Friday, May 18, 2018


GORUCK rolled out a new series of events that teach survival courses.  I completed Constellation, their urban survival course last year, in Cary, NC.  It was the first one that they held after their beta event, I believe.  This year, they added two more events - Immersion, the water survival course, and Expedition, the wilderness survival course.  Constellation was a lot of fun.  Grinding it out through PT and heavy carries at Tough and Light events teaches you things about teamwork, leadership, and grit, and you learn nuggets of wisdom all along the way, and that's great and special.  However, since I was a kid, I've always been really into cool gear, going on missions, and survival.  It was fun and useful and cool, and I wanted more, so I signed up for Immersion and Expedition this year.

Constellation was a nice change in that it wasn't a beat-down like the Tough and similar events that I've done before (HH12HR).  They called it a gentleman's event, in that it's not about the PT.  I came across a chart that summarized the differences between these events, and it suggested that Expedition and Immersion would be more physical, but I wasn't sure how so. Immersion would be first, on May 5, and Expedition would be afterwards, on May 19.

Immersion was the evolution of Beached events that they tried last year.  In my head, I pictured being out on a raft for a good bit of the time learning how to survive on a raft, and being on land some of the time, learning stuff about surviving on shores after getting marooned.  Haha... I'd be wrong.


I wasn't training for Immersion or anything, but this was what I did in the weeks leading up.
Tuesday, Apr 24:
50 min strength session
  • Pullups: 4 + 5
  • Crunches: 400/side
  • Plank: 2.5 + 4 min
  • Lunges: 100
  • Pushups: 20 slow and deliberate were hard
  • Adductor/Abductor Leg Lifts: 95/130
  • 6 in: 75s
  • Single Leg Squats: 75 + 80 shallow
  • Russian Twists: 40
  • Assorted Dumbells
Thursday, Apr 26:
5.0 in 41:27, 8:18 ave, 2 degrees of incline.  My heart had to work hard.  Legs were achey at first, but were fine in the second half.  Did it after 8 not-all-the-way-down perpendicular bar pullups.  After the run, I did 6 normal pullups.

Saturday, Apr 28:
In the morning, I participated in the MS Walk at Upstate USC.  It was good to see old friends again from SC.  I got in about 1.5 mi of rucking there.

After that, I went to Kings Mountain National Military Park.  It happened to be the end of National Park week, so I started with a photo scavenger hunt along their Battleground Trail (2 mi).

It's a beautiful and underrated park and trail system.  Many in Charlotte talk about Crowder's and the Whitewater Center, but this place is great as well.  The National Park System never disappoints.

After finishing the scavenger hunt and getting my bookmark prize, I wanted to get in some more rucking.  Their parking lot closes at 5pm, and it was 2pm, so I hustled to try to get to Lake Crawford and back before closing time.  It was good incentive to go at a decent pace.  I did my shuffling jog when I could, and walked more on the way back. 

The trail goes along some little creeks, and my turnaround point, which was within the SC Kings Mountain State Park, was a dam.  I had done this ruck with my dad once before, so I knew what to expect.

You don't need to be in rucking shape for Immersion, but I had a HH12HR coming up, plus a bunch of GORUCK challenge events the rest of the year.  Now that I usually go to the gym at work, I don't get in the 1-mi periodic rucks that I used to get when I'd ruck to my subdivision's gym.

Sunday, Apr 29:
I went to the USNWC to watch a rubber duck race that benefited charity.  It was something to see!  The show lasted longer than I expected, because the ducks took a while to all make their way through the rapids and eddys.  It was quite a spectacle, seeing all the ducks get scooped up afterwards, too.  It looks like a fun job.  There were a ton of people there, watching.  

Afterwards, since I was already there, I decided to go bouldering, using my season pass for only the second time so far this year.  I ran across some Spartan friends there, which was fun.  My legs weren't runnable after the rucking yesterday, so bouldering was a good option.

Monday, Apr 30:
I went back to the South End Pub Run for the first time in a while.  With the big race weekends recently, I hadn't felt recovered enough for a Monday run, but it was a good day to go back.  I was still at work at 5:45pm, so I might as well.

