Rugged Maniac Long Island 2018

I have been running Obstacle Race thingies for about 6 years now and while I once wrote a review of Rugged Maniac from a spectator with kids perspective I had never run one before…. until last weekend!  How did it come to be? How was it!? Give us the low down!

How did it come to be?

Well, generally I run the race that must not be named when it is in Long Island but since I am doing #zeroeventsin2018 I chose to run Rugged Maniac which was roughly 40 minutes from my house. As it were, my 13-year-old niece is up visiting New York for 2 weeks and I thought it would be cool to have her run her first Obstacle Race on her vacation.

I quickly checked their website and made sure that age 13 was good to go (it was) and found a deal on Groupon and snagged her a well priced last minute registration. We got her some Swiftwick socks (Aspire 4), trail running shoes (Saucony Excursions from DSW), and took her on her first trail run before throwing her to the wolves on Saturday. We were all set!

How was it!?

I am a firm believer that as long as the race doesn’t royally screw up by not delivering what they advertise, having insanely long lines or putting participants in danger that “How was it?” is a very subjective answer. If you are going to Rugged Maniac to race “elite” you probably will have a much different take on the race than someone who brought his 13-year-old niece to her first race. I had an exceptionally good time and I will tell you why.

Easy things they got right:

Registration was easy. You can choose any lane and while I was secretly worried about my niece not having an ID even though the website said she didn’t need one there was no issue getting her squared away at registration. PHEW. I love that they give the shirts out at registration because you can wear them without getting them dirty after the race. Also, Swiftwick is my favorite brand of socks and I was SO FRACKIN EXCITED when we got coupons for a free pair of Swiftwick socks.

Extras that I enjoyed:

We got there a touch early and my parents and children were at the event in addition to my wife and niece. We scoped out the festival area and were able to kill time by looking at merch (reasonably priced), the event photo booth setup (not reasonably priced), and doing pull-ups to win hats (Marine and Army booths). I missed the kids’ bouncy house that they had at Rugged Virginia 2 years ago, but my kids behaved and the spectators enjoyed themselves. I didn’t ride the mechanical bull, but that probably would have been fun too. Lastly, the Harpoon Beer was tasty. I actually picked up a sixer of the UFO White at the supermarket later that day after trying it as my free beer. #sponsorsuccessstories

The Low Down

I really enjoyed Rugged Maniac and it was an incredible experience having my niece run her first race and seeing her enjoy herself as well. After she completed obstacles that she wasn’t sure she could she threw around words like “feeling accomplished” which I vividly remember from many of the races I have run. It’s a great feeling that causes the bug. In fact, she already asked if we can do it again when she visits next year.

The Obstacles

Rugged Maniac has a good mixture of semi-challenging, fun, and easy obstacles. They also gave you thick, nasty, and STANKY mud that is a staple at any fun race. If you are a seasoned obstacle racer chances are there aren’t any obstacles that you would struggle completing, but if you are new to these events and don’t have familiarity with rings, ropes, and moving monkey bars they can be challenging. Could they add a few wreck bag carries in like they used to have and add some weight to the hoist? Sure, but even without them, it was still a good time.

Conclusion

There was a time when I was a snob about Obstacle Races and I am happy to say those days are behind me. If you are rolling up to a Rugged Maniac to win and you have complaints about the obstacle difficulty you probably should show up to some other races to throw down. My whole squad enjoyed themselves and it appears that my mom, dad, sister, and brother-in-law will be lacing them up for their first race next year! #spectatorsuccessstories

 

 

Altra King MT 1.5 Shoe Review

Altra King MT 1.5
4.4 / 5 Overall
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Features
Durability
Grip
Water Draining
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The Altra King MT 1.5 is the second edition of the King MT line. When the original King MT first came out many people in the OCR community were excited that an Altra shoe finally had aggressive lugs to complement their signature Foot Shape toe box. Reports of the King MT having some wear issues in the form of upper blow outs kept me from trying the first edition, but when I heard that the 1.5 was boasting a reinforced upper and improved drainage I knew it was time to give the King MT line a shot.

