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.
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.
These guys had a different strategy for keeping order in their vehicle.
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.
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.
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.
Potto--Miles 6.1, Climb +577/-587, Difficulty 2.9
“I passed 10 people, must be the magic kilt!” said Chuck!
“I am a Scottish baddass!”
Purgatory–Miles 5.7, Climb +430/-400, Difficulty 2.5
This was my first leg. It was good to finally run.
The handoff from me to Anne! I exited “Purgatory” so she could run “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’s shoes were caked with muck. The cross country teams from Pinckney High School were power-washing shoes for tips.
The kilt came in handy. You could easily take your pants off in public and bath if necessary. Those scots…
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.
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.
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!
We toasted our success with a shot of Singleton’s Scotch and proudly wore our medals to dinner at Sharilyn and Rick’s house.