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Congratulations to <b>Team J</b>, winner of VRAA #6.<br><br><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Final Standings: 31 Days</span><br>
J--14,246 <b><span style="font-size:xx-small;">(VRAA Champion - Gold Medalist)</span></b><br>
S--13,626 <span style="font-size:xx-small;"><b>(VRAA Silver Medalist)</b></span><br>
K--12,348 <span style="font-size:xx-small;"><b>(VRAA Bronze Medalist)</b></span><br>
P--9,008<br><br><i><span style="font-size:xx-small;">(Surf City Bonus Points included.)</span></i><br><br>
It is my pleasure to announce that awards go to the top three teams. Winners may change their profile name to display their award. An announcement will be made when the profiles become available.<br><br>
I sincerely hope that you enjoyed your VRAA experience. The sudden growth of Kickrunners brought the largest field ever assembled. By the numbers:<br><br>
Registered players - <b>176</b><br>
Teams - <b>11</b><br>
Total points earned - <b>121,563</b><br>
Ave points per player - <b>691</b><br>
691 points/4 = <b>173 miles per person</b> (VRRA point equivalent)<br><br>
Thanks to all participants, especially the team captains, reporters, and volunteers. Without you, my job is impossible. The VRAA continues to evolve. Part of the fun is that each race (round) has had a little different flavor. As such, we'll continue to ask for volunteers to keep this game going strong.<br><br>
The VRAA doubled in size from last round, requiring a better scoring system. We appreciate your cooperation during the scoring transition and we're happy to report that we made it work. We anticipate that VRAA Scoring Central will add to your overall enjoyability, including the probable return, to some degree, of individual leaderboards.<br><br>
If the VRAA inspired you in some special way, please share your experiences in the <a href="" target="_blank">VRAA testimonials</a> thread.<br><br>
Stay tuned. The VRAA will take a short break to regroup and shuffle the teams.

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<span style="font-size:xx-small;">First, my sincere apologies for being negligent in my reporting duties. Roots seems to have the numbers game sewn up and Moon is fleshing out the details (quite well I must say!), so how about a dissection of your competition. Today will examine the not-so-dark underbelly of Team J.<br><br>
Team Just J has no time for cutesy team names that start with the letter J. Captain <b>Billy</b> hails from Scottsdale, AZ and rules with an iron spreadsheet! Teammates would describe <b>Billy</b> as goals and details-oriented, yet benevolent. If <b>Billy</b> raises a hand, it's for a pat on the back, not a smackdown.<br><br>
The work horses of this team are a 3-deep group of Mega Super Badasses (and Marathon Maniacs to boot): <b>IEatHills4Meals</b>, <b>rassmussenmp</b>, and <b>rockenmama</b>.<br><br><b>IEatHills4Meals</b> is the unofficial cheerleader of Team J. She has motivation to spare and does <i>not</i> take rest days. She'll be following up a PR performance at this weekend's Disney Marathon with a 50K next weekend. Keep one eye open and one foot on that stair-stepper you keep under your bed when Ty is around. <i>Strengths:</i> Consistency, determination, general good cheer. <i>Weaknesses:</i> None! <i>Strategy:</i> ???<br><br>
In the time it takes you to say <b>rassmussenmp</b>'s name, he's likely to have just gotten in an alternate workout. This Marathon Maniac is currently in training for a 2/10 marathon in Alabama and 2/17 marathon in Florida. <i>Strengths:</i> Consistency. <i>Weaknesses:</i> None! <i>Strategy:</i> ???<br><br><b>rockenmama</b> intimidates opponents with her bodybuilder's physique and 11 mile strolls (on light days). <i>Strengths:</i> Consistency, energy, alternate workouts. <i>Weaknesses:</i> Puppy. <i>Strategy:</i> Make no attempts to take down rockenmama, go for the pup!<br><br>
Team J also has a strong quartet of Super Badasses: <b>Litchfield Hills</b>, <b>mykemp71</b>, <b>RunAsics</b>, and <b>VTLaura</b>.<br><br><b>Litchfield Hills</b> is just one of the engineers in this group of statistical madmen. When he's not running, you might find him ice skating his way to extra points. And as an early riser, expect him to never bag a run due to work during the week. Weekends are another matter as family obligations are sometimes more pressing. Watch for him to score some bonus points at a 1/20 15K. <i>Strengths:</i> Not too manly to ice skate. <i>Weaknesses:</i> Weekends. <i>Strategy:</i> Stack your points on the weekend to take away his morale.<br><b><br>
mykemp71</b> is currently preparing for a 1/19 35K and a 1/27 15K. He doesn't believe in red or blue states, just purple ones. <i>Strengths:</i> Knows the value of bonus race points. <i>Weaknesses:</i> Will bag a run for just a sign of sickness, will shorten a run for food, rests on Mondays. <i>Strategy:</i> Cut off his Airborne supply and cook a tasty breakfast. And, uh, cough on him for good measure.<br><br><b>RunAsics</b> is an engineer of the spreadsheet wielding variety, so he fits right in with this group. <i>Strengths:</i> Consistency. If he's not running, he's doing cardio of some kind. <i>Weaknesses:</i> Job stress. <i>Strategy:</i> Fudge some of his spreadsheet calculations and hope he bangs his head hard enough against the wall to pass out.<br><br><b>VTLaura</b> showed early on that she was well-versed in the tao of the spreadsheet by making an early correction on Captain <b>Billy</b>'s team tally. VTLaura is currently training for a 2/24 half-marathon and definitely knows the value of some good cross-training. <i>Strengths:</i> Attention to detail. <i>Weaknesses:</i> Unknown. <i>Strategy:</i> Destroy the spreadsheet, hope for implosion or for <b>Billy</b> to start underscoring without the assistance of his right-hand woman.<br><br>
Team J's Badass core is made up of Captain <b>Billy</b>, <b>Jill</b>, <b>kfuller</b>, <b>lkschiller</b>, <b>markalan</b>, and <b>Road Hawk</b>.<br><br><b>Billy</b> serves as the leadership for Team J and excels at channeling the energy of his team and giving it right back to them and then some. <b>Billy</b> is currently plagued by knee issues and found himself resting up more than he liked in order to pace a friend at the PF Chang half-marathon (and getting some bonus points along the way). <i>Strengths:</i> Leadership, motivation, dedication. <i>Weaknesses:</i> Knees. <i>Strategy:</i> Look for <b>Billy</b> to shore up his knee issues and kick it into high gear, but while he's doing that keep closing the gap by scoring consistently.<br><br>
You can find <b>Jill</b> joining forces with <b>rockenmama</b> to earn points as a team on long run days. You will find both of them at next weekend's Chilly Cheeks race. <i>Strengths:</i> The constant presence of <b>rockenmama</b>. <i>Weaknesses:</i> Unknown. <i>Strategy:</i> Hope for debilitating frostbite at Chilly Cheeks.<br><br><b>kfuller</b> earns his alternate points shoveling snow in Salt Lake City. <i>Strengths:</i> Finds ways to run despite too much damn snow. <i>Weaknesses:</i> Unknown. <i>Strategy:</i> Help global warming along by driving your car to your mailbox and leaving all of your lights on all day long to bring an end to the snow in Utah.<br><br><b>markalan</b> doesn't believe in rest days, oh, except for Friday. <i>Strengths:</i> Earns points everyday except Friday, dedication. <i>Weaknesses:</i> Fridays, work. <i>Strategy:</i> Get those Friday points <b>markalan</b> is missing!<br><br><b>Road Hawk</b> has spent the majority of this round sick. <i>Strengths:</i> Dedication in spite of sickness. <i>Weaknesses:</i> He can't shake this darn cold! <i>Strategy:</i> Expect <b>Road Hawk</b> to make a roaring comeback and increase Team J's overall weekly totals when he's 100%, so don't wait until then to put the hurt on J points-wise in the meantime.<br><br>
