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My personal #racelocal recap, and the strangest FOMO ever.

FIT

These people…they make it all happen.

From late September of 2014, Paul Jones and I have been working hard on the 2015 #racelocal Grand Prix.  Everyone knows who Paul is, he is arguably, the face of NES.  Me?  Not so much, mostly by design.  I have always been a “behind the scenes” type, this is where my comfort level is.  I’m not a stranger to the Biggest Team tent, and a lot of you know me and have met me, but I’m much more involved in areas a lot of you will never know.  A “forced extrovert” is how I’ve always defined myself, I’m definitely on the quiet side.

BoneFrog
Finally…Bone Frog!

But, boy…have I enjoyed watching this season.  Every time someone posted pictures of their medals, every time I saw someone in a #racelocal shirt.  Showing up at Killington and having someone race past me in a #racelocal “hoodie.” Reading the reviews of the races, seeing the pictures of the events I wasn’t able to attend, seeing the triumph at the ones I did.  Paul and I had so many “behind the scenes” talks about how proud of this community we are, supporting this effort.

As the races signed on and committed, everyone “behind the scenes” became more and more excited.  Amazing races like Pounder, Shale Hill, O2X.  You know the names.  I was stoked about all of them, and started checking ones off the list, what have I never done before?  Snow race.  Bone Frog.  Shale Hill.  My “to do” list went through the roof (and a  lot of it still remains).

I remember the days leading to this year’s Blizzard Blast.  I looked outside and, speaking to a friend on the phone, we both thought out loud “it might be a blast, but there won’t be much blizzard!”  It was warm, and very non-snowy, right up until a few days until the event.  Boy, did the weather change, just in time!

…and then it wasn’t!  More snow than we knew what to do with. It was awesome, and a sign of an amazing season to come! We raced, slipped, slid and slipped our way through six miles of fresh snow (that wouldn’t stop falling all year).  And, with that, #racelocal 2015 was off and running!

 

Bold
Killing it at Bold ‘R Dash!

I’ve wanted to do a Bone Frog for a couple years, this was going to be the year I would not be denied.  Setting out with my buddy Rob, I can’t think of a course that pushed and challenged us more.  Another unexpected weather day, yes?  So much for “60’s and raining,” by the time it was all said and done, we saw mid 80’s that day!  #racelocal was certainly an adventure this season.  I watched my wife crush Bold R Dash (I was sidelined with injury), same with FIT in April.  I was this (-) close to finally getting to Shale Hill (which will not elude me in 2016), only to be derailed by child care issues.  And, through all the races, I was able to do my “thing,” watch from the back ground and really enjoy all of your successes.

So, you may be asking yourself how I could have all these cool memories and still have this “strange FOMO.” Last year one of my best friends moved to North Carolina.  We planned a time for me to fly down and see him, coinciding with Spartan’s Beast weekend.  Bought my plane tickets, booked the hotel and the plan was set.  The #racelocal Grand Prix was scheduled to end weeks before this event, there were no conflicts.  I figured, great – I get to see a friend, and race. It sounds like a great weekend!

…And then Robb McCoy announced the fall FIT Challenge.  Now I was going to be missing something.  Now my weekend away wasn’t so clear and easy.  Everyone “behind the scenes” would be at FIT, except me.

Ryan
My buddy Ryan and I, running hard in South Carolina.

I had an amazing time with my buddy, we had a great weekend; however it is really hard knowing that everyone it gathering at an event, except you.  An event you had a large hand putting together is going to be ending, there will be a lot of smiling faces, awards, laughs, memories…and I won’t be there.

It was a strange feeling, being at a fun event with a great friend and, yet, having this strange FOMO feeling at the same time.  While I was running with, literally, thousands (and thousands) of people in South Carolina and doing the exact obstacles I’ve done hundreds of times, my mind was wondering what you folks were doing.  I loved being with my friend, I wouldn’t trade that weekend for the world.  But I would be lying if I didn’t admit I wasn’t jealous, and I didn’t miss you guys.

I guess that is what #racelocal does to you.

