2018 Spartan Sprint D.C. – Fast and Furious

Spartan-DC-A-Frame-and-Carving

Maryland International Raceway, just south of our nation’s capital, is usually filled with revving engines, screeching tires and roaring cheers. This weekend, the cheers were still there, but the tires were replaced with the sound of feet running through the woods. The engines were replaced by splashing water, ringing bells and spears hitting hay. Spartan Race had returned for its popular Sprint distance.

Parking and Registration

Personally, the two biggest things that make a race great, other than the course itself, is parking and registration. Parking at D.C. was on-site, which is always great. Generally, if I see there’s a shuttle, I’m less likely to add that race to my list. Parking at Maryland International Raceway was extremely easy, and the lot was only about a 3-4-minute walk to the registration tent. Check in was smooth and quick early in the morning and I didn’t notice any long lines in the afternoon.

Spartan-DC-Registration-Lines

I know a lot of Spartan diehards were down in Dallas for one of their bigger stadium races of the year, but turnout still seemed relatively strong. There weren’t a ton of vendors, but this made the festival area seem less congested and easy to navigate. Regardless of festival vendors, there were still plenty of free goodies to be had both at the finish line and around the festival area.

The spectator area didn’t extend far into the course, but after watching racers start, they were able to view Hercules Hoist, Multi-Rig and Rope Climb all within about a quarter mile of the course. There was also an area outside of the festival to watch Monkey Bars and Vertical Cargo. At the finish, spectators watched racers emerge from the woods to take on the A-Frame and finish with a Fire Jump.

Spartan-DC-Spear

The Course

Out of the handful of Sprints I’ve done in the past, DC was by far the flattest. Though there were plenty of short hills with varying inclines, the total ascent was low for your typical Spartan. Though 300 feet over a little over 4 miles is nothing to scoff at, many other venues easily hit 1,000 feet or more in the same distance. This led to quick times for the Elite racers, with the male winner, Tyler McCredie finishing in 39:48 and the female winner, Tiffany Palmer, coming across in 50:42.

Most Spartan Races and obstacle races, in general, only include a few obstacles in the first mile. Mostly, this is to keep the field spread out so there isn’t a lot of backup. The D.C. Sprint, however, included seven obstacles in the first mile. And not just hurdles or barbed wire, either. Those were included, but so were the Spearman, Bucket Brigade and Olympus. Initially, I expected this to cause some unusual backups. But, to my surprise, I didn’t face any significant obstacle lines. That went for both heats I ran, once in Age Group at 8:00 am and the second being Open at 11:30 am.

Spartan-DC-Sprint-Finish

In all, the course tallied up about 4.25 miles and racers faced 22 obstacles. That early run of obstacles meant no crazy gauntlet at the end of the race. The last half mile only included Monkey Bars, Vertical Cargo, A-Frame and Fire Jump. So, if you had enough juice in your legs, you could make a solid finish with the lack of strength or grip obstacles. Personally, I like having a string of obstacles right before the finish, but each design has its strengths and weaknesses.

 

 

Photo Credit: Spartan Race and the author

Spartan Race: Bringing the Pain to Big Bear

Overview
Spartan Race Southern California was the third of five races in the National Championship Series. Hosted in Big Bear, CA it brought an entirely new dynamic to the season. Not only did the race start at an elevation around 6000ft, it was the first Spartan Beast of the series. Being eerily similar to the World Championships this coming September in in Tahoe, CA, it brought many of the elites from the men’s and women’s competition who were trying to make a statement halfway through the North American Series.

San Jose brought rolling hills and smooth terrain.

Seattle brought the muddy and wet conditions.

Big Bear brought the treacherous climbs and unforgiving descents

The Course
Just looking at the course map was intimidating, touting 5000 feet of elevation gain in 12+ miles. In fact, I was a little confused if it was a Skyrunning Race or a Spartan Race knowing that the terrain itself would be the challenge of the day. The start line looked up at the mountain ahead that foreshadowed what was to come. Thankfully, mother nature cooperated with dry and relatively comfortable conditions throughout the day.

