|Not All Who Wander Are Lost|
My plan was to leave Toledo last Friday at 3:30, but, you know, the best laid plans of mice and men . . . Adam wanted to stop by work to pick up a few things and then we were hungry so we stopped at Jimmy John's. We were finally on the interstate and it was raining, which prompted Adam to comment on how much he hated my wipers. So he stopped in Perrysburg and bought new wipers. And finally, at around 4:30, we were on our way to Hocking Hills.
Originally I had booked a cabin since all the hotels were booked and neither one of us are proficient campers (my mom's idea of "roughing it" is staying in a hotel without room service.) However, when I called to double check on our cabin reservation, I was told that they didn't have us listed in their books. They use Google checkout for their online bookings and while we were listed in the Google checkout or whatever, we weren't listed in their personal database. So that was awesome. They refunded our money and gave us a campsite for free, and considering it was the week of the dash, I didn't think we really had any other choice. So I borrowed a tent from Jo and we crossed our fingers.
We got there around 7:30. Jo had, for some reason, given us two different tents and so when I unpacked both bags we were a bit confused. We kept trying to use the poles from one tent with the other tent and it was, as you can expect, disastrous. Eventually we figured it out and by that time it was way too dark to try and make a fire so we just ended up going to a nearby Dairy Queen for dinner. Whatever, and that time I was just way too tired to care. Got back to the campsite, went to bed, tried to ignore the very loud group of men near us and slept on and off the entire night.
Next morning I woke up and had some bottled mocha frapps I'd brought (if I don't have caffeine first thing in the morning I get a horrible headache) and read some of The Book Thief. Adam got up, we took showers and headed off to Old Man's Cave.
Adam had never been to Hocking Hills before so he went a little camera crazy. He probably took about 300 pictures the whole weekend. I had been excited to do some caching down there but shortly before we got the park my signal went completely dead. No hope of getting a GPS signal. I would just randomly look in the rocks and hope to find something. I didn't.
We did a loop around Old Man's Cave before heading over to Rock House. I remembered really liking it when I went years ago with Mystee and V and I was excited to take Adam there, too.
We attempted a game of mini golf but the course was kind of dinky and pathetic so we quit after a few holes and ended up heading over to the Warrior Dash to see our friend Dan and check out the course.
Dan was racing with a few of his college friends and we met up with them after they had finished their wave. They gave us a few warnings about the course, mainly that there were quite a few hills, which, as I stated before, being from NW OH made me nervous. We hung out for a bit and listened to some music and just took in the atmosphere. I kept alternating between nervous and excited.
Dan and his buddies were heading back to their campground and invited us over for drinks. We had a few errands to run, mainly getting Adam some boating shoes for when he finished the race and got rid of his running shoes (most people donate their shoes after the race to be recycled.) There was a Chinese buffet by the Wal Mart and I had a sudden craving for sesame chicken. While there we chatted up a few people who had just finished the race as well. More warnings about the hills. Nervousness increased. After dinner I convinced Adam to do a cache with me and then we headed back to the campground to enjoy our last fire. Dan texted and invited us over again but I think we were both pretty tired, plus our race was at 9:30 am and we didn't really want to be hung over and hanging out with drunk frat boys and not being drunk yourself didn't sound superfun.
The next morning we got up at 7 and quickly got dressed and took down the campsite so we could leave right from the race to head back to home. I was a bit too nervous to eat but downed some granola, mocha frapp and water. We got to the race around 8:15, parked and took the shuttle bus to the race. Everyone was in such a good mood! It helped ease my nervousness a bit but I still sort of felt like there was a rock in my stomach. We checked in at registration and got our bib numbers.
We did a bit of walking around, enjoying the costumes people had come up with. I had seen Oompa Loompas, Ninja Turtles, male strippers . . . We stretched and Adam made me do a little jog around the area. Finally it was race time! There was a horn and fire and it was pretty awesome. The first half mile was all uphill. I had to slow to a walk a few times and I kept telling Adam to go ahead if he wanted to, but he told me, "If I go ahead, how can we hold hands at the finish line?" We had one obstacle and a water station during mile 1 and started mile 2 at the base of a hill. And, oh my, was it a hill. Like, seriously, it just kept GOING. I kept telling Adam, "When we reach the top right there I'll start running," except it never WAS the top, it would just KEEP GOING. But, pretty much everyone was walking up the hill, so I didn't feel too bad.
We eventually got to this pond that had a floating apparatus in the middle. We waded out to the water and had to get on it, then jump off and swim to the other side. This is the part I love about the dash, everyone who was on the raft was helping other people get on. Someone helped you on, you turned around and helped someone else on. After we got out of the pond there was another obstacle you had to climb that rained muddy pond water on you. Immediately after that obstacle the course went downhill. A very muddy, slick down hill. It was pretty much like trying to walk down a slip and slide, and probably would have been easier if I had just sat my butt down and slid down the path. There were ropes tied to trees so everyone did their best to hang on to a rope until that one ran out and then find the next one. We were all just chatting with each other as we went down, it was kind of funny. The course leveled out pretty much after that, and the obstacles were pretty fun, actually. There were a few upper body ones that I was nervous about, like basically just pulling yourself up a vertical wall with a rope, but surprisingly I didn't have any troubles with those. Adam, like a good hubby, would follow me up an obstacle, then quickly get to the other side to help me down.
As much as I, seriously, did not want it to end, we eventually made our way to the last two obstacles. We held hands and jumped over fire, and then had to swim through the big pool of mud. Honestly, at that point, I didn't even blink at the prospect of swimming through mud. We climbed out the other side, held hands and and crossed the finish line in 57 minutes and 51 seconds (my goal was less than an hour.) Adam tried to dip me, but we slid on the mud and he fell on top of me. It was pretty funny and they got a really nice picture of it :) I was just so proud of us, of me! I was bruised, I was covered in mud and I had had SO MUCH FUN.
There was a stinky pond for people to wash off but we decided to just stay muddy. We got our free beer with our timing chip and got a turkey leg to split and corn on the cob.
There was live music and we chatted with other racers. Around noon I was pretty ready to go. I was tired, I missed home and the kids and I wanted to SHOWER. We got back to the car, toweled off as best we could and changed clothes. Mud was . . . everywhere. Just . . . everywhere.
We got home around 4 and I immediately hopped in the shower. It took some scrubbing to get the mud off and I wasn't entirely sure I was mud free until a couple more days of showers. I took a nap and then caught up with my DVR while waiting for my mom to bring the kids home. Sleeping in my bed that night felt SO GOOD. I woke up with sore abs and only a few bruises. Talking to Anna later that day she asked if I thought I would do it again next year. I told her I'd do it the next weekend if I could.
I have never considered myself athletic. Up until kickball a few years ago I'd never been on any sort of organized sports team. I go to rehearsals, not practices, I prefer stages to fields. And if this had been any sort of "proper" racing event I probably wouldn't have had as much fun. But the atmosphere was so fun, the people were in such good moods and everyone wanted everyone else to do well, too. So, yes, definitely going back next year (although, hopefully to a location closer than Logan) and going back with a larger group, too. Don't get me wrong, I'm so happy just Adam and I did this, it was a perfect weekend for us and a really great thing for us to do together, but having a big group would be a blast.
I have an idea to make everyone go as Sailor Scouts next year, too ;)