I was glad to have Paul to talk after both races, yours and mine.  I loved seeing the pictures of the event, and the prize winners.  But, really, aren’t we all “prize winners,” everyone who ran even one #racelocal event?  I know that is how I feel.

My wife and Paul at FIT!
My wife and Paul at FIT!

And next season I am determined to not have the FOMO feeling again. I hope you avoid it as well.  How do you avoid it?  Pretty simple, something Paul and I have been working on since about October of this year..

#racelocal #strongertogether

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The numbers of #racelocal

racelocalThis is the second year we’ve held the #racelocal Grand Prix, and this is definitely our biggest year yet.

Here are some of the stats behind it, to date.

At it’s core – we encourage – and bribe – runners and participants to attend high quality, local obstacle course races – putting their entry $ into the local OCR economy, and driving the quality of other OCRs up, in an effort to get in on the Grand Prix.

It’s been wildly successful – more than we anticipated!

11143140_10153385770643338_3061897711170085659_nOver 200 people have registered.
188 of them have ran at least one race so far, and earned their #racelocal 2015 medal, and 89 T Shirts are on your backs already (for 3 races) – 27 of you have hit 5 races and have one of our badass trucker caps and a swag bag.

Our Wreck Bag Mileage Challenge – with prizes for the most mileage logged during the Grand Prix term – has wracked up 3069 miles, in total – and we’re only 8 races in.

No one has managed to do all 8, due to conflicts in dates for two – but 4 dedicated people have managed to do 7 events, and 10 have managed to rack up 6 races.

Blizzard Blast, our first race, had the most #racelocal attendance, at 139 people with FIT Challenge right behind it at 121 people. We made up 20% of the field at Polar Bear Challenge.

Wreck Bag LogoWe’re encouraging people to step out of their comfort zone, and run multiple laps at events thanks to sponsorship from Wreck Bag – with race directors catching on quick and making the process of running multiple laps as smooth and quick as possible.

racelocalmedalBone Frog Challenge saw an average of 10.25 miles per #racelocal athlete, and Polar Bear was next, with 6.7 miles per person – and by charging just $10 per lap, Wason Pond Pounder was able to wrack up an additional $500 on nothing but multiple lap costs alone for their charities! Zombie Charge next weekend is giving their $10 multi-lap fee to the Boys and Girls club – a natural progression of the Grand Prix that we LOVE to see!

We’ve awarded 1301 points so far, with the top three at the end of the year winning cash prizes – and those are almost exactly evenly split between male and female athletes, but the men had 400 miles more logged than the ladies.

The Grand Prix is underway – you’re already too late to get in on it in 2015, but watch this space for 2016 information to come!

racelocalprizes

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Out of Dagobah

Somebody crashed a damn X-Wing into my swamp and spoiled my slumber. Now I have to go fire up an ancient Macbook and take to the keys. 40 years old you become, cranky too, you will be.

“Fear is the path of the Darkside. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Master Yoda

The worst fear is the fear we don’t even realize we have, and that is the fear that leads to anger. Its not the fear from with out that breeds hate. Its the fear from within. The things we fear about ourselves that we fear will be let out into the light. Jung’s “shadow”. When we see it reflected inn others, that which we fear in ourselves, we lash out. When you take to the internet and condemn others, your own fears about yourself spill out.

“Just because you are a character, doesn’t mean you have character.” The Wolf

Everyone is the the lead character of their own story. Most people believe they are the Hero. But if you are the villain of someone else’s story. you are probably the Villain of your own as well. It’s been said time and again that most people are their own worst enemy and I think that’s accurate. If your choice of options is to belittle, degrade or dehumanize another person for some trumped up reason in your own mind, you’re a bad person. It’s really that simple. Instead of being someone who others look up too, you simply attract sycophants who agree with you out of fear. Which leads to anger, and hate, and then suffering. So instead of being a bright, happy, respectful person. You become a twisted, bitter, angry, wrathful wretch.

