Vermont City Marathon Race Recap & Review

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Vermont City Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Pre-Raceο»Ώ

As you may know by this point, I am not a phenomenal planner, so of course I had family things to do marathon weekend that made it so I wasn’t able to be in Burlington nearly as much as I would have liked. Originally I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal, but after seeing how much the entire town gets into the race, I really would love to make an entire weekend of it next time! I haven’t run many large races to compare, but living so close to Boston I have spectated the Boston Marathon many years, and Vermont had the similar feel of the entire city being taken over by running. Needless to say, it was very cool!

My boyfriend and I arrived Saturday evening (after a few delays) right at the end of the expo so we didn’t get to really see all the awesomeness. Though the volunteers were INSANELY friendly and helpful in suggesting food stops, shops, race day spectating spots, or any other tips you needed about the area or race!

With all the friendliness plus the giant maple syrup bottle it was hard to remember we weren’t in Canada πŸ˜‚β€οΈ

I love camping (and saving money isn’t terrible) so if I can I generally try and find a campsite rather than hotel for racecations. I found the North Beach Campground was not only right on the bike path that was part of the course, but it was only a little over a mile away from the start! I loved that in a worst case scenario of being unable to find parking (since the start was in downtown), Christian could just drop me off and walk back to the action. This also gave us the option of just walking to the start as a nice morning activity/warm up. In the end it was torrential raining all night making for a pretty cold next morning so we opted to drive.

The green area is the campground. Pretty much at the mile 25 mark!
ο»ΏRace Day

I generally am laid back about races and don’t need to be at the start much earlier than necessary so the 6 minute drive was perfect to let me sleep in as much as possible. Also contrary to my worries, we had no issue finding parking what so ever, even with it being the latest time they recommended parking due to road closures. AND we were only like a 5 minute walk away from the start.

The park that the start is held at was mildly chaotic, but again I’ve never had experience with such a large race before so it easily could have just been the sheer amount of runners. We were in line for the port-o-potties when they announced that we needed to evacuate the park because of a severe storm. I honestly thought it was a joke at first because the half of the sky I had been looking at looked like a beautiful day, but looking the opposite direction it looked SUPER ominous. We evacuated to the nearest building which, for Christian and I, ended up being an awesome little church. Since we were all just hanging out, the pastor decided to redo a portion of the morning’s service. It was all running/racing based and included a talk/prayer and a song! It was honestly really, really cool and I was really grateful for the storm in the end because as a non-religious person I would have never gotten to experience it had there been no evacuation. We also happened to take shelter with the local weatherman so we got a live weather forecast and update about the storm afterwards! It down poured and lightninged, but it passed pretty quickly and we were allowed back to the start.

The Race!!

The start was HUGE! It was kind of hard to squeeze into place, but once it actually started the pace picked up surprisingly quickly! There were a lot of people around you for awhile, but I didn’t feel like people were in the way or slowing/blocking me. After the storm passed it seemed like it was going to be a hot, sunny day so I tried to drink a little water at every station. Literally my only “complaint” about this race was that the water was in plastic cups instead of paper, making it so I couldn’t squeeze the top shut for a smaller hole to drink from. For me being able to use that technique is a big deal because otherwise I’m hopeless at drinking from a cup πŸ˜…

Two of my Ragnar teammates found me at the start!

The first segment flew by! (But it was only a 5k..) And we were back at the start area! I did REALLY like this course’s “clover” shape so you see your spectators 3 times not including the start and finish. That also means you have 3 mid-race segments that have end-of-race crowd density while you run through the center of downtown that’s been completely closed off by the race and spectators. Again, I felt that little Boston vibe.

The second segment is an out and back over a closed segment of highway (but scenic highway). I’m pretty sure it was gradually downhill out and gradually uphill back. I was a fan. It was also cool because we drove down it as we left and I was all, “This looks familiar.. wait we ran here!” and Christian wouldn’t believe they closed the whole highway down for us until I showed him it definitely was on the course map. I always think it’s neat when they shut down and let runners take over entire roads for races!

