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Archive for June, 2013

I’ve got a precocious three year old doberman named Bogie. He started doing this window licking when he wanted to be let back in the house and I wouldn’t let him back in. The cox cable repairman and I died laughing at his attempts to lick himself back inside the house.

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As some of you know, I have been relentlessly training for an event called the Alpha Warrior.  I hired a trainer and have been working with him at least three to four days a week.  I even convinced my trainer to compete in the Alpha Warrior.  The Alpha Warrior is a 36 obstacle course race whose motto is “No Mud, No Miles, No Mercy”.  The only running you’re really doing is technically when you run from one obstacle to the next.  However, in my experience you really aren’t doing much running as each obstacle once completed takes so much effort that once you do make it through you’re actually wishing the distance between obstacles was longer so that you can have a chance to recuperate and catch your breath.

My race was on Saturday and my trainer and I were grouped in the 9:00 wave just after the Elite wave.  I wanted my friends to experience this event themselves, so I wore my Liquid Image Ego camera on my chest during the entire event.  I’m currently working on editing the video and will post it as soon as its completed.

So let me describe the various obstacles in all their glorious wonder.

Our wave consisted of about 15 people and after they release you you’re faced with what they call Monster Barrels.  These are roughly six foot high carpeted barrels.  For the men, this height is not an issue, however for a 5’5” tall girl, this is quite an obstacle.  There are three of these barrels so just getting over one is tough enough.  Thankfully I found a foot ledge which propelled me over each barrel.

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After you’ve managed to climb over these three barrels a quick little jog brings you to the Side Winder which is a length of cargo next which you have to climb across and get to the other side.  However the cargo next is arched so you have to climb up then over then down to get to the other side. The caveat is that you’re also trying to climb while other participants are climbing on the other side.  The push and pull of each participant creates a rather difficult obstacle.

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Once completed you’re faced with the Silver Back.  This is an inverted overhanging Cargo net which you have to climb up and over.

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Next was Sea of Ropes.  This consists of about 100 hanging ropes with little blue platforms tied to each rope.  Unfortunately those platforms do not stay flat.  So you can’t simply keep one foot on and stay on the platform.  My first attempt at this had miserable results.  Even though I’m wearing gloves, my hands just slipped right down the rope as if they were coated in butter.  My second attempt didn’t fare any better.  Apparently the glove material and the rope material were too similar and resulted in a very poor grip.  Unfortunately I had to abort and move on to the next obstacle.

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The next obstacle was the Gut Buster.  This is where I was thankful for all planks and crunches I’ve been doing.  So the Gut Buster is a large structure with two poles that start very close together then slowly spread apart so that you’re stretched across two bars approximately five feet across.  You have to inch your way from one side to the other. Your abs are BURNING by the time you get to the other side

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The next obstacle was the best!  It consisted of ten trampolines that you used to bounce to different levels.  Each level got higher and higher and that initial jump was so exhilarating.  I almost landed on my face twice but it was so fun!

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Next was Pit Fall.  This obstacle brought out your inner Tarzan as it consists of a long rope, a 30 foot drop and an inverted cargo net.  I was really hesitant because of my experience with the other rope obstacle and when it was my turn, I made sure I had a firm grip.  As I began to swing, unfortunately again, my gloves just didn’t suffice and I slipped straight down as if I the rope was covered in lube.  Unfortunately the speed at which I was falling and the fact that I was wearing fingerless gloves resulted in the skin from my middle finger getting ripped off. Yeah that stings.  Note to self, need better rope gripping gloves for next year.

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Next came the Robin Wood which was just like the Silver Back but reversed.  I actually skipped this obstacle because my finger was bleeding.  After a quick rinse of some water and medical tape I was good to go.

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One of the hardest obstacles was the Pipe Bombs which are several vertical pipes that you need to grip from one to the other.  I actually made it over half way through before I lost my grip and dropped to the ground.  I was SO proud of myself.  Next year I know to use my forearm better to support my grip as I move from one pipe to another.

