BURGER-REVIEW

Mary’s Cafe – Strawn, TX

The hunt for the greatest burger in the United States continues. This time we head down to the small town of Strawn, TX to a place called Mary’s Cafe.

When we hear about the local spots that have a great hamburger, we have to get there and try it, I mean we are looking for the perfect hamburger.

We are going to give this a grade on a scale of 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

So we ordered the Famous Mary’s Cafe Texas Sized Bacon Cheeseburger.

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01021ff77b9aa108ef1332961cd4cec30690b49c35On first appearance this is a monster! This was so big I didn’t think I was going to be able to get it in my mouth. I am giving it 3 stars because there was nothing on the plate and the side fixings looked weak.

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01277e358d1893428883b3b5898c8b82c486e4d72cThe biggest disappointment of this monster was how awful it really was.  Unfortunately after it arrived, I remembered that they never asked how I wanted it cooked. I am a medium guy and this was very well done.  After I cut into it I noticed and after the first bite it was very well done and actually crispy burnt on the outside. Almost like it was charred. Needless to say I did not like it all. It didn’t have any juices in it or actually any flavor at all. Even after putting as much ketchup as I could on it, I could only eat half of it. In the end, I can’t give anyone less than 1-star, I mean it was big and they did have to make it for us.

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This is our wild card category, because everyone gets it different, we wanted to have a category where we could distinguish the condiments that go on a great burger. We ordered this one with Cheese, Bacon, Mayo, Mustard and the rest of the fixings, Onions, Pickles and Tomatoes.

I start with the bacon, it wasn’t that good. I could barely taste it even on a tasteless burger. It was what I call, limp bacon, I hate limp bacon. The cheese was regular American cheese and there was not much of it. It barely covered the  top of the burger. As for the rest, it was your normal type of sides. The onions were big, had shredded lettuce and a small bun. The bun got soggy and ended up dying quick. We give this one star as well.

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You know you get what you pay for. Here I paid $8.50 for a Texas sized bacon cheese burger. That was it, the fries were an extra $5 for a plate. Granted the side of fries were a huge mound of fries, but alas they were not that great…limpy, soggy, funny tasting fries. I give this two stars because normally $7-$9 for a burger is reasonable, but those usually come with fries.

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Overall this was a disappointing burger after a great ride to get there and an eye feasting dream when it arrived. I am giving it 1.75 stars. They had some cool T-shirts too, but I couldn’t buy one after the bad experience.

01332faefb5dceb7c714a48a864a97fdcaec2be32eHowever, we do recommend that if you like chicken fried steak, here is a picture of the medium sized steak.  Dad ate it and said it was good and the gravy was also outstanding. It came with a salad and fries, so it was much better of a deal.

 

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Transformation Story – The Mud Pixie

By: Travis “Blydawg” Blythe

The Mud-Pixie

Not all transformation stories are created equal, what motivates one person to make a change in their lives may not necessarily be the same thing that motivates another.  Recently I was able to speak with Kimberly Easterling-Stewart, aka The Mud Pixie Kim recently debuted her new mud pixie look this past spring and while many people think her costume is “cute” there is a deeper meaning behind why she wears the costume.  Before we get into all of that, lets get down to the nitty gritty, who is Kimberly Easterling-Stewart?

Kim was an ordinary girl growing up in Texas, she was involved in sports, very athletic and she was a wrestler and played softball in high school.  She was so good in fact she scored a scholarship to play softball at Northwood University.  All was going great for Kim until after her first year of college.  Personal hardships ensued and she was unable to go to school for her sophmore year.  Faced with a difficult decision on what to do with her future, she took an easy way out. She ran off with her boyfriend at the time who was a military man.

Vincent Van Gogh once said “As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed.”  I believe that after speaking with Kim, everything she has gone through to this point, has made her the person she is and her inner strength was forged.

The military years were to say the least, less than thrilling. This us where everything started to snowball into the place where this transformation truly begins. After having their first child, it started with trying to just lose the baby weight. Several years consisted of yo-yo dieting and no exercise. Then came the car accidents, two car totaling accidents in a six week time period. Having hurt her neck in these accidents, this is when she felt the first signs of depression.

Depression hits us all in different ways, sometimes we feel like we are not good enough, skinny enough, or worthy enough for all of the people in our lives and unfortunately we are the only one who can eventually tell ourselves we are and we can and we will. She told me “You don’t know how strong you are, until strong is the only choice.” Before we get to where Kim was able to say all of that, she had a few more hardships to endure. As if the accidents and neck injury was not enough, she found the holidays approaching in the fall of 2012. The only bright spot she had, is that they found out they were pregnant with their second child. Unfortunately on black Friday of that year, she lost the baby. This started a spiral of self loathing and more depression.  Not only was she dealing with the loss of the unborn child, but she had to also deal with the fact that her two sisters had also become pregnant and were having their babies around the same time she would have had hers.

quote“You don’t know how strong you are, until strong is the only choice”

kim1In 2013 fast approaching the year anniversary of her loss, she found herself weighing close to 220 lb at 5’5″. She had been battling her weight and was fluctuating between 168-200 lbs, but now she had finally had enough. In February of 2013, she saw an advertisement for “The Vampire 5k.”  She made a decision she was going to run that race, she went to Ehow.com and downloaded how to train for a 5k run and started working the plan. Kim stated: “I had this feeling, like I had wasted my life and I never lived up to my potential” and she was determined to do something about it.

quote“I had this feeling, like I had wasted my life and I never lived up to my potential”

Four weeks into her training, she was sticking to the plan, she started eating a little better, making smart swaps on eating healthier. Then a friend asked her to run in a race benefiting Lupus. She ran her first 5k, running the whole time in 33 min. Having felt such a sense of accomplishment, she continued to train, vowing to run at least one run a month.

