…after several minutes of being plagued by fear and doubt I simply took a deep breath, summoned my inner strength, looked at the treetops that I stood eye level with, took a step and flew.
My First Savage Race
I was so super excited to participate in my first Savage race. I was up at the crack of dawn to get to the venue and fulfill my volunteer duties. As I arrived at the venue the first thing I saw was, mud. As I drove the scenic horse farm, I noticed the muddy uphill drive. When I exited my truck and walked towards the volunteer area I noticed, you guessed it, mud! This mud was about 3-4 inches thick. Not only was it mud but it was thick gooey make you walk like a baby deer on ice kind of mud and it was everywhere. Did I say everywhere? What meant to say was it was literally everywhere. No problem I expected to get muddy and dirty just not within my first 10 minutes, before I even checking in.
My race buddy Ro, and I were assigned the start position. We checked armbands and bibs to make sure people were where they were supposed to be. It was a descent job. Then out of the blue we were asked by one of the race officials to participate in the medal ceremony. We handed out the medals to those that placed in the Pro Wave as well as those who placed in their age group. That was cool.
Finally, it was our time to hit the course. I started the race with my GORMR buddies I met when I participated in the Spartan Sprint earlier this year. Within the first 10 minutes I was disrespected by this black sludge, the consistency of under mixed cement, sent straight from Lucifer himself to wreak havoc on me, Muddy Fukka!! It was about the length of a football field going uphill. Hell, I thought it was the first obstacle, seriously. Especially since that was the FIRST time I lost my shoe. The FIRST time I had to bear crawl up a hill and the FIRST time I thought WTF did I get myself into. And then Ro fell as quick as a flash. I was thinking, oh shit racer down! But she got up and kept moving.
Word on the street is this venue has not seen that much rain in many years. And it rained all last week. Really that was the hardest part trying to run, walk, crawl through the mud. This is how difficult it was for me to move in this muddy fukka, I looked down at my heart rate monitor to see how many calories I had burned at that point and it said 506 calories, I looked at the time that had elapsed it said 26 minutes, my heart rate said, “I sure hope they have an AED tucked away out in this forest because yo ass gonna need it, and soon.” I kid you not it had all of that written on the screen, and 188 bpm. I was dying. And then Ro fell as quick as a flash. I was thinking oh shit, racer down! But she got up and kept moving.
Then it was crab walk down one hill, then immediately bear crawl up the next. I have never experienced mud like this in all my life. At one point I had 3 different shades of mud on legs, red, black and grey. I became a mudologist that day. The black is a deceitful SOB, and there to put you on your ass before you even realize it’s happening. I vowed from the beginning I’m NOT falling. The grey is a sucker, it will literally suck the shoes right off of your feet. Picture this, Terminator 2 the T1000 is caught in that liquid nitrogen spill and his foot gets stuck, he try’s to move it but it won’t and he looks at it like WTH? Then he finally moves it but he really just snatches his leg off and leaves the foot, yep that’s how I was, I snatched my foot out and left my shoe, several times. Muddy Fukka!
I discovered the red clay variety is my favorite because it’s easily compacted for better footing and it lacks the malodorous aroma of the others. From all that bear crawling and crab walking I was sure my hands would never come clean again. So every chance I got, whether in a running creek, water challenge or water station I was trying to wash my hands. But, they were futile attempts, seems every time I stepped out of water my feet and hands were immediately right back in that damn mud. That mud actually gave me a bit of ‘tude something I rarely have in general but never at a race. And then Ro fell as quick as a flash. I was thinking oh shit, racer down! But she got up and kept moving.
I kept noticing stranded single shoes, that had been made orphans by that damn mud. Their mates forever lost in the muddy abyss at Moonlight Stables. Some of the trees and twigs on the side of the trail had been COVERED in mud where people were using them as natural handrails to make it up or down hill on their feet as opposed to their butts, sides or backs. And most importantly, to not become a human bowling ball looking to make a strike on the other racers. Someone yelled, “Be careful there’s a really bad patch right there.” And then Ro fell as quick as a flash. I was thinking oh shit, racer down! But she got up and kept moving.
As I struggled up one particular hill I lost my footing and could not reach a branch or a twig to stop my descent (picture me sneaker surfing backwards down hill complete with surfer stance). When all of a sudden there where hands on my ass, and a mans voice said, “I got gotcha girl. You are not going any further. Up ya go.” Y’all I didn’t even look back to see who had such a firm grip on my ass. All I was thinking was yeah hold that ass and leggo! And up we went. When we got to the top I discovered his name was Michael. And this would not be the last time he would have a handful of my ass. After a few times, I suggested, since you have already gotten to second base, maybe we should exchange numbers and go out. Not only did we laugh but the folks around us were laughing and trying not to slide back downhill. And then Ro fell as quick as a flash. I was thinking oh shit, racer down! But this time I could not contain my laughter. I totally stripped that tree branch free of every leaf it had trying to hold on grasping at anything, yet continuing to slip and laugh. The laughter became contagious. But true to form Ro got up and kept it moving.
