Another year another maniac. I’ve written before about this gritty muddy obstacle race and how dirty and intense it is, and all of that is still true. As the day of the race approached I found myself fearing certain obstacles more than in years previous. Year one, I tumbled over the “Blobstacle” with a decidedly ungraceful landing and ended up with a permanent scar on my elbow. The next year the Blobstacle had been modified to include a net to help people to not just go flying off it and this year it was not present at all. Also the second year I ate it hard on the Ninja Escape. While the Ninja Escape was still present this year, neither of these obstacles are currently present on their website and I wonder if in particular the Blobstacle wasn’t done away with for safety reasons.
With that said, the past two years I was not at all concerned about injury. I was determined to do every obstacle even if it was scary or difficult. This year however the possibility of injury was really on my mind. I’m in much better shape than the past two years because I am actually taking training seriously for a change. You would think this would make me braver and more sure of myself, but suddenly I felt I had a lot more to lose if I got hurt.
I decided to skip anything I could foresee myself getting hurt on. I LOVE the climbing obstacles, the wall jumps and the Jacobs ladder, anything with a net or a 16 ft wall to scale is my jam. I did all of those, but I skipped the Ninja Escape and anything that looked like the sort of thing that encourages ankles to twist. I already proved I can fall off things and get back up like a champ in my 20’s, but I’m 30 now. It’s cool. I can skip two things if I want to.
I noticed that everything seemed to me markedly sturdier than in previous years so I guess the people at Men’s Health were thinking more about safety this year too. Everything from the balance beams across the pools to the warped wall and the 50 ft water slide at the end. Previously the water slide (known as “The Accelerator”) was basically sheet metal on wood and had only a couple inches on either side as you plummeted down 50 feet to splash into the filthy water below. Now, “The Accelerator 3.0” is inflatable with cushy safety walls on either side so you don’t go flying off as you plummet down to splash into the filthy water below. I appreciate these upgrades more than I can say.
The Accelerator isn’t the only thing with inflatable upgrades. With new additions like The Crag some of the new look put me in mind of one of those old Nickelodeon game shows. Just because I chose to skip a couple items doesn’t mean I didn’t have a great time climbing over things with my team! It was amazing to see the same crew from last year (plus a couple new additions!) ready to get dirty and tear it up again.
I also have to give big props to my friend Lynell who agreed to join us with very little notice. That girl’s got guts!
As always the after party at the Maniac is tops. Your beer ticket gets you your choice of fancy beers by UFO or Brooklyn brewery. There is also a pull up contest and a mechanical bull if you’re up for it, or corn hole if that’s more your speed. Personally after all that climbing and crawling the chairs in the beer tent were exactly what I wanted.