Altra King MT 1.5 Features

Specs

Lugs: 6mm

Drop: Zero Drop. 19mm/19mm

Weight: 8.5 oz. / 241 g

Insole Footbed: 6mm

Vibram Megagrip Outsole- Like it’s predecessor the King MT 1.5 has 6mm aggressive lugs that are made with Vibram’s rubber compound. If you are looking for grip in mud and on obstacle surfaces it’s hard to go wrong with this aggressive lug pattern coupled with the Vibram rubber.

Footlock Strap- This velcro strap allows you to quickly loosen or tighten the midfoot of your shoe as you encounter downhills or unpredictable terrain.

Foot Shape Toe Box- If you don’t already know, Altra makes shoes with a more natural foot shape. This provides a wider fit than most shoes and is a popular choice at longer distance Obstacle Races.

StoneGuard- This rockplate sits in the center of the shoe and protects the foot from rocks while running.

Protective Rip Stop Nylon- The upper material has been updated to a stronger rip stop nylon. The original version of the shoe saw many reviews complain that the upper material had blow outs on very low mileage. This material increases the durability, does not hold water and is lighter than the old material.

Drainage Vents- This shoe was designed for better drainage after water submersions. At the front and the sides of the shoe where the protective layers are sewn on Altra added vents that allow water to leave the shoe very quickly. These were not present on the previous model.

Altra King MT 1.5 Usage

I tested these shoes thoroughly on hilly trail runs, a Mudman Training beach session and at Maryland Savage Race on a very muddy course. The Altra King MT 1.5 handled each of these testing sessions well and allowed me to really get a feel for the versatility of the shoe as well as the Pros and Cons.

OCR Specific Usage Sessions:

Mudman Training on the Beach

The King MT 1.5 was great on the trail runs that I used them on so when the opportunity to test them at an OCR specific beach workout arose I was excited to give them a shot. There really isn’t  a good shoe suited for running or working out in the sand so while the King MT 1.5 grip was certainly overkill for this workout I was curious how much sand would get in my shoe. The workout consisted of a sandy uphill bucket carry (up and down), a bear crawl (up and down), a run up and down the hill, and strength based workouts (snatches, atlas shoulder throws, squats, etc). These exercises were then done for 3 rounds. While I certainly had sand in my shoe I can honestly say I thought there would be more. Had I worn gaiters there would have been much less as most of the sand made it’s way in by my ankles. The only downside I find with wide toe box shoes is that the sand likes the extra space by the toes and can accumulate there. The clean up from this was simple: rinse, drain, air dry with a fan. They looked as good as new.

Savage Race

I was excited that I would get to test these shoes for Obstacle Racing Media at, well, an Obstacle Race! If you don’t test the shoe out in unpredictable situations you may miss some small quirks with the shoe. While Savage Race Maryland is not considered a “hilly” course there are a few climbs that will test the grip of your shoes when it is muddy, and it was muddy this year. The King MT 1.5 really shined on these muddy inclines. As people were crawling and grasping with their hands at anything they could grab I was methodically making my way up the muddy hills without any issue at all. The 6mm lugs dug right in and after the first hill I knew I wouldn’t have any grip issues the rest of the day in the mud.

Thanks to the Vibram rubber compound on the outgsole of the King MT 1.5 my traction was very secure on the man made obstacles such as the A-Frame (muddy wood), Colossus and Twin Peaks. While some folks struggled to get their feet set there weren’t any instances were I struggled with my footing.  I’m not suggesting these shoes couldn’t slip on a muddy and wet wall or a wet tree stump in the forest, but the Vibram compound is above average in these situations.

The drainage of the shoe was amazing. There are multiple full water submersions at Savage Race and at no point did I even think of my feet after leaving the water and beginning to run. The water drained out quickly and left me taking very few “squishy” sounding running strides.

The only real negative that I encountered with the shoes’ performance was that when the shoe was wet the insole slid to the forefoot on each downhill that I “bombed” down. After the first time that the insole slid I pulled the velcro strap tighter hoping that it would stop, but it did not.  This is a common issue that I have had in the past with the Altra Lone Peak and it continues with the King MT 1.5. It is a minor annoyance, but it certainly would be nice for that to get taken care of in the future.

At the end of the race I took off my shoes as I was curious how much of the mud had stuck to the bottom. There was a bit at the heel of the shoe but nothing that caked on so much that it covered the lugs. The forefoot had almost nothing on it which is a huge positive as I am a forefoot striker and rely heavily on the grip at the front of the shoe. Seeing the lugs relatively clean made sense as I never felt any issues with grip and never had to clean any mud off of my shoes during the race. 

 Altra King MT 1.5 Durability

I ran hard through trails, hills, rocks, roots, sand and man made obstacles with the intention of putting this shoes durability to the test. I heard about the previous model having durability issues with the upper material and I was curious to see if it had actually been corrected. To my delight it was. With the exception of a few stray stitches that were broken this shoe is showing very little signs of wear on the upper and the outsole. If you were burned by the previous model and had a blowout but liked the shoe otherwise I would recommend giving the 1.5 a try.

Altra King MT 1.5 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Incredible grip in messy conditions
  • Great traction on solid surfaces (Thanks Vibram!)
  • Above average drainage
  • Upper material does not hold water
  • Improved durability
  • Wide toe box
  • Sharp looking design

Cons

  • When bombing downhills with wet shoes the insoles shift forward. This is a recurring issue for me in Altra shoes.
  • The Heel does not lock in well which exacerbates the sliding forward insole issue. This is another common complaint of mine with Altra shoes. Some folks suggest alternate lacing patterns to help limit this.
  • Relatively Heavy(ish) if you are an Elite Racer gunning for that top spot.

Altra King MT 1.5 Conclusion

I had high hopes for the Altra King MT 1.5 shoe when I opened the box and it did not disappoint. The aggressive lugs, ability to drain and wide toe box make this a perfect shoe for events like World’s Toughest Mudder, Toughest Mudder, Spartan Beast, Spartan Ultra and the F.I.T. Challenge Ultra where you need performance and long term comfort. Altra heard the feedback on durability and drainage on the original model and delivered a shoe that addressed those concerns. I look forward to strapping these on (literally) and taking on more muddy courses in the future.

 



Keith Allen

Keith Allen is an Air Conditioning Salesman and an exhausted father of two. When not carrying his children around in Baby Bjorns he is often found cooking delicious homemade quesadillas to fuel his hunger from running OCR's

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Savage Race Maryland: A Family Affair

The two weeks leading up to Savage Race Maryland were like any other race for me and my wife. “Who are we asking to babysit, Kel? We aren’t in Virginia anymore so this is a bit more of a drive.” Kelly took her eyes off of Candy Crush looked over at me and asked, “Are they old enough for the kids’ race? We should just take them.” EUREKA! I quickly checked the Savage site and the site simply said “12 and under.” My kids are 5 and 3 so it was game on. The only real question was how would this play out? Were we entering a new phase in our obstacle racing hobby that allowed our kids to enjoy it as well or were we fooling ourselves? Giddy up!

**Time to channel a Grey Beret**

6:30am: This is basically the default wake up time at The Allen Compound and even though we were at a hotel about 45 minutes north of the event the continental breakfast started at 6:30 am so we were up and at ’em. The kids were very excited to be at a hotel and they were excited to participate in their first race. I loaded my KitBrix, Under Armour shorts, Salomon Top, Swiftwick socks and Altra King MT 1.5 shoes into our 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee with my wife and children and dreamed of drinking a Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee on the ride down to the venue.

