As I mentioned on Friday, I ran the Savage Race over the weekend. It was a lot of fun. If you find seven miles of hardcore obstacles involving fire, barbed wire, and mud fun. Fortunately I do, but my muscles are the sorest they’ve probably ever been. I was not in good shape for this race at all. But, I finished. Here are the highlights:
We arrived to the race early, and hopped in line soon after registration (waiting for the heat we were supposed to be in meant spending another half hour potentially psyching ourselves out, so sometimes it’s better just to jump right in an get the adrenaline flowing). The first obstacle (I lost count, but there were at least 15) is called the Shriveled Richard. Awesome name for something that is pure torture. It’s an ice bath that requires diving under wooden boards to navigate to the next ice chamber. My muscles were so shocked, my brain couldn’t process what I needed to do to get out of it for a second. I was a little terrified that if I dove under, I’d find no room on the other side (from competitors who jumped in before me), and I’d be stuck underneath with nowhere to go. Obviously that didn’t happen, but this obstacle was definitely more about sensory overload than a true physical challenge.
On the race website, the site mentions that the course is “5+ miles”. The plus being another two whole miles, as we found out on the morning of the race. By “race”, at least in my case, I mean “get through alive without breaking something”. Because yes, there were people who broke things. I witnessed one guy land on his wrist diving under the Tazed obstacle. What’s the Tazed obstacle, you ask? Oh, just this:
Those are hanging electrified wires. It’s kind of like the jellyfish scene in Finding Nemo, without the cute fish. I got shocked. In the EAR, like Fight Club. I was definitely dazed. And then I realized we had to leap over a fire line (which wasn’t so bad) and then we had to crawl under another set.
A large majority of the race isn’t really the obstacles – it’s running up and down wooded terrain. My lungs definitely reached their limitations at a few points, but I was lucky to have a few friends in the race with me to keep me moving. Because eventually, after you get through the hills to another obstacle, you get to do something fun, too. Like after climbing the rope wall from Davy Jones’ Locker (aren’t these obstacle names fun?), you get to face your fear of heights and jump into a water pit a couple of stories below.
This isn’t a race you should do alone. Friends encouraging each other are the best part. I brought my friend Brian along, who had done similar races like this in the past. I told myself not to push too hard, and just getting through the race without severe injury was enough, considering I’ve never run 7 miles of anything ever. Now I wish I had pushed myself a little harder, and was in awe of some of the other hardcore athletes competing in the race.
Speaking of the other runners, in my past experiences with M.O.B. (mud, obstacles, beer) courses, groups often dressed up in costumes and used gimmicks (Warrior Dash was full of entertaining characters, including people dressed up for a wedding, full body suits, and Oompa Loompas. Wasn’t really popular in this race. Most of the people who showed up were ready for a serious obstacle challenge!
The very last obstacle was a barbed wire crawl through a very long stretch of mud. It was like trying to make my way through peanut butter. Or you know when you have those dreams where you’re running but don’t really get anywhere? Like that. Every inch was a struggle. And then we all got to cross the finish line and rinse off in the lake. As usual, there was mud everywhere, and then it was time to change and grab a beer (the first one is complementary with finishing the race, as well as a t-shirt and medal). Because my phone was packaged with my clean gear, I didn’t snag a muddy pic before we were cleaned off (my advice – pack something loose and comfy, and something you don’t mind getting mud on; no matter what, you’ll won’t get everything off before you change). Oh well – I’m still a savage anyway!
I have barbed wire scratches, injuries from landing on rocks, and bruises from hoisting myself over walls. Rolling out of bed has been a chore for the last two days. So has laughing, putting a cup of coffee to my lips, crossing my legs, etc. And holy hell, going down stairs. Wow. Ow. Hobbling down them is more like it! As you can imagine, not much in terms of DIY was done after putting my muscles through this kind of torture, but I have big plans for this week!
P.S. I am totally doing it again next year.
(Images that aren’t from my iPhone are from the Savage Race website. The race day pics aren’t available yet, but I’ll snag some if there is one of me I like!)