Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | July 13, 2015

We are Rugged Maniacs

I can barely walk today. I’m not sure why we thought it was a good idea to run the Rugged Maniac race 30 hours after returning from Israel. On top of jet lag and flying overnight, we arrived back in the country at 5:20 on Saturday morning. But we had already signed up and convinced our friends Carmel and Andrew to run it with us. (We got 4 tickets from our synagogue’s silent auction – still not sure why Mark bid on this, but he was the only bidder).

Before

Before

For those who don’t know Rugged Maniac (like me before signing up), it’s a 3 mile race with 25 obstacles to get through. Think Survivor. Think Amazing Race. Think Wipeout. Think a wimpier version of American Ninja Warriors. You get the idea.

I got past the idea of running 3 miles, something I haven’t done since Bay to Breakers (a 10K in San Francisco, and one I only partly ran in 1997 soon after meeting Mark and trying to fool him into thinking I was in shape). Aside from that, I probably haven’t run more than one mile in a single stretch. Climbing things I can do, but upper body strength is not my thing.

After

After – still smiling

Rugged Maniac is very into mud as you can see from the above photo. There is lots of mud, and we were prepared, wearing clothing that could get trashed (did you notice Mark’s shirt was initially white?).

To be honest, I was terrified to do this. Having looked at the obstacles online, I knew that some would be difficult. On the other hand, you could walk around any that you didn’t want to do, but that is wimping out.

The first obstacle? Getting over the very short gate. I'm glad there was no picture of me going over.

The first obstacle? Getting over the very short gate before even getting into the entry chute. I’m glad there was no picture of me going over.

I’m not sure if this counted as one of the 25 obstacles, but we had to get over this gate to even get into the starting line. As I pushed myself up onto my arms, and then threw myself over, Mark was already hysterically laughing at me since I almost needed a boost from behind. I was worried. I barely made it over. At that point I was also glad that Mark and Andrew were not going to wait for Carmel and me. I don’t need my husband laughing at me the whole way!

Looking fierce before beginning.

Looking fierce before beginning.

The first mile or so was mostly flat/running. Then we hit a jam – it was a big mudpit I did not see on the obstacle list. When I say pit, let’s be more specific. The mud went up to my waist. You know those dreams where you’re walking really slowly while trying to move more quickly? But you’re stuck in mud and can’t really move? Yeah, that was our reality. The huge line to get in was because it was slow going. At one point Carmel almost tipped over and couldn’t stop herself – fortunately one of the other mud people caught her. When I got to the point where I couldn’t move (shoes weren’t stuck, just couldn’t get the momentum to move my legs) one of the other women told me to “swim” through using my arms. I didn’t want to put my arms in, but in they went, and it helped. I wished there were a photographer to catch this scene!

This was not us, but pretty much what we looked like at the end of this obstacle. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniacs.

This was not us, but pretty much what we looked like at the end of this obstacle. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniacs.

After a long walk through other muddy areas (which we quickly realized was a danger in itself – mud outside the obstacles), we hit the bulk of the activities. Here are pictures of others doing them. Below, people crawl through mud and water, below barbed wire. While crawling, you could see plenty of hair caught in the barbed wire. Our obstacle had more mud – this was from a different race. The wire was pretty low, so sometimes you had to get your face or ear partly in the water.

Try not to snag your hair on the barbed wire. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

Try not to snag your hair on the barbed wire. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

These climbing ones weren’t too difficult, though figuring out how to get over the top was a little tricky.

Hiking up the net. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

Hiking up the net. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

There were a lot of “thigh burner” hills to run up and down. While Carmel and I mostly stopped running after the initial mud pit, we did run up and down many of these, because it was easier to do that than walk. The thigh burner name was a good one – it was hard to run much after these. My legs were so tired!

Lots of thigh burner hills. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

Lots of thigh burner hills. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

I was initially afraid of this obstacle, thinking that the bags would be moving on their own and they’d be heavy. Turns out they were just filled with air, and you push them aside when you go by. Not a problem until halfway through when the balance beam started shaking. One guy tried running on it when Carmel wasn’t yet finished (stupid!) and she stepped off just before the guy came running off, slipping in the mud. Served him well! If you fall on the beam, you end up in muddy water.

The boxing bags. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

The boxing bags. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

The mud crawl. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

The mud crawl. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

This mud crawl under barbed wire was much less fun than the other, because it was more dirt/mud and less water. You had to either pull yourself on your arms, or crawl with legs too. Lots of little sticks/bark, which I found in unusual places when I showered. I didn’t like this one.

The balance beam. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

The balance beam. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

Carmel and I had no problem with the balance beam, in spite of it being muddy/slippery. The guys found it more difficult though, perhaps because their feet are larger? Again, if you fall there is water below but you have to be careful where you fall since there’s a beam halfway through.

Leap of Faith. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

Leap of Faith. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

The Leap of Faith was fun – you jump in and land about chest deep in water. I think it’s 4 feet deep. Then you walk out. It was refreshing. They had another similar one called speed trap, that’s more muddy. You start off much shallower and then at some point there’s a big drop when you’re not expecting it and you sink in a few more feet.

