As with all stories, they start at the beginning. So if you need to catch up you can do so here!
49. Refer back to 1 through 31, just more slippery, muddier, hellish and slower. Being a bit superstitious I take the exact same lanes at each obstacle as I did the first lap.
50. It’s still fucking raining.
51. It keeps my spirits up realizing I am passing people from the 8:30 open wave.
52. I made a critical error going shirtless. I am starting to get seriously cold. It never fucking occurred to me that when it rains you never dry off from the cold water obstacles. CRAP!
53. By now that Electrolyte drink I spat out at the very first hydration station has become ambrosia. I down a cup of that shit and savor it like it was 23 year Pappy.
54. People are walking through the pond. It didn’t occur to me on the first lap to even check the depth. However it’s up to our shoulders and takes more effort to move in this manner. The water is colder or I am. I execute another fine imitation of my grandmother’s swimming form. I wonder if she’s looking down wondering what the fuck I am up to?
55. The Wreck Bag hill has surely dropped down into deeper circles of Hell. There is now water freely flowing down the ruts. I pass two young, ripped meatheads as they are complaining and whining about wanting to drop the bag in situ (my latin…..certainly not theirs) and just head to the beer tent. “Bitches, you just got passed by a dude at least 15 years your senior…AND, the ladies have to carry the same bag!!” This gives me the mental boost I need to top out and finish this fucker.
56. The people doing BFX must be out of their fucking minds!
57. I am pretty much scared shitless as I crest over the top of 60 Degrees. I am exhausted, and this slippery ladder from hell requires supreme focus.
58. Delta Ladder is a grind. The hips are complaining vociferously! I’m pretty scared shitless at the top of this one also.
59. I scan the crowd for my mom. I could REALLY use my sweatshirt and a towel. I need a moment to dry off before I tackle the Monkey Bars. No luck.
60. There, crumpled in a mess, is the same shirt. It’s wet of course, but somehow feels dryer than I am. I “dry” off my hands, excuse myself through a couple of guys resting on the platform and go. OOOOO! I can feel my body weight this time as I make my way down the first section. I think I got this. The flat section transition to the upward section takes tremendous effort. “DAMN! The gas light is going blinky, blinky, blinky!” I’m getting heavier but the grip feels solid. The end is fucking near! Three bars to go. Then nothing. I’m falling in a weird slow motion as I watch my right hand miss the bar. My left hand/shoulder not tooled up to take the unexpected weight shift. SPLASH! A few “Gosh Darns” and “Gee Whizzes” and I circle back to try again.
61. I could REALLY use my sweatshirt and a towel.
62. I ask a gentlemen spectator if he can get me a towel; anything to wipe off my hands. I almost jump over the fence and hug him when he comes back with one. Back I go.
63. 4 bars from the end and I stall out. Everything in my upper body telling me to fuck the hell off. I fall. I get out of the water and stand there dazed and confused, minus the weed, the hot young girls, and Matthew McConaughey. I hang out at the end platform like a lost puppy. Not really focusing on any one thing. My brain is shot. I can tell my shoulders won’t handle another trip through without a long rest. I am starting to shiver. I’m too cold to rest it out. I could REALLY use my sweatshirt and a towel. I give up my orange band as if it’s the last piece of chocolate on earth. I am defeated and demoralized.
64. I pick the same lane at Tsunami, cruise on up, top out and my calves immediately seize up. My screams are unmanly and unseemly. I get a helping hand up from another racer.
65. I can barely get out of the water.
66. The Normandy Jacks are a disaster of huge mud holes and ROCKY soil and low strung wire. My calves won’t cooperate, so I can’t bear crawl through this to avoid the sharp rocks. I drag myself through as the calves – sometimes only one, sometimes both – keep seizing up. I am going at a blistering 47.18 minute/mile pace. I note a large brown spider crawling out of one of the mud pits with me. “You best vacate this area most ricky ticky little arachnid dude!” Great! I am literally talking to spiders.
67. And then it’s done. Garmin says 11.31 miles. I say Hell now has a mile marker.
68. THAT was fucking AWESOME!!!!! This course was brutal and so fantastic. Everything about it was textbook challenge. The inclement weather only made it better for an old dude like me. I fear it would give a first time OCR runner complete and utter shell shock from which they might not recover from to want to race another day. Nonetheless, Tretsch says DO it!
April 25, 2015 10:50 AM – I am shivering. There is a worried look on my Mom’s face as she describes how blue/purple my lips and face are. I’m exhausted. I’m Done. “Daddy is it time for my race yet?!” says Lil’ B. “Man up Tretsch”, time to get warm and get the clothes changed so I can go to the most important race of the day; The Tadpole Dash.
April 25, 2015 11:05 AM – I am not letting that cold ass shower water go above my knees. Imma gonna just towel clean everything north of Kneecapistan.
April 25, 2015 11:10 AM – The changing tent floor is almost as bad as the festival area grounds. I find a small dry patch as mud squishes through my toes on the way there. Another dark material tent! Hello!? You can’t see in a tent that is fucking BLACK (or was it blue?), and blocks what little light there is on this rainy grey day. I’m near the open flap of the tent. I don’t care if the outside world can see my business. Not much there anyways given my body temperature. Every move, every task is done in exquisitely slow, shivering, exhausted movements. Getting my muddy feet through the legs of my boxers without getting them dirty is the 61st obstacle of the day. The rain has finally stopped.