8:15 am: We got to the venue to park. I still reminisce about the days where when you were early to arrive you got to park right up front. My first mistake of the day was not buying VIP parking with the kids. If you have little ones spend the extra 10 bucks or plan on walking an extra 2 miles back and forth throughout the day to get stuff from your car. Regular parking feels like a punishment for not handing them 10 bucks.

8:36 am: We signed four of the enormous participant waivers and signed in rather quickly (duh!). By 8:40 am my kids had already seen the Kona Shaved Ice Truck and began asking for shaved ices. They also saw the hats at the entrance and began asking for those as well. It was clear I would be spending more money than usual at Savage.

8:46 am: We showed the kids the kids course and they were pumped. “WHY DO THE ADULTS GET TO GO BEFORE THE KIDS?” my Daughter sternly asked. “I don’t know, you have to ask Sam Abbitt, baby.”

8:53 am: The kids had some fun on the kid magnet mini Platinum Rig set up. Kid magnet!

9:04 am: Porta Potty visit 1

9:20 am: Kelly went off in the first open wave as I volunteered to have the first round with the kids. The plan was for Kelly to run first and make it back for the 11:00 am kids’ race. After that, we would trade and I would run once they were done. The most memorable part of the start was when Matty “best emcee in the game” T threw one of the signature savage blue smoke cans and it took an errant bounce and headed right towards my son’s face. My catlike reflexes saw the can’s trajectory and I batted it out of the air and back into the open field. Crisis #1 averted.

9:30 am: Visit #1 to the Kona Shaved Ice Truck. We bought two Chipwiches and a Reese’s peanut butter ice cream bar.

9:32 am: We ran into Sam “Savage Go Ruck Tough Master” Abbitt as we ate our ice cream. Sydney forgot to ask him why the adults got to run first.

9:40 am: We got to see Kelly jump in Shriveled Richard. It was fun hearing Chase say that. Side Note: You will get splashed if you try to get close and take a good picture…

9:50 am: Stop 1 at the car. I think it was for the chapstick that wound up on Chase’s face.

10:15 am: Porta Potty Visit 2

10:20 am: The lifeguard was yelling at me for having the kids too close to Sawtooth. I disagree with her definition of too close. They were sitting in the dirt covering their own legs in dirt. Oh, we got to see Kelly complete Sawtooth. Score!

10:30 am: Stop 2 at the car. This time we grabbed 3 of our chairs so we could sit down in the field. It was almost kids’ race game time.

10:40 am:  I’d like to think that the people by the rings that overheard my kids arguing about who gets to sit in the mustard colored seat prayed for me, as what happened next was what some folks would call a gift from God. As we waited for Kelly to approach the rings and hopefully make it back in time for the 11:00am kids race we saw a Male Cheerleader who has done 100 of some race that I can’t remember the name of. He got to maybe the third ring and fell off. He kept on trucking and said nothing to any of the volunteers at the obstacle. This particular Male Cheerleader was heavily involved in the defending of a habitual line stepping cheater and called me a liar and a bully among other things within the last 8 months. Well, as it turns out he popped up in the “Pro 100% complete” rankings even though I watched him fail the rings. It seems that the two timing chips in the Pro Wave are not cheat proof. Cheaters gonna cheat!

11:00 am: It was finally time. Every moment of both of my children’s lives led them to to this start line. In the event that The OCRWC comes out with a kids’ race division, my kids are qualifying TODAY. I scoped out the other 3-8 year olds (for the first wave of the 12 and under) and quickly did the 50 percent rule math in my head. It was time to DOMINATE.

11:00:30 am: I blacked out for a second, what just happened? Thank goodness the race hasn’t started yet. I am really loving how excited all of these kids at the start line look. I hope they all give it their best. The emcee counted them down and they are off. Chase took off like a man on a mission and I am hanging back with Sydney. Wait, where is Chase? I hope he waits for us at the finish line.

