Savage Race. Done.

On Saturday, I completed the Savage Race.

We had a fantastic run. My team, the Elite Warriors, met up around 7:15am at our gym. From there we car-pooled to the event about an hour away. The land where the race was held was beautiful; large expanses of grass and hay dotted with lakes and swamp land. There was an area for horse racing, and a place for, I think, polo. We met up with another group who had gotten there earlier than us and set up a couple of tents near the finish line. We got out stuff all situated and had some time to check out the last bit of the course and watch some of the first finishers come across the line. Those were the men and women in the competitive heat. They were there to get the fastest times. The first guy came across in around 55 minutes, which was pretty good for a 6 mile course.

Around 10 after 10 we all got together and stretched and did a quick warm up before heading across the field to the start line. At 10:20am, we were off. We tried to stick together, but each obstacle split us up a bit more. One of the first tough obstacles was the ice bath. I jumped in and was immediately hit by the cold. I let out a few uncontrollable grunts, ducked under the middles section of the pool, and got out of there as fast as I could. People weren’t moving fast enough so I jumped up on to the side of the pool and jumped down to the ground without using the steps. It wasn’t as bad as last time. I couldn’t feel the ice on my skin, just the chill from the water, and within a few minutes the cold has passed. After another couple of obstacles, I noticed a couple of guys from my team up ahead of everyone else. I caught up with them and the three of us stayed together the rest of the time.

It is definitely better to run the race with people. Last time, I ended up alone. I had a good time, but it was much nicer to share the experience with other people, to have people encouraging you and whom you can encourage. I set the running pace, and we all helped each other through the obstacles, if by no other way, then, “you can do it…great job…let’s go!”

The obstacles were spread out pretty far. So you would run for a while, then hit 2-3 obstacles in a row, then run for a while. I kept a look out for the tubes, my nemesis. I let the guys know early on about my fear nerves insecurity concern of the tubes. When I first saw that it was coming up, somewhere around mile 4, I made my concern known verbally. But, as we got close, it looked as though the tubes were bigger than the previous race. I crawled under the barbed wire and went for the center tube so it would be more difficult to back out. I followed someone up the tube, and kept repeating to myself, “trust in God, trust in god, trust in God” and soon I was at the top of the tube, then it was a fairly quick slide down the other side and back into open air. After crawling under the last bit of barbed wire I stood up, let out a yell and carried on. I conquered it. The guys gave me a “good job” and I didn’t care what obstacles were left. I had done what I came to do.

But there was still more fun to be had.

There was a 10 foot jump into a pool of water. Conquered. There was the monkey bars in the shape of a W which meant you had to climb down and up with just your arms. Conquered. There was the 20 foot cargo net to climb up and over. Conquered. The log carry. Conquered. The long run and all the obstacles prior to the tubes. Conquered. Conquered. Conquered. The only thing that beat me was the balance beam. I was ¾ the way across and the thing just started shaking too much. I probably could have stood here and caught my balance, but there were quite a few people waiting behind me so I bailed into the water and kept moving.

We were making great time. There is something about running off-road that make it so much easier to keep going. Or maybe it was he slower moving people who motivated me to keep pushing past them; to not stop, to go go go. Whatever it was, got us to the end of the race pretty quickly. Not nearly as fast as the top runners, but we were passing people that started 2-040 minutes ahead of us. And then we got to the end.

Well, near the end. The last set of obstacles started out with a 30 ft. tall slide, maybe taller. But, to get up to the slide you have to climb this huge warped wall. There was a rope you could use to help yourself up, and the obstacle was wide enough for 4 people to go at the same time, but because it was so challenging, it got backed up. We waited 20 minutes for our turn. At first, I was frustrated that we couldn’t keep moving, but then I noticed something.

As people were trying to get up the wall, the people at the top of the wall were reaching down to help pull them up. And, the 100-150 people waiting to go up the wall were cheering them on. If someone fell, we all fell with them. If someone made it, it was the accomplishment of the crowd. There was a strong sense of community. We were all in this thing together. It was a beautiful moment…or 20 minutes worth of moments.

Finally, it was my turn. I took a good run up to the wall, grabbed the rope, and started pulling myself up. A guy reached down and helped me the last bit of the way. I then turned around and helped my two teammates up and we continued up the latter and then down the slide. Conquered.

We rolled through he live wires. Strange. Conquered.

Jumped over the fire. Conquered.

Crawled up the barbed wire. Conquered.

Ran across the finish lines. Race conquered.

We got our medals, some water, and our free beer. We then went back to our tent area, shared our war stories with each other, and then waited for the rest of our team to come across the finish lines, and cheered them on as they did. In case you didn’t catch that, we finished first out of our group. It took us an hour and 40 minutes which is a far cry from the top runners, but if you figure they didn’t have to wait in any lines, and we spent about 30 minutes waiting, then we did pretty well. But, I guess you have to calculate in the fact that we got to rest while we were waiting for other people so that helped us go faster when we could move. We’ll call it an hour and 20 minutes.

God was definitely there that day. He was in the trees, the blue skies, the soft grass, deep mud, and sand dunes. He was all around us, and it was so amazing to get to spend a couple of hours enjoying his creation, challenge my body, commune with His children, and find just enough faith in him to overcome a fear.

Where have you seen God lately?

Here is the official video for Saturday’s race.

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