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The Gladiator Rock N’ Run IS COMING BACK TO SAN ANTONIO on DECEMBER 8th, 2012! SIGN UP AND USE THE CODE ” GLADIATORJASON ” (all caps) and get 6$ off admission….. unleash your inner gladiator…. Get rid of ALL the stress of holiday shopping! http://wp.me/p2vtfY-dn

This is just a placeholder until I get a chance to do a proper write up….until then, enjoy some pics….

Sometimes, those annoying little ads off to the right on Facebook are useful. After all, that’s how I found the web page for The Gladiator Rock’n Run!

My buddy David had asked me (I thought) if I were doing this event here in San Antonio, which I took as,”will you run it with me?”

I send the following text to Mrs. MuddyJ:

“David wants me to run the Gladiator Rock’n Run with him this weekend, Saturday Morning”

The Mrs: How much is it?

me: 60$ if I sign up by tomorrow…

…..

….

….

her:OK, happy father’s day…..

So I sign up for the earliest wave possible, 0800, and text David back….

David:”aww that sux, I’ll be out of town”

Ok, looks like I am running this by myself then…NO PROBLEM!!!

I go to the packet pick-up @ the Helotes location of “Soler’s Sports”,and it is crowded, but well organized and moving quickly. I keep a short leash on Thing #2 and Thing #3… and quickly make it to the pick-up… I show my ID and hand-in my waiver to get my swag bag and chip-timer, complete with zip ties….getting ahead….

I should mention now, while standing in line waiting, who do I spot helping out with the packet pickup? Dan “Nitro” Clark, from the TV show “American Gladiators”…This guy was my hero when I was a teenager…. I think I may have even had his action figure!!

I also notice that I am getting eye-balled funny by people standing near me….finally a person points to my chest and says,” I heard THAT was REALLY TOUGH“….yep, you guessed it, I am wearing my “Spartan Race” shirt…

I swell with pride and puff out my chest a little…”yes, yes it was” I reply in a definitively Phineas and Ferb-like manner… then the same guy points at my shoes…(Vibram Five Finger KSO’s) and asks,”did you run it in THOSE?”

“yes, yes I did”

“Would you recommend them for something like this”

Let me get this straight across right away. I am 100% a VFF fan boy. I love my VFF’s and wear them everyday, for everything.

Unless you train in them, run in them, jump in them, climb in them, basically do whatever it is you do in them…don’t just put them on for an event like this…you’re asking for trouble..

…. rant complete….

Another really cool feature at packet pick-up: There was a set-up the let you check that your timer was set correctly, with staff on hand to quickly fix any errors or discrepancies. Kudos to you Gladiator Rock’n Run…. Kudos to you…

I walk over to the T-shirt dispensing area with my bag and (now-checked for accuracy) timing device, and ask for a medium… the website for the GR’NR brags that this may end up being your favorite tee-shirt…. They aren’t joking folks…. I actually purchased a second one because I like it so very much, so did Mrs. MuddyJ, and she never ever buys anything, she just steals mine.

We get ready the night before, pack my race bag, and pick out clothing for the Things Three, plus bathing suits for everyone as we plan on spending the rest of the day at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

I drag the Things Three out of bed early in the morning, and get them and myself dressed while Mrs. MuddyJ gets herself ready… then we’re off to the races…

We find the venue, The National Shooting Complex, with no trouble, and the parking attendants are swift and plentiful… we pay the 10$ parking fee hop out of the car and follow the crowd over the crest of a hill bordering the parking lot…

The sight as we crest the hill gets my BLOOD PUMPING…. mud and obstacles…as well as a large crowd…we move down the hill towards the fairground-like main staging area.

I check with some staff about what the lines are forming for, and since it’s packet and timer pick-up, I am good-to-go….

I am about to doff my Spartan Race Tee when through the crowd, walking right towards me..comes NITRO

He walks up to me, extends his hand for a handshake, points to my chest,  and jokingly says:

“Hey brother, you’re wearing the wrong colors”

“I have a tradition sir, I wear the last rrrrrraces shirt to the n-n-next race” Crap, I don’t usually stutter…

He purses his lips in a tight line, looking thoughtful and replies,”OK, I can get behind that, you have a great time today”

And then he’s gone, along with any photo-op…

I doff my shirt, have Mrs. MuddyJ marker me up with my bib #, and head to the gear-check… yet another well-organized feature of this series…. this one is completely enclosed, and you need your bib# to match your gear check number: Kudos again.

