Questival Race Recap

So… What is Questival? Well, it’s whatever you want it to be!

Questival is a 24-hour adventure race put on by a Salt Lake City based outdoor gear company called Cotopaxi. Their main objective as a company is not only to produce great gear, but also to encourage people to incorporate service into their adventuring. It comes to no surprise that the Cotopaxi moto is “Gear for Good”.

Cotopaxi puts on Questival in a handful of cities mostly on the western side of the United States. If you win, you get a fully funded service trip to Latin America for everyone on your team (teams are 2-6 people). So, how do you win? Questival has an app called Questify, where you are able to see all of the quests and what they are worth in points. The team with the most points wins. There is also a peer review component where creativity is rewarded for other prizes.

Questival began promptly at 7:30 on Friday night. We got to Dallas around 7:00 and checked in and walked around the kickoff party. It was a pretty crazy scene… tons of people running around with the super cute Cotopaxi backpacks and a few llamas (Cotopaxi means llama). There was even a dude dressed as a llama… llamas were a pretty obvious, and rather strange, theme to the whole event. The swag was pretty awesome for this race and included a crazy colorful 18 L backpack.


After a kickoff party where the dude dressed as a llama encouraged a crowd of 200 people to dance, we were off and Questival had begun. We started by trying to complete the challenges that required other teams like “exchange shoelaces with a stranger from another team”, which earned like 6 points.

Trading shoe laces.

We were off and we were going fast! We hit up all of the challenges right around us and then started driving into downtown Fort Worth. Off in the distance, we saw a giant stadium lights and remembered that one of the challenges was to cheer on a random team at a random sporting event. We quickly got off the highway and found the “Smokin’ Guns”, an adult recreational baseball team that was kicking some other baseball teams butt (like 14-0). We of course cheered them on with our rather pathetic signs and were off.

Downtown Fort Worth was rather quiet, so we completed our tasks, hopped in the car and decided it was time to find a campground. It was already past 11:00 pm and many of the challenges were camping related. So, by this point, our team, The Bat Llamas, were in 4th place and were getting excited that maybe we had a chance at winning. We went out to a state park and realized that the campground was locked. We frantically called as many campgrounds as possible… all were full. So, by 1:00 am, we had no campground.

We were still in 4th, but we knew without a little sleep and a campground that we were going to fall in the rankings. We decided to go to a quiet park in the middle of nowhere and hope no one stopped us from sleeping there.

Well… within minutes, a cop came. He seemed pretty skeptical of us and clearly wanted to search the car, but had no real reason to do so. He looked in all of the windows, asked us a bunch of questions and told us to leave. We were stuck, now around 2:00 am, still without a campsite.

While driving around, we found a KOA campground that still had a campsite left. Unfortunately, there was no one there to take our money. Out of desperation, we slept for a few hours, Frank and I in our bivvy sacks, Ben laying under a tarp, and Zeb in the car. About two hours later, we woke up, and left the KOA (sorry KOA, but no one was awake to take our money and there was no drop box).

We looked at the standings, it was around 5:30 am, and now we were in 30th place. Oh well! We decided to do some of the more fun challenges since we were clearly not going to win.

We went to downtown Dallas, where there were TONS of people with Questival flags taking pictures and videos. This is where I got to do my favorite challenge, singing a song Karaoke style, in the middle of a crowded pedestrian area of DT Dallas. The only song I feel confident singing alone is Bohemian Rhapsody… so I owned it. Now… I didn’t just sing it. I went all out, dancing around, following my teammates and belting it to Queen. Oh… and yes, I can hit the high note (and I did). People were taking video of me, a few people were following me as I did this. Honestly, it was a liberating experience. If you ever want to just feel like a rockstar… go sing some Queen down a crowded street like no one is watching.

We ran around the rest of the day, visiting parks, the farmer’s market, statues, and historic buildings before we finally made it to the final checkpoint and the finish time. We didn’t win. Actually, we came in 29th place, but we won the “Most Congenial” award (not sure how that was calculated. The race workers did like us a lot though). We had a ton of fun and I would totally do it again.

Seriously, check out the website and see if Questival is coming near you. It’s a pretty wild good time!

We fended off giant dragon flies.
We posed with Mark Twain.
We ran the KATY trail (after getting no sleep)
We saw llamas… cause everyone loves llamas!
We rode mechanical bulls like the Texans do! 
Basically, we had a great time!

Colfax Marathon Training Week 11: Cutback and Questival

Happy Monday Everyone!!

This week was a bit of a nutty one, although it was a cutback week on my mileage. I gotta say, I wasn’t too sad about not running once I saw a bunch of snow in our forecast. I absolutely hate running in snow. Even though I cut back in mileage this week, I still had a “race” of sorts to do on Friday night/Saturday. I kept the mileage this week low because Frank and I participated in a 24-hour adventure race in Dallas with two of our friends, which included a lot of running. Even though we were out-of-towners (we live in Manhattan, KS which is about 7 hours from Dallas), we still rocked the race. Recap will be coming soon… but trust me, it was pretty weird.

The Batllama Questival Team – only like 3 hours in and Ben is already asleep.

Monday: 5.5 Miles at Recovery Pace + Yoga

After a long day of work, I did an evening run with a few friends that are training for their first half marathon. We kept it slow and steady, especially since I was recovering from a pretty tough tempo session the day before. My legs felt a little heavy and overused, so I knew that this cutback week was going to serve me well.