5.1 in 42:10, 8:16 ave.  

I sometimes dread the paces that I end up going at the runs, like feeling my stomach turn.  We went easy today, though.  I still don't fully know all of the turns on the route, so I was happy to follow.  Glad to not be going suicide pace today (7:17 last time).  

Tuesday, worked until 6:45pm and tired, so no gym.

Wednesday, team bonding at Sycamore Brewing.  Good beers.  Good to get to know my colleagues better.

Friday, May 4:
The treadmills at the gym got some new features pushed to them, including RunTV, which shows a screen that makes you feel like you're running through various beautiful venues.  I usually watch Food Network TV, but this is better.  You get some benefit of feeling like you're out in nature, and you're incentivized to finish the run to not miss any of the scenes, not that the scenery changes much within a show.  The shows last for somewhere between 35-40 min, and the treadmill must stop between shows, so you can't do multiple consecutively.

I ended up doing 2, so that I could start to work my way through the 6 options.  I did Above the Snow (alpine run) and Beach Buzz.  The former went up to 9 degrees of incline, and I found out for the first time that the treadmills could go downhill, too!  It was quite a suprise.  

8.5 in 1:12:34, 8:32 ave.

Since Immersion wouldn't be leg-intensive, and I'd be up all night so I probably wouldn't have much energy for workouts the rest of the weekend, I wanted to get in a more substantial run beforehand.


As I mentioned, I'm a big fan of the NPS.  Since I was driving all the way down to the ATL area, I wanted to swing by nearby NPS parks.  On the way there, since I was still clean, I went to the MLK Jr. National Historic Site.  It's located in the neighborhood where he grew up.  Exhibits talk about the history of Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, and his life.  It was really powerful.  When I saw examples of the separate but [not] equal stuff that was imposed on fellow humans and the degrading way in which they were treated, it broke my heart as much as learning about the Holocaust was.  It was so wrong... not much better than the Holocaust.  


I got to Red Top State Park a little early.  I scoped out the meeting area, visited the gift shop for a hiking medallion, and then grabbed a quick Letterbox Geocache before heading back to the meeting point to prep my gear.  More people assembled.  I saw one car that clearly had some 6 hr people in it... they were drying their clothes.  Since they were still around, they must be sticking around for more. While we got ready, the 6 hr duo shared their experiences and tips.

It was going to be in the low 60's that night, and we'd be getting wet.  Although it wasn't on the packing list, I brought my fleece jacket in case.  Good call.  

Once we met the cadre, we carpooled to a place where we collected some firewood for later.  Then, we had a swim test, to assess our comfort in the water, since we'd be there a while that night.  It's one thing to swim in a pool in a swimsuit, but swimming in clothes and shoes is outside of one's comfort zone.  It's not as bad as I thought, though.

We learned how to waterproof our rucks and make them good flotation devices.  We swam with buddies, to keep each other safe.  My buddy Frank was really nice and looked out for me the whole time.  We doggie paddled for a long time while the cadre taught us how to improvise flotation devices with pants, kickboard rucks, rucks behind, rucks in front, and contractor bags.  It was chilly and physically demanding to paddle, but it was exciting being in a new environment like that.  I was already shivering, though, so I wondered how easy it would be to make it through the whole night.

We had a few fire breaks throughout the night, where we could warm up, rehydrate and refuel, and learn more modules.  We learned about first aid (tourniquet, superglue, splint above and below the impacted joints, arm sling via bandana). 

Our first water session had been chilly.  I was glad to have my fleece.  When it was time to get back into the water in the cold air and the cold water, I wasn't sure how it would go, but you just start going.  Once you get into the water and start doggie paddling, you magically start warming up, and it isn't so bad.

We learned various rescue techniques, getting the person to swim to you, or catching them from behind and pulling them along with a strong, one-arm, over-chest grip, and neck splinting.  Like with Constellation, we got a lesson and demo, followed by practice with coaching, all the while, doggie paddling with our floating rucks.  When I read on the Immersion site that we'd be swimming with flotation devices, I thought we'd be using PFD's... this was much cooler and much more realistic in the case of an emergency.

