Q. The last time we heard, you were in the V.I.P. area waiting for the final results. What happened next?
A. I ate half a rotisserie chicken, a big salad, and some Korean tacos (I wasn’t able to eat lunch).
All finishers had to wait until the end of the competition to get the final tally of the top 30 with the fastest times. I ended being #37 out of the 50 or so that completed the course. I was able to talk with a few of the top competitors and get some insight on what they did to get through the course and how it compared to the course in Japan.
The next day, the semi-finalists would have to run the same course with the addition of 3 more challenging obstacles, one of which was a 3-story climb on a cargo net. Of course I was a bit crushed that I didn’t get to move on to the next day’s competition; it would’ve been REALLY FUN to run the longer course.
Q. What was your favorite moment or event at the competition?
A. At any competition, it’s always great to meet and talk with others that share the same interests in running, climbing, and jumping off things. But I have to say one of the most memorable moments was watching the video that my wife, Linda, recorded. When I made it up the 14ft. Warped Wall at the end of the course the video got really shaky and she let out the longest, wildest scream. I think she was more excited about the whole competition than I was. (The video she shot didn’t convert well, so the video below is one that my sister-in-law, Ivy, recorded.)
Q. What was your most challenging event?
A. While I was waiting for my run, I got pretty anxious watching so many people fall into the murky waters under the obstacles. Most of these guys seemed pretty capable of completing the course, but somehow made mistakes that got them in trouble. I started to second guess myself and the obstacle course appeared more challenging after each competitor’s run. But once I was on the course, I was pretty relaxed. Actually, I think I was too relaxed. After watching the video of my run, it looks like I was taking a stroll in the park.
The wall at the end of the course definitely challenged me the most. With my first attempt running up the wall I was an inch from grasping the ledge. So, I thought all I needed to do was run a bit faster to make it up on the second try, but because the wall was curved like an ocean wave, I had too much momentum going forward and not enough translating upward, and I didn’t make it too far up the wall. You’ll see on the video that I had to pause for a long while to catch my breath and figure out how to get up that thing! I really don’t know how I finally made it up, but it felt really good to pull myself up the ledge and tag that red button!
Q. Are you planning to competing again next year? And if so, will you make any changes to your training?
A. It’s challenging for me to even wait for next year! I have the strongest intentions to compete again and get into the top spots to go to Japan. Since I’ve got a better idea of what it’s like to go through the course, and I have much more time to prepare, there are a few things that I’d like to work on a bit more. I’d like to do a bit more sprinting and Olympic weightlifting to help get me up the wall easier. I’ll also incorporate more “rock climbing” type of training to prepare for Sasuke’s 3rd stage, which involves traversing through an obstacle course using just your hands (feet dangling).
Q. Will you make any changes in your approach to the course?
A. Yes. I’ll try to run through it a little faster and more accurately so I don’t have to retry any of the obstacles. Hopefully I’ll be less anxious and get a little something to eat beforehand, and a beach umbrella would be a big plus.
Q. Thank you for sharing your American Ninja Warrior experience with us. Congratulations on a great first effort and we look forward to see you in next year’s event.
A. Until next year. . .