“Get Rugged, Stay Rugged,” the motto for the most difficult, but fun, obstacle course race that I have completed. This month marks the fourth consecutive time I’ve ran, jumped, climbed, and crawled my way to this race’s muddy finish. We’ve all had those races, midway through our sanity is in question for signing-up, but despite adversity, continue to push through to the end. Yup, that is this race for me, every damn year! Rugged Maniac and I have a love/hate relationship, mostly love. The feeling of accomplishment, year after year, brings me back to this sadistic event’s cold embrace.
Rugged Maniac was first introduced in Minnesota in 2014. After doing the Tough Mudder (a 10 mile obstacle course race) 3 months prior, I figured a 5k obstacle race couldn’t be that hard. Whoa! Wrong! To my surprise Rugged Maniac really is for the self-described maniacs out there! 25 obstacles in 3 miles is TOUGH! If that is not challenging enough, traversing a ski hill, fraught with the aforementioned obstacles, 3x will make a maniac out of you! This year, in preparation for New York, Jason and I decided not to get too crazy competitive, just have fun and get muddy.
Mile 1: We tackled the hill, running for about a minute, then crawling the rest; to surmount this hill is an act of will power! Next year I’m coming for vengeance! Just in the 1st mile we tackled 6 obstacles! It could not have taken longer, I swear that uphill was a mile in itself! Muddy goodness, it seemed long!
Mile 2: My favorite obstacle was in this series of 10 challenges, The Ringer! I always feel so tough bridging these suspended rings. The first year, I made it half way, then plopped in the pool of water below; I vowed to never let that happen again. To this day, I have not returned to that dreaded pool. It is such an empowering feeling to feel so strong!
Mile 3: In this final mile, we met a runner duo that we had been leap frogging throughout the race. They had done multiple O.C.R.s, and like us, noted the team camaraderie of such events. We chatted a bit then parted ways. This mile had 6 obstacles, one of which was blinding to the exposed eye, Pyromaniac; a series of burning log piles, awaiting to be hurdled. The smoke billowing, eyes teary, we conquered fire. This year the flames were higher, the smoke thick!
Finally the last .1: This is a series of 3 obstacles: run up a slanted wall, crawl across cargo nets suspended in the air, then go down a HUGE slide into a big pool of water. Doesn’t that slide sound refreshing? NO!! If there is one obstacle I dread the most, it is the slide! I am so afraid of slides! That weightless feeling just freaks me out. Sure I will jump fire, splash around in mud pits, climb over huge walls; but put a slide in there and I am ready to call it quits. I must have been shaking, Jason gave me a nudge, and away we go. We crashed into each other in the water!
Seriously though, if Rugged Maniac comes to a town near you, sign-up! It is such a great experience! I am so happy that this has become a tradition for us. They always bring great Freebies such as dish/laundry soap, State Farm brings fun stuff (water bottles, shaker bottles, sun glasses, seat covers), Anytime Fitness is the new official sponsor and gives out t-shirts and burpee contests, Minute Rice had a spin and win (we won rice and a veggie peeler), and at the end, as always, bananas, oranges, sport drinks and this year soap!
After the race we kept-up the tradition of going to the Chisago House and the Schoony’s Malt Shop! As much as I yell at myself throughout the first mile of this race, I would never not do it. (we actually signed-up for next year already).
Obstacle Races are a great way to change-up your training. It is a nice way to get away from the numerical statistics of racing and pressure (although they do have competitive waves if you want). Bring your friends, dress up, and let loose! Check out this page to get your obstacle race training plan! Challenge yourself, step out of your comfort zone! Plus – full body strength training required for these races will help you in reaching your PR goals in road races – guaranteed!!
Editor: Jason Quarford