Well, I don't know how rugged you are, but I'm feeling pretty rugged right about now. Just got home from the Rugged Maniac 5K in Asheboro. Wow, that was fun!
Got there in time to watch the start of a wave before our start, which was incredibly useful. Much like our bike race last weekend, there was a choke point near the beginning that caused a long line of people to have to almost stand and wait. So we made sure we got near the start line for the start, and we bolted pretty hard at the beginning.
The only problem with that was I was worried about it spiking my heart rate, so that made me watch my heart rate, which made me slow down in the middle of the race more than I really should have. I learned my lesson there...I really can go in the 170's for a 5K and even navigate obstacles just fine. But we never got choked at any obstacles, so it worked out pretty well.
Obstacles? Oh yeah, OBSTACLES! They were AWESOME. Early on there was a water and mud pit covered in barbed wire you had to crawl through. I mean completely soak yourself in muddy water awesomeness. Then there were all sorts of other obstacles including MANY walls to scale, tubes to crawl through (which were also all muddy at this point), rope ladders to climb, fires you had to jump over, and long "skinnies" you either ran across or waded through water beside. Even just the trail part was SOFT mud that caked your shoes instantly. At the end was a huge slide you went down into a water pit with floating pipes you had to go over, then you had to scale a 4' vertical mud wall and off to the finish.
There simply was no way to do this without being completely soaked and nasty. The tips I have for a race like this are to start at the front and start fairly hard, wear GOOD trail shoes, and wear as little clothing as you can get away with because it will be instantly soaked. Oh, and keep an eye after EVERY obstacle to make sure you don't lose your number since it has your timing chip on it. Many competitors lost theirs, and many had to just run holding it.
Alan finished in about 24 minutes and I think I was about 25 and a half in our wave. I forgot to start my watch right at the beginning, but didn't miss too much of it, I don't think. Less than a minute, probably. The data is here. You can see I actually lost my Garmin cadence pod off my shoe about 12 minutes in. I'm not entirely sure about the 189 HR spike in there, but an average of 172 is pretty high for me, but maybe where I need to be for a race this short. But I do know I really could have pushed harder in the middle than I did...I kept trying to get my HR back down in the 160's for some stupid reason, and that cost me a good bit of time.
I really don't feel burnt out for the day, either. I really think if I took a few hours to rest, eat, and then warm back up well, I could actually go out and do that course again even faster just from knowing the obstacles better. I did pass a lot of people thanks to obstacles, but I also felt like I could shave a good bit MORE time on my next race like this. And there will be more!
Training at the ranch by running on my trails, even on rainy days, was a HUGE help. And it made me want to put in some optional obstacles. Muahahahahahaaaaaaaa. Anyone know where to buy huge rope nets?