Feb 28th 2015, Frigus 60k Snowshoe race The Endurance Society, which comprised of two 30k loops with 1 aide station about half way between each lap, 1st lap had to be completed by 3:30pm and 2nd lap we had till midnight. Start of the race was -4 with a high of 19. A huge concern of mine was what to wear during the race because I didn’t want to wear too much and overheat and in contrary I didn’t want to wear to little and freeze, so I started each lap out with a thermal under layer and carried my jacket behind me.
I hear race director Andy Weinberg yell out for everyone to get to the starting line, at this point I’m still trying to figure out how to put these darn snowshoes on my shoes seeing how this was only my second time doing this! I finally get them on and head over. “5 min till the start off the race” I hear Andy say, while he’s giving his pre-race speech I dozed off and just remember thinking to myself “Here we go Amanda here we go, you got this”.
The start of the race was underway and off we were through the mountains of Vermont,The Frigus 60k had finally started. I kept a good pace at the start probably a bit faster than I should have but I was just thinking to myself how awesome this journey was going to be. At this point I felt amazing as you do at the start of any race everyone’s around you, your adrenaline is pumping and you just want to go. I was around my friend Richard Scharfenberg and my goal was to stick with him for the remainder of this lap, we hit the first assent I looked down at my watch more than half way up the mountain and noticed I hit a 28min pace climbing at this point I was so afraid of the cutoffs I started to get worried and we weren’t even 2 miles in yet. Once this hill was over with Richard got far ahead of me andI told myself “Amanda you need to stay with him, you got this, keep fucking going and run” so I started to run at the straightaway’s and slight descents at a 11min pace, I finally caught up to Richard and made sure I stayed with him.
The trail was absolutely beautiful we rounded this one corner and the mountains in the background were amazing!After that we headed back into the trail and continued onward. Nutrition wise I was doing pretty well eating every 45min to an hour, most of the time I didn’t want to take my gloves off so I wasn’t eating as much as I should have, my nutrition was not on point like I had planned, a main concern of mine was making sure my hydration line didn’t freeze because the start of the race was-4 so I kept blowing the water back into the line every time I would drink, I also put the line under my arm pit so it could stay warm as possible, this was working well for me all day. As we were on the path I see my dad there and I was so happy to see him! The three of us then ran down to the aide station and LET ME TELL YOU those maple cookiesWERE AMAZING!!!!! Gave me the energy I needed for the next assent! I was so paranoid about the cutoffs I made sure no more than 5 min were spent at this aide station wanted to get in and out! So off we were, still feeling amazing body and mind was ready to finish the last half of this loop! We hit another long ascent, which slowed our pace down, but overall we were making good time, we started to run afterwards and everything was great,until I hit mile 12.5 I was losing so much energy, I was getting cold because my pace slowed down significantly, and my left knee started to bother me. I told Richard to go ahead as I needed to get my electrolytes, and slow my pace.I took my pack off, drank my electrolytes, put my jacket on and I was feeling much better except for my knee. I wasn’t happy at this point because I WANTED TO RUN SO BAD I am an ultra runner and at this point I was stuck to power hiking/walking! It was an easy straight away and I should have been running butI couldn’t due to the pain. I just could not wait to finish this lap.