Finally, meet Team J's rookie contingent aka Bad Asses in Training: <b>Apple</b>, <b>riley0003</b>, and <b>rogue4wife</b>. <b>Apple</b> and <b>rogue4wife</b> started off slow, but are definitely learning a lot from their teammates and contributing as much as they can. <b>riley0003</b> is on the road to recovery from a calf tear and is cross-training and run/walking on a consistent basis.<br><br>
At last check, Team J was in second place. If you expect to beat Team J, start with being more consistent. Their motto is "Run for Show, Yoga for Dough" and getting points everyday is their m.o. Don't sleep on this team and expect big points from them with all of the upcoming races on their schedule and members getting off the sick roster.<br><br></span>

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<span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="font-size:small;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;">Days 16-25 of the VRAA #6 Daily Blog can be found here:<br><a href="" target="_blank"></a><br>
Days 26-31 of the VRAA #6 Daily Blog can be found here:<br><a href="" target="_blank"></a></span><br><b><span style="font-size:xx-small;">Day 15: Just outside Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, CA</span></b> <span style="font-size:xx-small;"><br>
It was evident early on today that Team J would not be stopped until they reached the Pacific Ocean. Captain Billy had a gut feeling early on as his team passed by his hometown of Scottsdale, saying, “We’re going to catch Team S and getting to Surf City first - I know it.”<br><br>
By the time the VRAA had crossed into the California border at Blythe, right smack in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the steady state crew that formed this team had kicked it up another gear and did leave Team S, despite chugging along at a good pace themselves, with no response for now. Under darkening skies, led by a nice cache of SoCal based Kickrunners, a racuous crowd greeted the J Team as they crossed the intersection at Huntington Street and Pacific Coast Highway that marked the end of the original 6,192 mile course and earned those valued top bonus points.</span> <span style="font-size:xx-small;"><br><br>
By then though, the news had spread - due to the high levels of badassery and high participation, more mileage would be added. An additional 4600+ miles had been added in, and plans for an additional chunk of mileage that could be added at moment’s notice if needed were in the works, should a team get into the original starting city of Salt Lake City, UT, ahead of time.<br><br>
Team J celebrated with the throng for about an hour or so, but knew very well that they would be best-advised to make for the border on their way to warm Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico. An additional 4 4 miles later down the coast, the team finally called it a night near Agra, CA, right next to the famed Camp Pendleton Marine Base. Their nearest competition, Team S, found themselves about 100 miles out of Surf City at the junction of Hwy 111 and I-10, just outside of tourist mecca Palm Springs, CA.<br><br>
Remaining teams more or less found themselves in clumps of three farther back. Teams Q, N & K were located near Lordsburg, NM, home of the famed Butterfield Stage route. Meanwhile, members of the R, O & T Teams had El Paso in their sights as they continued their trek through Texas hill country.<br><br>
Finally, the never say die competitors for Teams M, P & L made their presence felt on the freeways between San Antonio and Houston, TX. Even now, Texas was still providing quite the challenge to get across.<br><br>
But then again, the 1100+ miles of the unique mountain/desert/beach melding that was Baja California, Mexico, still awaited all VRAA teams; pretty soon, it would be time for the sunblock and the sweat to flow.</span></span><br><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><b><br>
Day 13 & 14: All along Interstate 10, Arizona to Louisiana</b></span> - The anti-litter signs along the sides of Texas roads politely warn people to “Don’t Mess With Texas.” If there were similar signs for the VRAA for this day 13, they would say ‘Don’t MeSS With Team S.” Team S almost made it out of the Lone Star State with a huge 519 mile effort on Day 13 of the VRAA. Mariachi bands welcomed the leaders as they camped in downtown El Paso for the night; team members were seen enjoying some local Tex-Mex specialties along with city officials. It was enough to give them a 160-mile edge for the day on the steady Team J, trying to stay warm in the mid-30 temps and somewhat breezy winds on a remote stretch of I-10 in SW Texas.<br><br>
Teams T & M continued their own battle farther back - both reached Cajun country just 42 miles apart as they reached the towns of Rayne and Duson, respectively. In a possible fortunate break, Team T’s em73 flew off to Cabo San Lucas for some R&R, but may end up getting some advance scouting info for her team depending on final post-Surf City routing. Team N also found a second wind with a huge Wednesday effort, earning 534 total pts and vaulting into third place past Teams K & Q, who have been locked in their own close-proximity tussle for position the past couple days.<br><br>
Day 14 marked the two week point of the VRAA competition, and team standings remained status quo save for Team R, who vaulted into sixth place with a nice 418-pt team effort. Newcomer LEEMBO34 added a quick jolt of energy, replacing a member who was unable toe the line originally.<br><br>
Lead teams settled just outside of Phoenix, AZ, which prompted officials in Surf City to prepare for the possible first arrival of VRAA participants late Friday.<br><br>
But no matter where teams were on the route, spirits remained very high amongst teams. Hearing the news that the post Surf City route would possibly take him by his place in Bremerton, WA, rasmussenmp of Team J was ecstatic. “I can smell the ocean and almost hear the surf. We are very close team to our first goal,” he told his teammates.<br><br>
Team K has reflected the feisty spirit of their captain. Prior to today’s leg, his pep talk reiterated his pride in his team from top to bottom. “You guys are awesome. If you need time off, take it! We still have two weeks to go in this motha’ and we're right in the hunt and going to need everyone healthy and kicking ass in that final week!!!”<br><br>
Like many a runner has done, Team L has taken on the picking off one person (or in this case, team) at a time. “Let's start trending this downward!” team member SeaPig urged, as they set their goals firmly on Team P just ahead of them. The new focus may be paying off; with the addition of fellow team members Calliope (coming off the DL) and new member rugby (replacement for a no-show), their total team production over the last 4 days has eclipsed 4 of the 5 teams immediately ahead of them.<br><br>
