I was really hoping to get a double win this weekend in Ottawa: the Super and the UltraBeast.
The Super started out up the side of the mountain on single track. Jostling for position was tricky and it ended up being a nice warm up. The obstacles and course were awesome with some fun combos like a herc hoist to rope climb. This is where I finally caught up to the lead, Judith, who runs like a gazelle.
After the rope, there was a series of switchbacks up the mountain at my favourite grade. Back at the bottom of the mountain was a heavy jerry can carry followed by a tractor pull (cement on a chain).
The jerry can was unpleasant. It was the kind of weight you usually see in the states.
I missed my spear but I had enough of a lead that it didn’t factor in.
I had a lot more confidence going into the UltraBeast with my endurance background and felt almost no nerves Sunday. Plus, we had no kids. What a relaxed race morning that makes for.
When we showed up the registration line spanned across the parking lot and was not moving.
A few staffers informed us that there was a problem with the system and that no one would start until we were all through.
Well we waited, the announcer started, the tape was cut and the racers took off.
No problem, the race was based on chip time today. We started in the next wave, 15 minutes back.
I reframed the late start as a bonus: if I caught anyone, I’d have them, unless they dropped me by more than 15 minutes.
It made things confusing until I caught the last lady on the bonus “carry section” of the UB course. I checked my watch when she passed and again when I passed that same point. I was eight minutes “ahead.”
After the carries and drags, and once I start to love life again (boy were they tough in the heat), someone yelled that I was two minutes behind the leader.
Two minutes gun time or chip time? He was looking at a phone so I wasn’t sure.
We were running up a stream for the next obstacle (which was cold and devine) and I asked the cameraman how far she was. 30-45 seconds.
She came off the monkey bars and was doing burpees when I passed her.
I loved the course. It was fun, had a lot of challenge and variety and was well marked. At the Super there was a fuzzy area but they rectified that 100% by the next morning. I love that about Spartan Eastern Canada. Problems solved. The one area I found confusing was the tire carry. We followed it just fine but weren’t certain we were hiking the right way until the end.
My favourite obstacle was the infinity bar combo. It was basically a swingy turning monkey bar spool to pipe alternating. Fun.
They also had little change ups like a weaver pole and a double and then single sand bag carry from lap to lap. And only one carry lap. Thank heavens.
Just kept it fresh…
Part of distance racing is knowing yourself, and I know that I don’t like stopping. So my drop kit was a sandwich bag filled with various forms of sugar.
I grabbed it and headed back out of the drop bag tent. A friend who is faster but has less experience at these crazy long races, finished his stop and hiked along side me for a bit.
He had a long pit and saw no other females so it was nice to hear it confirmed that I moved into first. I was well hydrated and well fed.
I saw the girl who was originally in the lead coming up the mountain as I was coming down and was relieved to see that I had opened such a gap. We exchanged cheers and I picked up the pace.
From here it was a lot more easy running. I felt so good on the switchbacks… I was certain I was running sub 5 minute kilometers… although my GPS didn’t last the 8 hours until this point.
At every obstacle I did they confirmed I was in the lead. Most people I passed said the same.
Not one person said I was in anything but first – until the finish line.
I missed my spear and one of the media guys congratulated me on second.
As it went…
Sorry to tell you but first place just passed through the finish line.
Most somber looking fire jump ever. I’m sure I looked like Eyore after watching Bambi’s mother die.
I thought I was having a stroke until person after person came up to either congratulate me on the win or tell me they saw me in the lead the whole final lap.
The next few ladies stumbled over the line with the same confusion and disbelief.
As it turned out, the girl who was originally in the lead on the first lap went off course and Rosie Ruiz’d it.
It was a bit of a crazy blow on an otherwise amazing race. I did more burpees than I should have. But the last lap particularly was so much fun.
Thanks in no small part to the Mudd Queens and all the support and encouragement from various east coasters along the route.
You guys are awesome and I’m going to miss you something fierce.
Who will yell, “Allison Tai, you f**king suck at running downhill!” as they blow past me… as the guy who once carried my arm warmers for an entire race when I dropped them does… every time.
Who will make me love this sport for the sport itself and for the people drawn to it?
I have absolutely loved racing Nancy and Judith – and number one OCR athlete in the universe Claude. It’s like racing family.
And I will miss Milligan and the CMQ group dearly. Thanks for making me feel at home.
I’m one lucky girl.