At this point I’m thinking to myself “How in the WORLD am I going to go out for a second lap this is fucking painful!” “Amanda you have to go out, you can do this there is no other option,TOUGHEN UP”. So many people were passing me at this point and I was getting so angry with myself and my knee, I just wanted to run but knew I had to save myself for the second lap because IWAS going back out. A mile before the end of the 30k my dad met me I told him my situation and he says ”Amanda you can’t go back out with that knee pain” I told him word for word “Daddy I gotta try” and then we finished the last mile or so, I got a bit of energy and ran the last .3 to the aide station with himAND BOY WAS I HAPPY TO GET THERE my mom and sister were a big help and encouraged me which helped give me that extra push. My adrenaline was at an all time high, I was a bit frazzled at this point trying to get my nutrition together/fill my hydration pack/put a new thermal long sleeve top on ext. ThenI noticed that I LOST MY GLOVE, I lost my glove when I was eating on the trail so my awesome sister gave me her thick ones and David Bohmiller as well gave mea pair of his, I was very thankful at this point for I would have been in trouble second lap with out them. Andy then came up to me and asked me how my knee was doing, and I’m like“It hurts but I’m going back out Andy I’m going to do this”. So after I get my things together I runout the door, put my snowshoes on and I started to run back out in the trails.Here we go! Second lap WOOOOO!! My knee pain was gone due to the adrenalin rush from the stop. I was .5 miles in the second lap and BAM knee pain strikes, at this moment I was thinking to myself “SHIT FORGOT TO TAKE THE TYLENOL I’m anIDIOT” So now I was starting the second lap with the pain. I thought about turning around but there was no way I could get myself to back track. At this point I just had to be smart about my pace because I knew exactly what was ahead, I had a LONG, LONG way to go so I power hiked up that hill again and just took it one stride at a time. Once the assent was over, I remember on the first lap I was running at a great pace at this point, I wanted nothing more than to run I was getting so frustrated that I was stuck to power hiking DOWN a hill!
So here I am, on the trail, second loop, by myself, in the middle of the mountain, basically in the middle of nowhere on a trail with no one in site, it was very lonely my hair was frozen and i was literally giving it all i had with each step i took, I was singing and talking to myself trying to be my self-motivator to finish this race! I forgot what mile I was at but just after I crossed the bridge I started to cry, the pain was so intense I honestly had no idea how I was going to finish this race, at this point I couldn’t bend my left knee, I was literally dragging the heel of my snowshoe and powering with my right leg i kept repeating "Pain is temporary Amanda tomorrow you're going to be just fine, pain is temporary" Thankfully I had trekking poles. I was praying to God at this point to give me the strength to finish this race, my body was screaming for me to sit down and quit so bad. I thought I was the last one on the course because there was a lot of people who didn’t go out for their second lap, so I knew at this point that no one was coming behind me, my only option was to keep going forward. The first half of the second loop was by far the lowest point of my entire race, I would get random spurts of energy and the pain would subside so I was able to speed up a bit but every time I did the pain would just get intense so at that point I came to the conclusion that running was now out of the option, I WAS GOING TO FINISH THIS RACE whether I was running, walking or crawling, I am not a quitter!
It felt like hours were going by I was still all alone on the mountain just me, the trail and the cold silent forest, my pace was so slow I had to stop again to put my jacket on I also put my headlamp on at this point because I knew I wouldn’t want to stop again and do it later when it got colder. I also refueled at this point I was just so determined to get to that half way aide station, I knew my dad was going to be there to finish the last 9 miles with me, again I kept talking to myself to take my attention away from the pain, then finally I hit the snowmobile trail and from that moment I knew I only had 2.5 miles till the aide station. A few min after hitting the trail I heard snowmobilers in the distance whizzing by and all I’m thinking is “Please see me please see me don’t hit me!”because I was coming around a corner when I heard them. Anyway I was SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY to see the snowmobile trail because I was that much closer to the aide station that I longed for.
.5 miles after that all happened I can remember hearing someone screaming behind me it was faint but just enough for me to hear, so I turned around and I see this guy running towards me flailing his arms, I’m thinking “Who the hell is this guy!?” because before I was convinced that I was the LAST person on the trail so now I’m all worried, but once I noticed his bib number I slowed my pace because I knew he was trying to get my attention. AND WHAT DO YA KNOW!! Billy Mckenna caught up to me! He says “You are fast as hell”made me feel good even though I was so mad at my self for how slow I was going.But anyway! I was so incredibly happy to have someone else there! We hiked 1mile together and my dad was there as well so the three of us hiked the last mile to the aide station. At the aide station someone told me that “ Someone left PBJ pop-tarts for Amanda” I WAS SO HAPPY it was the best news at that moment!! Greg Tappin You’re the best!!! Jane Boudreau Coffey was there and gave me a huge hug and at that point I knew that everything was going to be okay! Race director Jack Cary was also there who was very encouraging also told Billy and I that there was another female who went out for her second lap and also a few other people behind us, I was shocked this whole time I thought I was the last person!