Like Team J, Team O may also have a future plush rest stop - fbgrrl said she’d be more than happy to teammates over to her place in Washington if the VRAA routed itself through there.<br><br>
But as is in the case with any competition, life and injuries do get in the way sometimes, and this has hit Team O fairly hard, as well as Teams P and M. Despite the setbacks, all team captains have been proud of the solid steady production from individual members, and that people are for the most part meeting or slightly exceeding original projections. All three said hopes remain high for the remainder of the competition.<br><br>
In that spirit, Team O’s captain bikegirl72 posted a inspirational message start of Day 14 at her team’s campsite at George Bush Park in Addicks, TX, stating that the best moments are when the body and mind are voluntarily stretched to do something difficult and worthwhile. And during a mid-afternoon fueling stop around Lake Charles, LA, veteran Kickrunner and VRAA #6 Team M member Tigger put it best, saying to his teammates, “The goal is to get your axx out the door and do a little bit more than usual. If you've done that then you've won.”</span><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><b><br><br>
Day 12: Huntington Beach (aka Surf City), CA/Boerne, TX</b></span> - While racers made their way through the heart of Texas, focus shifted to the Southern California to VRAA headquarters at the finish line, who frantically made preparations for the early arriving participants.<br><br>
“The sheer number of folks and high level of badassery has put everything ahead of schedule,” said roots, organizer and participant (Team P) of the current edition of this ever-growing event. “We joked that we’d be able to send early-arriving teams on laps up and down the Pacific Coast Highway if they covered the 6,000-plus miles before the end of competition, but not for an entire two weeks worth.”<br><br>
Volunteers in VRAA Headquarters frantically put in calls to officials covering the area northward to Vancouver, BC, down south to sunny Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, and everywhere in between to get the necessary approvals in creating a route that would add at least 2500 miles of additional touring for race participants.<br><br>
City officials up and down the West Coast expressed excitement over this newfound possibility. “These VRAA participants are truly a testament to the idea that hard work pays off in good health and can actually be fun,” reported an excited Mayor Tom Potter of Portland, Oregon.<br><br>
“Well, I am an expert in martinis, and these VRAA Kickrunners are experts in running and stuff. Southern Nevada would glow even more brightly if they they brought their expertise here,” Oscar Goldman, three-time mayor of Las Vegas, NV, said at a press conference.<br><br>
“Between all the lovely trails, fine dining and physically active populace, I think San Francisco and the Bay Area in general is a fine stopover for this renowned event. We’d love to have them here!” remarked Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco, when asked at his daily briefing.<br><br>
As for the competition itself, Teams S & J recovered from their sluggish Mondays to put just a touch of precious distance between them and the second chase pack of three. Team S ended up the night again in the lead by showing their form of the Boerne (TX) Supremacy, as they started making their way through Texas’ hill country. Steady state Team J continued their runner-up status, setting up camp only 31 miles behind the leaders and enjoying celebratory post-workout drinks right on the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio.<br><br>
Meanwhile, Team Q rallied after a few bad days to regain a spot and to make Beaumont, TX, VRAA central of sorts, sandwiched firmly between Team K and Team N, who were outside city limits on either side of I-10. Determination seemed to be evident in sistergoldenhair’s bunch, as evidenced in members like Jenna (13 pts), Patrick (30 pts) and Hally (12 pts), and especially samanthabaker, who was about ready to get back into action despite a root canal.<br><br>
News of the additional route and mileage heartened teams farther back, who knew for certain that Surf City wouldn’t be the end of everything. “Sure, those big bonus points are nice, but if we ended up even with a team which received a higher bonus, that would make our efforts so much more sweet,” said Team T’s Phill McKrevass, who put in a 10 pt run amidst homework. “I know we’ll get back in the fray, but first we have to deal with them,” as he pointed up I-65 toward Montgomery, AL, where Captain kruss, BigGahoona, scorch99, Tamster and the rest of Team M awaited, just a mere 9 miles behind.<span style="text-decoration:underline;"><b><br><br>
Day 11: Cove, TX</b></span> - Team S’s effort from the weekend turned out to be so epic, they missed the setup by one day of the aid station right on Decatur Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, right next to the Central Grocery, world-famous for their muffaletta sandwiches. Thankfully for them, VRAA organizers had a special supply shipped out early to greet team members as they awoke, allowing them a truly scrumptious breakfast meal.<br><br>
That tasty treat didn’t seem to help members much, however, as the lead team sluggishly made their way toward the Texas border. However, Team J and Team K seemed to have no gas in the proverbial tank either from their herculean efforts over the weekend, and none of these three teams made much headway on the others this day.<br><br>
But like throughout the race, massive surges that eventually exhausted the front runners gave trailing teams the break they needed to get back into the race. Gingerbread’s Team N continued to forge forward, taking over 4th place and cutting their distance from first place by nearly half. Despite being passed, Team Q gritted their teeth and also made up ground on the top 3 teams.<br><br>
The gutsiest effort might’ve come from Team L, who had lost sight of the other VRAA teams when the competition notched it up a gear over the weekend. Like champions, however, they rallied this day to almost pull off the two goal city visit (Philadelphia & Raleigh) a la Team S. Captain APRR Chuck was proud of his team’s effort, as folks like Boyerdavea (52 pts) were supplmented well by teammates like valleysuper(20 pts), Ileneforward (19 pts), SeaPig (25 pts), aphigirl (18 pts), “e” (28 pts), Snowboy (10 pts) and Sans Souci (22 pts). “We had a bit of a learning curve with 7 newcomers to the VRAA on our team, but now we’re in a groove, and with Calliope soon to come off the DL, we’ll finish strongly,” Chuck hopefully predicted.<br><br>
Team M also made a bit of headway this day, moving firmly into the first peloton of teams chasing the front four. Steady production came from throughout the team, including batmomm (20 pts), kruss (28 pts), sdp (24 pts), cidersock (10 pts) and tigger (Tokyo-Marathon-bound and 19 pts).<br><br>
Weather again treated teams well throughout this day as teams followed John B. L. Soule’s advice to “Go West”. Team S managed to creep just past the Louisiana border into Orange, TX, and by nightfall had eventually pushed to just a little more than marathon-distance away from the Houston outskirts in the small town of Cove. Again, Team J stayed firmly in second, and got a Ragin’ Cajun welcome from students as officials of the campus of Lousiana-Lafayette graciously allowed weary VRAA members to sleep in the athletic dorms for the evening.<br><br>