The course was laid out perfectly according to the plan of Steve Hammond who wanted to create one of the most difficult courses in recent memory. After about 200 meters of flat running, competitors were doomed with the instant climb that slowed the pace to a hike, a common theme throughout the rest of the race. The beginning of the race was relatively obstacle-free allowing racers to spread out before a collection of obstacles near the top of the mountain. We were sent up slopes simply to run back down again, a seemingly endless oscillation of technical terrain. I envied those taking the chairlift above us and wished for some snow and a pair of skis on the way down. With the Atlas Carry, Herc Hoist, Monkey Bars, and the Sandbag Carry #1 peppered near the top of the mountain, we were greeted with massive descent down to the bottom. Of course, this could only mean one thing, we were going back up. Twister greeted us at the bottom of our descent as we turned the corner to ascend back into the double-black-diamond hell of Big Bear Ski Resort.

After seven miles of punishing terrain, I wanted to believe that it could only get better only to be greeted by the worst of them all…. THE DOUBLE SANDBAG CARRY. I was met with a dizzying feeling and the metallic taste in my mouth. This is where it would all end for me… my Achilles heel. After agonizing up and down a steep slope we didn’t get a reprieve with yet another climb. Up, down, up, down, up, down, it never ended!

Miles 8-11 brought more climbs at a less steep grade. While runnable on fresh legs, I was having trouble opening up any semblance of a stride this late into the race. It wasn’t until the massive descent back into the village that I could taste the finish line. Thankfully, mother nature cooperated leaving the obstacles dry and less of a factor than the massive climbs. The descents were just as difficult on tired legs, as anyone could have easily twisted an ankle or fallen flat on their face on the descent. The final descent meant only one thing, the final gauntlet of obstacles. BUT WAIT! Sneaky Steve strikes again. Just in case our arms and legs weren’t tired before, the bucket brigade gave us the opportunity the feel nice and depleted before an epic gauntlet of obstacles.

The burpee station (Spear Throw), “YOKOHAMA Tire Flip!!” (said in Steve Hammond’s voice), rope climb, and dunk wall made the likes of the slip wall a true obstacle. With the ropes just out of reach for a simple jump, competitors were forced to give every last ounce to run up and grab onto that rope for dear life. I didn’t even know you could burpee out on the slip wall until then, an option some people exercised.

Finally the rig! A nice dry rig was Bear-able (see what I did there) amongst the massive climbs of the ski slope. For anyone who ran this race, we were greeted at the finish line by a sense of accomplishment, knowing what we just endured was a difficult course to finish, regardless of chip time.

 

Men’s Recap

The men’s race continued domination by the Ryans. Ryan Woods in San Jose, Ryan Kent in Seattle, and now Ryan Atkins in Big Bear. The real questions is, will Ryan win the championship? If so, which one?

The pack of Ryan Atkins, Angel Quintero, and Ryan Woods (Woodsy) kept a strong pace the entire race and stayed in the lead pack. With Woodsy’s running ability, Angel’s intense training at altitude, and Atkins’ strength and mountain acumen, none of them could be counted out. Atkins finally pulled ahead at the double sandbag carry with a time of just above 4 minutes for the entire carry. Atkins also rocked a whole new way to carry the bucket… on his back! Atkins continued to run a clean race, leaving Angel and Woodsy to the other podium spots. Robert Killian and Ian Hosek rounded out the top 5 for the men.

 

Women’s Recap

A win by Rea Kolbl in San Jose and Lindsay Webster in Seattle, along with Faye Stenning’s two second place finishes set up a perfect storm coming into Big Bear. These were the three girls to beat. Would they continue to set the Spartan standard, or would someone else break into the win column?

The women’s race was a close fought battle the entire time. Rea Kolbl and Lindsay Webster set the pace throughout, closely shadowed by Faye Stenning.

Rea continued to punish the uphill climbs and Lindsay matched every effort with her technical descents. Faye gained ground during the heavy carries and pushed hard late in the race. By the bucket carry, Faye was in striking distance. Lindsay missed the spear throw, giving Faye the opportunity she needed to move into second place. Rea continued to push hard and was slowed by the slip wall. With its ropes higher than usual and tired legs, it was difficult to reach up to the top. Faye used this opportunity to catch up to Rea as they traded attempts on the slip wall, knowing full well that whoever could complete it first would control their own destiny. Then finally, Rea mustered the strength to run up the wall and went through the rig unscathed, taking first place and claiming her second win of the season. Faye continued with her second place performances, protecting her lead in the National Championship Series while Lindsay finished strong in 3rd place. Spartan Team Pros Alyssa Hawley and Nicole Mericle rounded out the top 5 for the women.