At that moment I don’t know what happened but this incredible amount of energy overwhelmed me and I was SO ready to finish, I looked at Jane and told her “I’m going to do this”. So off we were Billy my Dad and I back out on the trails. We hit the first assent, which was ALOT longer than I remembered but regardless we were making great time; our pace was impressive giving how we both were feeling leading up to this point. The sun started to set, so I turned my headlight on, and had the light guide my way through the dark bare forest. There’s really nothing like racing in at night, just you out there with your one little light guiding your way everything else in the distance pitch black, it’s an amazing feeling. The temperature started to drop significantly, my core temperature was fine, my hydration line however not so much! I was diligent ALLDAY but this one time I forgot to blow the water back in to the pack it froze instantly. I was disappointed with myself because I tried to avoid this issue all day but it is what it is. I was also starting to get frustrated at this point because this trail seemed NEVER ENDING I just wanted to reach the reservoir and it seemed like it kept getting farther and farther away, felt like it was longer than the first time around! But overall it was amazing being accompanied by Billy and My dad it kept me going! No matter what you just have to keep trucking along because you’re always capable of 10 more steps.
There comes a point in every Ultra race, no matter how awful you might have felt all day or how much pain you were in, you get this surge of energy that’s so hard to describe. But I can honestly say the last 9 miles were the best miles of the entire race. I was so determined and focused out there I wanted nothing more than to reach that finish line, not even a freaking bear that I kept picturing coming after me would stop me from finishing this darn race! After 11 hours and 45 min since starting this wild journey the finish line was finally in sight, all I can remember was sprinting to the finish line and all that god-awful pain had suddenly disappeared, everything leading up to this one moment was worth it Andy and Jack then handed me my 1st place female finisher plaque and the emotions at that moment were indescribably, it was an incredible moment that I’ll never forget, it was over, it was finally over.
Placement: 1st placeFemale, 5th place over all 11 hours 45 min. Meant the world to me to have the best crew I could ask for Meant so much to have my dad out there I always looked forward to him meeting me an mile inward from each aide station not to mention he trucked the last 9 miles with me! Also the support of my mom and sister Adriana who were at the end of the first loop helping me at the bin drop. Meant more to me than you all know! Also to my race family who’s love and support throughout the entire day kept me going I love you guys!!!!!!
Everyone should check out The Endurance Society--->> http://endurancesociety.org/ upcoming races this year!!!
May 31st, 2014
"No Distance Is To Far If You Love What You're Doing"
Saturday Morning rolled around. I was about to embark on one of the hardest 50 mile Ultramarathons in the unforgiving terrain of Pittsfield, Vermont. I just laid in bed thinking about how absolutely incredible this day was going to be, for I would never forget this day for the rest of my life. The race count down that I had for months had finally come down to a few hours and I was anxiously tossing and turning in bed when I finally decided to get up at 3:30am to start the day. As I proceeded out the door I noticed it was a cloudy/foggy day, which I was okay with, better than humid and sunny and or torrential downpour which was my typical race luck (but regardless of what the weather would have been I’m a runner and there’s no such thing as “bad weather”). I was just focused and ready to head down the street to the start line. 5:45am rolled around and Race director Andy Weinberg called us over for a pre-race meeting, I was trying to pay attention as best I could all I got out of it were “follow the pink ribbons” and “be back here by sunset or we’re kicking you off the course” the only two important lines that I really needed to know, but I just wanted to get the race started! I wanted to be out there! 6:00am came FINALLY and before I knew it I was running with 54 other Ultra runners heading into the unforgiving mountains of Vermont. Within the first few miles they had us cross a short riverbed, they wasted no time getting us wet that’s for sure (typical antics) it was cold but refreshing. We then headed out of the woods and ran on the road for a short mile or so and then ended back up into the woods where we would stay for the remainder of the race to start our climb up one of the first steep assent.
