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Run the Jailbreak Austin – 2011 – Race Recap

Burnet, TX – May 7, 2011

I have to say that it is a bit difficult remaining objective when you actually have friends that organize the race and you also work with/for the same race on a business level. Trying to leave the favoritism behind, we (DFW Mudcrew) traveled down to Burnet, TX to tackle the “Run the Jailbreak” breakin free hill country escape. This was already nothing like any of the previous races I had attended, which included The Spartan Sprint, DFW Mudrun, The Survival Race and Warrior Dash.

Yes it is true, this was better than Warrior Dash! Granted, lets keep it in context, while WD has close to 15k people attend, there were no where near that many, I think the approximate head count was close to 3000, it was the setting at Reveille Peak Ranch that made the difference. The setting was amazing, the pavilion overlooking the lake was perfect. When we arrived, it looked as if I was walking into the “Buffalo Chip” campgrounds (biker reference, if you don’t know look it up) and there was obviously a nice party the night before. I am guessing the camping was a hit!

DFW Mud Crew

So here we are, out in the middle of Nowhere, Texas and it appears as though this has a lot of potential. The band starts playing, the food is being served, corn-hole boards are ready to go (bean bag toss), the vendors are lined up, Monster Energy drinks in hand, this is going to be a great day. One of the perks of working with the event organizers is the ability to volunteer (free run!). So I did, and I was lucky to handle the fire hose with the Directors son. Together our job was to hose down the runners right after the start. All I can say, is yes I reverted to the 13 year old kid like my compadre in crime. While I was trying to be nice, my counter part was going for head shots on everyone, I went for the ground, then tried to move them into the slippery slope section. The best part…if you fell down, you were done, we totally kept the hose on…unti you got up and ran away. Every half hour a new batch arrived and the footing just got worse every time!

I know you are waiting for my review, well I can say that this was an AWESOME course. It had monster hills, challenging terrain, a cool slide and some great obstacles. The only draw back was that they didn’t have it chip timed, so trying to remember or find your time was difficult if that matters to you. I finished 3rd in my heat with a time of 32:02 with it being right around 2.86 miles according to my buddies GPS.

Course: This Course was way more than I expected, the big hill alone was a killer, but I can’t say enough how great this course was. I thought the Spartan course in Smithville was hard because of the three consecutive hills, but this was a little bit more challenging, because most of the front of the course was uphill at a slow incline. Not until you really went down the long water slide did you come back down. I loved it so much, I actually ran it twice. The second time, the last wave of the day, I ran with a friends son, my 13 year old buddy, who was no slouch finishing in 38 minutes. We ran the entire course together, at his pace and it was awesome!

Registration: Despite the small area near the entrance, they had the packet pickup pretty much under control and we were in and out without any hiccups. I was even able to snag one of the “white” shirts!

Atmosphere: Beside the run, the location was phenomenal, no wonder Spartan Race snatched up this location for its 2012 Sprint race location. The lodge are overlooking the lake is awesome, enough shade for everyone, we played corn-hole, jammed out to some awesome tunes and it wasn’t a beating like at Warrior Dash with a million people. One of the obstacles the A-frame was right in front so people were cheering others over the obstacle. By far the best after party of the year. I hated that we had to leave and drive back to Dallas!

If Jailbreak 2012 can live up to the 2011 race, then they definitely have a fan in me, it is going to be hard to get over that already established bar, but I think they can do it, I have faith! If you want a code to get a discount, here is your discount code!

Jailbreak Austin 2011

First Run

Time: 32:00

Distance: 3.36

Finish: 3rd in wave

Second Run:

Time: 38:03

Distance: 3.36

Finish: no clue

Warrior Dash – Race Recap 2011

Warrior Dash 2011, another year, new location…

Last year I traveled down to Forney, TX for my first ever Warrior Dash. You can read about that race here.  This year, after meeting a new group of fellow mud junkies, we call ourselves the DFW Mudcrew I was once again ready for the Warrior Dash. This year the race was being held at the DFW Adventure Park, the same exact place as where Run the Jailbreak held it’s fall DFW run.  So this was going to be interesting to see how they would modify the course, or just use the same one.

Two things I have learned about the WD, a lot of people show up (14k) and the atmosphere afterwards is a big ole party.

This year I am not going to go through each obstacle and rate it or tell you about it. Because in reality, they were all really easy.  The course was less than a 5k, only about 2.78 miles.  The most difficult part of the race was actually the Cargo Net and only because we caught up to the group from the previous wave (this was the last time we ran in the middle of day, first waves only from here on out).

So here are a list of the obstacles I remember being in the race, they may not be in true order, but they are pretty close.

  1. Lake crossing
  2. Trailer
  3. Tires and cars
  4. High wall low wall
  5. Rope wall
  6. Balance beam
  7. Tangled wires
  8. Tunnel crawl
  9. Rope roll
  10. Hay bales
  11. Cargo net
  12. Water log roll
  13. Fire
  14. Mud pit

So my thoughts on the WD – this is a great race if you are a beginner to the world of mud runs or you are looking to just have a good time.  The course is relatively easy, most of the running is done on the 4-wheeler trails and the obstacles are in the middle of the trail. I was surprised at how fast the course was and how they used the same basic layout as Jailbreak. There really was not much mud, just crossed one pond, the log rolls and the mud pit at the end.  The other fun part is this is one of the few races that as a group, we actually all dressed up in costumes.  Our group all wore Tutu’s!

But I can tell you that it was during this race that a switch turned on inside of me and I decided to take training for these to the next level. I totally want to win, win my heats, win my age groups and not be so tired.  I spent the whole race trying to catch Mr. Shanks (but to no avail). So here is how I finished up this years WD:

 

 

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Time: 27:09

Distance: 2.79

Finish: 413 of 14,195

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So if you are just looking to have a good time afterwards, see outrageous costumes, drink a lot of beer and listen to good music, then this is definitely the event for you.  I plan on doing it again just for the entertainment factor alone!

Catch you on the flip side ~ Blydawg

Run the Jailbreak – Race Recap 2010

By: Travis E. Blythe

This year I embarked on a mission to challenge myself physically as well as mentally. So I set off to actually do what most people pledge they are going to do.  One of the items was to compete in events like this.  This was my third of the year, I had already completed the DFW Mudrun and the Warrior Dash.  This one was called “Run the Jailbreak” a pretty simple theme to it, run like you just broke out of jail and get away.  I actually thought most of the time like I was the fugitive!

Going off what the website says the obstacles are, below are all of the obstacles and what my opinions of them are.

  1. Jailbreak Start – Nothing special about this, I did like that they actually had us doing some boot camp warm ups to get the blood pumping before the race.
  2. Allied Waste’s Outer Trenches – Unfortunately I ran through this maze of short walls, rolling hills and one culvert.  Mostly because there were people everywhere and I was annoyed, people jumping and falling and stopping in front of things…grrr…so I just ran through it.
  3. TMX’s Culverts – Not really an obstacle just something to run through, which was actually the middle of the table top jump from the motocross course.
  4. MGD 64’s Hydro Gauntlet – This was okay.  After some running, you go chest deep into the a small lake and they shoot water cannons up in the air to get you wet.  Coming out was a challenge just because the people in front of me kept falling down.  Nothing like trying to get running when your sliding in mud.
  5. Mustang Maze – Now that we are nice and wet, we run through a paintball arena made up of house looking structures. Not really hard since you were running in and out of makeshift buildings.
  6. DFW Adventure Park’s Sharpshooter – This was different, we had to stop and shoot laser tag, just enough to catch my breath, but I didn’t play too long, I had a race to run!
  7. Monster Mountain – I am guessing this was the hay bail mountain. It was not in the place they show it to be on the map, but none the less, not too hard, I took the first shelf at a run, then scrambled up the rest.  Hopped down the other side and off to run some more.
  8. Soleus River SlideThis was fun, a short water slide, I went feet first since I was not sure how deep it was at the bottom.  Glad I did, it was shallow!
  9. Honda Kawasaki West’s Final PlungeNot sure what this was, I don’t remember it
  10. Sgt. H20’s River Crossing- I am assuming this was what we did after the waterslide, walking in the waist deep creek, slowed you down some.  I managed to actually pass some folks here and coming out of the creek too.
  11. 7-11’s Colditz Canyon Crawl – I am not sure what this is either.  When we came out of the creek, we had to climb up a wall of tires, this was fun and took less then 30 seconds for me, I was like spiderman going up this, it was fun and easy to do.
  12. North Texas Bank’s Hay Baled Out – Again, I have no idea what this was, as we already went up and down the hay bales.
  13. Dare to TreadI think this was the tires they had in the middle of the road, all I can say is, thank you P90X for the Plyometrics training in which I did this, I went through these like I was in training camp, high knees and all, sure I could have ran around them, but why do the course then?
  14. Levee BreachI think this was just one of the many flooded out road ways.  Not too hard, good way to catch your breath, definitely slows down the running.
  15. Mud Punishment – I am assuming that this is the barbwire crawl we had to do near the end. Not the hardest obstacle, but trying to go fast was tricky, then I torn up my knees crawling through and I got mud in my eye!
  16. Victory Party – Not much parting going on when you are the last group on the course, everyone seemed to split and most of the vendors were closing it up as well.