Summary:

The third stop along the Spartan National Championship Series proved to be a memorable one. With similar conditions to Tahoe, this was a good barometer for those looking to do well in the World Championships in late September. Whether you were an elite, age group, or open competitor, everyone who crossed the finish line should walk with their head held high. This race was definitely memorable. I think I speak for everyone when I say, Steve Hammond… YOU SUCK!

 

P.S. Steve Hammond, Seriously THANK YOU and the rest of the Spartan Team for putting on a great race weekend! You did an awesome job!

Epic Series LA

Epic Series OCR made their way back to Los Angeles, California on May 6 for their second event at the Los Angeles Police Academy. For those of you not familiar with Epic Series let me give you a little background.

Epic is a Southern California based race series that’s focused primarily on functional movements with a few OCR type obstacles thrown in. They currently don’t venture outside of the SoCal area very often due to the high cost of transporting all their heavy equipment, so you may not have yet heard about them but listen up!

The formula for Epic’s success is pretty simple, but highly addictive. They pack as many obstacles as they can inside a course about the size of a standard 400-meter track. No miles upon miles of endless running here as most of their events have a total distance of between a mile to a mile and a half. The use of the track format breaks up the lines of functional exercises located inside of the track area and allows Epic to put on their events at venues with limited space quite well.

The Epic race format breaks down like this. Run a lap, usually with something awkward and heavy, then perform a series of functional movements with a few OCR type obstacles thrown in before running another lap. There are three different levels of difficulty at most of these stations throughout the race. Competitive men, competitive women, and open with weights and reps adjusted accordingly. I’ll break down the race in a lap by lap format, so it’ll be easy to follow.

Lap 1. All athletes start out the race by running their first lap carrying an Epic Series flag. Epic appropriately calls this the “flag lap” and once the lap is completed flags are dropped off at the starting line and its then time to get physical with the first series of functional movements starting off with the overhead squat for reps.

Athletes are required to pick up a weighted bar for touch and go squats while standing over a bucket. Volunteers are located at every station giving instructions, directions and occasionally calling out athletes for improper form or to repeat a rep. After completing the overhead squats Epic lined up their ladder wall and tri-wall, which each need to be traversed before continuing.

Lap 2. Athletes now were required picked up a medicine ball to carry around the track for their second lap leading up to the Atlas Stones. Atlas Stones of varying weights needed to be picked up and dropped over the shoulder onto a mat. Miss the mat and the rep doesn’t count so be precise! This took a lot of energy leaving athletes very winded, which made the next balance obstacle even harder.

The Epic balance beam was next in line and is truly unique as it’s built with pegs attached to a series of 4×4 boards suspended above the ground. This thing wobbles all over and usually causes me to fall at least once per event.

Lap 3. This is where the going starts to get tough as athletes are required to run this lap with a tough to balance slosh pipe. Immediately upon completion of this lap, it’s time for another Epic Series favorite, the squat wall. Pick a spot on the wall and assume the wall sit position while holding an hourglass with your arms straight out in front of you while you beg for the sand to fall faster! This obstacle is made even more fun as a volunteer constantly yells at you to keep your arms straight or they’ll make you start over.

Now normally this is where Epic sets up their lumberjack station which requires athletes to pick up a metal post on a hinge and flip it to the other side, but because this obstacle rips up the grass in a major way Epic had to substitute an inflatable bouncy house type thing as a replacement. Not nearly as much fun, but still a cardio crusher nonetheless.

The rope climb with a bell tap at the top was the next up in this long line of obstacles followed by the plank station. Another hourglass was used here as you sat in the plank position and watched those small grains of sand moving ever so slowly down. Continuing the fun on this lap was a keg hoist for reps followed by another crossing over a ladder wall.