The assent felt like it was the longest assent of my life, at first the steepness was pretty grueling but after a while like any typical race my body just went into cruise control and I just kept trucking along, one foot in front of the other, smiling and laughing with my two good friends Ben Lehman and Morgan Mckay we kept our minds off the pain and just enjoyed the journey which made this day so much more enjoyable with them! We then hit the “bushwhacking” section where we were headed though a lot of brush and fallen tree branches, I was very thankful I decided to wear long compression pants so the branches didn’t cut my legs as I was making my way through so early on in the race. This went on for a while then after that we hit the hour mark or so and(I wore my Garmin 910 which tracked miles, pace and time basically my lifesaver)every 45 min to an hour we would eat something to keep our energy levels up.Nutrition is 100% important for any ultra event and it’s very important to know what is right for your body to keep you going for a long period of time, my recommendation is to eat every 35min-hour, it’s also important to stay consistent so your mind and body is 100% for the task at hand.
After reaching the summit we of course made out way down, and around, and up and then back down through the thick forest but we were always looking up every so often to make sure we can still see the very important pink ribbons to make sure we weren’t lost. My favorite part was that it felt like we in the middle of no where just the 3 of us hiking in the woods with no civilization in site, that’s what I loved the most, we would look out and all we saw were streams, wildlife and trees after trees it was quite an amazing feeling.
Coming up on mile 12 was really nice because we new the first aide station was coming up quick, at mile 12.5 we stopped for a short time, I grabbed a watermelon slice because in 3.5 miles we would be right back here so we spent no more than 3 min before we were off on the short run down and back. Once we were back at the aide station at mile 16 we were told we wouldn’t be back here for a while because after this we had a 20 mile hike with “no aide stations” so at this point I ate SO much watermelon and a PBJ, made sure my bladder was full and I brought the appropriate nutrition from my drop bin, I then used the Porto potty I grabbed 2 more watermelon slices to run with (SOGOOD!!) the next time I would be reunited with the watermelon was at mile 37back here (Motivation at its finest) and before I knew it, Ben, Morgan and myself were back out into the deep forest for countless hours to finish the grueling 20 miles to get back to this aide station! These next 20 miles had its ups and downs, terrain wise and mentally for sure. We were all feeling so good,motivating one another, laughing, singing countless songs, just over all having fun in the woods with my crazy ultra friends. We were always going up hills and saw some beautiful views out looking Vermont (JUST THE BEST), down hills through streams, over rocks,over rocky terrain, through thick mud patches, sometimes we would sink down halfway through our lower leg in mud, but it felt good because my feet were hurting and the coldness of the mud was refreshing. We then hit the famous BloodRoute and OH BOY it was just DANDY. Very steep, Very grueling, Very painful, and also very Rewarding, but the 3 of us got through it we never EVER stopped, never took a break, never looked back we always kept moving forward no matter how difficult the terrain was or how much our bodies were screaming for us to stop, I was so proud of us!(YOGGING FA DAYS).
SURPRISINGLY along the way we hit 3aide stations and they were the BEST things on earth LITERALLY! Being told we wouldn’t see anything for 20 miles and then out of nowhere coming up to each random aide station was better than Christmas morning! HOWEVER at mile 31 the last aide station we hit before making it back to the main station where our bin drop was, BBQ chips were staring me dead in the face and I ate more than I should have (mind you I NEVER eat chips), at about mile 32 I felt like I was going to throw up, the mere thought of food made me nauseous and I was being very diligent about eating something ever hour to keep my energy level up but I just could not get myself to eat anything. So from mile 32-37 I ate nothing because I felt so ill, however I do remember craving watermelon that was the only food I wanted and the only thing that kept me going! I could feel my energy levels falling quickly, throughout these miles I became a bit more delusional and I highly regretted those BBQ chips but we live and we learn, NEVER AGAIN!
At this point I was at a low moment during the race, there was nothing I wanted more than to make it to that aide station, my dad popped out of nowhere and said the aide station was coming up I was very happy to see him and the news he delivered, I was hurting pretty bad,my body hated me for those damn’ BBQ chips but no matter what I kept going, AND BEFORE I KNEW IT BAM!!! Aide station was just .3 miles away and I couldn’t be happier! I WAS REUNITED WITH THE WATERMELON!!! I’m not sure why but during this race watermelon was the best thing I have ever tasted haha At the aide station my sister was there and helped me fill my bladder and everything I needed along with my father I was very thankful to have them there for me! I didn’t change my clothes, kept everything on from the start of the race. I always hear about people changing socks or shoes or whatever during a race butI didn’t see it was necessary because I was either going to be getting wet and or muddy soon after anyway and nothing I had was of discomfort so I just kept on going with what I had. I don’t know how long we were at this aide station for but it was longer than I would have liked to stay so Ben and I were then on our way out, my sister told me the next 3 miles were basically down hill which was wonderful to hear, and downhill/straight they were!