11:01 am: There is Kelly! She slid down Colossus just in time to see the kids take on the kid’s course. What perfect timing. Sydney is 3 going on 4 and she is handling all of the obstacles on her own with the exception of the mini-slip wall.

11:06 am: The A Frame is PERFECT for the kids. If it weren’t for the mud and bubble ending I think that would be the signature kids’ race obstacle, but it is pretty hard to beat Bubbles.

11:10 am: My son finished the race, got his medal and took off his shoes. He then headed back on the course to cheer on and help his sister finish. This was easily the best part of my day. If you have kids in the 6 and under range then you should definitely  sign them up. I’m not saying it isn’t fun for 8-12 year olds, but I am not too sure how the Savage Jr. plays into this mix. I would check out the website, but if you are paying for them to spectate anyway the extra couple of bucks for the kids race will at least make them feel included.

11:15ish am: Kelly finished up her race and she and the kids got to compare their shirts and medals. This is much better than handing them our medals when we get home.

12:00 pm: At this point, I can’t keep track of the time anymore as I am about to race. I haven’t run in a wave this late since my first obstacle race back in 2012. It is kind of a weird feeling considering I have been at the venue since 8:15am. As usual Savage is top notch with their course marking, obstacles, course design, water stations, and attention to detail. In fact, there weren’t really any waits at the obstacles later in the day, which I expected to run into. In all of the reviews I have written on Savage Race I have never described disappointment (unless you count the far walk to the car). I truly believe that Savage has the best obstacles in America and that they actually care about their participants. My entire family had a blast and I would definitely bring them all again because so far it is one of our more memorable days on 2018.

Final Notes: There were at least 2 porta potty visits that I didn’t log and two more trips to the Kona Shaved Ice Truck. Oh, and we bought them hats. Next stop…. Boston! #SAF

A Tale of One Citi- Spartan versus the Ghost of Shea Stadium

“There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb” -Miley Cyrus

It seems that no matter what type of Spartan Race I participate in I inevitably wind up singing Miley Cyrus’ inspirational gem, “The Climb.” Spartan Race digs calf muscles and they want you to dig them too. No ski resort? No problem! Walk up these stairs over and over again and we will begin your journey into calf domination. Hell, even the Bulk Pony himself,  Hunter “Feed the Need” McIntyre had a lower extremity issue directly related to the plethora of stairs lining the concrete jungle mountains of Citi Field. Or maybe Isaiah Vidal just stared at his ankle really really hard with that serious “I’m really determined” look that he always does on TV. Hunter sprained his ankle… I’m not suggesting he was out of shape…. we know he’s in shape…. did you see his score on 18.1??? MACHO!!

I digress… Time to interview myself.

Keith, you have always been known as a Tough Mudder homer. What’s with all the AROOing this year?

Well, I may be an #exambassador who is doing #zeroeventsin2018 but I think I’m more of a Savage homer than anything. That being said the answer is geography. I moved to New York and I am surrounded by Spartans. I also have developed an affinity for buckets with lids. Come to think of it, Citi Field didn’t have any buckets and I don’t think we AROOd at the start line. I did carry a sandbag up a lot of stairs which is something you would expect at a Spartan. I need to get my hands on one of those new lid topped Spartan buckets.

Wow, I can dig it.  Was this your first Stadium Event? 

Yes it was. I tricked my wife into doing this race by leaving out the details.

What details?

I neglected to mention that a Stadium Race is kind of like a hybrid of a Spartan and a workout class. We invited her cousin to the race too and neither of them were expecting Assault Bikes and Roller blade glide ab thingies.

Interesting. Well, what did you think?

