Conquer The Gauntlet (CTG) at West Georgia Mud Park, Tallapoosa, Georgia

Well, here goes nothing.   To frame the post, I have mental illness.  I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2006 and have had several episodes before and after that year in which I have ended up getting hurt pretty bad.  I do take my medication as prescribed and lead a fairly healthy life.  So, here goes.   Upon the week of the race,  it was a week from hell.  It was my third month at my new nuisance wildlife removal job.  I work for Smart Solutions Wildlife Removal.  You can also view us at www.ratcontrolatlanta.com.  The Monday before the race, I found myself in a gentleman’s attic with a black rat snake.  He had seen it go in from the basement in the rear of the house and it had slithered its way to the front of the house to make its home.  I did not know the snake was in the attic.  Along my journey of finding the snake, I began setting rat traps in his attic.  Where there is a snake, there is food, hence, the rat traps.  So, I was setting the traps with a headlamp on, and the next thing I know, I am face to face with a 6-foot black rat snake.  Now let me tell you that I jumped back and grabbed a two by four that was situated nicely in the 5-foot high space I was crouched in.  I started screaming and hollering and tried to get the snake with the two by four.  I couldn’t wrangle him with the board and the snake slithered down into the wall near the chimney.  I was trying to decide what to do at that moment.  Go to the truck to get the snake pole or just try to go in the wall and get him. Well, let me tell you, my adrenaline was pumping and I went in after him.  The space was now less than a foot high, and I poked my head down the ceiling and there he was just hanging out.  I grabbed a piece of wire screen and a rat trap box and decided to try to get him in the box.  With the 2×4, I got his body and wrestled him by grabbing his tail and put him in the box.  It was not easy.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  You can see the video of the released snake here.   So, nonetheless, it was a very stressful week and my first ever successful snake wrangle.  Furthermore, I fell off a ladder sometime during the week and bruised my tailbone.  OK sorry, I’m whining, back to the race.

I had heard about Conquer the Gauntlet (CTG) through Matt and was pretty intrigued by the name.  I looked it up and thought, WOW, that is really cool that it is owned and operated by a family.  Now I usually don’t have to pay for a lot of races because I work with Matt, however, for this one I wanted to pay to help the family.  So, I was stuck in my head all week whether I was going to do the race or not because I was stressed and slightly hurt and whether I was going to pay for the race or not.   Ultimately, I didn’t have enough money for the race and Matt talked me into doing it.  That being said, there were some other things going on during the week.  Like getting new underwear to test from Columbia, as well as some Under Armour sports glasses, by the way, are absolutely incredible for any outdoor sport.  The underwear are fabulous, almost as fantastic as Underwear For Men.  See my other reviews to see why.   Ultimately, I was overly stressed during the week and didn’t get enough sleep and was already having delusions.   I was excited about the race but overly excited I believe.

So I woke up to go to the race and threw all my stuff into my bag.  I met Matt halfway between our houses at the Dunkin Donuts where I jumped into his car because he was in a hurry to get to the race.  I was surprised to see Jackson and a nice big cup of iced coffee.  I hardly remember our drive over, other than giving Jackson half the egg sandwich that Matt gave me.  So, it was weird from the beginning.  I had no idea where we were going and where the race was.  Turns out Matt drives his Toyota Camry off road sometimes and we barreled the hill after we talked to the hick at the gate. Matt told me to move the ribbons so we could get through to the ORM tent so I did.  I was wearing my SAXX shorts and a Savage Race shirt.

Now to the mental illness, when we got there I was pretending like I was Ryan Woods because Matt was like, ok, now don’t talk to anyone, take my phone, and no, don’t do anything.  No, don’t do that.  I was pretending I was famous and that no one should see me.  These were really just delusions and grandiose, manic behavior.  I got out of the car and Jeff looked me square in the eye.  I wasn’t having happy thoughts.   I was scared and nervous since it was such a small, intense, and technical race. So, I starting running up and down the dirt road to warm up like a lot of runners do.  I was running a good amount.  I ran to the upside down cargo net called Belly of the Beast and back and then to the parking lot and back.  For some reason, when the loud gun shot went off I started running into the woods to go for a jog.  I really didn’t know that I was on the course trail, but I thought I could go for a jog while Matt and Jeff were doing their video.  Well, then I heard guys on my heals full steam ahead.  So I started running as fast as I could, down into the steep creek and jumped over the creek and up the steep hill.  The curve of the trail came around and I came to the first obstacle, the rope climb over Continental Divide.  It was easy as most obstacles at other races are for me.  This time that was not the case.  These obstacles are legit, and so are the athletes.  It is brutal and grueling.  The athletes are strong, have endurance, and and have lots of tattoos.  I felt like I fit in well, but was wrong, my head was not in it to win it, that is for sure.