Character is one of those words which many can define yet, few seem to understand. It’s quite simply the moral and mental process which lead to an individual’s choices and actions. Correlation does not imply causation however. What I mean is just because you do something good for others to see, does not mean you really are good. Dave Barry the humorist wrote: “If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they aren’t a nice person.” To really be nice, you first have to think nice, then speak nice, and then: AND THEN, do nice.

Dennis Prager wrote: “Goodness is about character- integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage and the like. More than anything else; it is about how we treat other people.” Similarly Buddhism is often attributed to these five factors when speaking; Is it spoken at the right time? Is it spoken in truth? Is it spoken affectionately? Is it spoken beneficially? Is it spoken with the mind of goodwill? With all of these things in mind, when you interact with other people either in person, or over the internet, if you can’t qualify your thought and your speech by these ideas, your probably speaking with fear. And with fear you will only find anger, hate and suffering.

Master Yoda told us that the path of fear would lead to the Darkside. Lucas however didn’t define the path of the light side. Probably because it would appear too religious and didn’t fit his sci-fi movie. But we can discern it for ourselves with no need to attach currently practiced religious canon. Understanding is the path of the Lightside. Understanding leads to joy. Joy leads to happiness. Happiness leads to love. Love never finds fault. Some guy long ago tried to teach these ideas. We haven’t come to understand his message or any other great teacher who tried. Some day we will though. Some day.

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Recipe – Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mash

Ok, I confess. I MISS MASHED POTATOES!! I used to love making them with the requisite cream and butter, leaving just a bit of texture so as not to turn them into library paste. Since going Paleo many moons ago, and the other dietary restrictions that I’m supposed to follow for optimum health, I can no longer eat this bowl of happiness. I took to eating mashed cauliflower, but when we were coming up on Thanksgiving this year, for some reason I just couldn’t stand the thought of plain cauli-mash. So I thought, “why not roast the cauliflower?” Poking around online, I found that PaleOMG had already tested this out, but also did the bonus move of roasting a head of garlic to put in there. SCORE!

I found that you can take or leave the coconut milk as it didn’t add that much to this. It was mostly for the purpose of added fat and to give that tiny bit of “mouth feel” to the mash. You can add more olive oil or simply add water or stock to it. On a side note: with the stock add rather than the coconut milk, I found this worked reasonably well as a dip for veggies (think roasted garlic hummus).

(Credit: http://paleomg.com/roasted-garlic-cauliflower-mashed-potatoes/)

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients
1 head of cauliflower
1 head of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 tablespoons canned coconut milk (ed – optional. Sub in water or stock if desired)
salt and pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Chop up your cauliflower into small florets and place in a large baking dish to roast.

3. You’ll also need to roast your garlic, so cut off the end of your head of garlic to show the cloves. Sprinkle a bit of olive oil on the head of garlic then wrap foil around it.

4. Place your cauliflower and foil packet in the oven to bake for about 30-35 minutes.Once everything is roasted away, remove from oven.

5. Place roasted cauliflower in your wonderful food processor along with roasted garlic cloves. To get the cloves from the head of garlic, just squeeze them out or use a fork to pull them out.

6. Turn food processor on, pulse until garlic and cauliflower begin to become a paste, then add olive oil and coconut milk/water/stock to help form your preferred texture. If you want it a bit smoother, add a little more of your preferred liquid. Just play it by ear.

7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

8. Consume.

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Review: Reebok Spartan Race Compression Top

compression topThanks yet again to Lisa Cullity for the review!

I needed something for the conditions at the beast, and I broke the cardinal rule of nothing new on race day.

I bought the Reebok Spartan Race Ladies Compression top -and I’m so glad I did.  It was perfect, dried quickly, did not rip (and I caught it plenty on the barbed wire) the long sleeves protected my arms.  I slid down hills – no marks or tears.

It was like a second skin, and just as comfortable.

Only complaints- toward the end of the race the bottom started to roll up a bit – (more a reflection of my figure than the shirt) and I did get rub marks from my pack.  14-17 miles, mostly wet or sweaty, shifting all around? Yeah I’d expect some signs of rubbing.  But no chafing anywhere.