Then on June 1, 2013, she ran her first obstacle style race, the Fair Park Urban Dash.  This race had become her motivation, where she feels it all started. Her grandfather passed away just days before this event. So along with her cousin, they dedicated this race to him. Kim is still weighing close to 185 lbs and felt like she was doing everything right. This event is where the light bulb went off, she fell in love with OCR.

By August she decided she would sign up for the Tough Mudder. Knowing this was a serious race, she decided she needed to get serious about everything.  Not only was she training, but she also went on an 8-week therapy session to get her neck, back and hips fixed from those accidents she had a few years before.  Better eating habits, running, physical therapy and spin class is what her weeks entailed. Then in October 4-weeks before the Tough Mudder, she started taking supplements. When she started this, she went from 175 lbs down to 158 lbs by the time she competed in the TM at the end of October.

quote“I want to be the best me I can be and the person I was always meant to be.”

She then went on to compete in Savage Race and The Spartan Beast to end the year.  In 2014 she made an all out dedication to the OCR world and as she says, “I want to be the best me I can be and the person I was always meant to be.”

After competing in the Atlanta Spartan Sprint, she felt after placing 3rd in her age group and 13th overall on day 2 in the open heats, she had a new goal. She was going to focus the remainder of the year to reach her goal of running in the elite heats instead of the open heats.

kim3So now we have come full circle since the beginning of the article.  Kim created the Mud Pixie persona to show everyone that anything is possible if you believe in yourself. Her costume, or her wings rather represent her transformation, on how she didn’t let depression beat her, she didn’t let her weight slow her down, she made the decision to reshape her mind, her body and most importantly her spirit. She has started this journey and she really shows no sign of slowing down.

Dress Code Sparks Craze Debate “On the Line”

Dress Code – What?

Two days ago the Reebok Spartan Race set the interwebs on fire with the announcement about no costumes in the elite wave of the Tuxedo, NY event this weekend. Obstacle Racing Media had a great article yesterday which you can read here. In that article they interviewed some of the more notorious athletes who participate in the elite waves who also potentially wear a costume of some sorts. Stephen Sinek, aka “The Painted Warrior”, Stephen “BowTied” Spartan, and Michael Deater aka “The Panda”, all left quotes and opinions on the Spartan press release. The most shocking interview was with Mr. Spartan himself Joe Desena; he considers body paint to equal a costume. Here at mudrunfun we have to wonder how will this play out? We already know that The Painted Warrior has a different paint scheme on his body for every race. But what about other elite wave runners like friends of mudrunfun Thing 1 & Thing 2? Andrew and Eston Jones don’t wear a ton of body paint and would you really consider them a costume? They have two words marked on their chest with a marker and they wear their signature red headbands. Will they get pulled out of the chute? We had a chance to talk with Andrew Jones aka “Thing 1” and here is what he had to say: 945222_201074453378031_804304775_n

quote“Whether or not what we wear is considered a costume can be debated, but the reason we wear what we wear, is for bigger and better reasons than being an elite Spartan athlete.”

So what about the future of this so-called sport? What about the up and comers who have a story to tell and want to inspire others? Recently we ran across an up and coming elite wave runner named Kimberly Easterling-Stewart who also goes by “The Mud Pixie”. We recently sat down with her and discussed her transformation story (separate story to be released soon) and how she became the Mud Pixie and why. She had planned to start competing in the elite heats officially later this summer after a few races and more training. Here is what she had to say about the ORM article: 10448656_720690051322838_187398030010595107_o.jpg

quote“The Mud Pixie arose from believing in myself, using perseverance and the sport of OCR to reshape my body, mind, and spirit. Isn’t that what Spartan is supposed to be all about? And the underlying meaning of their new book Spartan Up?”

She further stated,

quote“My purpose now is to continue to progress as the elite racer I was always meant to be and prove to the world, anything is possible when you believe! If they would like me to drop my leather get-up for elite races I can understand that. I ran in athletic compression gear before the pixie and I can do it again. But my wings are simply a part of a full functional camelbak that I have always used. They don’t slow me down or get in the way! After everything I have overcome, all I ask is they don’t clip my newly found wings!”

