Monday, I rested, to recover from Savage in time for Rugged. Tuesday, I slept 10 hours, but even that wasn't enough. Another rest day Wednesday.
Thursday, May 18:
This was a recovery and body reset run. Joints were a bit achey and stiff, but it was ok. Arms felt normal again. 4.0 in 33:20, 8:20 average. Held back, since it was close to Rugged. I'm tempted to push the pace when there are others at the gym, but I wasn't really tempted this day, which is good.
Drove out to the Rockingham speedway - my first time in that part of NC. Lots of small, quiet roads on the way there. My start time wasn't until 9:45, so I didn't have to get up insanely early, like I have to do for some other races, especially the ones that are farther away (like 3 or 4am sometimes).
I got there with plenty of time to get ready. Check-in, porta potties, parking, and bag check were all very smooth. I prepped in the tent with lots of tables and chairs, which was convenient. There was another girl there who looked like she meant business, and I think she might've ended up finishing second. This was going to be an A-ish race, to try to qualify for OCRWC. It's 5K, so I was going to do my typical 5K warm-up. I forgot that it starts at 9:45, rather than 10, though, so when they announced the loading of the elite wave's starting line, I rushed to the start. I was tying my shoes right before the race, tightening it like I do, and my lace actually broke.
I panicked for a moment, before remembering that laces can be tied to themselves. Problem solved. Some people complain about the durability of the Reebok All-terrain shoes, but I've used mine since 2014, for about 15 events, including an Ultra Beast an a HH12HR. They have some holes that have developed where the toes bend, but that's mostly cosmetic. If anything, it may help with draining. It may let in a bit more sand, but that kind of happens anyway, so not a huge deal. I'll still keep using them, at least for non-A races. I do like them, though, so I bought 2 more pairs (newer models). They've done well for me. I like the grips on them, and the drainage. Drainage is key.
I started at the front, albeit on the far side. We were off. It was more congested at the beginning than at my previous/first Rugged, but then again, this was the Elite heat. I really wanted to do well. I counted the number of girls in front of me. Started off in 4th, got to 3rd quickly. The first obstacle was a low-ish wall. A good amount of running vs. obstacle ratio early on, to spread the herd. Some sort of A-frame was next, and I was on 2nd's tail. Running, steps where people normally spectate car races. Then quad burner sand dunes.
The design of the course is pretty much an out and back in shape, although on different courses that don't really see each other, so you could figure out when you were about halfway, when you turned around. Barbed wire crawl, see saw. It helped to have run one Rugged before, so now I was familiar with the obstacles and didn't have to be so tentative when taking something like the see saw on.
I started feeling the early portion's hard pace. I could tell that I was going to pay for it, as I started slowing. At least the obstacles would help me catch my breath. Bang the gong, cargo net, a more difficult heavy carry than the one in Charleston (still short, but this time with a hill), guillotine, more crawls, fire jump. Mid-race fire jumps are always a bit of a strange feeling, for someone who's done many Spartans.
The end was in sight. Just had to get up the warped wall, and go down the slide. On my first three attempts, I either under-shot the ledge, or couldn't get my fingers around it. After each attempt and failure, I had to catch my breath and muster strength for another attempt. At any moment, 4th may come. I had to get this. I moved towards the middle, and that time, I got a good grip and was able to get over it. It's a good feeling to get the warped wall. It's probably not that the wall was any different... it may be a matter of where your steps fall on the curve of the wall. Crawled up the cargo, leaped down the slide, wanting to waste no time.