Getting over the Wall

So, I did another obstacle run on Saturday. I would call it a “mud run”, because that is a term that people use, and there was mud involved, but this one was more about the obstacles than the mud. which I prefer.

I know that there’s a certain visceral release in getting “down & dirty”, getting covered in mud and posing for those pictures that you can show off to the other people in your office so that they know that you’re more than the 9 to 5, Monday – Friday office drone that you sometimes fear you are.

Or am I the only one.

Anyway, this one, the “Rugged Maniac”, is more about the obstacles; ditches to jump (or fall into), hills to climb, ropes to cling to, wooden barricades to climb up, and over, thinking all the time you’re climbing it about “Full Metal Jacket” and poor Leonard, or “Private Pyle” and how R. Lee Ermey ( I know that’s the name of the actor, but he was supposed to be an advisor on the film but he was so freaking scary / good they just fired the original actor and gave him the role) how R.Lee Ermey gave him so much hell when he couldn’t climb the barricade and that drove him to shooting Ermey ( in the film, not in real life) and blowing his own head off SHIT! Stop thinking about a movie, you’re 20ft off the ground and at 59 you don’t bounce so well anymore….

….but I digress.

The Rugged Maniac is about the obstacles. But I want to talk about one obstacle in particular.

The wall

The curved wall.

It’s the last obstacle, the last thing between you and the finish line, the medal, the free beer and taking more “aren’t I a badass” photos with your friends.

This is my 3rd straight year of doing the Rugged Maniac. My previous record against the wall is not stellar. In fact, I am 0-2. Did I get over the wall? Yes. But it’s how you get over that counts. At least to me. The first year, I got to the wall early. What I mean is, there are enough people that want to run this thing that you leave in waves. I always wanted to be in the first wave. One, because it’s called the “competitive wave” and I guess that I might be a wee bit on the competitive side. The other thing is that when you go off in later waves, you catch up with some of the folks from previous waves and there can be a bit of a wait at the obstacles.

I don’t want to wait.

I’m trying to finish as quickly as I can. Waiting around and socializing until 3 other people figure out how to swing on the dang rope just doesn’t work for me. And in regard to the mud / water obstacles? I’d rather be the 10th person through it than the 2000th. I know, why worry about germs at this point? Welcome do my personal issues.

So, the first year, I arrive at the curved wall. There is no one at the top of the wall to help you over. I didn’t know there was supposed to be. I guess it’s one of those “friendship / help your fellow man” things. People are usually at the top of the wall to grab on and help you over. But it’s my first time and all I know is that there’s a freaking wall and I’m supposed to get over it. And there are a bunch of people, waiting to run in their waves, who are gathered and watching us early bird, “competitive” people, run,  leap and haul ourselves over the wall.

So I run. I leap. But I’m not sure that you can call it a leap when your feet don’t get more than 8” off the ground. So no, I don’t grab the top edge of the wall and spring over.

How should I put it?

Have you ever seen a snail on a windshield?

That was me. I hit….and slide slowly down the wall.

From the audience: “Run faster!”

I have a quick response, then see the children in the audience. I swallow my quick response.

Go back. Try it again. Same result. Finally someone shows up at the top of the wall.

“Want some help?”

“Um, all I can get”  I run, leap, he grabs my arms and hauls me over.

Hmm. Not sure how I feel about this. Then I see a bunch more people all doing the same thing.

Hmm. I’m still not sure how I feel about this. But I’m over it and done with the race.

Year 2 is much the same, though before we start the race a friend says “I think the wall is lower this year”


No it wasn’t.

This time, there was a dude, who I think they hired, with arms as big as my legs. He grabbed my arms and hauled me over like I weighed , well, a lot less than 180 lbs. I admired that. I enjoyed the run. But still, that wall….

Fast forward to 2019.

I’m not getting any younger. The wall isn’t getting any lower. But I did, in the weeks leading up to the run, do some exercises with the wall in mind. And I’m prepping for some other races, so I’m a little lighter. But actually get over, on my own?

C’mon man.

So I go through the race. Did a spectacular fall on one of the rope obstacles that thank God no one caught on video. But in general, I’m not bleeding, nothing is busted, life is alright. I get to the curved wall. I see my dude on top of the wall. Not the same dude as last year, but he’s my dude. Big, mustache, you get it. I make eye contact and we do that chin thing. So I run , leap….

….and I catch the edge of the wall!


Both hands, on the wall. Holy curved wall, Batman!

My dude reaches for me, but another dude says “No, he’s got it!”

Bless that son of a B@#*’s heart.

My dude doesn’t touch me, I haul my butt over the wall.

Just me. On my own.


My friends tell me I have a distinctive walk. That I tend to strut.

They haven’t seen me strut.

For 10 mins after I finished the race, you best believe I strutted.

If you’ve never seen a late-middle aged man who just got a shot of “psychological Viagra”, you shoulda been in Temecula on Saturday.

It might have been the first thing I said to the next 20 people I talked to.

It was.

But, what’s the message, Bob. Aside from the “dig me, I climbed a wall” thing?

Here it is.

I didn’t climb the wall last Saturday. I climbed the wall when I did all of the workouts leading up to the run. All of the Tuesday & Wednesday  afternoons in the gym. When nobody else is there. When I didn’t really want to. When I wanted to indulge. When the office is bulging with bakery goods and “I should at least have one”. That’s when I climbed the wall. Saturday was just when I got to celebrate.

I hope  there’s a lesson in there, or a motivating message. Or something you can take and use.

I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m doing here.

It’s now “Curved Wall-2, Bob -1”. Bring on 2020…

Talk Later,


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