I guess it wouldn’t look good on TV to be “Spartan Chicked” by someone wearing a pixie outfit or having two people in athletic gear and one as a mud pixie standing on the podium. We couldn’t write an article and not get some of the opinions of other owners and race directors in the industry. So we reached out to a couple races to get some feedback. The first one to give us a sound bite was Troy Levy with Armageddon Ambush, who puts on events up and down the East Coast, he has two thoughts on this, the first being,

quote“What Spartan is doing with their national media coverage is great for the sport and industry. Obviously Reebok, Spartan and NBC know what they are doing and if they want to market the elite aspect of the sport that is their purgative. If the vision is to bring credibility and legitimize the sport then having someone run the race in diapers and costumes probably won’t do that. I can see why they would not want that on national TV. But on the other hand, I am not sure if showing just the elites would drive the masses to sign up for any mud run event. The industry as it stands now shows a large gap of participants from Elite to non-Elite. So having the non-elite or elite participants freely showing their freedom of dress wearing speedos and panda hats is welcome to many events So that being said I can see both sides of the coin.”

The Armageddon Ambush is one of the most unique races going, they combine the physical challenge of the mudrun with obstacles as well as a color run! There is nothing like getting blasted with color after crawling out of a mudpit! It’s like two races for the price of one! Our next conversation was with Tim Scrivner with the Texas based mudrun series “Run the Jailbreak.” Here is what he had to say on the topic:

quote“The explosion in popularity of obstacle events over the past five years has been fueled primarily by non-traditional runners. People are flocking to these types of runs because they are fun and challenging, it gives them the opportunity as an adult to get together with friends, dress up, get dirty, have fun and enjoy the camaraderie of a shared experience. A big part of that experience has been the costumes and group themes that people come up with to brand themselves and their groups, people watching is nearly as much fun as the events themselves. I understand what Joe is trying to accomplish and the last thing you want is for your sport to be marginalized for a WWF atmosphere. However, I believe that you need to have personalities and story lines for people to follow if you are going to gain a wide audience for your sport. Your local marathon will have runners in all forms of outfits and costumes but the elite runners will not be wearing anything that will hinder their performance, I assume the elite Spartan competitors are responsible enough to not get “carried away” with their attire and would be conscious of how it could possibly affect performance as well. The Gen X and older crowd remembers countless “hokie” events that were passed off to us as “sports” by ABC’s Wide World of Sports and ESPN 2, but the Millennial’s have grown up on X Games, video games and TMZ. They judge by a different standard than we do.”

While the “Jailbreak” is not a themed event in terms of mandatory costumes in which to participate, his events do draw thousands and you can typically see the masses dressed as a convict or police officer! Which is funny in itself, because if you ask them why they dress up, the typical response is, “I never get to be bad, so I’m a convict today!” and having attended one of these events, you will not find a greater assortment of “Sexy Cops” even the Reno 911 guys! Our Final Interview was with event owner Sean “Ace” O’Conner with the National Superhero Scramble series;

quote“I think it’s comical…I understand why Spartan is trying to regulate, but also think that this and other regulations take away from the overall experience for racers and spectators.”

While Sean was the least outspoken event owner of the three, it is easy to see why, his race is about Superheroes and pretty much the entire field gets to be a superhero for the day! The only dilemma is are you a DC or Marvel guy? So at the end of the day there are lots of opinions and views from all sides. Mudrunfun just wants to raise the awareness of the industry as a whole, so whether or not you are an “elite” runner or a weekend warrior, we want everyone involved. We don’t care if you wear a costume or run stripped down to the “bare essentials” we just want everyone to have a good time. We also don’t necessarily think you have to be labeled in one category either, we love all the events whether OCR, Mudrun, Color Run, Zombie Run, Glow Run, or X-Run. We live in a wonderful country who doesn’t discourage you and allows you to have the freedom of expression, so express yourself, tell your story, be a Painted Warrior, a Mud Pixie or Bowtie Spartan or be yourself and the best you, you can be. At the end of the day the consensus seems be on the side of The Mud Pixie, so please Spartan, don’t clip our wings.     Want to know more about the people mentioned in this article? Click below on the person or event you want to see.

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Best Kept Secret in Texas – The Patriot Games

Patriot Games – Oklahoma 2014

The Patriot Games have been at this OCR/mudrun world for 4 years now.  This being their 4th year, they usually put on one event a year. 2014 has definitely started off right for them. Usually putting on runs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, they have changed locations twice in the past couple years. But 2014 appears to already to be another new year and plenty of changes are in store. Already boasting two events for 2014, The Patriot Games or PG as they are known around here expanded into Oklahoma, just over the Texas/Oklahoma state line and the Red River.

For the last few years the owner of PG has been working with the guys over at Reebok Spartan Race building their courses. Last years run definitely showed and the obstacles for the event were excellent. This year was no exception, what appeared to be mostly all newly built obstacles, this was definitely a mini-me version of the Spartan. I definitely do not want to take anything away from PG and demean them by calling them a mini-me, they only seem to be smaller in terms of production and festival.

So what about this race? I will be the first to admit, the first couple of races were nothing to write home about, but this one puts them back in the hunt for the best race in DFW outside of a national company. Many of them don’t exactly blow this away either. This course had to be the best course in this area in a long time. Instead of going over every obstacle in detail, lets just go with some of the basics in the likes and dislikes.

