Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Obstacle Race Recap (Quick & Dirty Series, #3)

I have never been interested in doing an obstacle race.  It just seemed kind of silly to me.  But, in the spirit of "don't knock it until you try it" I did kind of want to do one, just to see.  "Lucky" for me, my BFF Michelle's boyfriend is the owner/organizer of an obstacle race in Michigan, so she asked me to volunteer and compete in the race with her as moral support.  Or something.  So I did.

I'm leaving the name of the race out of this recap, since I don't have much positive to say, and I'm "friends" with the race director.  (Technically swampfoot was the first time I ever met him, but BFF's BF is an F by default I think!) 

I actually bailed out the week leading up to the race, because my bike crash was on Sunday and the race was Saturday of the same week.  The thought of tearing my hands open on ropes/monkey bars and filling the wounds with mud and gunk just didn't seem all that appealing.  Or intelligent.  Especially since I'm a nurse and need to use my hands (and wash my hands) frequently, hand wounds are a major hindrance to my daily life.  (Yay, Tegaderm).  Well, needless to say my willpower failed me and I ended up doing the stupid race.  It helped that I found a pair of fingerless weight lifting gloves out on the course while I was volunteering, so I was like, yay! hand protection! 

  • Some of the obstacles were challenging.  If you're into obstacle stuff I guess maybe this one wasn't bad?  I guess I don't really know. 
  • Organized by local guys; it's not a national chain or anything like that.  
  • I got a medal, a drawstring/cinch bag, and two shirts (one for volunteering and one for participating). (I don't have pictures of them, but they're nice enough.  Except my shirts are both too big, but that's not the race's fault). 

  • My heat had very few people, so the course was kind of empty while I was running
  • Unsafe/isolated obstacles with no volunteers and no other participants nearby.  
    • Since I was largely by myself, I definitely felt like each major obstacle should have been staffed with a volunteer.  For example, climbing over one of the tire wall things, it was really slippy from the mud, and I could have easily slipped and fallen off the wall.  There was nobody around.  If I had gotten injured I'm not sure how long it would have taken for somebody to find me. 
  • Minimal photography
    • I feel like if you're going to be sloshing through mud and doing badass shit, there should be somebody taking some damn pictures.  I saw maybe one photographer on the course, and in my hunt for pictures I didn't find any of me.  There isn't a way to search by bib number, so it's possible that I missed them.  The photos are scattered in at least 2 different websites.  One of them is by heat (there were start times every 20 minutes throughout the day), and one is just a mass photo dump.  
  • No post race food or drinks other than water bottles. 
    • Seriously???  I mean c'mon.  I feel like a bagel and a banana is standard fare.   There was a booth way down where you could buy food if you were so inclined.  
  • As of today, didn't see any results posted on the website.  I know the race was electronically timed and the results were shown at the finish line, but I would expect a link to be uploaded to the website by now.  (Update: found the link on their facebook page, didn't see them on the website though). 
  • The race was advertised as having over 40 obstacles.  On a four mile course.  Sounds pretty crazy right?  Well, yeah, I guess you can rack up obstacles if you count every single log lying in the path as it's own obstacle.  Probably 30 of the "obstacles" were logs.  
  • Volunteer organization was kind of lacking
    • As I said above, I felt that they didn't have enough volunteers to cover all of the obstacles.  
    • There wasn't a lot of pre-meditation in where volunteers were assigned.  When I checked in as a volunteer they just kinda willy nilly put me somewhere.  I felt that more structured assignments would have helped ensure adequate coverage. 
    • We were always running out of water and cups and having to radio for more, with unpredictable response times. 
    • The volunteer I was with was just dipping the cup into the water jug, so her hands were all in the water.  I felt like that was a little unsanitary.  Plus there was dirt in the water, but I guess it's basically everywhere all over all the participants anyway, so it probably didn't hurt anything. 
RESULTS: I actually lost my timing chip before I even started the race so I don't have my results.  Don't really care either.

PICS: I didn't take a ton of pics,  but the few I have are below. 

  • Ultimately, I find sliding into mud pits and jumping over stuff just for the sake of it to be kinda....silly.  I was more on board with the physically challenging ones, like the monkey bars or climbing walls, but the random runs through man-made muddy water pits or literally going down a slide into a pit mostly just pissed me off.  I don't mind natural obstacles at a trail run (like muddy areas, or a downed trees), but all the man made "obstacles" just weren't for me.  
  • I told the organizer that I didn't have fun and I wouldn't be doing it again.  I might volunteer for him again next year if Michelle is still with him though.  They definitely need the volunteer manpower! 
  • The gloves and tegaderms didn't really protect my hands.  Just held the mud in place under the dressings, haha.  I didn't end up with a wound infection though, thank you peroxide and bacitracin ointment. :) 
  • Sorry for being a negative nancy.  It happens sometimes. 

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