Burpee box jumps for reps followed with an inverted wall immediately after leading to the last obstacle on this lap, the archer. Bow and arrows tipped with a rubber stopper were shot at a tiny target set up on a net and if you have never done this before it could take you forever. Luckily for me, I am a former bow hunter, so I nailed that sucker on the first try!

Lap 4. The carries started getting harder here as athletes now grabbed two jerry cans for the farmers carry lap testing out that grip strength to the max. After setting the jugs down it was time to get low for a cargo net crawl followed up by another tri-wall traverse. The band challenge was the last obstacle on this lap and it required athletes to put a thick rubber band around their ankles and hop for a set distance.

Lap 5. For the next lap Epic kept it simple, just sprint as fast as you can. Finishing up led you to another inverted wall to traverse before climbing up and over Barnaby’s Beast. This was a vertical rock wall where the hand holds became more spaced out the more with the higher difficulty level that you signed up for.

All of this led up to one final lap which proved to be a make or break lap for most people. The final lap required carrying a keg around the course! Now, these were filled to different levels depending on if you ran competitive or open, but I swear mine was filled with lead!

Now, if you ran Open your day was done. Collect your medal and bad ass Clinch Gear shirt and enjoy a Body Armour drink. But if you ran in the Competitive class you could sign up for the Epic Elite short course.

For a few dollars, more men and women could choose from either the Strength or Endurance challenge course for a chance to win even more bling! This course was a great mixture of obstacles, Crossfit, and strength and drew some great crowds to watch the athletes grunt and throw heavy shit around. The list of exercises was the same for both classes with only the weight and reps changing, plus the Endurance class had an added 5 burpees between each station.

  1. Truck pull for distance
  2. Deadlift for reps
  3. Clean and Press for reps.
  4. Atlas Stone up and over a wall for reps
  5. Atlas Stone shrugs for reps
  6. Farmer Carry
  7. Kettlebell step ups
  8. Weighted Lunge
  9. Tire flip for reps
  10. Sprint to the finish.

 

 

Now there were a few obstacles that happened to be missing from this event that are normally present at every Epic Series due to lack of space on the Police Academy grounds.

The Russian twists and the over under a suspended piece of tubing for a million reps each were gone but not missed by me personally! I found Epic to be an excellent test of one’s overall fitness and that the event offered something for everyone from a fitness newbie to a king of CrossFit.

A kid’s race was also located on-site making this a family-friendly event. Parking and photos were free as was the awesome Southern California scenery. I personally love this series and try to make it out West whenever I can, so maybe it’s time for you to do the same? It’ll be worth the trip I guarantee it and with future events in August in Huntington Beach and a September event in San Diego you still have time to test out how fit you are!

 

Spartan Race Mountain Series: Montana Beast and Sprint

The Spartan Race Mountain Series kicked off in Big Fork Montana on May 5th. The Beast and Sprint weekend was a challenge to say the least! With a cumulative elevation gain of approximately 4,000 ft., distance of 13.1 miles, 31 obstacles, and a bear….it was one heck of a race!

The course took a left turn right away, taking us up the first of many hills that we would encounter during this race.  We had a couple of muddy shallow water crossings, over walls, and the monkey bars. The second bar was the one that was the highest and for some reason I just couldn’t get myself to reach for it. I stared it down for at least 5 minutes! I finally went and made it.

The 6 ft. and 7 ft. walls were next. When I reached the 7 ft. wall I noticed a wire fence to the left of the wall and on the other side was a bear! It wasn’t a baby and not full grown. It was having a lot of fun frolicking and jumping around like a puppy! I was thankful there was a fence between us. When I reached the top of the wall I saw a large opening in the fence…..which we were supposed to run through next! The bear trotted off further into the woods and I waited a little bit to be sure he was gone and then continued on.

The first sandbag carry overlooked Flathead Lake. The beautiful view took your mind off of the work you were doing. The Z-Wall and 8 ft. wall were next, followed by the longest Tyrolean Traverse I’ve ever done. I usually don’t have a problem crossing this obstacle but I was so spent by the end that I fell straight down when I hit the bell. My forearms burned for a while, but I shook them out on my way to the first barbed wire crawl.

There were a few more obstacles and then we came to a large clearing in the woods that held several obstacles. The rig, herc hoist, atlas ball, rope, dunk wall, slip wall. It was a great viewing area for the spectators. I didn’t make the rig but pulled the herc hoist right up with no problem. Then, up and down hill after hill. My calves burned and I was wearing out a little at this point.

Next was the hill that really got me. The second sandbag carry was steep and long. We used the old school sandbags which were a little harder to get a hold of. Going down hill was fine, but you knew that every step you took would mean a step back up. At one point I thought we were nearing the end but it just kept going. We turned to go back up and I remembered my mountain climbing tips and did a step-pause the whole way up. I made it without having to stop, but it was a pretty slow ascent. After reaching the top it was off to the cargo net and Spearman. I made the throw! I was thankful as I really didn’t want to do burpees after that sandbag carry.

We had a few more obstacles and found ourselves back at the atlas carry and ropes. I made the rope and then headed to the dunk wall. Cold is my kryptonite and when I dipped my foot in I knew this was going to be one of the coldest ones I’ve done. I stared it down just like I did the monkey bars (I really don’t know why I do that….silly). I finally went and got through it. The slip wall had short short short ropes. This was followed by the Olympus and the bucket carry. I was actually wondering if they forgot about the bucket since I hadn’t seen it yet, but there it was. The good news was they took it pretty easy on us. It was still a challenge but it could have been much worse with all of those hills they had to work with.

Just four obstacles to go until the finish line. The second barbed wire crawl was extra low and loosened up a bit, making it hard to navigate. Next was twister, the inverted wall (I love this one), and finally the fire jump! I always think to myself, “don’t fall in the fire, don’t fall in the fire”. I made it, got my medal and victory banana and made my way back to the biggest team tent with my team, Beasts OCR! They are such an amazing group. My second family! We were all tired and humbled, but proud of our accomplishment after tackling such a grueling mountain race!

 

Photo credit: Kim Collings, Spartan Race, Adam Birgenheier

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tight Review

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tight
4.3 / 5 Overall
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 5 Users (0 votes)
Features
Durability
Fit
Wicking
Leave your rating

Your browser does not support images upload. Please choose a modern one

Finding the perfect compression pant is like a quest for the Holy Grail. There are so many brands out there claiming to be superior to all the others that it gets exhausting. I stumbled across several OCR athlete’s wearing Second Skin, Marena, 2XU, and Human Octane, to name a few, on social media and in race photos so I had an idea where to begin. I bought a pair of 2XU compression pants to start, however they weren’t super comfortable and I didn’t want to race in pants that I was constantly worried about so I kept looking and stumbled across a pair of Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights at Dick’s Sporting Goods. These pants fit incredibly well. The compression was tight, yet comfortable, providing instant relief for tired legs. The contour waistband was a nice departure from either extreme low-rise waists or muffin top inducing bands on other brands. These pants were so comfortable and effortlessly stayed in place during workouts, runs, and muddy races, that they literally felt like second skin. Cheesy, I know, but so true. These pants also kept me incredibly warm, despite the ice buckets and frigid water I ran in and out of during races. The best part about these pants is I had ZERO chaffing, zero!

Second Skin Women's QUATROFLX Tights Review

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Features

Compression

These pants boast double layered panels for support in key areas like quads and hamstrings, reduced chaffing, increased recovery, breathability and a hidden pocket which is great for storing a gel or a key. While there is nothing super innovative, these pants perform as described, unlike competitors who list more features. A prime example is Second Skin’s contoured waistband. Other companies list similar features, yet fall short in fit and comfort when it comes to the waistband. Female athletes deserve a great fitting compression pant that doesn’t leave them looking like a busted can of biscuits at the waistband.

Fit

I really appreciated the length on these. At 5’3, it is difficult to find OCR or running pants that aren’t too long. With a 27.25” inseam and lots of flexibility in the fabric for a compression, these pants are great for shorter females as well as average height. I purchased them in a small and they fit true to size and fit extremely well through the thighs and butt, accommodating those of us who lift weights as well. I really liked the fact that there was no awkward waist gap as well. The compression factor on these was perfect. You don’t have to pry them on and peel them off, but they are definitely tight and supportive and I felt the difference.

