Am I crazy for signing up for a 5k ocr while healing from a meniscus injury? Maybe. Did I have a blast though? Heck yeah.
On Sunday, Daniel and I participated in Rugged Maniac Kitchener which was at Chicopee Ski Resort. If you’ve been following my blog for a bit and that name sounds familiar, it’s because Daniel and I went skiing there a few months ago and I blogged it. It was pretty cool to run up and down the same hills I was skiing down just months before. In this recap, I’m going to talk about the location of the race, expo, race, post-race after party and what I would’ve done differently.
Chicopee Ski Resort is only just over an hour from Toronto. Parking was a little crazy, but it was a huge event that was near sold out. If I’m not mistaken, parking was $20, however you could pay $10 and just be further away from the site. TONS of people just parked on the grass or in random ditches to avoid paying the fee which made me laugh. We ended up getting a prime parking spot, just a few dozen feet from bag check.
The view from our parking spot…we totally lucked out!
The expo was a breeze, and we were in and out pretty quickly. The only issue I had here was that it seemed that the volunteers looming around the grounds didn’t know where the expo was. It turned out that it was on the opposite end of the base of the mountain, so we couldn’t see any signage. When we approached a volunteer, she had to ask someone who had to ask someone WHO HAD TO ASK SOMEONE ELSE. Grr. It was quickly resolved though, so I got over it fairly quickly.
Once we got our wristbands, race bib and t-shirt, we headed to bag check which consisted of a giant tent that housed everyone’s bags. It wasn’t as chaotic as it sounded; bags were kept on tables so they were almost organized in bunches. That being said, when we went to pick up our two bags at the end of the race, it was FILTHY. You could tell it had come into contact with mud. I guess that’s to be expected at an ocr…I’ll probably just bring a grocery tote next time so that it can be tossed if need be.
Holy crap this race was tough. The amount of time I put into training was nowhere near what I wanted it to be due to my knee and being in recovery mode. I thought about pulling out of the race, but at my last physio session I asked my physiotherapist what she thought and she gave the green light to race. Daniel’s also recovering from some knee issues, (birds of a feather flock together, eh?), so he was in the same boat as me. Nevertheless, we both had some cardio training in us and gave the race all we had. My knee didn’t hurt at all, (despite dragging it over numerous rocks during muddy army crawls), and Daniel was THE BEST teammate ever. My mom was actually supposed to be part of our team as well, but her leg ulcer, which seemed to be lying dormant for the past while flared up. The obvious choice for her was not to run. When she’s all healed up, she promised me that we’d do an ocr together so stay tuned!
My favourite obstacle was probably The Warped Wall. This consisted of a half pipe-type wall that you had to run up and climb over in order to get to the next obstacle. There was a ladder beside it should you chose not run up the half pipe, however who likes to do things the easy way? Our strategy was to have Daniel run first up the wall since he felt pretty confident that he could make it over. He did, (not that I was surprised), and gave me a thumbs up to run toward him. I was able to grab the top of the wall, but couldn’t swing my legs over to get up and over myself. Daniel managed to grab my right ankle and swing me over – not only did he save the day, but he saved me from sliding down the wall…so he also saved me from embarrassment, haha.
My least favourite obstacle was probably Bang The Gong. This involved jumping up to bang a mini gong which subsequently leads to you falling in approximately five feet of water. For some reason, I thought the water pit would be shallower…needless to say I was in for a surprise when my head was full immersed in the water for a few seconds.
The course map. The obstacles were densely packed together which I loved!
The sense of camaraderie at Rugged Maniac was insane. Strangers were helping out strangers at every obstacle or giving words of encouragement as they passed you. I remember at one obstacle called Jacob’s Ladder, I got stuck at the top and was scared to swing my left leg over since my right leg couldn’t quite reach the next step on the ladder. Daniel had already gone up and over the obstacle and was at the bottom trying to give me pointers. After yelling down to him that I couldn’t do it, a girl who was about to pass me climbed back down and spotted me. She totally didn’t have to do that, but it was awesome that she did. Because of her, I swung my left leg over and continued on.
The Post Race Party
The post race party was exactly that – a party. After getting hosed off and changed into clean clothes, Daniel and I decided to cash in on the cool stuff going on around us. Daniel doesn’t drink so he gave his drink wristband to me. Score! Once I got drinks, (nothing says lovin’ like double-fisting after an ocr), we headed over to the food trucks and got some food. Daniel got two pulled-pork sandwiches from an unknown vendor while I got a pulled-pork grilled cheese sandwich from a food truck called Fo’ Cheesy. Ssssoooo delicious. During our delicious eats, we watched a pull up competition and a stein hoisting competition. How do these people do all that after what they just ran through?!? Although we didn’t take part in these events, there was also a mechanical bull and beach volleyball complete with amazing music.
Daniel & I all hosed off after the run. I’m in love with the finisher’s medal!
What Would I Have Done Differently?
-Trained properly (though I guess there wasn’t much I could do about this)
-Worn Sunscreen: I figured the mud would protect me, but I totally forgot to account for the post-race party and the fact that we would be lingering around for a while after the race. Since I didn’t pack any sunscreen, we both got pretty burnt.
-Not Wear a Black Long Sleeve Shirt: in my defense, it was dry fit. Daniel also wore a similar shirt…we both reaped the consequences of said action
-Worn My Garmin: I didn’t wear my Garmin because I thought the mud would get caked in the buttons. I felt good about my decision until I saw so many other runners wear GPS watches. I manually entered my run on Strava in sadness.
Race photos don’t get released until Thursday, so I’m planning on doing a post on Friday with just the race photos. Keep your eyes peeled!
-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy