Sunday, August 5, 2012

Zombies ate my Brain

Well, after a busy last day of shopping in New York (and one final trip to Stardust) we made our way to the airport. I, believing I was flying with American Airlines, left Brittany at the Jetblue terminal with the hope that we’d be able to find each other again inside. However, after several minutes spent trying to find my flight, one of the helper type people did a search and informed me that I was flying with JetBlue as well (be nice if they’d told me that) so had to backtrack, stand in line to check in, find Brittany for some more fun filled standing in line to get through security. That gave us only a few minutes to get to my gate and say goodbye (we’re already working on plans for next year’s trip) before I boarded. And then we sat on the tarmac for over an hour waiting for a chance to take off, sigh. I was seated next to a nice chatty couple though so they kept me entertained and didn’t seem to mind that I kept falling asleep on the dude’s shoulder whenever the turbulence let up.
 Headed to my hotel in Portland, they couldn’t find my reservation so I got upgraded to a queen for the same price I paid for a single and had all of 4 hours to enjoy it before getting up again, enjoying the free breakfast buffet and taking a scenic tour of Portland on the light rail (looks like a nice place) to Union station where I was just in time to board my train to Centralia in Washington. Beautiful scenery along the way, made me wish I had more time to explore the area. In Centralia, having struck out at trying to get a ride to Run for Your Lives, I thought I might try hiring a car so the guy at the train station gave me a print out of all the car rental places in the area that he believed would be open.

So I get to the first address on the list and its an auto care shop. Ok, so maybe they do car rentals as well? Thought I better check…and they don’t. But big shout out to Jorge for putting in the legwork for me to confirm that there were no car rental places open on the weekend, and then arranging a taxi, and letting me hang out in his air conditioning until the cab arrived. Also, big thanks to Tom from Affordable Taxis for the fascinating commentary of the surrounding area (and for capping the charges) as we got massively lost trying to find the event (signposts people, really) and getting me there with enough time to register, set up my “tent” (it was a tarp, a bit of rope and a few sticks) and rehydrate (super hot day!) before my wave started the run at 2.

I say run, there wasn’t honestly that much running done aside from the sprints through the zombie infestations. The track was a motocross course so it was very uneven and slippery, plus with the heat being so crazy, everyone gave up on the running idea pretty early on. We also learnt that it was much safer to go through the zombie areas in a pack (using your fellow runners as meat shields) so there was a fair bit of waiting for enough people to gather before facing the horde. Aside from the zombies there was crawls through the mud, jumping over high walls, lots of hills and dips, zombie infested mazes, a slide down into a pool of muddy water and the final obstacle, a crawl through the mud under an electrified fence (you only got zapped once, that’s for sure!). I made it 2/3 of the way before a sneaky chaser zombie grabbed the last of my 3 flags but still finished the race (41 mins for 5km) and I got my medal, a hug from a very muddy volunteer and joined the queue for the decontamination showers (also known as a hose).

 Threw out everything I wore for the race (the shoes went to charity) grabbed a delicious Portobello mushroom sandwich and settled down on the lawns to watch some great bands (including Red Means Go and Rum Rebellion) play the Apocalypse Party. Gained a few minutes of celebrity when I foolishly answered the DJ when he asked if anyone was there from another country, and was subsequently forced to give the crowd my best “throw another shrimp on the barbie, mate” to prove I was really Australian. Headed back to the campsite for a restful night of listening to my fellow campers periodically try out their wolf impersonations. Grabbed a ride back to Centralia for a tasty bargain breakfast and a long wait for the train to san Francisco.

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