Ever since running my first 5k back in June, I've been absolutely dying to do an obstacle race. My original plan was to trek seven hours to Mountain City, Georgia in May for Warrior Dash until my lovely friend Sarah decided on the same date for her impending nuptials. I'd still like to run this race, but it looks like I'll have to wait until next year! But once I realized that these amazing races existed, I knew I had to get in on the action as soon as possible, so waiting a year was out of the question. I asked my sister to join me for the Rugged Maniac instead. The race is extremely similar and about six hours closer to home! Her Bootcamp trainer decided to get in on the action with us, so we set out bright and early this morning to what I can only describe as the middle of flipping NOWHERE to find out just how rugged we were.
My first sight of the steep hills sent my nerves in a tailspin. I'm a slow runner and my stamina is pretty lame. Would I really be able to make it through the course? Just in case, I told my sister I'd (hopefully) see her at the finish line if we were to get separated and prayed I could at least keep up enough to not be last. In the event I did end up collapsing of weenie-ness, I'd want someone to see me and know to get help.
At 11:00 sharp, the horn sounded and we took off running up and down numerous steep and muddy hills and around sharp curves. It wasn't long before we came to our first obstacle: a not-so-slippery slide meant to propel us fast to the next: a 4 foot deep mud pit lined with booey barricades that we had to pull ourselves over or swim under to complete. The cold water definitely woke us up to prepare for the 7-Foot Tall Hurdles! Being able to pull myself up and over without needing assistance made me feel pretty awesome (thanks, Bootcamp & Chris DeRoo)! I was also glad to see that the next three hurdles were all shorter (6-Feet, 5-Feet, 4-Feet). I would've welcomed a break at this point, but steep hills and sugar sand didn't exactly allow for it!
As I predicted, a pre-race Redbull gave my sister and her trainer wings so they were definitely long gone by this point. I continued the trek, crawling under and leaping over various hurdles, climbing a 12 foot tall cargo net, leaping from log to log in an attempt to stay out of water, and running through a wall of hanging tires before a nice two-mile trot through the forest, entirely on sugar sand. Talk about a butt workout!
Just when I was starting to get over it, I heard music and cheering and then a "YOU'RE ALMOST THERE!" Of course, we couldn't be expected to cross the finish line without first walking a balance beam 15 feet over water and crawling on our bellies through the mud under barbed wire! Though my sister finished a good seven minutes before me, she met me at the end of the mud pit to take the Prometheus Leap over fire before hitting the finish line! I never had access to a mirror, but something tells me I gave a whole new definition to the term "hot mess".
This was by far the most fun fitness adventure I've had to date! The past couple of weeks have been rough on my fitness and I've been getting a bit down about it. Today reminded me that, yes, I am strong and all the work I put in at the gym has paid off. Mud Run is coming to Actionville on March 26th and I'm pretty sure I'm going to take it on and make it my biatch while supporting the MS society!
Don't know if an obstacle race is your thing? Check out this article for a rundown. Interested in running a race in your area? A quick google search of "Obstacle Races 2011" will pull up all sorts of options for you to get out, get dirty, and show your tough side!