Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Fin

And just like that, NaBloPoMo is over. Where did November go, exactly? And along a similar vein, where the hell did December come from???

So, yeah, I managed to write a blog posting every single day1 Interestingly, I didn’t end up using hardly any of the ideas that I brainstormed before the month started 2 – once I got going, I seemed to come up with things to blog about every day.

Also, I just looked at how I’m doing relative to my 2016 goal of writing 116 blog postings this year and I’m happy to see that as soon as I click “post” on this one, I’ll have 101 blog postings for the year – just 15 to go! So I just need to blog every other day in December, though now that I’m on a roll, I think I’m going to see how long I can make this blogging streak go!

And now, even though it’s unrelated to anything, is my new favourite song, which I heard on an old episode of the Caustic Soda podcast (I’m listening to older seasons that I hadn’t listened to yet):

  1. And only had to backdate twice – once because I was writing late and it got past midnight and the other time because I was writing and got distracted and forgot that I hadn’t posted it until the next day. []
  2. I had planned one for my Mom’s birthday and one for my niece’s, and the Meta one was in draft, but I think that was it for brainstormed ones. []

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I’m Highly Contagious with Zombie Eyeball Disease

In the latest instalment of Beth’s 2016 health woes, apparently I am now infected with the highly contagious adenovirus. Because apparently having a cold, which this year comes associated with the “100 day cough1 and then having food poisoning wasn’t enough. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Last Wednesday night, I played hockey. I felt completely fine, other than my little cough, which I knew was just a holdover from my January cold, and suffering this devastating upper body injury:

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It’s not as bad as it looks. There was no damage to my nail bed – I only broke off the fake nail part.

It was the first time I’ve broken a nail playing hokey. I went home from my hockey game and decorated some mini-cupcakes that I’d baked to take the work the next day for a wee tea party we were having for my boss’s birthday. Then I went to bed and realized that my hands and feet were pretty cold, which was reminiscent of my recent food poisoning, but I didn’t feel the least bit nauseated, so I didn’t think it was that again2. I had trouble getting to sleep and I thought I was having weird anxiety thoughts about work that were keeping me up – which is really unusual because (a) I rarely have trouble sleeping and (b) no one should ever really get that worked up about Agile software development – but the next

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They were so pretty!

morning I realized that I actually had fallen asleep and was having crazy fever dreams. Because I had a fever. I actually got up and got ready for work thinking, “I’m sure I’m just tired from being up late last night due to hockey and cupcake decorating and not being able to fall asleep” and then “Hmm, I think I’m a little bit warm” followed by “But I need to bring these cupcakes in to work – they are so pretty!” I finally decided to take my temperature and it was 39 degrees C – not extreme fever, but definitely a fever.

And then I thought about the idea of getting on the Skytrain travelling all the way to work feeling like crap and who knows what I had that I could be spreading around to everyone on transit and who the heck wants to eat cupcakes made by someone who is fevered anyway and so I called in sick. And thank goodness I did, because I got back into bed and then continued to have that fever for the next day and a half, alternating between the chills (like I was wearing full length yoga pants, a t-shirt and a hoodie and big fuzzy socks and a toque and was still cold under my duvet) and sweating and chills and sweating for the next day and a half. I didn’t get out of bed longer than it took to either go to the bathroom or boil water to make Neocitran, for a day. On Friday afternoon my fever broke and I finally managed to graduate to sitting on the couch. By Friday evening I was feeling considerably better, other than the appearance of a slightly sore throat and, of course, the cough. I decided I must have had the flu and now I was getting better.

Saturday was the Hot Chocolate 5 km race and I since it was sunny and since I had been stuck in bed for 2 days, I decided that since I was feeling better, I would go, but I’d be responsible and just walk it rather than run. It was only 5 km and the fresh air and stretching my legs would be good for me3. It was actually quite nice to get out for a walk like that AND I got my first race medal of 2016 AND I got a delicious hot chocolate.

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First race medal of 2016. I think this is the shiniest medal in my whole collection!

I took it easy the rest of Saturday, but Sunday my throat started to be more sore and I decided that while a walk was one thing, a hockey game was an entirely different beast and maybe I shouldn’t push myself and instead should rest up and try to get 100% better for the playoffs. I also decided that if I still had a sore throat in the morning I would go see my doctor because maybe it was strep throat?