What I liked:

  1. The terrain. This course was excellent! Like I said, the only course I have been on that was more challenging was Reebok Spartan in Austin in 2013 and the Glen Rose Beast.  PG had a better terrain than 2013 Savage Race, Run the Jailbreak, Gladiator Rock-N-Run and Merrill Down and Dirty. Why I liked it so much was the elevation. The first 1/2 mile was brutal up and down switchbacks and we constantly weaved in and out and up and down in the ravines. I ran this course twice and it measured 4.38 & 4.40 on my Garmin. So is it was an excellent length also.
  2. The Obstacles. A majority of them were complete Reebok Spartan Race copies, but that is okay, they really didn’t have many of the harder ones so the mix was perfect for both the competitive runners and the fun runners.  The ending with the 1/2 pipe wall was awesome! This is the now the PG staple which I have only seen at a couple of national races and some local Florida races. The obstacles are my favorite part, so when I get to climb over, swim across or jump off, I am in heaven. They had plenty of water/mud obstacles to crawl through so it wasn’t just a dry run.
  3. Registration. I know right! But I have to say that compared to last year at the Irving event, they had a better handle on the process of getting your bib. I never saw long lines and I didn’t have to wait, so all is good!
  4. Festival Area/Spectators. There was a great way to get around the festival area and watch your favorite runners as they weaved in and out of the course that went through this spot. Numerous obstacles to get photos on.
  5. Course Markings. We all learn from our previous races and this course was marked very well. Even in the “we just decided to run this way” part of the course, nice having arrows to follow.

What I disliked:

  1. The Start. Nothing to bad here, I just think that there is a better way to start a race other than, ready, set, go! I mean they own a timing company for crying out loud so an air horn is not even too far-fetched. Personally, going with the theme of the race, I would have air cannons or a real cannon blasting every wave!
  2. Water. They only had two water stations on the course which for a 5k would probably not be an issue, but this was 4.5 miles. The water stations were at 1.5 Miles and 2.6 miles and obviously at the finish line. I personally didn’t have any issues as I don’t really drink water during a run, but I did hear it afterwards with some of the other runners.
  3. Timing. Only because the timing results were somewhat confusing to read once they came out. Still not sure where I finished because everyone was mixed in so if you sorted by time, you would have to go through each one to see if they were in the competitive wave or not. I think I was top 10 for overall males.
  4. Race Photos. I don’t think they took bad photos, in fact I was pleasantly surprised with how many were taken and the quality. My only complaint is that I can’t afford to buy them! With so many races opting for free race photos, I hope more events adopt this avenue. Because $80 for 10 digital downloads is a bit extreme.
  5. Medals. Bummed I didn’t my hands on the new bigger medal. Instead I have another blue one, all three look the same. But maybe at the next one!

So I just have to wrap up by saying I loved the event, I hope they add some more new and different obstacles at the next race. I think PG might just surpass the local giant Jailbreak as the best homegrown race in 2014. We shall see, that run is in September!

Things I Think Thursday – Go Pound Gravel

Stop Drinking the Spartan Kool-aid!

I was going to let this go, just sit here with my thoughts and let the Spartan Cult spew on each other how much they love their almost but not yet an Olympic sport.  Which is kind of funny within itself, because if it ever does, which I seriously doubt, all of the people who commented on that post, will be watching from the sidelines, with the ability to say “That’s so cool, I can tell my friends I kind of did an Olympic sport!”

I don’t want to hijack another blog or draw more attention to it, but here is the ORM Post – “Go Pound Gravel”  Below is the infamous picture which drew all of the slander and ire from the Spartan faithful.

 

spartan-cheater-2014I know speaking my mind on this will only make you cult members dislike me, it will hurt my business, but that is okay, really. Every once and a while a person needs to be able to speak their mind right? I mean all of you Kool-aid drinkers did, so why can’t I?

Don’t get me wrong, I like Spartan Race as much as the next guy, in fact I have run all of the Texas races over the last 3 years except one. But guys come on; there are other races/runs whatever you want to call them other than Spartan. So I am going to defend this guy, I’ll play our devil’s advocate and you should all be ashamed of yourself for the harsh statements you have been saying about these people.

Fault one:

Bucket dumping. You say this guy is dumping his bucket, how do you know that from one picture? He could have been carrying it on his shoulder and adjusting it and it fell. That happened to me last year at the Glen Rose beast, except I was carrying it in the correct position and it slipped as I was adjusting my grip and fell over. I had to pick up my gravel, when returned my bucket, it was full of grass and sticks and crap. How do we know that this man did not? No one has mentioned it that I have seen. Maybe he did have some integrity and put it back and finished.  Now as for the girl with the empty bucket, yeah I am assuming she was happy just to finish.

