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!

10kSchedule

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

Tough Mudder Boston 2018

Not going to lie, going into the Tough Mudder after the Spartan I wasnโ€™t exactly beyond pumped. The forecast was showing not only rain again ๐Ÿ˜ซ but THUNDERSTORMS. Their website didnโ€™t really have full details about weather, just stating it was a rain or shine event unless it was more inclimate weather (not what theyโ€™d actually do in that case). After looking at the obstacles the Tough Mudder looked far more like a team race, where the obstacles werenโ€™t just hard, but impossible as just a single person. Iโ€™m all for teamwork, but that honestly didnโ€™t spark my interest as much as the Spartan obstacles where although I couldnโ€™t personally do them all on my own, they were doable by a single person. But I had already signed up, paid, and I was at least going to give the race a try!

My boyfriends legs were still recovering from the poison ivy he got from the Spartan (๐Ÿ˜… yikes is he allergic) so he was out. Luckily, I have too many crazy friends so I was able to recruit another of my old roommates (one is how I got into this whole Spartan/Tough Mudder mess to begin with ๐Ÿ˜œ) to take his spot the night before!

The three of us who had originally planned to race lived close together and carpooled there. You had to pay for general parking, but it’s literally across the road from the fancy parking, which is literally right in front of the course. We didn’t realize how close it was until the return shuttle ride. We honestly could have easily just walked ๐Ÿ˜… I thought it was really neat that they put your parking pass in the same QR code as your race registration so you wouldn’t forget it! The parking lot was your standard “field turned into parking lot for the day” and they made parking a quick and easy process.

Technically we didn’t try to switch the registration until the day of the race, at which point the website no longer supported registration switching. We decided to just go to the race and see if they could help us. They asked to see the email saying my boyfriend sent a transfer request to my roommate, and then just signed her up quick. It was really nice they were so chill about it.

One of the only places I felt this race was lacking was in identification. They only gave you a normal bib to stick on the front of your shirt, which generally isn’t going to be very visible in a mud race. They did have markers out (that looked like sharpies), but no instructions. They ended up being easy enough to clean off so I would recommend writing your number on your forehead (like how Spartans use a headband) to be able to find your pictures easily as possible.

The Race

The atmosphere of this race is AMAZING! When the starting line hype guy was giving a speech about being one giant team I kind of thought, “yea right sure ๐Ÿ™„”, but he wasn’t lying at all. At any point during any obstacle if you even looked like you were having trouble you would be asked, not by the staff, but by multiple other participants if you needed any help. It wasn’t uncommon to see the more skilled groups quickly complete an obstacle and then just hangout there for a bit helping or giving tips to random people from other groups. You ended up making friends with random people as they helped you with an obstacle and then you helped them with another later.

The running part of the course was far closer to what I expected of a mudder. It was still a bit more woodsy and scenic (fine by me!) but far less advanced trails than the Spartan, so you could enjoy more of the view without the constant worry of falling on your face. I wasn’t worried for my non-trail runner friends like I was during the Spartan so that was nice.

Random Highlights

Inverted Wall – I was able to get over it all by myself. And I did it so quick everyone kind of missed it ๐Ÿ˜‚ and was just like, “how/when did you do that??”

Warped Wall – This was one of my favorites because it was INSANE how amped everyone got. People were going nuts cheering and we honestly just sat happy to watch and cheer for like 10 minutes before we even got in line to go ourselves. I also got it on my first try (with help from people at the top).

The Blockness Monster – This one was super unique and I’ve never seen or heard of anything like it. It was also insanely fun/cool! You had to all work together to use your weight to turn the blocks. I also didn’t realize how deep the water in the middle was but enjoyed the surprise of having to swim!

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Laughing at being too short to stand

We only did the half but were able to see some of the other obstacles that were included in the full. One was a combo of doorknobs and ledges, which was really cool to see some of the more advanced things we practice in ninja warrior class on the course.

They don’t give out medals, but sweatbands instead which I thought were really cute. The shirts are also really nice technical t-shirts!

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Looking like an extra from the movie Dodgeball lol

I think it’s safe to say everyone in my group wants to run another Tough Mudder and wants to complete a full (10 mile) now.

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They also had colorful water!!

