Rugged Maniac Obstacle race. 11/17/18

Rugged Maniac Obstacle (mud) Run

Nov. 17, 2018

True to my word, this is my first running event post. If that bores you, STOP READING NOW!

Since this is also the first blog of this kind, I’ll also get some general running notes out of the way.

First, running is dumb.

Yup, it sure is. There are far better, whole body, less impact ways of working out. Swimming comes to mind. Also cycling. And almost any other cardio form of exercise. Then comes running. Running beats the crap out of your feet, ankles, knees, hips, etc. Pretty much all of your joints from the waist down. You are a target for dogs, cars, other pedestrians and even cyclists, who will hit you and then lecture you about how it was your fault, in their spandex & teardrop helmets. But I digress. You get rained on & snowed on . It can be cold, dark, wet, hot, humid (ask me about the half in Phuket last June. Go ahead.) And yet we do it. Why? Because it gets in your soul, man. It’s endorphins. It’s camaraderie. It’s being outside and breathing the air (yes, gasping is breathing too) It’s getting to see beautiful places and meeting like-minded folks. Or seeing your neighborhood and noticing things that you don’t see walking to your driveway and driving away in your car.

O.K. that was longer than I planned on it being. Just a few more things;

No, I’m not planning on “graduating” to a triathalon.

A marathon is 26.2 miles (42 kilometers).

A half-marathon is 13.1 miles (21 kilometers)

I say that because I have a tattoo that includes “26.2” in it

I know. Typical runner.

So when you ask about it and I say it was in honor of my first full marathon, your next question should not be, “Oh, how long was it?” First, a full marathon is 26.2 miles. Second, the distance is right there, on my leg!!! It’s why you asked me in the first place.

OK, my spleen is vented. For the time being.

The Rugged Maniac is what I would call the “softer” side of the obstacle race spectrum. No one is screaming at you. There’s no electric shock involved. No ice baths (which REALLY suck, btw) You don’t have to yell “Aroo”! as if you stepped back into ancient Greece, where training routinely involved physical & verbal abuse, as well as the sexual abuse of minors. The obstacles are challenging but do-able. You can make things as competitive as you like. I like to run in the first wave (called the competitive wave) not because I am competitive, but because I don’t like to wait in a line for the obstacles. If I’m running a race I don’t like waiting around. Also, I’d rater be the 50th person through a mud pit as opposed to the 5000th.  They aren’t overly technical. They give prizes to the first 3 men & women, and the top male & female over 50. You know how they figure out who the top male & female over 50 is? You go over to the staff person just past the finish line and ask “I’m over 50. Was I first?”  That’s it. And they tell you “if you see someone cheat or skip an obstacle (in the competitive wave) tell us at the end”. I don’t care how nice the medal is, snitches get stiches in my book.

So I got up early, met my friends at the site and got into the starting corral. You actually have to climb over a barrier just to get to the starting line. Cute. Beautiful So Cal day. 65 degrees at 9am in mid November. That’s one of the reasons I live here and pay stupid rent on a 1 bedroom flat. But anyway, we’re off and running. The run itself? Just fun. I say that because I’m not terribly athletic, so I take my time on the obstacles, just so I don’t break a leg, bust my head open, you get it. It’s a nice change from simply running. There are a couple of obstacles that involve upper body strength. Like those stupid rings, with water under so you get wet as well as embarrassed. Here’s my impression of me on the rings.


Thanks for playing.

There were a couple of those. I almost feel guilty, because all I have to do is try, fail, and then I get to start running again. It takes the athletic people longer to do it successfully. Oh well, they’ll get over it. The last obstacle is a curved wall you have to run up to, leap and haul yourself over. My friends looked at it before the race and said “Oh, it looks a lot shorter this year. It shouldn’t be a problem”. When I got to I, it looked like the same old curved wall. I’ve seen this, or some version of it, in 6 races. Unassisted, I am 0 for the wall. Sometimes when you are in the first wave, there is someone at the top of the wall to help you over. Sometimes not. This time there was a dude. Red t-shirt. So I ask myself “do I immediately opt for the red t-shirt dude, or do I try to conquer the wall on my own”. (start the “Chariots of Fire” music). I took a long look, got my courage up, and (cut the “Chariots of Fire” music) ran straight at the red t-shirt dude. He is friendly and hella strong. I’m up over, down the slide on the other side. I was feeling good so I ask at the end “I’m 50. (58 actually, but who’s counting) was I first? She says “nope” and I move on to the medal, the finisher snacks and running to my car to get my iPhone to take pics of my friends as they finish. Got a great video of my friend Melinda eating it spectacularly on a water obstacle.

Great fun all around.

Honestly, if you haven’t tried one of these races and are curious, the Rugged Maniac is a great one to start with. Challenging but fun.

Talk soon,


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