I have a lot of thoughts, and to tell you the truth I’ve been following Lady Gaga’s advice and working on incorporating more kindness into my life. I really enjoyed myself but I would warn folks that if you are going to a Stadium Race and expecting an overwhelming amount of obstacles that you should adjust your expectations. I knew what to expect and without having looked at a course map I was getting worried with the lack of “fun” obstacles until the rig, rope climb and Roller blade glide ab thingies showed up. The atmosphere of being in Citi Field is part of the event. Especially if you are a baseball fan or a fan of extremely well manicured grass.

You said you have a lot of thoughts. Care to share any others?

Sure. For starters I was very happy that Brakken won this race. He and I share a love for capris pants. I was disappointed that he was caprisless, if I’m being completely honest. I think he and I should do a photo shoot, we’d make a great team. Oh, I also really want to give credit to Spartan for their sponsors and for their merch setup. I am a huge fan of the $5 bag check merch coupon that they give and it usually pushes me to purchase something. This time around we got the kids some sweet Spartan hoodies. As far as the sponsors, they have an abundance of people there giving away free samples and I just think the vibe is great. I’m in love with Ascent protein and my love for them started 2 years ago at a Spartan sponsor booth. I bought some more at Citi Field and even got my wife’s cousin to get some too. Since I’ve been married for 8 years should I just call him my cousin?

Dude, I don’t know. That’s a personal preference. Would you like to add anything else or can I start adding pictures to this thing?

I’d like to just say that i’m all about having fun and I had fun at Citi Field. Unless shit is falling down on you or the company is blatantly trying to rip you off or changing their entire set up after their participants already purchased their tickets then a lot of times it depends on what you are looking to get out of the event. I didn’t go into this race expecting grand obstacles or a soul crushing experience and I didn’t get either and that was fine. It was a pretty chill Saturday and I had a good time. I’ll wrap it up as I think I’m making you hit the Matt B. Davis word limit for these things.

Alright, well thanks for the talk. Love, peace, chicken grease.

Later! Here come the Rome plows!

America’s Toughest Mudder Northeast: I love you Endurance OCR, but Gosh Darn it, I’m Tired!

“THIS IS MY RIFLE, THERE ARE MANY LIKE IT BUT THIS ONE IS MINE. MY RIFLE IS MY BEST FRIEND. IT IS MY LIFE. I MUST MASTER IT AS I MASTER MY LIFE. WITHOUT ME IT IS USELESS, WITHOUT MY RIFLE I AM USELESS.” -Full Metal Jacket

I was thinking about this quote the other day as I reflected on my journey through obstacle racing. I remember my first Tough Mudder like a distant fading memory. The rush was exhilarating and I wanted more…right away. I wanted to mainline adrenaline. A funny thing happened, though….the second wasn’t the same…nor the third. So thing’s escalated to bigger, badder, and longer (Michael Scott) events. I fell into the Endurance OCR trap. Specifically, World’s Toughest Mudder.

World’s Toughest Mudder consumed me. The training, planning, budgeting, talking, and social media-ing consumed me. So much so that it began to define me. I wore it like a badge of honor leading up to my first WTM, and I was most likely an asshole about it. Oh, you ran a Spartan Sprint up a mountain and got 5th in your age group? That sounds really fun and all but I’m here to train for a 24 HOUR event (pats self on back). You should try it too; it’s super mega ultra elite badass! I even distance shamed my fake internet HVAC nemesis Hobie Call about it, as if in some magical place me competing in a 24 Hour Tough Mudder elevated me anywhere near his athletic ability. The good news is that I eventually got over it. After actually doing the event, it “literally” took me to the brink of the most cliche thing that I could type here. I didn’t find “myself,” but I definitely found something within myself and will always remember walking alone in the dark up a hill talking to myself and repeating my wife’s and childrens’ names so I could continue to push on.  I did that for two more years, and much like my first Tough Mudder, my second and third World’s Toughest Mudders didn’t quite feel the same. After 2016, I figured I might actually take the advice that Sean Corvelle gives at the start of every Tough Mudder and “try something for the first time” and maybe even escape the ordinary. This year, instead of chasing something, I’d like to experience something new and help a first time World’s Toughest Mudder by being his pit crew (what’s up Garfield). I’ve heard great things from previous competitors like Yancy Culp, Miguel Medina, and Joshua Gustin Grant about pitting and would like to experience the event from a different perspective. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Oh, by the way, Tough Mudder then decided to announce an 8-hour Toughest series with multiple locations. I guess we will see if I’m full of shit or not…