At another fire break, we learned how to make improvised oars and rafts (with the benefit of an air mattress for most groups, although one group had to use logs).  We assembled this in teams, and then the teams had to race each other.  I'm proud to say that Boat Crew 1 finished first, so we got to be captains for the final challenge!  

Each of the survival events end with a CULEX, where we put all of the new skills into practice in a culminating scenario.  We found ourselves in the water in the cold night with nothing, and then wreckage and rucks came raining down on us.  We had to assemble a raft, give first aid to casualties with various medical issues, navigate the raft to a specific point, then come back.  

Many times, in situations like this, leadership is tested.  How do you manage when many people have ideas on how best to handle the situation?  Who can be decisive, start giving assignments and organizing people, etc?  I was really impressed by my fellow Boat 1er who would soon be off to Ranger School.  It had been a long, cold, and wet night, but we all pulled together and got the job done.  Everyone worked hard.

Someone else who really impressed me was this funny girl from the West Coast.  In the middle of miserable conditions, she'd say something funny and make everyone laugh, and it would turn the whole thing around.  In challenging times, it's good to have people like that around, who can see the light through the darkness and lift people up.  She had ridiculous amounts of energy, too.  Turns out that she's a Spartan and a marathoner, too, although my demeanor is kind of the opposite.  I'm more of the suffer-in-silence type, so I have much to learn from people like her.  That ability to help people is powerful.

It was a really cool and unique experience.  I understand why this event is on the high end of physicality.  Our shoulders were all sore by the end, maybe from doggie paddling (plus rowing).  We were tested mentally and physically more than I expected, with the cold water.  I had some doubts about whether I could make it through without giving up out of being cold, but the team and the cadre supported everyone and showed a lot of determination and grit.  Whatever we were doing, the cadre made sure that they had it even tougher, so that they could make sure that we weren't put into any unreasonable situations.  They are experienced like none other and looked out for us.

I didn't expect to have to fight so hard to get this patch, but I did, and I'm so much more proud of having earned this because of it.


We must've burned a gillion calories during the event, between the swimming in the cold.  Normal swimming makes you really hungry.  Swimming for that long in the cold is something else.

I was thirsty, too, so I re-hydrated and warmed up with Starbucks.

Afterwards, I wanted to hit up another NPS site.  Kennesaw Mt National Battlefield was on the way home.  I had stopped by the museum on the way up, but now, I'd get to do some trails.  The battlefield trail goes up a steep rocky mountain, and then Burnt Poplar trail is fairly flat on the way back.  I tell you, it's gorgeous there.  The flora is green, there are wildflowers, the rocks are picturesque, and from the top of the mountain, you can see downtown ATL, too.  It meant even more, knowing the history of the place, too.  In the closing days of the Civil War, the Union wanted to take Atlanta, which was the Confederate hub for industry and train transportation.  This was one of the Confederacy's last stands.

5.7 in 1:34:46, 16:37 ave.  1,000 feet of elevation change.  It was about covering the trail and exploring, rather than speed.  Georgia is beautiful.

Monday, May 14, 2018

RACE REPORT: Tuckfest 2018


Monday, Apr 9:
I went to the Charlotte Running Company's Shoes & Brews New Balance + Lenny Boy run this Monday.  The course winds all around the neighborhood next to the shoe store.  It was hillyl, too.  I was still feeling it from the Spartan races over the weekend,  but I'm competitive and can't help wanting to do well even on training runs.  Plus, I didn't know the route, and therefore had to keep up with the pack in front of me to not get lost.  I hung on for dear life and made it back.  I mean, I could've used my phone to find my way back no matter what, but I wanted to do the official running route.  It turns out that it's marked on the roads, but I didn't know that going in.

4.4 in  33:14, 7:47 ave, though it felt much harder.

