Monday, October 18, 2010

Chicago Urbanathalon

"Don't cross the streams. Why? It would be bad." - Ghostbusters

Too bad the people that run this race didn't pay attention to this directive, as, for the first time ever at a running event, I had across the flow of runners coming back from another part of the race. This is a bad idea. Along the lines of never, ever do this.... This may be the worst managed race I have ever been to, with awful pre-race communications and very few volunteers on the actual course.

Overall however it was a lot of fun. I was dirty, sweaty, bruised and bloody by the end of the race, but it was very fulfilling to cross that finish line (even if I needed a boost on the final wall). My final time was 2:15. If it was just a 10 miler (total distance was 9.75 miles) I would be quite sad with that time, but given the obstacles I find it tolerable.

And the obstacles were fun and challenging (mostly)!
  • Obstacle 1: The concrete beam - not even a challenge. The Big tire - oomph. First try had me "wiley e. coyote"-ing down the side. After stepping back and figuring out I slammed myself up and then crawled over (losing one of my pins holding my number on). The little tires - not even an issue.
  • Obstacle 2 - jersey barriers to go over, police barriers to crawl under. This was an apparently endless set of 3 of each. It was quite an endurance exercise, since you had already run 4+ miles at that point. I cut my finger at this point.
  • Obstacle 3 - Crawl over cars - aborted because it was unsafe per race officials. Marine High Hurdles - whoah... There we 6 of these. I think everyone knew I was going over them (based on my war cries). A very ouchy process of hurling yourself at the target and hauling yourself over. Very proud I did these right.
  • Obstacle 4 - Some sort of high/bear crawl under net - too easy for a guy who has done military low crawls for 1-200 meters. Monkey bars - Short and quick. Only holdup was some chick who froze on the last bar in front of me.

And then my left hamstring locked on me and I lurched .5 mile, stopped to pee and then moved onward.

  • Obstacle 5 - Lots of stairs. Lots!!! Another holdup due to poor traffic control and obsticle management. lots of standing around in crowds moving very slowly.
  • Obstacle 6 - The final obstacle. Car - Half stomped over one. Then tried to be all police show-y and slide across the next, failed and got stuck, so more clomping. Bus - Climb over net then back down. *Yawn* to anyone who has been in the military (and by that I mean Army and Marine). Wall - I did fail on the first attempt and was not too proud to accept a hand from a neighbor to get over.

I wore my Vibram Five Fingers for the race. There were about 20 people also wearing them (apparently our secret club acknowledgement is to say "nice shoes" to someone else wearing them. I learned this by the repeated call of that from the people who passed me). My feet are somewhat beat up even on Monday but in more of a just overstretched/tight perspective.

This was the first race that I have ever personally traveled for (since DC has so many great races nearby). Not sure I will do this again in the near future, but it was a lot of fun and a great way to hang with the family (3 of my 4 brothers ran it (see above pic) and the respective wives and GF's (including my GF H) came in addition to our parents.). We ate our way across the city (pizza and other assorted foods) in celebration.

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