Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fear and Failure

Fear has been at the forefront of my thoughts lately. Not so much what it means, but how it affects my choices. I've long believed that I push myself in all aspects of my life because I have a fear of failing. I'm afraid of admitting that I can't do something. Having to deal with some sort of shame. Yesterday I had a profound revelation when I failed to hit a back squat PR. Coming off a rest day when Ryan said we were doing back squats, I announced, "I'm going to PR today." I worked up to 175lbs, and I failed. I did half a squat. I tried again on a second round, and although stronger, I still failed. Driving home, I thought about not hitting my PR, and about how I'm going to get to that 175# benchmark next week. And while I'm at it, maybe I should have a goal of a 200# back squat. Then, light bulb. Not one of those environmentally friendly lights bulbs that barely give off enough to light up a room. I'm talking bright, industrial grade fluorescent lights. In that moment I realized that I thrive when I fail. I. Thrive. When. I. Fail. This whole time, I've been holding onto a fear of failing for no good reason. This fear has been holding me back. Stopping me from doing things because I might fail. And more than just athletic endeavors. Career. Life. Travel. You name it. All along, this sneaky fear of failure has paved my path. Who knows what I have missed out on? Who knows what I could have been or where I would physically be? All because of this fear of failing.

Watching the Olympics is always an inspiring experience. You watch these athletes who have fought and trained everyday for 4 years, just to have a chance to compete in the international spotlight. I caught the post performance interview with Gracie Gold following her skate for the Team event. She mentioned that her and her coach were reading Phil Jackson's book. Summarizing from the book she said, " know, when you let go of all the fear that’s when you find the love for—not just in sports—but anything in life. So you have to love it and let go of all the fear." Days later I still find myself thinking about her statement. I even bought the book.

I've made the decision to not let the fear of failure dictate my life. I'm letting go of that fear. I may need to remind myself from time to time, but I'm taking a stance against it. Failure may become more common place. But, who cares? I'll come out stronger on the other side.

So here's to failure. May we have many more.

**Please note author does not believe failing in Sky Diving will make her stronger or better or alive for that matter.**

Saturday, February 1, 2014


What started as a short walk ended in the ugliest, slowest, but most glorious and necessary 3 mile jog. I'm back. It's time to rebuild. But most importantly, I have running back in my life. Running is my happy place. Running is my dark place. Running is my therapy. It is my escape. It lets me feel without judgment.I run when I'm happy. I run when I'm grieving, when I need to sort things out. I've cried my eyes out, I've laughed, I've danced, I've smiled, I've rejoiced, I've gone numb. All while running. I'm alive. I'm free. I'm me. Am I a masochist? Maybe. Am I an addict. Yes, in all sense of the word. I turn to running to hash things out. I crave the goose bumps and tension release with every deep exhale. I need the time alone where I can just be me. No To Do lists, no work obligations, no pressure. Just my shoes, my body, and my mind working as one.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

2014 To Do List

2014 is going to be my year of redemption. It's going to be huge. Epic. I have never been so focused and determined. I have never woken up at 5 am consistently in my whole entire life because that's just crazy. Unless, you want it that badly. Come Hell or high water or snow or ice or sleet, I am in my car just about every morning headed to the Sweat Shack (Go Native Fit) to bust my ass or my shin to become a better athlete. And I am. Ryan (owner and my OCR Coach Extraordinaire), is slowly building my body making me stronger faster. And I'm loving every second of it (except for rowing. I hate rowing. You're literally rowing for dear life but going nowhere. Even with a PR today, I still hate it. I like my boats with a motor and an ice cold beverage in my hand.) I digress. Let's just get into it.