Fault Two:

So you Kool-aid drinkers really do crack me up. Who really cares? You have made such a big deal out of doing an obstacle right, doing the burpees, etc., etc. Except for the elite runners in the first wave, no one else is running for time. If you are and if you are actually worried that this guy is going to finish ahead of you and steal your precious Spartan points, then you are a sad, sad person. I mean, come on really? This guy is not going to beat anyone, if you are all that and a bag of chips, then you certainly do not have to worry about this guy, more than likely at this point in the race you are way ahead of him. If Spartan really cared about the general population completing obstacles and doing burpees, then they would hire course officials to marshal this activity and not have volunteers at the obstacles. People skipping obstacles and not doing burpees would have their bib numbers written down and be accessed a timed penalty at the end of the race. Spartan does not care!

Most of you people commenting on this are volunteers and you just want your free race anyway. You can’t enforce this or make them do this, hell Spartan can’t even decide from race to race what their own “Elite” rules are because someone is always trying to get an edge and doing an obstacle in a “different” way than you and I perceive it. Ever listen in on a pre-race discussion on the “proper” technique to complete an obstacle by these elites with Spartan HQ…it is kind of hilarious.

I won’t call anyone out, but I do know of several people in these “Spartan” groups who are so AROO AROO into Spartan and yet at Glen Rose Beast last year, while I am struggling to stay warm, doing my burpees for falling off the Tyrolean traverse rope, just skipped the obstacle, skipped burpees. Some didn’t even try. Some tried, failed, and moved on or did a token 5-10 burpees and moved on. Do I care? Yes and no. At the end of the day, people who skip and don’t do it have their own moral dilemma. I am not going to judge. They tried, failed and felt satisfied to move on. They paid their money, so I don’t think it is fair for you to be the judge, jury and executioner on these people. At the end of the day don’t we just want people out being active and enjoying life? I know what you must think, “But Travis you hypocrite! You totally skipped obstacles at Savage Race in Dallas last year!!” Hell yes I did, I even wrote a blog about how I am not proud of it, but I refused to quit so I just kept running, 32 degrees and hands going numb means I’m not getting in the water, it was about my health. So judge me if you want, but I will pick my life and health over your stupid judgments.

Fault Three:

Let’s face it, there is no OCR world. Oh Snap! Yes I said it. Other than Spartan who does not want to be called a mudrun, there really are no other events that are labeling themselves OCR. Oh wait there is Extreme Nation, but didn’t that have an epic fail because they only wanted elite runners instead of everyone? Why would anyone else choose that label? A mudrun is what attracts the people. You elite runners make up 10% if that of the registration. The general couch surfer is who is buying and paying for these events. Hell, I am pretty sure every RD will back me up, but 60% of all these runs are females. These females are usually first timers who gather up the girls, put on an outfit and go “do it”.  Once you digest and understand that, you kool-aid drinkers, then you will know why the races don’t care if you complete an obstacle or not. Everyone gets a participation medal whether earned or not. Spartan Race just happens to be one of the better companies out there branding their race. So everyone wants to do it once. It is sad to say, but I will assume in that picture above, those people had no idea what they were getting into. Maybe they did do a Warrior Dash or another local event and figured this was the same thing. Who knows, I certainly don’t care and I doubt that Spartan does, they got their money. They don’t care if you run or no show.

In Conclusion:

I can’t resist, I love debate, so here are my thoughts on this wrap up from another blog:

A simple concept:

It makes me crazy that this is such a difficult concept for some in our community to grasp, and especially when you consider the roots of OCR, and the strong influence of police, fire and military conduct. The roots of OCR? Are you talking Spartan? Because I tend to think that the majority of the RD’s who put on these events have nothing to do with Military, Police or Fire. I am pretty sure that 3/4 OCR’s or Mudruns are actually put on by people not in the military. If you mean the participants, then you need to do more research, because again 60% women 25-35. Even in your precious Spartan Elite, I would think very few of them fall into this category.

Do the task or stay home. Why do you care? They are paying for this event, they want the experience, and theirs is going to be different than yours. Let them take home whatever sense of pride and accomplishment they want from the event. If you specifically mean Spartan, then why not ask Spartan to let the people know what obstacles they will have to do? Why does it have to be such a big secret? You know why, 1/2 of the people can’t do them; it would kill registration if they told you how hard it really was going to be.

Can’t do the task? Do your burpees. Take your lumps. Go home, learn the task, and come back to fight another day. Really dude? Learn the task and comeback? Most of these people barely run much less want to go home and start carrying buckets around. Be realistic. These guys are not elite athletes, they are weekend warriors at best. Why are you all comparing this guy to you? If you run for time and are trying to win prize money, then critique some of your elite buddies, not the average Joe.

It’s that simple.

That’s not just a lesson in OCR, that’s the basic premise of living a successful life. I thought it was okay to fail? Don’t you elite guys all have a motto of what doesn’t kill you… or failure is the way to be a champion? I would venture many of these people are successful just not very athletic.

Cheating is universally unacceptable in sport. Finally something we agree on, but is this really cheating? I don’t see a rulebook anywhere; I don’t see any enforcement going on to hold everyone accountable equally. Hold on, I have some pine tar on my neck.

