I AM…Human Unlimited


Disclaimer – I didn’t not create that name, nor am I stealing it.  Rather, I’m paying homage.


I came across HU on FB and while I am not the first to jump on anyone’s bandwagon, I saw their shirts and commenced to obtain all sorts of splinters and scrapes.  But it wasn’t until their latest email offering up their, IMHO, epic shirt that it  would resonate so well.  FAIL (First Attempt In Learning)  I love love love a good play on words and let me tell you, this is the epitome of being an athlete.  Myself and hundreds of others this weekend undertook tests of our training and even though we’d done them before, there is nothing like that “now or never” moment.

My FAIL moment came during my 58 mile bike ride.  See, where I live, it’s flat.  Oh you MAY catch a slight roller but that’s only due to a bridge or overpass.  No humps in these thar hills but Richmond, VA is notorious for their hills and I found out the hard way, just how disadvantaged my hometown is.

See, I can’t practice hill riding, so I had to Nike the entire thing.  I had my nutrition down (every 45 minutes) my hydration down (H20 every 15) but nothing prepares your legs for hills, when you haven’t trained on them.  I was making good time but then, there was this hill.  I won’t even call it a hill.  More like a steeple with an angled slope that had a long crest at the top.  There would be more, lots more, the entire ride in fact.  Oh, down hill was great but it was cold, so my first FAIL was (#1 – need to buy toe covers and wool socks and a cycling jersey).  I wasn’t freezing but I don’t like my arms to be cold.  Yeah, I was layered up but that wind can be biting.

My next FAIL was cramping.  Now, I have never cramped on the bike, ever.  Never, ever.  It was the hills, so I chewed a few fruit bits, sipped water and it slowly worked itself out.  Note to self, always keep more fruit bits.

The next FAIL was my compression.  I’ve ridden with and without them before but never will I ride with them on hills again.  Nope, unh uh, not doing it.  I’ll get me some leg warmers.  All in an attempt to be fashion forward.

All in all, my FAILs provided me a wealth of information.  Sure, I’d ridden before, and even did a few slight hills but this FAIL showed me I’ve got work to do in the hill department.  The funny thing is, I passed some and I was passed by some.  I didn’t and never will care about people passing me.  Lady with a basket with flowers and food passed me and I almost crashed laughing so hard.  I later found out, she passes most people.  Hills are her thing.

I can’t wait to order my FAIL shirt and wear it proudly at my next race.  For me and my fellow athletes who were out giving it our all, we all, hopefully learned something that day.  We should all remember, that even when you FAIL, it not necessarily needs to be epic, so long as it’s educational.

Congratulations to M. Hicks. I. H. and the rest of the athletes that competed the PPD Beach 2 Battleship 70.3 and 140.6 and those who completed IMMD, and all those who completed races and events in a city/state near you.  We all showed just how Unlimited we Humans are, when we put our minds to you.   Thanks HU!

What ails ya?60 miler post race


This is my Richmond Rox race report.

We’ve all seen the commercials but I must say, we had absolutely nothing in common.  Well, maybe the fact that we were both strong willed is something but not enough.  I’d heard about him and to be honest, my interest wasn’t there.  EVERYBODY was talking about him but I was like, eh.  But the FOMO – on what exactly I have NO idea – crept into my usually impenetrable mind and thus I drank the Jim Joaquin Jones kool-aid.

I should have known this date was going to be a disaster.  I didn’t even do my normal primp prep routine.  I even wore a cut-up bag on my head for pete’s sake, but that goes to show you how I was feeling about this date.  Another clue was the fact that I had to drive to meet him.  Not that it was an issue but he didn’t even offer to come and pick me up.

We had reservations but there was a mix-up.  We had to wait to be seated.  I got bored.  I wanted to leave, I really did, but I stayed.  Didn’t get started until almost 10:30am and my enthusiasm floated down the James like all the debris and unsettled earth that Joaquin kicked up as he tried to stop me from leaving.

The appetizer:  The 1 mile run was, eh.  My mind and worse yet, my body was soo not into it.  If this had been an intimate moment and if I cared, I would have been embarrassed but such as it was, trot, trot, on I went, all the while trying to re-engage myself in this date.

The main course:  12 mile bike was, doh (Homer Simpson voice).  I’ve ridden in the rain.  I’ve ridden in the wind.  I’ve ridden in the wind and rain but THIS, well, let’s just say I would have slapped Joaquin for his behavior if I could have caught up with him.  I actually hated this ride.  In all fairness, I have to give it up to Richmond Multisports.  They took the worst lemons and made the best lemonade they could under the circumstances.  The organization was pretty much non-existent and they didn’t have enough volunteers, thus leading to my adventures on the bike.