Meanwhile, Antag’s Team K group reached Ocean Springs, MS, and were amazed by the hospitality of the local folk, some of whom were still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina even now, three-plus-years after it devastated the area. Breathing down Team K’s neck, Team N teammates like Melanie W (41 pts), Aija (36 pts) and choovie (35 pts) gladly made use of the camp previously set up by Team J in Mobile, AL.<br><br>
Remaining VRAA teams were concentrated around two previous goal cities - Atlanta, GA, and Raleigh, NC. Competitors knew that everything is big in the state of Texas, and it would be a humongous 875 mile jaunt to cross the Lone Star State. This outcome of this race was far from being determined...literally.<br><br><b><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Day 9 -10: Greenville, SC/Laplace, LA</span></b></span></span> -</span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">All teams knew simply this would be a big weekend. The badassery of this VRAA had almost all teams ahead of scheduled pace, and many point-fest races loomed, including the RnR Marathon in Phoenix, AZ, and the Disneyland Marathon/Half-Marathon/Goofy Challenge in Orlando, FL. Anything could happen...and it did.<br><br></span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Many workouts came at race or higher intensity than usual. The sheer numbers of points logged threatened to overheat the scoreboards at several points, causing delays in reporting. This delay may have inadvertently led into more efforts for some (remember - don't get yourself hurt folks!) and the fact this was the week of the NFL’s second round of playoffs didn’t stop most from getting in the workouts.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Competitors got rousing ovations from large metropolis to small villa throughout, as teams headed into the heart of Dixie toward Atlanta via Raleigh, NC. Seemingly as quickly as team Q had surged in front, Team S hit another gear and broke away from the immediate chase pack of three once they reached Richmond, VA. By the time Charlotte, NC, was reached, captain muzicgrl and her compatriots slingshot by a now fading Team Q as easily as Jimmy Johnson passing Jeff Gordon in turn four at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for a victory.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">The strain was evident on the other teams. Team R, who started the day in a respectable fifth, found their own formidable efforts swamped. VRAA veteran duckgeek, who put in 89 pts for the two days, joked, “Did someone slip them flaxseed or something? Wow!” And indeed, Team R members all did their part, including intensebeet (32 pt), gumbee (60 pt), KyKy (80 pt), solarpowered (70 pt), xcrunner3113 (113 pt) and tri-pairing Stitcher & Tithers (50 & 54 pts, respectively). Even injured folks like captain runningINnyc & runrmommy put in 70 pts combined, and Jen made it back from Pinewood Derby obligations to throw in 13 pts.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Team S mates high-fived themselves and triumphantly set up camp at Liberty Bridge at Falls Park on the Reedy, within the city limits of Greenville, SC, under clear evening skies. Trailing teams were spread out on the highways and byways behind them, trying to catch their breath and contemplating what just exactly happened.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Sunday saw Team S started off strongly again, seemingly determined to reach two of the goal cities in one single day (Atlanta, GA, and New Orleans, LA). But intense push had some unforeseen consequences - two teams that had spent most of the time in the bottom half of the leaderboard caught a second wind to pass the suddenly struggling former front-runners.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Captain Antagonist’s Team K blazed by teams as if they were standing still. Up until that point, the only noise from the team had been Antag’s unique ability to at least try to get in other teams’ heads (“Just a little talent I have,” he joked at a pre-race interview.) However, it was now his team’s performance as a whole that suddenly left the minds of competing teams’ members spinning.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Anchored by the 100+ points each weekend efforts of Rock N Roll Marathon participants CactusTri and mcsolar, as well as another 100+ pt effort fellow 10-mile racer Timr1, Interstate 85 was set ablaze by supporting efforts such as Jensparks (91 pts), goofyguy1958 (60 pts), Ron (73 pts), Sisu (46 pts), Snooze (55 pts), and wherestheportojohn (42 pts). LSU_Fan_Tiff saw her home state in her eyesights and threw in 36 pts as well. fatmantrying was ecstatic over his team’s day, declaring, “My home of Texas is just down the road, and we’re aiming to be first place once we hit New Mexico.”</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Team N, captained by Gingerbread, also edged forward a couple places. Using a similar formula as Team K, the combined nearly-300 pt efforts of ksrunr (a Disney Marathon racer) and kestrou combined were nicely supplemented by folks like CCRaces (78 pt), JohnnyB (51 pt), kimbro (42 pt), Marko (81 pt), thirtyin04 (34 pt), and wyrillco (25 pt). Solitude came back from some Friday skiing to throw in a total of 24 pt for the 3 day weekend, while Voodoojunkie, whose goal race is Surf City, threw down a last-week of hard-running 92 pt effort.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Still, the ferocious efforts of Team S from Saturday meant that they would go into the home stretch leading the VRAA pack. Team members reportedly crashed early under clear evening skies near Laplace, LA, self-proclaimed “Andouille Capital of the World.” Team K’s amazing day shot them up five places, and left them within shouting distance, as they camped out near Tuskegee, AL, home of R&B hitmakers The Commodores and the World War II famed 332nd Fighter Group. Meanwhile, Team J kept up their solid production and second-place position, setting up shop for the final 2000 or so miles near Mobile, AL.<br><br>