Once in downtown again I got a lay! It was crazy how many people there were with signs or handing out things to help runners (nutrition, hydration, and motivation-wise). I feel like the rest of the race, anytime we were running through neighborhoods, every local was outside cheering or offering you something. As for my race, I accidentally totally subconsciously sped up at mile 12 because half marathons.. oops. And kept it up through 15 because we were back in town and it was hard not to get overly hyped. There was also one big hill DURING the crowded section (YAAAAAS hills ❀️)so you know I was going to try and sprint up that.

Only having a little fun πŸ˜‰

The last section was definitely not my best. I started having some stomach problems at mile 17ish, I think. I wasn’t thinking I could eat my fuel anymore and plain water sounded awful. Luckily there were an INSANE amount of locals handing out ice pops and watermelon which did sound ok so I lived off crowd support the rest of the race. I think part of my problem was I don’t plan ahead so I hadn’t really looked at the course in detail and though the segments were more even. The last one being extra long when I didn’t expect it was definitely disheartening. Mile 21 I slowly started my pity party and now I wish I had thought to bring my Aftershokz for when I did actually need something to take my mind off the race. At mile 23 my hip (sleeping on the ground definitely left me sore) started to hurt so badly I came stupidly close to stopping. Honestly I think I might have if I hadn’t had to quit Providence at mile 23. For some reason that was the last straw, and there was absolutely no way I was stopping at the exact same mile again. I think I had even talked myself into being able to stop at 24, just not 23 lol. But then soon as I got to 24 I started feeling better and kind of figured I should just finish it at this point πŸ˜‚ It was definitely hard running directly by my campsite. I think 25 is when the 4 hour pacers caught me so I cranked out mile 26 way faster than I thought I could in order to pass them back. The last like 100-200 meters was on grass which was a really cool throwback to highschool XC for me! I made my goal of under 4 hours with 3:57:51, but by gun time I missed it by 5 seconds (which doesn’t actually matter, just makes my finish photo looks SUPER disappointing πŸ˜‚).

Pretending I’m not dying on the bike path lol
SUCH an awesome finish pic!!
Post Raceο»Ώ

Like I said, I had to scoot after the race, even more so with the late start since we were now late to checkout of our campsite. But again the whole city was in on the race so the campground already knew and weren’t upset. We did run by the Ben & Jerry’s factory on our way out, but the tours aren’t self-guided and everyone seemed to have the same idea so we didn’t have time. We did take a look at the ice cream flavor graveyard though which I didn’t know was a thing, but was funny!

The Rugged Maniac Phoenix Race Recap & Review

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Rugged Maniac Phoenix to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

After years of running the Rugged Maniac New England, I finally got to try a second location by running the Rugged Maniac Phoenix this past weekend!

The Rugged Maniac races are so fun that even my non-runner boyfriend loves them. They are currently the only race he actually asks me to sign him up for each year instead of just tolerating me dragging him along πŸ™ˆ So when I mentioned the race he jumped at the opportunity to join me!!

Pre Race

One great thing about most OCR (including the Rugged Maniac) is that the race goes off in small heats. These heats are usually throughout the day so runners have the chance to choose what time of day suits them best. We arrived the day before the race because I like time to adjust after travel so we could have run in the morning, but my boyfriend LOVES diners, cafes, and large breakfasts. Last time we were in Phoenix we found an AMAZING all gluten-free cafe, Jewel’s Cafe so we opted to go there first and took a later race time of 12:45 PM.

We are not a timely people though, so we ended up late to the race anyway.. But the process to fix our mess-up was painless and didn’t cost us anything (thanks Rugged!!).

On an unrelated note, (I’m not going to pretend like this was the reason we were late because it wasn’t) make sure you listen to their special instructions as to how to get to the race. The address was slightly off, but they gave you special instructions that I originally confidently ignore that corrected the issue.

We ended up with a little time before our new start time (we chose to) and quickly realized we weren’t prepared for a race in the desert (will I ever learn??). We ended up having to buy water because we couldn’t wait for the usual bottle you get at the finish. To us it seemed kind of cruel not to have free water beforehand, but I realize now that not only have I never run a race with that, but literally no one else seemed phased. I think it was just us being out of our element, but a note for other non-locals.