  1. Do 1 One Handed Push up - Why? Because then I would be a legitimate Bad Ass and its a cool party trick.
  2. Run - Still healing my thrice sprained ankle
  3. Run Faster - Naturally
  4. Stay healthy - No more shin splints or PF or sprained ankles
  5. Do 10 Pull ups - I'm up to 3 as of yesterday's Friday Pull Up Challenge
  6. Ring the cowbell at the top of the rope with my foot - Somebody better have a camera ready if I succeed
  7. Go outside the wake and then back in on my Wakeboard
  8. Run 50 miles in one day - Original plan was to run the Mountain Masochist but due to timing and travel, I've decided to do 15 laps at my favorite park and call it the Cowbell 50. Insane? Yes. But I love this park and I want to accomplish this feat on home turf with hopefully my friends and family running a lap or two with me and cheering me on. Date is TBD. Spartan needs to get their stuff together and announce VT's date. 
  9. Get up and over the Sternum Checker at MGG - 'Nough said. I'm tired of falling off this thing.
  10. Goal Race finishes (Note: My race schedule is very lean and focused. No "Fun Runs." I'd rather be training either at Go Native or on the MGG course)
    • Spartan Race - Top 15
    • Mud, Guts, and Glory - Top 3 
    • Mud Ninja - Top 3
    • OCR World Championships - Top 20
That's it. Nothing fancy, but definitely tough. I expect the race field to be deeper with amazing female athletes this year. Having not ran since late November, I have moments of panic and feelings of failure. I know my strength is there. It was almost there last year. I know it continues to improve by leaps and bounds, but I fear that I just won't be fast enough on my feet. And that is when I have to flex the mental muscles and squash all feelings of trepidation. This is when I have to completely trust Ryan and believe him when he says to wait a few more weeks, you'll get it back quickly because you love it, and you got the dog fight in you. Followed by, "Go row."

Sunday, November 17, 2013

2013 Thoughts and Montage

My second season of OCR has officially come to a close. A quick trip to Texas to see TeamTx members and get my Trifecta would cost about $600. I have a work commitment the morning of the Artic Dash. And, most importantly, my sprained ankle needs to heal. Thus, it's time to give my race shoes one last hose down for the year.

Even though it was a very frustrating season being plagued with a foot injury and shin splints, it was also very rewarding. Despite sub-par training and running, I performed better in almost all of my races. Back in January, I laid out my goals for the 2013 season. I had two:
  1. Top 10 Female finish for any local OCR's I race. 
  2. Top 20 Elite Female finish for IN Spartan Sprint in April.
I am very proud to say that I accomplished Goal 1 with 8th being my lowest place. Goal 2 did not happen. Due to struggles with my foot, I didn't even line up with the Elites. Instead I walked/ran the race with my bestfriend, Andrea, and fellow teammate Gina. And it was a fantastic time. Yeah, I was heartbroken and of course frustrated, but there is always 2014. And there will be a 2014. And more importantly, Goal 2 is on for 2014 and very achievable.

Now for the fun part (at least for me). If this were an end of season sport's banquet, it would be time to pull down the screen, dim the lights, and cue Queen's, "We are the Champions" (Please hit play before continuing for your viewing pleasure).

Pre-Spartan Sprint IN
Everyone's first Spartan with the exception of me and my Brother, Boogie


Oh, the dreaded barbed wire crawl at IN. It may have been dramatically shorter than 2012's, but definitely wetter and uphill. Lessons learned: 1. Don't stop to take a break. The man working the hose has no mercy. 2. Andrea has a fantastic butt. I had the pleasure of literally pushing it up the mud hills.

I was forced to a walk during this race due to my foot. It was frustrating and I held back tears during this race. I also found that I still do not like ice water.

Road Trip to Marseilles for the MW Super. I literally decided to race that week and Andrea was best friend enough to join me. Being out with a busted foot she was a loyal SAG. Monumental moments include: discovering Chicago is an hour behind us; finding my foot no longer hurt when I ran; getting up and over the inverted wall followed by singing, "Damn it feels good to be a gangster"; getting over the slippery wall after the fight of my life with the assistance of an amazing racer, then to get 3/4 of the way up the rope; feeling pure sadness looking up at the trees when I found out there was only 1 mile left of the race; meeting with TeamTx member Jesica and other Texan OCR's at a Mexican restaurant that evening (note: Texans should not visit Mexican restaurants in the MW. They will be disappointed); sharing the reasons why we ran our first Spartan and why we still run them; swearing I would retire from OCR once I got up a rope during a race; checking out the strip club in the mobile home in Peru, IL from the parking lot.


