Race Report: “Bustin’ my a** for NYARA at the USARA National Championships”

Amy from Team NYARA Master’s has their race report from USARA Nationals. They took 3rd in the Masters division — AWESOME! We are super excited to share their story — its pretty epic. Here’s Amy:

This year’s USARA’s National Championships started with a brisk hike/run uphill followed by 3 requisite laps on a whitewater course with a child’s boogie board and no fins. Little did we know at the time, this would be the only running we would do the entire race.

Bruce Swanson volunteered to do at least two of the three laps, with Rodney doing one. Bruce set out on the first lap and it took him a little longer than expected. But we finally saw him coming out of the water and after a quick transition, Rodney set off. As we were waiting for Rodney, Bruce told me about getting caught in the last eddy and briefly mentioned whacking his tailbone as he had initially heeded the race director’s advice about going down the course “feet first” – in retrospect, not a good move.   Rodney completed his lap quickly, Bruce completed the final lap and we started heading back downhill to transition to our bikes. It was on the way down the hill that Bruce mentioned that he was in a good amount of pain and really couldn’t run.

If you know Bruce, you would know that he is as tough as nails – actually, tougher, and unbelievably fit. He is the one who is usually carrying my pack (and his own) while towing me and still urging me to run faster (in a nice way). Before the race, we heard all of his stories about his win at the Team Death Race just the weekend before. Just listening to the stories made me cringe, while you could tell that he reveled in the pain and suffering. For Bruce to say that he couldn’t run, I knew something was really wrong and I was worried.

So, what did we do – we continued on. We biked, paddled and walked the rest of the race (over 29 hours) while Bruce took ibuprofen every 6. Rodney’s nav was spot on (except for one minor detour up the wrong mountain, which was the only nav error of our entire race and really only cost us about 30 minutes due to Rodney and Bruce quickly solving the problem.)

As the morning came, I was not feeling so strong on the bike. Bruce offered to tow me and continued to do so for hours up every big hill. I still do not know how he did this! (Turns out, I had the start of a cold, which I’ve now had all week – I just couldn’t figure out why my nose kept running like a faucet…) He also literally dragged me up the ski hill to get one last foot point at the end – truly inbelievable!

In the end, we got 38 checkpoints in 29 hours and 33 minutes – good enough for 3rd in the Master’s Division. I have never been so proud of a 3rd place finish or of my team.

After waiting a few days to get a doctor appointment, it turns out, Bruce fractured his tailbone. I am not surprised, but completely in awe (and proud). If a broken tailbone is not enough, here is a pic of his wetsuit. Ouch!

Bruce wetsuit

Good teammates are everything.

-Amy B

Thanks Amy and great job Team NYARA Masters! You all killed it! Bruce is an animal 🙂

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