So what is my overall review?  I thought this was easier than the Warrior Dash.  Most of the obstacles were just water related and not really mud, don’t get me wrong, coming out of the water was the worst part where the slime actually was.  Trying to get going again was a pain!  I guess I was expecting something more challenging physically.  The run was tough the 3.8 miles seemed to go on and on and running over a motocross track up and down the whoops were tough at the end, but I wanted more. I was also disappointed that the event was not timed properly, for the money (entrance fee) you got a t-shirt, 2-beers, 1-sandwich and a good time. No timing chips were used and thus you only had the clock to look at when you finished and compare with what people said they did.  I think it would have been nice to see where you place in your age group or heat. I know, don’t beat me up, it was for a great charity “Sower of Seeds” and I did like the fact that we got to park at the Texas Motor Speedway and took buses there and back.  It was really easy and I was not annoyed about it at all.

By far the DFW Mudrun was the most physical one I have done to date.  My favorite part of the Jailbreak though was the tire hill climb!  I also wanted to mention that the monster truck tires were awesome to take at a dead run.  I wanted to thank the guy I raced towards the end, he really pushed me to run faster.

I never expect to finish first when it comes to races like this, but for a minute I thought I had a chance.  Normally I watch as the fast guys take off and I just try to maintain  the same pace throughout the race, if not try to increase as it goes on.  For this race, I watched them take off and then was surprised as I reeled them in one at a time.  The guy I thought was the race leader, I caught about 2/3 of the way through, and he was tired.  Breathing hard and running with a slight limp, I was shocked he kept going at the pace he did once I ran up on him.  It was at this point where I was trying to recall all of the people I saw sprint out and how many I passed.  This was the guy I remembered the most because he was in blue and he disappeared from sight right in the beginning.  So for the last 1/3 of the race I thought I was racing to be the winner of the heat.  I let him get ahead about 3 paces knowing I had some reserves in my tank for a sprint to the finish.  We took turns passing each other, then side by side, we scaled those huge monster tires in unison and never missed a stride.  As we got closer to the finish, I would get ahead during the water obstacles and mud, but he would sprint to catch me every time.  We entered the last crawl at the same time.  I had someone in front of me and I thought I was toast, but after crawling through, I was winning and never looked back as we headed to the knee deep water and then to the finish.  I later found out he gave up on the crawl and conceded to me as he was spent.  He later told me the water was a killer for him. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the water saved me as the run was killing me!

My dream was quickly shattered when I crossed the finish line and learned that there were 5 others that already finished…Oh well, I ran it in 39:01 not a bad time if I do say so myself!  It will be interesting to see how the Warrior Dash organizes the same course next year for their 2011 run.  Yes they are using the DFW Adventure park as well.

While writing this blog, the Caveman Extreme contacted me from a post I left on Facebook and left me this message and a coupon code: We saw your post on Jailbreak and we felt the same way about the chip timing. We wanted to extend an invitation to you to the Caveman Xtreme, which is chip timed. This is our second event this year. We had very positive feedback on our course from the Caveman Crawl. Caveman Xtreme is located in Bridgeport on October 23. Bridgeport is located 33 miles west from the Jailbreak location. There will be over 40 obstacles at this event along with an attempt to break a Guinness World Record.

All I can say is…umm yeah I want to be a part of a Guinness World Record!  See you out on the course!

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!