The store is maybe the coolest running store I've seen.  They have a 2-tap bar right inside, and the corner of the store that's a bar is decorated with lots of cool running paraphanelia.  It's like how I'd decorate a running-themed bar if I had one.  We got beers afterwards, plus raffles.  New Balance had also been there with demo shoes (880's, size 7).  It was good to have its cushioning on the roads, since I normally like soft surfaces.  A little more narrow of a shoe than I'm used to, though.  It was nice to try a new route today and experience the store.

Thursday, Apr 12:
6.0 in 48:51, 8:09 ave, 2 degrees of incline.  A hectic few days at work.  Legs relatively fresh, despite body not feeling that energetic.  Needed the stress relief.  Stretched and foam rolled beforehand.

Saturday, Apr 14:
Whitewater Center trail run.  10.1 in 1:56:04, 11:27 ave.  Figure 8->Carolina Thread-> Main -> tiny bit of parkway.  First time wearing the Brooks Mazama.  Wore Prism shades for the first time, too... it was partly cloudy.  The glasses actually make cloudiness brighter and sunnyness darker, pretty interesting.  Had nutrigrain and electrolyte water beforehand.  Upper 70s at 4pm.  

Rolled right ankle once, but not all the way, so it was ok.  Shoes were light, roomy, with good ankle stability and grip.  I could've forced myself to run further, but I didn't want to overdo it before the Tuckfest races.

Monday, Apr 16:
45 min Strength Session
  • Pullups: 6 strict + hang + 10 semi toes-to-bars, and later, 5 perpendicular.
  • Crunches: 450/side
  • Plank: 3 + 3 min
  • Single Leg Squats: 2 x 65 not deep
  • Pushups: 15 + 5 hard - still recovering from burpees?
  • 6 in: 75 + 75s
  • Adductor/Abductor Leg Lifts: 75 / 145
  • Russian Twists: 50
  • Assorted dumbell rows
I could've potentially run today slowly, not in the mood for a Pub Run which typically becomes a tempo run.  I was overdo for a strength session, though, so I went with that.


Tuckfest is a 4-day festival that celebrates the outdoors lifestyle, with competitions from various sports, music, live music, and demos.  This was the first year that I've been able to make it.  You pay a single registration fee, and you get to do as many competitions as you like!  They do medals for top 3 M/F.  I wanted to take advantage of as much as I could soak in.

THURSDAY: Tuckfest 4 mi Night Trail Race

I started my Tuckfest with the Thursday night trail race.  It was my second night race (Iceland in December being the first), so I'm still new to it.  I saw some Spartan regulars there, which was nice.

We started out at 8pm (at sunset), when there was still light out.  We didn't need headlamps for the first mile or so, but they were definitely needed for the rest.  After a short stretch on the parade loop, we went into Figure 8.  It felt crazy going that fast on the winding single track.  I imagine that this is what mountain biking may feel like.  You had to be very alert the whole time going at those speeds, since turns were constantly coming left and right, and you were dodging trees.  It was adrenaline-filled. 

Not much congestion, which was good.  After Figure 8 came North Main.  I used my light belt for the first time.  It worked fine.  One thing to note is that unlike with a headlamp, it won't turn where your head is looking, so a few times, I manually turned the lamp towards where I was headed next, if it hadn't been time for my hips to turn yet.  The angle of the light was fine, though, and the Ultraspire was very bright. 

The last part was really dark, and got a bit eerie at times, running through the woods alone, when gaps between people had grown.  I ended up finishing 2nd, far behind (like 4 min behind) a girl with a Stanford jacket.  A sports bra was fine during the race, but afterwards, it was cold.  They had a toasty firepit going, though.  I didn't stay for night 1 of the music afterwards, since I was cold and wet from sweat.  I also wanted to rest up for the next evening's race!

It was a fun way to kick off the weekend.  A novel experience.  4.0 in 35:31, 8:53 ave.

FRIDAY: Tuckfest 5K mi Twilight Race

There was a half marathon earlier in the day, at noon.  To do it, though, I'd have to drive 30 min there, be there at least 30 minutes before the race, run for maybe 2 hrs, stay another 45 min for awards, and then drive 30 min back... it would pretty much take most of the day.  So, I decided to save it for the Twilight race, which was held at 7:30pm.  It was about a mile shorter than the previous night's race, so I figured that I could probably finish in about 30 min, which would still be at 8pm, when it had been light out the previous day.  Therefore, I didn't go with a headlamp.  