Things started to go awry when I got to the large pond of water.  I was still running, warming up, and having fun.  I didn’t want to race anymore so I started heading back to see what Matt and Jeff were doing.  They were still filming. Matt was then ready to go so we started in the 0945 race slot.  I did the first few obstacles with him again and I was feeling ok.  Then, when we got done with the Rockies obstacle, things started to go downhill fast.  The next obstacle was Hammertime.  This is where I lost my shit.  I started to see old beer cans in the mud, broken lighters, and a whole heap of crap all over the ground.  I went and stood in the soupy mud at Hammertime and decided to slip out of my shoes while Matt was trying the obstacle and videoing people do it.  I thought it was ridiculous that it was an obstacle.  I started doing mud angels on the ground and acting like an idiot.  I didn’t think it was a big deal until I couldn’t find my shoes and started walking back to the finish.  Well, I felt I was burying those shoes.  And I really didn’t know why that would be an obstacle in any case.  I digress.  I didn’t think it was a bad idea until I started getting bit by ants and stepping on broken lighters and beer cans.  That place is a mess.  I was a lot farther in than I thought.  I ended up going backward through the course and jumping in the freezing cold water at  Stairway to Heaven, which I loved.  The water was so cold and refreshing.

That’s when a volunteer starting talking to me and I wondered off by myself.  I started crying.  I was hurt and upset about what was going on with me.  I was having another psychotic episode.  They are not fun.  They are scary.  I understand and relate to people who have PTSD.  It is not the same but both are so hard to deal with.  The race directors came and checked on me and brought me to the medic tent.  They gave me Benadryl, anti-itch cream, and water.  I thought it was all my fault for not paying for the race.  I was so upset I didn’t get to finish the race.  It was my first DNF other than Warrior Dash just because I didn’t want to stand in line.  On the way home I passed out in Matt’s car.  He was worried about me.  He had mentioned during my stressful week before the race that I go to Ridge View Institute to get some help.  I didn’t think it was a bad idea because I was having such a bad week.  Well, I had hit rock bottom.  Matt decided to take me to Ridge View, a very good psychiatric hospital in Smyrna, Georgia.  I will spare you the details of my stay at Ridge View.  However, I was able to heal and fully recover from a very difficult “Gauntlet” of a week.  My favorite obstacles were Stairway to Heaven, Cliffhanger, and Walls of Fury.  I am very upset with myself that I didn’t get to finish the rest of the obstacles.  I really wanted to have full strength for Pegatron, Great Wall of America, and Torpedo looked like so much fun.  This is one race I want to do again.  I would pay for it this time and tell anyone that loves obstacle racing to do it.  Just be careful.  It is dangerous.  People can get hurt and die from these races.  It’s fun until someone gets hurt.  Partake in obstacle races at your own risk.  Sometimes the reward is now worth the risk.   I might or might have been able to finish without having to get a white belt, but I know my mental fitness was tested 100% as well as my physical, emotional, and spiritual.  If you ever need to talk to someone, don’t be afraid to ask.  My number is 678-913-7217.  Now I know why Matt talks so much about his mental health.  It is very important.  Thank you to all veterans and to Conquer the Gauntlet for a 100% great race even though the venue was a little sketchy.   That being said, the bottom line is that the race directors, staff, and volunteers all made sure that everyone was safe and happy before, during, and after the race.  Happy obstacle racing!

Tifosi Synapse Sports Glasses Review

Tifosi Synapse Sports Glasses
3.8 Overall
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As Matt B. Davis and I were driving to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend for the first Bonefrog race of the 2017 season, we started listening to an audio book and began discussing whatever was coming to our minds at the time.

Matt asked, “why are you wearing those glasses”?

“I don’t know,” I said.  “They are the glasses I am reviewing for your website.”

