This past week was a series of lasts for the summer: Last hill training session with an absolutely awesome group of dedicated people (dude…it was 35C on Tuesday and we killed it!), last summer race, possibly the last week of scorching heat (which hopefully translates to last week of sweat pouring out of every pore in my body during our workouts…serious….I’m not human!) and soon-to-be the last week of writing regularly under this blog name (more on the switch to come but change is happening around camp and this site is long overdue for a revamp).
On Saturday morning, a bunch of crazy locals gathered at the race track (horse race track) to tackle some running and some obstacles in the name of fun. Nearly 50 of those crazies came from the gym I work out at. Seeing a sea of red Fukumoto Fitness shirts was so awesome. The Dirty Donkey mud run had two distances: 5k and the Kick ass heat which was of unknown distance (sneaky, sneaky!) and also included a few extra treats for participants to enjoy.
After initially signing up for the 5k back in March, I ended up getting a gentle nudge to switch to the Kick Ass heat. Nervous as I was, I did it and I’m so glad I did. After Spartan, I felt down and out about the constant struggle to push myself in a race and not fall victim to the noise in my head that tells me to slow down, walk, save energy. The last few weeks of hill training have helped me push through some of that noise and Saturday felt like the ultimate test of mind over matter. And they good folks at Dirty Donkey didn’t waste anytime testing out that theory. About 2 feet past the starting line, we were gifted with 20 burpees to start the race. Nothing like some burpees to get the blood flowing. After that, it was a long stretch of running before hitting some obstacles.
The obstacles were all doable and, like at Spartan, weren’t the source of needing to dig deep. The running was. Before I even hit the first obstacle (my bear crawl technique was superb btw), my mind was already telling me to walk. Gurr. I didn’t. I pushed through and looked for familiar red shirts on the field. I won’t go into detail on all the obstacles (maybe another day) but I will offer my thoughts on my race and where the victories really were:
The obstacles that I faced on Saturday that were also at Spartan were easier. I was stronger and I was more confident. I didn’t hesitate at the 6ft wall. I scaled it like a boss (booya!). The 9ft wall, I needed to use the helper slat because I’m just not tall enough to actually reach the top, but I still scaled that beast rather that climb up all the slats. Not because I had to or even wanted to, but because I knew I could. That’s a huge victory for me. The monkey bars were way easier this time and I felt much more confident doing any of the climbing tasks. I simply just felt like I was moving better all around.
The one task that nearly undid me physically was the pallet pull. My word…that thing felt like it weighed a thousand pounds. The potato sack jumping, I’m convinced, was there to make sure no one got too cocky in how well their race was going (it was nightmares of summer camp all over again, ha ha!).
I did end up walking a couple of times. I’m totally fine with that because I actually knew I needed a breather. My form was slacking and tired and I needed a minute to catch my breath. But I know I never walked because I felt I “should”
All in all, it was a fantastic race, not just because I ran a good race (I don’t even know if they timed it so I have no idea how I finished anyway) but because there was support, cheers, high fives and camaraderie, not just amongst our group of red shirts but with everyone. Picture 5-6 people who don’t know each other cheering and working together to get across a slack line together rather than trying to get across faster, better etc than the person in front. People, THIS is how racing and fitness should be and yet, this is not the perspective a lot of people have and with good reason.
Maybe I’ll write more on the race itself another day but for now, know that it was a lot of fun, a lot of reasons to feel proud and most of all, a privilege to get to run alongside such a great group of people who were there for more than just themselves. Obstacles of all kinds were dominated that day and I cannot wait for next year to see what will be accomplished by me and (more so) those around me.
Muddy “after” pic hopefully coming soon! I didn’t have my phone for that part so I’m hoping there will be something in the official race pics!
Have a great week everyone!