Dances with Dirt 2012

Dances with Dirt 2012  is an annual event sponsored by Running Fit in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The race is certainly not an event for everyone but definitely on the bucket list for a few.  I can check it off my list.

On September 22, 2012, along with a few of my best friends – Chuck Marshall, Anne Winters, Lynda Hammond, Jeff Deeds – I survived Dances with Dirt 2012.

The Dark Horse Nation Team

Dances with Dirt is a 5 person 100K relay event that started at 7:30 am, each person runs 3 of the 15 legs and the team must finish by 6:30 pm. Each leg averages 4 miles, which if you do the math, is 12 miles over an 11-hour day. This means each runner must maintain, at a minimum, a 10 minute pace over extreme terrain to finish by 6:30 pm. (This probably needed a story problem alert.) 

It is also important to note the average temperature was 50 degrees and it rained and hailed at one point.  Here is proof:

Chuck refused to get in the truck and Jeff was running the “Everything’s Bovine” leg.  Anne, Lynda and I were not too proud to sit in the car.

Did I mention the logistical mess of getting to the exchanges and keeping all our gear organized? Admittedly this is a terrible picture of me but you can get a flavor for the chaotic mess the car became!  We found Chuck’s dirty underwear in Jeff’s gym bag when sorting out the gear after the race, never mind how that happened.

Brenda Sodt Foster - car logistics

These guys had a different strategy for keeping order in their vehicle.

DWD Terminators

The leg names are in bold with the miles, elevation and difficulty rating, which is a combination of length and climb.  Flat and short is a low number, steep and long ia big number.

The Stampede–Miles 4.8, Climb +466/-466, Difficulty 2.6

Beautiful Anne volunteered for this leg. Thank you Anne.

Ann Winters pre-race

She charged up a hill with 250 mostly drunk and amp-ed up runners.  Each team carried banners so their team mates could find them in the crowd during the relay transitions.  The cute lederhosen girls were not with the viagra sign holders. The viagra guys were just stalkers.

Lederhosen girls

Buttslider— Miles 4.7, Climb +512/-522, Difficulty 2.6

So here is the description provided in race materials:  Call Probility Physical therapy after the leg to get early appointment.

Here is what Jeff had to say about the “Buttslider”:

Rave Run–Miles 2.4, Climb +230/-230, Difficulty 1.3

This is definitely harder than the difficulty rating suggests.  Linda tore it up and finished in record time.

Lynda Hammond finishing the Rave Run

Potto--Miles 6.1, Climb +577/-587, Difficulty 2.9

“I passed 10 people, must be the magic kilt!” said Chuck!

Chuck Marshall - Must be the magic Kilt

“I am a Scottish baddass!”

DWD - Scottish Bad Ass - Chuck Marshall

Purgatory–Miles 5.7, Climb +430/-400, Difficulty 2.5

This was my first leg. It was good to finally run.

Brenda Sodt Foster preparing Purgatory

The handoff from me to Anne! I exited “Purgatory” so she could run “This Sucks!”

DWD transition from purgatory to This Sucks

This Sucks–Miles 5.3, Climb +407/-423, Difficulty 2.2

This particular piece of Hell included multiple swamp crossing where you sank in muck up to your waist.  A few runners returned with muck on their heads!

Anne Winter approaching this sucks leg finish

Anne’s shoes were caked with muck. The cross country teams from Pinckney High School were power-washing shoes for tips.

Anne Winters cleaning up after This Sucks

The kilt came in handy. You could easily take your pants off in public and bath if necessary. Those scots…

Anne Winters bathing during DWD

Stripper Pole— Miles 2.6, Climb +502/-486, Difficulty 2.8

This leg included the dirt ladder climb. I’m pretty sure Jeff will never forget it or the zig zags.  I think he got lost too.

Styx River of Death– Miles 2.6, Climb +259/-295, Difficulty 1.5

Chuck ran this leg for the team. It included a 1/4 mile river run and 3 river crossing.  I wish I had a picture of the rocks he dumped out of his shoes.  Did I mention that at one point the water was up to his arm pits? So glad I wasn’t assigned this leg.

Bad Out of Hell–Miles 2.4, Climb +325/-331, Difficulty 1.5

Lynda ran this leg.  GET OUT OF HELL FAST. They weren’t kidding. Lynda almost beat us to the next transition point.

Rave Redux–Miles 2.4, Climb +230/-230, Difficulty 1.3

I ran this leg. We were making up time at this point.

Rave Redux Brenda Sodt Foster and Anne Winters

Pure Michigan–Miles 2.5, Climb +407/-423, Difficulty 2.2

Anne’s last leg.

Vertigo–7.04, Climb +643/-617, Difficulty 3.4

Anne had started to celebrate during this transition while we were waiting for Lynda to finish.

Everything’s Bovine–Miles 3.41, Climb +269/-249, Difficulty 1.3

Runner: Jeff Deeds

Bovine only started to describe this leg.  I’m pretty sure this video explaines it all!

The scary sky during the transition at the farm.

Ugly Sky at the Farm

We were waiting for Jeff to finish his shower in the field with the cows. Chuck had already taken off for his last leg.

Don’t Get No Better–Miles 2.8, Climb +213/-184, Difficulty .9

Chuck’s last leg. He was waiting for us. We had to wait for Jeff to shower and drive from the farm on Joslyn Lake Rd to the Bartel Rd transition point.

Dirt’s Revenge–Miles 4.1, Climb +364/-446, Difficulty 1.8

This was finally my last leg and the last leg of the race.  I had dreaded this leg all day. It turned out to be the most beautiful leg of the race.  Yes there were lots of sharp turns and I had to help a couple of runners find the trail.  I peed in the weeds and the last bit was mostly sand.  And yes, I’ll do it all over again next year!

Brenda Sodt Foster finishing Dirts Revenge DWD

We toasted our success with a shot of Singleton’s Scotch and proudly wore our medals to dinner at Sharilyn and Rick’s house.

The Dark Horse Nation Team

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