So today I went into work and called my doctor’s office as soon as it opened and got an appointment for 11:45 am and almost every person I saw at my office before I left to go to the doctor’s office said “What the hell is wrong with your eyes?” (or something to that effect). Because Captain Oblivious here managed to get ready for work – including putting on my makeup – without noticing that my eyes were the most bloodshot eyes that have ever been bloodshot. When I got to the doctor’s office my eyes were also the first thing my doctor commented on and she said, “You’ve got adenovirus”. Or more specifically pharyngoconjunctival fever caused by an adenovirus. Apparently this starts out with the whole fever and sore throat thing (when she looked in my throat she said “I can see ulcers in the back of your throat”) and then progresses to a conjunctivitis, a.k.a., pink eye (though in my opinion “pink” does not really do it justice), which will probably start to get all disgusting and goopy in addition to looking like someone filled in the whites of my eyes with a red Sharpie marker. Since this is a virus, there’s nothing I can do other than wait it out, though thankfully it’s a self-limiting condition. Then she said, “Adenovirus is highly contagious. You really shouldn’t go to your office this week at all.”

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Zombie eyeball

There’s some about being called “highly” contagious that seems so much worse than just “contagious”.

Of course, I’d already taken transit into work, had a few meetings at the office, and taken the bus to the doctor’s office. So my apologies to anyone I may have crossed paths with – I didn’t know I was highly contagious and then once I did, I did my best to touch the bare minimum of things I needed to touch in order to transit my way home. And now I’m stuck in isolation in my apartment until Friday. Which is like the worst nightmare of an extreme extrovert such as myself.

Before I left my doctor’s office I did ask two all important questions: “Will I be OK to play my hockey playoffs this coming weekend” (Yes.) and “Can I give my highly contagious adenovirus to my cats?” (No.)

My doctor did also tell me that sinus rinses have been shown to help with the cough, so I picked some of that stuff up along with some eye drops and enough groceries to (hopefully) last me the week4. So I guess I have squirting some liquid up my nose to look forward to before going to bed. Which is actually what I’m going to do right now because how the heck did it get to be 11 pm already?

Here’s hoping that I get a good night’s rest and that my eyes aren’t glued shut with zombie eyeball conjunctivitis goop in the morning!

  1. My doctor told me that people are having a chronic cough for like 3 months after a cold this year and so everyone’s been calling it the “100 day cough”… though when I just googled that, apparently that nickname has already been taken by pertussis, a.k.a., whooping cough. []
  2. And I hadn’t eaten anything suspect since the food poisoning, since I’m being careful to not get food poisoning again. []
  3. I was supposed to do the Hot Chocolate 5 km race last year, but after I signed up I found out it conflicted with my hockey playoffs and I couldn’t do it. And I didn’t want to miss it again this year. []
  4. Apologies to anyone I crossed paths with in the grocery store – not really much I could do that as I needed medial supplies and sustenance and I live alone – still haven’t trained the cats to do my grocery shopping #SadLife. – I did my best to touch only the minimum amount of stuff to buy the things I needed. []

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If you see me sprinting along the pier, it’s only because I’m being chased by zombies

Dday 266So, I totally thought that I’d written a blog posting about this before, but apparently not. Sometimes I compose blog postings in my brain when I’m not in a position to write stuff down and then forget that I never actually wrote them down1. Clearly, this is one of those situations.

One of my favourite apps is the “Zombies, Run!” app 2. The basic idea behind the app is that it tracks your running while you listen to a story where you are a character in a zombie apocalypse. The other characters are from your home base and are talking to you over a radio headset (their voices conveniently brought to you through the headphones of your phone) as you go out into the zombie-infested world on supply runs, rescue missions, and the like. There are some parts where they are talking to you – say, for example, giving you instructions of where to run and what supplies to grab when you get there – and then other parts where you just listen to your music – where you are just running to the specified location. If you want to do some interval training, you can select a setting where, during the parts where you are listening to your music, you can be chased by zombies. You’ll get a warning: “Zombies, 50 metres!” and then you have to start sprinting to some speed faster than you were running3 and you have to keep up the sprint for some time4 in order to evade the horde. If you aren’t going fast enough, you’ll hear “Zombies, 20 metres!” accompanied by the groans of the undead. No matter how tired, I am, I always seem to have the energy to sprint when I hear those groans!

I like this app for several reasons – first and foremost, the story is just interesting. It’s well written and well acted. Since I want to hear what happens next in the story, it motivates me to want to go out for a run! And once I’m out running, I can lose myself in the story and not pay so much attention to physical act of running – I just get into the zone and keep going. Second, it makes interval training fun. I usually listen to the app when I’m running along the pier – I figure that’s safer than running on streets where I might inadvertently end up running out into traffic to avoid an undead horde. And I really do sprint hard when I hear those zombie moans. One time I was out running along the pier and a zombie chase happened just as I saw a friend of mine walking – ordinarily I’d stop to say “hello”, but I just took off on a sprint! (Fortunately, I saw her again when I was running back and could tell her why I’d sprinted away!). I also find myself looking at my surroundings in a different way – could a zombie be hiding in that bush? Are those slow walking people up ahead alive or undead? Who is in that helicopter overhead5?

There’s a whole other side to the game where, as you are running, you pick up items along the way – maybe some batteries or canned foods or, for some reason, sports bras. If this app is to be believed, the landscape of a zombie apocalypse will be littered with sports bras. I believe you can log in to their website and do something with all the virtual goods you collect, but I honestly have no idea how any of that works.

Although the app does track your runs, I still track my apps on Runkeeper6 simultaneously, as I don’t do all my runs using the zombie app and I want to have all my runs recorded in the same place.

I’m currently on episode 6 of season 2 – which is 40 episodes long, plus 24 side missions7. Season 3 is going to be released in April8, so clearly I need to do some running to catch up!

  1. I’m *still* waiting for that mind reading app! []
  2. As per usual, I have no affiliation with the makers of this app. I just really like it and want to share! []
  3. Maybe 10% faster? Or 1 minute per km faster? I can’t quite remember. []
  4. I think maybe it’s a minute? []
  5. I never really noticed it before I started using this app, but a surprising number of helicopters fly over New West. []
  6. Criminy. I appear to have never written a blog posting to review Runkeeper either! I was sure I had! Guess that’s going on the list of things to write! []
  7. You can buy just the regular episodes or the episodes + side missions. []
  8. omg, April starts in 2 days?? Where is the year going?? []

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If you only read one lablit story this year, make it “Crisis Management”

As I was looking at my favourite tweets for that last blog posting, I realized that I hadn’t blogged about Cath’s short story, which was recently published in LabLit. For the uninitiated1:

lab lit fiction depicts realistic scientists as central characters and portrays fairly realistic scientific practice or concepts, typically taking place in a realistic – as opposed to speculative or future – world. The action does not have to take place in a laboratory per se, just anywhere where scientists are doing what they do, such as a field station. Although some science fiction does indeed have elements of ‘lab lit’, and the boundaries can be fuzzy, this list is meant to feature real scientists in the real world.” (Source: LabLit.com)

So in case you missed it when I tweeted it, go check out Cath’s story. And I can now check off “be a muse” on my list of life’s goals2.

  1. Which included me until Cath introduced me to Lab Lit by publishing there. []
  2. Although technically I was a muse for my ex-husband’s novel in which – *spoiler alert* – the character that is clearly based on me is gruesomely killed not once, but twice. But I much prefer Cath’s story []

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Walking Dead Board Game

Nothing says “Christmas” like a bleak board game where everyone gets turned into a zombie!

Walking Dead board game

My brother in-common-law refuses to play this game with my sister because it’s bleak and nearly impossible to win, so Nancy made me and her friend Daniel play it this evening.

They look far too happy for people who are about to be eaten by zombies:

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Everyone is a character from the show. I was Rick Grimes:

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Nancy was Lori and Daniel was Dale.

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The object of the game is to get the cards from the four corners without getting turned into a zombie. But almost every square you land on is a zombie encounter and most of them are really hard to escape from without losing a life. I managed to get two of the four – the department store and the police station:

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But then I got killed at the CDC:Untitled

And so I was turned into a zombie:Untitled

At which point I then started playing *against* the other people in the game. Nancy also turned (I didn’t get her, but she lost all her lives in other zombie encounters), but Daniel managed to avoid us, win his zombie encounters while getting all the corner cards and got back to camp safe!

