2007/07/14 – Texas State Championship Sprint Adventure Race Series: Houston Urban

Down town Houston: Market Square Plaza

What Is It?

2 Person Teams Coed, Male, Coed Masters and Female Divisions (Both Coed Masters team members must be 40+ years old by 12/31/07)


  • Running (Road)
  • Mountain biking (Road)
  • mystery events

Team Name: OUCH (Obviously Unprepared, Confused & Hurting)

Team Mates

  • Steve Mertz
  • Kelley Steffen


  • 2 Person Coed


  • 17th out of 17 at a time of: 3:25:33

Copied Results


Thanks to Kelley for racing with me! Sorry I was a bit of a let down with my coughing fits right off the bat which caused us some major slow down. You did awesome for your first race! Congrats!

I had a pretty intense week leading up to the race. I started ATP this week, and so had two of those, with two AR practices and then running with a buddy on two other days. So Friday I was really feeling it in my legs. Friday night I had a nice Epsom Salt bath and soaked out all of the sore and stiffness of the week. I woke up this morning and felt totally fresh. It was going to be a great race today!

I get to the race site, down town Houston (blech) and circle around trying to figure out where to park and how to get my stuff to TA. I park, unload, move my stuff over and start setting up. I realize that I have no stiffness or soreness in my legs at all and really think this is going to be good. I will have fresh legs so I can tow Kelley on the runs and we should be able to pick up some speed there.

Kelley shows up and we get her setup and ready to go, and then wait around for the pre race meeting. After which we do a warm up for 10 minutes or so and I feel my legs are really doing good for the running that we were doing. I can pickup and sprint quickly and not have any issues what so ever.

It’s RACE TIME! One of us (Kelley) had to go back to TA, and the other (me) had to race to one of the corners of the park to get the map and clue sheet. Three of the corners had the maps one of them did not. A bunch of us all ran down to the place where we were closest to our TA and that was the unlucky corner! Nothing! Had to sprint back up to another corner and grab the maps. Once in TA we read the directions and then start to plot the points. I hate street maps. They are big and unwieldy and just aren’t easy to plot on! Give me a topo map out in the boonies!

First event is a Hike/Bike. We both have to wear our bike helmets and one person bikes while the other runs. We take Kelley’s bike as mine is too big (I don’t think anyone I will ever race with can ride my bike!) We have to do this to the first CP. So I decide to start off running since I was feeling good and we can save Kelley’s running legs for later. We start off a bit quick but nothing I couldn’t recover from quickly, and after a bit I grab a hold of Kelley’s CamelBak and she tows me on the bike while I run. We get to CP1 and get a bolt for our efforts! We have to drop off our bikes and helmets and run to CP2. We start off nice and slow as my legs are a little tired from the run. Kelley knows the area, and knows how to get where we need to go, so we go. I start to get a bit of phlegm in the back of my throat. No problem, drink a bit of water and away it goes. After a bit more running I start to get more phlegm back there. Not good. It’s feeling like back when I was on my blood pressure meds (one of the side effects and the main reason I stopped taking it.)

We get to CP2 and get a nut this time. It’s time for me to tow Kelley to pick up some speed, so we attach the system together and I start running ahead and feel pretty good as I feel the rope tighten and feel her weight. We will be able to go a bit faster this way I think. But more phlegm shows up. It starts to choke me to the point where I can’t run, I can’t even walk. I’m just standing there hacking away at this phlegm. We get passed by multiple teams. Great. So much for my good running legs, can’t use them. We start walking a bit and I try drinking more water. Finally the phlegm subsides enough for me to be able to jog, so we do. Then I’m able to run some more, and so I start towing Kelley again and we are off again. Back to CP1 to grab our bikes and helmets. We get there and there aren’t very many bikes left, we have lost a lot of positions thanks to my coughing fit. Sorry again for that Kelley.

Kelley gets on the bike again, and this time we use the tow rope so she can tow me better while I run behind her. It works much better than holding the CamelBak. We switch off a while later so she runs and I bike, and my legs are feeling the burn now. That coughing took a lot out of me, so my legs weren’t refreshing quite as quickly as they usually do on a Hike/Bike. We go all the way back to TA with Kelley running. And get there and it’s a normal Bike event next. So I down some HEED and Gel and get ready to go, to figure out where we are going and how to get there. Again, Kelley knows the area much better than I do and suggests a path that looks good. So we head on out!

My legs feel pretty tired, but usable. We follow our path of choice, until at one point we missed our turn by 2 blocks, so we turned around and headed back up there.

When we get to CP3 we find out that we have to zip tie one persons wrist and one persons ankle, and then carabiner them together and run around a course. While I’m reading all the instructions I get Kelley to strap my right wrist and her left ankle, I figure it would be easier that way as my arms are longer and I can just bend over a bit and let my arm swing. It didn’t quite work that well and she ended up hopping on one foot to about the half way point. At which point, I figured it would be easier to just pick her up and run, so she turned to face me, and I picked her up, she wrapped her legs around my waist and I ran the rest of the way carrying her. (No comments from the peanut gallery!) We get a washer for that event! We are building a machine here!

We decided to ride back the way we came and do so. (nothing exciting here)

We get back to TA and get the running gear on as we have to run to CP4 and we are forewarned by some of our crew, that it’s 12 flights of stairs. Whee! So we run off to CP4 and when we get there find out that yes, it was indeed 12 flights of stairs in a parking garage. So we go up the stairs. At floor 6, we get another washer! When we get to the 12th floor we get another washer again! And then we find out we have to run down a different set of 12 stairs. So we go down them and run back to TA to finish!

Multimedia and Maps

I had my camera… But I forgot to take it out of the truck again!

And also, we have Google Earth here.

Final Thoughts

Not exactly sure what caused the phlegm today. Might have been dehydration, I’ve been thinking back and realize I didn’t really drink that much water Friday. So I may need to make sure I’m drinking enough come Muleshoe (in two weeks!) I don’t want those coughing fits again.

I do think I have my race day nutrition nailed down though. 3-4 hours before the race, a Monster Kaos to get the blood pumping. 2-3 hours before the race, a bagel. then 30-90 minutes before the race, just munch on another bagel until “full” and drink a bottle of HEED, boosted with extra Endurolytes.

This worked out well for Fort Worth, the Mock Race and for the first 2.5 hrs of this race, at which time I bonked a bit for not having enough in me. I should have taken my gel with me on the bike, but figured I could survive with a swig of it in TA just before. Next time, I will take it with me.

It wasn’t fun pounding the pavement while running or biking. But Kelley had an awesome attitude out there that helped a bunch! Especially while I was going through my coughing fits. For her first race, she did awesome!

Next Day (2007/07/15)

I definitely think the phlegm issue was dehydration now. I will definitely start drinking more water throughout the day, not just leading up to race day, but every day. I’m still pretty upset over this foul up of mine. So I really need to make sure it doesn’t ever happen again.

I’m not feeling too bad today. I am a little stiff, but nothing a little stretching out can’t fix. I also got plenty of sleep so I’m not overly tired considering Kelley and I raced over three hours. So physically I’m good.

Mentally I’m a bit messed up because of the coughing and such. Knowing when you can preform better than you do is always a touchy subject. But when you put it past you, you begin to get stronger mentally, and you can recover more quickly the next time around. So now, I try to put myself at ease over it, and become stronger.

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