OCR should be no different. I still raise the question, what is this OCR you speak of? What makes up this world of OCR? Is it just Spartan Race and Extreme Nation? I know everyone wants Obstacle Course Racing to be something, but for the most part isn’t it just really a mudrun world we live in that is made to be easy for people to have fun?

Okay so all in all, did this really cheat anyone or just himself? How does this really affect all of the Spartan elites who seemed to get so upset over this? Let it go already, you people are making yourselves look bad. Who are you to really call anyone out? Would you like it if we pulled a picture of you and made a fuss over your technique? People are human not superhuman. If this guy in the photo ever wants to run another race, I will run with him. Hell I know a whole group of people who will also. Doesn’t have to be Spartan, but it can be, or it can be a Superhero, Savage, Armageddon, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash (you get the idea) and I can get a group of people to run/walk, stop pose for pictures do whatever, because that is the beautiful thing about this sport, we can go as fast as we want.

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers.

Armageddon Ambush 2014 Discount Code

Here is a discount code for 2014 Armageddon Ambush. 

Now good for all remaining events!

You can use this code for $10 OFF

HINT: It’s in the picture!

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Savage Race Disappointement

Why my savage experience was definitely savage, but not one am I proud of.

The PointI have been mud running now since 2010 and I love it. I am so addicted to running all these events that I was doing 15-20 a year. I was excited when I heard that Savage Race was coming to Dallas, I had heard so many positive things and their obstacles looked very cool and challenging. Well, I completed my first Savage Race and I have to say, I am so disappointed in my effort and the performance I gave. Here is a brief synopsis of what transpired on Saturday and my thoughts.

First thing first, I want to be clear I am not bashing Savage Race or saying that their event was bad in any way.  I think the circumstances revolving around it could have been better, but you can not predict what mother nature will do. As this event became known as “The Coldest Savage Race Ever”, at some point I have to wonder when does the event cancel for the safety of the participants. I am not on my soapbox, I have run races and organized races which were in the 40′s and 50′s before, but his just felt different than those and as a participant I was miserable.

I know what you are thinking, I paid for this, I should suck it up. I agree.  Which is why I am my own toughest critic and why when my friends tell me that I am a “stud” or I am so awesome for completing this, I just want to punch them.  I think this was the dumbest thing I have ever done and I am going to tell you why. Here I am going to break down my thoughts as I was running and at the obstacles I remember.

Let’s start with the wake-up. 5:03 AM, (why :03, I was lazy and didn’t set alarm correctly) and I am getting dressed, I see the temperature outside is is cold, for me, it is real cold, I hate cold weather. It is low 30′s, not quite freezing but 33-35 degrees. In the back of my mind I am thinking, this is going to be a hard race, am I positive I want to do this? My conscience is on both of my shoulders like the angel and devil. Once saying “go for it”, it will be fun, the other saying “seriously, the first obstacle is shriveled Richard with ice water, lets go back to sleep”. Well I make the decision, I paid for this and I will not let my money go to waste. So I prepare the best I can for the torture that lies ahead.

9:00 AM, I arrive there and the temperature is a lovely 36 degrees and a misty rain has started to fall. Perfect, I just can not wait!! Kidding I am, I start dreading this more and more. Oh well, I know there are some friends here and Savage told us not to run alone. So I know if a couple of guys who I can go with. But the decision of the day is, do I run for fun and to just complete this and go at the pace of these friends or will my uber competitive side take over and I end up running alone for 6 miles in this bitter cold weather.

As I am killing time, I see some of the guys I was going run with in the 10:20 wave. I didn’t pay extra for the competitive wave, which was going to start at 10am, so I didn’t notice they were lined up and ready to go. They said they wanted to get it over with, so I agreed and joined these knuckleheads in the first wave of the day. Stripping down to race clothes really sucked, it was cold and my coat was warm!

So the race starts and we are off, I don’t start in the front like I usually would, I actually started in the back of the pack at a nice jog pace. You can see the first obstacle and I am dreading it. Some of the people around me have already declared they are skipping all water obstacles including the first one filled with ice. All  I can think of is “wow, you paid for this run, why would you skip anything?”

1. Shriveled Richard – jump into a chest deep box of water filled with ice cubes, then you have to go under water to get out. Basically under a wall, come out the other side and climb out. My running buddies decided to “skip” this obstacle as did many people, I was on the fence, listening to the screams was making me change my mind, but when a couple of women jumped in, I said what the hell! OMG this has to have been the coldest thing ever. Who on earth thinks that having people jump in ice water, dunk in it when it is 36 degrees outside is a good idea? I took off my wool hat in an attempt to keep it dry. My face froze! I had a mini brain freeze…I am already dreading running 6 miles like this.

2. Thors Grundle – at first I was thinking, this won’t be that bad, it was just a ditch with some water in it, had to crawl though, no biggie. Well, welcome to another cruel obstacle. You have to dive under a wall again, and this time two of them! I am still feeling the effects of the ice bath, but I go in, with the lets do this mentality! Again a group of smart people go around, they want no part of this water, one guy holds my hat for me because again I didn’t want it to get wet. I come out and I had an even worse brain freeze then the last obstacle. It was so bad, it felt like a migraine. But I put my hat on and took off running. Oh yeah, and now it has started to really rain.