Truth be told, I almost didn’t make it to the highway to drive up to Toughest last week. I took a new job in New York roughly 2 months ago and have been working there and traveling back to see my wife and children in Virginia every weekend. When I committed to the event, I hadn’t even interviewed for the New York job yet; so, needless to say, we were making it work. I am averaging around 16 hours of driving from Friday to Sunday and last weekend was only slightly different. I made it down earlier than usual Friday and left 4 hours before the kids’ bedtimes on Saturday so I could arrive with some time to rest in Philadelphia before the midnight start of Toughest. Enter my son, Chase. A few hours before my departure, I took him for a ride with me to The Home Depot to buy some wood. I told him how much I missed him and he responded, “Daddy if you miss me so much just stay.” Shocked, I responded, “you will all be moving to New York as soon as your school ends in a few weeks, buddy. I promise.” Now, Chase was referring to our current living situation, but it struck a chord with me and made it much harder to leave this weekend than weekends before. Did I make the wrong call leaving earlier to do an event? I don’t know, but it sure felt that way. Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee in hand, I was on to Philadelphia.

America’s Toughest Mudder Northeast ran like a well-oiled machine. I think it was actually more organized than WTM with like 400 less participants. Here are some examples:

  1. I got to parking earlier than I was supposed to, and instead of being turned away, they let me in. That never happens. Score!
  2. Registration was set up alphabetically, and they let us line up early for that as well. It was a good opportunity to get some socializing out of the way and see everyone before it was go time. Once they opened up, it went quickly and smoothly. Smoother than a regular Tough Mudder.
  3. I found the pit set up to be simplistic and effective. While there were a few stragglers trying to sneak into my spot, for the most part, everyone was cool. I haven’t heard of anyone having anything stolen, so I’d say it was a success!
  4. There was grass to take a knee on instead of sand and rocks. This made taking a knee during Sean’s speech much more enjoyable
  5. Kris Mendoza.
  6. Matt B. Davis was in China (seriously).
  7. Hang time was a blast
  8. The design of these bibs is super dope.
  9. While one 5-mile Loop and one sprint lap instead of two reduced some mileage, it was nice not having to think about running a different course.
  10. Tough Mudder has really good big obstacles.
  11. Friends

Operationally, my only real critique is that there was no coffee vendor at the end of this thing. I had to drive 16 minutes to a Starbucks-like an hour after I finished. Please add a coffee vendor. It may be early, but they will clean up selling coffee to 700 people that have been up since midnight, I promise.

So what did I think of the event? I thought it was great. I really enjoyed myself for the first 3-4 hours, but as the temperatures started to drop and I stubbornly refused to add any wetsuit layers, I began to question why the hell I came. I didn’t question it because the event wasn’t good, but because mentally, I have so much other shit going on right now that suffering and pushing through at obstacle races has taken a backseat. I miss my kids. I miss my wife. I miss my dogs. I kind of miss my cat. I’m also going to really miss my house, which holds a lifetime of memories in 7 short years. This is what I was thinking about at 4:00am. At 8:00am I wasn’t thinking about how I now suddenly wanted to do WTM, but I confirmed that I need to take some time off from endurance OCR. I am tired. I want to have fun. One day I will feel the need to push my limits again, and I will certainly hop back on the pain train, but for now I just want to run a 2 hour race with my wife and get home to my kids after lunch as if we snuck out to brunch and a movie. For long enough, I’ve let OCR define too much of who I am, and all I want to prove right now are that There Are No Strings On Me.

