I haven’t updated for a bit. Life and school got in the way. It happens! I had a few races that I’ll let slide off the radar but one that I just did will get a nice long blog post because it was pretty dang interesting.
I signed up for Iceman Extreme Obstacle 5K on a whim. I figured it couldn’t be too hard. It’s a 5K and a few obstacles. I could do that no problem. From previous experience, half of the obstacle races just toss the “obstacles” in for photo ops…they aren’t that hard.
There was my mindset entering into Iceman. Wrong mindset.
On Saturday I woke up at a normal time as my wave didn’t start until 11:30. The drive to get to Dayton, MN was about 45 minutes and I needed to be there at least a half hour prior for check-in and briefing according to the site so I had plenty of time to wake up, eat, have some coffee, throw on some winter running gear and head out the door.
Hubby and I hopped into our new used Limovan (RIP OLD LIMOVAN) and drove to the Daytona Golf Course, home of Iceman Extreme Obstacle 5K. As we pulled into the lot, I couldn’t help but notice a few runners face planting as they jogged (and walked looking exhausted) by… and in the distance I could see people scaling walls…and snow piles. Oh. Ok.
I went into the indoor tennis courts where the pre-and post-festivities for Iceman were going on and got my bib, chip and swag. Great stuff! I got a mug and t-shirt. I love race mugs. I attached the bib and chip and looked at some of the runners who had finished this race. They were wet and many had torn up knees. Interesting. I began to think I misjudged the race.
Soon enough my wave was called for briefing. We were warned to stay in the orange tape. DON’T GO OUT OF THE ORANGE TAPE. And some other stuff I don’t remember, but I remember that and I remembered to do that. And then we were told to head to the starting line.
We started under one of those big inflatable start things. There was no gun or anything, just a countdown and “GO!” and we were off…sort of. We all tried to run but there was a lot of SNOW. So the people who peeled out quickly lost their footing and tripped and those who didn’t quickly realized the need for high knees. Me? I lost my breath quickly and high kneed, stumbling until suddenly there was a steep down that I used my butt to handle. I did that on purpose, I promise.
That was a warm up as after going through some nice snow and some random ups and downs a bunch of walls suddenly appeared that I had to hoist myself over again and again. And then the snow returned. I was longing for a nice, packed down running surface…but it was nowhere to be found.
Suddenly the ground disappeared, literally. It was a ravine or something- there was no way to get down except to slide on your butt. OK so I did. To get out of it, I climbed up the cargo nets, which were spaced far apart and loose. The snow got in my face and down my shirt. I was laughing at the humor of it…and it was fun, even if it was hard. Got out of that, tromped through about 5 ft. of snow and bam…another ravine thing to slide down and climb out of. I was tired and I wasn’t very far into this thing! What the heck?
After the ravines was a bit of “running” if you could call it that as it was so hard to run on this course. It was an exhausting high knee jog while praying to find some packed down snow, stumbling, tripping, and sometimes giggling when someone fell (while hoping you weren’t next). It was slippery and deep. That type of snow that is hard to even walk in.
I kept “running” until these logs popped up that I had to duck under. There were 3 in a row and then behind them a bunch of 55 gallon drums hanging from the trees. They looked so innocent. Then I tried to run. The person in front of me moved one out of the way and it ‘clanged’ and flew back and knocked me over. I moved one and it hit the runner behind me and the one next to it hit a different one which hit me! Getting through them was hilarious as everyone was getting clunked to a “Clang” sound and falling, swearing, and (at least I was) laughing. At the other end was more of that “snow running” thing.
Soon enough I was on my belly going under barbed wire. Easy enough except that I was face first in the snow. I finished that obstacle pretty quick just because I was getting snow down my shirt again.
Then there was a long stretch of “running” where if the unpacked snow wasn’t enough I’m pretty sure they tossed snow piles in to make it more “fun” as there were piles that I went up and over (or sometimes sunk right into/fell off) and a nice hill to attempt to run up with uneven snow footing.
Some snow tubes appeared that I had to belly through. They were long enough and narrow enough to be decently uncomfortable and make me use my arms a bit. I was happy to get up at the other side and move again on my feet.
More snow running and then a nice 12’ tall cargo net to climb up and over. I climbed it, got straddled at the top and quite honestly went down more slowly than I went up…using the time to catch my breath!