“Duuuuddddddeeee!!!!”, gasped Matt B. Davis, “you totally didn’t tell me!”   Well, it was only 9 am, and I only just started on my morning coffee.   I pondered on why one might wear glasses on an obstacle course or mud run…to keep the sun, dirt, and mud out of their eyes?  Duh!  But how would I wipe them off?  And wouldn’t they just be a huge pain in the ass?…just another thing to worry about?   I am not a big fan of accessories dangling from my head or other body parts unless it’s a necessity, like something that holds food or water, or a hat, when I am working out.

It would be my first time wearing glasses for an obstacle race.  When I first was asked to review the new Tifosi Synapse glasses, I was perplexed.  I don’t like wearing glasses unless they are sunglasses, but, they might…keep shit out of my eyes!  So, I decided to accept the challenge.  I chose the race neon green color because they are bright and energetic, and the color ended up being the same color as the Bonefrog’s colors, so that was cool.  I chose the light night fototec lenses because I knew that I could be racing in any conditions, and these frames actually darken or lighten depending on the amount of ambient light.  I have been quite dubious from the start about being able to protect my eyes without them fogging however, so I started wearing them right away at my new job as a wildlife removal technician.  They are great for protecting my eyes against dust, construction materials, insulation dust, and the like, as well as rabid squirrels and raccoons, for the past few weeks. Also, they make me look the part for the job, which is a plus.  Fake it until you make it!   Anybody can make safety glasses however,  so keep reading to see how they would perform against the outdoors and elements of the Navy Seals built and tested obstacle course known as Bonefrog.

Tifosi Synapse Features

Vented Lenses  – This was the feature that I was skeptical about.  How would these glasses not fog up from the extreme amount of sweating that I do?  Well, the first time they would be tested was actually at Starbucks.  I went to Starbucks for coffee and ordered, and the steam coming from behind the counter immediately fogged up the glasses, and I thought…there is no way these glasses are going to work for an obstacle race.  The first mile of the race the glasses work great!  As I started to sweat a little bit, the wind in the speedway was howling.  The glasses were protecting my eyes from the wind as well as the wind was keeping the lenses defogged and dry.  I really was digging the vented lenses here.

Glare Guard and UVA/UVB Protection – These glasses are protected and coated with Tifosi’s proprietary glare guard that reduces eye strain.  I really enjoyed the view of the rolling green hills of middle Alabama with this object popping feature that enhances sight and clarity of all visuals.  The obstacles really popped out in front of me when I was running.  If I were an aging elite athlete, I would want these glasses on in order to focus in on all nicks and crannies in the obstacles and to be aware of all of my surroundings.  Furthermore, the glasses protected my face and eyes from the early spring sun sitting in the blue sky with their 100% UVA/UVB protection.

Grilamid TR-90 Frame and Hydrophilic Rubber – The frames are extremely lightweight and fit nicely on most faces.  They are made from hydrophilic rubber, which is very helpful because the more you sweat, the more they stick to your head.  Lastly, the glasses are very well made.  They are close to indestructible.  I dropped them a few times during the race, and afterwards they had no marks or scratches.

 

Tifosi Synapse Usage

I have used these glasses for both work and play.  I have used them for my new job as a wildlife removal technician. The fototec lenses change their tint depending on the amount of ambient light, so, they are perfect for using them inside and out.  They protect my eyes from the sun working on roofs as well as from working with lots of dust and debris in attics and crawl spaces.   The Bonefrog race put them to the test.  They performed very well in low light conditions with lots of wind and low humidity.  However, when I started sweating profusely in direct sunlight, the glasses started to fog just a little bit and sweat beads ran down the lenses.   I was not particularly agitated by this phenomenon, however it would have been nice to have a clothe to wipe them down with.  As I came to obstacles and took a breath, the glasses quickly defogged.  However, when I fell off the balance beam and fell into the river, the glasses became soaked.  I had to take the glasses off and run with them in my hand.  They would not dry quickly and I did not have a rag to dry them off with.  I could keep them on and just deal with it, however, it was more comfortable to just run with them in my hand.   We soon came to the memorial obstacle where we did 31 burpees for fallen soldiers, so I just took them off when I did the burpees.  They dried off and I continued to run with them on.