During the pre-race speech giving by Andy he said we needed to make our way back to where we started before sunset so these last 3 miles were headed back in that direction and we had all the time in the world, this was quit a relief! However we still had a half marathon (13 miles) left total and I knew the last 10 miles were not at all going to be easy to get through! We made it tot he start of Joes mountain where we would finish the remainder of the 10 miles and I honestly believe that these 10 miles wouldn’t have been as bad if they were the first 10 miles of the race but the steepness of it was just awful at this point. Making it up the mountain to the cabin was a great feeling especially to see my sister and my dad up there again they were very encouraging and it’s always nice to have the support so far into an Ultra event,it means more than the both of them know! Once we left the top Ben and I made our way down OR SO WE THOUGHT would be “Down” the mountain….OH NO! , we went down for a little bit then back up NUMEROUS times, more times than my body wanted, Ben and I were in a lot of pain at this point and just so very ready to finish the race. The last 10 miles and especially the last few miles were easily the worst part of the race, I was at my lowest point, but no matter what the finish line, the 50 mile mark was the only thing I had on my mind and nobody was going to stop me. “Pain isTemporary” is what I always repeat in my head, I find it’s very important to trick your mind, and boy was I desperate to.
Every mile my Garmin would vibrate indicating we reached yet another mile, another mile closer to the Goal, I looked down at my watch saw mile 49 and desperately started to increase my speed, at mile 49.5 all the pain I had experience suddenly disappeared, all I remember was it felt like I was flying to the finish line, desperately heading in the direction to the finish, to reach glory to reach the END of this incredible, unforgettable journey. And before I knew it I bowed my head down and my sister placed the medal around my neck, Best feeling in the world!!! MyFinish time: 14:42:06, I placed 4th female and 25th overall. 54 people started the race and 46 finished, I am proud to be amongst these amazing group of athletes. If you want something bad enough, if you are willing to push though physical and mental pain, you are capable of anything.Tell yourself you will, believe you can do it, and I promise you Glory.
I can’t thank my amazing sponsors enough, R&M Plumbing & Heating, Non-Tox-Pest management for supplying my footwear (Bob &Laurie-Jean Hannon) the Salomons Speed Cross 3 my favorite trail running shoe, they are very comfortable and reliable, have amazing grip for the grueling terrain. Sport Nutrition 1 for supplying supplements for my post race recovery and race shirt, My Running Sponsor RunjunkEs (Rununkees.com) Headband to keep the sweat from my eyes, Gu Energy #GuCrew energy during the race, Mud and Adventure, Hylete #HyleteNation your compression socks were awesome!
Sport Nutrition 1- http://sportnutrition1.com/
Gu energy- https://guenergy.com/
Also a special shout out to myFather Richard Ricciardi, who is beyond supportive not only helped me out but also volunteered and help everyone else out going above and beyond to make this experience even more incredible, thank you for taking pictures of the racers,and capturing these moments that will stay with us for a lifetime. My awesome little sister Adriana Ricciardi for trucking her way though the mountains, for being at the aide station and helping me out with food and filling my Camelbak, also my mom who was back home and lord knows praying for me every step of the way you all are the best support system I could ask for thank you so much for being there for me, you won’t ever know how truly grateful I am to have you!Also for my two close friends Ben Lehman and Morgan Mckay you both are incredible people so genuine and I’m so glad that this racing journey of mine has lead me to good friends like the both of you, I couldn’t have asked for abetter Ultra crazy crew to go on this journey with, We pushed each other, we pushed past limits, we were singing crazy songs, laughing and enjoying every step of the painful way, I will always cherish this day and I’m so happy to have shared it with the both of you. #Ultrabeast #YOGGERS FOR LIFE
I highly recommend this race the terrain was amazing, the aid stations were beyond what i expected for this kind of an event, and the people involved are just amazing supportive people! There's also distances of 15, 30, 50, 100, 200, 500 mile ultramarathons! I will be back next year and i encourage anyone who is looking for a crazy challenging event to check out the web site below and sign up!!!