Was hesitant to spend that much on a shirt.  not anymore

Rating: 5 star (amazing)

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Featured Review – The Un-named

It wasn’t too long ago when we were reporting that Fuego Y Agua – the Survival Run and organizers of several ultra’s was canceling their Celtic events, to be held in South Wales – in the UK. Normally, canceled races are met with much gnashing of teeth and cries of foul. Refunds don’t happen, and athletes are upset.

Not this time. Something interesting happened. With very few exceptions, the athletes shrugged their shoulders, accepted transfer to the upcoming Texas event instead, and rather than bemoaning their loss in flights and hotel costs – they got on planes and went anyway.

Even more amazing, a local company, Primal Events, stepped up to the plate and held an event regardless. Smaller scale than Fuego Y Agua, perhaps, but still challenging and demanding. #neseliteteam member Nele was there, participated, and will be in Texas for the rescheduled FYA too. This is her story.

Crossposted from Nele’s blog – http://nelesrace.com/i-am-un-named/

206783_119544064879953_728027208_nI am Un-named.
When I heard there was going to be a Fuego Y Agua Survival Run in Wales (close to my hometown on Liverpool) I knew I had to do it. So I registered and booked a flight. About three weeks before the race I got an email stating the race was cancelled due to various reasons (all completely understandable and I know they did everything they could to try and put the race on). I was pretty sad about it. I’d been looking forward to this event for a long time. Then I heard that Karl Allsop from Primal Events was trying to put on an event for all the survival runners and I was excited again. I was very impressed to hear that Primal Events were putting something together for all the runners who had booked flights and hotels. So on Friday 22nd of August, my husband and I set off for South Wales.

10383879_10202958895713572_4590990036376000078_nThe racers had been given a code, a set of numbers, which we had to decipher. I had no clue, but thankfully a couple of the other races had figured it out. It was coordinates to our start location. So at 6am on Saturday I was stood at the edge of Cardiff Harbor waiting to start. There was 12 racers total. We had to empty our packs out, and I mean empty. I had a hair bobble and an old bag stuffed in a pocket and was given 20 burpees as punishment. Next, three people were picked as team captains (myself included), and we had to each pick 3 people to be part of our team. There were three teams: Team 1, Team 2, and Team 3. My team was Team 1 and consisted of Paul Kavanagh, Mike Ruhlin, Ben Kirkup, and myself. Then out of nowhere the RD’s (Karl, Rob, and Ben) shouted out coordinates to our first checkpoint and the race had officially started. The problem was we couldn’t remember several of the numbers/coordinates. We had a rough idea looking at the map, but we weren’t sure and the coordinates were not repeated. Team 3 took off, so we decided to follow them. Unfortunately we lost them at a fork in the road. Needless to say, we went the wrong way and got a little lost, but after talking to a local taxi driver we got some directions and were running the right direction. We were last to arrive at the first checkpoint. The teams were given the challenge and left to it. We had to run around a lake and remember vital bits of information from the information boards on the lake, then we had to head to a reconstructed medieval village. We were last to arrive there too, a theme that would carry on throughout the race. We listened to the history behind the village. Thankfully our team had pens, so we wrote down what we were being told. Then we were given more coordinates (which we wrote down this time) and we were off running again. Shockingly we were first to arrive at the next checkpoint on a beach. We were given our next coordinates and we were off again. Points were awarded based on which teams arrived first, second, or last to the checkpoints, as well as the order the challenges were completed. For the first part of the race teams were also awarded points for picking up litter. I thought this was really nice, helping clean up the communities we were racing in, but the race then felt a little bit like a litter-picking-up event and points stopped being awarded (it was a really good idea, but took a little bit away from the race).