Other teams were spread out over a wide distance behind these three leaders.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Ironically, the huge pushes that took place this weekend, as devastating to the standings as they were, gave trailing teams hope - if huge positional shifts could take place in only two days like they did, a come-from-behind rally over the remaining several days was not beyond of the realm of possibility.<br><br></span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><b><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><span style="color:#000000;">Day 6 - Day 8: White River Junction, VT/Stamford, CT/Alexandria, VA</span></span></b></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">- After the momentous events of SherpaJ Day, the competition awoke and moved into and through the Kickrunner stronghold of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Runners received a huge boost in spirits and some always-needed food and fluid at the extravagant aid station setup at The Bell Centre, home of 24-time Stanley Cup winners Le Club de Hockey Canadien. Locally-based Kickrunners like grommit, Df7, mercury, Turtleboy, Martin, Silly Sally and many more manned the fueling post and enthusiastically cheered on the VRAA competitors as they passed by. Even area resident and Team T captain marathon princess had no idea of the scope of this undertaking, and was a bit overwhelmed, as she and her teammates exchanged plenty of warm hugs and greetings as they rumbled through the building.<br><br></span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Speaking of Team T, captain marathon princess reported that she was truly enthused by her second-place finish during SherpaJ day. She admitted she would’ve liked to have come in first, but said it was just one of those days where Team J was hitting on all cylinders. However, she secretly loved her team’s chances to reach the podium in Huntington Beach at Surf City. “Our strength people is that we ALL seem to be getting points daily. Half this group has reported points every single day since the race has begun! That is outstanding!” she proclaimed.</span></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">As affirmation, 12 of the Team T’s 16 members posted workouts for Day 6.<br><br>
Besides the captain herself (run/22 pt) and the consistently first-of-the-day workout for original suds (run-weights-core/22 pt), VRAA members reporting in included divaleh (run/25), runnin-from-the-law (run/19 pt), vashondan & *Marianne* (each notching 12 pts via a run), em73 (core-weights/4 pt), Alamichele (run/16 pt), chosha2002 (run-wts/24 pt), Fer (run/18 pt), and Bugs34 (an impressive sextet of run-walk-yoga-cardio machine-core work for 49 pt). Cowanesque came in with the most unique workout, getting in some jujitsu for 12 pts.</span></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;"><br><br>
As the day wore on, it was evident to see that teams were easing off a bit due to the intensity of yesterday’s competition. Still, teams battled off-and-on rainy conditions as they turned southward onto Route 133 through southern Quebec via St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu. Lake Champlain soon grew prominent on the landscape, as teams began crossing the border of the United States onto I-89 and into Vermont, the Green Mountain State.<br><br>
Folks like VTLaura (Team J) and Hanging Jury (Team T) had expressed joy early on when they found out that the VRAA would be running through their home region.</span></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Skies began clearing as the lead team settled close to White River Junction, VT. This town is the home of the largest railroad center north of Boston, which was the next major city in the eyesight for all VRAA teams as they rested up for the next day.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Participants to the VRAA awoke to brisk temperatures but an otherwise beautiful sunrise as Day 7 started. The early frontrunners Team O and Team J had been duking it out on the way out of Canada back into the United States, but perhaps they should’ve been looking in the proverbial rear-view mirrors, as two new teams would be soon joining the fray.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Team Q, captained by sistergoldenhair, had now found its collective groove, and were chewing huge chunks of ground, and by the time the competition had reached I-93 around Andover, MA, we had a good old-fashioned three-way cage match going on for mid-round VRAA supremacy.<br><br></span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Seemingly happy to draft behind Team Q’s hard work, Team S also forged forward and seemed determined to take it beyond the already brewing Boston Three Party. Captain muzicgrl was pleased at her team’s consistent output, while Team S member alan fletcher hinted that the early leaders may have started too fast, and that his team’s relentless drive would eventually make the gap from their team to first place practically non-existent.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Team S has had consistent point contributions from all its members representing the entire spectrum of badassery, from the every little bit helps contingent (bard73, jebba, Nicole1650, qarhon, Quixotic Notions, sb70 and Triciaflower) to the mid-range stalwarts (Andi, evanflein, monikam, team captain muzicgrl and The Anti-Kewt), to the team anchors (alan fletcher, JJJessee, pace2race, and willamona.)</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Sure enough, by the time the leading VRAA teams had rumbled by the aid station (hosted by locally-based Kickrunners such as Auntie Moe and High Heat, amongst others) located on Boylston Street in Copley Square, end point of the Boston Marathon, the race had essentially become a four-team struggle. Teams continued to trade workouts and positions as the race continued onto west I-90 out of Beantown. Word spread fast of this development among the trailing teams, and hope arose anew with them that they too could soon join the fray if things worked out right.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Rain and temperatures in the low 40s greeted teams that evening, as the lead teams set up camp near Stamford, Connecticut, within sight of the headquarters for World Wrestling Entertainment. Company officials admitted off the record that were impressed with the participants, and they had never put on event that even remotely matched the spectacular nature of the VRAA race.<br><br></span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">The morning of Day 8 found VRAA participants feeling like Billy Joel - they were in a New York state of mind. However, the boroughs of New York, home to Team R captain runninINnyc, would be a brief excursion, as the race would turn more southward toward Atlanta and New Orleans. Rain gear and warm tech clothing were the order of the day as the top four teams again started the fray and the other seven trailing teams attempted to rally back to the front.</span></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;"><br><br>
As was noted before, this was by far the largest VRAA event in its short history, and it wouldn’t have reached this size without an influx of new Kickrunners; in fact, nearly one-third of this round’s VRAA participants joined Kickrunners in the past three months, and as of this day, almost half of the top 20 on the scoring board was occupied by these recent additions.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">These new additions came from all over the country to participate, from Alaska (rhoon phast of Team N) to Alabama (Team L’s Boyerdavea and Team R’s Stitcher), from Maine (Team O stalwart L Train) to Hawaii (Tazzmania of Team R</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;">).<br><br></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">VRAA newbies Team J teammates rockenmama and Apple both felt at home as their team rumbled closer to Philadelphia amidst the fierce battle for first. Likewise, Vermont, Massachusetts and Ontario were welcome sights to Team J’s VTLaura, Team T’s em73 and Team O’s Ice Cream, and Team S’s monikam, respectively.<br><br>