On to the “Other” obstacles. Shriveled Richard is a huge ice bath. Not only do you have to get in it but you have to go under a half wall. Ole Dick took my breath away when I first got in, and when I went under lawd, I can’t describe how it felt to totally submerge myself in that literally ice-cold water. I can’t remember all of the obstacles, there were at least 25. So, I’ll just share the ones that stood out for me. Nut Smasher, you had to traverse these warped wiggly balance beams that were over a huge mud puddle. I tried, got half way and into the water I went. I was cold, But I washed my hands, lol. Colon Blow 5000 was actually fun. It was a 24 inch wide tube you had to crawl up, then without warning it tipped down and “blew you out into what else, mud! It was sorta of like a seesaw. Hands first in the mud, argh! Lumberjack Lane, I carried a 4×4 1/4 mile, that was probably the easiest obstacle. Thor’s Grundle, I had to under 3 walls that were in mud pools. Slick ass mud kinda just shot you into the water. I didn’t care, another chance to washed my hands and then had to use them to crawl out, smh. Me So Thorny, required me to low crawl under barbed wire through the mud maybe 50 yards. Then there was Colossus a near VERTICAL 24 foot slide. It was fun, it’s lightening fast and I know I was airborne for a good 3 seconds once I hit the bottom of the slide, and before I hit the water. Super cool, yet a little intimidating I must admit.There was one (don’t remember the name) but we had to climb over a series of logs that were maybe 5-6 feet high. I got over the first one on my own, but had issues with the others. Scooter, assisted me, by holding my waist as I jumped over. 1-2-3, and up and over I went. Either I was stronger than we thought or he was stronger than I thought, because I totally overshot the log did some sort of SWAT roll and continued to roll down hill. All we could all do was laugh. Off to the next obstacle and say it with me, and then Ro fell as quick as a flash. I was thinking oh shit, racer down! But she got up and kept moving.
However, the obstacle that took the cake for me was Davy Jones’ Locker, 15 feet high and you had to jump off the platform into 15 feet of water. I had no idea I was afraid of heights or water definitely not both. But put them together and there you go, Fear.com. I stood on that platform 15 minutes. All of my race buddies had gone, some twice and I just could not make myself jump. But I knew if I left and didn’t do it, I would regret it. I prayed and cried up there, yes, literally nose running crying and I couldn’t even wipe it because my hands were muddy. Muddy Fukka. No less than 25 people gathered at the bottom cheering me on. At one point they were actually chanting Denna, Denna, Denna! Some dudes riding the property stopped in their truck and blew the horn in support and the paramedic actually came up, and said he would jump with me. He said he had participated in this obstacle 20 or 30 times and never had he done this to help someone. I think that was suppose to make me feel better but it just made me feel worse. I really felt horrible it was taking me so long to jump. I stood there higher than the treetops trying to summon the courage to just be free and fly. So many words of encouragement and I was heading to the steps saying I just can’t with muddy tears and snot everywhere. Several things went through my mind at that moment, I tell my kids to try, you can do anything you set your mind to do. Second, I’m not a quitter, and third what would I tell you all and my trainer. I can’t tell you all I quit. Then I cried some more. So many arms were around me at that point saying it’s ok you tried. But I had not. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks and my tears stopped and I walked to the edge, half of my muddy feet teetered off the platform and I simply said, “Honey please help me.” and with my next breath I flew. Though my flight brief, I felt totally relaxed and all fear was gone. When I finally, resurfaced, I don’t have the words to describe how I felt. I remember saying ,”Thank you.” Then I heard the cheers and applause and there were high 5’s in the water. Scuba Steve was there to offer assistance, the paramedic was in the water with me, as well as the lifeguard who had come up on the platform to jump with me. It was amazing. I won’t soon forget get Davey Jones’ Locker. Needless to say that was the most memorable part of the Savage Race for me. With that being said, I think I’ll stop there.
I have never felt more deserving of a medal and a t-shirt in all my races. So thankful for my GORMR buddies, Craig, Nick, Lindsey and Scooter for staying with me throughout the race. Thanks for backtracking Craig 🙂 And of course Ro, we started together and finished together. I have asked myself now that it’s over, would I do the Savage again? My answer, yes. This race really pulled my inner beast out. That mud tho! I was so SUPER sore, legs, butt, cardiovascular and respiratory systems threatened to shut down but the bigger question is, “But did you die Muddy Fukka?”