ο»ΏThe Course

The race course was really similar to New England in many ways. Both are held at some kind of motocross park and use part of the park’s course and part of the natural land surrounding it. Both, when on the park’s course, are comprised of a very fine dirt and had twists, turns, rises, and dips. I would say New England’s motocross course portion featured more ups and downs, while Phoenix’s more twists and turns, but they were still pretty similar. The natural land was where they varied, New England’s wooded portion versus Phoenix’s desert. I was happy they did add some more up and down into the desert with man made dirt mounds and by making us run stadiums. (Wouldn’t want it to be TOO flat and easy 😜)

The Obstacles

I love how they always seem to find the perfect mix of challenging, doable, and just for fun obstacles! There are too many to mention them all, but here are some of my favorite/most memorable:

Barzan – This one’s a new, classic arm & grip strength obstacle where you need swing across bars facing different ways & angles. It’s definitely one of the more difficult ones and I was excited to try it. I didn’t make it across, but my boyfriend did. I’m very excited to try again at New England!

Antigravity – It’s got trampolines!! Plus it’s hilarious how many people don’t seem to know how to use a trampoline πŸ˜‚

Off The Rails – You have to run at and grab a rope with enough forward momentum that you slide on it down a rail to the end where you ring a bell. We’ve had many renditions of this type of slide on a rope obstacle in ninja class. Also someone got the bell stuck up in the metal framework a couple of people before our turn and my boyfriend was able to dislodge it to become the hero and be cheered as he left the water pit!

destroying the bell πŸ’ͺ

Full Tilt – A teeter totter hanging ladder! It’s almost like my ninja gym knew I’d need to climb an inclined ladder because we did exactly that the week before in class! In my opinion this one was a good intermediate obstacle that was slightly easier than Barzan. The only weird thing I noticed was this was the only hanging obstacle I’ve ever seen them have without a water pit under it. One of the things I love about the Rugged Maniac is they always have water pits under their hanging obstacles so you can try them without fearing the fall. (I’ve seen someone fall and break their elbow at a different brand OCR.)

Iron Curtain – Didn’t know about this one but I LOVE IT! But telling you about it would ruin it so just trust me it’s a fun one! πŸ˜‰

Feed The Beast – I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. Blowup obstacles aren’t generally my favorite (except the slide!), but I really enjoyed the blowup walls you have to bounce over!

Check out the full list of obstacles here if you want!

Overallο»Ώ

This race gave me confidence to continue recommending the Rugged Maniac to anyone who will listen because it seems they put on similarly AWESOME races no matter the venue! Rugged Maniac are friendly for all skill levels and make sure everyone has a blast! For Phoenix specifically, I would just recommend you bring water and sunscreen if you aren’t a crazy local who doesn’t seem to notice they’re out in the middle of the desert πŸ˜‚ Also the parking lot situation gets a little crazy toward the end so I’d recommend an earlier time slot if you need to be out of there ASAP.

πŸ‘πŸ‘

Hyannis Half Race Recap/Review

A few weekends ago I ran the Hyannis Half Marathon for the first time! It was also my first race in bad weather (at least since track)! One of my goals for the year is to run at least 1 race a month so when an old track bud mentioned this race I signed right up! I’m really lax on preparation so I didn’t even know the weather was supposed to be bad until she mentioned it but I was kind of excited since I tend to like running in the rain and weather (it makes me feel BA πŸ˜‚).

Race morning did not disappoint. It was down-pouring! At home (like an hour away) it wasn’t too cold, but I also knew the race was right by the water.. but I also hate clothes.. so I ended up wearing a kind of mismatch of warm and cold gear.

My gear: mismatched and neon enough to have an aura πŸ˜‚

Again, not the best at preparation, so I ended up making it there pretty close to the race. Luckily, they didn’t shut down any roads I needed to get to the lot, the lot still had plenty of room, and it was super close to packet pickup. Also packet pickup was really speedy! My friend even found me by accident! The expo is hosted in the hallway leading up to and in a hotel event room so everyone was able to hangout inside and keep warm up until the race start.