Ragnar Pennsylvania 2018

After the Reach The Beach Ragnar I had almost entirely positive things to say so when part of my team asked me to join them on another Ragnar adventure I couldnโ€™t sign up fast enough. While I still had an AMAZING time, I wouldnโ€™t exactly be recommending the Ragnar Pennsylvania to anyone and was glad the person I recruited had run a Ragnar previously, as I wouldnโ€™t want anyone thinking I knowingly signed them up for what was to come.

As is custom with Ragnars, multiple people dropped out in the weeks before the race, leaving my team short. We ran with 9 last time, which was a fun challenge, but this time we had multiple teammates new to running that we didnโ€™t want to dump a 4th leg on. I was thrilled when my Instagram friend Lauren answered what I thought was a far fetched invite to run around Pennsylvania with 9 strangers. With her, we ended up with a team of 10 so only 6 of us had to take on the 4th leg. I found I still really enjoyed the rotation caused by not having a full team so everyone got to hangout with everyone, instead of just your van of 6 out of 12. Though the fourth legs of both of my Ragnars were very short legs (3 & 4 miles) and my worst by significant amounts. I want to say sleeping in the van both times is what killed me so if youโ€™re also crazy enough to take on a fourth leg I would recommend having a means of sleep that isnโ€™t crunched inside a van.

Like the previous Ragnar, we rented campsites for the nights before and after the race, which I would highly recommend! Itโ€™s cheaper (since youโ€™re already spending a decent amount on the race) and bonding with your team by the campfire is pretty sweet. The night before the race we saw multiple horses and buggies traveling around our campground and I was starting to get excited for the rolling farmlands the course was sure to offer.

Leg 1

We woke up bright and early to head to the start where I would be sending us off for the first leg of our adventure! It was really neat being the first leg since you actually start at the same time as all the teams in your time slot. The track kid in me kicked in and without really thinking about it I decided I was coming in first.. Until 2 seconds in when we hit the highway. Not long stretches of highway either, this was highway with tons of intersections and on ramps that required you to click the cross sign buttons. I stayed behind the other guy who seemed to have the idea of being first, following him as he zigged and zagged across intersections, through traffic at least 7 times in the first 1.5 mile stretch. We changed direction so often I can only imagine he had done some research into the course in order to traverse it this quickly. There was absolutely no way I would have felt safe navigating it at a decent running pace without him in the lead. The rest was more of a residential neighborhood, but I just couldnโ€™t believe they started us in the middle of roads I would never run on for training, without having blocked anything off to cars.

Even though I ended up in second, I arrived at the exchange feeling victorious.. only to find no one from my team there. As I looked around in my confusion, a volunteer asked if my team was supposed to be here. When I replied, โ€œyesโ€, her response of, โ€œoh thatโ€™s been happening all dayโ€ was a pretty good indicator of what the rest of this race was to be like. It was honestly crazy how many more times we got lost on the way to exchanges during PA than RTB when we had no cell reception for 90% of RTB and almost always had it in PA. RTB had ample signage for not only runners but also separate ones for vans. For this race, the signage was lacking for runners and non-existent for vans.

My team arrived a few minutes later and I hopped in the van to be carted around for the whirlwind of cheering the next few hours were to be. We quickly found that the roads of Pennsylvania were nothing like those of RTB. Almost the entire route in New Hampshire had road shoulders wide enough for multiple of the large Ragnar vans to pull of in. In PA you were lucky if there was any road shoulder at all. This made cheering significantly less of a thing since you couldn’t just pull over and hangout and instead had to pull into random peoples’ driveways, hoping they wouldn’t mind you staying just long enough to cheer on your runner.

Leg 11

Three of us jumped out at the exchange and watched as the van sped back in the direction it has just come from. I started to stretch and get ready for my next leg with no real idea of when it might start. It was too hot to sit on the pavement and I moved into the grass. I put my cellphone in my FlipBelt, something I hadn’t though I would need to during a daytime leg. After a few minutes we got word they had found our lost runner. He had run a mile off course but was back on track now. In the end, lost runners seemed like a relatively common occurrence. During one of Lauren’s legs she came to a fork in the road with no sign of which way to take. She texted us that she was lost with a runner from another team as well.

