ALLLLLLLLLLLL THE SAND!
That’s how I feel about this race. I did the 50 miler last year and I enjoyed it immensely both years.
The views are wonderful, the racers are so fun to talk to, and the race staff/directors/volunteers are THE BEST. Onto specifics…
I had a plan. A good plan, but I did a shitty job following it. Life was up and down for a while. I knew race season was coming around, but I was having commitment and other issues. I got a couple long runs in, and decided that I would use the 55k as a training run, followed by Monument Valley 50 miler in training for Zion 100.
Antelope Canyon 55k also happened to fall on my boyfriends birthday. His mom flew out from Chicago to come to the race with us and the pups.
If you haven’t been to the Amphitheater where the start/finish is staged you’re in for a treat. A large cove-ish area filled with the sinfully silly sand you will become well acquainted with during the race. There were fires, food and great Navajo culture available to those interested.
We explored, socialized and then headed to the tents to relax.
Race morning I knew what I wanted so it took maybe a half hour to get ready, and six minutes to walk over from my tent. No commuting or pre-race rituals for this girl!
THOSE AID STATIONS THOUGH! Seriously anything you could want during a race is available. Fresh fruits, potatoes, sweets, chocolates, chips, pretzels, cheese, pb&j… and PICKLES!!!
I’m a huge fan of the aid stations at the Ultra Adventures races. I love running from buffet table to buffet table. Always happily greeted by friendly volunteers who were eager to help me with whatever I needed. Refiling hydration bladders, bottles or showing me what there was to eat. They also let me pet their dogs. A huge THANK YOU to the volunteers!
The course is sandy. Sandy like the sand in a playground, not that luxurious hard packed sand thats frozen or wet. The soft sugary kind, more like powdered sugar, but less sweet. Honestly though there is enough slick rock and views to make up for the sand.
I wouldn’t have headed back if it weren’t worth it. I’m so glad I was able to share this race with so many friends and loved ones.
Personal re-cap: The first six miles I really struggled with being dehydrated (oops) and as soon as I finished a bladder of Nuun Energy in Mango orange I was as good as new! I ran with Jenna for a nice early portion of the race, and then caught up with Tom and ran with him for the remainder.
Views. For. Days.