3. Prairie Dog – I don’t remember what this even was, but I think it was a tunnel we went through with some wood over the entrance.  No biggie, bear crawled through it, dirt was so hard still, it hurt to try to go on hands and knees.

4. Big ASS Cargo net – This was a good obstacle to do, no problem here, passed a bunch of people, but I was starting to have issues with my fingers. I couldn’t ring out the water in my gloves and my fingers were starting to go numb. But I pressed onward.

5. Pig Pen – I believe this was an annoying little pond that we had to wade though. I skirted the edge about knee deep and several people skipped this altogether.

6. Nutt Smasher – This was the balance beam, as I approach it all I can see are people falling the water right and left. Splash, splash…many go around as they see no one completing it. I get a big grin on my face, I love balance beams, I think I have great balance almost ninja like!! But I got over 1/2 way across and these guys made the beam so long that is starts swaying the further you go, mix that with the cold and it was harder than I expected. Splash I went into chest deep water, I made it almost to the end about 3 steps short.

7. Low Crawl – I can’t remember what this was, but I think it was the first barbed wire crawl. I rolled the whole way and was super dizzy running side ways for a few steps…

8. Barn Doors – I have no idea why they call it this, it was like a ladder, up and over, no problemo. I can say at this point my hands were really starting to hurt. The ends of my fingers hurt really bad and griping anything was becoming difficult.

9. Slippery Incline Wall – Approaching this one, it didn’t look at that difficult. In reality, it was not that difficult of a obstacle, but the weather conditions made it hard. My first attempt I grabbed the rope and lost my grip and failed. So I backed up, and went again, I remember I grabbed with my left hand and held on to the knot at the bottom of the rope. I had the most intense pain in my hand that I have felt in a very long time. I had an issue grabbing the rope with my right hand, by the time I got it, I was struggling, gripping the rope was so difficult because my fingers were on fire and not working. I managed to get up and over. My left hand was toast. I was chatting with the guy next to me and we went over the wall together and he had the same issue. My hands hurt so bad due to the cold, it was difficult to hold anything.

10. 96″ Stiffie – I don’t remember what this was, but I think it was the climb over the Colon Blow. No issues here.

11. Swam Ass – I do not know what this one was

12. Colon Blow 5000 – This was the first obstacle I skipped. I know what you are thinking, but I am disappointed as well. This was not a hard obstacle, it was just crawling through tubes, going up an incline and then down the other side. The problem was, as we approached, (I was running with the same guy since the slip wall) there was a body in each tube. They were all slipping and sliding and could not get up the entrance of the tubes.  They were all taken, we waited for like 30 seconds and then decided to keep running, it was too cold to stand and wait for these bozos to get through it. Plus I couldn’t feel my hands.

13. Sawtooth – running and talking I learned a couple of things, I was not the only one having issues with my hands. As I approached this one, which was the one obstacle I was so looking forward to, the crazy ridiculous adult monkey bars, I was defeated before I stopped running up to it.  I knew I couldn’t grip anything, my left hand was gone, I couldn’t feel my fingers. I actually remember thinking and wondering if I was getting frostbite like symptoms.  I look across to the other side and I see a guy wrapped in one of those tinfoil looking blankets which I know is for hypothermia, of course he is not wearing a shirt and I am thinking, what a dummy. Everyone attempting this is failing and falling in the water, some people are just saying screw it and jumping in the water and not trying and others just walking around. I tried to grip the first bar. I knew it was bad, and it was, I could not hold on with my right hand. I knew I would fall immediately and I honestly didn’t want to get wet. It kills me to say it, I walked around and just started running.

I want to say this was about the 3-mile mark. Other than my hands hurting extremely bad I was physically fine and my mental toughness was the only thing pushing me on. I seriously though about tapping out and just trying to find a way back to the start. But my mind said no, I told myself I was doing great, my feet were not cold at all, in fact they were warm with the wool socks I was wearing. So I thought if I could warm up the hands, I’d be okay. So I pressed on.

14. Rubbers – These were monster truck tires and not that hard to get over. Went over easily.

15. Kiss my Walls – Running up to this one, I was like sweet, I nail this one at spartan! It is like rock climbing walls, I got this. No unfortunately I didn’t, I failed again. I couldn’t hold myself up on the wall, my fingers hurt so bad I had no strength at all to hold myself up. I didn’t even get off the first block. So disappointing, I just walked to end and started running…running was the only thing working for me at this point.

16. Me so Thorny – this was just another version of a barbed wire crawl, just they had specific rows you had to go into.  I  crawled through most of this on my hands and knees, I ended up tearing my shorts with my butt up the air…that sucked, time to get new race shorts. BTW the event photo guys were not here when we went though, so no photos of anyone in the top 30 or so people.

17. Lumberjack Lane – more like lumberjack lame. They had these little blocks of wood, which we had to carry down and up a hill. I carried it like a football and didn’t get off pace.

