I personally had a ton of energy coming into this Obstacle Race, and not all of it was necessarily positive energy. I was very anxious and nervous… both were new feelings about an OCR. I usually set out to just do my best, not get injured, and have a good time. But this time, I had set some performance goals that I really REALLY wanted to meet at this race- just for me… because I wanted it. I wanted a finish in the single digits for my gender/age, and I wanted to finish well under 2 hours. Hitting both of those goals at a Savage Race would definitely feel like an accomplishment.
Last year I ran the Georgia Fall Savage, and I managed an injury that required four sutures, and a finish time/place that I was honestly surprised by- since I got pulled off course by medical. Savage definitely brought a race “built to kick ass”… the obstacles were physically and mentally demanding (seriously, you have to get over your issues and force up some courage)… the running portions were moderate in difficulty- all trail, and BEAUTIFUL… and not too bad on the hills at all.
The 2015 Spring Georgia Savage Race will forever be remembered in one word- MUD. Most Obstacle Course Races do require some mud bathing along the way to the finish line. However, the Southeast received about a weeks worth of rain leading up to the day of the race (the build had to have been miserable). The grounds were not muddy… no, my brothers and sisters… they were entirely over-saturated. Thin mud floating over top thicker mud, layered on top of some good, wet, sticky Georgia red clay. It was a glorious fabulous nasty MESS… and I loved it. So before I get into the rest of my race review- take a good look at the anchor picture up there^^^– that is not the trail… that is on the way from the parking lot to the festival area… yeah. lol
Moonlight Stables in Dallas, Georgia has some of the most beautiful pasture and wooded acreage that you could ask to run through. Grassy, rolling hills… twisty, little creekbeds… and winding wooded paths make up much of the landscape… even mud covered- it is simply stunning. The layout and use of natural resources (creeks and hills namely) were more proliferate this year. During the fall race I remember the terrain being more visually stunning than technically difficult… the course would have still required more technical running this year even without the mud. The over-saturation only stood to increase the intensity.
Savage’s trademark obstacles (Shriveled Richard, Colossus, Davey Jones’ Locker and Sawtooth) all returned to the race this year… but a few new ones were included as well. Colon Blow went up onto a teeter-totter (crawl from one end of a tube to another that was situated see-saw style over a pivot point), inverted walls, and a traverse wall with rock climbing grips (yes! thank you!!!!). More insidious than the individual obstacles was the placement- nut smasher was arranged directly after a nice hill sprint and well into the race… creating added rubbery leg difficulty. Tackling Colossus after several inverted walls and a couple of heavy carries seemed just cruel… grip strength was toast, but you had to call it up from somewhere if you were going to make it up to the top. In other words- the designer seemed very focused on just how exhausted he wanted you to be when you made it to each obstacle.
The mud did put a bit of a damper on things for the spectators… it was an unholy, muddy mess EVERYWHERE. And while Savage did their best to be hospitable (wood chips and gravel were spread about to calm it down a bit)… there was only so much that could be done with the amount of total rainfall last week. The Junior Savage race was fantastic (2 of my sproglings ran it). The course was so much fun for both of them. They had to balance, crawl, climb, and push through to get to the finish line. The organizers could not have been more encouraging and excited for the little savages as they passed out medals, shirts, and high fives. If your children haven’t ran a Junior race- they MUST. It is such a thrill and achievement for them to experience.
All of the necessities seemed to run without a hitch save one area- Gear Drop. Gear Drop was very slow this time… I am not sure what really happened- as I do not remember that being an ordeal at all in the fall. I waited nearly an hour in line to pick up my bag- and I had an early heat. I can’t imagine that it got much better for a while. I do also wish that Savage Race would roll in with more “feminine cut” merch… I would love to sport less-boxy Savage Race Tee’s… However, that’s totally inconsequential compared to everything that went right: Parking was easy and smooth (I got stuck and unstuck by the volunteers in less than 5 minutes, lol), check in and packet pick-up made sense and was not bottle necked, and there was plenty of spectator access to mill through to watch the racers.
As for me personally- It was a banner day! I met both of my goals (3rd place for my age group, with a 1:51 finish time), watched the accomplished expressions on my kids faces, and saw so many friends out there this time! Everyone went home exhausted and in one piece… woot! Early Bird Registration is going on now for the Fall Savage Race- I’ll be there and you should be too!