I immediately purchased his book, "The Terrible and Wonderful Why I Run Long Distances". You should all seriously go check it out on Amazon. Like now.
Fast forward a few months and I became GREEN with envy when I found out that THE OATMEAL himself was organizing his very own 10K/HALF/FULL marathon series... but on the complete other side of the planet. WOMP. WOMP.
I spent months pleading to anyone that would listen, "BRING THE BLERCH TO THE EAST COAST!" And then.. on April 27th, a BEAT THE BLERCH EAST event page appeared on my Facebook feed. It was almost as if all of the nutella's aligned and the blerches had answered my pleas! The morning of registration, I was THAT #runnerd on three computers ready to register 15 minutes before registration opened because I needed this race THAT BAD.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, I give you (as always) my honest race recap!
The day before the race this appeared on my Runner's High calendar and I giggled and cheered with excitement! Oats, did you plan that?
Our bus driver was a little confused. He got us lost.. but I couldn't help but giggle. I guess I can just brush off minor details as long as they don't have a negative effect on my overall race experience. This was probably the only drawback I can share. That and the fact that Oats didn't make it QUITE clear that this was, in fact, a HARDCORE, crawl if you must, legit, trail run. The kind that leaves it's participants with battle scars and stories for their grandchildren. The kind where you find God. I knew it was a "trail run", but I had no idea it would soon become THE HARDEST race that I have ever run (including my marathon with a torn Achilles tendon)!
Moving on. The packet pick-up was smooth. The only lines I encountered were for the bathrooms. Although it was a long line, it moved quickly. We had plenty of time to purchase race swag and get our pictures taken. For free, might I add!
Check out one of my favorites..
We were one of the first heats to start- and right away I knew it would be challenging. We kept climbing up, up, up! There were rocks. There were tree roots. There was legit trail. Ultra-marathoner-type trail. Appalachian-type trail. I just saw God type trail. I adjusted my speed to a comfortable 10:30 min/mile pace and watched every step I took. I witnessed countless fellow runners trip, fall, fly, and soar through the forest. We were covered in blood, mud, and cake by the end of mile 3! Yes, you read that correctly.. there was cake at the aid station. And a couch. Along the course there was not a whole lot of signs or indication of which way to go. This is partially why I "hugged" a group of alpha males and stuck with them through the entire race. I didn't want to get lost in the middle of no where! This paid off big-time later, because I finished 25/335 for my age/gender place!
Round and round the trail I went. Up, up, up, up. Down. Up, up, up again. There didn't seem like a whole lot of downhill, but I liked the challenged. The closing of the race went around a beautiful lake that overlooked the finish line. It was waiting with cake. I knew I had to keep pushing. I was winded, sore, and both mentally and physically exhausted at the finish line. But here is my rule of thumb: When you see the finish, you sprint and smile like hell. And so, in traditional Ashley fashion, I did what I knew I had to do. There was agony. But then there was cake. And those alpha males that I "hugged" along the way? They're in my dust pictured below.. along with the blerch! :)
We were able to catch a bus right away back to the car and get out of the parking lot with no traffic issues. We didn't get lost on the way back either- LOL.
Beat the Blerch long-sleeve tech shirt
Beat the Blerch 10k medal (and very cool, might I add!)
Beat the Blerch magnets, stickers, and tattoos!
Free race photos!
Here is our "we did it" picture!:
I have nothing but love and gratitude for Oats sharing his passion with us all. I became a trail-lover that day. I might have... GASP... even been bit by the ULTRA bug!
Go beat that blerch. And then let there be cake!