Tifosi Synapse Durability

These glasses seem to be extremely durable.  They are made of a nylon material that resists chemical and UV damage.  They also have a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.  I would try to run them over with my truck, however, I really don’t want to attempt the obvious.  I do believe they will sustain most usual wear and tear. Just don’t lose them or run them over.

Tifosi Synapse Pros and Cons

Pros

  • They are extremely lightweight.
  • The vented lenses provide a nice breeze.
  • They are durable.
  • The glare guard.

Cons

  • They still fog and take a little while to dry.

Tifosi Synapse Conclusion

These are great glasses for all types of activities.  The use of these at obstacle races is debatable, however.  People, especially elite and competitive athletes,  might not like having to take care of them during the race.  They would have to find something to wipe them off with if they get muddy, and sweat and high humidity seems like they can make them fog a bit.  When they are wet they don’t work as well, and they might have to take them off for some obstacles.  Overall,  they are fairly priced and have a lifetime warranty.  I would definitely buy them.   They are a runner’s, biker’s, and sportsman’s best friend.  I would advise that they work best in dry environments.  They do a great job at keeping out dust and dirt, however, mud can be an issue.  I love them and am truly grateful for being able to review them.

 

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Clayton Griffith

One day, Clayton made the mistake of getting too close to ORM co-founder Matt Davis. Now, most weekends, he is stuck with Matt running on a trail, on some train tracks, or at obstacle races. He also been forced to take on additional duties, such as writing for ORM, manning the ORM tent, and watching Matt's kids, all against his will.

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Underwear For Men (UFM) Review

Disclaimer: If you are offended by terms used to describe the male anatomical features, do not read this post.

UFMs (underwear for men) are the best sports underwear I have ever worn.  From a teen on the tennis court and mountain bike trails to a triathlete and now to solely a runner, they have enabled the most comfortable times I remember being while sweating profusely.  Most importantly, they are comfortable now in the present as a runner. It’s because running is what I do now, and I sweat and chafe more now than I ever have.   They are very comfortable, and they withstand long miles without the chafing and discomfort of other more popular name brands such as Adidas, Under Armour, and Reebok.  I would recommend purchasing and wearing these underwear for any sport or activity that involves sweating.

UFM Features

Comfort  – I ran 5, 10, and 20 miles in UFMs.  The five mile run at Stone Mountain on the Cherokee Trail that loops around the mountain was swift and easy.  I sweated plenty even in the cool temps of December.  The underwear felt snug and comfortable.  They held my man parts tight and in place with no rubbing together of my legs or acorns.  I will further discuss their comfort and use in the next section.

Support and Adjustability – The underwear has a draw string that supports and pulls your junk tight and in the right place no matter what your size (disclaimer:  this is a little bit of an assumption here because I am only the size that I am).  I can only imagine however that they fit most average, i.e. normal sizes.  At first, I thought the draw string would perhaps get in the way, rub the wrong way, or just plain irritate the lower man area (aka perineum, taint, chode, or in other words the area between the sack and poop shoot that is prone to catching on fire if you know what I mean).

Lightweight and breathable – The fabric is amazing.  It is a mix of 90 % polyester and 10 % elastane.  This combination makes them very lightweight.  I can barely tell I am wearing them other than the support of the adjustable draw string.  Furthermore, during the run and even after, the fabric wicks away sweat, and they seem to stay dry throughout.  It seems impossible, but they have stayed dry for up to 20 miles.  However, I have only used them during the unseasonably warm Georgia winter months.  I do not have any data on running in the spring, summer, or fall, where ball melting temperatures often occur.  I can only hope they work extremely well.

UFM Usage

Most of my time during this period of my life is in front of a 425 degree Waffle House grill.  It can get very hot and sweaty during busy times, especially during the summer.  My first experiences with UFMs were on the Waffle House grill.  I was pleasantly surprised about how comfortable I was on the grill.  I didn’t have to worry about going to the bathroom multiple times to scratch and/or wipe the sweat from my bum.  TMI.  However, that’s the truth when you are sweating and/or have a case of swamp ass.

