Racing for Heroes: Are You Up for the Challenge?

Plus: Mud, Sweat, and Conquered Fears: We Got Fortified!

Strong Figure team 1. Can you believe I taught English to 3 of the 4?!

With mud runs, color runs, and obstacle course races all “the new pink” these days, it’s hard not to put together a group of friends and go have one hell of a good time slipping, sliding, stumbling, diving, jumping, climbing, hanging, dangling,…you name the -ing word and it’s probably being done. Some people prefer racing in the mud, some enjoy bursting through the color blasts, and some people even have obstacle course preferences. Me? I just love to have a darned good time with friends.And that brings me to the FORTIFIER race series.

In less than two months, the annual Hero’s Race will take place in Penn Laird, Virginia. The Hero Race is a muddy, obstacle course designed by Fortifier Events–a group who gives back to the military. The events are fun, family friendly, safe–yet challenging all at the same time. I really like that last bit.

Strong Figure American support.
Strong Figure American support.

The Hero Race is a three-mile mud and obstacle course run that will support American heroes.  Participants will tackle a physical terrain and challenging obstacles while also benefiting various organizations that represent the spirit of service, honor, and inspiration.  Besides the feeling of accomplishment, racers will be giving back as proceeds will benefit an organization of the individual’s choice!

If you’re ready to sign up, or even for more information, visit the site: Fortifier Events. But if you want the inside scoop on what to expect, read on friends….

Four Months Ago,

I ran over the river and through the woods….for 3 miles. Seriously, as many times as my Strong Figure teams and I traversed the Fortifier 5k course, we could have traveled to grandma’s house and back a few times!

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Ready, set, GO!

But this mud run wasn’t just a typical OBC race, this one was probably one of the most fun, enjoyable, and yet still challenging courses I’ve competed on the past year.

The Fortifier Race was–as all their races are–different from other obstacle courses because the entire event is, well, just a fun group effort. I’ve honestly never smiled so much during a race. Heats were let loose four at a time, so I got to start the race with 16 of my 24 Strong Figure racers! We spent the majority of the race–at least two miles–just pushing and pulling each other through the mud, hay, water, and muck. The first challenge was simply to get through a series of hay bales. I say “simply” because there’s nothing simple about climbing hay stacks taller than you. Or five-foot me. ;) Luckily, my super tall cousin Brad–also a military man–was able to literally hoist me up onto each bale where a few of my lady friends were ready to pull me over.

Lots of hay bale crossing. Not so simple for the shorties.
Lots of hay bale crossing. Not so simple for the shorties.
Lydia is having a freakin' blast!
Lydia is having a freakin’ blast!

We proved our physical toughness by carrying cinder blocks through quarter-mile loops, logs up and down steep, rocky, slippery slopes, and by pulling each other through mud-soaked fields.

It's like a playground for adults!
It’s like a playground for adults!
My CrossFit buddies! What strength!
My CrossFit buddies! What strength!
What goes up, must come down...
What goes up, must come down…
Mud, muck, water, slipping, sliding, crawling...
Mud, muck, water, slipping, sliding, crawling…

We proved our mental toughness by getting up–over and over again–after falling down so many times! There was SO MUCH  muck on this course that I’ve never fallen so many times during a race! Trudging through cold water streams made our legs numb, and probably the most unexpected mental challenge was coming face-to-face with a full-blast fire hose. I thought I was having a panic attack when I was trying to climb the hill while being hosed; I couldn’t breathe, my chest was tight, and I couldn’t even look and see where I was going! That HAD to be the most shocking moment of the race and I think it will keep people coming back for more every year. The fire hose was the hands-down the most talked about obstacle. Good job Fortifier peeps.

Best worst-obstacle ever.
Best “worst-obstacle” ever.

Other than some more wall climbing, crawling under an activated electric fence, and stumbling though a waist-high swamp, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Electric fence really was turned on. A teammate lifted her head too high and found out the hard way.
Electric fence avoidance…it really was turned on. A teammate lifted her head too high and found out the hard way.
14-foot wall climbs are awesome. But super scary when your shoes are wet and muddy!
14-foot wall climbs are awesome. But super scary when your shoes are wet and muddy!
More and more mud...
More and more mud…


What a great hosed-down pic!
What a great hosed-down pic!

And if you missed this race? Shame on you! But you’ll get your chance again next spring! Be on the lookout and sign up early. Make sure you like the Fortifier Events Facebook page and stay in the loop with the next big happenings.fort banner

And speaking of the next big happening, don’t forget–the big HERO RACE is coming in October! This obstacle course race is specifically designed to support military organizations and those who are overseas defending our country.hero run banner

Want to race as a Strong Figure team? Contact Us. We’ll put together as many teams as we get people for.fort9

I’d love to give a special shout out to Dirk Tyalor and his crew for contacting Strong Figure and allowing us such a huge part in the races–and for just putting together an outstanding race that represents such an awesome cause.

My last shout out goes to my Strong Figure Runners!! You guys did freakin’ awesome conquering that course. YOU are what  makes Strong Figure and YOU keep us all motivated and inspired! I hope you decide to race again with us in this HERO race. Please CONTACT me!

Spring Fortifier: Strong Figure Style, 2013
Spring Fortifier: Strong Figure Style, 2013

Check out these awesome pics, and then see the links below to some VERY interesting and funny races.

Check out this article about the 21 Most Incredible Themed Races. From the Krispy Kreme Challenge to the Finland Nude Run, there are definitely some interested races out among us. The Twinkie Run, Chocolate Race, Dash for Wine, and the New York Hot Dog Challenge are all that I’d LOVE to try but probably never will. I mean a dozen donuts, 5 miles, and 60 minutes to complete? I’m not sure if that spells “disaster” or “wod.” Challenge accepted? 3…2…1…….

See you in October! ;)
See you in October! ;)