About two weeks ago, my wife and I completed our first Rugged Maniac! I’m not usually one for running, or really any exercise that isn’t some sort of sport that tricks me into working out, so it was an interesting experience – but we absolutely loved it and have already set up a team to join us next year!!!
If you don’t know what Rugged Maniac is: it’s an obstacle course 5K that has 25 obstacles that range from mud crawls under barbed wire to carrying weights up and down sand hills to conquering fears like Claustrophobia (that’s the name of the obstacle).
To preface, this is my second obstacle course race – I ran another race last year about the same time that is more of a local obstacle race: The Ninja Challenge with one of my colleagues last year. This is where I caught the obstacle race bug.
I get to do an obstacle course as long as I run the little bit between them?! And the whole thing is only 3.1 miles? I’m IN!
[If you’ve been paying attention, you’d have noticed that I’ve run two races, each with one other person…. thanks teammates for dropping out last minute!!! No sweat (for them, at least – it was hot out there for us who actually went)]
After running (well, walking most of) the Ninja Challenge last year, I decided I wanted a bigger challenge. Not only did I want to run another, more challenging race (but knew I wasn’t prepared for something extreme like Spartan Races or Tough Mudders), but I wanted to train for it. I had all these plans to start running and to work my way up to a distance run. My wife was going to join me on my mission to train as well.
It started with a resolution to start running in the new year… then January came around and I forgot (oops). So, as any responsible adult would do, I said to myself: “no problem, let’s start in February.” Of course, February came around and the running did not commence. This trend continued until race day – 5/20/17.
That’s right, we didn’t train at all; but that’s okay!
Race day comes around and my wife and I are both sick. We wake up early enough to go back and forth about three times on whether or not we should actually go to the race – it’s an hour and a half away from us… at 6 AM on a Saturday, it’s pretty easy to talk yourself into doing nothing but staying in bed until at least a reasonable hour.
Clearly, we made the decision to go ahead and head out there and run together.
We’re the second wave (first non-competitive) of the race, so after check-in and putting our un-needed items back in the car, it was almost time to run!
After about a mile (and a few obstacles) we get tired and my wife reveals she has a migraine – nothing like being exhausted in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere on a hot, sunny day with a migraine (her migraine, not mine) – so we decide to walk for a while. We walk between a few obstacles, but we complete ALL of the obstacles!!! That was the main objective, complete the race and the obstacles – time wasn’t important to us (at least on this one, anymore).
Out of nowhere, what I’m going to call a good samaritan cheerleader appeared on the side of the course. We have zero connection to this lady, but she was shouting words of encouragement and clapping us along. This gets us running again (roughly 1.5-2 miles in, so we still have about 1 to go). We run between the rest of the obstacles and about 10 min later at a different part of the course, boom, there’s our cheerleader again.
Side note: I think there’s something to be said about random acts of kindness, no matter how big or small – the simple clapping along and cheering from a complete stranger gave us the courage and motivation to finish the race with a much needed push.
We continue the race and get to the finishing obstacle – the warped wall. I’m a huge fan of the American Ninja Warrior shows (and the others, such as Team Spartan Warrior, and, of course, the original: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC)), so I think I have a technique down… HA, definitely not as easy as they make it look.
Luckily for us, there are helpers at the top of the ramp to pull us up. I get the top on the first try and am asked “do you need help up?” Obviously, being the genius I am, I decline, thinking I am strong enough to pull myself up. Keep in mind, I just ran a 5K obstacle course, so I’m pretty gassed at this point; but that still doesn’t negate the fact that I probably wasn’t going to pull myself back up the wall after I dropped to a hanging position after my first attempt to pull myself up. My wife follows behind me and I help grab her as she reaches the top – then, we get to slide down an inflatable into the most delicious water in the world!
Check out some of the photos:
All in all, I got to complete one of my new annual goals and have a good time doing it. I would highly recommend anyone try out this race if you’re looking for a good time and a way to trick yourself into exercising!
While Rugged Maniac is a somewhat easier obstacle course race, it is still taxing and may require training, depending on the person. It seemed to be a step up from the local race, though they shared a few similar obstacles, but not so difficult that Average Joe couldn’t complete it. Essentially, it’s a race for everyone!!