Down the road, Team N’s CMJHawk86 knew Virginia was just down the road, while tershall of Team M said he was looking forward to chugging on I-10 across the Louisiana border into the Lone Star State of Texas.</span></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Newcomers Richard C and run_steve, both from Wisconsin, said their teammates from Team R have been terrific companions. “It is inspiring to see the reports of our people hitting points even when they are injured or tapering, or even just enjoying some time off before they ramp up again,” Richard said as he put in another running mile right where US 1 meets up with I-95 near Newark, New Jersey.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;"><br><br>
Even those who have been sidelined remain hopeful about putting in their little bit to help their team. Team L’s Calliope has been recovering from a bad case of bronchitis, but is excited that the race ends close to her home of Los Angeles. “I'm going to have to take it slow, but I hope to start accruing some points this weekend,” she reported.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">As for the race day, Kickrunner newcomers and veterans alike reported increasing intensity, as the number of teams battling near the front seemed to raise the level of workouts for all teams.<br><br>
The front four teams blew by the huge aid station set up next to Philadelphia Museum of Art on Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, home of the largest informal Kickrunner gathering last year at November’s Philadelphia Marathon, down past Wilmington, Delaware, and into Maryland.</span></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">But by evening’s end, Team Q was the only team to blaze through Baltimore and wind their way past the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and the other historical buildings and landmarks in our nation’s capital of Washington, DC.<br><br>
As the lead team camped out eventually just off the George Washington Parkway in Alexandria, Virginia, the three hot-on-their trail competitors, Teams J, S, and O, were just camped out on the outside of Baltimore along a narrow strip of I-95 along the Chesapeake Bay coastline. Other teams remained camped out awaiting Elton John and their chance at both some Philadelphia freedom and to join the scrum up at the front in what promised to be a frantic weekend.<br><br></span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><b><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><span style="color:#000000;">Day 5: Kingston, Ontario, Canada</span></span></b></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">- Overcast skies greeted VRAA participants as they prepared for today’s competition, but today would not be a typical day. Today was SherpaJ Day, a day dedicated by VRAA organizers to the memory of the fallen Kickrunner.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Many may not have known about SherpaJ’s passing due to his short time on kickrunners were it not for Team T’s captain Marathon Princess, his close friend and confidant. She received the tragic news on October 6, 2007, just four days after SherpaJ and 10 fellow Kickrunners had started the 5th VRAA as members of Team H.</span></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Often times, words do an inadequate job of capturing the true nature of an individual, but MP’s eloquent posting shortly afterward, which was again made available to all VRAA #6 participants, describing his life and their uniquely close relationship, gave members a solid insight into what made SherpaJ a special person.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">As Marathon Princess wrote, SherpaJ was a man who was action oriented rather than word oriented, and this VRAA day would reflect that. The real tribute today would be on the VRAA field of competition - any competitor who got in a workout and posted a tribute in a specially created log would earn extra bonus points. And in a way, it seemed only appropriate that MP’s Team T got the scoring under way, via the now almost automatic original suds’ first-workout-of-the-day, a run-core combo worth 24 pts.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Before we continue with this day’s report, I must make a correction - as it turns out, it was the stalwart co-captains missy1102 and bikegirl72, along with the determined members of Team O, who were the first VRAA team to cross into Canada last night (rumors that I had a couple or two too many beers before filing the Day 4 report with said team at Casino Windsor after they crossed the Ambassador Bridge cannot be confirmed (heh) at this time.) As it turned out, Team O had a very substantial haul for SherpaJ Day with a total of 390 pts, with members all the way through the spectrum making contributions.<br><br>
Members such as Shuffler (run/13 pt) and trail runner (run/16 pt) joined runinbehind (run-cardio-strength/28 pt) as well as Alemma (run & assorted goodies/46 pt) and breger1 (run/48 pt) in supplementing prolific Flounder (a run-walk-weights-core routine worth 123(!) pts. Co-captains missy and bikegirl also pitched in each with a run worth 17 points.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">However, the reported rumor about Team J captain Billy taking his group into Greektown for extra fuel may have not been totally inaccurate, judging by their performance today. While they did not cross into Canada first as originally reported, they made it a point to quickly get noticed on SherpaJ day.<br><br>
By the time Team J passed by the CN Tower in Toronto, it was clear that this was a team in the proverbial zone. Anchored by the combined 190-point-effort by the tremendous threesome of IEHills4Meals, rockenmama, and rasmussenmp, every member pitched in with efforts of their own. Residents of small towns along Lake Ontario such as Ajax, Clarington, and Port Hope clapped in amazement at the machine-like performances of team members Apple, Jill, riley0003, Road hawk, kfuller, lkschiller, Litchfield Hills, markalan, mykemp1971, rogue4wife, RunAsics, and VTLaura, as they pumped out one solid workout after another. When all was told, this team cranked out a day-leading total of 534(!) points.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;"><br><br>
Team J’s performance was merely the best in what turned out to be a pointfest for all VRAA teams. Normally weekdays aren’t huge point gatherers in the VRAA, but with all the bonus points on the table for the taking, the lure of bonus points overcame any notions of rest for almost all participants.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">In other VRAA team news, Team P’s co-captain hahaoya acknowledged the slow start of her group in the competition, but noted that bigger efforts were due in the near future from team members, which she hoped would lead to a steady rise in the standings.<br><br>
For today’s proceedings, team members were steady across the board, coming up with a middle-of-the-pack 376 points as a group. The team was paced by runninrish (run-bike-swim/62 pt) and received help both from the every little bit helps contingent (startingover (run-pilates/18 pt); Ken A (walk/13 pt); Hairy Trotter (run/9 pt); RunsTheBitterroot (run/9 pt); and nadra (climbing/17 pt)) as well as the 30's club (wonicooker (run/39 pt); millbot (run-walk-wt/33 pt); cajohnson (run-core/30 pt); Nettie (run-walk-stretch/38 pt); and co-captains roots (run/36 pt) and hahaoya herself (run-bike-swim/33 pt)). In the most graceful workout of the day, La Tortuga demi-pliéd herself to a ballet-walk combo worth 21 pts.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">All VRAA members reported deep satisfaction that they were able to get out and compete on such a special day, as most teams settled in for the night amidst the fog and mist within southern Ontario. Team J, which had made the biggest move of the day, lay just outside of Kingston, ON, within stone’s throw of the still first place Team S, reportedly just up Highway 401 a bit in Brockville. Next on the itinerary lay the journey into Quebec and the city of Montreal.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><b><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><span style="color:#000000;"><br><br>
