This past February my co-worker, Emily decided she was going to run a 5k race this year; running for her means actual running. While looking for one, she happened upon the Rugged Maniac 5k obstacle filled race in Rockingham NC. And immediately after stumbling upon it, she started recruiting me. She had pulled up their site to show me how awesome fun it would be to complete 25 obstacles, a couple of which included crawling through mud under barbed wire. My initial response was "Oh hell no. I am not paying people good money to crawl through mud under barbed wire." I mean what kind of crazy person would want to that? So "no." But then came her enthusiasm - lots of it and shiny too. Like a glitter-bomb. Yay, cool glitter; it will make things super cool looking. But "booooo" to a glitter-bomb; lots of junk to deal with. So her fervor sounded nice enough, but I was not falling for that mess. Then 2 days later, I fell for her excitement-filled mess. I said yes, told my husband, signed up and paid all while thinking, "what the hell am I doing?". A couple of days later, I called a great friend of mine, and her first response was something like "you signed up for what?" with some incredulousness in her tone. *which, to be honest, I felt the same way after registration and payment.* But then after talking about it, she was fully on-board with the idea. I decided to look upon this event as a Freedom Opportunity. And if you missed the post about Freedom Opportunities, here it is
So for any of you that has not heard of the Rugged Maniac run, here is what you get in this 3.1 miles littered with obstacles - a cool t-shirt, a medal, one free beer and free professional pictures. But first, you must pass through 25 obstacles, like the Frog Hop, Head Scratcher, Jacob's Ladder, Ninja, Tipping Point, Napoleon’s Complex, The Trenches and 18 others that I cannot recall the names of now. But here is their website to show you more http://www.ruggedmaniac.com/obstacles/
Besides me, Emily also recruited her sister, Taylor to join us for the big day of tough fun. So from mid-February to mid-May, we exercised more than normal. I mainly concentrated on getting stronger, because I knew I would need more upper body strength than I had, which was like that of a kid - enough to climb trees with but that was about all. I figured I would need more - not to the extent of a she-hulk, but somewhere in between. However, in the end, I think I became a slightly stronger kid. In April, Taylor became sick and her body became weak and after going to a doctor, she realized that she would not be able to run this rugged course with us. This was not a ruse or a ploy to back out; she didn't have any doubts about her decision or begin to feel like she was crazy for doing this. There was no 'what the F was I thinking' moment. So then she recruited her boyfriend Harry to take her place. He readily agreed and then later on realized he got hustled when he saw the obstacles. And then on the day of the race, he magically and conveniently became too tired and stressed out from the previous week's work to run with us. (hahaha! j/k Harry. I know you your back-out was genuine. ;-))
Anyway, on to the day of the big race, which was May 16, 2015. Emily and I knew we would need to eat big breakfasts mainly consisting of several eggs, because we would need all the energy we could get to make it through. We all meet up at Rockingham Dragway in the late morning for the big day. After registration and getting our shirts and bib numbers, we stood around and stretched while getting pumped up and waited for our 12p start time. To support us crazy women were our hubbies, her parents & nephew, her daughter Olivia and Taylor & Harry. Olivia decorated our shirts for the event, which in the end Emily forgo wearing. We named our team "Oli's Races," Oli being short for Olivia. So in foam letters, Oli put our team name on the front, our respective names on the back; and also on the back, she wrote in marker the race date and the other team member names. Oli was super cute, excited and encouraging. She was great to have around both before and after. There were a few thousand people running this race, and there were tons of team shirts. Some people wore tu-tus, others wore American themed gear and there was one man running in a kilt. We really hoped for his 'special' sake that he had something on underneath as there things to climb and mud to go through - not to mention people climbing up walls behind him. Hahaha!
In order to line up for the start, we had to climb a wall, roughly 5 feet tall; let me tell you, I am not a graceful person at all. While wiggling over the wall on my belly and trying to swing my legs over, I hit a guy with my foot. But he was gracious about it, because we all knew more hits and kicks were ahead of us. We set off, jogging at first, which turned to walking, to our 1st obstacle - climbing over 2 more walls. The 2nd obstacle was The Trenches, where you had to jump over, yep you guessed it, trenches, and there were 12 of them. They were about 5 feet deep. Want to know how I know that? I fell in one. Yep the very first one. I was running to it and at the last second, instead of leaping like I was supposed to, I panicked and fell in. So after climbing out and literally dusting myself off, I ran and jumped over the last 11. I will admit that I jumped over the ends rather than in the middle, because the ends were a little narrower. I would guess that on average the middle of each was about 4-5 feet wide. Then we climbed a tall wooden wall, which was probably about 15 feet high. It was easy because the 2x4 boards it was made of were quite easy to climb up and over.