Tuesday: 5.1 Miles at Goal Half Marathon Pace + Yoga

I felt good starting on this run, but I started to notice some pretty nasty stomach pain that I was having. I didn’t think too much of it and just kept chugging along. Eventually, it just got too bad and I dipped into the local running store to use their bathroom. Unfortunately, I had my period… Weird for me to be a few days early, but whatevs (sorry for the TMI, but we’re all runners here… and mostly women). I was happy to see that the stomach issues were not actually stomach related. I tried to up the pace and get back to my car ASAP. I did a little yoga in the evening and that made me feel a lot better.

Wednesday: Rest Day

 Thursday: 12 mile Long Run

I guess when you get to the point where you are doing 18 and 20 mile runs, 12 miles just doesn’t seem that far. This run didn’t even feel like a long run. I kept the pace slow, but was surprised by how short 12 miles felt. Like seriously, 12 miles used to be ridiculously long!! Now, it’s just a normal no big deal run. The pace was a little faster than I would have liked. Around mile 6, the KSU men’s cross country team came up from behind me and took off into the distance. My competitive spirit kicked in a little and I upped the pace to keep up (like yeah right)… after about a half mile I tried to slow it way down. It took me another mile or so to get my pacing right and I kept it slow for the rest of the way home.

Friday: Questival Begins

I have no idea how much running I was doing, but we were running from challenge to challenge. We also slept for maybe two hours. I am going to write a full recap of this soon, but this is a short list of some of the more crazy things that happened:

  1. This picture:
When dragonflies attack?

2. A cop coming to kick us out of a state park after dark – while we were having a peanut butter explosion in the car

3. I sang Bohemian Rhapsody in the middle of down town Dallas with my headphones in as loud as I could and embarrassed my entire team (this was a liberating experience)

4. I ran 1 mile on a trail in one of my nicest dresses

5. We cheered on a random baseball team with signs and everything at a city park

I’ll give you that much for now… more to come in the recap, but we did like over 50 things.

Saturday: Questival Ends (7 pm), 3.5 mile run at easy pace + 1 mile trail run (in a dress)

After running in a dress, I understand why running clothing companies make their clothes the way they do. After only one mile, I felt sticky and incredibly gross. Frank and I also ran 3.5 miles on the KATY trail through downtown Dallas. This is a beautiful trail and if you are ever in Dallas, you should check it out.

Team Batllama getting up close and personal with a statue of Mark Twain

Sunday: Hiked and Drove Home

After a long day, we camped in a state park in Oklahoma and went hiking the next morning. Pretty uneventful.

Total Miles: 27 + running around for Questival

Overall, it was a nice and easy week of running. I think I got my sleep schedule back on track, so this week will be back up to high mileage. I have my first 20-miler on Friday. I am a little nervous because this week and the next one are pretty intense on the mileage. If I make it through this… I am basically there. I’ll only have one recovery and one last tough week before starting the taper. Seriously… this whole Marathon thing is getting very real!!

How was your week? Did you race this weekend? How do you usually feel at peak marathon training?

Thinking Out Loud: Random thoughts on running and travel

This is my 100th post!!!!!! Woohoo!

I am going to try something new this week! I’ve never linked up to “thinking out loud” and I figured I’d give it a try. There’s no theme, just random thoughts and ideas about running and whatever else I’m thinking about.

  1. This week has been a recovery week in my training, however, I feel like I am not doing anything at all. I feel like I’ve come so far in these past 10 weeks and I really want to keep going hard and running fast. It’s been really fun to see these big improvements so quickly and all I want is to see more! It’s like addicting. It is taking every bit of my reasoning (and fear of getting injured) to not push this week… to lay low, chill out, and give my body some time to reset. I also only have a few weeks of heavy training left before the taper. Three to be exact. The next two weeks will be 50+ miles, and then I have another recovery before the biggest week of this training cycle.
  1. And to bounce off of the thoughts in number 1… I am pretty proud and impressed that I have remained strong, on top of my training, and injury free. Even thought the injury was not running related, getting hurt heading into Chicago definitely messed with my head. I am just happy that things have been going smooth and that it seems like I am going to make it to this start line ready to go!
  1. I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT QUESTIVAL!! I head out to Dallas on Friday before the start of the adventure race. I have no idea what to expect! There will be lots of stuff to do, pictures to take, and very little sleep. This is my kind of trip!!! For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, you know that I tend to cram lots of stuff into my weekends, like insanely long hikes and weird little travel stops. I feel like I have been training for this adventure race for my entire relationship with Frank. This is our thing! We have two other friends that are coming with us… and I’ve already warned them that there will be no sleeping and lots of fast paced travel. We probably wont win… but darn it… I am going to try! Also, our team name is “Bat Llama”… long story.
I still don’t really know what it is…
  1. In other travel news, pending good weather, we are going to be heading out to Colorado in a few weeks to summit Longs Peak. This is a notoriously tough 14er within the bounds of Rocky Mountain National Park. The weather out there is frequently bad, but if things look good, we’re going to go for it. The only problem is… This is during the peak week of my training. I have not decided if I am going to cut back a few miles to accommodate this tough hike. The thing is, I am usually pretty good at doing stuff like this. I am not bothered by altitude and I’ve been going out to CO for 14er climbing for a while now. I feel like, although it will be challenging, that it wont disrupt my training. The end of the climb will also kick off the beginning of my taper. I am not sure if there is a better way to do that!
We’re gonna climb that giant mountain!!

Thanks everyone for reading my long and rambling thoughts. Thanks to Amanda at Running with Spoons for hosting the linkup!


What are your random thoughts?