We weather was surprisingly pleasant. Sunny skies, not too hot or cold, and my team were having a really good time. We all got on phenomenally well and 10645046_10202958898873651_3115934993098143163_nwere laughing and joking all the time. All the teams arrived at another beach. After writing down 30 facts learnt about the medieval village we were directed to a huge mound of pebbles. On these pebbles we had to find our team number before we could go to Sully Island and search for a lock box. Our team could not find the pebble. To say we were frustrated was an understatement. Especially as the other teams found their pebbles relatively fast. I am so thankful I had a great team though, because even though we were frustrated, annoyed, and angry we were still smiling. Eventually we headed over to Sully Island to search for the lock box. There were only two boxes, and one team had already found one, so two teams were searching for the last box. I was climbing over huge rocks and trekking through thorny bushes, looking for the box. In the end the other team found it. Team 1 was last again.

It’s difficult to remember exactly what happened next. A combination of both exhaustion and having so many challenges/tasks and covering so many miles. At one point we were on Barry Island (and thanks to Ben I know that Gavin and Stacey was set there). We were on the beach and told each team had to make one 100lb sandbag out of the materials we had. Fabric was on our gear list, and Paul had packed the perfect material. The team worked awesome together. Ben designed the bag, we used Paul’s material, Mike sewed the bag together with Paul, and I dug up the sand we would need. The sandbag was brutal. It was too heavy for the scale to give a reading. It was well above 100lbs. While constructing the sandbag all the racers had to run into the sea and submerge themselves every 10 minutes. After I submerged myself I was cold and the sand rubbed all over my body. Team 1 got the sandbag put together pretty quickly, so we only had to endure one submersion. The sand chaffed me badly. I was very uncomfortable. I am so glad it was relatively warm that day. After doing team PT with the sandbag the whole team had to sprint with the sandbag across the beach and back. Our team did the sprint in 3:55. Another team beat our time with their sandbag, so we had to sprint again. After what felt like forever, we were guided off the beach towards showers. I was so happy when we were told we could shower. Even ice cold showers helped so much. My ruck was rubbing on my back and it was becoming extremely painful very quickly. I must have spent about 10 minutes under that shower trying to get rid of all of the sand. I should have known it was too good to be true, because immediately after showering we regrouped on the sand and had to do sugar cookies (all kneel in a circle and throw up sand so it gets on everybody). A couple of racers showered again after this and were punished by being made to roll in the sand. Right before the sugar cookie I put on a super tight long sleeve, and I am so happy I did that. It stopped my ruck from rubbing and gave me a little bit of warmth.

We were all given our next coordinates and decided on our routes. As a team we decided to head quickly and cross the next bay before the tide came in. Our 10547161_339608586206832_445771214987120965_ogamble paid off and we appeared to be faster that the other teams. I couldn’t carry the sandbag by myself for any substantial distance, so the three men on the team each took turns carrying it themselves. Even with the sandbag, we were all having a pretty fun time. We reached the next checkpoint first. We were given a little break (I sat and stuffed my face with an energy bar thing) before we were told to count the number of arches in the viaduct located where we were. It was pretty hard to count them on foot because each end of the viaduct was located in thick woods. While a couple of my teammates went to count the arches, I went to the café and asked an employee if he could google the answer for me. He did. According to google there were 16 arches in this particular viaduct. We carried our sandbag to Rob who told us to hide them in a bush nearby. Our sandbag was an army green colour, so it blended in perfectly. We all followed the RD’s into the woods nearby where we given a lesson on camouflage.

We were told to camouflage ourselves. We were all wearing white t-shirts, and 10 minutes later we were covered in mud; hands, face, t-shirt, everything. Next we had to carry our packs, and crawl through a muddy stream. If Karl or Ben saw us then we had to get out and our team lost 25 points. I was leading the group through the stream. Some of the water came up to mid-thigh, deeper than I expected, and it smelled. Terrible. Every now and then we would encounter a damn of logs and twigs, and the water would be all scummy and pretty disgusting. I tried to keep off my knees as much as possible because of all the rocks, but a lot of the time I was crawling through the water. There were flies everywhere. All over my face. I was crawling through the water for about two and a half hours before I reached a blockade of logs. The water had scum all over it and the logs were a tiny bit too high to climb over and going under them would require me to get on my belly and army crawl through the water. I decided to take a gamble and try to climb over the logs. My gamble failed. I was spotted. I apologized to my teammates and I climbed out. I stood with Ben in the sun trying to warm up and watching the rest of the group try to make it all the way. In the end only Paul made it the whole way. Unfortunately everything in Paul’s bag had gotten wet. He had no dry clothes to change into. I was already in my change of clothes. The sun was setting and being wet made it very cold. Paul was shivering like crazy and couldn’t get warm. I felt terrible because I didn’t have any spare clothes, no one did. The team was given the next coordinates and told to take the sandbag to it. Paul carried the bag first in an attempt to warm up. It didn’t do much.