It was a noticeably short wait at the start (they must have done the anthem during the marathon/early half start) and then we were off! I don’t really remember much for the first 6 miles. There was some nice beach front stretches and I was feeling GOOD. It felt pretty flat (just a few gentle ups and downs here and there) and we got a whole lane to ourselves I believe the entire time!

Absolutely drenched, but feeling good!

At around mile 7.5 it started having some noticeable incline. I’m a fan of some hills though so it wasn’t terrible. But then somewhere between mile 9 and 10 my legs started going numb from the cold. Afraid over what my form was looking like since I couldn’t feel it, I slowed down a lot. The rest of the course seemed to be the world’s most gradual, but steady incline and what little of my legs I could feel felt like they weighed 200 lbs so I just kept slowing down. It was the most painful 5k (that I didn’t stop to walk) of my life.

I made it to the finish line and received my medal and water. I have this weird thing where I HATE bananas all other times, but after a race all I want in life is a banana so when I wasn’t handed my usual finish line banana I was pretty discouraged. (Like that post-race unreasonably emotional about things level sad.) I mulled sadly around the finish line for awhile until my race-brain faded and I realized I am just completely useless at thinking after a race. THE EXPO WAS INSIDE! I went in to find my friend had already beaten me there, a live band, donuts, soup, and fruits including all the bananas a girl could want!

Overall it was a fun race that I would run again and recommend! I’d just warn to be prepared for the weather (as multiple people said it was like that most years) but that may have just been me being me and normal people would know to wear clothes πŸ˜‚ (I’d also recommend Turtle Gloves as my hands were the only thing that didn’t feel the weather at all!) They took A TON of awesome photos (which is a super win in my book) but they weren’t free (bummer). They had instant printable finish results, which was neat! Also the indoor expo, so you could actually hangout comfortably, was really nice! The last thing I took mental note of was they had vegetable soup for vegans (the other choice was chicken noodle), but they added barley so it was no longer gluten free which was a bummer πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

Overall two thumbs up! πŸ‘πŸ‘

Rhode Races Hangover Classic 5 Miler 2019

I have now run the Hangover Classic for two years and had two extremely fun, but insanely different experiences.. so different it was honestly hard to believe it was the same race!

2018

It was so cold that most of the polar plunges in my area got cancelled due to safety and I needed a new New Year’s tradition. I stumbled upon the Hangover Classic, a 5 miler in the local waterside park, and figured I’d give it a try.. maybe host my own polar plunge in the park’s water if it wasn’t enough of a challenge 😜 My friend and I arrived at the race that morning to realize it would DEFINITELY be enough of a challenge. It was -6Β°F and I had literally every layer of Winter running gear I owned on and could still feel the cold. The short walk from the car to the start line had us rethinking our life choices. During the race, the course was an icy, snowy, windy battleground and my butt went numb even though I was wearing the tights I’ve always worn for Winter activities without issue. It was AMAZING the after race venue had a fireplace and I feel like I sat in front of it for an hour trying to get warm again.

2019

This year couldn’t have been much different from last. I woke up and had to check the weather app twice and then go outside to check for myself before I was convinced I could leave the house prepared to race in just shorts and a singlet. The walk from my car to the start line was so pleasant I stopped to take pictures! There were also a noticeable amount more people this year, not just a few other crazies who also didn’t fully think things through like last year. I picked up my bib and shirt and headed to the start line to stretch. I was missing my friendΒ  this year so I decided to give my Aftershokz a try and listen to the Training for Ultra podcast during the race. It was really nice! Between the beautiful waterside views, my podcast, and the lack of wind (it felt like literally none compared to last year), the race FLEW by. I wasn’t trying to PR or anything, just wanted to run with other people, so I was really happy with my 8:02 average pace. That was a lot faster than I had been running in training on the treadmill lately. I also checked results to find I got 3rd in AG so that was neat. One year soon (maybe next!) I’ll have to actually train for this race because I love the local beer can trophies they make each year!