There was quite another stretch of jogasnowtromping and then… a large pile of logs. What? Volunteer “Pick up a log and carry it that-a-way!” OK
So I did. I hefted up a log. I tried to run. The snow was deep. I didn’t run very far before I fell to my knees. I re-lifted the dumb log and tried again. First I swore at it to put it in its place and then I moved more carefully. I looked at the others with logs. There were two camps: Those who were cheating (no log at all) and those who were walking with the log. No one was running. OK, I wasn’t going to skip an obstacle. I walked with the log. I high kneed with the &#$% log for a quarter mile and then suddenly there was another obstacle.
I had to roll that same dumb log under a bunch of rope. I threw the log a bit ahead of me, got on my knees just under the rope and rolled the log. We moved forward pretty quickly, the log and I. We beat the people next to us because we were angry at this obstacle. Then I had to stand up and carry the log again…back to where I picked it up! MY ARMS HURT. I was breathing heavy and I wasn’t even running. It was taking forever and I was getting grumpy. I was starting to talk to the log as if it was alive. I was pretty sure that we weren’t friends.
I threw the log on the pile of other logs, glared for a second and then took off on the next part of the course. I forgot for a moment what I was running in and face planted within 50 feet as I attempted to ‘make up time’. Back to high knees. Back to snowjogtripping. Got it. It was uphill for a nice stretch and what goes up comes down usually. It did. A guy fell right in front of me on the down and I hurdled over him and then checked to see if he was ok. He was so I carried on.
Up came a series of tunnels to crawl through. From what the size was I’m guessing men/bigger people would have to belly through but I was able to crawl so that was nice. I could go decently fast crawling – my knees got a bit cold though from the snow—I was already drenched so it was fine!
Then I hit a wooded area and there were some vertical ladders, horizontal ladders, hurdles and other oddities scattered around. I didn’t find them too difficult.
After the woods there were a bunch of tree limbs tossed sideways and lit on fire. I was expected to jump over these. I paused for a moment and looked at this as 1) I was very tired and questioned my jumping ability 2) the fire was kind of high 3) I wasn’t wet enough to not catch on fire
I found a reasonably low spot of fire on the first set and jumped as high as I could hurdle. CLEAR. The second one I admit to running around –I couldn’t find a clearance. The third I hurdled, clipped a branch, checked myself for “on fire” and continued on.
More snowtripjogging. SO TIRED. Some very tall walls suddenly came up. There were ropes hanging off of them. I knew what that meant. I had to climb up and over the walls. FOUR WALLS. And I was so tired.
The first wall. I grabbed the rope, I ignored my screaming arms, got myself to the top, straddled, got the rope on the other side, got down. Ran to the next wall and looked at it. I looked at it again. I grabbed the rope, I got partway and slipped. I swore. I tried again and made it to the top. I straddled longer this time. I roped down the other side. Ran to the next wall. HALF WAY DONE WITH THESE WALLS. I grabbed the rope. I pulled myself up. Straddled. Got down. UGH ONE MORE. I don’t want to do anymore. I walked to the next wall. Grabbed the rope. Pulled myself up, not very confidently this time. I grunted. I straddled. I got down. OMG I DID IT. Wait. Still gotta run.
I could see the finish. I tried to run. Stupid snow. I high kneed. There were some boards, I ducked under them. A net. OK, I’ll crawl through. It was all up on me. There was no crawling. It was inchworm. Lift. Inchworm. Lift. Inchworm. I got out of the net and nearly face planted in a snow pile trying to get to the finish line. There it was though…the finish. And there I was, at the finish of one of the hardest races I’ve ever run.
Iceman took me 50 minutes to complete. That is a 50 minute 5K. That is double my normal 5K time.
I didn’t feel in shape at all. My arms felt weak and I wanted to “run” with the log, even if it was snowjogtripping versus the high kneed walk that I was doing.
All in all though- I finished 7th in my age group (out of 90)
18th for women (out of 238)
107th overall (out of 475)
Would I do this race again? Yes, in a heartbeat. I saw many, many people skipping obstacles…I didn’t skip any and for that I’m proud. It was a huge challenge for me and I overcame it. I plan on coming back next year with a bit more upper body strength in tow and some humblepie.