When: Saturday September 27th
Where: Mines and Meadows
Swag: T-shirt, bib, timing chip, and free beer ticket
The shirts are really comfortable and I especially like how the back says SEAL approved. When I put it on I feel like I accomplished a lot and I earned the right to wear the shirt.
I woke up at 5:15 am and quickly got dressed. I had my outfit planned out ahead of time and it made it a lot easier than running frantic looking for something to wear. After dressed I grabbed a nutrition bar and my Gatorade and headed out. I had to pick up my parents and then drive to my sisters house so we could car pool. My father who was strictly a road racer has never seen a race like this, so I was happy he would get to experience one. The ride was just under an hour to get to the parking area. From the parking area you were shuttled via school bus to the race grounds. I originally signed up for the 15K race, but after some contemplating I decided to do the 5K instead. With Columbus only 3 weeks away the last thing I needed was to injure myself. The elite runners had just started as we entered the area. I found a tented area with tables and chairs that my father could sit and watch the finish and not have to stand the whole time. My race started at 9:00, so around 8:40 I made my way to area you stood and waited until it was your time to run. As you stood and waited there was a DJ playing music. At about 10 minutes before your starting time you were given some motivating words from Coach DeWayne Pain. You were then instructed to get over a small wall and get ready for the start, but first some more words from Coach Pain, he told us not to give up and that the obstacles in front of us would test us but we could not let them beat us. As I was on one knee listening I looked over at a few of Seals that were there and I couldn't help but to admire them for what they do. We were that day to challenge ourselves on a course with a defined start and finish. These men are in the trenches of war with the unknowing certainty of what is to come. It really made you want to do your best that day, not just for yourself but for all of those who have fought for us.
Instead of the normal "Ready, Set, Go start we were sent off with the words "Do Business", and that was what I was hoping to do. The 5K was not measured correctly and was more like 4.5 miles and the 15K was more like 8 miles I was told. The first part of the race you were in a creek bed running. You had to really be careful because the rocks were wet and slippery. The first part of the race had your basic obstacles. You had your over, under and through walls, 6 ft. walls that you had to climb over, 12 ft. ladder walls, delta walls with 3 foot spaces in between each step, and of course cargo delta walls. This course did not have too tough of hills, but it was a very wet and muddy course. 90 percent of the course was in water or mud. The water may be shoe deep or it could be waist deep. One of the most insane yet awesome parts of the race is when we approached a mine and were given head light lamps and told follow the fluorescent cones. I entered the mine not knowing what to expect. I quickly realized that the temperature inside the mine was no higher than 50 degrees. At this point in the race a few of us who were in the lead of our heat caught up to people from the 8:30 start. In the distance I could hear people screaming and I knew right away we would be getting into water in the mine. We rounded a bend and there was someone to hand you off a inner tube. The water was bone chilling cold. we probably only swam 100 yards, but I am pretty sure it felt like a mile. Once out of the mine you headed back onto the trails and were back at more obstacles like the rope climb, monkey bars, inverted walls, and more cargo nets. At one point a few of us stopped and thought we took a wrong turn and that is when we realized the course was longer than a 5K. After another mile on the trails you headed for the finish. The finish proved to be the hardest part of the race. First you ran up a warp wall and had to grab a rope and pull yourself up. From there you went down a water slide into a pool of water and then you were faced with a wall with a rope. The wall was wet and muddy from the previous runners so it made it almost impossible to make it up. I tried about 5 times and even got some advice from a Seal who was standing on the side. I still could not get the traction I needed and after a few attempts went up the side with foot boards. Once on top of the wall you went down another slide into another pool of water and then headed for the Normady Jacks. You had to crawl under the wire in the mud and rocks. My knees are still scratched up from it. Once you made it through you were at the finish and were given your medal.
Inside the finish area was water, banana's, and energy drinks. All I wanted to do though was shower off. They had an area with hoses you could shower off and changing tents were right next to them. If you needed to get warm there was a fire pit going and many runners stood around and shared their battle stories of the day.
During the race my sister and nephew got to watch a demonstration from the Seals. They showed how they go in and take over a area. My sister said it was unreal and something that had to be seen.
I have no negatives to say about this race, the only thing bad I can say is when they posted the results they have me finishing 1st for the 15K. Awesome, except I only ran the 5K. I however did look and I placed 4th in my age and that qualifies me for the National Championship Race next month. I however will have to pass since the marathon is one week before. Overall this race is top notch and the guys who put it together do an awesome job of bringing good vendors and running a very organized race. I can only hope they come back to Pittsburgh next year. I know I will be doing it again and I will be bringing a crew with me this time to take it on.