Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Port to Fort 2012

This past weekend I participated in an adventure race called Port to Fort.  I have been looking forward to this race for months.  It was an adventure, that's for sure.  And it's one I can't wait to participate in again next year.   I tried to recruit some friends to do it with me but didn't have any takers so I set out to do it alone.  Well, not totally alone...my sweet Justin was there in his boat cheering me on and taking pics.  And making sure I didn't dump out in the river somewhere. He's a trooper, that Justin.  In 2008 when I ran the Route 66 Marathon he rode his bike the whole way cheering me on.  Love that fella!

 Here are the specifics about the race: a swim in the Three Forks Harbor then a 5 mile trail run to the Old Fort in Fort Gibson then a kayak/canoe 5 miles back to the Harbor.  There were 3 person teams and individuals competing.  For the first year, I think there was a great turnout. 

Over Memorial Day weekend Justin took me to get a kayak so I could practice in our pond and I started running again to get ready for the race.  Luckily I have a trail at the house that is almost 1.25 miles long and it's pretty hilly with rough terrain (I *might* have fallen in the pasture a few weeks ago just a few minutes into a long run...not fun running 5 miles with a scratched up and bruised leg...). So, for the few months I have been running and kayaking in the evenings to get ready.  Pretty sure next year I am going to have to work on my swimming.  And my kayaking...this time on the actual river. 

They had an option to opt out of the swim in favor of a longer run which I was all in favor of until I went to pick up my packet Friday night and was informed the extra run would also include running through waste deep water.  That meant a 5 mile trail run with wet shoes and socks.  There went my plan of no swimming! So the morning of I checked in, dropped off my shoes/socks/towel at the transition area and noticed that the swim started on the landing...with about a 5 foot jump into the water.  Ummmm...this girl hasn't even jumped off a diving board in years.  The gun sounded and I am pretty sure a few expletives came out of my mouth before I got the nerve to jump.  But once I was in I was ready to go...swimming my little heart out.  Note to self: practice jumping/swimming for next year.  Not my strong suite. 

I'm in all black on the end

Trying to work up my nerve to jump....

And...I'm in!

swim fishy swim!

view of the adventure racers/swimmers

out of the water and ready to tackle the hill

After the swim you had to run up the hill (kinda cruel) to your shoes/socks and get ready to hit the trail. I probably could have transitioned faster but I wanted to catch my breath and get my bearings before starting the run.  Not too far into the run there was a pretty solid stretch of running in sand.  Running in sand isn't fun. Period.  Once that ended it was a fun trail with it's share of logs to climb/jump over, a challenge/check in station, inclines you had to climb using a rope, rappelling  down a hillside, a muddy water filled opening to cross and pipes to climb over.  It was challenging but so much fun! 

climbing pipes

grabbed a water and ready for some kayaking

I got excited when I saw the launch spot for the canoes but that quickly faded when they told me we had to run up the Old Fort for another check in/challenge.  I wasn't excited to run up hill but I was ready to get in the kayak.  Once back down to the launch spot I grabbed my kayak and hit the water. 

off I go...

thumbs up...let's get it on!

I must be an idiot, because I thought the kayak would be the easier part of the race and I was absolutely wrong.  It was tough...kayaking on the river was just a *little* different from the pond.  I was hoping the current would help out a bit since we were going downstream but I didn't notice much help.  Then the wind picked up with about 2 miles to go so I felt like that was working against me too.  

Caught up to Justin's cousin Cody on the water.  He was always just a little bit ahead of me an I could never quite catch him.  It was good motivation to keep on paddling when I wanted to take a break. 

go cody go!

so close but I just can't catch him

almost to the finish...

I was so excited to see the turn into the harbor.  I paddled fast and furious so we could finish this thing. That, and I knew that my babies would be at the finish line.  I couldn't wait to see their sweet faces.  Stockton was so excited to see all the canoes and kayaks he kept calling them 'baby boats'.  They didn't know what to think of momma in her baby boat but I stole some kisses anyways.  

so excited to see my sweet boys and their nana

kiss me Archer!

kiss me Stockton!

After stealing kisses there was one more obstacle to tackle...pulling my baby boat up that steep hill to the finish line.  Again, kinda cruel to make you pull your boat up a hill after all of that ridiculousness but what a way to finish strong.   I finished in 2 hrs and 28 mins.  

almost there...

waiting for the guy in front of me to move it out of the way


So that's Port to Fort 2012 in a nutshell.  It was tough, sweaty and lots of fun.  I pushed myself to new limits.  Of the individual females I placed 6th and I am proud of that.  Next year I plan on kicking some tail and taking names now that I know what I am up against.  Good times, good times!