Hands down, best moment ever. Well, shortly before the best moment of my 2013 OCR season at the Mud Ninja. This is a picture right before Ulrike and I became friends. At the right of this photo you can see how the traverse is built into a mound. This mound drops into the biggest mud pit ever. The biggest mud pit ever is where I met my fellow BAMF, Ulrike. We both struggled around this pit trying to find a way to claw our way out of it. I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life in this pit. We strategized and bitched together. It was awesome. We finally found climbing pockets on the right side and clamored out. I ended up finishing the race before Ulrike, but I waited at the finish line for her. Best decision ever. I respected her as an athlete and wanted to cheer her on as she finished. I had to meet this girl. As soon as she finished, there was no shutting us up or separating us. We spent hours chatting, laughing, struggling to go to the Port-a-Potties in our flip flops through the mud. We raced a total of 5 races together this year (the first being the Survival race when we didn't know each other but she was on my hip the entire time being a PITA). I can't wait to race with this Chica in 2014. World be warned.

I raced the Mud Ninja because it was $27. Turns out it was an awesome race. Amazing obstacles and terrain. I completed all of the obstacles, including their tougher than Spartan Traverse wall, with the exception of the Ninja Warrior style spring board cargo net contraption. We'll blame that on my fear of taking a leap of faith. I acknowledge that fear and also know that it is responsible for my inability to conquer the Sternum checker at MGG. Any who, I had no idea that the top 15 of each gender won a Ninja Sword. And a real one at that. This pic, "What? Its a legit Ninja Sword." This sword has split Lemons over a bottle of wine and it was also the weapon of choice when I thought I was going to get robbed (turns out it was my neighbor dropping off a card and bottle of wine the night before my Series 7 exam).

Not OCR, but an Epic wipe out during my first time Surfing off the back of a boat.

Placing 2nd to the OCR champion Amelia Boone at the inaugural MGG. That's about it. Full recap can be found here. This moment was truly monumental. A game changer. I unfortunately sprained an ankle a few weeks later but the fire is still burning brightly. 

Not OCR but still awesome. Double Hula Hooping BKB for the WEBN fireworks.


More Cowbell = Get your ass up the rope. Done. I had my brother make me this shirt for the 2nd MGG race on Nov 2nd. I was deteremined to ring that damn cowbell during the race. I failed the first race and the first training session. I got up it the second training session after several tries and after channeling the RAS section of my brain (Google it). During the Nov 2 race, first time. I developed a rope climbing mantra at one of my training sesh'es at GoNative, "Loop, Push, Grab." Worked like a charm. I also decided to go back on my word and not retire from OCR.

This is the Weaver and luckily this picture is shot from a more flattering angle. I included this picture because despite my sprained ankle I still rocked the obstacles at MGG, Nov 2, that I failed at the first MGG. I got up the rope, across the Weaver, across the Monkey Bars, across the Polish Traverse. My time was much slower, but my strength and determination really shined through. I really look forward to being at the top of my game for their first 2014 race.

Not only are these ladies Sexy Beasts, but they are strong, crazy, determined, and so much fun. From left to right, meet my new fav OCR ladies, Grace, Ulrike, Bianca, and Me. I always look forward to these faces when its race day. Bianca and I share a certain determination when it comes to walls and ropes. We conquered the walls at Mudocalypse and rung the cowbell at MGG Nov 2.

The Crazy Mudder Muckers. I literally finally figured out what the team name alluded to after Mudocalypse. Before that I just thought it was an annoyingly long team name. Apparently I was the last to that party. Now I'm proud to call myself a CMM. In fact I've always been a CMM just Lone Wolf style. I've now found a pack that drinks from the same pitcher of Kool-Aid whom I look forward to seeing through out the year. We're a weird bunch. Quite frankly. But that's the OCR community in general. We're very tight and very hyper for a couple of hours following a race. We stick together like glue. We're friends with folks on Facebook that we've never met in person but trust them more than some of our own blood. We trust and respect one another because we know and understand the Hell we put ourselves through just to fight through 3-5 miles of woods and obstacles. We stayed glue to FB for a weekend searching frantically for updates on WTM, the Death Race, the Ultra Beast, and no one else knows what the hell we're talking about. We will have viewing parties on Dec 7th. Our hero's won't be found in Sports Illustrated or People. Our heroes are likely people who have a story similar to ours. Our heroes are lost souls who found their calling in becoming human again through the sport of OCR. We are people who cannot simply walk down the road. No, we walk down the road with logs or a tire someone tossed. We carry CamelBak's during races so we can hand out Gu Pak's and salt pills to racers that are struggling. We are who we are or who we are becoming. Most OCR athletes can tell you an incredible story about how the sport has transformed them. I know I can. Its a powerful hobby. Its a powerful passion. My family will joke that when my brother decided we're doing a Spartan race he created a monster. I like to think he forced me down the road I was meant for. I am forever grateful for this sport. I cannot wait for April when I get to race again. In the mean time, you'll find me diligently training so I can have opportunity to race with these admirable folks again. These folks who I call family. These folks who post all sorts of dirty pictures of themselves on the internet. These folks who understand the determination it takes to get through one of these races.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mud, Guts, and Glory - Part Deux