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Much like when I did the zombie obstacle course race, I realized that after getting turned into a zombie, life is a lot less stressful. Words to live by, people. Words to live by.

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Important Issues in Canadian Politics – Is Canada a Safe Haven for Zombies?

From the Canadian House of Parliament:

Props to Kalev for bringing this important piece of Canadian politics to my attention!

For those who are interested, here’s a link to the CDC’s zombie preparedness plan, as referred to by the Honourable Pat Martin in the video.

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Zombie Beth

So apparently this is what I would look like as a zombie1:

zombie beth

Is it just me, or does zombification actually make me look younger?

For the record, we now know what I’d look like as a zombie, a Simpson character, a South Park character, and an M&M. In case you are keeping count.

  1. Courtesy of http://www.deadyourself.com/walkers, a promo website for the Walking Dead television series. As if you could forget that it’s starting back up in a few weeks! Props to my Aunt Lynn for bringing this important website to my attention via her zombifying her own picture. []

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Any resemblance to actual persons, living or undead, is purely coincidental

Somewhat spoiler-ish. I’m too lazy to do an actual thorough review or anything, but if you are planning to read the book and don’t want to know anything, I suggest you skip this posting.

I just finished reading World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. At the very end of the book there was the typical disclaimer, “Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.” I think you can see why this made me laugh.

The book itself was quite good. To be honest, I was a little hesitant to read this book because, while I love zombie movies and TV shows, I thought, “A book about zombies? How scary can that be?” But it was. Not scary the way a movie would be, but definitely frightening to think about what it would be like if the zombie apocalypse were to actually happen. What was also intriguing was the exploration of what it would be like in different countries – zombies freezing in northern climates and then thawing in the spring, more militarized countries having different capacities to fight hordes of the living dead, how countries might go about repopulating the Earth once the zombies were beaten.

I’m interested to see how this will turn out as a movie, which apparently will be coming out next summer1.

  1. After some delay due to them having to refilm the ending on account of the first version of the ending sucking. []

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More About My Vacation. Plus 101 Footnotes!

So, we are back from our whirlwind trip to Portland1 and are now hanging out on Vancouver Island2,3 . Didn’t really take many photos4 since I went to pretty much all the same places as I did last year5, so I figure you could just look at the photos from last year6.

Some random thoughts about Oregon:

  • Powell’s City of Books is made of awesome7. It’s a bookstore that’s 4 storeys high and takes up an entire city block8 and killer prices. We may have spent a few hours in there and picked up a giant piles of books9, Incognito10, and The Third Chimpanzee11. And some zombie key covers!)). Because you know I don’t have enough things to read.
  • Did you know that there is a Comfort Inn & Suites Portland Airport and a Comfort Suites Portland International Airport and that these are two totally different hotels? I stayed in one of these last year and booked what I thought was the same hotel, but then it wasn’t. The hotel was still totally fine, and it was the cheapest price that we could find, so it was all good. But seriously, Comfort Suites, why would you name two hotels that are ~5 minutes away from each other virtually the same thing12??
  • And speaking of unoriginal names, why do so many cities in Oregon use names of other cities for their cities? There’s Salem13, Albany14, Milwaukie15, Dallas16, Florence17, Phoenix18, Toledo19, Harrisburg20, Dundee21, Jacksonville22, Dayton23, Oakland24, Glendale25, Arlington26, St. Paul27, Lexington28, Waterloo29, and Detroit30,31 ,32 ,33. And don’t even get me started on Vancouver, *Washington*34

More About The Zombie Race

Despite the extreme length of my zombie race posting, I managed to forgot to mention a few things I meant to mention in that posting:

  • I never even mentioned the race results35! I finished the race in 46:2036. Out of 2,788 competitors, I came in 1,037th place37. In my wave38, I came in 68th out of 237 runners39. That’s really not too shabby40.
  • Out of the 2,788 competitors, only 438 managed to get through the whole race without losing all of their flags41. That at least makes me feel a bit better about being zombified42.
  • I spoke to one guy after the race who told me that, despite finishing in about 30 minutes43, not only did zombies get all 3 of his flags, but they also got the 3 flags he got from a “health pack”44, and one flag that he saw on the ground and picked up. Picking up stray flags along the route is strictly prohibited, so I told him in as serious a tone as I could muster, “You can’t cheat death, dude. You can’t cheat death.”
  • Another guy after the race was regaling his girlfriend with tales of his adventures, the best of which was “And at the end there was a part where we had to crawl through mud and there was an electrified wire cage above you and I thought I’d be smart and go through on my back instead of on my stomach so that I could see the wire cage and not hit it. But instead I ended up electrocuting my privates!”
  • Another thing of awesomeness was one section of zombies that were doing the Thriller dance. Since I was without flags by that point in the race, I Thriller danced my way through that particular zombie horde45.
  • Completing the zombie obstacle course race means I’ve checked off item #91 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days46 ,47 ,48 ,49 ,50!

Since arriving at the Island, we’ve been on the more relaxation portion of our holidays51. Slept in52, had a lovely breakfast53, went for a glorious 12 km run54 ,55 , spent some time with Devon’s sister, brother-in-law and their kids56 ,57 ,58,59 ,60 ,61 ,62 ,63 ,64 ,65 ,66 ,67 ,68 ,69 ,70 ,71 ,72 ,73 ,74 ,75 ,76 ,77 ,78 ,79 ,80 ,81 ,82 ,83 ,84 ,85 ,86 ,((100%)) ,87 ,88 ,89 ,90 ,91 ,92 ,93, 94,95 ,96 ,97, including seeing a kickass thunder and lightening storm98. Other plans for the Vancouver Island portion of the trip include hiking some mountains, watching some movies, more time with the kids, some homework99, and hopefully some leisure reading100. And after that, we still have the Okanagan leg of our holidays to go101)

Did I ever mention how much I love being on vacation?