IMG_20190126_224203.jpg

2018 vs 2019

Overall I really like that it’s a 5 miler instead of the usual 5k. I love Colt State Park and even though it’s always on the windier side because it’s on the water, it more than makes up for it in views and flatness! If you’re in Rhode Island for the 1st I would definitely think about giving this race a go because it’s an awesome time no matter the weather!

IMG_20190126_224021

One more comparison shot because it was so crazy! πŸ‘πŸ‘

Silver Falls Trail 50K & My First Ultra!

I had originally signed up for this race forever ago. After helping my friend move to Oregon I had seen a REALLY pretty picture of a park there on Instagram and shared it with her only to find out it was just over 30 minutes from her house! She went on a recon mission and told me I HAD to go there next time I visited. Honestly I don’t remember if I even waited to see the place for myself (We went for a walk there during my next visit.) or just immediately checked if they had any races and signed up for the Silver Falls Trail 50K.

Unfortunately at the beginning of the October I did something to one of my already bad knees at Ragnar Wawayanda so I hadn’t really been able to train basically at all for the rest of the month. In the last few days leading up to the race I had kind of come to accept my fate of simply going for a walk in a really pretty park and cheering on the friend I had managed to sucker into joining me 😜

The cramped legroom on my flights there didn’t really bother my knees like I thought it would. If anything, it was only my neck that was bothering me slightly at the race the next day due to the flights. I even got to talk to a fellow runner and past Oregonian on my first flight since he pegged me as a runner when he saw I was reading Eat & Run. I landed around 4 PM, got picked up by my friend, and headed to packet pickup. Between talking to that guy on the flight and the people at packet pickup I got a bit more amped to attempt to run tomorrow and packed my hydration pack that night as though I was going to complete the whole race.

Race Day
We got there “bright and early” (really dark and early) on race day and I was glad my friend had thought to bring two headlamps (so I was able to borrow one). By the time the race started most people had taken theirs off and I probably could have managed without, but it was nice to have that extra little light when you’re as clumsy as me. I wish I had thought to bring my SPIbeam visor because it would have been PERFECT.

Mile 0-15
I started the race near the back of the line, and made sure to take off really slowly so hopefully my knee would have time to warm up and not hurt. It worked like a charm and the first 15 miles were AMAZING! Since tripping was definitely part of my downfall at Ragnar, I put most of my focus on the ground and watching my step, but also took it slow so I could look at the BEAUTIFUL forest I was running through. I talked to some people, stopped to take some pictures (but not because I felt terrible and had to!), cruised up some hills, and just overall had a blast! I had my hydration vest filled with water because I like to be able to take tiny sips at my own pace. And for fuel and electrolytes I had my Skratch chews and salt pills, which were working well. I did try some potato chips and an actual baked potato dipped in some salt at an aid station because they sounded good so I figured maybe my body wanted something they contained. I’m super lucky and my stomach is relatively hard to upset so I wasn’t too concerned trying “new stuff” to running (long as it wasn’t new to my normal diet I knew it would be fine).

79057354-11-03-2018silverfalls50k2cmarathon267miler0136

SO PRETTY.

