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.

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Why the Rugged Maniac is My Favorite OCR

This weekend will be my second racecation of the year, the Rugged Maniac Phoenix! The Rugged Maniac and I go way back since 2010! I honestly don’t remember how we got signed up for that first one anymore (possibly a birthday gift because it was around her birthday), but it ended up being me and one of my best friends running the race with her family spectating. Since then it has become a tradition, with more and more people actually running it each year!

Don’t get me wrong, I have really enjoyed every OCR I’ve run so far, but the Rugged Maniac is the most well rounded, caters to all skill levels, and makes sure absolutely everyone has a freaking blast!

ο»ΏThey have the Best Mud

The amount of mud and it’s placement is PERFECT at the Rugged Maniac. While there are TONS of opporunities to get dirty (so you’ll end up just as muddy as a Spartan/other mudders), the parts of the course between obstacles aren’t just miles of mud for you to trudge through. This allows you to actually be able to run (unlike at some of the other mudder’s I’ve run)! They also have more water/mud pits, which I am a super fan of!

Mud pit that started off really shallow so I ran right into it
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Mid race mud fights are required!
ο»ΏThey have the Best Obstacles

I really like their variety of obstacles! Not only do they have obstacles for all levels of skill, but the types of obstacles varies more than at other OCR as well. They have the standard climbing and arm strength obstacles, but also include a decent amount of balance ones too. This aligns more with my ninja warrior class and it seems overal ninja warrior. It also allows for more people with different skills to shine during the race! As for difficulty, they still have obstacles that take all that upper body strength and a high level of skill, but others that are easier, and some just completely for how insanely fun they are, like the giant slide! I feel like the mix of obstacles makes everyone able to leave feeling accomplished. I know both friends and I have left other OCR feeling kinda bummed about not being able to do obstacles, but no one I’ve run with has had this issue with the Rugged Maniac.

One of my fav obstacles!
THE SLIIIIIDE πŸ‘½

Another one of my favorite things about their obstacles are they put water pits under any that you could fall from. With the guarentee of a soft fall, I have tried many obstacles at Rugged Maniacs that I wouldn’t have tried at other OCR for fear of injury.

ο»ΏThey have the Best Course

Again, the Rugged Maniac found the pefect balance. With their courses being actually runnable mud-wise, they seemed to know they could throw in a bit more challenge during the running sections. I LOVE that the course isn’t just pancake flat like most other fun races. Not so much vert that non-runners can’t do it, but enough to make it fun for actual runners too! In New England (not sure about other locations since woods isn’t always a local terrain) they also added in a wooded trail section! It was great to get to run through the woods, but also be on an actual trail (unlike another OCR we ran lol).

Oh also AMAZING and HILARIOUS free race photos!!! ❀

Overall the Rugged Maniac is excellent at being challenging, but never discouraging to all levels of runner/obstacle course racer. I love that I have a race that currently has a 100% success rate at sucking my non-running and running friends in year after year. It’s great to run an OCR and feel accomplished, but it’s even better to get to share that with friends and family and participate in all their accomplishments as well!

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‘

Upcoming Race: Antelope Canyon Half!

So now that there’s only a little over a week left, I’m officially starting to plan my trip for the Antelope Canyon Half by Vacation Races! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜…

The plan so far is to arrive in Las Vegas 🀩 at night on Thursday, March 7th, grab our rental car (my boyfriend is joining me!) and head straight out on the 4 hour drive to Page, Arizona. We are staying at a hotel within 2 miles of the start line at the Page Shores Amphitheater to make race morning super easy.

We then have all of Friday to check out the area! Right now all I have planned is a tour of Lower Antelope Canyon, but I also plan to attempt to get a walk-in permit to The Wave, though that’s a long shot.

Some other activity suggestions the race provided were The Ropes Trail (sounds like a CRAZY adventure), Buckskin Gulch, the Paria River, and Cathedral Wash, Jackass Canyon, or Soap Creek. I’m still trying to look more into those options and would love any suggestions or advice! Or on other areas not listed as well!

The actual race is Saturday and I’m glad I ended up signing up for “only” the half. (Originally I was thinking of going for an ultra, but waited too long to register.) I don’t like stopping while running and this way I can take in the race without stopping AND THEN get shuttled to the aid stations to cheer on the ultra runners, take in the views while standing still, and take photos! The aid stations we are allowed to spectate at are at Lake Powell, Page Rim, and Horseshoe Bend.

Race Course! For aid station reference

I’ve seen way too many amazing photos of Horseshoe Bend and have wanted to go there forever now so I’m especially excited for that one! Also, from my research it seems more of just a view point than a hike/attraction that will be a lot of exploring and time. Please correct me if you’ve been there and I’m wrong! πŸ™ˆ

After hopefully having time to check out the Antelope Canyon area to our hearts’ content, we plan to head to Zion (!!!!!!) at some point Saturday evening and will be staying at a hotel nearby the park.

