Where have you been?- Catching up on blog posts

For various reasons I have not posted write-ups of any of my events over the past few months, so here is an overview of what I failed to post about. Photos from these events were harder to find than normal, likely helping me to put off writing about them, so this post will be much shorter on both details and photos than my standard. Trust that this will be corrected with my next post.

Warrior Dash Nebraska

I had not done a Warrior Dash since my first year of racing, and it was good to get a fun, relatively easy event in. A friend who had intended to race with me had to drop out, but gave me her bib to do a second lap.

Terrain was good, obstacles were fun (if a little repetitive with so many being up-and-over climbing structures) and a few obstacles were awesome. The cargo net monkey bars over the balance rope:

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And Goliath, an incline wall leading to a balance beam (with hand ropes) and a water slide.

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The water slide lead into the final mud crawl. The exit from the mud was treacherously slick, so I ended up making myself an anchor point for those behind me.

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Wedding

On the 20th of June I was married to my lovely wife Stephanie.

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Minnesota Spartan

I was excited to run a Spartan course again, and also excited that it would be the kids’ first race.

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The course was brutal, steep terrain. Obstacles were tough, but mostly fun, although a few had been set up in a way that made them little more than glorified burpee stations. Lots of new racers helped along the way, good times.

Rucking Disneyland

We flew out the next day to take the kids to California for a family honeymoon. Rucking all our gear around Disneyland, playing in the waves at the beach, and all around having a good time.

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Creston Q125 Rambler Challenge

As soon as we got back from Cali, I left for Creston Nebraska to help friends set up and run a small-town home-grown OCR (brainchild of the illustrious Schmitty Modello Smitty).

I helped with setup and signage, then ran after the main wave had finished. Very clever use of what we had, stilt-walk obstacle, dunk tank, bucket carries. We tied strings between guardrails to make high-knees, and the most ingenious bit was this contraption made from shipping crates:

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The race was well-received, everyone had a good time, and with any luck we will get to do it again.

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DWD Devil’s Lake 50M 50K

This was my first attempt at a 50 miler. Extremely tough terrain slowed me down and I had to drop to the 50K. Two major items of note: The views from the top of the bluff are worth the entry fee all by themselves, and this is the first time I have finished a 50K and felt like I could have continued on if I had had the time. Next year, try it again.

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Tough Mudder Twin Cities

My previous experience with Tough Mudder made me wonder if they knew how to put on an event. This time, they redeemed themselves and more. A storm had damaged many of the obstacles on Friday, and they still managed to put on a great event on Sunday. Great terrain (much of it on a paintball course that I now need to play on), obstacles that were tough but doable and enjoyable, and having lockers as an alternative to bag drop is a GREAT idea.

There are races every so often that let you see the kind of racer you are. For me, getting lines of people out of mud pits, over walls, and spending 20 minutes pulling people over the top of Everest, these things were the highlight of my race. I love seeing what we can do together more than testing what I can do alone.

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The Ultimate SUCK 12 hour (DNF)

I trained for this assuming that it would be like the 2014 Midwest SUCK that I made it through. Two things I had neglected to consider: Each SUCK event is different, and the Ultimate is intentionally the toughest.

The start was familiar, calisthenics warmup, run down the road to a river, carry buckets of water back. Then I was told to drop off the buckets, grab a sandbag, and return for more instructions. I made the mistake at this point of not topping off my hydration bladder, assuming what was still in it would be enough to get me through the 2-3 hours that the next movement would take. I am slower than most, so this would take me much longer than the suggested 2-3 hours.

Take the sandbag, down the road until you find a river. When I reached the river, burpees in the water, then take the sandbag up the river until you find someone to give you more instructions.

A long way in the dark, falling down in the mud and having trouble getting back up, often wondering if I had somehow gone the wrong way, until we finally found the bridge that would be our focal point for the next several hours.

Do 100 of whatever calisthenic they tell you on the bridge, popover pushups, sandbag situps, hand release pushups, etc. Run a half mile down the road and back, to be assigned another set of exercises.

Next I was sent further up the river, swam across two ponds, and came to the gas chamber. I went in, pepper spray was sprayed into the room, 10 burpees (calling out the count so the volunteers outside could open the door when I was done) and out to recover in a kiddie pool of pond water.

Next was a series of ropes to climb, each failure to reach the top to be punished by 25 cinder block burpees. I failed all the rope climbs and ended up with 100 block burpees.

Log flip challenge, then back across the ponds and down the river. I had run out of water at the gas chamber. The volunteers were nice enough to give me water to keep going, but water was all they had to offer, and I was out of food and electrolytes. I made it back to the bridge and through a few more exercise-run-exercise cycles. Somewhere in the set of Navy Seal burpees, I started fighting a wicked headache. I rested a bit then tried to knock out a few more. The headache spiked and my balance went wonky, sending me to my knees. At this point I asked the volunteer who was there to call for medical.

They brought me something to eat, helped me back to base camp, made sure I was okay and I dropped out of the event.

Going forward:

My less than stellar performance at the Iron, DWD and the SUCK have convinced me I need to take some time off of the big, pushing-my-limits events and focus in on training. For 2016, I am keeping my event schedule limited to the types of events that I have finished well, nothing much beyond a GRC or Tough Mudder. I have my training plans lined up, and will be back at the crazy events in 2017.

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