Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Holy Grail of Run Suck - the MetroDash!

Enter and finish five mile obstacle course challenge thing - CHECK!

Holy crap people!  I did it!  I really did it!

2008 morbidly obese, totally out of shape Melinda would have NEVER believed that this was possible.  I mean climbing one flight of stairs or walking T-Boz up our neighborhood "hill" left me panting like T-boz on a hot day.

But 2010 badass athlete Melinda now BELIEVES anything is possible!  Bring it on life!
I got a bib and everything!  I'm legit!

Here is a recap of the challenge:

Map and Challenges were announced the week prior.  The MetroDash people tell you the challenge points and what order to do them, but it was up to you to determine the route.

My team was coming in at all different times and to be honest, there was no plan or strategy.  We hadn't even gotten together as a team prior to the big day.  The team was pretty laid back about the whole thing.  I on the other hand was super nervous and really needed to know what to expect.

So my two awesome friends and I came in the night before and prepared by driving the course and finding possible cut throughs.  They had me memorize my route.  I was so nervous and they were so helpful.  We then had a steak dinnah...(special inside joke).

Then, we got up and arrived and I caught up with my team.  There was still no plan so I was really anxious.  I needed some sort of stability to ease some of the nerves.

Whatever.  Last minute, the rule guy, who wasn't the most inspiring, said no cut throughs in the cemetary.  YIKES!  All of my routes started and / or ended in the cemetary.  So much for preparation.  However, my preparation did come in handy later on when I could help out with directions.

So we were off.  In total, the course was about 4.9 miles in length.  There were 6 Challenge Points.  Each Challenge Point had a suggested number of reps for men and women.  For the first 2 challenge points, I did as many as I could which was usually more than the suggested number.  Later, I did only the suggested number - it was enough.  I should also note, it was quite warm and humid.  I was grateful to have practiced in the heat.

The whole plan to do run/walk cycles was out the window almost immediately.  I was just running when I could and walking when I felt like I couldn't run.  I think I could say I ran at least half if not more of it.

The first Challenge Point was about 3/4 mile from the start and was Tabata* Squats.

*Tabata is a type of timed exercising:  do 20 seconds of all out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest for a total of 8 rounds.

The second Challenge Point was about 1/4 mile from there and was Tabata Push Ups.  From there it was about 1/2 mile back to the start for the "Gauntlet".  So far, no rest in between challenges or running.  Run Suck was about 8-9 at this point.

Tire Flips!  Sled dragging in background...
The "Gauntlet" included TRX rows, tire flips, slam ball, box jumps, kettle bell swings, sled pulling and getting over an 8ft wall.  Now on paper, I was not at all concerned about the "Gauntlet".  However, at the first station I was concerned.  It was hot, I was so thirsty and already very tired.  But I just kept moving.  I was starting to think I may not be able to finish.  I was so fatigued and was not even half-way through!

The Wall of Team Effort
Approaching the 8 ft wall, and feeling defeated, my team begins to assemble around to help me.  As I began to climb up, with plenty of pointers from my team, I started thinking that I am totally going to be able to get over this wall.

Giggly Melinda
Well, I allowed my team to help me and I got over that damn wall.  And I was so proud and happy!  Of course I got all giggly.  Then I found some confidence, which I needed, to get me through the next portion of the challenge.

Challenge Point 4 was about 1.5 miles away and was lunges and bear crawls.  Did I mention it was ONE AND A HALF MILES AWAY?

I was still riding the wall high and so I got hydrated and off I went.  I ran / walk the 1.5 miles people.  And it felt like FOREVER.  I thought we would never get there.  I had driven it the night before, and it felt like forever in a car too, so at least I knew what to expect.  The good thing for me to maintain my confidence was to see MANY of my fellow challengers walking.  It was like we were all on the same page.  Which surprised me.  Now don't get me wrong - there were a slew of people blazing through and passing and lapping us and what not (most of these yelled encouraging stuff at us), but there were also plenty who struggled just like me.  Plus, my pals were driving to the next challenge and shouting encouragement as they drove by.

Run Suck was weird right here.  It was like kind of bad, maybe a 6 and then after awhile, it was like a 4.  I know, weird right?  But this had happened in practice too.  Its like the more you do it, the less the suck factor.  Which is counter-intuitive if you ask me.  And, I noticed that when I felt like it was a 4, my head tilted to the right.  WTF is that about?  What am I Forest Gump?  Anywho - not saying I didn't walk a whole lot, but the running I did do didn't suck as bad as it did in the beginning.

Lunges and Bear Crawls
So we got to Challenge Point 4 and the lunges and bear crawls were no big deal, except for we were doing them in grass full of goose poo.  I was starting to have some fun at this point.  Well, at least I was a bit more relaxed.  Finally.  I think it was because I was almost halfway finished and I actually believed I was going to finish this bitch.

Challenge Point 5, Tabata Star Jumps was about 3/4 mile away.  ALMOST EVERYONE walked.  It was all uphill.  Brutal.  I kind of even think we were strolling by this point.  Perhaps everyone was exhausted.  Thank goodness my friends had driven over to Challenge Point 4 because they were able to give us hydration.  So we hydrated on the way to Challenge Point 5.

Challenge Point 6 (the last one!!!) was Tabata Situps and was about 1/3 mile away and not uphill, so the running began again.  The run suck factor here was probably at 6 again.  I started feeling my hips after the walking.

From there we were in the homestretch.  About 1/2 mile away was the finish line and I couldn't believe I had done this.  Run Suck was maybe 5 at this point.  Here comes the head tilt.  I just wanted to get there.  I could see me and that finish line.  Run Forest!  Run!

Mother Effing Finisher!

And I FINISHED!  It ended up taking me just under 2 hours.  I never really looked at my time, but this is what I was told.  All I cared about is the fact that I crossed that line.  They handed me a sweet finisher's medal and I immediately looked for my people.  I hugged my 2 pals and got pretty teary.  I think I was just so amazed that I had done this.  And relieved.  And maybe content.  All that preparation and anxiety and nerves and fear and expectation and training - falling off me crossing that line.  Relief.  Yes, I believe it was relief.

I am proud of myself - this was a tough one mentally and physically.  Would I do it again?  Not sure.  I think I might.  Warrior Dash anyone?

I do want to thank my coach (Satan, aka Erin) for helping me learn to run. But more importantly, for believing in me and encouraging me when I needed it most.  She took time out from her life, to help me.  And I am grateful.  Thanks to Jo and Holly for coming with me - having you both there was so comforting.  I also thank my friends for supporting me and putting up with my obsessive quirks!


  1. It's not just you. The body does really weird things when you're tired. One of my arm locks up like a t-rex while the other one goes limp.

    More importantly: You're my hero.

  2. Melinda -
    I am so proud of you! I knew you could do it, but now you know, too!
    Fun Fact: I did not think it was wise to tell you this when we started running six weeks ago, but most people train for 12 weeks before their first event (which is usually two miles shorter and, you know, sans obstacles). That should add a whole new dimension to your conquest! You are a no-limits badass.

  3. Awesome post and CONGRATS on finishing!!! Once again, sista...YOU ROCK!!

  4. "But 2010 badass athlete Melinda now BELIEVES anything is possible! Bring it on life!"
    This says it all, Mo. I knew you could do it and now you know you can do it. What a great feeling! Congratulations!

  5. Thanks everyone!

    Phil - you continue to be my hero.

    Erin - yes, I am super glad you didn't tell me that! But wow! Yay me! Thank you so much!

    Mischa - time to get our nose ring on!

    Thanks for your support Mom - I know I can always count on you!