Being a mom is adventure enough.
So this group of five tough mothers should be more than prepared for a little getaway like the Kinzua Country Tango Adventure Race.
No, I didn't write 5 Tough Mudders; I wrote 5 Tough Mothers - that's what the ladies in the pink tank tops are calling themselves.
Photos submitted to Times Observer
5 Tough Mothers
With full-time jobs and 16 children among them, a group of five women is using Saturday’s race to get away from it all — if only for a while; depending on how long it takes the relay team of Tara Tichenor (below), Valerie Hobbs, Brandi Bickling (below), Kris Sowa (middle, above) and Deanna Beyer to complete the grueling course created by a former Navy Seal.
With full-time jobs and a combined 16 children among them, a group of five women is using Saturday's race to get away from it all - if only for a while; depending on how long it takes the relay team of Tara Tichenor, Valerie Hobbs, Brandi Bickling, Kris Sowa and Deanna Beyer to complete the grueling course created by a former Navy Seal.
Last year it took over 11 hours. No fooling.
It takes running a 13.1-mile half-marathon, biking 20 miles, swimming 2.2 miles, orienteering five or more miles, running another 4.5 miles, and canoeing eight miles "to get away from the kids," said Tichenor, obviously joking.
Hobbs said they would have done it years ago, "but someone is always pregnant."
All kidding aside, getting all five to agree to do it was the first step.
Last year, they barely trained.
Chris Dolan, of the Warren YMCA, said the Tango adventure race started out for "crazy, jacked-up people," but has morphed into a family reunion. With relay teams, "it's definitely something that's achievable," she said.
Dolan said there are five relay teams sponsored by Northwest Savings Bank, including the 5 Tough Mothers.
The women felt last year was a little "surreal," said Hobbs, competing alongside - and being passed by - more competitive athletes.
"We're definitely more prepared (this year)," said Tichenor. "Actually, I've looked at the (past years') times more in the last two weeks than I ever have before. We trained more for it this year than we ever did last year."
It was easier to train during July, honestly, "because the sports for the children were coming to an end," she said.
"I don't think I'm nervous anymore because we did it last year," said Bickling, among the five women ranging in ages 36 to 41.
Sowa is running 13.1 miles, Hobbs cycling 20 miles and orienteering, Beyer swimming 2.2 miles, Bickling running 4.5 miles and canoeing, and Tichenor orienteering and canoeing.
"I am glad that I'm doing it now because I trained harder this year and it's getting out there and doing something for myself," said Bickling.
The time it takes to finish is all relative, except that the group's goal is to finish with a better overall time than last year's Tango.
"I've really noticed a difference in my well-being and I can deal with the stress of getting everything done (i.e. work and kids)," said Bickling. "Even a half-hour for a couple mile run makes a difference ."
Hobbs and Tichenor were training on Tuesday at the Allegheny National Forest, and all but called their weekly training a mental break.
"I can't wait until Tuesday nights at 6 p.m.," said Hobbs.
The Tango is not just one Saturday of the year for her.
She called it a "lifestyle change."
The biggest change may be that it's the kids - all 16 of them - cheering on the moms this time. Bickling and Hobbs have four children each, Sowa and Beyer three each, and Tichenor two.
Beyer wants her kids to pay close attention.
"One of the main reasons I'm doing this is just to teach my kids how important physical fitness is, and being a part of a team," said Beyer. "And just to set goals for yourself."
Beyer swam in college and wants her kids to know that mom can still bring it. Sowa was a runner in college and said the last thing to go is the competitive spirit.
"I know I'm not going to win the race anymore, but then I have the new goals," said Sowa, whose completed four marathons, but none since 2002. "We're not going to win tomorrow, but we've had so much fun training together, and sending texts (of encouragement) back and forth to each other.
"None of us are professional athletes," she said.
But they are 5 Tough Mothers set for a date with the Tango this morning.