So I had thought the race was 2 miles shorter than it was. Not a good mistake to make. Oh well nothing left for but to continue on. I mean I was all dressed up…or I guess half dressed at this point as I’d lost my pants and shoes, but hey you get the point. So off we go.
It’s only a few yards to the next obstacle, walk up a hill and back down, then back up, then back down, because repetition is fun fun. The twist? Carry a bag of sand, something like 20 pounds. Not something that will break you just sap your strength for later. Sadly my arms are my weakness here so I’m alittle worried. I decide to place it on my head for a little extra support and quickly realize it will balance without any need for my hands. And what do you know but I’ve been spending the past year training to carry a 20+ pound metal object supported completely on my head and neck. Suddenly this became a rest obstacle.
Look ma, no hands!!
Hill completed we start to jog again as a team, but one of the girls is having some trouble. A chronic injury to her hip flexor is starting to flair up so we have to slow our jog a little bit. Still she keeps it at a jogging pace, not slowing to a walk. We reach the next obstacle, just a flat wall, 10 ft up or so, followed by a ladder of sorts. We hoist each other up and scale with no issues. However immediately after I run into the worst obstacle of the course. Cow shit.
Remember I’m in socks now. Not exactly comfortable or sanitary. Let’s just say that sock didn’t make it the whole way back and I paid alot closer attention to the footing.
So now I’m barefoot on one foot, stockinged on the other and we reach our next obstacle, carry a bunch of rocks up hill. Than carry then back down….Hmm this sounds familiar. And also counter productive. Why not carry the rocks up the hill and build something cool out them, like a giant rock fort? Whatever I’m not the course designer not my place to question I guess.
There was nothing really interesting about the obstacle but I did meet a group of ladies all 50+ and one over 60 running the race. That may be one of the most bad ass things ever. Go ladies, you rock.
Speaking of things that rock, I found a bone club in the next portion of open running. There was just this giant, thigh(?) bone sitting there with a huge round nub that look perfect for cracking skulls. It was maybe 16 inches long fit perfect in my hand. So I figured I’m running in armor, might as well have a weapon, and it came with us the rest of the run. I intend to make it into a real weapon if I ever get free time later.
Nothing particularly exciting happened for about a mile. We hopped a series of walls 8,7, and 6 feet tall in order and pulled a giant bag of sand up 50 feet in the air using as pulley and rope. Maybe something else but I’m forgetting it if there was. Trail was fine nothing great nothing terrible. And then my most embarrassing moment of the day happened.
The obstacle was throw a spear(really just a large tent post) into a a target of hay at 10 yards. The only obstacle that had anything to do with actual warrior traditions and here I am all dressed in medieval armor. I better be able to pull this off or I’ll look like a huge fool.
So 30 burpees later we find ourselves climbing another wooden ladder type platform maybe 30-50 feet(again distance is hard) to walk across a large gap using a cargo net pulled tight. You could walk or crawl across and I tried walking. Discovered a minor fear of heights as a guy basically ran past and his steps shook the net to the point I really questioned my balance. I also questioned the choice to not have a second safety net. Loudly. I mean I get they are strong and meant to hold a few hundred if not thousand pounds but what if a support blows or something? I mean shit does happen. I was reminded of the word of the day though. Waiver. Right, I signed it, oh well. Hope the thing doesn’t break.
Climb down, and discover climbing down facing forward, so your ass is to the ladder is the way to do it. Saved you a half a second at the top and bottom and makes jumping off at the bottom way easier. I’m riding a bit of an adrenaline rush from that net so I just take off into the woods rather than running with the team. It was GNARLY. Roots and stones everywhere, sections maybe a foot wide, lots of elevation changes. Great fun. 10/10 Would run again.
Anyway, come out of that to a climbing wall. It’s a horizontal boulder and the grips are just small blocks of wood, spaced out maybe 2-4 feet between them. One row for the feet, one for the hand, it seems pretty easy with no real strategy. Turned out not to be true. The wall made 2 L turns so there was a blind corner you had to reach around and a number of times I had to make foot transitions on the same block before I could move onto the next block. I was getting tapped by the end and I had 2 transitions to make till I reached the bell that signaled the end of the obstacle. I really didn’t want to do burpees but I ddin’t think I had the strength to make the last two steps. I look to the ref and ask “All I have to do is touch the bell right? no other qualifications?”
He just nods, so I take a second to prepare myself. I had spent my last time in the climbing gym practicing my dyno’s(Jumps) and it seemed it was test time. Sure I had sucked there but who knows maybe it’s easier when you don’t actually have to grab and hold. I press of with my whole body and swing forward laying out fingers stretched. I feel them brush metal and just air. As I hit the ground both calfs seize instantly and I curl in pain..but I hear the bell ring and smile. That was pretty epic.
Made up for it in the next one though when I barely make onto the obstacle. It’s a long bar you have to hang from and work your way down before transitioning to a set of ropes and finishing with rings. I didn’t even get onto the ropes. So to burpee town I go. I don’t exactly bang mine out but I do finish slightly ahead of the girls, catch my breath and get back to it. I ask if they’re down to run, get nods and take off into the muddiest trail I’ve ever been on. I pass a few people but the sides where it’s somewhat sturdy are backed up so I plow through the middle. I sink in past my knees, but fuck it, I said I was running so I keep pushing. Manage to keep up a bit of a pace and churn my way through. However 2 steps out of the mud and my calves refuse to work. Luckily I got break as the girls got blocked by the people.
We pump through another climbing obstacle and when we get to the end the ref says we’re at the end, and in fact I can see the last obstacle off to my left. Can’t be more than a half mile left. I suggest we run it all the way in and the girls agree so we take off. I leave em behind pretty quickly and start passing a few people. My energy is still pretty up from resting at alot of the obstacles after finishing them so I’m not exactly fresh, as my calves trying to quit on me prove but I got some serious tank left. I tried to push it to what I figured my actual 5 mile race pace would be, maybe 8 min mile, and every time I pass some one try and pump them up to run it all the way in.
But I’m an idiot and turns out there’s another obstacle. Got to do a log farmers carry around a flag and back. FUCK. Not ready for this. Stop, catch my breath and regret my life decisions. After a decent time regretting the girls catch up and it’s time to work. I lift em up and power walk my way around that flag. My arms really wanted to quit but I was able to get through it, only because I could still move kinda quick.
Now we really are at the end as we pass a 5 mile sign. There’s a small steep down hill I sprint down, then back up another hundred yards or so. A slanted wall to climb with a rope to help you up, then a rope ladder wall, and finally jump a fire. Finally done, dirty, tired, slightly broken, but damn happy. Can’t wait for the next one