Could this race possibly get any better? Yes it could, and it did. I was blown away by this course and staff after the inaugural race Labor Day weekend. Then, they stepped it up even more for the November race. So, how did they manage it?

  1. Penalties: In August, there were time penalties for skipping obstacles that were hard to manage. This time they had physical penalties. I'm not talking about lashings or getting locked up in stocks. Rather they had physical challenges for failed obstacles. Even better, they varied by obstacle. At the Sternum Checker, there was a 30 burpee penalty. If you failed to hit the Spartan with a paintball, you had 10 squats with a slosh pipe. If you couldn't get over the new, gigantic walls, you had to 20 step ups onto a box with a log over your head. The penalties were just as challenging if not tougher than the obstacles. I remember dangling at  Monkey Business while guys were walking with Slosh Pipes telling us we did not want to fall off.
  2. Mother Nature: Not sure how they did it, but the guys at MGG called upon Mother Nature to let loose a nasty storm earlier in the week leaving the course nice and slick. The creeks were flowing. The hills sans ropes proved much more of a bear.
  3. The After Party: Hours were spent after the race, chit chatting, warming our buns next to the bonfire, chit chatting, dance partying, chit chatting, and playing tug of war. The post race ambiance was like giddy little girls on the first day of school. Or maybe that was just me. Who knows? Either way, I had so much fun hanging out with my teammates and meeting new people after the race. OCR folks are the nicest, friendliest people you'll meet. We're all united by a common passion for OCR and challenging ourselves, body and mind, to races that demand every ounce of energy and strength and then some. Not too mention, after an epic race such as MGG, we're all adrenaline driven, crazed adults. 
    Me and Ulrike winning the Tug of War Championship against some seriously fierce competition
  4. New Obstacles: They added 2 new obstacles to the course. A trifecta of walls and a Polish Traverse. The walls are easy enough to explain, two little ones straddling a gigantic one nearly impossible to get over. The Polish traverse on the other hand, any explanation I would give it would not do it justice. Basically, its a pole that gets bigger to smaller or reverse, depending on which you decide, that you have to shimmy across. Easy? Nope.
And now the selfish part of my post: My personal highlights/lowlights.
  • Stripping down going into the festival area: I got hot pretty early in the race. As we were heading into the festival area where the gauntlet is, I saw my dad, or so I thought. My Dad will occasionally show up places unannounced. He just rolls with the punches. He knew I was racing and asked about its location, so logically it made sense. Plus this guy looked dead on my Dad. Same height, build, stance. So, here I am so excited to see my Dad there to cheer me on. Plus, he could hold onto my extra layers. I came running across the bridge stripping of my shirt and hat, yelling "Dad" and waving. I chuck my clothes at the guy, and he just looks at me like I'm am a straight up nut ball. "Oh, you're not my dad." So there my clothes sat until I picked them up after the race. Oh, and my parents, they were well on their way to Vegas yesterday morning. Dad at race: Impossible.
  • Getting across monkey business while getting a fantastic view of Ulrike's butt: Love this girl. We stuck together for the first part of the race yelling and cussing at each other between breaths (our form of encouragement). Ulrike hit the monkey bars before me. I yelled for her to go down the middle one, and just go. Going down is easy and fun. Gravity does all of the work. Once she got a good start going up by turning around and crawling up invertly, I made my way down. And then I caught up with her. So I hung on, creeping up, rung by rung, the whole time "encouraging" Ulrike to keep going. It may have been partly out of self-perseverance. I remember tilting my head back and seeing Ulrike's butt pretty much on my head. We had to of been quite the spectacle. Hopefully, someone got a photo of the 2 of us BAMF Spider Monkeys.
  • The stupid Sternum Checker: Failed. 3 times. On my first attempt, I flipped off the thing landing on my back in a pile of hay (Thank you for putting that there!). The next two attempts I got progressively closer, but couldn't get over that stupid log. On the 3rd try, a fellow racer offered to help me over, but I had to decline. If I was getting over, I was doing it on my own. I also received the best advice from fellow teammate, Juffrey, "You just have to jump higher." Got it. Thanks for being an awesome volunteer and teammate encouraging me each time! Next time, I'm owning it. This time, I did 30 burpees.
  • More Cowbell: Rang that bell loud and proud. First attempt, I was up that rope. "Loop, push, grab." Finally, I made it up a rope in a race. Then I flailed coming down, basically falling and sliding down it catching the rope at the bottom so I wouldn't end up on mine. Not very graceful, but the obstacle is to go up and not down. Boom.
  • Pulling out my Cliff Shot only to find it had exploded. Note: do not store Gu's in sports bra and
    Gu Stain
    then proceed to attempt the Sternum Checker. There was no need to rip it opened. I just ate whatever was left from the bottom of the pack.
  • Nailed the Weaver: I am so glad we practiced this in training. There was also an awesome volunteer who told me I was her hero. I love the MGG volunteers!!!
  • Gigantic Check: Seriously. I've always wanted a gigantic check. There are no words to explain the feeling. But you can certainly tell how excited I was by the size of the grin on my face.
Overall, I came in 18 minutes slower than last time. And that's fine. I wasn't expecting to be any faster having sprained my ankle 3 weeks ago training at MGG. I was only able to run/walk this past week and I couldn't squat. I am very proud of my performance on the obstacles. Even though I didn't get over the Sternum Checker, when I was laying in the hay I got back up and tried again. I got up the rope, across the Monkey bars, through the Weaver, and across the Polish Traverse. I'll take it.

Rumor has it, the next race will be in April. I truly look forward to whatever they have in store for us next time. I can guarantee it will be EPIC. The folks at MGG are committed to building and having races that are for Obstacle Course Racers. So much so, they seek the input from the racers and more importantly, use it. The directors seek input from your Average Joe's as well as Champions, Pak and Boone, plus the OCR "celebrities." I have no doubt that this race will only continue to grow with more folks traveling farther to show up. I said it before, and I'll say it again. This is not your run of the mill sloppily thrown together course that wants a quick profit. This is a permanent, raw, challenging course that will suck out every ounce of energy that you can muster. A course like this is the reason why I love OCR.
Dream. Come. True.

Biggest and Fastest Team with 3 members taking podium and winning both Men's and Women's Tug of War: The amazing Crazy Mudder Muckers

Sunday, October 6, 2013

MGG Training Session 1

It is simply a dream come true. Seriously. I cannot think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning when I'm not actually racing. Saturday mornings are my trail running days, but throw in some awesome, raw terrain and tough obstacles for practice. No brainer. Best day ever.

Mud, Guts, and Glory has opened up their course for training sessions the weekends leading up to the fall race, November 2nd. For $10 if registered or $30 if not registered for November, you get free range of the course starting at 9am. You can run the entire course or just focus on obstacles. Completely up to you. There are no volunteers on the course and no water stations, so you must pack your own water and calories. The course is still set up as it was in August. The obstacles are mostly fully functional. The only things missing yesterday were the log drag, any brought in water, and the electric on the army crawl. 

New wall
Pic by Julia Rohs
I got to King's Domain a little after 9am. There was already a nice little crowd gathered including a new race friend, Bianca. I met Bianca at the August MGG race. We raced together 2 weekends ago at Mudocalypse where we both got over the 7-8 foot wall unassisted (Woot, Woot!). Jake even drug his butt out of bed to train after a long night of bar tending. Once we were all checked in with our waivers signed, John King gave us a preview of the November 2 race as well as current conditions of the
trails. For November 2, plan on going under the Giant Monkey bars, and they are adding a gauntlet of walls. They also added new sponsors including Eddie Bauer and OCR Gear. What got me most excited for the upcoming weeks and race, is simply the passion in John's voice. He is fully committed to King's Domain and MGG. He wants MGG to be a destination race, and more importantly he understands the sport and what it will take to be on the OCR map. He spoke of the Spartan Death race knowing the history behind it. When I used the restroom, the reading material consisted of some outdoor magazine. He's not some fly by night guy who decided he wanted to throw together a poorly constructed course to make a quick buck. No way, not this guy or organization. He invited Amelia Boone and Junyong Pak to race the inaugural course. And, guess what? They're coming back. Yeah, this race, this course, is the Real McCoy with a dedicated team behind it. The only disappointment in this race will be from a athlete not able to complete one of the challenging obstacles or being brought to a halt from one of the many long uphill climbs.

