Dirt in your skirt blog

Going International

Posted on December 17, 2012 by Margaret Schlachter

I wasn’t going to go, I wasn’t going to go, I wasn’t going to go. I signed up for another race on that day close to home to convince me not to travel to far off places to race. I had told the world I wasn’t planning on going. Even as friend after friend signed up for the race, I still wasn’t going to go. Well as of the end of last week and some conversations with some  key people along the way I found myself booking a flight to Nicaragua.

What awaits in Nicaragua? Namely Fuego y Agua Survival Run on February 16th at 4:00am. Fuego y Agua hosts the Survival Run and three other distance traditional ultra marathons at the same time a 25KM, 50KM and 100KM. The races are all held on the island of Ometepe in Nicaragua. These are run by a friend of mine who is also the race director this year of Copper Canyons (ultra marathon made famous in the book “Born to Run”). I had considered the ultras but had settled on a race much closer to home in Zion National Park. I was content and was ready for that 55K. Then I got a series of phone calls, which caused me not only to change my mind, but also get a plane ticket and get ready to run the longest obstacle course race to date.

Fuego y Agua Survival Run is a 70KM (yeah thats over 50 miles) ultra marathon obstacle race, set in the jungle and on the side of a volcano, intrigued yet? This race is by application only and according to the race director they have had to be selective with the number of applications they have received. I am honored to be one of them, although I admit, this is a big challenge to tackle. The longest race I have done to date is just over a 50K and longest running was about 40 miles in a day. But it’s time for a new distance PR.  A little hint about the course from the race directors “Along with several ascents and descents of the Maderas Volcano, you will be challenged with climbing, swimming lakes & jungle rivers, carrying all sorts of things, digging, running brutal terrain, throwing (maybe throwing up), memorizing and overall surviving this epic event!” The instructions on the race states you must be able to, “You must be physically able to run over 70km, Swim, Climb, Jump and Carry heavy things.” Ok, well I can swim, carry weird things, and well can push my body pretty far so let’s do this test.

We have been given the heads up that we will be swimming at some point with an egg and must not break the egg. I have to admit when hearing this I was worried it was going to be another Death Race but have been assured this is more along the lines of the Ultra Beast, only with obstacles like none I have ever seen before. So from now until then I will be not only practicing running, but also swimming, and honing in again on my Wilderness EMT skills and survival skills learned in other wilderness classes, brushing up on my spanish also might be a good idea.

Never one to backdown from a challenge here I am taking on one of the biggest to date of my life. Luckily, I will be surrounded by good friends and some of the best obstacle racers and ultra marathoners in the world. If nothing else at the end of the day will have some incredible stories to tell and experiences to remember. Thankfully today they just extended the cut-off time to 18-hours here to a new goal in my training! See you in Nicaragua!