Quick Dry

While these pants do a good enough job wicking water and sweat, this is where they have some room for improvement. Wicking is decent, however if you get wet or sweat a lot, they fall short at being a quick dry pant. To Second Skin’s credit though, they don’t claim that the pant is a quick dry, just wicking. I would really love to see Second Skin improve on the dry time on these pants.

Odor Control

True to their word, Second Skin QUATROFLX compression pants never got even the slightest bit smelly even through sweat and mud. I have worn these on runs in temperatures between 80-85 degrees in Georgia and you could tell they had been worn. Odor control comes in handy even more when you wash laundry, as I didn’t have to wash them twice to get the smell out. Anyone who runs races knows that you inevitably get that stinky piece of gear and fortunately these pants aren’t them.

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Usage

The design of these is nothing innovative, just another pair of black pants, but they felt like much more than that once on. I broke these in on leg day first with the assumption that if I couldn’t move around well in them doing squats and deadlifts, then I certainly couldn’t run or climb over walls comfortably in them. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t get overly hot while wearing them since I prefer to wear shorts. I was able to perform lifts comfortably and didn’t even notice I had long pants on due to the breathability. I took them on several runs next to test them out to see how my legs felt after some speed work and longer runs. I definitely felt a difference with the compression support, particularly in my quads and glutes. I really felt like I recovered better after wearing these.

I wore them on several runs from treadmill to trail with temperatures ranging from 40 degrees to 82. During the cold runs, the pants get me much warmer with the temperature regulation and provided ventilation during the hot runs to keep me from overheating. I wore these during my first two OCR events this year, the Bonefrog Talladega and The Georgia Spring Savage. During the Bonefrog, there wasn’t any water or mud, but I did get some water on me at a water station, and it took quite a while to dry. While Second Skin never claims that these pants are designed to be quick dry, they are supposed to be wicking. This seems to be the only drawback to these pants, but they wicked well enough for quick dry to not be a major issue on a drier course. I was super grateful for these pants during the rope climb as I didn’t feel one bit of the rope against my skin. I was concerned though, that I would end up with a rip on my pants at some point due to all the wooden walls and logs I had to climb over and under but they held up tremendously. They still looked brand new afterwards.

Second Skin Women's QUATROFLX Tights Review

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Durability

Unlike Bonefrog, Savage was full of water, ice, and mud. These pants were definitely put to the test here. While they never seemed to dry quickly enough, I was pleasantly surprised at how warm they kept me despite being wet. I also had plenty of traction from them when going over walls or up ramps, unlike other brands that get slippery and hinder performance.

I have worn these, washed, and dried too many times to count at this point and they have still retained their original shape. Despite going through two OCRs, being submerged in cold, muddy water, slammed on logs and wood walls, under barbed wire, etc. these pants still look and feel brand new. There has been no stretching of material, no pulling, no nicks or scrapes from wood obstacles, nothing! These pants are more durable than some that are twice the price.

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Super flattering and functional fit
  • Compress is tight and effective but not suffocating
  • Temperature control is great for OCR races that have extreme temperature shifts
  • Extremely durable against all types of environments

Cons

  • Lacks sufficient quick dry
  • Colors aren’t as innovative as the competition

 

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Conclusion

The Second Skin QUATROFLX tights  are a great pair of compression pants that will get through obstacle course races without rips and scrapes. The lack of quick dry wasn’t a deal breaker for me as it provides enough wicking for average sweat during a run. If you are wearing these for OCR, the temperature control outweighs the fact that they take longer to dry since they provide warmth coming out of cold water obstacles and cooling ability for wear during warmer months, even in the south. I will definitely be adding more Second Skin compression gear to my gym bag.

 



Follow Me

Adam Gori

A former NCAA sprinter, Adam didn't get into distance running until his first Spartan race. He also hosts several podcasts on the Next Level Podcast Network, including BeachPod: Health & Fitness.
Follow Me

What people say... Leave your rating
Order by:

Be the first to leave a review.

User Avatar
Verified
{{{ review.rating_title }}}
{{{review.rating_comment | nl2br}}}

Show more
{{ pageNumber+1 }}

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