Mile 16-19
It was a little after mile 15 that my knee suddenly decided it had had enough. I had kind of assumed this would happen and didn’t really want to take the chance of hurting my knee further by pushing on past this point of pain. I was honestly just really happy that I had run a virtually pain free 15 miles and wasn’t upset about having to quit at all. The only issue was I had run 15 miles and my runner’s brain didn’t think about the possibility of turning back. So instead of going about 1 mile back to the last aid station, I saw hobbling 4 miles to the next as the only option. These next 4 miles felt like the longest miles of my life. I felt like my knee had never hurt this much before. Being the excellent planner I am, I didn’t even actually know exactly where the next aid station was. I only knew the cutoff from what they had announced at the start line and began trying to calculate if I’d make it from the times and distances I vaguely thought I remembered them saying. It was all useless anyway though because as soon as I start running I can’t add 2+2. I saw NO ONE. I entered the dark place. I assumed I must be dead last. Did they have a sweeper or would I just be left alone in the woods? Would the aid station even be there by the time I got to it’s location? Finally after what felt like FOREVER I saw the aid station. I asked about taking their truck back with them, and they said this station could only transport a few people so it was reserved for emergencies, but the next aid station could help me. I honestly almost cried at the thought of having to go another 5 miles. With how awful I felt during those last miles I felt I should be considered a medical emergency. Distraught and unsure what to do next I decided stuffing my face with m&m’s was clearly the best decision. In the 10 minutes I sat there debating my fate, 20-40 runners came by. All INSANELY cheery. Half taking shots of Fireball before running off into the woods screaming. Where had they all been before when I was completely alone in the woods? The sugar rush started to hit me, along with now knowing I wasn’t alone, and I suddenly felt like the last few miles had never happened. As the next person left the station, I decided to follow suit and that I officially was going to complete this race.

Mile 20-24
My knee still wasn’t feeling great, but it was manageable. I did a decent amount of galloping (like when you pretended to be a horse as a kid) πŸ˜‚ This time I saw people the whole time and did a lot of trading spots back and forth with them. We started running through the parts of the park where I had actually been before (the parts with the waterfalls). I could feel the sugar rush fading toward the end, but at least I knew what to do to make myself feel better this time. I got to the aid station at mile 24 right before the cutoff time. At this point I had come to far to quit. I took all my planned nutrition and gear from in the front pouches of my hydration vest and shoved them in the back. I then filled one front pocket completely with m&m’s and the other with potato chips, and took a handful of potato chips for good measure. I was getting hungry for real food and that was as close as I was getting. I had also heard on the Training for Ultra Podcast that potato chips are one of the highest calorie snacks.

Mile 24-31
It felt like you weaved around the falls for forever. I was glad I had been there before to take pictures because I was too worried about time to be able to stop and take any. I jog, shuffle, hopped along as fast as I could eating my feast of potato chips and m&m’s. There were some actual stairs to climb at one point, but I had already walked them and knew what to expect. The only other specific thing I remember was right before the finish. At packet pickup a volunteer had warned us you will be able to hear the finish when you’ve still got a ways to go and they were right. They also mentioned one last hill in that section. The uphill wasn’t bad for me, but it goes right back down at the same steepness which was just about the final straw for my knee. I came insanely close to rolling down the hill both by choice and accident. I finally reached the finish with only a little over 15 minutes left, in 7:43:45.

45298982_10156055553497153_2550456923027668992_n

45325767_10156055553582153_4734619475771392000_n

While this wasn’t exactly how I wanted my first ultra to go I am still insanely happy that I ran it. It feels good knowing that I was able to complete the distance without any real issues besides my knee without much training. It confirmed my thoughts that I have a decent fueling plan down since I never felt sick, but also was a learning experience that some sugar can do wonders for my attitude and chips are great for once you start wanting real food. Also I was super glad I started wearing a long sleeve shirt since it seems when I am out there for so long (even though I’m usually someone who runs warm) I end up going through phases of getting chills.

I can’t wait to actually be able to train for and run my next ultra! I plan to do a “local” one since I think the flights honestly hurt more than the ultra itself. My neck was definitely a bit sore during the race from the flight there and the flight back was not only physically rough, but I also caught a sinus infection (or awful cold?) that I am STILL trying to fully get over. In the end, still TOTALLY worth it though!

45312096_10156739560094246_7510211068262612992_n

We’re ultramarathoners now!!!

Reebok 10k for Women 2018

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Reebok Boston 10k for Women as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

The second half of my all-running-weekend extravaganza was the Reebok 10k for Women! I had already been super pumped about the event schedule, but after the beating I took at Ragnar Wawayanda I was even more excited for the pre-race activities. There was to be one meditation session, two yoga sessions, and two pump up cardio sessions! I was hoping the yoga plus just overall gentle ramp-up to racing would make it less stressful on my already exhausted body. (It did!)