  1. Well, technically to Onalaska, WA, Portland, and various other places in Oregon state. []
  2. After a very poorly planned attempt to take the ferry from Ancortes to Vancouver Island. []
  3. Instead, we had to drive through the Peace Arch border and then head to Tsawwassen to catch the ferry from there []
  4. Did I mention I bought a new camera? []
  5. Voodoo Doughnut, the Oregon coast, the Tillamook Cheese Factory, the most amazing Mexican restaurant I’ve ever been to. []
  6. We did take a couple of pics, but I’m settled in on the coach with a nice cup of tea and waaaay to lazy comfy to go get the camera and upload the photos. []
  7. I went there on my trip last year too, but I don’t think I actually mentioned it much here on ye old blog. []
  8. And then, because an entire city block isn’t enough to house all the books, there’s Powell’s 2 across the street. []
  9. I bought a boxed set of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 5-book “trilogy” ((By Douglas Adams []
  10. By some author whose name I can’t recall []
  11. By Jared Diamond []
  12. And why does one specify Portland *International* Airport and the other just Portland Airport. They are talking about the same airport! []
  13. a la Massachusetts []
  14. a la New York []
  15. a la Milwaukee, Wisconsin []
  16. a la Texas []
  17. a la Italy []
  18. a la Arizona []
  19. a la Ohio []
  20. a la Pennsylvania []
  21. a la Scotland []
  22. a la Florida []
  23. a la Ohio []
  24. a la California []
  25. a la California []
  26. a la both Virginia and Texas []
  27. a la Minnesota []
  28. a la Kentucky []
  29. a la Ontario []
  30. a la Michigan []
  31. In case you haven’t noticed this yet, I’m trying to write a blog posting containing 101 footnotes, which is item #10 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days []
  32. Are the footnotes getting annoying yet? []
  33. Note that I didn’t say they had to be “good” or “useful” or “relevant” footnotes. []
  34. When you are in Washington or Oregon and say you are from “Vancouver” people usually say “Vancouver, Washington?”. No! Not Vancouver, Washington! The *real* Vancouver! []
  35. All the race results can be found here. []
  36. Which would be pretty slow for a regular 5 km, but not terrible for a race with obstacles to get over/under/through, zombies in your way, 38 degree heat, and the decision to walk a bunch of the race once I got zombified! []
  37. That’s in the top half, at least. []
  38. The 2 pm wave. []
  39. That’s in the top 30% []
  40. Well, other than the part where I didn’t make it out of the race alive []
  41. That’s only a 16% survival rate. []
  42. I mean, insofar as one can feel better after being zombified []
  43. He used to be in the military, so was used to obstacle course type races []
  44. A few “health packs” containing extra flags were available around the race route for lucker runners who found them. []
  45. Damnit, I just typed “zombie horder” again? What is my damage? []
  46. Did I ever mention that I love knocking things off my to do lists? []
  47. I’m starting to think that writing 101 footnotes might just be harder than running that race! []
  48. I also have “run 3 races” as one of my goals for 2012, so I’m not 1/3rd done that particular goal too. Woohoo! []
  49. The Victoria half marathon will be race #2 and I’m thinking that the Energizer Night Race will be #3 []
  50. The Energizer Night Race is one that’s held in Stanley Park after the sun sets and everyone wears headlamps. Sounds like a blast. Also, you get a free headlamp []
  51. vs. the driving mega distances and running from zombie hordes portion of our holidays []
  52. Though we didn’t get in to Devon’s parents place ’til about 2 a.m., thanks to the ferry fiasco! []
  53. Devon’s mom always feeds us so well when we are here! []
  54. Which felt so good after all the time spent sitting in the car yesterday! []
  55. 12 km is usually my least favourite running distance, but today’s was totally fine! I’d been trying to prepare myself psychologically for this run, using the same trick as I did with running hills – i.e., tell myself that I love the 12 km distance, just like I told myself I loved hills – repeatedly, until I stopped hating hills. []
  56. Including feeding them Voodoo Doughnuts that we brought back from Portland []
  57. Though Devon’s sister was mostly excited by the Tillamook cheese we brought back for her! []
  58. We also brought ourselves back some cheese! So excited by the cheese! []
  59. Oh []
  60. my []
  61. god []
  62. writing []
  63. 101 []
  64. footnotes []
  65. is []
  66. very []
  67. very []
  68. very []
  69. very []
  70. very []
  71. very []
  72. very []
  73. very []
  74. very []
  75. very []
  76. very []
  77. hard. []
  78. Yes []
  79. I []
  80. know []
  81. this []
  82. is []
  83. totally []
  84. totally []
  85. completely []
  86. entirely []
  87. cheating []
  88. but []
  89. I []
  90. don’t []
  91. care []
  92. All’s []
  93. fair []
  94. in []
  95. love []
  96. and []
  97. footnotes. []
  98. With probably the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard in my life! []
  99. Including a teleconference with my business plan group tomorrow. []
  100. Because did I mention all the stuff I bought at Powell’s books? []
  101. I haven’t been to the Okanagan since I was there with a band of traveling scientists in 2006. []

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I Am Zombie, Hear Me Moan

Run for Your Lives

Yesterday, I faced hordes of zombies and… I came out a zombie myself! I had such high hopes that I could run through the 5 km zombie obstacle course race, otherwise known as Run for Your Lives (in Washington State) and not be eaten, but it turns out that the undead got the better of me.

The premise of this race is that you have a belt with three red flags on it – and those red flags represent your lives. You have to go through 12 obstacles – and you don’t know what they are going to be before you get there – *and* you have to get past countless zombies who are trying to grab your flags. Are the zombies going to be fast? Slow? Will they jump out from behind the bushes? YOU JUST DON’T KNOW! There’s no predicting zombies, people.

Hundreds of people were out for the big event – runners, zombies, and spectators!

Here are some runners who were in a earlier wave than I was in:

Lining up at the start of the 2 pm wave of the zombie race

Notice that most of them don’t have any red flags on their belts. That means they didn’t make it out alive! Also notice that they are all covered in mud!

In the race, you could win prizes for being the fastest runner in your age category – but only if you made it out with a flag still on your belt. You could also win for best costume, hence why these Angry Birds were there:

Angry Birds preparing for the zombie race

They were having trouble figuring out where to put their flag belts! Oh yeah, and did I mention that it was 38 degrees Celsius out? THIRTY-EIGHT DEGREES! 38 degrees is too hot to do pretty much anything, let alone run a race. But what can you do? If the zombie apocalypse happens and it’s 38 degrees, you don’t get to say “sorry, zombies, it’s too hot to run.” You just run!