Technically, I didn’t get lost but why must these thing always take place in the most remote of places.  I was alone.  No birds, no bugs, nothing.  Just me and I could feel the darkness coming for me.  I berated myself for not changing into my cycle shoes.  My feet kept slipping off the pedals and my shoes were so wet that I had to give serious thought as to whether or not I’d wet myself.  The lack of volunteers and signs made this ride a nightmare.  In all fairness, Richmond Multisports took the old lemons they had and made the best drinkable lemonade they could.  I respect them for that but this ride was taking it out of me.  My foot slipped, my pace slowed, my thigh cramped (due to shoes) and then…I stopped.  Yep, just got off the bike and walked.  No particular reason other than the fact that I was a 5 year old, throwing a fit in the supermarket.  As I crested the top of the hill, I saw the flashing of blue lights.  I hopped back on my back, thanked the officer for direction and assistance and splashed my way on.

I wanted to quit. Mentally, I did, more than once to be exact.  I felt shame, then nothing.  I wanted to call someone but I had no idea where I was.  No street signs around and the maps (no offense RMS), were crap.  I made it around a bend and came upon a familiar structure.  Ok, this must be the loop around.  Keep pedaling.  I see other cyclist.  Please don’t talk to me because we are not almost there.  I say nothing, they don’t deserve my wrath.  I see the race area and OF COURSE it’s all down hill, I mean really down hill.  I dismount and make NOOO attempt to run into transition.  For what?

Dessert:  5k run.  I felt like I was left holding the check.  I ran around in transition looking for the “run out” and even the volunteer didn’t seem to know.  After doing our best Hokey Pokey and turning ourselves about, I was pointed in the right direction and off I went.  I tip toe down the steps, stop to apply by lipgloss – hey, no need in being mad and looking busted – and stride off.  I see a few familiar faces running in.  I smile, wave, high five, you know, the PC BS you do and say when you see someone about to just say PUCK IT.  I trotted on.  The wind blew, the rain came and I, we, ran on.  There was shelter for about 3/4 of a mile and I took advantage.  I walked the aid station – oh you can have people there but not out there for the bike huh!  The run was like a maze, a steeplechase even.  Running through puddles, jumping over small lakes and climbing steps and ramps.  Best of all, I was once again not technically lost.  I wasn’t the only one this time.  There was a clusterpuck of runners, from seemingly all 3 events, wondering, exactly where the hell am I supposed to be running.  There was a kind woman at the top of the stairs/ramp who noted she wasn’t a volunteer but she’d seen a few people go -> thataway.  What is this, a cartoon?  I’m resigned myself to a walk/run but umm, where exactly am I going.  Wait.  What’s that, off in the distance?  Is it that mythical creature?  Yes, it is.  It’s a VOLUNTEER.  I’d hit the turnaround point, so around I went.  As I’m heading back, I see 2 volunteers on the opposite side of the street running.  I mumbled something negative but chastised myself and kept it moving.  Back down the steps/ramp and uh oh, I came out on the wrong side.  This doesn’t look familiar but I’m still going.  I see where I need to be but umm, exactly how do I get there.  I see a runner on the correct side and then there’s me here.  I Usain Bolt it across the water grid and over a small moat to end up where I was supposed to be.  This.  Is.  Some. Bull.

I’m back to the shelter and calculate that I’m almost at the finish line.  I make it back to a portion of the capital trail and of course I enter the wrong side.  “Stay to the left” he yells.  Well why the F didn’t you say that when you saw me approaching?  Dinkus.  Now, I’m running in the street.  I hear a fire truck coming and I’ve got NO PLACE TO GO.  I look back and see the officer has blocked the road.  Whew.  Check myself for any accidental soilage – nothing.  I walk/run on.  I see the runner from the water grid dash and he’s running through the grass.  I shrug my shoulders and laugh.  I see the finish in the clearing so I stop, pull out my hanky (a lady is always prepared), wipe my face, reapply my gloss and stride down the chute, flashing all my 28 chicklets.  You’d never know from the look on my face that I was absolutely miserable.  I collected my medal, my things and headed back.

After dinner drinks:  Arriving at the hotel, Joaquin took, his leave.  He left while I was in the shower.  He left no note just a few rays of sun shadows behind the clouds.  I wasn’t even mad.  This will teach me to go on blind dates.  And to top it all off, the Cowboys lost.  I’ve never looked forward to a Monday so much in my life.  No, I didn’t die.  Never even felt like I was or wanted to but man, did I want to go home.

What doesn’t kill you may, eventually, make you stronger, but damn if you don’t experience some weakness on the road back.  I ran, I biked, I ran again and I grew weary.  But He kept me, so I wouldn’t let go.

What ails ya?

RVA race collage 2