Photo Credit: the author and Tough Mudder

Savage Race Maryland 2017 – You Can Be Whoever You Want To Be Today

Each year I task myself with the challenge of taking a new approach to race reviews to keep them fresh and new. I grow tired of reading straight up recaps and you probably do too. If you want to know how awesome parking, registration and other things were, Mike Natale probably already published one of those.  If not, you can check out these older gems: Savage PA 2015 Savage MD 2016  Savage Florida Sharkbait

If you, like the late great Tony Soprano, believe that “remember when is the lowest form of conversation” then don’t give Matt B. Davis and crew any more clicks on old shit and keep reading this bad girl right here. *

I’ve been running Savage Race since 2013 and EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I have a blast. My wife has a blast, my friends have a blast, the people around me have a blast, and people that use oxford commas have a blast.** It gets repetitive writing about having fun and how Savage Race does things right. Even when they get something wrong, like the Yuri situation in Georgia, they end up getting it right when they take responsibility for their decisions. They are the anti BattleFrog but with way better obstacles than people who pine for BattleFrog care to admit.

Ok, so Savage is great. Get it? Got it? Good.

Now, Matty T said something that stuck with me at the start line last week. He said, “You can be whoever you want to be today.” It got me thinking while I was in the tub (sans Matt B. Davis) that Savage Race truly offers everything to everyone. Seriously, think about it:

Do you want to take a large group of friends to their first event? I’ve done this.
Do you want to help your friend face her fears and show her she can do anything? I’ve done this too.
Do you want to qualify for the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships? Check.
Do you want to meet a complete stranger on course and help them face their fears? It happens every time.
Do you want to win money? If you’ve got the stones, have at it Cowboy!

You can do ALL of these things. You can be WHOEVER you want to be today. Race for money. Race for fun. Race yourself. It’s your call.

At this point you may be asking yourself, “Does this guy work for Savage? He keeps saying how great they are and has given literally no insight as to why they are great or what made last weekend in Maryland so fucking great?” No, I do not, but if Sam and Lloyd want the most epic team up of dude’s who love 90’s hip hop and the Wu Tang Clan then I will certainly accept a position working with Matty T. Ok, I should probably say something about the race, but instead of just telling you we will play that silly 10 bands thing from facebook and apply it to Savage Race.

Here are 10 things Savage Race does to make the life of every Obstacle Racing Company Harder. 9 are True and 1 is False:

  1. They added 3 different colored Buffs to the merch table.
  2. They have a secret stash of Ecto Cooler and have a secret obstacle where you drink Ecto Cooler and watch all of the Ghostbusters movies.
  3. They added “Twirly Bird” to an already upper body heavy obstacle list
  4. The owner personally responded on my friend’s post when they handled a customer service complaint incorrectly.
  5. They had the stones to upgrade Sawtooth to metal and increase the pipe diameter to 2 inches in the tooth sections even though they probably knew people would miss the original look. #changeishard
  6. They added “Hangarang” as a kind of newer version of a balance beam while shouting out to Rufio and the Lost Boys. It also didn’t have the lines that balance beams get.
  7. The addition of “Mad Ladders”. Are they angry ladders? A lot of ladders? Are we talking in real words or slang? I don’t know, but “Mad Ladders” are fun.
  8. “Twin Peaks” is ANOTHER new obstacle. 4 new obstacles.
  9. The new shirt design is awesome and they upgraded the Syndicate Medal for year 2!
  10. That’s 9 new obstacles in 2 years and they already had great obstacles. You’ve got to spend money to make money, folks! #cantstopwontstopdontstop


 

That’s all I’ve got and I am dangerously close to my word limit. Holler at me in the comments if you have any questions. Seacrest out!

*I’m pretty sure I already used this quote in another review but I’m too lazy to go back and check. Consistency is key.

**Eat shit, Brilliant.