18. Colossus – This was the 2nd obstacle I was looking forward to. I was defeated before I got to it. As I approached, there were several guys standing round a fire warming their hands. I watched several people trying and giving up because they could not get up the rope. I knew I could not hold on to a rope much less be able to pull myself up. My hands were toast and I still did not have feeling my left hand. I saw the huge water pit on the other side and I walked away and started running. I wish I was at full strength so I could have attempted it, but I knew it was no use. I put my head down in shame, I knew I couldn’t get up the wall and I didn’t want to get wet if I did.Mud Crawl

19. Mud N Guts – this was one long ass crawl. Did the army crawl for part and the log roll for part. Nice and muddy.

20. Missionary Impossible – At this point the only thing keeping me warm is running. So yes I winced when we had to lay on our backs on a piece of rubber and crawl up hill using a cargo net to pull us up. Oh yeah, they were nice enough to have cold running water going down the hill. It was actually a fun obstacle until you get to the end and have water spraying you in the face.

21. Davy Jones Locker – approaching this I just thought why? watching people climb up the platform and voluntarily jump off in water which is over your head and swim out using a cargo net. Yeah. I pussed out and said no thanks. I knew we were close to being done, and I wanted no part in getting in any water, much less getting dunked again.

22. Back Scratcher – these were a series of 6-foot walls to go over and then roll under the next wall. I really struggled with this, jumping was next to impossible for me, my fingers were numb and useless, I could barely pull myself up, I didn’t feel this spent, I felt like I was running well and still catching and passing people on the run portion. I pulled something in my shoulder at this obstacle and I wouldn’t know it until I got home and couldn’t lift my arm.Tazed

23. Tazed – As I approached this one I thought it was just another rolling on the ground obstacle, then I saw it was electricity, which I thought to myself, self, this could be ugly. It is raining and I am soaking wet and they want to electrocute me? The people at the obstacle said it wasn’t that bad and in fact they were correct, I could not even feel it. Went through and on to the finish.

24. Blazed  – I was disappointed they didn’t have this one. I guess they thought due to the rain that a fire obstacle was a bad idea.

25. Finish – So I finished, I say big deal. I am mad at myself for not completing or even trying several of the obstacles, but my better judgment told me it was not a good idea. Sometimes you have to go with your gut feeling. I tried to change, I finally got out of my clothes and put on warmer clothes and I was shivering uncontrollably. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Heated seats and a blanket all the way home.

So all in all, I wish they would come back to Texas in July or August of next year. I would run this race in the extreme heat, the water portions of this race would be great if it was not near freezing temperatures. I think the times are so skewed, the competitive wave had people finishing in 5o minutes and the next few people were are 1:01. I think they skipped more obstacles than I did! But if you look at the results, I placed #1 in my age group in the non-competitive people, I would have been 1st as well in the competitive group. I finished 10th overall out of 1075 people in the non-competitive group. Add both groups together and I am 27th out of the 1165 timed people. Whoop-D-Doo. I only take comfort in knowing I was not the only one skipping obstacles so in my mind the results are skewed. Great learning experience.

I do want to thank my sponsor, Bswarms Athletics for making this event possible.

Timed-graphic

TNMRA 2013 Discount Code

Here is a discount code for 2013 TNMRA Events.  You can use this code for any of the races. $10 OFF

Shamrockin’Blydawg-mud-splatter2

Cinco de Muddo

Summer Muddin’

Halloween Hustle

TNMRA

 

 

 

 

 

As of 10/30/13, all of the events are over and this code is no longer valid.

Twas the Night before the BEAST…

by: Travis “Blydawg” Blythe

Spartan Beast

…and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse.
My bag was packed, by the door with care.
Filled with gels & protein bars, in hopes that the BEAST would soon be here.

The Family was sleeping all snuggled in their beds,
Dreading the alarm I’m sure, it was said.
I lay here awake, in thought of what to come,
Was I ready?, was I prepared?, could I make this run?

The BEAST it is said, is one bad mother,
It claims to be TOUGHER than that other mudder,
I survived the Super Spartan, in 2011,
Barely at that, I only finished on adrenaline.

But 2012 will be different I’m sure,
For this is why I trained consistently all year.
I met the Spartan Elite, who reside only in Dallas,
They trained me, prepared me, now is up to Travis.

As I prepare for the grueling run ahead,
I know I can do it, so let it be said,
My goal is 2 1/2 hours to finish this Beast,
My body is rested, now it’s up to my heart and my feet.

So on Feiock, on Mauk, on Vennerholm, Taylor and Luck,
For I will be following you through the mud and muck.
This is the BEAST and you I will chase,
The Lord knows I can’t run at your pace.

But watch out Call, Moat, Rutz and McKay,
You are now in Texas, which is the home in which we play.
Everything is bigger, and badder, and money is at stake,
Don’t Mess with TEXAS! The Lonestar State!

So come on BEAST give us your all,
We are Texans and will answer the call,
When we finish, we will thank the heavens,
and they will songs about us and we will be legends!

Good luck to everyone running in the 2012 Spartan Beast!

My Life, My Loves, My Adventures

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