We’ll then have Sunday and most of Monday to explore Zion 😍 I’m sure it won’t be nearly enough time, but I noticed it was practically on the way between Antelope Canyon and Las Vegas so I couldn’t not! While they have a nice trail guide showing the different trails by difficulty, if anyone has any suggestions on must do trails in Zion they would definitely be welcome!

Anyway, those are the plans so far! I’m stupidly excited and hope to get any guidance you guys have because I don’t want to miss anything!!

2019 Race Schedule

Since I think I have most of my races selected for most of the year at this point, I figured I should go over my master racing plan!

Hyannis HalfFebruary 24
Antelope Canyon Ultras Trail HalfMarch 9
New Bedford HalfMarch 7
Rugged Maniac PhoenixApril 6
Rhode Races Newport HalfApril 13
Illinois MarathonApril 27
Spartan Sprint BostonMay 11
Horseneck HalfMay 19
Vermont City MarathonMay 26
North Face MA 50kJune 8
Bubble RunJune 15
Tough MudderJune 29
Blue Hills 12kJuly 7
Savage RaceJuly 13
Anchor Down UltraAugust 16 & 17
Rhode Races Jamestown HalfSeptember 21
Rhode Races Narragansett MarathonOctober 27

That may seem like a lot of races, but that’s how I like my schedule. Plus most of them are just going to be for fun anyway. One of my 2019 goals I forgot to mention on my goals post was to run a race every month, so some are also to help accomplish that as well as be fun!

Most of the Vacation Races series is on my bucketlist so when the Rhode Runners crew said they were doing Antelope Canyon this year I wasn’t going to pass that up! I also have two other racecations, Rugged Maniac Phoenix and the Illinois Marathon this year!

The New Bedford Half, Horseneck Half, and Blue Hills are all local races I’ve been meaning to do for awhile now and decided to finally get around to running! As of right now the plan is to run them for fun. The Rhode Races Newport Half is also local, but I have run that one multiple times before and just can’t get enough.

Next up are my marathons: Illinois, Vermont City, and Narragansett!! I am EXTREMELY excited for them! I have now tried to run a few marathons while being completely under prepared and hadn’t had them turn out well. I’m partially SUPER nervous (what if the marathon distance is my kryptonite?!) but also realistically know I can totally do this! I’m really happy having two planned earlier and then a third way later in the year. Right now I plan to run Illinois really conservatively, just to boost my confidence and prove to myself I can do it. Also my current PR is “dying in the desert” slow so even a very conservative marathon should give me a nice PR! With the newfound confidence I will hopefully have gained, I would then like to see how I am feeling for Vermont City. My current training plan is set for Vermont, but I would like to PR (again a slow PR that shouldn’t be hard to beat) and hopefully slightly crush (that’s the hard part) the North Face 50k, which isn’t all that long after Vermont. I’m good with going by feel as the races get closer and I have Narragansett (a nice familiar course for at least the first half) as a backup if I feel like I could have given more in Vermont.

I REALLY liked having some fitness other than just running ability last year so I signed up for three ORC races this year: the Spartan Sprint Boston, the Tough Mudder, and the Savage Race. I LOVED the Sprint course last year so I definitely wanted to run that one again! Also last year when I did the Tough Mudder with my college roomies we only did the half (5 mile) and we wanted to/are going to do the full (10 mile) this year so that’s cool! For the Savage Race my friend and I are actually signed up for a competitive wave so I’m pumped to hopefully be able to run the runnable sections!

Now for the REALLY juicy stuff! I signed up for the 24 hour section of the Anchor Down Ultra. Yes, I have only run one ultra so far (Silver Falls 50k) and yes it didn’t go so well.. BUT I don’t care! Not to make excuses, but my knee was bad at the time and I had barely any training and I KNOW that with some solid training I can at least push myself to accomplish something! Will I make it 24 whole hours? Not sure. Will I make it 100 miles in that time and get a SWEET ass belt buckle? Who knows! BUT I’m sure as hell not going to sign up for a lesser section (12 or 6 hr) that would limit what might be possible! It is a nice flat, easy, million loop course though a local park so it’s also not like failure leaves me dying out in the desert somewhere (yea I learned my lesson about desert running!) either. So the current plan is to dream big and train like it’s going to happen!

My final current race plan for 2019 is the Rhode Races Jamestown Half. I ran this race originally as part of the Rhode Master’s Series. It is a pretty small race on what I felt was a really fast course to me. I think as long as I have all my planned miles logged from all my earlier races (and add in some speed work) I will have a really good base to possibly run a PR here. Also with a small field it would be really cool to place well! (For reference, I placed 14th overall that year without a great time or really training much for it.)

How many races do you plan a year?
What are your big race goals this year?
Have you ever just gone for it? How’d it turn out?!

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!

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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! 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).

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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) 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.

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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!!!