We took South Main for this race.  I wasn't sure that a podium was guaranteed this time.  There were some reasonably fast looking people.  3 waves, self-seeded.  I started near the front, was passed 0.75 mi in, but passed back at around 1.25 mi.  It was a flatter course than the previous day, so I'm surprised that I was slower, even with better lighting.  Maybe it was due to the energy that I spent the previous night.  

Since I had a good lead, though, and placement was all that mattered, I could've backed way off and reserved energy for the weekend's races.  However, I'm too competitive and can't let myself do that.  I came in 9th overall among chipped racers, vs. 18th overall the previous day.  I red-lined again.  It was chilly after the race again, but I came in with a long sleeve tee as a warmup shirt this time, so it was slightly less cold.  I warmed myself by the chimney fire.  I again chose not to stick around for the music.  The next race would be in the morning.

3.1 in 27:39, 8:55 ave.

SATURDAY: Tuckfest Flatwater Kayak Race

They had a Quarter Marathon trail race at 8am, and a Flatwater Kayak race at 9:30am.  I could've potentially done both, but I wanted to guarantee a spot in the kayak race.  It's not often that you get a chance to jump into a kayak race like this.  I know I can do well at running events, but I've always been curious about how I'd do at other endurance events.  

They had plenty of spots available for the race, but it was good that I didn't over-exert myself before the race, anyways.  There were a good number of participants.  We had 2 options: 1x1.25 mi loop, or 2x1x.25 mi loop.  There was even an open water swimming event before the race.  It was cold, and apparently, the currents were strong, too.  Even some seasoned vets bailed shortly after jumping into the water. 

I decided to go for the 2 loop option, hoping that my forte would lie in endurance.  Apparently, all of the other women went for the 1 loop option.  I think I was third after lap 1?  But since I was the only 2-lapper, I ended up being 1st anyways for the 2-lappers.  The currents weren't terrible... not much different from what I consider normal for kayaking.  It was nice that everyone was required to use the same USNWC kayaks.  We were all on an even playing field.  That's why I've never been that tempted to try anything bike-related, like triathalon or cycling.  Those are sports where spendy equipment can give you faster times.  It's not cheap, either.  I could see myself really getting sucked in.  I do as it is, with the cheap sport of running, so I can only imagine where I'd take it with biking.  

Anyways, the race started going upstream up half the length of the island, then downstream, turning around at a sandbar, then going back upstream... times two.  It was fun... a nice little workout for the morning.  I could spend the rest of the morning enjoying the festival.  The crowds got huge.

2.5 in about 45 min.

Afterwards, I did a Bell's Brewery Scavenger Hunt, taking photos based on a sheet of clues.  Beer-related fun! 

I also watched deep water solo seeding and a 13-lap kayak & SUP race.  I don't know how those guys manage to stay upright on the channel!

SUNDAY: Tuckfest Flatwater SUP Race

The fourth day in... lots of Tuckfest so far.  Now was the final stretch.  There was a 5K trail race at 8:30am, but I opted for the 9am SUP race, for the same reasons as yesterday.  This time, people were encouraged to bring their own SUPs.  I used one of the Whitewater Center's.  Maybe half of the people brought their own, though.  The Whitewater Center had new ones for us to use, which was nice.  

I went for the 2 loop version again.  I've only SUPed 2 other times before, even though I have my own plastic one.  Nobody who brought their own used a plastic one, though.  I'm not familiar with the differences in SUPs and what contributes to speed.  My main goal was to not fall into the water in front of all the serious SUPers.  One kid close to me did fall in when a wake came in.  I had to catch my balance a few times, but I stayed dry.  It was tough, and I felt like I wasn't moving very fast given the effort, but I made it... dead last, but I'm satisfied with the effort that I put in.  Who knows how much good gear helps, but even the others with rented SUPs did much better than I did.  

