Tag - journey

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Midwest Super Spartan 2013. Lilo hits Insane Terrain!
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Starved Rock feeds the soul…my hiking adventure.

Midwest Super Spartan 2013. Lilo hits Insane Terrain!

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The adventures of 3 begin again. It’s Friday night and the car is overflowing with camping gear, race gear, and 3 very excited Corn Feds! Lilo, Stitch, and Puppy are on the road again and heading to Marsailles, IL for the Midwest Super Spartan. 8+ miles of….we don’t know yet but it’s bound to be wicked!

The evening sky was perfect as we headed down the highway. Music was cranked up and we were all singing along and feeling the excitement in the air. This would be the 2nd Spartan race for Stitch and I and the first for Puppy. As much fun as I’ve had at all the races we’ve been in there’s something about a Spartan that takes it to a new level! You know that it’s going to challenge you and you know the intensity will be unlike all other races.

Heading down the highway ready for adventure!

Heading down the highway ready for adventure!

We arrive at the Four Star Campground under a full moon and in our own brand of “full moon fever”. Unable to find a spot in the midst of where our brothers and sisters have set up we find the perfect little hideaway area across the road and begin to set up camp. I admit to being clueless when it comes to setting up tents and the like so I leave that to the guys while playing greeter to the Corn Feds who stop over to visit (and share a sip of some “Apple Pie Potion”). We visited a while and headed into town for a few supplies. Many of the Corn Feds had participated in the Hurricane Heat that evening (a night exploration of the course) and the campground was quiet as everyone rested for the next day.

Bright and early Saturday morning arrives. It’s a perfect day. The weather is just what we want…not too hot not too chilly…and we head over to hang out with our fellow racers at the CFS campsite for a bit before the race.  Corn Fed tattoos are being placed on one another to represent, jerseys are all over with nicknames that fit the wearer, and we are all hyped and ready to go!

Tattoo application in progress!

Tattoo application in progress!Placement is always important!

Placement is always important!

 
Placement is always important!

And so it begins. After registration and visiting at our hospitality tent for a while the 3 of us wander and check things out. Stitch and I decide to be a little crazy and try out a mini ‘Wipeout’ style course that leaves us both winded (and wiped out!) a couple of times!

I think I can I think I can

I think I can I think I can

“Who am I?” “I am a Spartan!” Aroo Aroo Aroo! And we’re off. Within minutes we hit one of the first obstacles; a mud hill climb into mud pits up another hill and down into the mud again. THIS is what we’re here for. The mud, the teamwork as we all help one another, the challenge. This is why we’re all Obstacle Course Racers. This is why we’re Corn Fed Spartans! No matter if there are 10 of us at a race or over 100 as in this one, we are there as a team to help, support, and cheer one another on.

Puppy awaiting the AROOOOOO at the start!

Puppy awaiting the AROOOOOO at the start!

Lilo and Stitch representin'

Lilo and Stitch representin’

The course itself had some great challenges, not only with the built obstacles but also with some of the most wicked terrain I’ve encountered so far. There was muck that some of us sank in up to our hips. It was like quicksand and sucked you back down as you were trying to get out. Having a team with us saved getting stuck for long periods of time! The hills were steep and in come cases the only way to get up them was to dig in with your fingers and toes and just pull. I’m not going to lie, there were times when I was not sure how much I had left in me (after spraining my wrist that was even worse for a short bit) but just when I thought I’d reached that point I would hear someone yell out “Corn Fed” and then we’d all answer back “Corn Fed”. No matter where you were on the course you’d hear that now and then and it would just boost you right back up. Team, family.

Tackling the cargo net...as a TEAM, Corn Fed style!

Tackling the cargo net…as a TEAM, Corn Fed style!

The group we were with was part of the Corn Fed “sweepers” meaning we were there for an extra boost, our group had the cheerleaders and the helpers and carried the CFS flag (which our fabulous team member Dre aka Sweet Junk carried the entire course without the flag ever getting dirty or touching the ground. Kudos to her!). We had a few moments that were a bit nerve wracking including a couple of our team going under water in weighted vests, a few faceplants, and some serious quicksand like mud.  We also had the silly moments of stopping the creeks to lay down and play in the water, finding a random “bus stop” sign that we had to get a photo with, and having a mini picnic on a hill before tackling more of the course. We take the races seriously but we take ourselves with smiles and that’s more important.