We locate and move towards the starting area, I pose for a shot with the Things Three, and I start warming up…

my Jr. Spartans…. A-ROOOO

warming up with some parkour….

I kiss Mrs. MuddyJ and the Things Three, give great big hugs and make my way to the starting line early, not wanting to be left in the back of the pack…

I manage to secure a spot in the first row, dead center… and ahead I see Mrs. MuddyJ set up along the side to capture me in pictures as I go by.

I make a snap decision.

I am going to pass my children in the front of the pack… I want THAT image burned into their little brains!

Dan “Nitro” Clark takes the stage next to the starting line, offers some words of advice and encouragement…. then a countdown…. 3….2….1….

….GOOOOO…….

AND WE’RE OFF……

My usual strategy is to go out soft and come in hard, but I want my kids to see a winner as I go by, so I give everything I have to my initial sprint….. and I pass them at the front of the pack…. with every other runner behind me… GO DAD!!!!!

There’s no possible way I can maintain this pace for a 6k, so as soon as I am out of sight of the Things Three, I move to the side and back it down…70 + people pass me….

The first obstacle, a mud pit, comes up quickly, and I go through with no issues… though the other side is a bit steep, it gives me little trouble… up and over a slight hill, and there’s another mud pit… and through it I go as well, barely breaking stride and splashing up a storm!

The course turns left and becomes a bit more difficult to navigate, with fist sized stones making the footing a bit treacherous…..I have said it before, and I’ll say it again:

TOE SHOES ROCK!!!

A girl just a bit ahead of me cries out in pain and goes down, holding her ankle, and myself and another runner stop to offer assistance… I ask if I should send back a medic and she waves us off, bravely standing up to continue onward…

I take off, feeling like she can make it to a medic on her own power… I stopped and checked, sometimes, that’s all you can do…

The path continues on, becoming more and more challenging as it goes on. The debris of clay pigeons littering the ground reminds me I am running on a shooting range… funny thoughts….

Next I take down the dreaded “Wall of Fame”…sorry Rock’n Run, but the Spartan Series spoiled these for me forever…

A short distance later and I am at the “trenches of TORMENT”. It’s basically a line in the earth dug out by an excavator, filled halfway with water, covered and given curtains… when you go in head first and the plastic closes behind you, it’s actually…gulp, a little scary…you’re in 8 inches of muddy water, in complete darkness. I am not too proud to admit that fear made me motor on through this obstacle…very quickly…

Looming ahead as I ran on was a “NIGHTMARE MYSTERY OBSTACLE”… some hurdles that seemed to be part of the shooting complex… these were actually a bit difficult because they were painted metal rails, and I was wet from the last obstacle… my hands slipped and I almost became a eunich…phew…dodged that (VERY PAINFUL) bullet….

I get to the next obstacle, a jungle gym set-up that (i guess?) you are supposed to go under, and I side run on all fours underneath it, gaining ground on those in front of me as Nitro passes by in a golf cart, headed down the course… I feel a bit relieved for the injured girl as he passes, knowing that he had to go by her…IF she needed help, it was there, and apparently, she hadn’t.

The next obstacle, which had Nitro standing next to it, whooping and hollering at all of as, was a waterslide down a hill into a mud pit, wheeeeeee…. I ran up, Nitro said, “C’mon Brother, HEADFIRST on this one…. GO”

Dude, my favorite “American Gladiator” just told me to go head first…what do you think I did? I yelled “hell-yah!” and DOVE headfirst, barreling down the hill completely out of control and submerging headfirst into the pit at the bottom…. OH YEAH!!!!!!

Next up, the Zig-Zags…. the course went up and down the face of the hill I had just slid down…. just far enough up to be painful…just far enough down that you had to brake as soon as you were gathering speed….