-Any questions please feel free to message me i could talk for hours about racing :]
-Amanda Ricciardi (Manz)
What do the letters O-C-R mean to you? Yeah everyone would typically say “Obstacle Course Racing” because that’s the correct answer but deep down, deep inside of you what do those letters Together stand for? And don’t just say the first thing that comes to mind really Dig Deep. You run with your Heart, you run with your Mind and some how your legs magically follow, THIS IS OCR.
We don’t just get up and decide to sign up for a race, something inside of you initiated this desire, this curiosity. Some may have experienced life changing instances, emotional times, the lowest of the low but during these dark times or maybe even the good times this inner fire that is brewing in us all, Prevailed. What do those letters mean to you? OCR is bigger than just three simple letters combined together, OCR is a Passion,OCR is a Family, OCR is what drives us to be better individuals. OCR taught me something that no classroom could... this “Inner Fire of Confidence”, this isn't something you can study this is something you must feel deep inside.
OCR isn’t just a race it’s a community of individuals who strive every day to make sure they live their life to the fullest. Or if not for themselves then for a loved one, for a friend, or for a fellow stranger. Life is an extraordinary privilege and this community of athletes whether it’s your first race or your hundredth will do what ever it takes for there lives to exemplify this privilege every day No matter what. If it’s out training or at the start line of a race we will do what ever it takes to see that finish line, that Glory that we all strive for. OCR is Love, you’re not just out there running with strangers once your at that start line you immediately gain a family. It not only brings out the inner beast in yourself but also others, OCR instills this new found confidence in people who at one time didn’t think they could and all of a sudden like a new found cure they are liberated from this malignant mental block. OCR instills that inner fire in people.
Us OCR athletes don’t know how to quit, we just keep going no matter what, no matter what Obstacles we face, pain will always be temporary, OCR is about overcoming the tears, the blood, the pain from your muscles screaming for you to stop but something inside of you keeps you alive, keeps you moving forward. OCR helps motivate us to rise early in the morning and sweat, sweat out our frustrations, our inner goals to be the best we can be. We are designed to be great, we are designed to break through mental barriers and rise to the top because we know as an OCR community that Limits do not exist.
OCR “Obstacle CourseRacing” liberated me from the dark, unleashed this inner passion that was dwelling in me all along, Some people ask me why I do the things I do, why I run for so long, train so hard,why I eat the way I do. Some people think I’m to young and that I’m just hurting my body for the future by doing so much. I do it because I can, I do it because life is to short, I do it because the human body is capable of extraordinary things, I don't believe in limits. But unless you go out there,unless you're at the start line feeling those nerves, running next to fellow athletes, running side by side with people who share that same passion as you,unless you have been in the middle of a race where your body is screaming for you to stop begging for you to quit, to sit down but you find that inner strength that mental toughness and you keep going, finding every bit of energy you have to sprint to the finish line. If you have never experienced that, then any words I have to offer will never be good enough, you have to want it, you have to want itSO bad, and once you reach that desire, that inner passion, you will at that moment understand. OCR changed my life and I Promise it will change yours to. What does O-C-Rmean to you?