As mentioned earlier, UFMs passed with an A+ on my first test of an easy 5 miler.  On the next run, I ran the first half of this year’s winter runtheatl.  I ran a little more than the first section, which totaled to about 10 miles.  The first 8 miles were great.  I felt awesome. However, at about mile 9, I was starting to feel a little burning and chaffing on my butt crack.  Not the taint region, but the actual crack itself.  I was a little disappointed with this while wearing the UFMs, however, I then realized I didn’t put on any body glide.  Well, no one is perfect, and even if I was wearing just a jock strap, I would still get chaffage from my cheeks rubbing together.  TMI.  I hope you read the disclaimer.   Well, as most of you know, body glide works miracles, and no matter what kind of underwear you are sporting, one must use body glide or some other balm. Nonetheless, as of now, I would still choose UFMs over any other brand of underwear out there.   I will try some other brands in the future, however, as of now I do believe I should always have a pair of UFMs on hand and close by.

UFM Durability

I really am not certain what the durability of the UFMs will be.  It would probably take a year and lots of miles to determine.   I have mostly used cotton briefs and boxer briefs as everyday underwear, and they have worn out fast.  I have used bike shorts that were similar material to UFMs for triathlons.  They seemed to wear out in the location of where the saddle sits.  I wouldn’t bet on it, but I am thinking that the UFMs will probably end up lasting a year or so and will probably wear out around the crack area from minor friction.  I hope they last longer.

Front

Rear

UFM Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comfort
  • Support
  • Breathability

Cons

  • They don’t have long pant versions.
  • Price.  The cost  of the underwear is a lot more expensive than other name brand underwear
  • They only have Underwear For Men.  Where’s the female version?

 

Reebok, Adidas, and Under Armour sports underwear

Similar Products

Products I compared were sports underwear made by Adidas, Reebok, and Under Armour. Adidas and Reebok underwear fit very nicely, however, the fabric that is situated in the lower man part region has too much unnecessary fabric that causes rubbing, chaffage, and discomfort.  The pair of Under Armour underwear I tested has an even greater amount of unnecessary amount of fabric and the cut of the fabric is unsatisfactory.  I would spend the extra $10 to $15 to get a more superior product.  Especially when dealing with such a delicate and sensitive area, aka the family jewels.

UFM Conclusion

UFMs (Underwear For Men) are close in verbage to UFOs, and I don’t think that that is a just a coincidence.  They are out of this world! They are the best underwear I have ever worn.  They are comfortable, adjustable, supportive, and breathable.  I can only imagine that they would withstand the test of time and mileage on the road or on trails.  I only tested them for up to 20 miles.  I plan to try them on a 50k this year and maybe a 50 mile closer to the end of the end or in 2018. Only time will tell.  For now, they are perfect, and I would recommend them to any runner or person who sweats profusely and is a fellow frequent sufferer of chaffing and/or swamp ass.  As for a recommendation for the UFM company, I would love to see a longer pant/tight version, and possibly even a wetsuit for surfing and/or cold weather obstacle racing.   These underwear make me happy.  So keep moving forward, happy running, and happy living!

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On Cloud Shoe Review

On Cloud
3 Overall
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oncloudreview1

Matt invited me to the Shake Shack Burger Run on April 26th, 2016 at the Highland Running Company, in Atlanta, Georgia.  We arrived early to check out the merch.  We were pleasantly surprised by the delicious beverages from SUJA Juice and the On shoes representative on site. We went directly to SUJA to get a beverage (well, more like five; we had to try all the flavors!) and then over to On Shoes to try on shoes and don their ridiculous leis and hula skirts.  I took off my Nike Frees 5.0 and slipped into a pair of 10.5 On Cloudsurfers.  I felt perches up about an inch off the ground from my minimalist Nike Frees.  We had a choice of running a 5K or a 10K.  We went for the 10K.  We ran from the heart of the west end of the Virginia Highlands to the Eastside Beltline trail and back.  The shoes felt great during the run, however, during the butt kicking I had handed to me because of my lack of shape, my feet were killing me by the time we made it back to the Highland Running Company to get our free burger.  Well, the real reason my feet hurt so bad was because my feet swelled and my toes started cramming into the toe box of the shoe.  I should have got a size 11 instead of a 10.5.

Matt got contact info from the On Running representative and asked me if I wanted to review some On shoes.  I was stoked.  I really like minimalist shoes, so I tried to find On shoes with the most minimalist approach.  The On Cloud was just released this year and was the one I found and wanted to test, so I was super ready to give them a test run.  Once Matt emailed Olivia over at On Running in Portland, I sent her the shoe size and model I wanted most, and luckily it was sent overnight.  I was so excited to see my own size of 11 On Cloud shoes on my kitchen table.  I opened them and was surprised by their Scuba blue and lime color.  What a combination! Also, what I noticed right off the bat was how lightweight they were.  Wow!  One of the lightest running shoes out there.  I was looking forward to running in the clouds with these shoes.

