Have you ever had the feeling that you are right where you are meant to be? That’s me the last couple weekends. After all the cancellations and postponements, I found myself climbing over walls and crawling through mud again. I knew I loved running OCR, but until now I didn’t realize just how much. Oh, I’m no elite (yet), but I love the rush, and have focused on race skills since changing gyms last November. Being able to measure that was just what I’ve been waiting for.

Extreme Timber Challenge (XTC) was a great reset to a mostly lost 2020 season. It was my first time at the local KC series – I should have done it sooner! A fun, fast run with a variety of obstacles – riding the zip and dragging tires made me feel right at home. If I have any regret, if would be that I didn’t take XTC as seriously as I could have. Basically I treated it like a warm-up for my trip this past weekend.

Let me say this: Savage Race put on a show Saturday in Maryland. Frequent small waves, reduced overall capacity, safety guidelines – they did a great job. This was my first Savage, and for sure not the last. The obstacles were tough but fun, and the course was the same. The people were what I’ve come to expect from OCR – helpful, friendly, giving a physical or verbal boost any time it was needed. After 8 Spartans, I was maybe a bit snobbish about some of the other races; Warrior Dash was a half step above an inflatable run, in my opinion. Rugged Maniac was a bit tougher, but still not on par.

In all fairness, I had never run Conquer the Gauntlet (postponed in July 2020), Tough Mudder or Savage. The big difference we noted as we worked our way around the Maryland countryside was the emphasis on grip and hanging obstacles. Spartan has more strength challenges (Atlas, sandbag carry, sled pulls) but there are really only 3 or 4 grip/hang tests, vs. twice as many Saturday.

Wheel World and others were fun, but Sawtooth and Colossus are the two signature obstacles, and they did not disappoint. I believe I would have beaten Sawtooth but to be honest, I got a little cocky as I blew through the incline and the “tooth” in the middle. I went to pull a 180 for the long reach up, but I didn’t finish the transfer first – splashdown!

Colossus is a ramp wall with a rope, then a steep 24-foot water slide. Sitting near the end of the course, the challenge is having grip left to convert it; I would have struggled a year ago. The past 10 months paid off, though, and I actually handled it pretty easily. Oh, and that water slide? The free fall off the top for an instant is a seriously fun rush!

I walked away from this weekend with a whole slew of firsts and reminders:

  • Take a chance on something new – you may find that it is tailor made for you. We tell our kids this all the time, but lose sight of it for ourselves!
  • Don’t save it for next time. Leave it all out there – live for today! Life will throw curves at you, so do it now. Had Savage not gone off for me, I would have regretted not going hard at XTC all fall and winter.

Most importantly, though – trust your catcher. They know best!

Right – Uh… Wut?

Nuke: That was great, huh?

Crash: Your fastball’s up, your curveball’s hanging. In the Show they would’ve ripped you.

Nuke: Can’t you even let me enjoy the moment?

Crash: The moment’s over.

Bull Durham, 1988

The key to improvement is honest self-analysis. Last year’s realization I was lacking upper body and grip strength got me to a new gym and routine. That emphasis showed big time this weekend – and Saturday gave me markers going forward.

I had a blast on the course. Now, the moment is over. It’s time to get back to work. I can choose to stay where I was or I push myself farther – and I’m not done yet.

You can make the same choice in whatever you are doing. Tread water in the shallows or go out into the big waves? Keep the job you don’t like or challenge yourself? Whatever it is, don’t bask too long. The moment is over – now go create your next!

Cover Image: Photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash