Saturday, February 26, 2011

Swamp Romp the Second

Today, we just did the swamp romp, the second time since the swamp romp of 2009, and after missing it last year, i decided not to do the same this year. 450 teams participated, which comes out to 2700 rompers.

The course was mostly the same as the last time except that they moved the 4 foot wall that caused a traffic jam in last race. They relocated the wall to about halfway through the race and also had other small walls spread throughout the course.

We signed up for the race on the 8th to ensure receiving the accompanying t-shirts, and this year the registration fee came out to about $150 with tax. The team was me, Dewey, Brendan, Sarah, AJ and Gaby. On the friday before the race, Dewey and I went to the marine corps base to pick up items for the race: a timing chip, a team number, the t-shirts, and a parking pass. Also included were some coupons for free bowling games and free golf balls at the driving range on base. I didnt set up our team entry the last time so i didnt really know what to do for the pick up but it went smoothly this time. Our team number was 189. The timing chip was a small, bottle cap sized piece of plastic with a swamp romp logo and loops for you to attach it to your shoes. The team captains wore the chips on their shoes, and when they moved over an electronic mat, the mat sensed the chip.

Dewey agreed to drive down, and it was convenient because his truck saved us the trouble of going down in more than one car. Brendan slept over and we were awake at 5 in the morning and ready to race. Dewey arrived soon after with the rest of our team. When we went out to wait for dewey, we saw this big ass moth on the wall above the door. It was the biggest I've seen, about 3 inches tall.

Anyway, after everyone got to check out the moth and snap pics, we made our way down to the base. The dark, chilly ride down the highway was relaxing, but cold for Brendan and me, since we sat in the truck bed. Flying down in Dewey's truck, we had the road all to ourselves, but as we approached the base, we slowed to a crawl. This time, though, the line didnt seem as long as it did the last time we came to the romp.

When we parked, it was about 6 so we had an hour to chill and get ready before the race would start. We duck taped our shoes just as we did the last time. Around 6:50 we followed the crowd and headed over to what we assumed would be the start of the race. There was no way this crowd was the wrong one because the only people up at 7 in the morning on this saturday would be those who came to romp in the swamp. Eventually, we walked down a gravel road until the road ended and turned into a large grassy and muddy field. We could tell we were in the right place because the field was packed, some teams had coordinated their outfits, while others had a theme. There was a group of people dressed as rednecks, with mullet wigs, wife beaters, and short jeans. There was another team dressed in St. Patrick day attire, and they were taking shots and chugging beers up to right before they started. For us, we wanted to do some kind of uniform outfit, but we didnt have time to set it up so the girls wore baseball shorts, and us guys wore whatever we could find that we didnt want. No matter how careful you could be during the race, what ever you wore to the swamp romp would never be clean again.

Being team #189, we would start at half an hour and 30 seconds after the clock started because they sent out 3 teams at a time in 30 second intervals. The 30 minutes passed in no time, and we were at the start line with teams 187 and 188. As the clock neared 30:30 we got ready and then we were off. About 20 feet past the start, a mud pit was set up, and officials were telling people to slide in it. How could i not? I went head first and splashed people around me. However, there was one thing they didnt tell us about that particular mud pit, that there were rocks on the bottom so my hands and arms got cut up, but i was too dirty and excited to notice until after we finished the race.

After the initial mud pit, we followed the course into shrubbery and encountered many more mud pits. The shrubbery opened up and we came upon a large open field of gray mud, which seemed like a clay-like substance that smelled metallic and was very viscous. It was pretty hard to run in the gray mud, and it took up a long stretch of the race, but the gray mud wasnt as prevalent as the brown mud was. After trudging through the gray mud up to our knees, we emerged with a couple extra pounds of the gray stuff stuck to our feet. Continuing on, we ran back into the shrubbery and along a dirt path and back into several regular mud pits. This path was relatively flat with a couple ups and downs, but my shoes, along with everyone else's were filled with small stones and pebbles that somehow got in and didnt want to leave. The particles were irritating, and the duck tape didnt really help. When the mud fell off and we could finally see our shoes, we discovered that the duck tape was failing and a bunch of people just ripped it off.

About halfway through the course, we encountered the 4 foot tall log wall that caused a backup of people in the 2009 race. After the appearance of this wall, many smaller log walls were placed along the course. After continuing through shrubs and mud, the course eventually led to a half mile long straight path along the road and then back into the swamp. More mud pits and mud puddles and then the plants that surrounded us gave way to open beach. First, we crawled underneath wooden cages and then ran on the sand. It was a tough workout and at the end of the beach section, the course led to the water. Everyone stopped and jumped in, and a brown cloud lingered in the water from all the dirt and mud. I figured I'd get dirty again anyway so i didn't spend much time in the water. After the beach section, the path took us back the way we came and looped us into the shrubs to take us to the finish line. A couple more mud pits and the number of plants decreased until we were able to see the open field where we started. Our team sprinted into the finish and immediately went to the area where we could get cleaned off. Marines were shooting everyone who finished with fire hoses, and it was a nice, refreshing way to end the race.

Still a little dirty and feeling accomplished, we drove to kailua town where we ate some Maui Tacos. It was only about 12 when i got home, but i took a shower and then crashed for 5 hours. When i awoke, dried mud still lingered in my ears. We're definitely gonna do the swamp romp next year, and as long as I'm in hawaii, I'll try to make a team for each of the future swamp romps. It's a good work out and a good excuse to get really dirty.

The results are up if you wanna check them out. We took 1 hour 29 minutes, pretty close to our last time, and we placed 160th overall and 60th in our catergory. We made our team name long and in all caps so it would be easier to find in the results. Apparently it was too long because it got cut off.

This is the monster moth

And i forgot to say - we went and did the stairs last friday at night and last monday. Friday night, Kevin came up with us and on monday we came around the regular time. The hikes went as usual except that we saw a big wooden cross tied to the top of the radio dish assembly at the top. Not sure when it came up because we didnt notice it on friday because of the darkness, but we saw it on monday.

Also, i've been looking into the hidden stairs at haiku and have found some cool pictures of them and the scenery. One day, we're gonna try do the hidden stairs trail.