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After the pipes was Chopper Crawl, which is a flexible wire ladder with little rungs for gripping.  This little ladder swings and keeping your balance is essential.  Fortunately for me my trainer shouted for me to get on my back and use the cargo netting above to scoot my way across.  So I flipped on my back while everyone else struggled on their hands and knees.  I was across the ladder bridge in no time!

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Next was the Radial Rings.  It’s basically a large arch with several rows of swinging rings.  You climb up to platform and start swinging your way from one ring to the other in order to get to the platform on the other side of the arch.  I excelled on this obstacle and cleared it without any problems!

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Of all the obstacles that challenged athletes the Spider Wall was rarely conquered.  This is a glass wall enclosure that you must jump up and support your weight by gripping only the sides of the glass wall.  You’re supposed to jump and maneuver your way from one level to an upper level several yards away.  Unfortunately for me, after my jump my shoes failed to find grip and I slid right down the glass wall.  Next year I’ll wear my Vibram shoes which I think would have provided better grip.

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Next came the Camel Back.  This is a large wavy series of bars that you need to swing from one side to the other.  The catch is that the last leg of the wave gets really steep and really took all my arm strength to get up.  Again I need better tighter fighting gloves that don’t slip for better results next year.  I made it all the way to the start of the steep wave then just couldn’t get my grip to hold.  Down I fell.

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The second hardest obstacle was the Battering Rams.  I actually bypassed this obstacle because of my chest camera.  I attempted to do this obstacle but I just couldn’t get the angle of support right with a camera being on my chest.  Every time I tried the camera would prevent me from scooting forward. Oh well.

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The next obstacle is called Slack City and it consists of three different segments of slack line.  On the first leg there were three slack lines that started wide apart then got closer and closer together towards the end.  I ended up getting on my back and rolling down the slack line towards the other side.  The second leg consisted of three slack lines that created an X in the middle.  I scooting my way tummy first but lost my balance in the middle X. In the third leg there were two slack lines and I easily scooting along towards the ending platform.

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Alcatraz was the largest structure of the event.  It was a multiple story structure with various obstacles inside.  First you climbed up a steep slope then climbed up towards the Gorilla Bars.  These are very wide bars that for most women are too far apart to swing from one bar to the other. Instead I used the side support bars to help get me from one side to the other.

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After the gorilla bars you clipped up a two levels of cargo net to get to the Tree Tops.  Now I’m scared of heights and this obstacle scared the shit out of me.  Here you have to box jump to four different platforms while over 30 feet in the air.  The first jump wasn’t so bad as the distance wasn’t that far.  However the second jump was so far.  My heart was pounding and I didn’t know if I’d be able to jump it.  But people on the other side were cheering me one and I just grinned and took the leap.  Thankfully I landed perfectly and was able to jump quickly to the landing platform on the other side!  WHEW!!!

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Next came the Broken Bars, which I thought were going to be difficult, but was actually quite easy for me.  These are bars where some swing and some don’t but they’re all at different angles.  If you don’t get the right line you could run out of room and miss the next bar.

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Once you make it past the Broken Bars you have to climb down The Descent, which is a very flexible cargo net.  It looks easier than it is.  I’m sure I could have made it easier and just rolled down the net, but again my fear of heights just wouldn’t allow me to do it. So I slowly and surely climbed rung by rung until I reached the bottom. Once at the bottom you escaped the structure by sliding down a long fire pole.  Easy enough.

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To finish the race you have to jump off the ledge and land on a pad 30 feet down.  It was quite fun and the landing really is soft.

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Overall this was an awesome event.  Despite the fact that I ripped some skin off my fingers it was a blast.  I’m definitely going to do this event again next year, and now that I know what I’m up against I can only get better.  I’ll definitely be getting better rope climbing gloves and I’ll be sporting my Vibrams.  No more tennis shoes for this obstacle conquering girl!  Wanna see if Alpha Warrior comes to your city check out their website http://www.alphawarrior.com.  Alpha Warrior will definitely be the hardest event you ever do, but so worth it when you step back and see what you actually accomplished!

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Again as soon as I finish editing the video I’ll post it so you can watch as I attempt each obstacle.

**Images from Alpha Warrior website.

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