I did the race with my friend, Julie, who you may remember from that time we played hockey for 10 freaking days non-stop, and her step-daughter, Megan. We were the Apocalyptic Avengers! Here we are before the race:

Team Apocalyptic Avengers

Don’t we look nice and clean? And filled with life and hope and flags on our belts?

Here we are lining up for the race and discussing our strategy. Which was basically that Julie and Megan planned to run together and I said, “I’ll probably take off.” Because when there are zombies chasing me, it’s everyone for themselves! (Spoiler: I took off screaming the very first time we encountered zombies. True story.

Lining up at the start of the 2 pm wave of the zombie race

When we went to line up, you were to sort yourself by how fast you are – zombie appetizer, zombie entree, or zombie dessert:

Zombie Race

It’s a bit hard to read in the photo, but appetizers are those who can run 9 minutes per mile or faster, entrees are 9-12 minutes per mile, and desserts are 12 minutes per mile or slower. My problem, of course, is that I’m a Canadian, so I only know how fast I can run in minutes per km! Also, I suck at doing math in my head – especially when I’m more worried about being eaten by zombies than anything else. After some discussion, we decided that we were probably on the slow end of entrees.

Now, I have to say right off – this was the hardest race I’ve ever done! I’ve never done an obstacle course race and I’ve certainly never been chased by zombies. Also, I am trained as a distance runner1, so I usually like to run at a steady pace, keeping some in reserve to be able to go the distance. This, however, was not that kind of race. What I should have been training for was sprinting. Sprinting like hell! The race was a bunch of running – or more often walking – along the path until you came to an obstacle – climbing over wall, crawling under things through the mud, etc. – or, much worse, you approached a field or pathway full of walkers.

Here we2 are jogging along a path that is mercifully zombie-free. It became pretty evident early on that you had to stick together with other people – safety in numbers – as trying to run through a field of the undead on your own was suicide.

Zombie Race

And here we see runners approaching some zombies:

Zombie Race

And there’s no way around but through, as they say. Which meant that there was a hell of a lot of sprinting that I learned very quickly I was not in good shape for at all! In fact, I lost a flag on my trip through the very first field of zombies that we encountered3. It also probably didn’t help that I was screaming every time I sprinted through a field of zombies – that energy probably would have been better used in my sprinting than it was in my yelling “OH MY GOD!! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO! WHY ARE YOU TARGETING MEEEEEEEEEE??????!!!!!”  Live and learn4.

Some of the obstacles required you to make a choice – like this one where you had to chose which way to go through the maze:

Zombie Race

Of course, with a zombie blocking the right entrance, I’m guessing these runners went left. When I got to that obstacle, there was no zombie at the front of the maze, but there was one at the end, but she was a slow one, so not hard to get past. There was another point in the race where we had to chose to go left or right along the path, and after a short deliberation we decided to go right because we saw a few zombies on the right path and nothing on the left and we guessed that they were using reverse psychology to try to get you to go left and then there would be something much, much worse on the left. The right path only had a few very slow zombies, so it seemed to be a good choice, but I’m still *dying* to know what was on the left path!