Pausing for a group shot...that flag stayed clean!

Pausing for a group shot…that flag stayed clean!

And 7 hours later we linked arms, jumped the fire,  and faced the group of gladiators together as a team, as family and we crossed the finish together all smiling and high fiving as we felt the blue medals around our necks.  Corn Fed!

Gladiators beware we are Corn Fed!

Gladiators beware we are Corn Fed!

I could go on and on but in the usual Lilo sort of style but I’ll leave you with this thought for now…..find something you love to do and do it with people you love to do it with! I’ve been with Corn Fed Spartans for close to a year now and I’ve learned SO much about teamwork and being a family as a team. Kudos to everyone of you out there that is part of this group.  I can’t even begin to thank the individuals who do so much for this team, you know who you are, but I will thank Jonathan Nolan for finding me and adding me and for changing my life in so many ways because of it!

And an added kudos to Four Star Campgrounds for having the BEST campground showers I’ve seen lol! And to the Dirt Runner crew for some crazy terrain that I’ll never forget! (There are hills out there that have my blood, sweat, and tears all seeped in).

Lilo's celebration!

Lilo’s celebration!

Until then….get Muddy and much fun love. Ohana!

Starved Rock feeds the soul…my hiking adventure.

Those who know me have learned I’m always up for an adventure so when my friend, Sara, asked me if I would be interested in joining her for a couple of days hiking in Starved Rock State Park in Illinois I jumped at the chance. I had heard from a few people that it was a beautiful place and since it was just a couple of hours away I didn’t want to miss this.

After working a 12 hour shift I came home, grabbed a bag filled with what amounted to too much clothing as always (hey I may hike and run in the mud but I’m a girly girl and I pack like one!), said goodbye to the furkids and headed out. Sleep be damned, I wanted to hike!

2 hours later after a beautiful drive with perfect skies and surprisingly little traffic I arrived at the campsite. I don’t even think I had everything out of the car before we were heading out to explore. We started off trekking to the namesake of the park, Starved Rock, which gave an amazing view of the area surrounding.

View from Starved Rock

After that I can’t even begin to remember all the places we visited by name but I had the wonderful experience of standing under two waterfalls and just feeling all my stress and cares being washed away.

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We hiked for most of the day and then went in search of firewood at one of the local “camp stores”, Jack’s. Now Jack…yeah, he was a character. You pull up to his home which has a garage full of odds and ends to purchase as well as clothes baskets with firewood. You have to honk your horn if you don’t see anyone. For $5 you get approximately five or six pieces of wood AND the treat of having to fill up a new clothes basket as well. Yep, you pay to work. I didn’t quite catch this at first and I’m sitting in the car as I see Sara head over and load two baskets!

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After the camp store we headed out to dinner at a tiny little place called the Cajun Connection. When you walk in it’s just like any little hole in the wall restaurant (well, other then quite a few alligator heads and such) and we sat down to what has to be one of the best meals I’ve had in ages! Alligator and crawfish both deep fried but light and tender, hushpuppies like none I’ve ever had that melted in your mouth, and shrimp etouffee that was amazing!
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Full from our wonderful dinner we head back to camp for a little bit of fire and relaxing before the storm came in. I was exhausted and slept through everything including the attack of aluminum foil by a raccoon into shiny things in the midst of the storm.

Morning light breaks through the trees and we were up and ready to explore more after a trip to town. We stopped and hiked in another nearby park for a bit and be still my heart it was a trek through mud! Lilo came out full force as I happily slipped and slid though the muck (and crossed a bridge that was beyond sideways; learning after I had completed my crossing that it was on one leg and the bolts were coming out of that one!).

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After what felt like a training for the next mudrun was completed we ended up at what might have been THE most beautiful area we found in those two days. The waterfall we found could have been enough all on its own but the reflections dancing on the walls from the water looked like liquid fire. I was in awe. Stunned and silent awe. The photos do not do this justice at all!
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I could go on for hours about the beauty that I was able to explore and the amazing journey we had but I think that the best thing I can do is to tell you….go! If not to Starved Rock just go, find a place to hike and explore and let everything just disappear for a while.

Live and Love Life!
Thank you Sara for allowing me to be a part of your journey as well!

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Ohana my friends!

Lilo88
Muddy and loving it!

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