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DFW Mudrun – Spring Race Recap 2011

Ft. Worth, Texas – April 9, 2011

Well, this is my second effort at the DFW Mudrun along the Trinity River in Fort Worth, Texas.  Last year I lead a team of five (5), well I followed actually, but none the less, competed in last years race.  We finished 21st out of 128 teams with a time of 1:40:49.  Not bad for our first ever mudrun and a 10k at that!

This year with only 2-original members returning (due to injuries and lack of training) we once again set out to compete in the DFW MUDRUN.  I re-booted the team and the Mud Junkies were once again ready to run this 10k course full of mud! The team consisted of my new found group of friends in the “DFW Mud Crew” and consisted of Mike Shanks, Gustavo Arteaga (original member), Kelly Fristoe, Lauren Zotz & myself.  This year we were able to secure a whole media team of photographers and video techs.  We were sure to capture the awesomeness of this race.  So we strapped on our boots, put on our BDU’s & our orange Mud Junkies shirts and started the race.

Normally when I review the races, I go over each obstacle and give my critique of each one.  But this race has actually too many to list.  So I decided to just tell you about my favorites. My first favorite was the RIVER CROSSThis was not your typical water crossing, we actually had to swim across the river.  Luckily they had two ropes we could use to help cross with, funny thing was that most of the people didn’t use them right.  I basically used a swimming technique head down and went hand over hand.  I only almost drowned once, due to looking back over my shoulder to make sure my partners were doing okay. But I was able to get back into a groove and make it across.

My second favorite obstacle was the GORILLA ROPE MONKEY BARSI am sure many found this hard, as I just watch most of my team members just jump in the mud pit after I failed. But, I thought it was awesome, it was hard and I was just 2-rungs shy of completing it! Great obstacle. (One of the only obstacles the photography crew couldn’t get to)

My third favorite obstacle was the PLATFORM JUMP, we had to climb up onto a platform and jump about 15-feet down into a mud pit.  Being the group that we were, we all jumped at the same time. Nothing to hard, but a fun jump and crawling out was a blast.

My last top obstacle was the ROPE CROSSINGwhere you have to cross a good size mud pit by walking over a rope and using a top rope to guide you for balance.  This is the only mudrun I have competed in that has an obstacle like this. One of my most favorites!

The race didn’t seem that difficult this year even though it ended up being 6.6 miles total distance.  We were able to keep a decent pace, even though one member ended up pulling a hammy and slowed up towards the end.  But since we had to finish as a group, we left no man behind. Our official finish time was 1:51:09 which was good for an 8th place finish in our co-ed group.  I added in the uniform services and Corp. team groups and we ended up in 13th place out of 51 teams. I think we could have given them a run for their money, the top teams finished a good 20 min ahead of us, but we ran slow towards the end.

Enjoy my video of our awesome Mud Junkies team!

Spartan Race – Texas 2011 (Smithville)

March 26, 2010 – Smithville, Texas

2011 is soon going to be a year to remember! My first race of the season and I traveled all the way down to Smithville, Texas.  The home of where Hope Floats was filmed (or at least that is what they claim).  I wanted to do the Spartan Race this year, well simply because it looked fun! So here is my review of the Spartan Race.

The draw to the Spartan Race was that everyone was dressed like a Spartan.  Since I had just finished watching the season of Spartacus on Starz, I couldn’t resist the temptation to dress up for this run.  I normally do not wear costumes but I figured what the heck. So I went out and got my Spartan uniform and went to Smithville!

I have to say that unlike some of the other races (Warrior Dash) there were not many crazy costumes.  I was expecting a ton of Spartans, sadly, while I was there, there were not many.  A little over 1500 people ran the race, I happened to be at the 12pm wave (see what procrastination gets you) and I mostly saw a huge population of military guys with no shirts on.  I have to say that while some of the other venue’s keep tweeting about a 58% female sign up, there were only 30% females at this race.  I think there were more employees in costume than runners.  But I donned my gear, I wore a Spartan helmet, shin guards, forearm guards and a Spartan skirt. Sadly, I did not run in the helmet, I ditched it right after the start; it was too light and would not stay on. I am so glad I did, because I was sure I would not have survived the course with that thing on. Okay, so here is my review for the Spartan Race!

With the pre-race photo’s out of the way, it was time to get my game face on, no one could really see my game face because I was in full Spartan mode! I had my helmet on, although I never intended to run in it, it kept coming off and I was afraid of losing it (I want it for future races!).  So having stretched out, ran in place, jumping jacks, I was ready! The gun went off and here we go, I was close to the front, but behind the Cedar Park football team, I figured I would let them go first and I would catch them later. We received our instructions on the race, our “How to” on the burpees (up/down/pushup/up jump) which we were required to do if we could not complete an obstacle. The smoke started, the cannon blew and we were off! My first issue with the race begins here…the chip timing company, I was not happy that our official time started when the gun went off and not when we cross the start line.  So I lost like 15 seconds getting to the line. Grrr…

Right away we hit OBSTACLE 1, the fire jump and mud pit – interesting obstacle, you jump over the fire grate and you are instantly hit with the fire hose! Good thing the pressure was not that high! Once you ran through the hose, you were greeted with a shin deep mud pit.  I was able to run through this without many problems, just deep enough to get a little wet, mostly your shoes.

So from here you run and run and run. I was very thankful we went through some water right off the bat, made our shoes and socks nice and heavy for the mile plus run until OBSTACLE 2. This was the fun one, we had to go over a 6 Ft. wall, then an identical wall was behind it except the bottom board was missing, we had to crawl under it.  After that was the car tires hanging in mid air you had to go through. Rinse and repeat and you were off to running.  I kind of felt bad for some of the bigger contestants; they obviously were not fitting through the tire or crawling under the wall.  I made it through the first set no problem, the second set I got caught in the tire, had to turn around and back out.  I also lost my first shin guard here.  One of the straps broke when it got caught on the tire.  I ripped it off and donated it near the pile of race bibs that were collecting due to the tires ripping them off. Back to trail running!

Now we entered into the hardest part of the course, the hills.  There were three or four of them, I can’t remember for sure but they were steep and full of fist sized rocks (loose) that made it difficult to run up.  Needless to say, I needed to have trained for hills, since I did not, my legs felt real heavy and I was sucking wind half way up the first one.  Then i took my Que from the rest of the group…walking up the hills is easier.  Trotting down the back side and walking up the hills. Mentally I was pissed at myself for walking, but what could I do? I was sucking air bad and the hills were tough to walk up much less run (did I mention first run of the year and not in shape yet?)

Coming out of the hills, we ran some more and then came upon OBSTACLE 3– the balance beam.  Good job here SR, the 2×4 layout of L shaped forms was tough.  Even more tough since I was breathing hard, it made concentrating and going slow difficult.  I made it to the first intersection (barely) way out of control; I tried to catch my breath, but not having much luck at that.  Continuing on to the second intersection, getting better at balancing, about half way there and boom, fell off…rushing and losing my mental control.  Time for my burpees 1-30 .  Nice hard gravel to do pushups on, that was a great touch.   Oh yeah, the lady counting the burpees, trying to be funny by telling me I lost a shin guard…not so much! I ripped off the other one and donated it to SR.

OBSTACLE 4 – Immediately after the burpees, was to drag this cement ball attached to a large rope, go down and back.  I optioned for a fast walk on this versus running, not hard, but not a piece of cake either.

So we are back off to running through the woods.  I encountered a guy with no shoes, he told me he lost them at the first mud pit, wow I thought, the rocks must have hurt!  So we come upon OBSTACLE 5 – the barbwire crawl.  I was surprised that they actually had real barbed wire and it was real low. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people couldn’t make it under and had to do the burpees.  I saw the first photographer here, go a good picture crawling! By the way the ground here was extremely hard, no mud, just hard rock-like dirt!  Off to running again!