The frog leap. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

The frog leap. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

This was one of the more challenging ones, because the boxes are plastic and slippery and they move. Ideally you run across each of them, landing in the middle, leaping from box to box to the end. I leaped onto the first, then crawled ungracefully to the second and third, before falling in at the fourth. I needed a hand to pull myself out. The fourth seemed to be the problem for most people. This one bruised up my legs.

The rings. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

The rings. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

Again, this was one obstacle that freaked me out before starting. Turns out very few people can hold onto these rings and make it across. It made it to the third ring before falling in the water. On the way out you have a choice of a low mud hill (someone gave me a hand) or the high mud hill which I was not attempting.

The tube crawls. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

The tube crawls. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

There were several versions of tube crawls. In this one, you go downhill into the mud and then go under the barbed wire (photo further up). Then you go through the tube going uphill with the aid of a rope (hint: it’s easiest on your back).

The fire jumps. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

The fire jumps. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

This was basically jumping over camp fires. The only scary part was if I tripped. They had some fire trucks there and first aid, which was reassuring. What we did skip was next – something that looked like a big inflatable pillow that you had to get on top of, and then over. You could get someone to boost you up, but if there were others up there, you could easily pile on top of each other and roll off. Sounds fun, but it was really high and looked dangerous. We saw a group tumble down the side of it on top of each other and it didn’t look fun. We walked around it, as did many others. Andrew made it over but said that he went rolling down the other side and it hurt hitting the ground. We also had an obstacle where we took a 25 pound sand bag and ran around an obstacle course with it (basically uphill to some tires, then back down). That was kind of stupid.

The trampoline/nets. Photo by me.

The trampoline/nets. Photo by me.

This antigravity obstacle was fun. You climb up some rungs and either climb down or jump down to the trampoline below. After bouncing 1+ times, you propel yourself onto some nets on the other side, climbing up those and do the same thing again on the other side.

By the time we finished this, Carmel and I saw Mark and Andrew who finished about 15 mintues ahead of us. Our cameraman Zack was waiting with them.

The final obstacle. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

The final obstacle – photo from a different race. Photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac.

The final obstacle is a wall you run up (in some cases like mine, someone helps you over). You cross some netting, then climb up to the top of the slide (that ladder section is missing from the above photo). You slide down into a giant water/mud pool.

Ready for the  final drop.

Mark is ready for the final drop.

Here Mark is at the top of the slide.

This isn't our group, but it gives you an idea of what we did.

This isn’t our group, but it gives you an idea of what we did.

Again, not us.

Again, not us.

Andrew is done!

Andrew is done!

Finished!

Finished!

Okay, so they found Carmel and me, covered in mud beards and looking attractive. There was a big line for the wall. We worried about making asses out of ourselves, but realized that many were climbing the ladder next to the wall. I figured that if I failed the wall twice, I’d climb up.

In line for the final obstacle (part one - the wall)

In line for the final obstacle (part one – the wall)

Carmel went first and made sure she had two men ready to help her over. They fortunately waited for me too, since I needed them. It’s weird to run up a wall and look for the hands to grab you.

Ready to attack the wall.

Ready to attack the wall.

IMG_0896 IMG_0897 IMG_0898

My son got a lot of pleasure watching me get hauled over the wall like a beached whale.

Carmel makes her way across the net.

Carmel makes her way across the net. You can watch from below.

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We’re ready to slide down.

IMG_0906

The slide down was awesome. From here we went through some mud and ran across the finish line. Our time was 1 hour and 40 minutes. I’m sure we broke no records for speed or lack of it, but we finished injury free which was the goal.

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Beers were included, and they had showers with very long lines. Changing rooms were inadequate (no benches, and the tent was open enough that almost anyone had a view in). When we got home, I rinsed my clothes out again in the fire hydrant that’s been gushing water in front of our house nonstop (they’re working on the water lines), and could not get the dirt to stop coming out no matter how long I held it in the water jet.

IMG_0913

You can donate your shoes at the end. I chose to keep mine – hopefully I can still wear them again.

They have a shoe donation bin – I guess they clean the shoes? Not sure who would want them after they took on this much mud and water, but…

IMG_0914Carmel had gone to the car to change and fortunately moved the car up for us to the check in area, which is good because we were so sore it hurt to walk! In spite of pleading with her to do the race, Carmel is psyched to sign up for it next year. I’m open, but my legs won’t be functioning well for another few days.


Responses

  1. LOL at the photo of the ‘beached whale’ glad it was you and not me. love mom

  2. YUK!

  3. […] Maniac posted their official photos from last week’s race (read about the Rugged Maniac race here). We were excited to see how tough we looked in them. I wasn’t sure there would be any of me […]

  4. […] “Today I went to the lake and I did the obsticle course in one try. I know that doesn’t sound so exciting unless you try it, but my friend fell off at least three times before completing it…it’s super deflated so I couldn’t climb it but it wasn’t so deflated I could just step over it. So I had to jump on it and flop over the top to the other side like a dead whale. i felt like Mom in that picture from the Rugged Maniac. […]


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