A small straightaway later and I was met with Buddha’s Burden, a 50 yard sandbag carry to drop it at an ACTUAL INFLATABLE BUDDHA STATUE (where the heck did they get that from? Buddha’s R Us?) and then it was a mind-numbing straightaway to a right turn where loomed….

The “Dumpster Dive”…. Three dumpsters in a row, side by side, about 10 yards apart….

Dear Gladiator Rock’n Run Organizers, WHERE THE HELL DID YOU FIND THESE MONSTERS…. they were not your usual construction dumpsters, they seemed to be about 10-12 feet tall, and the guys clambering up it in front of me were attempting the strategy of sticking to the top rail… I dropped into it, not wanting to wait for them. The first one had a pitch to the side and was easy to get out of… I was certain this was the way to do it…. so I climbed up the outside of the next and dropped into it… and found no pitch inside this one… I put my back to the wall behind me, pushed off with my right foot, took a step and tac’d up the other side… using my momentum to carry me out… The next was the same thing… and I was off and running again, my upper body thankful to be done for a few moments…

Next up was the “Tube Steak” your standard, run-of the-mill tunnel crawl… I dispatched this quickly, getting my hands super muddy in the process… and ran straight into the next mystery obstacle….Monkey bars

Normally, I barely even slow down for Monkey bars, but the mud on this course was very very sticky, and my arms/shoulders were still feeling the “dumpster dive” I jumped up, grabbed a bar and slipped off into the muck below… next time monkey bars…..I’ll get you next time… the staff member directed me to drop and do push-ups, so I banged out ten, recovered and took off down the trail…

It wound around some trees and ahead was the rope climb….I grabbed the rope, determined to make it to the top, when I realized the runners before me had done the same, with plenty of mud on their hands….. a few feet up, I wrapped my hand around the rope and grabbed a handful of mud… I slipped back down, knocking my nuts silly on the knots below me….

…I was done there…once I smack my junk on an obstacle…I’m done…..

The attendant there directed me to do 10 burpees since I had failed the obstacle and wasn’t about to do it again…. so I did….

There was one obstacle on this course that I hadn’t encountered in any other race….

I was looking forward to it in a ” not so looking forward to it” kinda way…

It was the “Polar Plunge”

A five foot deep pool of ice-water (complete with ice cubes floating in it) and pvc-pipes you were to go UNDER at intervals….

COMPLETE AND TOTAL SUBMERSION IN FREEZING WATER!!!! FML!!!

There was an A-frame style ladder going into the pool…I clambered up it, and set my feet into the water, only up to my ankles….

The “pucker” factor here in indescribable…. I cannot begin to explain how much a shock to the system this was…..I decided the only way to do this and survive, was to do it as quickly as possible….

I dove headfirst for the second time this day….

My body immediately went into fight or flight mode as the icy water closed over my head… I pumped, I kicked, I clambered…. with thoughts of grace flown to the corners of the earth, I did anything I could do to keep myself going forward, fighting a losing battle with panic with every nano-second…..under another set of tubes, and I was at the end…. but I was frozen….I climbed out and hit the ground RUNNING… FAST…. I needed to get warm, and that, as they say, was that….

A slight left and the end, as well as the final four obstacles were in sight….

And since I could see them, they could see me…..

And there were Mrs. MuddyJ and the Things Three… with the things cheering hollering “GO DAD GO DAD GO DAD” and Mrs. MuddyJ snapping photos…

Up and over the cargo net…..

“GO DAD GO DAD GO DAD GO DAD GO DAD”

….through the military mud crawl…

“GO DAD GO DAD GO DAD GO DAD GO DAD”

… and I was face to face with…THE BEAST… I made it up on my second try….

…down the other side and over the BBQ PIT……

…and I was across the finish line, thoroughly spent……00:42:17

I collected my finisher’s medal, which was very nicely made and met up with my wife and children….The Things Three played with the mud covering my legs while Mrs. MuddyJ snapped a few more photos… I felt triumphant…like a true American Gladiator!

My only let down for this event was the showers set-up, but I think that was a secondary company’s issue, so I won’t gig the Rock’n Run for that failure… all in all it was a positive experience…

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