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 ๐Ÿ˜œย My friend and I arrived at the race that morning to realize it would DEFINITELY be enough of a challenge. It was -6ยฐF 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 friendย  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!

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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!

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One more comparison shot because it was so crazy! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

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 ๐Ÿ˜œ

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).

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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) ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Also how much do you love the race shirt?!

You can check out my results for this race on Athlinksย 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.

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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!

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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!” ๐Ÿ˜

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!

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Mountain Series!!

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TRIFECTA COMPLETE!!!!!

Reebok Boston 10k for Women

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!

For living so close to Boston, I definitely don’t get out there often enough so I’m excited to say I’ll be running the Reebok Boston 10k for Women on Monday, October 8th. I’m not normally a city type of girl, but every time I’m in Boston I remember how it’s such a unique type of city that I actually very much enjoy it.

This event isn’t just a race, but actually a whole bunch of activities to help you start of your Monday right!

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I’ve never been a yoga person before, but recently have heard from so many sources that I need to give it another shot so I’m excited they have two different types to try on the schedule! I’m interested to see how well all these other activities will warm me up for the race!

I’m especially excited about this race’s course, as I’m pretty sure it’s long the river that all of my friends who live in Boston have told me I NEED to run multiple times. I overall just love any run along any water, but I’ve been told this is THE SPOT to run in Boston!

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Also while I’m definitely not an out-and-back type of runner, I AM 100% a cheerer, which this course looks PERFECT for! It also isn’t just a plain old out-and-back since it’s not just a straight line, but has a more interesting T shape going on. But what matters most is that a majority of the race is run by other runners allowing for maximum cheering! I honestly feel like I run better myself when cheering for others!

If trying new activities, supporting other runners, and running along a beautiful waterway in Boston sounds fun to you come join me and let me know I might see you there!!

Under Armor Mountain Running Series – Killington

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Under Armor Mountain Runner Series – Killington race 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!

Last weekend I ran the second race of the Under Armor Mountain Running Series at Mount Killington in Vermont! It also happened to be my first race with BibRave as a BibRave Pro and boy was it a memorable one!

I LOVE trail races, but due to a lack of them being offered in my direct area I have raced far fewer than I would like. This race was not only going to be the longest trail race I’ve ran, but also most likely the most intense based on the name “Mountain Running” compared to the non-technical, flat trails around me. It was also really exciting to see the trail system it was being held in was large enough to allow for 25k of unique trail so the course wasn’t just multiple loops of the same trail. (Almost all trail systems in my area are so small a larger distance race must be laps.)

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No loops!!

Being the AMAZING planner that I am, I got home from my trip to Oregon with a less than a day before this race so I was unable to attend the pre-race-day packet pickup even though they generously kept it open until 8PM. I did hear from others it was ultra quick though. I had also been so focused on finishing my Master’s project before (and during.. oops) my trip that I hadn’t figured out my sleeping arrangements until the last T-24 hrs either. I ended up staying at the Happy Bear Motel which was 9 minutes down the road from the start line and a fine little place to stay the night. Had I had more time to be in the area, this race was held <50 minutes from the AWESOME KOA Quechee Campground I stayed at for the Covered Bridges Half and I would have LOVED to stay there again and actually explore the Killington and Quechee Gorge area. (That might be my master plan for next year! ๐Ÿ˜œ)

I woke up bright and early and attempted to eat my first ever actually planned race breakfast. I wasn’t able to eat it all, but looking back I’m insanely glad I ate something to have some energy in me.

Race parking was super easy. It was in an actual gravel parking lot, right where the GPS address said it would be, and SUPER close to the start line! The race venue also had great service which is always nice since I am directionally challenged so there’s no way I’m finding my way back home without a GPS or directions.

It was nice to see there was no line at packet-pickup/resgistration. I had a problem with my registration but they were able to quickly and painlessly fix it for me. I also overheard another woman had forgotten her previously picked-up bib at her hotel and they quickly replaced it for her. With everything so close and run so smoothly I had a lot more time than I thought to just hangout before the race. I chatted with some people, met some of my fellow BibRave Pros, and then cheered on the 50k start.

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Before the insanity I met Brendasrunning!

Another note for next year is this race seemed extremely supporter friendly. Not only did they have a supporter tent that had bells and sign making stuff, but they also had multiple supporter viewing points along the course. I didn’t have anyone with me since I always feel bad having people sit around for hours to only see me at the start and finish so I don’t know exactly what it entailed. I did see supporters at multiple points up the mountain and people in the gondolas though so I’m assuming they were providing transport to these spots for the supporters.

I knew going into this race that it was going to be tough. I wasn’t well trained since I had been focusing on my Master’s and neglecting running, and it seemed it was going to be the toughest trail race I’ve run. But soon as the gun went off I forgot all that and sprinted off into the distance. The first mile was a super easy, mostly gentle decline through grassy fields circling the mountain. It felt like cross country and I was running it like so.