Since the race was at the Boston Commons (and the parking lot would be closed) I stayed at my friends’ house in the area the night before and then took a Lyft to the race. This was my first time using Lyft but it went super smoothly and I got there nice and early. I had already gone to packet pickup the day before at the Reebok store so I walked around looking at what booths were there.

img_20181007_161002206

Everything was 50% off at packet pick up so I did some shopping too!

Soon it was 9 and the meditation session got underway! Luckily for me they provided yoga mats because I don’t own one. I really dug the first instructor, who instructed both the meditation and first yoga session. She took things really slowly and explained everything for anyone who had no idea what they were doing like myself. Both were really relaxing and calming.

img_20181008_095702121_hdr

The second yoga session was supposed to take it up a notch, which it did, but I don’t think I was super ready for that level of yoga. The second instructor was also great, she just expected you to know more to be able to increase the pace. I did like that it had a tiny bit of core in the middle!

The first cardio session was really nice too. It was a lot of running in place and jumping jack type moves. Not crazy hard, but a nice warm up.

I missed the second cardio session because I found some friends I hadn’t known were running the race! We dropped our bags at bag check and ran a 2 mile warm up around the city, which was really nice. Like I said before, I’m not a city person, but Boston is a different kind of city. It’s not quite as chaotic so you can still run around it without feeling like you are in literally everyone’s way. Also the architecture is too pretty!

img_20181008_114042401

We got back just in time to line up for the start! It was nice they marked off where different pace groups should line up instead of just having a free for all. The race began and we literally took over the streets of Boston! It was really cool to see the streets completely closed off and FULL of women. It was also interesting because it was in the city so there were lots of other runners going on training runs on the sidewalks along the race. The bridge crossing and running along the water was really pretty and nice! I found it interesting there was so little cheering when so much of the course went by runners going the other way. Maybe it was just because it was a much sorter race than I’m used to and so every breath counts. I don’t remember really noticing any amount of elevation. What I did notice though were the CRAZY amount of photographers! There were definitely multiple per mile. I ended up with 20 race pictures!

2_m-100848531-digital_highres-2794_001255-21952071

Peep my Reebok scrunchie!

I think you go around 3 sides of the commons at the end so it’s a bit deceiving that you can hear the final announcer for like a mile. (I’m not sure the actual distance because I forgot my Garmin. They did have clocks and signs at every mile to help me, but I’m really good at forgetting what the sign read 10 seconds after going by it.) I was really surprised with the amount of people running that they were still announcing everyone’s finish individually.

There was tons of different food at the end so even though it was around lunch time I didn’t feel the need to rush home to eat. They had instant results so I checked that out and then grabbed my bag and headed over for post-race yoga, which was really chill.

It started drizzling after that so I decided to head out. Since the race was around the commons some sides were really traffic-y, but it wasn’t crazy hard to work out getting picked up on a non-traffic filled side by my Lyft driver. I was glad that I didn’t have to walk into the actual city to avoid the traffic/road closings (because I’m so bad at navigating).

Overall it was a really fun time and I honestly wish more races did all the pre-race warm ups to get you ready!

IMG_20181015_205850

Also how much do you love the race shirt?!

You can check out my results for this race on AthlinksΒ and make sure if you ran it too you add me as a rival!!

Spartan Beast Mount Killington 2018

After the Spartan Super and UA Killington I was actually starting to get kind of nervous for the Beast at Killington. During the super, some fellow sufferers were talking up the beast to me and my friend. Saying how it was impossible to run up the mountain, you couldn’t possibly do it without a hydration pack, how you needed to bring actual food since you’d be out there ALL DAY LONG, there’s a rule you need to bring a headlamp because you might end up still out there past dark, and that something along the lines of only 40% of the people who start the race actually finish it. At the time that really didn’t get to me much. I love the Spartan community, but most of them don’t do the races for the running bits so I figured a tougher running terrain like a mountain would affect them more than myself and that’s what most of the big deal was. Then the UA Killington 25k happened and most of my confidence was lost. Not only was it a BRUTAL race (that I wasn’t sure I could complete again with obstacles thrown in too) but someone also overheard me talking about the beast mid-race and said the UA course was a cake walk in comparison. Hearing that from someone participating in a full running race definitely made their comment hit a little harder.. Was I actually going to be able to complete this race?