Quite frankly, I may be one of the disappointed not being able to conquer an obstacle or two. And that is why you will find me every Saturday until race day at King's Domain diligently practicing the obstacles I cannot do. This past Saturday proved to be very productive. Our group of strangers with maybe a Facebook exchange here and there on our CMM team page naturally formed a training team. We mostly stuck together waiting from time to time if we pulled apart and separated. We jogged, hopped over logs, crossed the small Monkey bars, Jake tested the army crawl for electricity (John King wouldn't tell us if he turned it on for us or not LOL).

The Giant Monkey bars was our first major stop. I climbed up to the platform and stopped. I'm a

chicken shit. I hate heights unless I'm strapped to something such as a harness or another person. From the ground it doesn't seem very tall, but once up there, yeah, your feet suddenly become glued to the wooden platform. I encouraged everyone to go before me. I tried really hard to work up courage while everyone went and tried different ways to cross efficiently. When it came down to it, I was scared. It took a lot of coaxing. It took a lot of deep breaths. It took a lot of convincing myself it would only be a broken neck or concussion. Man, when I did go, it felt amazing. It was actually fun going down the monkey bars. After going down, you cross a couple of flat bars, and then you go back up. I made it maybe 2 or 3 bars high. It may not seem like much, but it truly was an accomplishment. I conquered a fear and built up courage. When I got off, my legs were shaking. Next time, I won't exhaust so much energy and strength from sheer terror. Honestly, I look forward to doing them again. Now I'm just determined.

Next major obstacle was the Sternum Checker. I took the time penalty on it during the August race. I
Sternum checker
From MGG FB page
stepped up, assessed the situation, and decided it was too dangerous. I felt the same way on Saturday. Fortunately, I was running with an amazing group of folks. Patrick and Shawn offered to spot me as I literally took a leap of faith. Luckily, they were there or I would have been laying in a pool of brain blood with Jake yelling at me because I'm a former basketball player and cheerleader. So, I climbed back up there more determined than ever, and made the leap again. This time I made it although there was some assistance still. Needless to say, House of Pain will be singing my theme song over the next few weeks. (vs. Mike singing "Catch me, I'm falling).

The rope climb. Yep, still can't get up it. I'm committed to climbing my rope everyday until race day. Today, I climbed in the pouring rain with our weird neighbor staring out his patio door. He finally came outside and complimented my strength (or lack of) which made it less creepy. Of course, I guess I don't have room to talk. I'm the crazy person attempting to climb my rope in the cold, pouring rain.

The Weaver. Boom. Got it. Fell off the first time going down, but climbed back up and tried it again.
The Weaver
From the MGG FB Page
Thanks to Shawn for helping with technique. Although, Patrick had the best technique swinging around those beams like a monkey :) Its not so bad once you figure out how to actually do it. It really only hurts your skin. I have beautiful bruises from this one as well as the Sternum Checker.

Finally, there was the gigantic hill climb at the end. Was it an obstacle I failed and needed to practice? No. It just deserves special recognition. After two times on this course, I believe MGG has a special vendetta against my Left Shin. In August, I fell of the bouncy bridge tearing up my Left Shin. On Saturday, a rock the size of a baseball rolled all the way down the cliff hitting my Left Shin just as I was beginning my ascent. Yeah, it hurt like a female dog. Looking forward to what the course has in store for my Left Shin in the future. Perhaps, I'll outsmart it and wear a shin guard.

Reflecting over the 2 hours we spent on the course and taking inventory of my sore muscles this morning, I know what areas need improvement. Definitely, jumping in general. Not sure where this skill went but I intend to get it back. I'll also be on my rope and pull up bar everyday. As well as, Dips, Baby, Dips. While I'm at it, my favorite, weighted hill sprints. And, whatever it takes to be <26.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


26. The magic number. The motivation. The difference between me and a world champion Obstacle Course Racer. The number of minutes by which Amelia Boone kicked my ass. The new found kindling that feeds the fire in my belly. The image stuck on the dirty basement window with white electrical tape. And, lets face it, the reason I have got to lay off the chocolate chip cookies and wine.