On Cloud Features

Lightweight – What stuck out to me the most was that these shoes were very lightweight, and that they have really cool holy soles.  I ran around my neighborhood in west Atlanta for my first run.  I don’t run real fast because for one I am slow, and two, there are lots of steep hills in Atlanta.   Running on the steep hills in my hood, it really did feel like I was running on clouds.  I was on my toes and could barely feel the shoes on my feet.  My dog Seven was dying, huffing and puffing, and I was breathing easy and calm, cool, and collected in the Georgia heat.  I like hills and do well on them, especially going up hill.

Fast and comfortable – The shoes are, because they are very light, very fast and comfortable.  I feel like I ran around Sweetwater Creek State Park, which was my second run in the shoes, in half the time it usually takes.  This was not true, however, I did feel the urge to sprint in these shoes a lot more than on my usual runs.  If I was training to go very fast, I would want these shoes on my feet.  Being light and fast seems to make a shoe be very comfortable.  You can barely feel the shoes on your feet.  They fit like a glove almost like a slipper with a small attached tongue.  If you lost your laces on a run with these shoes or were stranded in the wild and needed to use the laces as fishing line, the shoes would just as easily stay on your feet.

Beauty – Lastly, when I first saw these shoes, I was amazed by their beauty.  The color scheme scuba blue and lime was bright and flashy.  I like it.  I wanted black and white, but you can’t always get what you want.  The mesh and lattice work on the uppers and lowers look really good.  They are so pretty that I don’t want to even get them dirty.  This is another reason why I only want to run with them on roads.  I have tested them on the trail however just to see how they would perform.

oncloudreview2

On Cloud Usage

From the start and from first observation, I knew they would really be best utilized for road running.  Looking at the raised souls and light mesh foreshadowed the shoes getting really dirty and roughed up as well as getting rocks stuck in the raised soles.  I have run with them on asphalt, concrete, trail, and a gravel road.  My first observation was right.  They performed excellent, one of the best runs I have had on the asphalt, concrete, and trail.  However, once I got on a gravel road, I had to stop every half mile or so to take rocks out of the soles.  For me, these are all around great running shoes to train for whatever endurance event I am working towards, whether it is just staying fit and in shape for life or training for tennis, a Spartan race, or an ultramarathon.

oncloudreview3

On Cloud Durability

The shoes are super comfortable, however, I am a little nervous on how long they will last.  The mesh material and the suede on the toe box looks like it might disintegrate and/or get roughed up if they get muddy, scraped on rocks, or when they are ran in the rain a bunch of times.  Only time will tell how long they will last.  I am a bit thrifty and low on money, so I don’t know if I would spend $120 on a pair of these Clouds.  I would definitely buy them if money was not a concern.  I would have a pair of these, a pair of Nike Frees 5.0, and a pair of New Balance Minimalists.  It would be On Clouds for road, Nike Free’s for trail, and New Minimalists for obstacle racing.

oncloudreview4

 

On Cloud Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Great fit for high arches and narrow feet
  • Very lightweight, fast, and comfortable
  • Snug fit and breathable

Cons

  • Questionable durability
  • Rocks get stuck in soles

Similar Products

The only product I would compare to the On Cloud is the Nike Free model.  They are both very minimalist shoes that are very lightweight, fast, and comfortable.  They both have a very snug fit that are good for narrow feet with high arches.  I have trouble finding a good fit with other running companies I have tried including Adidas, Brooks, Saucony, and Mizuno.  Nike Frees have been a better shoe for me to off road running because rocks do not get stuck in the shoes.   I think that the On Cloud would be my preferred running shoe for asphalt because of the semi raised and air filled sole.  It can get so hot in Georgia that rubber can burn from the burning asphalt, so I believe the soles of the On Clouds will do a better job at deflecting heat than the Nike Frees.