Writer’s note: You, my dear reader, may choose to bail if you are not interested in the Kiddy races. I know it’s been a long slog with a Wreck Bag of words and you are probably tired and in need of some nourishment and hydration. Until next time.
April 25, 2015 11:23 AM – “Daddy is it time for my race yet?!” “No sweety. About a half hour”. “Don’t forget, Daddy, you need to write numbers on my arm….and a heart!” “Yes baby love.”
April 25, 2015 11:25 AM – “Daddy is it time for my race yet?!”
April 25, 2015 11:45 AM – “Sweety it’s time to get ready for your race!” “YEAH!! Don’t forget to write my numbers on my arm….and a heart. In pink!” “I know baby love.”
April 25, 11:55 AM – We are all gathered around as Mike Getka from Battlefrog teaches the children how to do 8-count body builders. The cuteness factor is pegging at 11. The parents are all jockeying for the best camera angles. I meet some guy name Ryan Atkins from Toronto and his huge Husky. Seems like a nice kid. Wonder if he is running the race today? My mom crushes that poor pup (the husky, not Ryan) under a barrage of loving and petting.
April 25, 12ish PM – The Tadpole race starts. A big muddy puddle and a small wall and the air is filled with laughing screaming children. Down a sketchy hill, around a cool banked S curve and then it’s more mud and a tall dirt mountain. Unfortunately this is all going on in the woods and away from the festival area, so Lil’ B’s grandmother can’t enjoy the fun. Mud mounds and mud pits get the children really screaming, then it’s a steep hill climb. I am:
a. Filming with my phone
b. Trying not to bust my ass
c. Hoping my calves don’t explode into a post-race pile of mush.
Then it’s around the corner, a great volunteer cheering her head off for all the kids, and a huge (relative to this race’s age group of 4-8) Delta ladder/Cargo net comes into view. Must be almost 8’ tall. I’m a bit nervous, and I am sure Lil’ B was gonna balk and want me to help. Nope. As soon as a “lane” opened up she went straight up with nary a thought. Over and down the cargo net and it was back on! A stumble on some rocks, but good recovery and she then looks back and tells her old man to watch out. This is a valid concern on her part. So awesome.
A quick scramble up a hill without using rope and it was mini Normandy Jacks time. This was exactly the same as the adults down to the sharp rocks, gravelly soil and deep mud pits, only writ small. At this age it would have been better to be smooth mud. Bennett gets her medal from that kid Ryan. I guess he’s a big deal in the OCR world. I need to check that out. She gives me a couple of “Hooyahs!” and then says, “Daddy can we do it again?! I wanna do it again!” There’s no energy like 6 year old energy.
April 25, 12:30 PM – Again, Lil’ B goes through the 8-count body builders with the older children who are going to run the Bullfrog 1 mile. Same start and initial route as before, but after the hill climb the course turns right in the shadow (if there had been sun) of a huge green sign that says one mile…and an arrow. I ask Lil’ B if she wants to do the 1 mile, and I get a resounding yes. I weep just a little on the inside for my legs. The trail winds through the woods, it’s quite lovely. I almost forget I just went through the same kind of bucolic surroundings…..except I didn’t. There are tall walls that Lil’ B gets a hoist up onto, but she nervously goes over the edge on her own while I go to the other side to catch. She has fun sliding down the backside of an inverse wall. There is some Over/Under/Throughs. The volunteers the whole time being helpful and supportive. “Daddy, I have to go potty!” Detour time! That tree looks nice.
Back on the trail there’s lots of muddy puddles to go through, and we seem to be alone. We catch up to some people at the lip of a HUGE (again, it’s all relative) mud pond/hole. Maybe 75 yards across. Mike Getka is there lending a helping hand. Lil’ B asks if it’s deep, she is assured it is not so for her height, proven by the children ahead of her already in the water with their parents. Surprise of surprises she goes in alone and fords the whole distance on her own, while I stand and chat with Mike and give him my two cents on the music volume. I run…..more of a zombie like shuffle….to the other side after she is across, yelling all sorts of proud parent things. “Daddy, can I do that again?!”
Around she goes and does it again, this time completely alone in that watery expanse. A tiny dot of yellow, bright against the disgusting grey/brown of the muddy water. By now we are completely bringing up the rear of this race. And the love I feel for Battlefrog right now as I think about the amazing experience Bennett and I had while she was doing the last few obstacles with at least 10 volunteers, Mike Getka from Battlefrog, and a SeaBees upper mucketymuck cheering with unabashed enthusiasm for Bennett as she completed the course, is palpable. They had all just had a long day I’m sure, and to show that kind of support was just really touching.
April 25, 1ish PM – “Daddy can we do that again?!” “No, baby love. Not this time.”
And just like that…all good things come to an end! Again, be sure to check out Part 1 here if you missed out.
*Photos By: BattleFrog Race Series