Day 4 - Lake St. Clair, Ontario, Canada</span></span></b></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">- Skies cleared as teams woke up this morning, with the VRAA contingent wagging their tongues like Gene Simmons for the journey into Detroit Rock City. Again, originalsuds proved his consistency; he regained his now familiar starting role this fourth day of the VRAA, pumping out his patented run/weight/core work combo that has given his Team T a solid 20+ point start.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">The sight of Lake Michigan waters off in the distance as participants veered onto US-12 in Indiana motivated a few to brave its rather chilly lake temps. (Note: rumored sightings of hot-looking, nekkid VRAA participants switching out their running gear with sleek swimsuits in downtown Michigan City, Indiana were not verified by this reporter (unfortunately...oops!)) Included in this courageous contingent are Team J’s IEHills4Meals (1500/15 pt); hahaoya (450 for 4.5 pts as Team P’s captain); Team O’s CassadAAmius (2000/20 pt); Ironman & Team R stalwart Tithers (2500/25 pt); fit45 (800/8 pt for Team K); nicole1650 (Team S appreciated her 1000 for 10 pts); and Team M’s batmomm (2200 yd, plus a warmUP weight & run routine that netted a total of 32 pt.)<br><br></span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Efforts were toned down overall from the fury of the weekend’s competition, but there were still some fairly substantial point hauls by those not named Flounder. This included the nicely av’d (or is that ab’d) rockenmama, whose run/dog-walking/stretch/core routine netted 59 for Team J. Team M’s Alex ramped up significantly with a run-stretch-core combo, plus a quickie basketball game near Kalamazoo for 57 pt total. Voodoojunkie’s run-weights combo for Team N netted 52, while Team T teammates CoachT ( run-walk-core-weights/52 pt) & cowanesque (a barefoot(!) TM run-regular run-core/68 pt) made their mark this Monday.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">In the every little bit makes a difference group, new honorees include Team P members runninirish (weights/6 pt) & Ken A (alt workout/3 pt); Team S(oulmates) bard73 (walk/2 pt); jebba (run/4 pt) and qarhon (2 mi/8 pt); solarpowered (Team R/core-weight-stretch/9 pt); and em73 (walk/4 pt for team T.)</span></span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Team Q really made a mark with 13 of its 16 members notching points, a fact that captain sistergoldenhair quite proud. Team members making their mark included the yoga pairing of hup & Johnny (12 pt each) and the 32 pt club (Tonya921's 8 miler, PeterP’s run & stretching, and rosecoloredglasses walking up a storm.) 56 pts worth of running came by way of wanderingoutlaw (19 pt), tenacious1 (16 pt) and kp9597 (21 pt). hally (walk-run) and Noni (core-weights) comboed out 12 pt each, and the neatly-avatared Mailbox Head run-bike-cored his way 35. Even recent marathon participant trecker added 8 pt via biking & rowing.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Team J was first into the downtown Detroit area via I-94 and I-96 and back to I-94, with seemingly no other VRAA team within shouting distance. Some reports have team captain Billy leading a quick team detour into Greektown to stash extra fuel for the fifth day of competition.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">As the leaders ran across the Ambassador Bridge under an overcast sky, it seemed appropriate the VRAA’s leading team would get to Canada and set up along the shores of Lake St. Clair near Chatham-Kent, Ontario.<br><br>
Montreal was the next big destination, and it was there where one SherpaJ, member, expressed his love of running and life in general.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Sadly, he passed away after only 4 days on eventual VRAA #5 champions Team H, and organizers designated day 5 of this competition in remembrance to this fallen comrade. Not only would tomorrow’s hard work be for a good cause, extra points would be at the ready. Big shifts in position were very much a possibility; every team knew that as they rested up for tomorrow’s competition..</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><b><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><span style="color:#000000;"><br><br>
Day 3 - Ottawa, Illinois (no, not Quebec)</span></span></b></span> -</span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">MelanieW of Team N set foot early on the road to Des Moines, awaking early to put in a 10.3 mi run for 41 pts and ending original suds’ mini-run of VRAA first strikes</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Maybe a bit tired from the previous day’s efforts, teams seemed to ease back a bit this Sunday. Still, folks like Team O teammates breger1 (36 pt for a 10k PR effort) and Cashmason (the HM at the Orange County Marathon plus additional walking to earn 62 pts) did their part, as well as CactusTri, who hoisted his Team K some 94 miles on the bike right into Des Moines itself for a whopping 141 pts.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">In Team N news, choovie impressed people with a nice looking avatar and a run/yoga combo worth 24 pt, while CMJHawk86(N) got in a 3 mi run & some indoor soccer with some Council Bluffs school kids for 18 pt of work. iheartcoffee of Team L got a nice little surprise visit from the family from Toronto for the entire first three days, and managed to work that into some quality time and points (34) to boot.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Again, many people again put in the extra mile or two when they might not have ordinarily done so, including Team K members jeans541 (core/2 pt) and fit45 (bike/9); Team M stalwart Alex (run/8 pt); Alemma (walk w/the girls & the dog; pushups & abs/9 pt) and missy1102 (walk-core/8 pt) of Team O, Team Q’s very own Noni (walk/6 pt) and Team R’s gumbee, who found himself a new stationary bike ‘round about Iowa City for 4 points. In perhaps the ultimate display of this concept, Billy of Team J got in enough core work for 1 pt.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Team L’s captain APRR Chuck noted how he liked how his team was steadily pumping out the points this day. In addition to his own efforts (23 pts), he noted the steady point production he was getting from all team members, including "e" (36), eccabex (27), lyndenrunner (36), seapig (30), techgirl (2 , and valleysuper (26). He was confident that if his team continued this steady pace, they would be challenging for the top spot once they reached the Mojave Desert of California.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Cloudy skies greeted runners as they settled in for the night spread out between Davenport, Iowa, and Joliet, Illinois. One team set up camp near Ottawa and joked they should get extra credit for reaching Canada first, but unless someone wanted to make a major detour, all teams would be skirting along the St. Lawrence Seaway into les rues et les routes de Montréal.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><b><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><span style="color:#000000;"><br><br>
