I can tell you for certain that when I arrived in Sun peaks on Friday I was expecting to complete the ultra beast as I had last year. After running several ultramarathons this year and summiting in a few mountains I thought I was ready for the challenge. This was my fourth year in Sun peaks and my third time going out for the ultra beast. Before the race started at 6:30am I was most nervous about the dunk wall as the temperatures can be chilly in Sun peaks and my hands and feet do not do very well when they are cold. What I didn’t realize is that the dunk wall would be a piece of cake compared to the third Summit. Yes that’s right this year’s Sunpeaks beast had three Mountain Summits in one lap. The last of the three summits was a straight shot up a double black diamond called Challenger, from the bottom of the mountain to the top of the world (2080M). I was fully prepared for a gruelling day of hiking mountains and climbing over under and swinging through obstacles. I however WAS NOT prepared to hike up a 55% grade trail (I use the term very loosely) with falling rocks for 90 min straight we were told at the start gates that it was a runners course and would be about 50% completion rate HAHA, more Spartan propaganda. This was not a runners course it was a mountain goats course with some very sketchy uphill climbing(people were bear crawling up it was so steep) as well as ankle breaking, falling off the mountain descents that many of us actually slid all the way down on our bums because it was safer and much easier on the knees and ankles. I understand that we sign up to be pushed and to struggle to find a new personal best but many that I spoke with left feeling broken and defeated not accomplished and determined. I have failed an UB at Sun Peaks before (2015) and I have also gotten redemption for said failure (2016). I applaud all those who toed the line for 1 lap or 2. Even though this may have been your hardest race or the last straw with Spartan, you should be so proud of all you achieved. Am I sad I didn’t complete the UB? Yes and No, I wanted to be a part of that elite group that completed that monster YES! Is this my last big race of the season? No! (OCRWC in 3 weeks)
I am still recovering from a foot injury that forced me to severely limit my training for the last 4 weeks leading up to the race and after the 3rd summit and descent on some gnarly terrain I didn’t think my foot would be in good shape to finish even if time allowed. It was after that last summit that my mind let my body concede and I had already decided 1 lap was enough for me. At this point the obstacles that I worried about were my friends as I had completed every one without penalty that was until I got back to the bottom. As I ran down to the festival area seeing my family cheering me on a completed the herc hoist with no problems and headed over the cargo climb to the rope. I was excited about the rope as I’ve nailed it every time this year but with fatigue setting in and new skinnier ropes it was not happening this race. I told Mike I was done after 1 lap and went to do my burpees. After finishing my rope climb burpees I gave my daughter and husband a kiss and ran back up the hill to the vertical cargo climb and then the rig ( my 2nd set of burpees) I am proud to say that I am improving on the rig and getting much better at the rings too. After finishing my 30 Burpees it was time to get wet, rolling mud and the dreaded dunk wall (which wasn’t so bad) then bomb down the hill only to grab a heavy sandbag (40W & 50M) to hike 400 M back up the hill and down, hardest/longest carry of the day. After completing the heavy sandbag carry it was time for the spear through which is usually about a 60/40 for me and I hadn’t practised it at all this year. I lined myself up took a shot nailed the spear throw YES!! but as I turned to walk away it fell out and hit the ground NO!! OK I’m almost done just finish the set of Burpees, climb over the slippery wall and your race is done for the day even though you will be taking home a DNF instead of a sweet belt buckle.
Although as an ultra beast I should have gone back to the tent and called it from there. spartan staff said I could climb the slippery wall and jump the fire to be able to complete one lap although this DOES NOT count as a beast finisher and I made sure to let volunteers know I would be taking no medal that day.
Although I was sad that my race was over, I was happy to be able to spend that extra few hours with my family and after I was cleaned up and dry I came back down to cheer on all my friends completing their Beast and ultra beast because in the end it’s not just about my race it’s about supporting our Community and cheering on our friends as they complete amazing feats. So proud of all of my friends who were able to feel that sweet taste of victory and/or redemption on that B!tch of a course.
The next morning after some reflection a few hours of rest I decided to put my big girl panties back on, go out and complete the sprint so that I could leave Sun Peaks on a high note and with a shiny new medal. The part that makes the sprint race on Sunday one of my most amazing memories is the fact that I was able to race with my husband Mike. The first time we came to Sunpeak’s together in 2014 we completed our first trifecta three years later we were able to race together again and finish off our journey at Sunpeaks.
I am so blessed and humbled by the support of all of my friends and family. Even though this is not the race I wanted or expected I am OK with the results and it will make me a stronger racer in the future. I am proud to say that I completed the first lap of the hardest Beast I’ve ever done, I did every Burpee that I earned, the lessons learned and the memories and friendships made, that will be my trophy. Live to run another day!!