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Dances with Dirt 100km relay<br>
Hell, MI<br>
Sept 8, 2007<br><br>
I had looked forward to this weekend for quite some time. My marathon training buddies traveled the three hours to Hell, back in March, for the required "in-person" sign-up. We got in. Additionally, over this past year I became a huge fan of Tim Looney since he and I were to tackle our first 100 mile runs on consecutive weekends back in June. I followed his training through the winter and spring as we approached the Mohican and Western States races. He has become an inspiration to me and this was the weekend I finally got to meet the one and only "Orange Shorts."<br><br>
My weekend started Friday afternoon as the six of us loaded up the cars with camping and running gear for the 3+ hour drive to Pinckney State Rec Area near Ann Arbor, Michigan. We camped both Friday and Saturday nights. My local running store, Second Sole, sent two teams and one ultrarunner. Upon arrival we found a campsite right next to our other team. Since I was not to run until the fourth leg, I stayed up late to chat and ensure that all the beer was secured before hitting the sack. ?<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c187/ltrun/DSC00702.JPG.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br>
The Groovy Soles before the start!<br><br>
My team consisted of myself and the four running buddies I’ve trained with throughout this year. We trained together this winter for Boston, and this same group was my crew at the Mohican 100. In three weeks we're off to race the Steamtown marathon.<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c187/ltrun/DSC00626.JPG.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br>
Groovy: Bionic Man, St. Mike, ******, Doc Lou, Lizard, and Derelict<br><br>
We took a hippie-slash-seventies theme with our team name. Although they called me the Bionic Man after my Mohican run, its not really my nickname but rather a fun connection to the 70's theme. I suppose Steve Austin is a 70s relic, after all.<br><br>
The Dances with Dirt is a 15-leg relay race with 5 runners per team. The course loops around Pinckney on local trails, very few paved surfaces, and some trails that apparently were never trails before the race. Each leg has a fun and unique name such as "The Stripper Pole," "Where's the F'n Bridge," and "This Sucks." The course was hyped up as a wet and muddy mess but I found it a bit over-hyped. The trails I ran were well established single-track trail and very runnable.<br><br>
In the morning we arrived at the start/finish area to a mob of some 350 relay teams and about 100 ultrarunners for relay and concurrent 50km and 50mi races. The scene was one of costumes galore. Great outfits of girl scouts, Vikings, various animals, and perhaps the funniest to me was the team of "knocked-up cheerleaders," all (very) pregnant women with bellie hanging out from under their uniforms! The most uncomfortable costume I saw was the team wearing lingerie and thong underwear -- on top of their running shorts. Weird.<br><br>
Tim found me before the race and we chatted for a few minutes. He was wearing (gasp) navy blue shorts and I had a difficult time deciding if it was really Tim! ? He assured me that Hell was no place for orange shorts. I took his word for it.<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c187/ltrun/DSC00710.JPG.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br>
girl scouts<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c187/ltrun/DSC00711.JPG.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br>
vikings<br><br>
I've never run in a multi-leg relay race like this, so I had no idea how to race: conserve energy, or run all-out. We decided to race all-out and worry about the subsequent legs later when the time comes.<br><br>
The race started with the "Stampede" and after we sparked up the doobie (our relay baton) off went the Derelict. At the first exchange, ****** took the joint and took a faux-hit before running on her leg. We adopted this practice at each exchange -- endearing us to the costume judges!<br><br>
Each leg measured between 3 and 6 miles and my first turn came in leg #4 on the Pottowatami trail measuring 6.1 miles -- the longest leg of the race. I had not run on Thursday or Friday and after a 2 mile warm-up I was full of energy. This trail is a well-maintained single track with small rolling hills and very runnable. Normally on such a trail I would wear trail shoes and I could run all day at an ultra pace. Running hard on trails, and in road shoes, was a foreign feeling. This juncture in the race was early enough with plenty of competition nearby, so I got caught up in the moment and my competitive side took over. The entire run felt up-tempo as I passed about 15 runners in this leg and arrive at the relay exchange in 44 minutes.<br><br>
My next turn was leg #8 called "Styx, River of Death," measuring 3.25 miles. One of the kids I used to coach is now a senior at UM and he came out to check out the race. He is leaving for the Navy after graduation, so I asked him to run along with me on this leg. This trail was another nice run through the woods and we took off blazing an up-tempo pace. After a few tricky turns and three river crossings, we finally reach the River of Death. The river was an annoying and never-ending upstream 1/4 mile. This leg ended in the actual town of Hell with many spectators watching us from the bridge above. It didn't kill me, but my wristwatch didn't fare as well. Water got inside and the Nike Triax became the first casualty of the day.<br><br>
(We have a video of me running through the river that I hope to post later.)<br><br>
As the day wore on, the competition spread out and as we drove to each relay exchange point we got to see the same teams over and over again. We went back and forth all day with a fabulously costumed team, named "Hunting Tail." Their two females were dressed as a deer and a rabbit, their three gents in orange hunting vest, and they passed a rifle as their relay baton. What fun!<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c187/ltrun/DSC00728.JPG.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br>
The deer from team "Hunting Tail."<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c187/ltrun/DSC00760.JPG.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br>
Doc after leg # 10 of the race: The famous "Where's the F'n Bridge." Someone could have told us -- there is no F'n bridge.<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c187/ltrun/DSC00768.JPG.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br>
Hi Everybody!<br><br>
It became apparent we were slowing down as we each ran our third and final legs. My team picked me to run last, meaning I had to wait the longest. Waiting at the exchange point for the 15th and final leg, named "Dirts Revenge," the Hunters pulled away and started with a lead I could not overcome. This 4.1 mile leg was on similar (and dry) trails to the Pottowatami. Even with a 1 mile warm-up prior to this leg, the tiring effect took its toll. While I thought I had one more tempo run in me, my race pace slowed and I pressed on with a side stitch and dead legs. The final 300 yards are across an open field for all to see and my teammates joined me and like good hippies, we held hands to cross the finish line together.<br><br>
Finished in 9:11 (about 8:53 pace)<br>
44th place of 317 teams (before handicap)<br>
70th place (after handicap)<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c187/ltrun/DSC00775.JPG.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br>
Dirty hippies.<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c187/ltrun/DSC00798.JPG.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br>
Post-race with Tim.<br><br>
Our 50 mile teammate finished 5th place in 9.5 hours and our team #2 finished not too far behind us. They awarded prizes to the top 60 teams and we were a bit disappointed that our handicap dropped us from 44th to 70th place. But much to our surprise, they called our name for 3rd place costume/theme. We had to wonder their judging criteria, but we think it was the doobie that did it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"><br><br>
After hanging out at the finish and a dip in the lake, Tim caught up with me for a beer. Although I'm embarrassed at my unpolished interview skills, you can <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rc0fP_3ZuFU" target="_blank">click here to see the post race video with Tim.</a><br><br>
All-in-all and even with the horde of mosquitoes, the race was a ton of fun. I never tire of running through the woods like a bat outta hell. Or should I say, in Hell?<br><br>
The weather was fabulous throughout the day. Clear skies and no rain. We retired to the camp for dinner and the campfire. It wasn't until after hitting the sack that the rains came. Torrential. In the morning the skies cleared again and although we were ready for pancakes on the griddle, everything was soaked. So we opted to break camp and head into Ann Arbor for breakfast at Zingermans! We had no idea who won the Oregon-Michigan game, but the somber mood around town told the tale.<br><br>
What a weekend!
 

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ha!!!!!!!!!! funny about the doobie. what was the prize for the costumes? sounds like a total blast!!!
 

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Great report roots.<br><br>
Looks and sounds like a most excellent time was had by all! <img alt="" src="http://smiley.onegreatguy.net/bong.gif" style="border:0px solid;">
 

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Dy-no-mite!<br><br>
Glad you had such a far-out time with friends running and camping.<br><br>
That must have been some kind bud you had to get the costume award.<br><br>
And you got to meet Tim Looney!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> - to the bong-hitting smiley.<br><br>
Prize: A shoe bag with the DwD logo. A token.<br><br>
HA!<br><br>
I have no idea what you're talking about. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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I missed this report-Great job. It sounds like it was a blast<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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DwD is so much fun. I had a blast. I should write a report as well.
 
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