On Cloud Conclusion

In conclusion, I love the On Cloud.  I love their beauty, their lightweight and fast design, and the feel of the foot in the shoe.  However, they could not be an all around go to running shoe for me.  They would have to be only used for road running.  Although I should have a shoe budget, I would need multiple pairs of running shoes from different companies, just in order to run on different surfaces.  Money can be an issue, however, I love shoes.  And, sometimes you just can’t resist.  You have to have more than one pair of running shoes.  I’m just lucky I got to review these.  So, after all is said and done, the On Cloud shoe makes the cut for my recommendations for running shoes,  and I think I like them more than my Nike Frees!  Happy running!

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Clayton Griffith

One day, Clayton made the mistake of getting too close to ORM co-founder Matt Davis. Now, most weekends, he is stuck with Matt running on a trail, on some train tracks, or at obstacle races. He also been forced to take on additional duties, such as writing for ORM, manning the ORM tent, and watching Matt's kids, all against his will.

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Rugged Maniac – Atlanta 2015

Rugged Maniac - Team ORM

I arrived at Matt’s house at 8 am where of course there were still fifteen things to do before we left. Matt’s wife, Stacie had some delicious sausage and eggs for us, River, the two year old, was happy as could be eating his eggs, and Jaxson, Matt’s 6 year old was complaining, rolling around on the couch per usual. We had to go to CVS to get paper towels for the hashbrowns that nobody has eaten because we don’t have plates. Should have gotten plates. Oh well, at least we were on our way.

During some legal discussion on the road, Matt was trying to set the GPS for the fastest route. He explained it always takes him the wrong way and he was bound to go the right way. Guess what? It took the same way he always goes. Imagine that. (For those that want to know for next time, it’s Exit 82 of I-20.)

I manned the ORM tent while Matt, Peter, and Chrissy started the first heat at 10 am. Yep, this is the race for us slackers, or those who love their sleep. I got a few emails for the email list and unsuccessfully tried to get people to do burpees to get free Athletics8 compression athletic gear. Everyone postponed their burpees until after their race.

I was ready to run as soon as Matt, Peter, and Chrissy got back. I ran to the starting line just in time for the 11 am wave. I have no patience during these races. I should probably always be in the first wave. I would rather walk on hot coals than stand in line. It might be rude but I always pushed through people to get ahead. This is a race though. If you’re going to walk stay to the right and get out of the way or be prepared to get pushed around a little. I ran pretty hard the first few hundred meters to the first obstacle, the barricades.

Rugged Maniac Obstacle Rings

*Photo courtesy Melissa Montoya

I was already feeling pretty winded. I slowed down and tried to pace myself. I made it to Jacob’s ladder next. I love climbing and this race has multiple climbing obstacles which I love. Tipping point was next. I had never done this one. It was walking or running up a seesaw and going down. It felt a little strange but was fun nonetheless. The next obstacles involved lots of mud and water. Such a relief since it was super hot and humid out there today. I’m still sweating writing this outside the ORM tent. I really enjoyed the balance beams, the soft mud of the barbwire army crawls, and the muddy hill climbs. The toughest obstacles for me were the trenches obstacle, which was a set of about 12 six foot deep by six foot wide trenches one after another. They were farther apart than it seemed. The rings were tough also. This is the only obstacle I didn’t finish. I lost momentum and couldn’t move but hitting the water was a very nice relief. Lastly, my favorite obstacle, the warped wall. It was my first time and didn’t want anyone to help me up. I waved the guys at the top off so I could do it myself but they seemed not to understand my sign so I yelled don’t touch me when I got to the top. One guy exclaimed, “Obviously you don’t need our help.” Precisely, good sir. Finally, the victory slide felt so good.

The medal, oranges, banana and water hit the spot. PowerIce saved the day with their electrolyte ice pops. So good!

The race was fantastic. All of the staff and volunteers were great. The MC Aaron Smalls was amazing. He sounded like Aziz Anasari. I liked the obstacles here at Rugged Maniac much better than Udder Mudder, but Udder Mudder had free ice cream and yogurt. And Udder Mudder was backwoods which I liked.

Rugged Maniac Pies

*I was so excited about a pie eating contest, I forgot to move my thumb out of the way.

Seems like all of the races are at Conyers Horse Park which can be good and bad. Familiarity but no change in environment/terrain/course. The DJ and big stage were great. Lots of good music, dancing, a pull up contest, and finally a pie eating contest!

Whew, I’m sunburnt and exhausted.

See y’all next week at the Asheville Spartan Super!

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