2.5 mi in 50:12.

To finish my Tuckfest, I watched more competitions... mountain biking, citizens slalom, and bouldering.  They had a 1-hr Survival 101 class, too, which was good.

 My haul for the weekend:

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

RACE REPORT: Charlotte Spartan Sprint Weekend 2018


Monday, Mar 19:

Rather than doing my usual Monday evening South End Pub Run, I went to a different event where Chris McDougal was speaking about his book Born to Run.  A really nice guy, has found himself chasing some crazy adventures. 

Before the event, I got in a quick 45 min bike session covering 10.6 miles.  I had hoped for an hour, but needed to get to the event and therefore cut it short.  My legs weren't up for a run, but I got in a good sweat session.  

Wednesday, Mar 21:
6.0 mi in 49:24, 8:14 ave, 2 degrees of incline.  It had been a while since my last run, so I felt pretty fresh.  Just an easy run.  I did hit a pull-up record, though.  Just 4 normal ones with wider spread arms, but 8 were knocked out on perpendicular pullup bars.  I wonder if it's the different angle, or the fact that my arms were closer together than they usually are.  It felt so easy, as if they were assisted or like I was pulling up half my weight.

Friday, Mar 23:
50 min strength session.  Went there with y mom.
  • Crunches: 400 /side
  • Plank: 3.5 + 2 min
  • 6 in: 60 + 60s
  • Single Leg Squats: 95 + 100
  • Squats: 60
  • Lower Leg Extensions (body weight): 110
  • Russian Twists: 40
  • Assorted Dumbells
  • PT band for the first time in a long time

Saturday, shopping with my mom, and a visit to Metalmorphosis.

Sunday, Mar 25:
4.0 in 32:59, 8:15 ave, 2 degrees of incline.  Legs' nervous system not fresh enough to handle trails safely, plus trails closed due to rain overnight.  I should've been fresh for a run, since the last run was Wednesday, but it was harder than it should be.

Monday, Mar 26:
South End Pub Run.  Ran the right route for the first time, with my speedy friend again.  5.0 in 36:29, 7:17 ave.  
Tuesday, Mar 27:
My SGX Coach and Spartan Endurance Ambassador friend challenged her facebook audience to do 300 burpees for a race code for the Fayetteville HH12HR.  I had been debating about doing it, and maybe wasn't going to... but with this, I had to go for it.  I eagerly went over to the gym and got started.  I decided to post in the 10,000 burpee club, since they were already used to seeing videos of burpees, and it would be less weird than posting on my own page. 
  • The first 100 took me about 10 minutes.
  • The second 100 took me about 20 min.
  • The last 100 took me about 60 minutes. 
I'd massage my arms, rest them for a bit, to get through.  It was so hard.  I even had 8 no reps that I had to redo, especially in the last 10.  My arms were just giving out.  So hard.  I was afraid that my battery on the phone would run out before I'd finish.  Made it, though!  

I had gotten good at getting through burpees about a year ago during the 10,000 burpee in 100 days challenge.  Even in those days, though, I had never done 300 at once... maybe 225 was the most I did at once.  Jumping in head-first like this was maybe a nutty thing to do, but that's what we do.

Hopefully, this turns out to be good training for the HH12HR, and also good prep for the Spartan races.

Wednesday, took my mom out to Cowfish for BBQ sushi and a bison burger... great food, and reasonable prices!

Thursday, my left hammie, upper arms, ribs, and inner core were sore, from the burpees.  Stretched and foam rolled.

Dad came to visit on Friday.

Saturday, Mar 31:
Trail run at the whitewater center.  I ran while my parents went on a walk.  I needed some cardio again, after 5 days off of running.  My body had felt bleh and unused.  Rushed to get out before sunset.  After a shopping then a nap.  Pollen started saturating the air a few days ago. 

Took East Main 1/2 to Tributary ->East Main 1/2.  I'm understanding the linkages between the new trails better now.  The Salomon Speedcrosses were handy and good for avoiding ankle rolls.  Did Zombies, Run! episodes.  Hoping this run can help my arms recover from burpees with the blood flow.  Tight at first, but ok.

