A couple weeks ago, some friends and I ran the Spring Tough Mudder Toronto, and by all accounts it was pretty awesome.
The morning started out early and unseasonably cold. Our 2hr drive to the parking area gave the day time to warm up but it simply ignored our gesture and kept is cloudy grey demeanor. We boarded buses and were driven 45minutes to the ski hill where the race was held. Quickly and efficiently we grabbed out race packages, changed into our race gear, ditched our bags at bag-check and got our game faces on.
Before I get in to race specifics let me just say that this “race” ran like a well-oiled-machine. The race organizers didn’t cut corners on anything; if you needed it, it was there for you; there was hardly any waiting for ANYTHING, lines were short and quick!
Back to business: At our appointed start time we crossed the Start line threshold and were faced with our first obstacle: a 8ft wall we had to scale. Our team worked well to help each other over, only to find out we really hadn’t started the race yet. About 100 people were jammed into this small corral where a short time later the MC started giving us the pre-race pep talk. There was a lot of “Hoo-Ah”s and the reminder that this wasn’t a race, but a personal challenge. Also, we were encouraged to help our each other whenever/wherever possible. After the national anthem we were off, running down the first section of trail, crossing over top of one of the final obstacles we’d see 3hrs later.
If there were two things that exemplified the day they were mud & hills. We’d had some significant rain in the days leading up to the race, but honestly there was enough water on site that the place would have been a sloppy mess anyway. Since the Toronto event was run at a ski hill the organizers thought it’d be a great idea to have you run/walk up and down the slopes about eleventy-billion times. Say what you want about the obstacles, the hills and continually treacherous footing caused the most pain.
The obstacles were great, and varied enough to hit both your strengths and weaknesses alike. I could have done all of the obstacles on my own, but part of the fun was helping/supporting your teammates when they needed it. Obstacles ranged from climbing over walls (two 15ft walls in a row, and two 8ft walls which leaned toward you significantly giving you no footholds), crawling on your belly through mud with barbwire or wires that delivered electric shocks above you, tunnels underground, tubes which descend into and back out of muddy water, jumping into ice cold water where you have to swim under a board to the other side and climb out (through ice cubes) of, climbing up onto platforms and jumping into deep water or sliding down into a watery mud pit, and even running up a huge skateboarding/snowboarding quarter pipe and trying to reach the top (where your teammates and strangers waited to help haul you up.). I’m sure I’m missing some but you can find a good list of samples here: http://toughmudder.com/obstacles/ The final obstacle (right at the finish line) is called Electroshock Therapy; you walk through a sloppy mud pit where electrically charged wires are hanging down to waist level. Upon arriving our team decided to link arms and walk through all at once….which was an experience…I think I received 5 shocks but it was hard to say for sure…it was an awesome way to finish the day though.
As I said earlier, the weather didn’t exactly co-operate, the day remained cloudy until just before we finished and a cold wind blew pretty much all day. It seemed like every time you started to dry out the course would get you wet again (usually some form of submersion) so you were forced to keep moving to stay warm. Hypothermia was a big concern and one of our more fit teammates had to skip a few obstacles near the end because she could get warm again after being wet. To be honest I was shivering most of the day as well, especially after running through the snow section they made on one of the downhill sections (you slide down a rubber sheet into a huge bank of snow/slush).
I was able to do all the obstacles without issue which I was pretty proud of, but I did have issues with rocks getting lodged under the insoles in my shoes so I had to stop and dislodge those more than once. All in all it was a great day!
Oh…Hey…didn’t see you there.
So, (cough), it’s been a while. I’m just going to drop these here for now…I may be back later but I’m not sure yet. Give them a look and let me know what you think
Hey, just a quick note to let you know that a recap of the Road2Hope half marathon is coming but I’ve been knocked on my ass this week with a nasty virus and as such haven’t been much good for writing.
Thanks for your patience
Have a good one.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages
After much deliberation, consolation, postulation, inspiration, hesitation and perspiration I’ve finally decided on a race plan for Sunday’s Road2Hope half marathon.
Short version: I’m going to shoot for a 1:45
Long version: Go get a coffee this could take a minute to get through….The feedback from my pacing inquiry a few days ago was split 50/50. Half of you suggested I take it easy, then make a push near the end if I was feeling good, the other half called me out and told me to go for it. Essentially, it came down to my gut. When I decided to actually RACE this half (instead of merely running it) the idea was to see what I was capable of; to dig deep, to push my limits and leave everything out on the course. To do this I can’t just back away from a time that scares me, it’s time to step up.
With that being said, it’s time to set the definitive list:
A – 1:45 (5:00 min/km)
B – 1:50 (5:15min/km)
C – 1:52:30 (My current HM best although it is from 2008)
D – Don’t poop myself (always a plus, stolen from Claire)
OK, maybe it wasn’t that long, but at least now you have a coffee: you’re welcome
As with any race prediction/result; If I hit my goal I’ll do a happy dance, and if I don’t it makes for good blog material.
Wish me luck!
Looks like this year’s Road2Hope race weekend in Hamilton is quickly approaching, and I should probably talk about it since it’s become a yearly tradition for me. To be honest, the race has kind of snuck up on me. My training has been pretty good despite (or maybe “because of”) using a lighter training plan and incorporating more rest & cross training. Regardless, I’m feeling pretty good and looking forward to race day.
For the past two weeks I’ve had a friend of my wife join me for my long runs, she’s in great shape but mostly focuses on short-medium distances. She’s MUCH faster than me but has no experience over the long haul so it’s been mutually beneficial (she pushes me, I keep her even-keeled for the long run). She’s never run anything longer than a 10km race and even our longest training run (12.4km) is well short of a half marathon, but she’s decided that she wants to run the half marathon this weekend with me despite all this. Unfortunately, there’s a problem: I told her that I wanted to run at a steady 5:15/km pace, which I THOUGHT was a 1:45 half marathon…unfortunately it’s not. It’s actually a 1:50 half marathon pace. Not a big deal right? Welllll…after finding my mistake (math was never my strong suit) apparently she’s still married to the idea of a 1:45 race. It’s more aligned with the pace she’s used to training at so I see where she’s coming from, but I’m not so sure. Moreover, I’m not sure if I’m reluctant to jump on the faster pace because I’m scared to push through/hard or because I’m trying to be responsible veteran racer and trying to keep us both from blowing up.
We’ve had some great paces on our training runs and I’m right on the cusp of making the move to the faster race pace in my own right, but right now I’m in limbo. SO: Do I push for the faster pace and hope for the best or hang my hat on the race plan I setup 2 months ago when I didn’t know how I’d feel on race day?
What would you do?
“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” ~Jack Kerouac