There have been a few races recently that deserve a write-up, but I have struggled with how to go about it.
In my mind, all of the OCR world forms a spectrum from the fun, relatively easy mud runs to the horrendously tough, soul-stomping challenges that teach you what you are made of.
The events that rip out your soul and beat it with a sledge hammer- those are easy to do a write up of. What I conquered, what I got mangled by, what I learned, all at the front of my mind.
The other end of the spectrum: Fun as all get-out, some difficulty, but often hard to find a focus as to what it developed in me, what deserves to be said, etc. With that said, here is the story of two such races.
Held at a ski resort with reasonably hilly terrain, atmosphere of the other athletes was good, obstacles were fun but not all that noteworthy. The water slide is the only one that really stands out from most other races.
One of the athletes was a young man who had lifted a lot of weights, but admitted he had never run more than a mile. I slowed my pace to match him and encouraged him on, and we both got through it.
The other standout memory was not actually part of the race, but the mechanical bull in the festival area.
Let me start with my one criticism of this race, because I really did like this one and I want to get this out of the way: $25 each for race photos. Really. And you only managed to get one. I see.
So, all the readers must take me at my word that I made this look GOOD… Photos here stolen from Savage Race’s Facebook page.
I had assumed that the Southlands in November would be a safe bet for weather, but the weather turned just a few days before the race and it was cold, wet and nasty, and the rain kicked up just as we were entering the starting corrals.
I did something I almost never do: I skipped the first obstacle. It was an ice bath, I was unsure of doing it at the very start of a 10K, so I went around it. Doing it again, I would have done the obstacle, the cold passed quickly as I got moving. It didn’t matter much, as the next obstacle had me on my back in cold water less than 100 yards later.
A lot of obstacles were familiar with modifications. The slip wall with a shorter rope, so you either need a running start to grab the rope or have a teammate boost you up. Running up a halfpipe to grab a rope that you must climb vertically from that point on.
Their signature Sawtooth monkey bars were situated after so much slick mud that very few people made it across. Although in fairness the weather is more to blame for that than the race director.
The upside down cargo net over a slip-n-slide was cool, and gave me a lot of ideas for home training. Lie on your back and pull yourself up under the cargo net.
The last obstacle was the electrified low crawl. Myself and the three I had teamed up with along the course got on line just in front of the wires, someone said GO and we all charged in. I got tagged at the back of the skull and it slammed my face solidly into the ground, all the other shocks I got going through were minor.
All in all these were both REALLY fun races, and I do recommend them. They are much more like Warrior Dash in the sense that it is a good time with some challenge involved, rather than the other races that are an epic challenge that happens to be fun for us crazies.