-Amanda Ricciardi (Manz)
January 18th 2014
After all the months of preparation the day finally came, It was Friday night at 10:30pm I laid in bed after getting all my things together for the big race. I just lay there staring off into space knowing in several hours I was going to get up and head to Lockport New York, to tackle my first ever UltraMarathon. Once morning came and my alarm went off I hurried to get ready, and as I walked out the door to the car I noticed it was snowing, my initial thoughts were “just my luck”, but no mater what I signed up for this race and nothing was going to stop me from seeing that finish line, I prepared myself for running in this weather and trusted my training and mind. Once we parked it had stopped snowing and I rushed over to the bib pick up because we were a little behind schedule from traffic due to storm, I anxiously pinned my Bib #18 to my shirt and beforeI knew it I was in a sea of people at the start line anxiously waiting for the10am start time. This course was a 12.5 mile loop out and back 4 times, with 3aide stations, 1 was a the start line, the 2nd one was at mile 7 (Gassport)and the third one was at the end of the 12.5 miles (Middleport). Instead of thinking of the big 50 milesI broke it down in the 12.5 loops to make it a little easier mentally for myself. The first 12.5 miles were pretty easy I kept a nice steady pace, I didn’t stop at Gassport at all becauseI was feeling good so I just kept on running and I was getting pretty hot and took off my thicker gloves and unzipped my jacket, once I arrived at Middleport at the 12.5 mile I grabbed some food, dropped off my thicker gloves, I spent a little less than 3 minuets at that aide station and left to start the 12.5 -25miles. I then ran to mile 15 ands lowed my pace it was really cold and windy so I put my face mask and goggles on, at this moment I regretted dropping off my thicker gloves because the wind was making it so much colder and my pace was slower so I started to get chilly. After that I ran/walked the rest of the way to Gassport where I stopped at the aide station for food and to fill my bladder I spent about 5ish minuets there I grabbed a oranges and a brown sugar pop-tart and it tasted amazing! Once I left I ran/walked my way to mile 25. Once I got to this aide station I was still feeling pretty good, however running the 12.5-25 it got really windy and cold I had to keep my hands in my pocket the whole time I was running because my gloves were to thin i really wish i didn't drop them off at mile 12.5, so I put on another layer of pants and another shirt grabbed some thicker gloves and off I was to finish the 3rd loop miles 25-37.5. At mile 27 I hit my first wall, my knees and legs just didn’t want to keep running so I slowed my pace and again ran/walked the whole way, the sun began to set and I could feel the outside temp was dropping fast so I tried to keep a steady pace so I wouldn’t get to cold. This was the most painful 10 miles for me of the whole race every time I tried to run my knees were just killing me so I decided to take it easy, I ended up running along side someone who kept my mind off the pain talking about numerous things.Once I finally arrived at Gassport I stopped in there to warm up/and fuel up. It hen left the nice warm tent and headed back out into the freezing cold, at this point I had to turn my headlamp on because it started to get dark. I was in a lot of pain but I knew I just had to keep on going, one foot in front of the other, at this point instead of thinking of the 12.5 mile loop I was taking it one mile at a time by looking at my Garmin. At some points I was forgetting to eat and drink and before during the first half of the race I was eating something every 35 min and constantly drinking. Half the time it was just so cold I didn’t want to take my gloves off to eat but I forced myself to because I needed the energy to finish this race. Once I saw the bridge in site to Middleport I started to run a little bit because I was so desperate to make it to that aide station, I was freezing, I was in a lot of pain and I just felt like the 3rd loop took forever. I walked in to the aide station at mile37.5 and immediately saw my boyfriend I went over and sat down, I was pretty out of it at this point, everything from the waste down was in pain but I knew at this point I only had 12.5 miles to go. I drank my electrolytes and ate some food and before I knew it I gained the strength, stood myself up and headed out the door for my last12.5 mile loop to mile 50. I was finally at my 4th lap, I was really happy but I still had a long way to go. I ran to mile 40 then again slowed my pace to a run/walk I hit another wall at this point, these last 10 miles felt like the longest 10 miles of my life, the wind was going right threw me, it was cold, it was pitch black, there was no one around me, just me out there, I really needed to dig down deep at this point and get the job done because it was pretty lonely out there the only light I had was from my headlamp and the full moon at my back. At mile 42 my camelbak line froze even with the insulated tube warmer, it froze and I couldn’t get any water, I tried blowing into it, I tried crushing it with my teeth and I also stuffed it in my jacket but nothing would work. I couldn’t eat because then I would get thirsty so I had to suck it up and just keep going. I knew the Gassport aide station was close by at mile 43ish so I just kept