I don’t remember the order of the obstacles, but I know we climbed over large mounds of sand, walked over a teeter totter, carried 25lb sand bags up and down a hill, climbed over more walls, jumped into and walked through 2 pools of cool, refreshing dirty water, crawled through pipes, crawled through mud under barbed wire (twice), went up and down stadium seating, walked over water while dodging extra-large bags (similar to what boxers use for practice), leaped over big floating “lilypads”, went over water while holding onto/swinging from rings, leaped over fire, and I don’t remember what else before the final obstacle. I do remember, though, that going up and down the stadium seating (especially going up) was a real bitch. Because you were not going up normal steps, no, you were going up the actual seats, which meant you had higher to step up. At the end of every ‘up’ and the end of every ‘down’ I had to stop for a minute and take a breather.
Also, while I attempted every obstacle, I did fail most of them, quite spectacularly. And the ones that involved going through/over water, I definitely hesitated for a couple of minutes before attempting them. For the Rings, where you had to swing across grabbing them to go over water, I did not make it past the 2nd ring. I would guess there were maybe close to 10 of them. I had a ring in each hand while standing on the platform. As soon as I left the platform, trying to reach for ring #3, I fell and hit hard. The next day, I had a rather large bruise on my derriere. For Frog Hop, where you had to jump onto/across 4 ‘lillypads’s, I made it to lillypad #2 and fell in while going for #3. Emily did super well at the Frog Hop and made it more than half way at The Rings.
And now to describe the last obstacle. It was a bitch too, but not nearly as bad as those awful awful stadium stairs. So the very last thing you did was slide down a roughly 50 feet wall into a shallow pool of muddy water. But here is how you got to the big slide – 1) you had to get a running start for a completely smooth, warped wall. The wall was concave. So you had to run up it as far as you could and then start looking for people’s hands to grab to get you up and over the top. I would guess that the wall was maybe somewhere around 20 feet high (I could be way off though). So, I run and get maybe close to half way up and there were 2 guys at the top who grabbed my hands and got me over. It was not an easy task for them. As I said, the wall was completely smooth, so it was quite difficult to get any footing, so as they held onto and pulled me, I was basically dead weight in their hands. One gut had me lift my leg so he could grab that and make it a little easier for he and the other guy. Once they got me over the top and go to set me down, I still really did not have much control over my arms and leg, and so landed (softly) on my back and was basically like a turtle with my arms and feet sticking straight up. Again, I have no grace. I was incredibly thankful that those 2 guys were there to help me out and that they were quite strong!! Once I got righted, then there was a cargo net to climb over to make my way to the top of the slide.
I will say through it all, Emily was especially encouraging and supportive. She was not overly pushy but would not let me give up. So about half way through, I started calling her drill sergeant, shortened to sarge. But she was probably the only nice drill sergeant that has ever lived. ;-) She was faster, completed nearly every obstacle before I did, and had loads more energy, gusto & eagerness than I. I told her multiple times throughout the course how much I appreciated her patience at my slowness and her encouragement, and I wanted to write out my immense gratefulness. We finished the course in 1 hour and 42 minutes. We figured about 5-10 of those minutes were spent waiting to at some obstacles in order to complete/attempt them.
So the Rugged Maniac company puts on a rocking party for their events. They have a foam pit, bounce house, mechanical bull, band and food & drink tents. When I first signed up for this rugged adventure and even when we arrived that morning, I believed that I would want to stay around and enjoy the fun. Well after finishing that 3.1 miles of doing some tough stuff, I was ready to go home. Despite the falls, not successfully completing every obstacle, going up and down those bastard stadium seats and that really challenging wall at the end, I had a great time and I really did have fun. I would definitely want to do another mud run in the near future – maybe my next one will be less intense.
*As soon as I can make things work in blogger, I will have pictures for this in a separate post*