Now, I mentioned that I lost my first flag in the first field of zombies that I came to. I made it through a few more zombie groups with some close calls and then another got me, so that I was 2/3rds dead before I hit the 1 mile marker. When I saw the 1 mile marker, I yelled, “1 mile? How far is 1 mile?? I’M A CANADIAN!!!!” This was a 5 km race and I already thought it odd that an American race used a metric measure for the race distance, but then they had mile markers? WTF? I was way to stressed out to deal with math! I got myself a much needed few glasses of water – did I mention it was 38 degrees out?? – remembered that 1 mile = 1.6 km, realized that I was only about 1/3rd of the way through the race, and wanted to cry because omg-I’m-only-1/3rd-the-way-through-this-race? But I again reminded myself that the only way to be able to stop running was to get the end and I was bolstered by the fact that having only one flag meant that I only had to protect one flag. This actually fared me pretty well for a while, as I had the flag on left hip, so I made sure to always run to the left of every zombie. Sadly, though, all good things must come to an end5 and I ended up losing my last flag in a thick group of the walking dead. At this point, I figured there was no point doing any more running because it was pretty freaking hot and I was pretty freaking worn out, and there was nothing zombies could do to me anymore. In the next herd of zombies, I decided I could just walked through. Now some people had been trying to trick zombies by walking through as if they didn’t have flags when they actually had a flag on their back. One zombie eyed me suspiciously as I approached, so I spun around to show I wan’t hiding flags and said, “I don’t have any flags, dude.” His reply: “Here you go!” as he handed me a flag from his pocket! Colour me surprised! I wasn’t expecting that. I happily said “Thanks, man!” and then went on my way, attaching my new flag to my belt as  I went. And about a second after that I thought “Crap! Now I have to run again.” I made it through some more of the race continuing on with my go-to-the-left strategy. I think I was in around the 2 mile mark when I was jogging through a particularly long stretch of zombies, but all of whom were fairly well spaced out and stumbling along slowly. And just as I was feeling confident that I was going to get through this stretch, I heard someone yell from the sidelines, “Zombies! Grab flags now!” Apparently, part of the way of keeping the runners guessing was that zombies were told to be slow zombies at some times and fast zombies at other times! And so it was that I ended up right in the middle of a herd of suddenly fast zombies. And I was done for! I tried to sprint, but there was too many and they were too fast. And so I was dead again.

I continued on through the last mile, resigned to my fate of undeath. One zombie even gave me double high fives6 while moaning “One of uuuuuuuusssss!” Another runner who shared a similar fate with me told me she decided weeks ago that it would probably be best to just become zombified. “Even in a real zombie apocalypse, why not just be a zombie? You wouldn’t have to worry about a job, or worry about your weight, or worry about getting killed by zombies!”

The final stretch of the race was, without a doubt, the most insane thing ever. I’m talking giant uphill, loaded with zombies, and when you crested the hill assuming you had made it – more zombies. Very, very few people made it through that final stretch with any flags at all. Anyone who did – my hat is off to you!

Zombie Race

So. Many. Zombies.

At the end, you got to go down this awesome slide into a pool of water. Sure the water was dirty as all hell, but I didn’t care. It was gloriously, gloriously cold water and I just plugged my nose and went right under!

Final obstacle of the zombie race

As I waited my turn at the top of the slide, I said, “Oh god, I hope there aren’t zombies at the bottom of this!” and the race volunteer monitoring the slide said, “That would just be mean.” “This entire race was mean! Did you see that big hill full of zombies??”

After the pool, the final obstacle was a very low cage with a bunch of mud you had to crawl through on your belly. Now, someone smarter than me  – or at least not so close to heat stroke – would have remembered that we’d been told there could electrical shocks in this race. But not me. As I crawled, I bumped my head into the top of the cage and zap! Because apparently dying by zombification was not enough for me – I had to have my brains zapped out too!

Now, despite the fact that it was hotter than all hell and I got electrocuted and I got zombified in spite of a zombie taking pity on me and giving me an extra life, this race was so freaking fun! I would definitely do it again – though I would do some serious sprint training first.  Though I am really, really tempted to be a zombie next time instead of a runner!

Here’s Team Apocalypse after the race, in all of our muddy glory:

Team Apocalyptic Avengers - covered in mud!

I took me quite some time to get all that mud off me and my socks I just gave up on. But I donated my shoes – as I’d worn a pair of my old running shoes, since I knew they’d get muddy – to Project Sole, an organization that gives shoes to people in impoverished nations and disaster-stricken communities.

Shoe donations

In reward for my hard efforts, I got this delicious beer:

Enjoying a post-race beer

 Post-race beers are the best kinds of beers.

But I also got these scrapes, which I didn’t know were there until I got all the mud off:

Zombie race injury!

Most importantly, however, I have a new race medal to add to my collection:

Zombie Race Medal

Best. Medal. Ever.

I can’t wait ’til next year!

  1. And, truth be told, I’m pretty slow at the distance running too! []
  2. I’m 99% that the short girl all in black in the middle of this group is me []
  3. Truth be told, I was happy that I only lost one flag there, because there were a lot of zombies! []
  4. Er, I guess that should be don’t live and learn. []
  5. If you consider fearing for you life a “good thing”. []
  6. Also known as high ten. []