So coming out of the woods we encounter OBSTACLE 6 a cargo net. Followed by OBSTACLE 7 which was this mini lake had to wade through it to the other side and then crawl up a muddy hill inside a tunnel.  Then off to OBSTACLE 8 which was an 8 ft wall. I really had no problem here even though my hands were full of mud, up and over!

OBSTACLE 9 – Another lake, this time we had our Lowe’s 5-gallon buckets and had to keep those horizontal as we walked a circle around the perimeter then walk up hill on wet tires.  Not as hard as some people make it out to be, if you walked on the tires, it was easy, if you tried to step in the middle, it was slippery and muddy.

Coming out of that was a short run to OBSTACLE 10 – another cargo net.  Easy peasy. Even when I am dog tired these obstacles are still pretty easy. A short jaunt and I reached the wall.  They created a 10 ft or so wall with blocks on them simulating a rock climbing wall, only you went sideways. OBSTACLE 11 – The wall was not as hard as you would think by looking at it, as a matter of fact, if you go slow and take your time, it was easy.  I just happened to look away to see where my photography crew was and my foot slipped off and I touched the ground on the last block! Just so happened to be right in front of the obstacle official…burpees 31-60! Grrr…these were not easy and I was already sucking wind.

A short walk later (yes I was done running) was OBSTACLE 12 – The spear throw.  I lost precious time here because they were backed up on all three lanes at first. As usual I always pick the slow line.  After changing lines a few times I get one where there is no one throwing and the obstacle ref decides to walk down the firing line picking up spears, knowing I am not very accurate I was waiting on him to move…which he took his sweet ass time.  So I moved lanes again and threw. My spear hit the bale of hay and didn’t stick…Burpees 61-90! Arrrggghhh, I am starting to hate these things!

Exhausted from burpees I lingered over to the last OBSTACLE 13 – the incline wall, with a giant rope to pull yourself up.  Oh yeah they are pouring water down the wall just for fun.  This was actually pretty easy, except I about fell off the top going over the wall, yes I went to grab the ledge and missed and started falling, but I was on the edge so this giant pole caught me long enough to stand back up and climb down.

Off to the finish, and dead tired, this course definitely took a lot out of me. So approaching the FINISH LINE, there are these two guys with pugil sticks.  Watching them earlier they were kicking the crap out of people and making them flip and crash all over.  So I decided to take the fight to them and I was going to knock them down.  So I went towards the little one! I ran right into him, pushed off, did a spin move and they never hit me! I finished! Yay me!

So my stats for this race were not great in my opinion, although the total miles were close to 3.8 my overall time was 56:02.  Here is the breakdown:

58th out of 198 for Wave 7

77th out of 285 – Men 30-39

427th out of 1,548 Spartan Runners

Blydawg 2011 Race Calendar

2011 is shaping up to be the rise of Blydawg.  Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I have a new found love for competition.  I have always loved to compete, whether it was wrestling, rugby, judo or ping pong, I always want to win.  The funny thing is, I have never really liked running, even when I was in the police academy and I broke the 1.5 mile academy record, I never viewed it as fun. It all started last year with running a few mudruns, which are obstacle style races through all kinds of terrain and mud.  Now I am addicted.

So here is my potential race calendar  for this year and the results. If you want to read the associated race recap blog click on the  Recap button!