8.3 in 1:40:32, 12:04 ave.

Sunday, volunteered for the Charlotte Build on Easter.

Filled 60lb sandbags, assembled blades, QC'ed new crash pads, cleaned water container nozzles, folded up tarps, stacked firewood.  Good lunch afterwards, as usual.

Monday, slept 10 hours.  Exhausted, body tired, parents finally left.  

Tuesday, took another rest day.  Body not feeling it after work.  

Wednesday, Apr 4:
5.0 in 41:53, 8:23 ave, 2 degrees of incline.  My last chance for a run before the race.  Needed the run today for stress purposes.  Rough day today.  An exercise in treating others well, even when not treated well, rather than perpetuating the cycle.  Had craisins and peanuts beforehand, for quick sugar and tang.

Splits> 8:30, 24, 21, 18, 17.



Spartan introduced Age Group waves this year with age group prizes.  This gave more incentive to participate, compared to what they originally had with their Competitive waves where the only thing at stake was a chance at a qualifier for World's or something... I don't even know.  I wanted it so badly.  The weather was going to be tough, though... chilly, plus rainy.  Some obstacles are nearly impossible for me when they're wet.  It's good practice for OCRWC, which may be wet, if it's British weather.  Temps were tolerable with leggings and my new Legendbourne tank.
The obstacles were even harder than I expected.  I thought I'd be able to get through some of them like Monkey Bars, but it was rough.  I failed Monkey Bars, Spear, Twister (fortunately, no grips!), Olympus (still no idea how I did this in Tahoe... maybe it's all in my head, and after failing the first time after Tahoe, I've been giving up too easily or not figuring out my way through it), even the Rig!  Notably, they took out the Dunk Wall because it was too cold and they didn't want a bunch of hypothermia cases.  They also introduced capped buckets.  It's good because 1) I don't have to wreck my hands filling the bucket with rocks, and 2) it's more fair - no ambiguity about how much each person is filling their bucket.  It actually felt easier and lighter than usual.  

I ended up finishing 4th... a mere 13s behind 3rd, in my AG.  I kept thinking about all of the places where I gave up time.  Trying to dry my hands at obstacles that I'd end up failing anyways, etc.  So much regret.  I figured that I still had a shot at Sunday's race for redemption.  I had a volunteer session to get through first.  Maybe if I didn't volunteer, I'd have more strength saved up for the race the next day... but if I wasn't going to do well at the Sunday race anyways, then I would've lost out on the volunteer opportunity.  Anyway, that's what goes through my mind.

TSS team pic:

A coworker was doing his first Spartan (though not his first OCR) that weekend, in one of the last heats.  With rain the whole day, the course was a sloppy mess by then.  The vibes at the race were different, too, since everyone tried to stay under tents, so there weren't many people walking around the festival.  


Muddier and colder than the previous day.  It wasn't raining, but the course was wet.  While rolling through the barbed wire, I discovered that it was just as fast, and less wet and muddy, to crawl, rather than roll on this one, since the wire was pretty high.  It was too late, though... I had already gotten really wet, and that dropped my body temps fast.  It was windy that day, too.  When I was at the Atlas carry, I took a break to curl into a ball to not be so exposed while standing on the open field.  I was shivering uncontrollably.  I ended up with 8/13 AG.  I had to retry the 7' wall so many times, until I saw another girl making it with the outer edge of her shoe.  I had been trying with the inner edge.  I finally made it, with the outer edge - need to remember that for next time.  

 (putting on a brave face for the camera... I was sooooo cold)

I also wiped out during the sandbag or bucket... don't remember which.  The course is sketchier after the first morning, especially when it's rainy.  I shivered so much and had to fight so hard to get through.  I was so cold.  After finishing, I went to the med tent.  It takes a lot for me to feel like I need that kind of help.  They denied entry, though, saying that I should go to the other side of the festival to the changing tent and warm up there after getting out of my wet clothes.  Not what I wanted to hear... oh well.  At least the tent was warm, and I recovered.  

