Last summer I was invited by Jake and Roni Sheck to join their group in the Go Commando Adventure 5K race. I was in terrible shape but still had a great time. The race involved running through water and mud, climbing hills and obstacles, and jumping over fire. It was my first adventure race and I was excited for the next one.
On Saturday, I joined up with Andrew Gross and David Sandquist for the Rugged Maniac 5K at the Wild Mountain Ski Area in Taylor's Falls, MN. This race made the Go Commando look like a walk in the park. The obstacles were crazy and there were tons of them. Twice we had to climb under barbed wire through 12 inch deep mud, we had to climb over all manner of other barriers, and the course went up and down the ski hills twice. (I know these are MN ski hills and not CO ski hills, but the uphills seemed to go on forever.) One of the most difficult obstacles involved climbing through a tube into a covered mud pit and then pulling yourself through on the other side. I am just big enough that I need to use the muddy rope to make it up and out of the tube. The best obstacle was basically a huge slip and slide that ended in a giant mud puddle. Boy, that one was fun. My fitness level was not quite up to the task and I lost Andrew in the last half mile. He beat me by about 25 seconds but I was still pleased with my time. It took me 42:02 to cover the course, which would normally be a terrible time for a 5K (3.1 mile) race. As soon as I finished, my first thought was to sign up for next year's race. I have never had as much fun at a race as I did at the Rugged Maniac and I have run a lot of races. It was really hard, but really fun. I am not sure that I will ever get the mud out of the clothes I wore but it was totally worth it. I am excited for next year already.