I don’t remember much of the actual leg except it was more winding roads with no shoulder, very sunny with no shade, and VERY hot. I was pretty much reduced to a pile of salt by the end of it.

Leg 21

While I found this night leg significantly less terrifying than my night leg in RTB, this one was definitely filled a with way more actual danger. The entire thing was along a high traffic highway winding through the mountains. While they put safety cones out to help, the shoulder was still barely wide enough for passing people and was paved in two separate strips of different heights. The leg started on an rather steep incline that lasted for 3 agonizing miles, then sent you screaming back down almost all the elevation you just climbed in the next 2.5ish. It’s honestly a wonder I didn’t kill myself as I rocketed down the mountain at the insane pace the decline demanded with the blur of the woods directly to my left, cars to my right, and darkness before me. After hearing about/seeing my teammates’ legs I want to say this was one of the most well taken care of legs, when it really could have been one of the least. There were a number of signs informing you to keep straight when you literally had no other choice if you didn’t plan on running off into the woods. AND there was a water stop when it was the middle of the nice cool night. Not only did I not need water (and would have KILLED for it to be out on one of my day legs instead), but it was also pushed way back off the road in a completely unlit little truck stop, which I wasn’t about to be stopping at even if I had needed it. Everything was going smoothly until I hit the first and only possible turn. It was an intersection with another highway and as I was getting closer I could see cars zooming through it. As I tried to look both ways while still moving, I didn’t see a pothole in front of me and stepped into it with one side of my foot, twisting my ankle and throwing myself into the intersection in front of a car. Luckily, it had been a super courteous driver that had seen me coming from further down the road and slowed their pace to a crawl/stop to let me pass without breaking my stride. After a few seconds of pain making me think I was going to have to call my team to pick me up, my ankle seemed good enough to at least finish up this leg. As I slowly sped up to a jog again I hit part of the highway that had tons of large loose rocks scattered on the pavement and I thought to myself it was kind of funny I had already fallen because if I hadn’t I definitely would have now. I ended up able to finish my leg back at a decent pace, iced my ankle immediately, and had no further issues with it!

The End

My last leg was uneventful, just rougher than 3.5 miles should ever be. I felt so bad for my teammates who had longer runs out in the heat that day and didn’t even have the option of a sketchy water stop. Even though we got lost on the way to the finish line, the last leg was a decently long and uphill one so we were able to cross the finish as a team this time!

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They even played the Pokemon theme song as we crossed!!

Overall, I wouldn’t really recommend Ragnar Pennsylvania, especially with Reach The Beach (and possibly other great locations) being decently close. Having only run the two myself, I wasn’t sure if it was PA being exceptionally bad or RTB being exceptionally good, but from my other teammates experiences it sounded like a little bit of both. The roads of New Hampshire seem to almost be made for these activities with their seemingly infinite shouldered roads for people to pull off to hike or site see. The roads we ran on in Pennsylvania were mostly almost the exact opposite. There was also a notable lack of the covered bridges and horses and buggies that the race claimed covered our route. RTB was not only much safer, but also way more scenic. It was also an AMAZING experience to have locals at almost every transition participating in the event and providing food, amenities, and friendliness not because they have to but because they genuinely enjoy it. (I guess this is a more specific RTB perk.) So it seems in the end I’m once again recommending everyone run Ragnar Reach The Beach ๐Ÿ˜‚

New Tips!

  1. Print out the leg information and put all the pages into a binder for organization!
  2. Wear more lights than they say! Reflective stuff is great when a car’s headlights are pointed at you so they can reflect, but at intersections when they aren’t you might as well not have any reflective gear on. A single head lamp and tail light are just one little point of light on each side of you.
  3. Put your clothes for each leg in a Ziploc bag to keep them separated, dry, and you can vacuum seal them to take up less space!
  4. Bring swimwear (or extra clothes) and a towel! You never know what lake or river you might pass with time for a dip!

Covered Bridges Half Marathon

I live for action packed, adventure filled weekends and the weekend of the Covered Bridges Half Marathon was definitely one of them!

Sometime last year, after hearing a bunch of people raving about the race’s beautiful course and hearing “bridges” in the name (I have a weird passion for bridges) I decided I NEEDED to run it. The only thing was, it sells out in about 15 minutes. So I threw caution to the wind and actually signed up for a race in advance for once.. like REALLY in advance, so I had no idea what else my schedule would hold at the time.