Another volunteer session afterwards.  

So... no AG podium.  No redemption.  Maybe at another race this year.  Maybe at a drier race. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

South End Pub Runs & RACE REPORT: Rugged Maniac Charleston, SC 2018


Monday, Mar 5
I have kind of wanted to try joining a running group for many years.  I always hesitated, because it would require driving somewhere, and they normally run on roads that are hard, and the availability of the right pace group for you may not be there.

One turned up on Facebook, though, and it was called the South End Pub Run.  It offered a beer punch ticket, and it wasn't too far from work, so I gave it a try.  I'm glad I did!  Starting from the Ultra Running Company, you could choose a 1, 3, or 5 mile route.  It was partially on the rail trail (which runs parallel to our single-line metro) and partially through quieter streets in South End.  This was the last Monday before daylight savings, so it was a run than was darker than planned, but it was really pretty, with the lights of uptown in the background.

We ran by breweries, restaurants, and fitness class providers.  I settled behind the lead pack and followed them through the course.  We sped up quite a bit as we went on.  We didn't follow the planned route completely, so we ended up with 5.7 in 48:02, 8:27 ave.  Afterwards, we got our well-deserved beers, at Pop the Top, which has an excellent selection of beers from state breweries even I haven't heard of.  Sours are great post-run.

Splits> 9:06, 8:59, 8:22, 7:54, 8:02, 5:34 for 0.7.

Blaze Pizza offers 1 free pizza ticket as a raffle per 10 participants, and the run was co-hosted by Black Men Run.  I enjoyed the company, and getting to explore South End.

Thursday, Mar 8:
Treadmill run, 2 degrees of incline.  6.0 in 48:10, 8:02 ave.  The treadmills were acting up today... two of them stopped working mid-run, but third time was a charm.  Warm in the gym at first, but got better after a little while.  So tired this morning.

The next morning, woke at 2:15 am, not sure if I slept much before work.  The next day, after work, watched 10x 1 hr episodes of Altered Carbon - the whole season!  Slept at 2am.

Slept, ate, watched tv... mostly slept... the whole day gone.

Sunday, Mar 11:
Trail run with the Zombies, Run! app on.  Mini Clif bar @ 2 hrs because I was bonking and had started walking the hills.  Had to push myself to keep running.

Monday, Mar 12:
Back at the South End Pub Run!  It was threatening to mist rain, and it was chilly, so the crowd was a bit smaller, but at least we were past daylight savings, so it was light out.  I led with this speedy guy.  It was supposed to be a recovery day, after doing the trail run the previous evening, but I can't help it.  We cut one part short when we were trying to find the right route, but we made it up with an extra loop later.

Splits> 7:42, 7:36, 7:25, 7:19, 7:30, even including some pause time at stoplights.  I didn't realize it was such a progressive run.  I thought I had been bonking, but it was really just speeding up.

After such a speedy run, I ended up resting the rest of the week, in preparation for Rugged Maniac, in my hometown.


I ran in the 9am competitive heat. I went with a sports bra, but went without calf sleeves because by the time I realized that I hadn't put them on, my shoes were already on.  I did have arm sleeves.

They introduced some new obstacles this year.  I'm not tall, so I was worried about Pole Position, which is kind of like an Irish Table, followed by a fireman pole down, but I was able to get up, fortunately.  They also had an uphill zip line, where you had to use your momentum with a running start and some body control to hit the bell at the end... it was challenging, but it was so satisfying to hit that bell!  

Got 2nd this time! 1st was way ahead of me, though.

Rugged does a good job of having good craft beer, and activities like stein hoisting, corn hole, and a mechanical bull afterwards.

They didn't have official podium pics this year, but a random guy with an OEW LB jersey came up to us afterwards and asked if we could do our own podium shot on him.  This guy was able to hold three of us on him arms and on his shoulders!


I spent the rest of the weekend with my parents.  My dad and I went on a run at the beach afterwards.  It was his first run in like 6 months, since he was away in Taiwan, so we ran/walked 2 miles.

We also shopped at TJX and Marshalls, which is what we always do for fun.