I’m not sure if it was all the travel, the smoke and altitude in Oregon, or what, but the instant we started uphill into the woods back toward the mountain my heart started racing way faster than any other time I can remember. It especially freaked me out since my breathing and everything else felt fine (like I wasn’t even putting in that much effort) so I decided it was already time for a walking break. It was honestly a real bummer since this first little bit of uphill was some of the only uphill you could actually run.

The rest of the race consisted of extreme uphills and crazy downhills (up and down mountain really). We climbed what felt like straight up from about mile 3.5-6.5 and you thought for sure you had to be at the top.. but it had only just begun.

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The view there was BEAUTIFUL!

You then got a taste of the crazy straight down-mountains you’d be facing. This was also when you became alarmed as it was only a little over 6 miles in and you already felt like you were going completely back down all you just came up.. What were you supposed to do for the rest of the race if you had already climbed and descended the mountain? Well, go right back up and down multiple other times of course! The terrain varied between deep thick mud, tall thick grassy (vertical) fields, paths made of fist/baseball sized rocks, and technical wooded paths.

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The guy with trekking poles behind me had the right idea..

It was exhausting and I was really glad I wore my hydration pack even though I could have easily survived off their aid stations were I a normal human who can drink from a cup. I drank almost my entire hydration pack as well as took cups of water from a few of their stations. Their stations had EVERYTHING, full packages of Honey Stinger chews & waffles, Coke & other sodas, sports drinks, candy, pretzels, and at least one even had bacon! I always crave Coke after races so I decided to give it a try at one of the aid stations a bit over halfway. It definitely helped and so I took another one or two cups at other stations. I also decided to bring and try my Skratch chews from my box from The Feed and was surprised how much I liked them. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE Honey Stinger chews right before or toward the beginning of runs. They’re so good I actually sometimes just eat them as fruit-snacks for snacks. But as a run goes on, their consistency gets to me because I can’t chew them fast enough for them not to get slimy/stuck in my teeth. The Skratch chews were mildly more firm and coated in sour crystals like a Sour Patch Kid. They only actually had a slight hint of sour, but the coating really helped the texture for me.

There were so many points where I was told it would be the last big uphill, only to go down a bit and find another large up waiting. When the insane inclines and declines continued into mile 12 & 13 I started to doubt we were ever getting off this mountain. It seemed impossible we could finish at the same elevation as we started with how often we seemed to be going up. (Thinking back I think it was just because the downhills were so short due to how steep they were.)

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Wishing I could have looked happy for such a pretty photo lol

FINALLY with under a mile left the course flattened out. By that time though even these baby inclines you probably wouldn’t normally notice felt like Mount Everest. I had to muster every last bit of energy in my body to jog across the finish line.

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I’m not crying, you’re crying!

While Under Armor sure knows how to destroy you, they also know how to pamper you as well. They had a whole recovery station in the after party with all sorts of rollers, yoga pads, hammocks, and Normatec leg compression sleeves.

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Recovery station!

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Finally got to try some NormaTec!

My fellow BibRave Pros had both run the other past race from the UA Mountain Running Series, Copper Mountain, and said the two races were completely different. While Copper Mountain had altitude as a factor, it was just up and down the mountain, nothing like the constant up and down here. I also heard from someone else that Mt. Bachelor is similarly its own unique challenge, this time in the terrain, since its volcanic rock and much softer and different from most mountains. Now that I am off the mountain, I kind of wish Killington had been the first of the series and I hadn’t JUST gotten back from a trip to Oregon so I could participate in all three races. I would also be very interested to see how things would go had I been more trained. (Would it even help since I still wouldn’t be “running up a mountain” trained?) Either way I am extremely grateful BibRave let me experience such an amazing race that was previously unknown to me! One that was so great that I will most likely be attempting to add the entire series to my roster for next year! ๐Ÿ˜

If you’re crazy like me and this all sounds like fun to you, use the code BIBRAVE20 for 20% the Mt. Bachelor race on 9/15 and race Mt. Bachelor for me!!

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On top of the world!

Ever “run” up a mountain? Ever wanted to?
What’s the longest trail race you’ve ever run?
What’s the toughest trail race you’ve ever run?

Running & Volunteering for the Spartan Super Boston 2018

I’ve had a Spartan trifecta on my goals list for awhile now, but had thought of it as more of a far off/B goal, until one of my old college roommates invited me to join a sprint back in May. Even just the sprint was WAY tougher than I expected and it immediately moved a trifecta up on my goal list. Lucky for me, one other friend from the sprint group was also struck with the need to complete a trifecta so we began plotting.

