I’m sitting on my front patio, enjoying a gorgeous Florida day, contemplating how to even begin my recap of yesterday’s races. The day flew by, it was amazing, exhausting, exhilarating, and a day I won’t soon forget. It renewed my resolve to continue bettering myself to get stronger, faster, and more competitive. It reminded me of how much I love obstacle racers; their support, their strength, and their passion. And it made me fall deeper in love with the entire realm of obstacle racing.
Several weeks ago I was contacted by Matt B Davis , who hosts an obstacle themed podcast, to join he and Damion, founder of MudRunFun, in running two obstacle races in the same day. Never one to back down from a challenge, I eagerly accepted. Thus the planning began, lodging was secured, travel logistics were formulated, t-shirts were made, and the infamous Double Race Weekend quickly arrived!
Saturday morning, October 20th, my husband and I rolled out of bed at 6am while much of the world continued to sleep (apparently most “normal” people like to sleep in on Saturday’s) and headed to Dade City for my first of two races to be run that day. Savage Race was up first. I’d heard great things about this race and was very excited to give it a try. We arrived, got situated, did a quick interview with Matt, and got ready to race.
We lined up at 8:45am, and would be running the first heat of the day, the competitive heat. Announcements were made, the National Anthem was sung, and before we knew it, we were off! I must say, having never run in a competitive heat before, it can be intimidating! You can tell that everyone running with you trains very hard, is in great shape, and is a serious contender. With that said, it was awesome to be with such a competitive group! I think it really pushed me along to do my best as well! There were about 400 racers in the competitive heat, and just over 2,700 overall for all other non-competitive heats.
The race itself was rumored to be between 5-7 miles, and with tracking, it ended up at a 6.4 mile total distance. And I’m happy to report, Savage Race lived up to the hype! I loved it! It was challenging, had a ton of great obstacles, and is definitely a race I’d do again! There was a good amount of running through sand and mud, climbing and jumping walls, crawling under walls and barbed wire, and running over large dirt hills that wore us down and zapped our energy. In addition to that, we encountered angled monkey bars, jumped in a huge bin of ice cold water, climbed through long narrow tubes, carried a log through water, and tackled many many walls that were a great challenge as well. The most daunting of obstacles was at the very end, an insanely high 1/4 pipe (similar to Mount Everest of Tough Mudder, but taller), that required you to run at it as fast as you could in hopes to grab the rope provided and pull yourself up. I caught the rope on the first try, but struggled with upper body strength to pull myself up. As my energy waned, and I began to panic that I would fall, I called upon the help of a volunteer at the top to help, and thank goodness he lent a hand! After that a super high, slippery slide down to earth followed (fun!!), a couple of crawls under charged wires (got shocked 1x!), a jump over fire, and the longest barbed wire crawl ever (or so it seemed) brought me to the finish line!
Overall I was timed as non-competitive, having signed up late there was no longer room to sign up for competitive. I finished the 6.4 mile course in 1:22:10, was 3rd in my age group (of almost 300!), and 43rd overall of 2711! Top 5%! I am extremely happy with those results! If I had been timed with the competitive group, I would have been 7th in my age group, and in the top 50% of finishers. And honestly, with the caliber of runner I was stacked against, I couldn’t be more thrilled with that!
We finished up at Savage, dirty and happy, and hit the road to drive 2 1/2 hours to New Smyrna Beach and run Xtreme Mud Warrior.
The last heat of the day at Xtreme Mud Warrior began at 1:30pm, and we arrived shortly after. By that time, our affectionately named “Triangle of Awesomness” had increased in size to 9 total runners tackling both races. We quickly got our bibs, wrist bands (instead of chip timers they used colored bands to time us at the end), stretched, and we’re off on our way again! In our very own wave by the way!
Now here’s what I’ll say about Xtreme Mud Warrior. It’s hard to hold a candle to a big race like Savage, they aren’t even comparable. Xtreme was 3.07 miles of mostly swamp and mud running, with a few obstacles that were pretty weak. There were 2 long swims, and I can say they were the longest swims I’ve encountered to date at an obstacle race, and you can’t help imagining alligators swimming up underneath you when you are in a Florida freshwater lake for that long. But, at Xtreme Mud Warrior, we had FUN! Whereas Savage was more individualistic and competitive, we all ran Xtreme together, didn’t worry about our time, and joked, laughed, and had a riot through the whole race! So although Xtreme wasn’t the strongest race I’ve been to, we still had a blast! It was nice to end the day as a team, having a great time, and just enjoying our favorite hobby together.
Overall, I had a great time! The day flew by! Had I not had a second race coming up, I could have pushed a bit harder in Savage for a better result, but overall I’m extremely happy with how the day went. It helped me further realize what I want to strive for in future races, and it was so awesome to meet some truly amazing people along the way. It was also a lot of fun to get to race competitively, and then just for fun, all in the same day. To be honest, it gave us the opportunity to experience the best of both worlds!
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
So as I sit, enjoying the sunshine on this gorgeous Florida day, I’m reflecting on a day that I will remember forever, and I cannot wait till the next time I get to get down and dirty to race in the mud with some truly amazing folks.
To end this post, here’s my favorite quote from this weekend, one I overheard someone tell another tired racer to help motivate her on the Savage course. When you feel run down “Quit when you are done, don’t quit when you are tired!” Love it!
Much love to all of my obstacle racing friends! Until next time, keep on running!