Fred and I got up at the not-so-lovely hour of 4:30am. We had some coffee packed our gear into the car and headed down the road. It's a 4 hour drive from our house to Knightstown, IN where the run took place. Then we have to add in an hour for the time change. The RFYL website recommends getting there at least 2 hours prior to your heat to allow plenty of time to park, pick up packets, deal with any traffic, etc. Our heat was at 1:00pm, we arrived at about 11:30am.
I don't know how everyone else is the morning of a race, but I am a bit, uh, let's say psychotic. Fred is laid back. Psychotic and laid back don't exactly jive. I just want to get there and have everything ready to go. I don't care if I have to stand around waiting to start. I'm good with that. My goal was to be out the door and on the road by 5:30am giving us time to stop for gas/food/any other unexpected emergency. Fred's goal was to get out the door just a little bit later, get there after the recommended 2 hour cushion, thus proving to me that all of my psychotic time management was all for naught. At least that's what I think. I'm totally right too.
At about 11:00am, we get the call from our friends, Kristen and Brandon, saying they are there and parked and where are we. Well, we stopped for coffee and a quick bite to go. Now I just want to get there even more and I notice that Fred is driving 65 mph. Fred NEVER drives 65mph. It becomes quite obvious to me that he is purposely driving slow just to freak me out more. I called him on it, words were exchanged... loudly. He vehemently demanded I give him some raspberry bread, we both started laughing. We arrived about 5 minutes later.
We found Kristen and Brandon in the parking lot. The four of us headed toward the packet pick-up tent and immediately got to take in some epic people watching. There were 'zombies' walking around either waiting to start their shift or coming off of their shift. Of course, tons of participants walking around, some in costumes. Then an ambulance drove in with lights and sirens. That's always reassuring... to know that they can and will come for you, even in the midst of zombies, should the need arise. I wouldn't count on it in a real zombie apocalypse though.
The ambulance. Like any race, accidents can happen happen at Run For Your Lives. Be careful out there!
There were lots of teams wearing matching shirts or costumes. My favorite was a group of men and women wearing shirts that said:
We got our packets and put on our numbers and flag belts. You wear a belt with 3 red flags during the race. If the zombies get all of your flags then you 'die' and when you finish the race you are transformed into a zombie. If you 'survive' with at least one flag then you are eligible for awards.
Once we were all ready, we stowed our gear at the 'Gear Check' tent. That was a HUGE CONVENIENCE! Saved us from hiking back and forth to the car which wasn't a long walk necessarily but still not something you want to have to do repeatedly. Also, I was very impressed with how organized this was as well as everything else.
Fred repeatedly pointed out that we didn't need the extra recommended time because everything was so well organized and flowed well. However, if we hadn't had that extra time, I know 398 things would have gone wrong and I would have had to nag him to death about it every day for the rest of our lives. As in, fifty years from now, "Remember that time you made us late for the Run For Your Lives race, then I lost three of my fingers and our car was stolen by Elvis zombies??? Yeah, that and the other 396 things wouldn't have happened if you'd listened to me and we had gotten there two hours before our heat."
When the time came, we lined up in one of the three lines for our heat. The first line is 'Appetizers'. This line is for the faster runners. There was a middle line that I think said 'Entree' and then the last line was 'Dessert.' That's the line we got in. Our strategy was that since we were actually faster than the pace indicated, we could use the others in the group as our human sacrifices and also the zombies wouldn't be expecting us to run fast. We are so clever.
Almost right away we were crossing a creek with water above the ankle. Now my shoes weigh ten pounds each as I climb the bank onto sand. Running in sand is hard anyway but seems to be even more so with wet shoes. Awesome. I actually mean that. I was immediately grinning from ear to ear, ready to take on whatever RFYL's had to throw at me. Electric fence was temporarily forgotten.
We ran through the woods, through fields, down hills, up hills, across creeks, and army crawled through wet sand/rocks. All while trying to keep our flags out of the reach of the zombies. We also had to endure the obstacles. My favorite was a cargo net which you have to climb up and go over on the other side. That was fun!
One of the first interactions I had with the zombies, a zombie-girl started calling out the color of my shirt like she was playing pool and I was the pocket. Clearly, I had just been targeted in what I can only refer to now as poorly-coded-zombie-speak. Luckily for me her running skills were less than par and I was able to dodge her feeble attempts. Actually, I was a little freaked out and just ran for all I was worth while possibly shoving someone slower into her path...
Once you got beyond a certain point, the zombies stopped chasing you to stay in their designated area and wait for the next herd of runners. Usually. I had just gotten through a group of zombies with flags intact when I heard Fred yell from behind me, "Bekah!!! RUN!!!!" I briefly looked over my shoulder to see a gimpy zombie running after me much faster than any gimpy zombie should. He seriously didn't even break character, kept the limp the whole time he's sprinting after me. I took off and started dodging the slower members of our herd trying to get away but I could still hear Fred yelling at me to run faster. I'm trying not to laugh as I'm sprinting up hill on gravel while being chased by Gimp-Zombie. He didn't get me but it didn't matter because in my attempt to escape I ran around a person who was walking only to practically run right into another zombie who quickly snagged one of my flags.
By now Brandon and I were down to one flag. Fred and Kristen had lost all of their flags so they started running defense for us. This was hilarious as I dodged, ducked, and darted around Fred. At one point I just plastered myself to his back so the three zombies surrounding us couldn't take my last flag without prying us apart.
After another sprint through a group of zombies, I was getting worn out. Then I looked up to see two more in the path. At this point I said to Fred (loud enough for all to hear), "I just did something to my leg back there. Ouch..." Fred: "Are you okay?" Me: "I don't know. I really twisted something." I hobbled through the next two zombies as they kindly let us pass and set their sights on healthier looking food.
We went through another obstacle, a maze this time with zombies waiting for us on the other side. We sprinted around them while Fred blocked for me. Then we had a break from the zombies. Fred asked, "How's your leg." I replied, "Oh, it's fine. I just said that because I knew those two zombies would leave me alone if they thought I was hurt." Fred looked at me with pride in his eyes and said, "That's why you're on my team."
|Fred valiantly putting himself between me and the zombie as we came out of the maze.|
|The zombie in the bloody blue shirt here is chasing Brandon for his last flag.|
Sometime during the third mile, Brandon and I both lost our remaining flags. We fought a good fight though. After our flags were gone, we just really enjoyed running the course and doing the last few obstacles. Except that I was too short to even reach the monkey bars so I just jumped into the water and walked across while throwing the floating spinal cords at Fred.
The fence at the end, the one Ila had warned me about, was no longer electrified. Much to my relief.
The four of us crossed and got our medals, laughing pretty much the whole time. We stopped for a few pictures. Couldn't resist getting a few pics with these guys...
|Kristen with the Bikini Bottom Brothers!|
|Kristen and Brandon|
After we all got cleaned up, we hung out for a while to watch the festivities. We watched some of the next race, listened to one of the many bands they had playing and checked out more costumes. We all decided that this is a must-do for next year. We all had a few bumps and bruises but it was well worth it. Seriously the most fun I've ever had at a race. Thank you, Run For Your Lives!!!
|Bekah and Kristen|
Peace, Love, Happiness!