Well, today was my long awaited return to the mountain that started it all last year and really got me going. It was an extremely fun day, going up and down that cursed mountain! Seriously though, it was really a great time.
For those who don’t remember when I did this race last year it was on a whim after one of the instructors from ETC (Dominic Manfredi) said ‘hey we’re doing this race this weekend you should come and do it,’ me–always up for the challenge, I did and finished THIRD to last. I was obviously embarrassed, but everyone had the glass half full outlook–‘hey dude you finished it.’ I agree, but still the competitor inside me wants to be better, I have no delusions of grandeur to be in the top 10 or 100 or anything, but I am HAPPY to be in the middle! So I worked hard to be in the MIDDLE in the Brooklyn race…lol!
The terrain was Camelback Mountain, which I have skied several times, but running/waking up the mountain going over obstacles is another story–WTF! I felt strong the entire day, so different than last year where I was sucking wind from the beginning race. My pit score wasn’t great, I had 71 reps the first time at The Intrepid, this one I scored 57? WTF? My judge really was a little clueless I felt I counted 69 reps, I didn’t get ‘no repped’ at least I think I didn’t but, my judge wasn’t as animated as I would hope he would be. At the Intrepid race, the judges were really vocal and pushing you, I had a wallflower. Sorry I don’t mean to complain, the judges are volunteers and did the best that they could. I am certainly not a top contender where it would make a difference irregardless!
The first obstacle was a wave pool, it was chilly all morning. I am so luck I got the FIRST Heat, so I got going right away–the water was COLD! I remember last year, I couldn’t even get my body out of the wave pool, this year no problem, I do remember it being warmer, actually since I was in one of the last heats, it was definitely warmer as I started around 12:30PM I believe. Then we started to go up hill. a lot of ladder and walls, running through the woods, running through storm drains in utter darkness, running thru the stream, low crawling or in my case rolling thru the mud! Then more uphill, seems like it didn’t end, there was still snow on parts of the mountain and we seemed to go up the steepest potion at times, and when we thought it we were coming to a flat, it only continued to go up, and up, and up! I was so psyched as I took the walls easily, jumped right over and didn’t even have to use the stands to help propel me over! One great thing about CMC races is that the obstacles aren’t designed so that you won’t have a backlog of people waiting to do the obstacles…a la Spartan Citifield where we had to wait on the Rowing Machines, Jump Rose, Atlas Carry, and 12′ wall. Some may consider it easy, but after climbing up a mountain and then having to climb a ladder wall my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest!
The volunteers were wonderful as usual, everyone cheering us on, and always with some encouragement no matter how horribly we looked. I knew I was at the end of my end as far as position goes, there were two girls that were in my heat and we somehow always seemed to be pushing each other. My competitive side said ‘ok, keep up with those two,’ but I’m sure they were saying ‘there’s that creepy guy again, why can’t we lose him…lol’ One dude passed me and he said ‘it’s Hero month, when you get tired, think about the guys overseas who are going thru hell everyday, we only have to do it for 2 hours,’ which actually gave me resolve to get up the last hill, which was STEEP!
I knew I was in trouble when Kristin passed me, she started 16 minutes behind me and she obviously made up the time and kicked ASS–the girl is a beast! I saw her before the race and she said ‘I’m nervous, I didn’t really practice the pit much.’ In my head I was saying ‘oh brother, that must mean she’ll do 200 reps in the pit’–I was close 117–AND SHE DIDN’T PRACTICE! She passed me and I didn’t see her again until the finish line, man she’s incredible, as were a lot of the other participants also.
One thing about the CMC or any of these adventure racers, they are for EVERYONE! You don’t have to be an elite athlete, or a ultra marathoner, anyone can do the race and be proficient at it. It’s a great way to go with a bunch of your friends and have some fun. Last year when I was beginning my fitness journey a lot of my friend joined my team and I had a pretty big team. This year seems to be a little tougher, everyone knows I can do it, and they seem to kind of ignore me…boo hoo sad clown. The other thing to, is no one really wants to schlep out to Pennsylvania, well at least none of the less hard core people.
All in all it was a pretty good day, I believe it was a successful event and I look forward to the next three races! Evidently big things are happening next year and we may be possibly taking this puppy national from what I hear. I would love to see this thing blow up so big as Spartan Races are, because Sean and Matt are extremely dedicated individuals and they deserve the reap the rewards of what they have created.