While I do really believe you get your money’s worth from a Spartan race, they are still rather expensive, so when my friend suggested volunteering in order to wave the ENTIRE race cost I wasn’t about to say no. Also it’s not often I have a chance to give back to a race by volunteering while still being able to run it. She actually ended up volunteering for two different “jobs” on two different days to get two free race entries from the single race! I opted to just volunteer on race day since it was a bit of a drive and I didn’t want to make it twice. Her first job was course building (not on race day), which she said was very fun and didn’t require as much prior building knowledge as their instructions might lead you to believe. (They literally ask you to bring your own hardhat if you own one ๐Ÿ˜‚)

We arrived at the race venue bright and early Saturday and were checked in quickly. We were given the choice of a short or long sleeve technical tee (I honestly want to volunteer again just for the shirt!) and told to grab what we wanted from a selection of snacks and water. We were separated into groups by our jobs: my friend had signed up for the festival and I for the course. I later found out she had been delegated a job at the merchandise tent (unsure the other possible festival jobs) and course jobs seemed to consist of water stations and obstacles. My group’s boss gave us a choice of which obstacle/water station we wanted (within his section of the course) and I wanted an obstacle (but one that most people can’t mess up or get too hurt on) so I chose the A-Frame. This also put me within viewing distance of the rope climb, which is a favorite of mine, but too much responsibility with a way higher chance of people falling.

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Do it for the shirt!!

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My majestic A-Frame โค

I was given a walkie-talkie, a rundown of the basics, and a laminated printout of them as well. I was asked to call out when the first, second, and third male and female elites made it to my obstacle and after that my job was essentially just to cheer people on, call in any medical issues, and direct people off the course in the case of inclement weather. I didn’t have to do anything besides cheer ๐Ÿ™Œ and gained a partner part way through the day so I got to chat and learn a bunch more about Spartan stuff!

[Just a note for others thinking of volunteering and not a complaint at all: They didn’t give us a full out lunch, but as many of the snacks as you wanted. You also were allowed to bring your bag with you so you could just bring your own lunch if snacks aren’t enough.]

One o’clock rolled around soon enough and we went back to registration to sign out of work and get our race packets since we opted to race the same day as volunteering. (You can race same day or save your free race for another time.) The rain had mostly held off all day.. right up until we were getting ready to run ๐Ÿ˜ญ It wasn’t cold like last time though so even with on and off showers throughout it was fine.

The first mile was almost completely running (with only like the last 25 meters being the vertical cargo) through insanely deep, shoe-sucking mud in a corn field. At certain points people were going through the corn a bit because of how hard it was to get your foot back out of the ground along the beaten path. I think I jogged that whole bit thinking the running could only get better, but it sure proved me wrong. I pride myself in being a runner and always trying to run the running part of races, but there really wasn’t a whole lot of this course that you actually could run with the insane mud. There were some technical trails again, but even in those it was mostly just ankle deep mud, just now in the woods instead of in corn fields. It was still very fun, just VERY hard.

For me the first 4-5ish miles were mostly hard just because the mud made running impossible. The obstacles during that part felt really easy. Lots of different walls, which I finally figured out a technique that worked for me to be able to scale all of them without help!!! INCLUDING the inverted! Of course no pictures were taken during that part of the race ๐Ÿ˜† I was feeling really good, I think partially due to the adrenaline of completing obstacles then helping me through the next.

There was a definite lull after that for me. Some basic obstacles, like trenches, crawling under the barbed wire, dunk wall. Also there were a few move-heavy-object type obstacles during that portion, which I don’t really like so they added to the lull.

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The dunk wall makes me sad lol

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Still smiling.. for now.

Then the real race began.. Between mile 6 & 7 was where they put all the toughest, most technical obstacles. The twister, bucket carry, multi-rig, Olympus, monkey bars, javelin, Hercules hoist. It was honestly just insane. I hadn’t done a single burpee up until this point and suddenly I became the burpee master. I had heard (while volunteering) about people dropping out suddenly at the bucket carry and was confused, but when I got there myself I completely understood. Last time I was able to carry my bucket without putting it down once. This time I “put” (more like dropped) the bucket down about every 10 feet. It was horrible.

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Excuse me while I sob into my bucket

It also began to really rain at this point, which was a bummer since it was where all the obstacles I had wanted to try dry for better grip were (twister, multi-rig, olympus, monkey bars). In the end I was able to do all of those obstacles (minus the monkey bars I opted out of) at least half way!!

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Wasn’t even going to try this.. then suddenly I was just doing it

It was a REALLY tough race. Just when I though the sprint was the hardest thing I have done, this one might have topped it in its own horribly, awesome ways. The second half I kept thinking I had given my all and then the next obstacle came up and I mustered a little more from who knows where. It also felt AMAZING to see that amount of progress. Going from needing some help on some walls to instructing others in how to get over them, and being unable to do any of those last hard obstacles to being able to complete at least half way on all of them.

I always find it crazy to look back on races, when you KNOW in the moment you thought about quitting and NEVER racing again multiple times, but soon as you’re done you’re thinking about signing up for your next one. Now I CANNOT WAIT for the Beast at Killington and all the new challenges it will bring to test me even further.

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FIN.

Have you ever volunteered at a Spartan or another race?
What’s the hardest race you’ve ever run? Would you run it again?
What’s your proudest progress moment?


Current Antics

Spartan Beast
September 15

Ragnar Adirondacks
September 21 & 22

Ragnar Trail Wawayanda Lake
October 5 & 6

Tackle the Trail
October 20

Rhode Races Narragansett Marathon
October 28

Silver Falls Trail 50k
November 3

Antelope Canyon Ultras Trail Half
March 9, 2019

Vermont City Marathon
May 26, 2019