Ugly Mudder 7.25m- Reading, PA
We arrived in Reading on Saturday afternoon to walk/jog the course. I have been known to wander off course on more than one occasion so it was really important to me to see the course. After seeing the layout of the climbs and the terrain, I made a plan to play it conservative for the first 3 miles and then race the last 4 miles. Since it was a short race, I chose to wear the X-talon 190s even though there wasn't much mud when we scouted the course.
The morning of the race, we woke to sunny skies and chilly temps, reminiscent of fall cross country. The 11am start allowed for a very lax morning of stretching, coffee and the Food Network. I checked my email and to my surprise found out that Gina Lucrezi, the Inov-8 team manager, was going to be at the race! I was very excited because I had not seen Gina since we were on the NACAC team together in Mexico last July.
We left for the course early, minding the race director's warning of limited parking. After packet pick-up, we met up with Gina and did a 2.5 mile warm up. The race was scheduled to start at 11:00am, but with an unanticipated number of late registrants - 180 on race morning for a whopping total of 900 runners - the gun didn't go off until 20 minutes after the hour. I made sure to position myself well on the line because there was only about 400 meters until the trail turned into a single path up a steep hill in the woods. The gun went off and as I began my ascent up the first hill, someone stepped on the back of my shoe and suddenly I was shoeless. After several choice words because this was certainly not in my plan, I was able to slide my shoe back on without having to retie it. In the meantime, people were just pouring over top of me. I was now stuck behind people who were way over-dressed and wearing road shoes. I desperately found a way to start passing people by running through thorn bushes and jumping over fallen branches. Thus, my first half was not conservative as planned. Luckily, I was feeling pretty good and didn't let the bit of bad luck trigger negative thoughts. I stayed focused and calm and was able to position myself in the lead at about 3 miles. From there I continued to push, never feeling like I had to walk any of the steep climbs. I loved my X-talons! I never once faltered on the rocky, leaf-covered ground, but instead glided effortlessly atop them and had plenty of bite for the unexpectedly muddy second half of the race. Everyone raves about the X-talon 190s, no news there, so let me also tell you that I loved the ProSoc 22. What a combination! I finished as the first female, 19th overall in 58:56. It was a great way to start my racing year. We celebrated with complementary pancakes and scrambled eggs, and I was able to catch up with Gina. Next up, Hell's Hills 25k in Texas on April 7th.