Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Come here running...I just want to love you again

It’s be a crappy year. Well, no, it’s been a disappointing. I mean, I am still alive, have both legs, and running. But I have great expectations for the year and so far I feel a bit bummed that I haven’t really hit any of them.

This makes me laugh every time...

So what happened? Who cares? Life happened and I was wallowing in some woe is me. During the summer I even lost my running mojo. I was avoiding it. I was not enjoying it. I lost my way, figuratively of course, getting literally lost is occasionally fun.  One thing, though, kinda kicked me in the backside and got me moving again and it wasn’t really what I expected it to be…an Obstacle Course Race.

Mountain for some, speed bump for others

A good friend asked me to do the Rugged Maniac with him in Weston, Mo. I reluctantly said yes because, free beer and good company. Only after saying yes did I realize it’s on the ski slope there. Oops. So, back to training for me. Up hills and down hills up hills and down hills up some more hills and down some more hills. In hindsight, some core strengthening would have helped, maybe a little legs and arms too.  But hey, whatever, that stuff is easy right?

Not Pictured, me, but I did make it up the wall on my own

No, no it isn’t easy at all. First of all it had rained a good amount right before. EVERYTHING was muddy. Thankfully we were in the third wave but even then everything was pretty well torn up. Poor saps after us would have a hell of a time. Also thankfully it was relatively cool out at that point and not the unbearable hot and humid it would be later in the day. But enough about the weather, the race happened too. First of all, we started off by running up a mountain. AN EVERLOVING MOUNTAIN! Well, ok, technically it’s a tiny ski slope with maybe 200-300 ft of climb in say maybe 3/10ths of a mile. It isn’t Hardrock, but for us Kansas folk it might as well be. After that it was fairly standard stuff, climb over this, swim through the pond that smelled of sewage, climb over that, swim through another pond that might be glowing green from the power plant right down the road. Normal stuff.  There was the crawl through the incredibly confined spaces made for little people (nope, NOOOOPPPPPEEEEE, claustrophobia demands I stay way the hell away from those ones), and the inevitable army crawling under barb wire.  That one is always fun, nothing like being face-to-ass with total strangers, right?  
Where are our beers?

It wasn’t until we go to the ladders with big inflatable balls swinging all over, and then a ring swing that things got fun. Of course, I let a ball knock me off cause I was too busy trying to be cute. I made it half way across the rings, which is basically like running a 4 min mile. The most fun, however, was running up a wall. If you have ever seen American Ninja Warrior, you know what I am talking about. This one isn’t quite as tall, but then again, I am not quite as in shape as they are. So after watching people run at it, some making it, some being hoisted up by the people on top, and some going face first into wall and cartoonishly sliding back down it was my turn.  I charged hard and got to the top, clinging, and eventually scrabbled myself up, thank god. I turned around and tried to catch my buddy but failed, and caught him the second time around, ‘cause I learn from my mistakes, I guess? After that it was smooth sailing, well, except for the incredibly un-smooth and tailbone murdering slide down into the muck. Then, we were done. Then, we hosed off. Then we got our free beer, and it was good. I am not an obstacle racer but this was fun, it was different and it helped void my mind of a lot of stupid stuff that had lodged itself there.

Oh, there they are.

That is really just the beginning though. I knew it would be back to the grind, only a short time left for the Hawk Hundred Marathon and the FlatRock 50k. Finally, however, I was training like I wanted to train, hitting runs like I wanted to hit them. I was smashing through spider webs with purpose (although I still swear to all that holy that a squirrel jumped on my head on one run). I felt so much better, like a burden or stigma had been lifted.

Into the crypt where the beers (and bodies) are stored

I guess now that I have rambled this far it is time to get to the point. I learned that sometimes I am my own worst enemy. In seeing that I was really struggling, I kept trying to press and press and only mired myself in my problem. I should have stepped out and done something different, taken a breather to get a fresh look. Hopefully it wasn’t too late for this next 3 week stretch, and while I may be a little more under-trained than I would like to be I am in a better mental place than I was. You know in those “Should Have Had a V8” commercials where they bonk them on the head for saying they ate this crap or that instead of their veggies? It was like that only in the form or mud, rings, walls and one uncoordinated squirrel.

P.S. - Hopefully this also means I can get back to posting. I have so much to review: Orange Mud VP2, Orange Mud Handheld, Tailwind, Skora Cores, Skora Fits, BioSkin Calf Sleeves, Honey Stinger Waffles. Whew, that is a lot. I, also, have (and hopefully will have) more race recaps to work on too. Wheeeeee!

P.P.S. – If you find yourself in and/or around Weston, MO make it a point to go seek out the Weston Brewing Company (pictures above) and go down into the crypts cellar bar. First of all, their brews are tremendous. Secondly, the room is amazing and historic. Take the tour if you have time. You’re welcome. 

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