on going, it felt like an eternity that i was without water. My only goal at this point was to make it there so I could get water and warm up. Once I saw the tent in site I couldn’t have been happier, I ran to it, I was so desperate to get out of this cold and get some water. Once I walked in a volunteer came up to me right away asking if I needed help, he took my camelbak off and started to thaw out my line, which I was very thankful for. I ate so much food here probably the best tasting grill cheese I have ever had in my life!! I also walked in at the same time as the pepperoni pizza got delivered and boy was I thankful for that!I sat down and warmed up, I just had no energy and was getting to comfortable at this aide station. I forced my body up and out of that tent; I was at mile43 and knew I had 7 miles to go. So close but yet so far. As soon as I left the tent I got punched in the face with the cold air yet again even though I had my face mask, goggles and a hat on, the temperature and wind were unforgiving I was pretty miserable at this point but I just could not wait to get to that finish line, the last7 miles I continued to run/walk my boyfriend met up with me at this point which i was very thankful for it was nice having someone around. All I was thinking about was to keep moving forward I longed for that finish line and as I was approaching the last few miles that again seemed like it took forever. The last 2 miles of the race seemed like the longest miles of my life, it’s absolutely incredible how far you can push your body even at your lowest points. Once I hit that last bridge I knew I was about .8 miles away from glory, I wanted to take in this moment, I was about to become an ultramarathoner, the last stretch was amazing I don’t know where I got the energy but I started to run as fast as I could pain free I wasn’t even cold anymore, then I saw the lights to the finish line and it was the best feeling knowing that all my training, all that cold and pain was worth it for this one moment I just completed 50 miles!!!!!!! My goal was to finish in under 14 hours and I came in at 13:43:01, I was very happy with my time and had no regrets on my performanceI pushed myself as hard as I could out there and from here on out I can only get better. This race is very well organized the aide stations are the best aide stations I have ever seen at a race, they had so much food and the volunteers were more than happy to help you with any thing you needed! My name is Amanda, I’m 23 years old and today I became an UltraMarathoner.
-Amanda Ricciardi (Manz)
Lets jump back to 2009, I was the kind of girl who was in the shadows of the "popular out going folk" I never played any sports because if wasn't "mentally and physically perfect" at something then what was the point? i never wanted to let any one down. This unhealthy mentality stuck with me until 2009 rolled around, I was stopped dead in my tracks, paralyzed by a single moment, the day i heard my fathers footsteps rushing up the stairs to my room, "Theres been an accident" is all i heard from him. I rushed out of bed and found out a very close friend of my was in a tragic accident, 4 days later there was nothing the doctors could do to save him. He was only 17 years old with his whole life ahead of him, his aspirations, dreams for the future were taken away in a second. Several months after this day i decided to create a Personal Bucket list. Skydiving was on the list so in 2010 i jumped out of a plane at 14,000ft and it was such an incredible experience! The next thing on the list was to "Finish a Race" at this point i didn't know much about running i just knew that i wanted to cross the finish line to a race. I always envied people who wore bib numbers pinned to their shirts, and the cool racing gear, I wanted to finish a race i wanted to accomplish something awesome! So this is where i found Spartan Race, it was a 3 mile trail race with obstacles and mud! I finished that race with the biggest smile on my face, and feeling so accomplished, i had found my passion in life, i had found what drives me, what motivates me, my days of hiding in the shadows of people were suddenly gone, Spartan Race gave me the mindset that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, you just need to believe you can do it, tell yourself you are capable and the world is yours!, I then finished 5k, 10ks, Half Marathons, Marathons, Ultramarathons, 3-31 mile Spartan races, and a Spartan Ultrabeast. I always find myself searching for new, harder challenges, i love pushing myself and seeing how far i could push my body because when you're at your lowest point, when your body is telling you to quit, that's when you really need to dig deep and use that mental grit to finish the race step by painful step. I do what i do today because of that painful day back in 2009, i want my life to exemplify how precious life really is in his honor, i want to live life to the fullest and help others along the way and encouraging them and help them believe that anything is possible!
"If you think you're beaten, you are, if you like to win and you think you can't it's almost a fact you wont, success begins with a fellows will, it's all in the state of mind, You have to think high to rise, you've got to be sure of yourself before you can ever win the prize, life's battle doesn't always go to the stronger or faster man, but sooner or later the man who wins, is the man who things he can".