Day 2 - Lincoln, NE</span></span></b></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">- Again, original suds got Team T going first, awaking other VRAA teams out of their sleeping bags with 23 pt effort. I-25 past Fort Collins into Denver was but a blur to participants, who blazed by the aid station at Coors Field as fast as Rockies’second baseman Kaz Matsui swiping a base.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Various people have been nursing injuries; however, this hasn’t stopped people like Team R’s xcrunner3113, who put in a 44 pt effort, and Alamichele (Team T), who reported no limping with her 4 mi run (as the admonition goes, don’t get yourself, folks.)</span></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Flounder-esque efforts appeared more often. This included the first marathon effort of the competition (Team Q’s trecker), several 50K ventures (movingon of Team O, Team T’s divaleh, and team P & Q captains roots & sistergoldenhair), and a couple of sterling individual efforts (JJJessee, who added 101 points to Team S’s cache via a run/walk/bike combo, and IEatHills4Meals, who threw in a routine for her 108 pts for Team J). Despite some initial math issues, Ileneforward (Team L) and Antagonist (Team K) agreed that their 20 miler together was worth 80, not 160 pts.</span></span><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;"><br>
In a unique quintuple outing, jjketark of Team O combined a run, swim, dog walk, weights & abs for 66 pts.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Despite these big outings, the theme seemed constant as the various captains talked to their teams - every little bit helps. These folks made sure to do their best help bring their teammates to the podium in sunny Southern California; Chele (Team K/core/6 pt); RunsTheBitterroot (Team P/snowshoe/5 pt); Labduck (Team R/core/6 pt); Andi (Team S/upper body/6 pt); and Fer(Team T/yoga/4 pt).</span></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">And in what most people agreed sounded like the most fun workout, Aija (Team N) - used a snow hill for some tube sliding, getting back up to the top 10 times for a 10 pt addition to her team’s stash.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">Team M seemed to be getting points from up and down the spectrum, from morph (ab/arms/walk for 9 pt) and Rainierun (run for 14 pt); to the formidible threesome of joplus (29 pt); Theia (30 pt) and Big Gahoona (25 pt), up to markc7's 50 pt run, and topped off by a 25.5 mi trail run to his hometown of Boulder for cgerber just for the heck of it...and 102 points.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">As evening settled in, the lead team was seen in Lincoln, Nebraska around 14th & Vine Streets, the starting point of the Lincoln Marathon. But everyone knew this was still very early in the race, so they eased into their sleeping bags by a nice warm fire, resting up from a very fierce day of competition</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><b><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><span style="color:#000000;">Day 1: Salt Lake City, UT</span></span></b></span></span> <span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">- The house of Kickrunner member Solitude buzzed with anticipation amidst the smell of bacony breakfast goodness, as the 6th edition of the VRAA sprung to life. With the largest contingent ever (176 players), this historic event was set to go through the streets of Utah’s capital city to traverse the Continental Divide into the eager throng that awaited them in the Mile-High City, Denver , Colorado.</span></span></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;"><br><br>
For awhile, teams seemed content to mix it up with Team K Captain Antagonist. Suddenly, Team T sounded the starting gun, as original suds (T) shot the first shot across the bow with a 22pts. Despite this sudden start, VRAA teams eased from downtown onto the I-80 freeway, gently forcing traffic to the side.<br><br>
Most teams seemed content on easing into the competition, perhaps thinking of positive splitting their points over the long haul. Amongst the initial early going, Hanging Jury (Team T) had the neatest sounding workout on a Concept II Rower for 33 min & 11 pts, while L Train from Team O sported a neat avatar and posted 8.2 mi run for 33 pts.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">But it wouldn’t be a VRAA without Team O’s Flounder doing his thing. He essentially pulled his team into the lead early with the Triple-Quarter-Flounder workout, impressing participants and the folks around Evanston, WY, with 3 separate runs plus assorted goodies for a whopping 104 pts.</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">All teams know that every little bit helps, and many chipped in wherever they could knowing it would bring themselves toward the ultimate destination of Huntington Beach and the Surf City Marathon. These folks included Team K compadres goofyguy1958 (weights/6 pt) & curleytop (walk & core/ 7 pt) and Team O members fbgrrl (20 min Pilates/4 pt) & Indy (2 mi/8 pt). VRAA Team P’s Nettie (2 mi/8 pts), Team J’s Litchfield Hills (core work for 6 pt and a neat skate session with his son on the 3rd Day for 8 pt) added to their team’s stashes as well. Even captains were setting good examples for their teams, such as Team R’s runninINnyc (core/9 pt) and Team S’s muzicgrl(S) (weights/8 pt.)</span></span><br><br></span><span style="font-family:Tahoma;"><span style="font-size:xx-small;"><span style="color:#000000;">After a relatively easy first day, VRAA teams settled down close to Wyoming’s capital, Cheyenne, for some rest, with spirits high and anticipation brewing. The next day promised to bring the first day of intense competition.</span></span></span>

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Standings up to date through Day 5. Some major badassery going on.<br><br>
Stay tuned for news. We have some innovative ideas with the scoring - it will need your cooperation.

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If you'd like, the first few days of our VRAA participants' quest to badass their way across the country have now been posted. I hope it's an enjoyable read for you all <img alt="smile.gif" src="">

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Great read!!!<br><br>

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What a great story! Oh.I guess I'm part of that! I need to keep on going and help Q stay on the road! Like the previous writer - if our local paper could do stories like that I might still be a subscriber.

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No! I left it for DH and the kids! <img alt="tongue3.gif" src=""><br><br><br>
Joe, that was great! You are a very talented writer. <img alt="smile.gif" src="">
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