Turned out, it was to be my boyfriend’s grandparent’s 50 wedding anniversary party the night before. A party that I was to help prep for the two days before hand (when I wasn’t at work), then help set up, then party at. Of course, it turned out SUPER FUN, but after helping make about a million chocolates for the dessert table, eating half of them, and dancing for hours I was pooped and beginning to question my decisions. I left at 9:30 to make the 3 hour drive to the campground I where I was staying. I couldn’t believe there was STILL traffic going through Boston ๐Ÿ˜’ and I ended up getting mildly lost trying to get gas in NH because their exit amenity signs are different than the ones I’ve evidently come to know and love here in Mass.

In the end I made it to the KOA campground I was staying at in one piece, but questioning my decisions further, at 1AM. I pulled up to the office and was somehow surprised it was closed.. yes it was 1 in the morning, but they had even had an “Extra Comments” section in registration for late arrivals that I had filled out so I was kind of stumped why they’d just leave me. I honestly debated just camping in the parking spot in front of the office for a few minutes until I finally notice a “Night Registration” sign off to the side. It was above a what looked to be a brightly colored bulletin board with only one paper posting a “Non-Emergency Number” on it. It seemed off, but I figured this isn’t an emergency after all so I gave it a shot. After clearly waking the poor woman up, the park ranger explained to me that the “bulletin board” was actually a box.. the night registration box.. which had my info.. so I didn’t have to go disturbing people ๐Ÿ˜… She then proceeded to try and direct me to my site even though it was literally the first one at the entrance. I think she thought I was clueless at this point (which I guess I kind of was). I parked in my spot.. 20 feet from the office and attempted to Google Map to the start line so I could figure out how early I’d need to be up. Of course I didn’t have GPS signal so I just went with more than 20 minutes to spare since I thought I remembered it being about that far of a drive. Exhausted and kind of exasperated with how things were going I set my alarm for 5AM and laid down in the backseat of my car. That’s when I looked up to see the sky FULL of stars that I was going to be sleeping under. I immediately felt better and like this was all worth it again and passed out after a short star gaze ๐Ÿ˜Š

I woke up before my alarm, feeling pretty good that morning. I remembered it being a pretty straight shot to the race start so I figured I’d just start driving and hope to find GPS and/or signs. Turned out I just needed to go to the entrance of the campground for GPS AND the race parking (I had looked up the start line before) was 4 minutes down the road! I ended up being the first person there who wasn’t a volunteer! After how hot it was the day before I wasn’t going to be caught dead without my hydration vest. But that was fine by me because then I had more real estate to stash all my other stuff.

I got in line for the shuttle and chatted with others as they gathered for the race. One was staying in a cabin in the KOA campground and told me the pool (that my site was directly across from) was heated (so that’s a fun note if you ever stay there). I arrived at the start with insane amounts of time (especially for me) before the race. I was pumped my Instagram friend Meriam found me and we spent the rest of the time taking a bunch of pictures with her phone because mine was dead from trying to find signal โค๏ธ

We ran up the mountain for warmup ๐Ÿ˜œ

We lined up across the entire road at the start, which wasn’t really surprising, but what was surprising was we were allowed the entire road for a good 3 miles! It was pretty cool to see such a large pack of runners take over the road for so long. The course started as nice country back roads, went though a cute little town at one point, then became all roads along one or more beautiful rivers! It wasn’t super hot but they were those wicked clear, kinda shallow rivers that look too perfect not to take a dip in so it was really hard to just run past them! There was a medium length and incline hill at mile 5, but tons of people cheering and only one other REALLY steep hill at mile 8. That one they had a full out marching band at the bottom of to pump you up to the top! The rest of the course was only tiny inclines and declines and the race FLEW by! I don’t really remember much else for racing details.

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Already Captioned ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

I could see it as a course you could definitely PR on. I think I’ll make a weekend of it (if I get in) next year, so I can explore the course by walking the day before and then go for speed during the actual race. Some other fun things about this course was they had clocks and live music about every 2 miles along with the water stops. The water stops were also generally really big, on both sides of the road, and manned by some adults, but also lots of adorable kids! It also turned out I hadn’t needed to shove everything I owned into my hydration vest since they shuttle your bags from the start to the finish (I’m just really good a reading instructions and hadn’t seen that ๐Ÿ˜…)!