Race day came and it was a strange feeling to be unsure if I was going to be physically capable of finishing a race. After reading about the large amount of water aid stations provided I had opted to just bring my FitKicks FitZip Waist Pack (with my 11oz FlipBelt Water Bottle, just in case) and Skratch Labs Energy Chews and Betty Lou’s Bars for fuel. This time (versus UA Killington) I was happy I was able to eat my whole pre-race breakfast of an English muffin and a Honey Stinger Gluten Free Waffle.

As we waited at the start I became slightly nervous at my hydration choice since everyone and their mother seemed to be wearing full out hydration packs, but I figured it was too late now and I’d just have to make the best of it. (In the end my bottle ended up working perfectly! There were plenty of water stations, but some were cup-less so it was handy to have something to store the water in.) I was also really happy with my fuel choices: to have light race fuel I could eat on the go, as well as something more substantial for “lunch”.

The start was pretty intimidating and straight up one of the largest/steepest inclines on the course. It was so immediate that you had to brace yourself at an angle in the starting corral (which I wasn’t a fan of. If I’m on a hill I want to be moving). Having run Killington for UA I wasn’t exactly surprised by the incline and was able to charge up it (not running, but speed hiking for sure). I’m not sure if it was just having seen the mountain before, taking it significantly slower, or that dude totally lied, but I felt like other than the start and the Death March, the Spartan course was actually significantly flatter. I felt really good the entire time and was my usual too-cheery-on-the-running-sections self. Compared to the other Spartan races there was absolutely no mud. The course was all field or wooded trails. The trails were really awesome (and actually may have been where all the elevation was that I was just having too much fun to notice)! They were definitely the choke points though so if you want to actually run the trails I’d recommend signing up for an age group heat, which is what I’ll probably be doing next year.

It was another good day for me and I was able to crush all the walls and obstacles I previously completed again. This time I made it fully through the Twister like it was nothing! I also feel I can count the multi-rig as completed since I was able to do the full thing except the final rope, which I was only unable because it was defective and half the length of all other ropes on the obstacle.

259-0660

Killington is unique and has a swim as well as an obstacle under the bridge across the water! You have to wear life jackets so the swim isn’t really a big deal except for getting all your gear soaked. The under-bridge obstacle was a rope ladder and then 4 hand ropes. I was really proud to be able to successfully complete that one as well!

234-112

How pretty are those mountains though?!

Another highlight of my race was the Bender. It’s another favorite of mine, like the Twister. But this time I think the extra adrenaline of being able to actually run (the Super was too muddy to run) kicked in because not only was I able to complete it with no help, but I also climbed it using only my arms! Two guys actually came up to me after and were like, “THAT WAS INSANE!” 😁

Honestly I’m really glad Killington is my local Beast because the Death March there is ungodly but boy do you feel AMAZING for having accomplished it! It is straight from the bottom of the mountain up to Killington peak going the most direct route, right beside the gondolas. I know a lot of what killed me during the Under Armour race was thinking too hopefully that the incline was over, just to be proven wrong again and again; So I decided to pretend like it was NEVER going to end and then I’d be pleasantly surprised when it did. IT WORKED! I basically FLEW up the mountain. I only stopped about 5 times for a max of about 4 seconds. I passed an insane amount of people and didn’t get passed once. I felt like a true beast after the Death March!

Other than the Death March I think I felt much better during this race than both of the others. I think being able to actually run was extremely helpful. It was still an insanely intense challenge, I just think this type of climbing-a-mountain challenge is more what I’m used to versus wading through mud. I was REALLY excited at the end to see we got special medals that specified we did our beast up a mountain!

IMG_20180915_181130688_HDR

Mountain Series!!

IMG_20180915_190046406.jpg

TRIFECTA COMPLETE!!!!!