Spring Race Season

March-June 2011

  • Spartan Race Smithville, TX            March 26, 2011

Time: 56:02     Distance: 3.8              Finish: 427th of 1,548

Race Recap     Race Video

  • DFW Mudrun Ft. Worth, TX            April 10, 2011

Time: 1:51:09  Distance: 6.6              Finish: 13th of 51 teams

Race Recap     Race Video

  • Warrior DashRoanoke, TX            April 16, 2011

Time: 27:09     Distance 2.79              Finish: 413th out of 14,195

Race Recap     Race Video

  • The Survival RaceForney, TX       April 30, 2011

Time: 26:14     Distance: 2.96             Finish: 19th of 741

Race Recap     Race Video

  • Run the JailbreakBurnett, TX       May 8th, 2011

Time: 32:02     Distance: 2.86            Finish: 3rd in Wave

Race Recap     Race Video

  • Gladiator GamesAustin, TX          May 21, 2011

Time: 24:02     Distance: 5k                 Finish: 32nd of 270

Time: 5:57        O-Course                    Finish: 43th of 367

Race Recap     Race Video

  • Susan G. Komen 5kPlano, TX      June 11, 2011

Time: 23:49     Distance: 5k                Finish: 86th of 603

Race Recap     Race Video

  • Flexin’ Texan 5kJustin, TX           June 25, 2011

Time: 23:57     Distance: 5k                Finish: 8th of 80

  • The Patriot GamesSanger, TX     June 26, 2011

Time: 23:02     Distance: 2.6              Finish: 20th of 843

Race Recap     Race Video

Fall Race Season

September-December 2011

  • The Caveman Crawl – Bridgeport, TX     September 10, 2011

Time: 33:58     Distance: 2.76              Finish: 22nd of 843

Race Recap     Race Video

  • Run The Jailbreak DFW – Roanoke, TX     September 17, 2011

Time:      Distance:               Finish:

Race Recap     Race Video

  • The Gladiator Games – Dallas, TX     October 1, 2011

Time: 11:24     Distance:               Finish: 2nd place team of 26

Race Recap     Race Video

  • Haslet Hustle – Haslet, TX     November 12, 2011

Time: 21:54     Distance: 2.93              Finish: 2nd in Age Group

Race Recap     Race Video

  • The Grub Run – Ft. Worth, TX     November 24, 2011

Time: 21:53     Distance: 2.77              Finish: Unknown

Race Recap     Race Video

  • The Super Spartan – Glen Rose, TX     December 3, 2011

Time: 2:11:06     Distance: 8 miles       Finish: 227 of 1420

Race Recap     Race Video

  • The Reindeer Romp – Roanoke, TX     December 10, 2011

Time:      Distance:      Finish:

Race Recap     Race Video

Warrior Dash 2010 – Race Recap

Forney, TX – When I set my bucket list of to-do’s this year the first thing I did was find my Komen 5k’s and add them to my calendar. Then I had heard about this thing called the DFW Mudrun. It looked challenging and I signed up. Then I found the Warrior Dash. I instantly fell in love with the Warrior Dash. You see I am a huge medieval time period buff and when I saw that we could dress however we wanted, it really peaked my interest. Then, when I saw we got these cool buffalo hats (think grand pooh-bah from the Flintstones), t-shirts and medals, I instantly signed up. I was so stoked for this one, it looked cool and a ton of fun.

What I took from this race is that it really is about the party. It reminded me a little of the festivals you go to where you take a blanket, listen to bands, eat and drink beer! Oh yeah, and have a little race around all of that.

I was signed up for the 4pm start on day two and yes I was worried that the course was going to be nothing but a mud pit and all of the obstacles would be really tough after so many people went through them. I made my way to the START line and waited, I wanted to get up front and not have to try and get around all of the slower people. Here are the obstacles they felt were to challenge us:

Texas Tornado – 20 mph wind generated by an air boat that blew at you for about 5 seconds. The sound kind of made me worry as I didn’t know what the heck it was, then I see the boat, of course I am on the left hand side of the trail…I took the wind head on, it almost stopped me for a second, but then it was over.

Mud Pit #1 – Ankle deep mud just enough to get your clean clothes dirty, but nothing major. Although the mud outside the pit was more like slime, tough footing.

Walk the Plank – This was a 1-ft wide board over a small ditch about 5-ft wide…I could have driven my Harley over this board, it was so wide.

• Run through the Black Forest – Nothing hard here, except when you are tall you are constantly ducking the trees limbs the whole time!

• Mud Slide – finally got dirty, sat down and slide into the creek. The guy in front of me just stopped when got to the bottom, yeah I took him out. Sorry dude.