I ended up taking my time and running 1:50:11. I will definitely be trying to get into this race again next year and would totally recommend you join as long as you don’t mind registering so far in advance! Even with a much less than optimal night before a race this race was 100% worth it!!

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9

Rhode Races Providence “Marathon”

So I only made it 23 miles.. but also I MADE IT 23 MILES!!

I had signed up for this race awhile back at the same time as Newport as part of my get-well-soon present. While Newport just wasn’t my day, I tried to get a little training in this time in hopes it would help and picked up a “How to Train for a Marathon in a Month” training schedule I found online. It definitely struck me as kind of an odd schedule (with a lot of 2 milers), but what do I know about actual training plans, so I went with it as much as my life allowed (my Master’s project needed work again so that’s where the 26, 27, 30, and 1st went).

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I switched most of the two’s to three’s

I felt a bit better after managing 11 miles at 8:27 pace in crazy wind and rain. And then I felt a bit worse after being able to complete 16 miles at 8:35 but feeling pretty darn crappy towards the end. I tried to focus on the fact I made it 16 miles on the first hot day (REALLY HOT, I got burnt pretty bad) of the year when I prefer running in the cold.

The morning of the marathon I woke up with my stomach feeling awful, but I recognized it as nerves and my boyfriend reminded me I had already completed a marathon through the freaking desert. Also while stretching before the race Marathon Panda Maurice found me! It was awesome to actually meet him in person and his super positive vibes definitely helped to calm my nerves further. By the time I was lining up I was back to feeling pretty good.

The gun went off and I started trying to keep with the 4 hour pacer, but they seemed to be going significantly slower than pace. Looking at Garmin connect now though I was faster even in the first mile so I’m not sure if something was up with my Garmin at the time or I was just completely impatient and ditched way too early ๐Ÿ˜… Also looking back the start of the course was far more hilly than later so they may have been going for even effort. I probably should have known the pacers knew what they were doing and just stayed with them, but I was also feeling really good so I went with it. Miles 1-20 FLEW by. I found a few new and old friends to talk to at different points, zoomed (or felt like I was ๐Ÿ˜‚) up hills, and cruised along the long, flat wooded back roads and bike path.

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I was trying to make sure I at least took a few sips of water at every water stop and after the half started eating a Honey Stinger chew every 2ish miles. Even so started feeling kind of off during mile 21. I slowed down in hopes that slower might ease my nausea, but it was only getting worse. By mile 22 I felt like I was dying of thirst (on top of the nausea) even though I had been drinking a decent amount and it seemed like the next water stop would never come. My mantra became, “Just get to the next water stop”. I thought maybe I could manage that, until I hit a short but rather steep hill. As soon as I started up the incline, the slightly hunched position it put me in pushed my stomach over the edge. I had to stop and step off the side in an attempt to be sick but I had nothing in me to get out. After battling back the nausea the last few miles, coming to a complete stop seemed to open the flood gates and I was hit with all the awful feeling at once. Every time I took a step I had to dry heave. I don’t remember actually moving but I definitely managed to make it a bit further in this state because the hill wasn’t where I ultimately stopped, but it was awful and I knew there was no way I was making it 3 more miles like this. Tons of runners saw me and offered me things to help. The cop stationed at the turn I stopped at was amazed at how many people stopped mid marathon to try and help me. (Love my running community!!) I ended up accepting some of a kind strangers water, with I think Nuun, but it seemed to be too late for anything to help. After 20 minutes of being unable to move without being sick I took the cop up on his offer to have someone come get me. Little did I know he meant an ambulance.. (In my out-of-it state I totally had thought he meant another cop to just bring me back to the finish.) so I accidentally got carted off the course in an ambulance ๐Ÿ˜‚

Overall it was a really fun day and I’m really happy my legs (and everything else besides my stomach) felt great and definitely could have made it the full marathon! After talking to some friends, I think it may have been a salt issue and I’m mildly kicking myself for not taking a salt tablet someone offered to me. Now just to get in more long training runs to test some more hydration and nutrition before my next attempt!

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Cheesin it hardcore because I LOVE RUNNING!!!