Written by guest blogger Aaron Werner
Humble transitive verb\ˈhəm-bəl
1: to make (someone) humble (see 1humble) in spirit or manner
2: to destroy the power, independence, or prestige of
This morning I had a righteous dose of humbling. While browsing through a local race directory I came across a race series called “King of The Hill” that was put on by Gut Check Fitness, self described as “San Diego’s #1 boot camp” and run by Joe Decker (go ahead and google him – pretty amazing story). I had never heard of Joe, Gut Check Fitness, or this King of the Hill series of races before seeing it in the directory – but running 7 miles up and down Mt Woodson with physical challenges along the way sounded like a fun time so I signed up.
Now, I know what you are thinking: a 7 mile trail run up and back a steep hill with burpees, pushups, leapfrog jumps and other challenges does NOT sound like fun!! Well to me and the 50 other people who showed up this morning it does. There is just something about pushing through physical and mental adversity that excites me.
Anyway, the run started on a quick downhill that immediately turned into an uphill. It was not STRAIGHT up, but with my lungs burning in the cold January morning air it sure felt like it. I’ve been doing some hill runs around 7-8 miles so I thought I would have a pretty good day…..I was humbled. I didn’t feel comfortable till mile 1.5 when it flattened out and we were required to do 10 burpees, which is not a lot but after running uphill for over a mile my legs were already tight. Consequently my shoulders and arms were incredibly sore from playing Just Dance on the Wii we got for Christmas and which didn’t help any. For the next 1.5 miles up the seemingly steeper trail I employed a routine of running, walking, and eating slices of Humble Pie all the while realizing my fitness has dropped over the Christmas holiday. I picked racers ahead of me and fought to catch them, especially the old guy in white spandex shorts. Cycling, triathlon, running, it doesn’t matter, white spandex is never acceptable (however racing behind someone who is wearing white spandex is great motivation to go faster).
The view atop Mt Woodson is beautiful, and today was exceptionally clear. I took a quick drink of water, appreciated the view as I touched the turn-around rock and headed downhill. For as challenging as going up was, going down was insane! I was 99% out-of-control as my legs turned at an incredible rate. It felt like at any moment I was going to miss the turn and run myself right off the mountain. Thankfully I kept upright thanks to my Brooks PureGrit shoes. I’ve never appreciated them so much!
Mentally the challenge was reaching the top. We were told several times that there were NO challenges on the way down. This meant that as soon as I turned around my mind relaxed and just held on for the ride. I should have known better. A “King of the Hill” race put on by company called “Gut Check Fitness” that is owned by “The World’s Fittest Man” per Guinness World Records should have clued me in that there would be challenges all the way to the finish. Remember that quick downhill at the beginning of the race. Well it was steep, and now that was an uphill with the finish at the top. We didn’t just have to run up that hill to finish…..no, we had to do Leapfrog Jumps up that hill. One last slice of Humble Pie.
I finished with a time around 1:24ish. I’m not sure exactly because I didn’t look at the clock and forgot to stop my watch till after getting a drink. It was fun, tough, and humbling. There are 3 more races in this series, all progressively more difficult. I’d like to do them, but I’ll put in some work before then, and before the SoCal Super Spartan in a few weeks!
I was impressed by the finish food, beer with koozie and quality of finisher medal. Excellent race origination and experience. I even appreciated the chance to eat some humble pie.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the dude in the white spandex passed me just before the finish.
Check out more stories from Aaron here.