Monday, September 28, 2009

Yeti or Not...

We're home from vaca and normalcy is settling over us. Laundry is laundering, the boys are at school getting a proper education, so I decided to begin the storytelling of this wild trip we went on.

I will begin at the end. Because beginning at the beginning would make too much sense.

The culmination of our Disney trip was a crazy on my part... My friend Kara called me a few months ago, knowing of my plans to take this trip to Disney. She asked if I'd be her partner in the Expedition Everest Challenge--an event in the Disney Endurance series that involves running a 5K, then completing an obstacle course and a scavenger hunt through Animal Kingdom. It just so happened to fall on the last day of our trip. Without hesitation I said yes! It sounded super fun!

Kara used to work at Animal Kingdom, so we decided that navigating our way through the scavenger hunt part would be cake. All we had to do was survive the run and do a little Survivor-esque challenge and we'd be golden.

Us before the race

Kaleigh and Cole playing before the race. They are good buddies.

The thought didn't really enter my mind that after eight days at Walt Disney World, I might be a little....tired. And boy, all day Saturday as I sweated it out at Epcot, my feet ached, my legs were tired, and I guzzled water as a preemptive strike on dehydration, I was nervous. But as soon as I got there, I fed off the excitement, and Kara and I in our true style, started laughing and having fun.

We were in Wave Five. Kara's husband Nick and his brother Greg were in Wave Two. Waves took off every five minutes. We were lucky to be so far up--there were THIRTEEN waves. We were halfway through the scavenger hunt (the third leg of the race) when people were just starting the 5K portion. That must have sucked for them...

We took off with Wave Five, following our newly minted routine of "turtling", meaning we run kinda slow. We discovered in our training, thanks to Kara's super sweet friend who ran with us once, that there really is something to the "slow and steady wins the race" motto. So we "turtled" along, and when we needed to pass people, one of us would say "hare" and we'd do evasive maneuvers to get around the walkers and/or people who were turtling even slower than us. It was a thing of beauty.

We felt great, really great, during the run. It was hot, we were sweating buckets, but at every water stop we tossed a little on ourselves and it felt good. We were rocking it!

Lila was dancing to the music in her beebop style

Kara's older daughter Kaleigh

Kara's younger daughter Olivia, also a beeboper. (She is a month older than Lila.)

After the 5K portion we took a quick breather of a walk towards the obstacle course, then we took off running again. We got to the first one, and up and over sorta dealy, and I fell right off the thing. Somehow I banged my leg (I have a bruise the size of the Yeti himself) and we laughed our asses off. But up I got, and up and over we went.

Next was a rope ladder thing (don't you love how I know the proper terms for all this stuff?) and I must admit it was a secret dream of mine to run up and over one of those things. There were these two girls on either side of us struggling on it, but apparently that's my talent cause I tore that sucker up. My favorite part of the course!

Next was the balance beam. Here's where I totally felt like part of Survivor. It's hard to balance on a 2x4 after you've just run 3.1 miles, I do say. Kara blasted right over the thing. I was much slower. Balancing in yoga is one of my strengths, I can hold a position for a very long time. But walking across a beam was a totally different deal. I was using my yoga mantras, but they weren't very effective because I was getting pissed off as people who were on either side of me kept hitting my extended arms with their extended arms. And getting pissed off is not very zen. But I made it.

Ahead was the last obstacle--a thing you had to army crawl under. As we ran towards it I said something to Kara like, "Let's just hit the dirt and go!" And boy did we ever! It was hilarious!! Mud and dirt and grass and things that were just so NOT Kara and Ashley. Again, we laughed and laughed and laughed!

We ran across the finish and heard the "Beep Beep" of the timing device marking our finish.

Passing by the fam on our way to the scavenger hunt

Apparently Cole was not happy to see my run by him and not stop

Off the the scavenger hunt. This was the part I was looking forward to most, but not looking forward to having to run, again!

We picked up our book and got these super spiffy light up pens.

We caught our breath and took off running towards the park. It felt good to be passing tons and tons of people who were walking. We were still feeling pretty strong.

And then we felt the raindrops.

First it was just a sprinkle. It became hard to see because if you looked straight ahead you got rain in your eyes. Then the rain mixed with sweat and pretty soon you were blinded. My shirt was covered in dirt from the army crawl thing and there wasn't a clean inch to wipe the sweat out of my eyes. Just as I was about to duck into a bathroom for a towel, the rain was pouring down and I think washed all the sweat off of me. So I guess that was a good thing.

We were off. We ran, and ran, and ran. Many points we were running through water up to our knees. From Camp Minnie Mickey, to Africa, to Asia. I told Kara somewhere along the way that I won't be taking her phone calls anymore lest she get me into a mess like this again! But it was a blast, and true to form, we laughed our way through it until we'd finished our four clues.

We collected our nifty medals. Inside is a fake compass. Made in China.

Nick was at the end waiting for us and he kindly purchased us beers. I was soaked through to the bone, and we were driving home that night!

Kara and me, post race, well earned beer in hand!
Courtesy of Nick's iPhone. : )

We only got this one post race picture, due to the rain and all. Kind of a bummer, but at least we have the shot of victory!

When I got back to the car, Rey had gotten the kids into dry clothes (pajamas!) and he'd found some dry clothes for me. I was impressed that he wasn't an anxious mess after getting caught with all three kids in that downpour. We made it home at 1:15am. I was in and out of consciousness and was deathly afraid that Rey was going to fall asleep at the wheel.

All in all, the Expedition Everest Challenge was a great time, and I am so thankful that Kara called me up that day to get me to do it! We've decided to make it a tradition!

The results haven't been posted yet. Our time doesn't matter to us, we were in it for the experience and just wanted to finish. To be honest, I have no clue what range our time might even be in.

But we did our best and in the end we conquered the Yeti.

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