Has anyone seen my mind? I think I lost it after signing up for another obstacle course race. No? No one has it?
Yeah, apparently I didn't lose it ... I am just living a new "normal."
Last week, I was chatting with the social media crew from Ruckus Sports - an organization that puts on a race series in nine or 10 different cities in the US.
Simply put on their website:
The Ruckus obstacle race series combines best in class obstacles, unparalleled spectation, a wildly popular kids course, and an after party for all. The result? The most fun, rewarding, and family friendly event anywhere. Ruckus is challenging enough for the elite, yet achievable for all.
How does this happen?
Okay, I know how it happens. I keep seeking out new ways to push the limits of my comfort zone ... and an obstacle course run fits the bill.
On Saturday, June 15, my #1 spectator (the wife) and I woke up at 6am and got our butts in gear to head to the race in Marshfield, Mass, which is about 45 minutes away from our house.
We had to be out the door by 6:45 in order to hit up Dunkin' Donuts before embarking on the trek to Marshfield. We parked ($10 per car) at 7:45, which allowed plenty of time to get squared away before the Start.
The registration area was nicely laid out with bib #s posted for those that couldn't remember theirs (like myself), a table with waiver forms for those who forgot theirs at home (again like me) and plenty of volunteers distributing bibs. While I picked up my bib and my wristband for my complimentary post-race beer, the wife hit up Spectator registration and paid the $10 to be able to watch me run the course.
Ruckus Sports wrote on their website:
This year’s course was built specifically with spectators in mind, and as a result, much of the course is visible to spectators. Spectator passes can be purchased on-site for $10 (cash only). Children under the age of 10, and registered participants do not need to purchase a spectator pass.
How cool was the entrance?
This entrance actually doubled as part of an obstacle so those entering the field for later waves actually walked under the racers. Cool!
We walked past the "expo" area where companies were set up with samples, etc.
But, I was too wrapped up in my own nerves to stop at any of the tables.
Just after walking past the sponsors, I noticed that the 8am wave was kicking off.
Okay then, less than an hour til GAME TIME!
This large contraption was the final obstacle ... a large inflatable slide!
Yes!! I knew this would be my favorite part. :P
Before I knew it it was 8:45 and time to head to the Start area. Eek! I was more nervous for this race than the 3 marathons I've done.
Because I am still working on my upper body strength so obstacles scare me.
BUT, as I stood in the Start Area, I was turning my nerves into fuel!
I just kept telling myself: "I am stronger than I think I am!!" And this race was going to prove it.
Each wave went off at the top of the hour and was broken into 5 mini waves: Wicked Fast, Pretty Fast, Solid Fast, Kinda Fast and No-So Fast. I put myself into the second group - Pretty Fast - since I had no idea what to expect ... and I really wasn't going for time, but to just complete the course.
At 9 on the dot, the Wicked Fast group was off and after a couple minutes - it was our turn.
GAME TIME BABY!
Since there were obstacles and mud involved, I left the Garmin at home. I felt naked, but it's too expensive to ruin so this run was not going to be at all about pace or time.
I just pulled up my Superman socks and let loose. Since I am training for a Sprint Tri and marathon, I knew I would be taking each obstacle very carefully as to avoid injury.
We ran for what felt like a minute before we hit the first obstacle. Thankfully each station had volunteers on hand to help people complete it.
(Note: that was the biggest thing I overheard from veteran participants, this race is about everyone completing the obstacles and having fun so people help each other out!)
Thank goodness those volunteers were there. They offered a leg up or an arm up whenever needed ... and there were a couple spots they came in super handy for me.
Once I successfully made it through the first obstacle, which included hopping up on a hay bale, then onto the large container like at the entrance, then back onto another hay bale then on to the ground ... I knew I was feeling stronger and was ready for the challenge.
(At the end of the post, there will be a video including some action shots of me completing a few obstacles!)
The course was 4 miles long and included some trail running in between the obstacles. Thankfully they spray painted the rocks and branches to help avoid some injuries.
I nearly lost myself in the Tirefield since apparently I couldn't hear the volunteers who kept yelling "Stay of the small tires they collapse easier." Ummm yeah - helpful note to adhere to for future Tirefields I encounter.
During a section called "Barricade Boulevard," where you climb over barricade walls at varying heights, there was a family sitting out on their lawn, cheering on the runners and blasting music. It was great to get some cheers on an otherwise isolated stretch of the course.
Now, I have a small fear of heights so all large walls scare me, but I went into the Gr8 Walls of Ruckus full force - pulling myself up using the rope offered and the pegs for stability. But, unlike when I ran the Warrior Dash in 2012, I felt like I was strong enough to get myself over. My upper body wasn't trembling having to hoist my body up the wall on this tiny rope.
Special thanks to Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred for making that possible. :P
Now there wasn't a single mile marker along the course, which was kind of disturbing. I like to have some idea of how much longer I have to go.
Plus, it felt like we had been out there for an hour and had no perspective on what was really going on since we were out of earshot of the Finish Line MC for most the middle leg of the race.
Finally, we emerged from another section of trail running, and 2 nice high school girls kindly shouted that we were over half way done. The gentleman next to me loudly yelled: "Really? That's it." Where as I shouted, "Oh man, already?"
Sooo we can see who was having some fun and who wasn't. ;)
Right after seeing those girls we hit the Mud Garden, which included 4 mud hills leading to 3 mud pits. Yeah! The rule was you had to go feet first into all mud pits for safety and if you didn't you were pulled from the course.
I definitely know why they enforced this rule as I slid into the first mud pit from the first mud hill and immediately felt a large boulder under my butt.
Safety first friends!
This was about the time I started worrying I would lose a Superman cape or two, but thankfully they made it through the mud garden in tact.
Once sufficiently covered in mud, it was back to a little trail running before emerging back on the original field/area we started on. I even spotted the wife as I emerged from the woods. YAY!
To make the 4-mile length, we actually ran through the large containers we jumped over during obstacle 1. Obstacle 1 also seemed like it had happened about 3 hours ago or 15 minutes ... again no watch I had no concept of time. :)
As I cleared the balance beam (thankfully there was an inflatable safety mat underneath) and twisted fences, I knew I was in the home stretch.
We twisted and turned through the Marshfield Fair grounds (which is really just a big open space that they made twisty and turny) and headed towards the Nose Bleed Nets you could hear the announcer shouting out Finisher names and times.
Once I made it to the top of the Nose Bleed Net, I heard him exclaim "And 15-year old" so-so finishes in blah blah blah. And since I have no filter I yelled "You've gotta be f*ckin' kidding me! 15 year old." Thankfully the gentleman next to me felt the blow to the ego like I did and we hustled our butts back down the cargo.
Thankfully, I had talked to someone that ran the course before and their big advice on the horizontal cargo net...
... was to roll across it rather than trying to walk/crawl across. So that's what I did. Well, as best I could. The people behind me knew the same trick so we all tried to do it, but apparently the people in front of us didn't get the memo so it led to us getting trapped in the middle of the net.
Sooo before the people in front of us could get on the next cargo, we just kept screaming: "ROOOOLLLL!!! It will hurt, but you will get across faster."
Finally, it was time to tackle the final 3 obstacles:
1) 3 large walls that lacked any sort of rope or footing help. You basically had to run up it, grab on to the top and pull yourself over.
Well that wasn't happening for me. Thankfully there was a volunteer at the top of Wall 1, who would grab your hand as you ran up the wall to help you grab the top - SUCCESS! On Wall 2, I asked a fellow runner if he would stop at the top so I could grab his hand - SUCCESS! Then Wall 3 (pictured above) had a LARGE mud puddle in front of it, which was throwing off my running start. So a volunteer suggested I run from the side (where guy is standing on the left). Same gentleman waited at the top for me to help. After 3 failed attempts, I told the guy to go on and I dejectedly walked around Wall 3. It was the only obstacle on the day I failed to complete.
2) mud pit - who doesn't love climbing through mud on rocks. I don't know how people were doing that part in shorts. I could feel my knees bruising through my pants and couldn't imagine having shorts on.
3) The climb to the Inflatable slide ...
... and then the glorious free fall!!
Here is a short video of me in action:
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I DID IT!! I caused a RUCKUS! :)
I was beaming besides a slight pain in my ankle after I awkwardly landed on it during the final wall obstacle.
What a rush of excitement, pride, strength and overall awesomeness!
Instead of medals, they gave out sweet pint glasses...
... but you know I would've rather a medal! Maybe next year? ;)
We headed to the wash station so I could hose myself off after changing in the Women's Changing Tent and heading home.
But before we left, we donated my shoes to Barrel Aid.
Ruckus Sports is excited to partner with Barrel Aid to provide shoes to children and teens in need. Barrel Aid will collect your muddy shoes post-event, clean them and ship them to Mission-Haiti’s schools in the mountains around Ti-Rivier, Haiti with all of the remaining shoes going to children and teens in need in the Dakota area. Barrel Aid supplies clean shoes, fresh water, food, schooling and hope for over 1,600 children in Southern Haiti where no other groups are serving and the need is extremely urgent.
I decided to skip the post-race beer (sorry I think it was Coors Light) and head out.
The grounds were bumping with people partying/celebrating their run being over and people arriving for the later waves.
Racewire did the timing and before we left the parking lot I had a text with my official time.
Racewire used live results so you could refresh the website to see the results change as the heats went on. I was pretty darn impressed with my numbers.
Excuse me I ended up in top 4.4% of my age - say wha???
Overall, Ruckus Boston was an amazing experience. Once I started, the nerves went away. The field was truly made up of all ages, sizes and athletic abilities. It was amazing to see so many teams of friends coming out to get active together. Plus, people's costumes were phenomenal.
If I do this race next year, I will be sure to have a team full of friends with me ... with some badass costumes of course! :)
Have you done an obstacle course race before? Did you compete alone or with a team?