After a brief intro by Dunham the race was off. Sure enough, I immediately found myself 40+ people back. I had forgotten how fast and minimally uphill the first mile was, going through in 6:15 and still being well over 30 people back. The climbing didn't really start until about 1/4 mile into the second mile and even still it was more rolling than anything. If I were to categorize this race, I'd classify it as a hilly trail run not a mountain race. Which is definitely better for me. There was a short out and back about 3.5 miles into the race which gave me a good perspective on how far back I was from the pack. Tim Van Orden was the first person I saw and he was not in the lead. That meant there were over ten runners ahead of him that had already completed the out and back before I even got to it. They must have been flying.
The one unknown was Phil. A career Air Force man home from Afghanistan, I was a little concerned that we'd be pulling him along. How wrong was I? Not only was he our strongest runner, with the exception of the tires, Phil also pulled us along on the obstacles. Chris, I suspected, would have no troubles with either the obstacles or the running.
Since our team technically won last year(despite having a nearly entire team line-up), we were placed in the "Elite" wave. This certainly added to the pressure. Not so much because of the other runners in our wave(primarily individuals), but because if we took the foot off the gas at any point we could potentially lose to a team that we wouldn't even see during the race depending on the placement.
The gun went off and we took off. The first 5k was primarily a regular race with a combination of trail and road. We went through the first mile in 5:47 and the 5k mark in 18:29 which was a PR for Rich. Immediately after the 5k mark, the obstacles began with Jersey Pile-ons. Hurdling these proved to be one of the easier of the obstacles. We quickly came upon five and seven foot walls we had to climb over, followed in close succession by a wade through a bog. A short but very steep climb was next and I looked to make sure Rich was holding ground, which he was. The descent was unusual as it was a slip and slide with a twist. It was covered in soap. Which meant WE were covered in soap. I tried to get everyone to find a dry piece of cloth to wipe the soap off because I knew that would affect us later if our hands were slippery. Finding that dry cloth was a challenge as we were all pretty drenched at that point. Oh well. We next came upon a long balance beam, something that looked like land-mines and stools which we had to negotiate around or over.
Another series of steep climbs and obstacles laid ahead of us but we(for the most part)deftly negotiated ourselves over, under or around them so that when we arrived in the final mud pit to crawl under an electric fence, we had a pretty good idea we had won. We finished up in 43: 17 for the 10k course and 1st place overall team. We were rewarded with muddy beer glasses and a box of pizza. Not a bad day.
|Hoppin' Mad Champs! Massa, Rich, Phil, me and Chris Dunn|
|Danny mid chin-up|
UP NEXT: Mooseman Triathlon on June 5th.