Of course I looked like this at the end of it:
We started off the day by meeting some of my coworkers in the company parking lot around 9:00 am. Others left from other locations.
We drove up there from that point. It took about an hour and 45 minutes to get there. When we got there we parked in a parking spot in a field so far away from the event that I've actually walked closer to 4 miles today. We joked about it being the first obstacle and the last.
Checking in was quite easy. They gave us not only numbers to pin to our shirts but a small RFID tag designed to fit through the shoelaces or in my case the Velcro. That along with sensors on the path marked our time. Looking around I was a little relieved to find other people of my size partaking in this challenge not just observing.
Starting out we all lined up in a giant chute-like path. Eventually to start us off they fired two giant jets of fire off the top of the starting gate. They fired them several times as people were running through and damn they were warm against the back of my neck!
I was bunched with my coworkers and was able to keep running for the first quarter mile then chose to fall back because I was winded and I wanted to save my strength for the obstacles. I walked the rest of the course.
(Fair warning - it's starting to blur right now and while I remember the obstacles I may have them in the wrong order.)
The first minor thing was a small ravine with a stream in it and mud on both sides. This was easy and succeeded in getting my shoes full of mud. (5-Finger Vibrams need to be _exactly_ sized. If not and you get mud in them they become uber slippery. I'm just saying.)
The first real obstacle was what they called The Crush. It consisted of limbo boards strung with barbed wire alternating with short walls. That one tired me out almost immediately.
The next obstacle was a short set of boards that ramped up and down with foot grabs on them. I literally walked over those without even a single pause.
There was a dirt hill. That was easy enough. Up one side then down the other. Though I did fall when I got to the bottom.
After that came the tunnels under barbed wire that we had to crawl through. That was easy also.
After that was a strung set of cargo nets across a horizontal platform. That killed my knees but I was able to get by that fairly quickly as well.
Regardless by this time I was extremely tired. And the course only has two water stations so I was pretty thirsty. Somewhere before this was the first watering station and I was breathing through my mouth a lot so I was losing moisture and my mouth dried out something fierce.
The next obstacle was a 12 foot wall with ropes hanging down from it. I honestly had no problem with it. I was tired but I was able to easily climb it and go down the other side. Not surprising as I've always been a good climber.
Next came water. Unfortunately I couldn't drink any of it. It was a small but fairly deep pond with a square of large plastic floats in the middle with a hole in the center of the assembly. You had to swim out to it, get up one side of the floats, swim through the center, get up on the other side of the floats, then swim to shore. I almost didn't get up onto the second set of floats. I clearly need more upper body strength.
(Before we go on I'm going to type a short note about...shorts. Specifically when shorts that are on a pear shaped person and filled with water or mud. They will want to come off at every opportunity and presented an obstacle in and of themselves. Glad I wore boxer-briefs. Next year...swimming trunks.)
And then came the mud...
Rounding a corner I came across a line of muddy hills with people climbing up them. Or trying to. We were allowed to bypass one set of hills without compromising our completions and I chose to do so because I was tired.
At the bottom of each hill is a pool of mud. And let me tell you it is bizarrely not only slippery but completely sticky as well. I had a hell of a time staying standing and even fell a couple of times. Needless to say there were ropes you could grab and I grabbed one and twirled it around my arm as I climbed the hills. In the end I got through with quite a lot of mud on me but unscathed.
From there (while wishing for water) we went to a modified military crawl...in the mud...under barbed wire...and eventually under a muddy net. This was where I got mud on my glasses. I was full of mud so fortunately it only obscured part of one lense and I could not clean it off.
Immediately after was a tall hill and at the top a 12 foot cargo net that we had to climb up and back down again. (Two nets in an a-frame configuration.) I paused at the bottom of the start of the net then slowly put one foot in and just started climbing. I was able to get over and back down the other side without a problem. A kind soul gave me some encouragement when I started my downward climb.
Rounding the corner after that we came upon the fire pits. I walked to those then put on a burst of speed and hurdled them without issue. I even got fanfare. Which felt....weird.
Finally we entered the mud pit which was long troughs of muddy water with barbed wire over them. I started to crawl through these then realized that I had enough depth to float my body and pull myself along the bottom with my legs stretched out behind me. To get out of the pit though I had to do a beached-whale kind of belly flop because I literally couldn't stand up and get out. It was that slippery.
Tired but proud I walked along the finish line and got my medal and met up with my friends who surprisingly weren't that far ahead of me.
After resting and taking in water we walked down to the lake "The Warrior Wash" and removed 90% of the mud. I found I had a completely solid mud helmet when I put my hand on my head.
I enjoyed this whole thing immensely and will definitely be doing it next year. Afterwards I was not hungry for at least an hour and a half. That was actually very cool. I didn't partake of the turkey legs but I did have one cob of corn because I love corn.
I also want to make something clear. All through this my wife was facing some challenges of her own. She's been dealing with a compressed disk in her neck and having a rough time of it. She was in pain most of the day and except for the race she followed me everywhere without complaint. She volunteered to watch everyone's bags and wallets and thus didn't walk to the spectator places to cheer me on.
But I knew she was there. And that was important.
My end time for a 3 mile obstacle course? 1 hour, 14 minutes. I ranked 451 out of about 600 in the 40+ male group.
Some final notes before I pass out here on the couch:
1) Wear sunscreen. Mud is only half of the course and you'll easily get sun-burnt if it's sunny out.
2) Simple shorts and a simple shirt. There is a best costume contest (one of my coworkers ran with a white sun dress over his clothes - it was awesome!) but if you're not competing in that then don't bother.
3) If you're overweight at all train beforehand. I changed my diet and got a tiny bit more exercise. And next year I will have hopefully been working out at the gym before doing it again. I don't mean to be flippant or offensive but if you're above a certain weight but below a certain height you're going to have problems with some of the obstacles. I'm 5' 7" and weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 220lbs. I was able to fit through the modified military crawl okay. But a large person would not have been able to do so. Which brings me to number 4...
4) If you don't care about a completion then just run it and skip any obstacles you don't want to do. But frankly if I can do them then a lot of other people should be able to. And I'm a 43 year old pipe-smoking and overweight computer geek.
5) Have Fun. This particular course is all about going at your own pace and what you do to challenge yourself. The only person, if any, that you need to compete with is yourself. Don't let others tell you otherwise.
To any of my coworkers who may happen to read this. You guys are awesome. Not one of you did anything but encourage me. You have no idea how much that means to me.
'Scuse me...going to just lay down here and....ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
Cross-posted from Dreamwidth ( http://nimitzbrood.dreamwidth.org/261278.html ) but feel free to comment here as well.