some of the new areas on the orienteering map so both myself and the Fearless Leaders felt quite confident on the course. Hint: a little scouting goes along way:)
At the second CP I went all silly and followed these two guys up and over a 7 foot high chain link fence to reach the CP. I could have taken the extra 10 seconds and run around to the entrance, but no. Logically I knew this was not a smart move on my part. But the kid in me wanted to play along - cuz when is the last time you scaled a chain link fence? I was pretending like I was a Charlies Angel but it didn't quite turn out that way lol. I got to the top and realized A) there are sharp pokey metal parts of the fence sticking out at the top and B) I had to jump down 7 feet on the other side...onto my ankle. Eeeesh. I jumped, preparing to triple flex my joints and absorb as much shock as possible anywhere but my ankle...as I came down I felt a sharp smack and burning sensation on my wrist...I had caught the orienteering sensor (to track your CP collection it is all electronic and pretty high tech at O-courses now:) wrist band on the top of the fence and it literally ripped off my arm, searing flesh with it. Oooops. That burns man!
That was about the time it started raining.
The rest of the o-course was clean except for one BIG OOPS where I added about 8 extra minutes running circles in the woods around one CP. I still don't know how I managed to miss that one. I was ripping along collecting features and feeling uber confident and the next thing I know the CP was not where I planned it would be. A was frozen for a while trying to orient myself on the map and eventually tracked back and ran smack into it coming the opposite way from where I had planned. So much for a clean race!
That was about the time it started raining harder...then the thunder and lightening hit.
Highest point in Vancouver, running around totally exposed with an electronic sensor stuck to my finger...hmmm...
After about an hour of running around campus it was back to transition and onto the bike. It had been raining like crazy for the past hour. There were floods of water rushing down the roads. The earth could not soak up the water as fast as it was coming down. The volunteers were huddling in their rain gear under tents. The temperature had dropped significantly with the passing storm and I couldn't feel my hands.
I struggled to get my act together at that transition. I was there forever. Water squished in my bike shoes when I put them on (they had filled up nicely like little goblets sitting up in the rain:). I was shaking and couldn't quite figure out what to do. I put my helmet on and then tried to put my long sleeve shirt on over top:) You try that:) At one point a volunteer shouted to me: 'You are still here? What are you doing?" HA!
Off I went, rooster tail of SFU rain firing up my back:). I wanted a hill to climb. I wanted to get my heart rate up. It was a long time coming...down down down and more single track before the mighty climb to get the blood flowing once again. The rain stopped. The sun came out. Life was good:)
On the final descent to the final section of single track I made my second BIG OOPS. I went a bit wild and hammered down a random trail when I saw the words MOMAR on a sign. I failed to read the rest of the sign. If I had, I would have realized that was the wrong way and I had actually been down there once already, hours earlier in the race. What goes down must come back up if you are not racing smart:) One more steep climb on the bike, why not?
Final transition was back at race central where we were given a second orienteering map. Some interesting CP locations made for a good laugh right up until the finish line. The course designer, Tom, sure had some fun with the last one! IN the ocean, tide coming in, belly button level. Awesome. I can't complain, however, because when the Fearless Leaders came in it was chest level!
Into the finish chute and HURRAY! 6 and a half hours of FUN. Congrats to the other ELMers on course who rocked it out there! Photos below!
I am so glad that I decided to race MOMAR Burnaby. It was an awesome reminder of how FUN these races are. Bryan Tasaka, race director, puts on events like no other. These are high quality events and what you get for your racing dollars is unmatched at any other race in my opinion. It is not a race- it really IS a weekend! If you haven't done a MOMAR and you aren't quite sure if you are ready to do it here is my advice... SIGN UP RIGHT NOW. You will NEVER regret it- no matter how 'not ready' you think you may be:)
This race reminded me of all the reasons I love to race other than competing: the amazing people - race friends and volunteers, the new / unique experience, the great workout, the camaraderie. The people are a BIG part of why I love adventure racing. They are a special crowd- and I mean that in a good way LOL:)
THANK YOU to the race directors, organizers and volunteers for your time, energy and passion. It is the greatest gift.