Given the conditions, there was not a whole lot of running going on that day. For me, that just evened things up since my injuries really kept me from doing much more than a quick walk. In fact, the only place I can remember not having mud was at the fire jump, where they deliberately put down gravel. A good thing too as they built themselves a nice size fire to hop over at the end. Unfortunately, this was only about 30 feet from the finish line. Surprisingly though, there were a number of places where the mud wasn't slick but was more of a sticky, solid mud.
Most of this sticky mud was on the carries...take pleasure in the little things! One of the two log carries and the sandbag carry were on what looked like dirt bike race tracks. So I suppose they use a different mix of soil on those which made for much better footing than expected, We weren't so fortunate on the long bucket carry though or the first log carry. Slogging and slipping throughout. And the atlas carry? Splashing through puddled grass and mud made me think of pointless punishment in some ancient prison camp....I can't imagine why.
Then there were the cargo and vertical cargo nets...made more challenging from the mud that was on everything. Including the climbing ropes! I had tried out the rope climb in the festival area before heading out and felt, despite my shoulder being only about 50-60%, I could 'technique' my way up. We'll, in spite of the fact that there was no water pit below, the ropes proved to be the new 'rig' that day. In all the time I watched...before, during and after my race...I don't think I saw more than a handful of people make it up. There was just no way to get a grip on the rope with all the mud on it. Iron grip...gloves...handfuls of straw...nothing seemed to work. Oh well...there's always next time...
All in all, I enjoyed this race and liked the rolling terrain. Mud levels the playing field for me! I also enjoyed running into (no pun intended) several racers I had met at the Asheville Super...Brian, Molly and Shana...still out there doing what they do. Helping others through the course and doing something they never thought they could. Props to you guys!! And also seeing Heather the super-photography. One of the best photographers you'll find out there and certainly the most enthusiastic. And also seeing my former Spartan crew leaders Steve Oh' and Tracy. Steve as always, roaming the course in his ATV. Tracy, in what looked like more than half a hazmat suit...a smart move that day...was doing her thing in the festival area. I did not envy her this day...but enjoyed running into her again.
One more thing...which happened after the race. In fact it happened at the campsite later that day. Something that seems to happen more and more in my personal experience. When I got back to my site, there were a few young guys next door. When I asked if they minded me rinsing off my race clothes...they were within the potential splash zone...I found out that they had run the race as well. Three college students from AL...Travis, Jacob and Kyle...two of whom had run this race for the first time. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was treated to steak, beer, a roaring (think: thank god the woods were still wet) fire and some great company and conversation. Mostly about obstacle course racing (OCR), different races and college football (very quietly about college football as we were surrounded by GA Bulldog flags and they had just lost!). Just another example of the impact OCR has...both on and off the course. A pleasure meeting them and a big thank you for sharing their dinner with me!!