Race Report : The Burner 2016

I am more than a little behind on the race reports and for those who like to read them I am sorry. What happens most of the time is I’m exhausted after an event (makes sense) so clearly I don’t write the report the same day. Usually the next day I am sore and relaxing or catching up on things that were neglected the day before. What’s getting neglected I honestly do not know considering we don’t do massive weekend cleanings and all my food has been provided by NutriSystem all summer, but I’m sure those naps on the couch aren’t going to take themselves.

Then Monday rolls around and I work my 4 10-hour shifts and by the time the next weekend rolls around I start to feel guilty for the report being late. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Excuses and rationalizations aside, I have been looking forward to talking about my last two mud runs of the season. First up The Burner in Hubbard Ohio back on August 20th.

The Burner is an event my friend Liz told me about probably 2-3 years ago. Excitedly I signed up for it one winter when prices were super low and then for whatever reason was unable to participate the following summer. Luckily I was able to defer my entry to the next year (I think this was the series of events) and found myself committed to 2016. Looking at the confirmation in December 2015 I was trying to convince myself I’d lost “enough” weight by summer, but the reality was I’d been trying all year only to keep gaining. Instead I simply hoped I could have the positive attitude to get through it once the time rolled around.

When the day arrived I am happy to say I was 20 pounds lighter than my heaviest and very excited to take part in the event. My sister and I were both signed up and carpooled to the location. Once there we met up with another racing friend, Jill, who you might remember from the few indoor triathlons we did earlier this year.

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Leading up to the event various posts and emails advertised this course as “The Toughest 7 Miles” and I started to wonder how true this could be given the other events I’ve done in the last few years. Could these 7 miles be worse than 14-ish miles of Spartan Beast? Lord only knows how bad I felt after 4 miles of my most recent Spartan in 2015. Heck in 2015 I even DNF’ed a Tough Mudder I was so nervous about the toughness of the course. Somehow standing in the field that morning, listening to the announcer I didn’t feel scared though, I felt hopeful.

Entering the course Becky and Jill clearly had an advantage over me in the fitness department, but the narrow course kept them close.

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At the first obstacle we were instructed via sign to pick up two tires (car sized) and carry them in a loop through a field where we also tossed them up and over inverted walls as well as tossing our bodies up and over the “razor burns”. Photo credit to The Burner’s website.

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After 3 or 4 of the bladed we returned to the scene of the tire pile and on our way maneuvered through a rope web. Being nervous about hurting my ankles I skipped the walls, but picked up an extra tire on the way back and felt like that help redeem my efforts.

Becky and Jill were long gone by this point and I found myself making friends with a lovely women named Cindy and we kept each other motivated over the next 6.5 miles.

Other obstacles included nature made challenges such as hills so steep you needed ropes or roots to scale them, only to come back down on your butt and repeat the process 6 more times. Rocky terrain and mud filled pits where I softly sunk to my knees and watched more agile athletes nearly float across like those Jesus Lizards. Every step of the way there was a smiling face or the quiet comfort of the woods. No matter what happened I was smiling. Here are some images from the website as well as Facebook pictures by Heidi Bulick highlighting the day even if I’m not in the images.

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Not picture are the pipe things which I don’t do at most of the events so it was very exciting to do it here, the over-under-through walls are some of my favorite and I couldn’t believe I actually tackled a wall related obstacle for a change, and I always feel like a bad ass when I’m flipping and dragging a tired as big as I am! It seemed to be there was a great mix of natural and man-made challenges as well as carrying levels of difficulty for the different challenges.

Around mile 5 I was exceptionally pleased with how good I felt since I knew my Tough Mudder half was coming up and I wondered how I’d do with 5 miles. By mile 6 though something had shifted drastically and I knew I was headed for trouble. It stated with a dull ringing in my ears and feeling my pulse throbbing all over my body. This lead to feeling light headed and being told by Cindy and others I completely lost my color. I death marched for a while and drank my water, but I also felt my body stop sweating.

For the last section of the event I skipped every single obstacle and prayed I’d stay on my feet. The end of the course was HEAVILY loaded with obstacles too. Thankfully one of them was water based and instead of giggling as I flew down a soaked and soapy tarp on an inner tube I opted to stand next to the sprinkler and allow the off shoots to soak my head and back. After a few minutes I started to shiver and then I was back to normal. I am eternally thankful for this sprinkler because without it I don’t think I could have stumbled to the finish.

Crossing the finish I was greeted with a Yellow hand band and my black and yellow finisher’s shirt.

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My sister hugged me and we sat down to talk and drink an icy cold Gatorade. Despite the difficulties at the end and needing to skip so many of the obstacles, I still felt proud and accomplished. Everyone has their own challenges to beat and I know I more than attempted and accomplished mine.

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