Sunday, November 18, 2012

Men's Health Urbanathlon

I survived the Urbanathlon!

I survived the Men's Health Urbanathlon! If you've been following the Endorphin saga, you will know that this event has been the source of all my anxiety. My legs are trained to run long distances. Give me a marathon, 50k, or a 100 miler and I can get the job done. Yeah, I'll whine about my blisters at mile 80 and have that occasional melt down when I hit the wall, but for the most part, I don't stress out about running. The Urbanathlon is a completely different animal. This race may only be 10 miles, but the obstacle courses that the folks at Men's Health throw at you is quite daunting. Check it out:
  1. Kumho Tire Stutter Step and Plastic Barricade Combo
  2. Plastic Barricades and Police Barricade Combo
  3. Subaru Crawl, Marine Hurdles and Police Barricade Combo
  4. AT&T Park Stair Climb
  5. Monkey Bars and Parallel Bars Combo
  6. Cargo Net and Traffic Cones with Poles Combo
  7. Traffic Jam – NEW IN 2012
  8. Over, Under, Through – NEW IN 2012
  9. Tissot 40 Yard Dash – NEW IN 2012
  10. Taxis & Buses to Chain Link Crawl to Wall Finish
When I showed up at the start line this morning, it felt like junior high school gym class all over again. I'm used to seeing people of all different shapes and sizes at marathons, but at the Urbanathlon, it seemed like there were only fit young dudes. All that ran through my head was being picked last, just like it was back in junior high school. I had to get out of this mind set fast and focus on my own race. Once I started running, my nerves calmed down. I faced every obstacle course head on and gave it everything I got. The ones that required upper body strength, I struggled with, but I kept trying until I got it. The wall climbs were the only ones I needed a little help with. Here is a photographic summary of my Urbanathlon experience:

Gotta love those San Francisco hills. 
What goes up must come down! Gotta love gravity.
Great seeing Tuan out there. This guy really calmed my nerves a few days before the race.
Yikes! Monkey bars!
If you know the paparazzi is there, make it look good.
I had no problems with the AT&T Park stair climb.
Yeah, I had to have a little help with these. Ugh.
My technique here was to roll underneath.
Too bad there was no mud. It would have been easier on the knees!
Um, really? More walls to climb?
After I crossed that finish line, I got my photo taken with Access Hollywood's Billy Bush, who was the M.C. for this event. Behind us is the 8 foot wall that we had to climb to get to the finish line. I had a little help getting over that wall. Next year when I return to the Urbanathlon, I will be able to do it on my own!

At the end of the day, I got the job done. I came into this event with a lot of anxiety. Once I let that go, I was able relax and have fun. I've come to realize that the secret of my success is that I am not afraid to look stupid. I am not the strongest, fastest, or most athletic, but I got out there and did it. I looked quite comical today, and I probably made a few people laugh at my physical inability to complete some of these obstacles. That didn't deter me one bit, and I quickly let that junior high school gym mentality go. If I had caved in to my anxieties and not even try, I would have never known if I could make it or not. 

And there you have it. Endorphin Dude completed one of the toughest challenges of his short running career. I'd like to give a special shout out to Jeff Ball of Men's Health for giving me this opportunity. Had he not reached out to me, I never would have done this Urbanathlon. I will definitely return next year, but with a new and improved upper body. I will not let those monkey bars and walls slow me down!

E-Dude got a finisher's medal and a new cape!


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