We were following the Wales Coast Path towards the next checkpoint when the path took us through a trailer park. We were the last team again. There was a lovely old Welsh man out on his trailer porch. He asked us what we were doing. Mike and I carried on walked, letting Ben and Paul chat to the man. Two minutes later they caught up with us. The man had asked them if we needed anything, Ben had said we could use some water. Ben was carrying a big bottle of water, three cans of beer, and a box of cakes! This was a great morale boost. We shared two cans of beer, saving the last one for the finish, and we ate cake. It was a great moment.

10576943_10202958901153708_9056867125108008907_nEventually we reached the checkpoint. It was dark now. The checkpoint was at a cottage or farm. We got briefed with instructions: split the 100lb sandbag into four 25lb sandbags. We were also told that we could build a fire with the rest of the teams if we wanted to. Mike helped others make the fire so Paul could warm up and dry off. I hung my trousers up to dry too, so I’d have them for the rest of the night. Ben and I started to make some sandbags. After about half an hour we had four sandbags and drier clothes. Then we left for the next checkpoint. We had to walk through a little Welsh village, and it was about 1am, which seemed to be when all the pubs closed. We encountered several drunk people on our route. They were entertaining to say the least. Then, we got lost… We were on some trails for a long time, and they didn’t seem to match up to where thought we were on the map. I remember thinking what would happen if we were lost, with no phones, and nowhere near civilization. Thankfully I didn’t have to find out the answer as we stumbled across a Wales Coast Path sign. I breathed a sigh of relief.

What happens next is a little fuzzy in my memory. We came across Rob at a checkpoint where we had to use our 1/2” chisels to chisel into a huge block of concrete that contained our next clue. It took a little while but we did it. The clue was coordinates to our next checkpoint. So off we went.

Now it was roughly 22 hours into the race. We were cold, wet, and sore. But we were still smiling and laughing. We followed the path to a ravine. There was a small beach and the path seemed to end abruptly. The other two teams were there. They couldn’t seem to find the way and they had been there for almost 2 hours. We all walked along the coast to see if the trail was around the side. The cliffs were huge! I thought to myself that even if there was a path there I wasn’t sure I’d want to climb up it, it looked so dangerous. After about ten minutes we decided there was no path there. There was a small trail opposite the trail we arrived on. Our team decided to follow it. It was the correct trail. Paul was in a lot of pain and slowing down, but he still kept moving with the team. Team 1 and Team 3 arrived at a fork in the trail. My team went right, and the other team went left. Turns out the right path was the correct way and we ended up far ahead. Eventually we found the next (and final – but we didn’t know it at the time) checkpoint. We were first to arrive and we cracked on with the challenge. In the sand there were three 8ft tubes sticking out. The tubes had holes from top to the bottom. Inside the tube, at the bottom, was a small plastic ball, which floated, that had the next clue on. We were told the tubes could not be moved, and that we had to float the plastic ball to the top to retrieve it. We started by taping up all the holes. We took one of the empty sandbags and filled it with seawater and all worked together pouring it into the tube. It was then that we realized the tube had no bottom. The water was flowing into the sand almost immediately after pouring it. We had various ideas, from trying to push the float up with sticks through the holes, to digging underneath the tube (which we weren’t allowed to do). After about 20 minutes the next team arrived. We hadn’t made much progress. Both of the teams were trying things with no luck. My team decided to tape a needle onto the edge of the stick and try to spear the float. It didn’t work, so we decided to use a knife. Team 3 next to us was also trying the knife method. It worked and they were the first to finish. Team 2 arrived. At this point Paul was done. He had pushed himself to the limit to remain with the team but couldn’t go on any further. We all said our farewells. I wish he had stayed; we were so close to the end. Hindsight is 20/20. But we didn’t know how close we were, for all we knew we could have another 5-10 mile walk, or a swim, or any a million burpees. It could have been anything. Team 1 cracked on with the pipe. I climbed on Ben’s shoulders and Mike passed me a spear made out of two sticks lashed together with a knife on the end. I tried a couple of times but I couldn’t seem to pierce the float. The “spear” wasn’t straight and the tube was too narrow to be able to see where to spear. We were almost about to try something else but I thought I’d give it one more shot. As I pulled up the spear I was thinking to myself “please let me have got it, please let me have got it”. When I saw that blue float I actually screamed with excitement. I was so happy! On the float it said, “pay point”. As we were next to a car park we ran towards the parking meters. None of us could find anything. Turns out the local bin men had removed the box we were looking for. Thankfully Karl was able to get the box back before they left. In it was a wooden block. We had collected three other wooden items throughout the race. Two wooden blocks and two wooden cylinders. The RD’s told us the blocks fit together and we had to build an item out of them. We were given some screws and got to work. Then we were done. It was over. The structure we had built became our trophy, finished off with glow in the dark spray. Team 1 cracked open the victory beer we’d been carrying for about 10 hours and shared it amongst the three of us, and high fived each other.