Mud, Guts, and Glory was a race I will never forget. I signed up last minute. The week of even and only because Amazon had a deal on it. Lucky, for Jon (or not so lucky), it was a 2-fer. There was a lot of hype surrounding the race, most of it I really didn't believe. I've done the local races and counted on it being a few standard obstacles with an occasional hill. Boy, was I wrong. Dhani Jones was there filming for his show on Spike TV, Playbook 360. They flew in Junyong Pak and Amelia Boone. Matt Davis with Obstacle Racing Media and Heather Ganoe with Relentless Forward Commotion as wells as other "Celebrities" in the OCR world. In my gut I was very nervous for Kings Domain. All these big names with far social networking reach could have been potentially disastrous for their future in the OCR industry. But they put on one hell of an event.

The race started at the bottom of a hill that you could not see the top of. It was AWESOME! The MC was hilarious telling us "We started at the bottom, now we here." He read off the prizes ($1000, $500, and $250 for top 3 of each gender in Elite). Then we started.

As always the race was a blur. There were definitely some memorable moments:
Running with Matt
  • Getting bounced off the suspended bridge and scraping up my calf at pretty much the beginning.
  • Slowing to a walk only to have fellow Crazy Mudder Mucker, Kevin Jones, tell me to keep running, that I easily was a contender for the top 3, that I can catch them, not giving up on me, when I was giving up on myself. He is an amazing teammate and leader.
  • The Paintball slingshot with a Spartan as a target. Hey, gotta appreciate the humor. Plus, it was so much fun even though I missed all 4 shots.
  • It was at the Gatorade jug at the sling shot that I started running with Matt Davis. We stuck together for about .5-1 mile. At one point we were crossing a creek bed and a volunteer informed me I was the 3rd girl. Right on cue Matt blurted, "I'm the 4th girl."
  • The volunteers. I have never done a race with so much energy from the volunteers. Not just volunteers at one particular obstacle, but every single one was rooting for us as we raced. Seriously. They were everywhere in the Neon Green Tee's whole heartedly wanting us to succeed. This was hugely appreciated.
  • Carrying 2 tires for what seemed like forever. I was so exhausted and came upon a pile of tires expecting to carry only 1, but no those same lovely volunteers told me to carry 2. During the long trek, I managed to come up with a joke. However, when I told the volunteers I was tired, they didn't laugh. Tough crowd.
  • Repelling down one hill, only to turn the corner to find the biggest vertical slope I have ever seen in my entire life. I think everyone was stopped in their tracks when they saw it. It was gigantic and looked impossible. Channeling my inner Mountain Woman, I climbed up all three ropes while getting bit by horse flies. Seriously. I felt like the stinky kid from Charlie Brown with them flying around me. It was kind of embarrassing. Luckily post race, I found out others were bit which made me feel much better about my personal hygiene.
  • Sprinting the last 100 yards to the finish line. Two of the course builders (the carpenter and the digger) asked me which obstacles I liked the most shortly after the race. Although not a obstacle, I think I liked that stretch of green before the finish. I could eek out every last bit of energy and finish the race strong, not covered in mud crawling out of a pit or slowed because of Gladiators. There was something about just being able to sprint to the finish. It felt glorious.
Pak on the mountain
I finished 2nd in the Elite Heat, 26 minutes behind Amelia. There was another woman ahead of me but she signed up for the Competitive heat thus not eligible for prizes. Shame on her. Thus, I received a very nice $500 check. To be fair, I did skip a couple of obstacles. They gave you time penalties for any obstacles that were failed. I skipped the crazy monkey bars knowing it would take way longer than the minute penalty for me to get across. I also climbed on the Sternum Checker and realized I would most likely hurt myself. I already had a banged up shin. No need for more injury. I still cannot get my butt up a rope, a missed the sling shot, and the under over weaver thingy may require more coordination than I possess. I got to the under, hung there for a second trying to figure out the next move, and then got off. I'll have to strategize on how to complete that one.

26. The difference between me and a champion.

Getting paid!
Me and my new friend, Ulrike!

Repelling down the big hill

Top 3 Ladies

Pictures compliments of Julia Rohs. Our most awesome team photographer when she's not blazing the trails herself.

And finally, some Katy to take you out....