• Slippery Riverbed Run – Walked through most of this as the water levels kept changing from mid-shin to mid chest. I think I fell down once as the drop-off just comes from nowhere (actually just sat on my butt)

• Mud Climb – This was not hard at all, everyone was getting stuck and I was looking at them like they were idiots. If you find the footholds, you go right up. I thought this would be bad since I was there late on day two, but the hardest part was running again at the top. Again the slime mud factor kept you to a walk until the ground hardened up

• Mud Pit #2 – Again the hardest part was coming out of it onto the slime. Although I sit do the sit thing again as I first went in.

• Cargo Climb – You can see this baby from a distance and all I thought was really? It looked like they put the cargo rope over a set of bleachers. Three steps up and three steps down and back to running…not hard at all.

• Log Roll – BEST part of the whole course. We entered the lake/pond and the water level on me was mid chest to up to my neck on the last one. The logs actually floated and spun on a wire. It was funny watching people not get over these…they were the easiest part. I spun the log forward and then jumped up and when my belly hit it, the log would roll me over and into the water. I think I passed about 20 people. I caught the “Runners” of the pack that was pulling away from me on the run here. Of course they blew away when we got back on land.

• Splintering Spools – Not as tough as I first thought. These were wooden spools, ranging from small to large, positioned across the course. The big ones were in the middle and I was going to go for those until a guy in front of me tried it and fell backwards. So, I took the next medium size one and I hit it at a full sprint. I used my hands to grab the top bound right over it like a gymnast does the pommel horse. I scared the camera guy sitting there, he almost dropped his camera as I flew over the spool.

• Hay Bale Wall – This was nothing but a stack of hay bales maybe 4 high. Another joke of an obstacle, I kept my running pace and jumped up the first one and then the second and jumped down, moving on.

• Wall of Fire – I had been thinking of what to do all day when jumping this as I had my camera woman positioned there waiting for me to jump through. Funny thing is that I was running too fast and I had to slow down. I was about to be passed by a girl (actually she did pass me) she had been breathing behind me for sometime and then she ran by. So, I picked up the pace and we were side by side going into the fire. I ended up jumping the first one normal and on the second one I jumped and did my best flex in the air. I think my sock caught on fire too.

• Muddy Mayhem & Barbwire – So, the finish line is just ahead and I knew this was the last obstacle before the finish line. I was somewhat damp but totally clean, so following suit of some of the people I saw earlier, I dove headfirst into the mud. Yes I dove, to the chants and applause of the crowd. I couldn’t see when I came up, I wiped my eyes and I could only get one open enough to crawl through as I was caked in mud. I was on all fours trying to get through the mud pit with mud dripping in my good eye, burning like a mother and the other eye basically sealed shut by the slime mud…good times I tell ya!

All in all the race was pretty easy, the obstacles were really not that hard. I was expecting it to be worse. I really had no preconceived ideas of being all that competitive, I just wanted to run a good race, not kill myself and have fun. I actually surprised myself, when I thought I would be around 45-50 minutes I was shocked to find out I finished at 27:08.55. I didn’t feel like I was pushing myself that much, in fact I thought I was a little slow due to being sick earlier that week.
In the end there were 6,998 Warriors on Sunday and 6,658 Warriors on Saturday. Because I am a results junkie and very competitive I thought I would share some stats with you because I am impressed with myself. I finished 754th out of 6,998 contestants on Sunday and I ranked 81st in my age group of 35-39 out of 645 male Warriors. If you combine both days totals, I finished 1,644th out of 13,656 Warriors. I finished 193rd out of 1,300 male Warriors in my age group of 35-39. I now have a goal to beat for next year!

Now I play the waiting game as the next few races are not until September and November. Look for me to go after this new run called the “Jailbreak”and then Mudrun II and lastly the Tough Mudder and if we are lucky The Spartan Race is trying to get an October date! This is truly the year of the mud!

My Name is Travis and I talk to strangers!