Savage Race Fall 2015: The Most Fun I’ve Had in a While

There’s a loyal following among Floridians for Savage Race and it’s not hard to see why. The festival area is always set up well and easy to navigate and the check in process usually goes pretty smoothly. There are several options for food and drinks available and the Savage Race team go out of their way to make sure everyone is having a good time. Sam Abbitt, the CEO of Savage Race, can be seen driving his cart around the course to check out any issues that may pop up during the race.

My team, MudRunFun, was fortunate enough to be chosen to help Savage Race shoot a promotional video which will be released in early 2016. When I arrived, I parked in the VIP parking lot and checked in, eager to meet with the rest of my team in the VIP tent area. It was a very nice area complete with our own personal port-o-potties (that was the best part!). We did our usual pre-race pump up routine, complete with cheers of “MUDRUNFUN!” every time we saw one of our other teammates (or just randomly because we felt like it) and of course Fireball made it’s appearance.

By the time we were ready to line up in the start wave, we were jittery with pre-race anticipation. Brian, the videographer who was following us on course, had us line up towards the front of the start line so he could get some good shots of us. Matt, the emcee, pumped us all up with shouts of “Let’s get Savage!” and his customary “Ooh, ah, ooh, ah!” Finally it was time to set off on the course!

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The first obstacle we hit was Shriveled Richard (the ice bath, if you couldn’t guess by the name). Savage Race likes to shock us before we’ve had a chance to warm up. Since it was a rather warm day outside (in the 70’s), it actually felt like a rather chilly bath. Don’t get me wrong, it was freezing cold, but not as bad as I remember it being in the spring event, when the outside temp was in the 50’s. After we got out of the ice bath, it was on to Barn Doors and then Low Crawl. Sawtooth was next; this is one obstacle I had been looking forward to. Last spring, I opted to skip Sawtooth because I suffered pretty bad rope burns sliding down the rope at Colossus- and Sawtooth was right after Colossus. This time it was the fourth obstacle in, so I figured my strength would be better and my hands less blistered.

Making my first attempt at Sawtooth
Making my first attempt at Sawtooth

Sawtooth monkey bars go up, down, up and then down again to the end. I was doing pretty well until the second “up” part where the bar was too far from the one I was hanging from. I tried to grab it, but got it by the tips of my fingers and couldn’t hold on. Oh well, until next time Sawtooth!

Annnd I'm stuck
Annnd I’m stuck

There were several obstacles in between Sawtooth and Davy Jones’ Locker, my nemesis. A 9 foot high platform that you have to climb up and jump off, it’s pretty intimidating for someone who has a debilitating fear of heights. (This fear of heights only seems to increase with age). Brian wanted to get several takes at this obstacle, but I only did it once. Once was enough for me! We spent a good 20 minutes shooting different angles of the jump and I spent time trying to encourage Sarah to jump. Turns out I’m not the only one who’s weary when it comes to heights! Finally Brian had all the shots he wanted and Sarah had made her jump- we were ready to move on!

Right after Davy Jones was Pipe Dreams 2.0- they made this one slightly more challenging this year by angling the pipes we were traversing. I made it successfully across this obstacle, making my attempts here 2 for 2. We had fun “racing” each other at Block Party (concrete blocks attached to ropes you have to pull in and then carry it back out), watching Morgan and Jeff’s skillful wall climbing techniques at the Great Wall, and running up the Slippery Incline Wall in groups together. This year Kiss My Walls had rock climbing holds instead of the 2×4 pieces of wood it had last spring, making it more challenging. Even more so when we realized that certain holds weren’t screwed in all the way and spun when you tried to get ahold of them!

Thor’s Grundle is always a favorite obstacle- dunking our heads in muddy water yields interesting photos! And let’s not forget the antics MudRunFun comes up with at Lumberjack Lane.

Paul carrying his fiancee Krissie
Paul carrying his fiancee Krissie

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Cramer carrying Sarah
Cramer carrying Sarah

I had been wearing my Garmin Forerunner 25 GPS watch the entire race- the first time I had taken it through mud and water. It was performing admirably with no snags until we hit the Lumberjack Lane and it decided it didn’t want to have a signal anymore. According to my GPS watch I have 6.06 miles of the 7.25 mile course. That was an annoying snag, but since we weren’t running for time I didn’t worry about it too much.

From then on, the obstacles were closer together, meaning we were getting close to the finish. At this point we had been on the course for 2 1/2 hours and most of us were ready to finish. Nutt Smasher (balance beam) was closely followed by Colossus; I made it up the wall side on the first try! Last year I got all the way to the top and lost my grip on the rope, sliding alllll the way back down, so I was happy to conquer the wall this time around. Then it was time for another wait while Brian filmed us from different angles coming up the wall side. We hit the slide in groups- for some reason the photographers really like to capture me standing at the top of this slide looking down, but not actually sliding!

My "wow this is high, I'm not sure I want to do this" face
My “wow this is high, I’m not sure I want to do this” face
A pic of the girls after Colossus slide!
A pic of the girls after Colossus slide!

When we hit Missionary Impossible, it was time to pass the Fireball around for some shots. Brian was surprised to see that we had downed two whole bottles of Fireball along the course- apparently he hadn’t realized we’d been drinking the entire time! MudRunFun can always be counted on to bring the party 🙂

At Wheel World, my hands were already blistered and sore from being scraped on the wall obstacles, so despite the fact that I tried to get on the first wheel, I was unable to make it to the second one.

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After that it was time for the fire jump and getting our medals and free beer! What I didn’t realize when we opted to do this whole VIP thing is that EVERYTHING was free- the food and beer included! We had two people “waiting” on us in the VIP tent area who went to get us lunch (thanks to those ladies because we were all starving!) and kept our hands filled with beers when we ran low. It was really nice to be able to relax and eat in the tent and although I missed hanging with the rest of my MudRunFun team, I really enjoyed the awesome treatment we got in the VIP area. We got together with the Savage Race crew and took some photos after finishing our food.

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Then it was time for the MudRunFun Wobble! We always do this dance at races and somehow I always miss it! Not this time! It is really hard to dance with a beer in your hand without spilling, however.

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After we did a few dances, everyone started to clean up their belongings and head home to shower and change. As part of the VIP day, we were invited to dinner with the Savage Race crew at Beef o’ Brady’s later that night. It was a pretty awesome day all around, especially getting to talk to the Savage Race crew later that night. We were challenged to a game of Flip Cup- where we lost, repeatedly- but we ARE regrouping to take them on again next year!

I’m really glad we got to spend the day at Savage Race and that we all had so much fun. It was a much needed day of shenanigans for me, especially after having other responsibilities the last few weekends. Doing obstacle races is my “me” time and this was definitely one I’m glad I attended! Special thanks to Sam and the Savage Race team for giving us an unforgettable experience! Like I said at dinner, I’ll be back next year because of my driving need to conquer Sawtooth!!

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