10531440_10102779266274963_1590514181576454675_o

I left this race with new friends and time spent with good friends, other survival runners. We had been going from 6am on Saturday and it finished 27 hours later. We covered somewhere between 45 and 60 miles. We’d been wet, sore, muddy, frustrated, ecstatic, miserable, and happy together. I had gone into this event with no expectations. I was just happy that the guys over at Primal Events were putting on any event at all. The race was difficult, but so well planned that I could have been fooled into thinking they had spent 6 months planning it, not just two weeks. Surprisingly my team finished in 2nd place. It was quite unexpected. All along we had just wanted to have fun and do stupid things, like carrying a 100lb sandbag for 5+ miles. We were never in the race mindset. We had also been in last place for the majority of the event. I was so happy to have the team that I did. Karl, Ben, and Rob did a phenomenal job organizing this race. I would do any of the Primal Events in a heartbeat. I can only hope that they put on another race like this one.

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Featured Review: Dirty Dash

dd-logoDue to the fact traffic was worse than I thought it was going to be, something I should understand having lived on Cape Cod most of my life, I was unable to race. My wife Leah DID have the opportunity to race it so this review is from my perspective on what I could see and what she saw out on the course. I did speak with a couple other Spahtens as well, so this ought to be somewhat cohesive.

We got to the venue shortly before 11:00 am. Parking was simple. I spoke with a lot of people who took the shuttle in from Seabrook and it seems that past issues ASP had with buses were solved. It was as smooth as it could be and buses were on time without any wait. Big ups for that!!

First things first, there was a bag check… While I was en route to the venue, Amesbury Sportspark, I was seeing posts on FB about the bag check. Folks were a little upset with the fact their bags were being rifled through and items were being taken  out. I am not sure if ASP has done this in the past as I have never had my bag checked like that before there, or maybe it was the Dirty Dash folks? Either way, taking people’s water away and or snacks, food, energy gels, etc was pretty bogus. Certain things need to be taken into consideration, like people’s diets and nutrition needs. At most OCR races there are not many options for food. It’s your usual fare of burgers, hot-dogs and maybe a wrap or two. For others this is not ideal so they obviously bring what they can to supplement their nutrition while racing. Until races start offering more options I think they should not be checking people’s bags for food. I was adamant on bringing in what I brought in and explained that it was food my family eats on a day to day basis and fits with the dietary needs we choose. Rather than argue, we walked in with my bag intact and contents still inside. We did make purchases; we bought beer, got some slushees for the boys and Leah had a chicken ceasar wrap.

ddteamRegistration was fluid, as long as you already had your waiver filled out before hand. The website said if you didn’t bring one they would charge you $1 for another. I did not see this happening and to be honest, thought it was silly at first. The more thought I put into it though it made sense. By having it done in advance it makes the process quick. Perhaps they should dole out burpees or something though, charging money is kind of cheesy.

Leah jumped into the next wave that was about to go off.

My boys and I walked around to check out what the vendor area and stuff was like. There were quite a few vendors, Honest Tea was passing out samples, Pure Protein was handing out bars by the fistful. It was a small vendor area though as they decided to keep it off to the left, not the center like most races seem to do there. Seems they really undervalued the space they had, or maybe they did it to make it seem busier by packing everyone in like sardines? Either way, no big rip on them for this but it could have been set up easier so it was more convenient to walk around.

Leading up to the race it was clear things could easily become a debacle here for Dirty Dash. I guess Dirty Girl was taking their time packing up and it was last minute setup for Dirty Dash. Quite a few of us actually thought they wouldn’t be able to pull this off in time. I’m pretty sure this had an effect on some of the obstacles listed on the map. There was no monkey bar rig and a few more were missing as well, I’m putting money on the fact it was in their haste to get up as much as they could in a short time.

ddmpaLeah did fully enjoy the course. Anyone who has been to Amesbury knows the terrain and THAT it is always the biggest obstacle. Dirty Dash made good use of the land, not as challenging of a course as some of the bigger national races but they still kicked people’s butts on the course. They had their staple inflatable obstacles as well as typical fare like walls, cargo nets, etc. Comparing it to others, Leah said this was just a decent fun run and that’s not a complaint. She had a blast! But, she was not super challenged by the obstacles. The pricing on the event was cheap enough, and most people got in early or got a deal of $30. I kept hearing people say that $30 is exactly what it was worth. There were quite a few bottle necks at some obstacles, that’s due to the fact they were only letting two or three people through at a time. I understand the safety aspect, but maybe break up the heat times a little more? Sending people out every 10 minutes is a huge no-no if you plan on things going smoothly on the course.

Here are couple major complaints I heard and witnessed, besides the bag check. There was only one water station. It was a hot day, they could have at a minimum used on more. There was no timing! Again, this was fun run so maybe it was of no concern for others. Most of us though like to be timed to see where we are at with our race fitness. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal for other’s and if so, to each their own right? I like timing chips, but that’s just me.

rsz_img_2806Here’s where Dirty Dash screwed up royally though. As you come down the front hill and turn right toward the finish you hit a huge, and I mean HUGE, line of people lined up at the finish line. This line grew and grew at points actually going up the hill and could easily be about 50-100 deep. What were they lining up for? The folks from Flo-Foto were taking pics. That should be cool right? Who doesn’t want a pic right at the end, covered and mud and feeling accomplished? The photographer was getting two, three and four poses out of people. For real? Take one and move on man, you got an enormous growing line, get things going! He looked at the line many times, paying no mind to it. I’m sure it was all about getting “the shot” though as Flo-Foto does not offer free photos, so they charge for them and what better way to get some loot than to get the right pic?! Needless to say, people started just skipping it and moving on to grab their t-shirt and Dirty Dash hanky! No medal! But, if you signed up they made no promises for it so you should have known.

10501597_586153651493926_5246575107556441825_nIt was a great day for racing, and even though it sounds like I am really making this out to be a bad day, it wasn’t. I’m just saying it was what it was, a decent fun run at a decent price. If it were any more money than it was there could have been a lot of disapointed people, but they all had smiles on their faces from what I could tell!

 

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WOW 6-30-14

This weeks wow will leave you sweaty and feeling accomplished!

Print this sheet and set your timer to 6 sets of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.  Now fill your sheet in with the following movements:

Round 1

  1. Split jumps
  2. Wide pushup

1 minute rest

Round 2

  1. Ninja Squat
  2. Burpee

1 minute rest

Round 3

  1. Super man
  2. Bear crawl

Done?  Whew!  Great work!  now hit the trails for 20-30 minutes.  Maybe bring your pet rock!