Posts Tagged ‘Quad Steps’

My Run in the Midwest Regional Finals on NBC – American Ninja Warrior 4

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

I finally got permission to publish my run and competitor profile that aired this summer on NBC in the Regional Finals of American Ninja Warrior 4. For those of you who missed it, I was the oldest competitor in the Midwest Region to advance to the Regional Finals where I got a nice feature piece of my run shown. As you can see, I just missed making it up the Warped Wall and probably progressing onto the National Finals in Las Vegas by an inch or two, and got called a ‘big old fatty’ a bunch of times by the commentators while doing it!

Death by Wetuple Steps

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

One of the first things I noticed when I arrived in Venice Beach and walked around the American Ninja Warrior 3 obstacle course was that the Quadruple Steps had much steeper steps, and the distance/spacing of the steps had been changed to create a bigger jump between the second and third steps.  I wondered to Ron whether it was going to make it harder this year for some competitors.  Personally I wasn’t worried, I’d blasted through the Quad Steps easily in ANW2, I felt I could do the same here even if they made it a bit tougher.

So Ron and I anxiously awaited the Day 1 morning runners (we were scheduled to run on the morning of Day 2), and sat in the stands rooting people on and studying their attempts.  In that morning session, I think only 2 people out of probably 40 runners fell on the new Quad Steps, and we even talked at lunch about how the Quad Steps were too easy if 95% of the early runners could get past it. I felt pretty good about my chances of finishing the course, they had removed the Spider Wall which had been my nemesis in American Ninja Warrior 2, and the only thing that I believe stopped me from finishing last year. It was inexplicably gone, to my enormous relief, and watching the runners on that sunny Monday morning made me feel that I had a great shot at finishing the course and standing on top of the Warped Wall in victory.

Then in the afternoon I received my first clue that things might go otherwise.  A 400lb sumo wrestler, some guy that is North American champ I believe, did a run.  And when he fell, he created a massive water displacement effect that splashed and wet the bottom part of the four quad steps.  Suddenly after that all sorts of people began to fall on the Quad Steps, and each time they did they further wet the steps with their splashings.  People I thought would have no problem getting through the steps, semifinalist caliber runners, guys who had gone to Japan, were suddenly eating it on the Quad Steps, and you could feel panic go through the competitors who were starting to realize that the rug that covers the Quad Steps does an impression of black ice when wet.  When I started to see runners who I know are better than me fall was when I started to worry in earnest.

Ron and I finished the day suddenly nervous about running on the wet Quad Steps, and the forecast of rain for that night and the following morning when we were scheduled to run had us sweating in our Five Fingers.  Of course, it rained all night and the following morning, and we stood in the cold rain for four hours before we were given our shot to run on a totally wet obstacle course.  It was a killing field on the soaking wet Quad Steps.  Maybe 1 in 5 guys were still able to get past the obstacle, and my hats off to these ninja studs, but a good 80% of the runners in the Day 2 morning opening group fell on the “Wet-Uple Steps”, including my sorry ass.  Including my buddy Ron who fell right after me (and the three guys who fell right in a row before me, and the three other guys who fell in a row after Ron).  It was a big fat bummer for a lot of people. A lot of dreams died in quick wet succession.

But, hey, this is a TV show and “the show must go on” even if it is sleeting or snowing, as the competitors in Ninja Warrior Japan have routinely faced, so I am hardly the only competitor who has suffered at the random whim of Mother Nature.  Plus, Ninjas aren’t allowed to complain about weather.  I just hope they let me run again in ANW4…gotta start training!

P.S. Mad props to Jaggard227 over at the G4 boards for minting the term “Wetuple Steps” (oops…Jaggard227 just informed me that the minting credit should go to RiderRingeru on the boards!)

My Run at American Ninja Warrior

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Now that the opening round at American Ninja Warrior has been aired I’m finally free to disclose how I did here on my blog. It’s been a hard few months keeping my mouth shut! Unfortunately they didn’t show my run on the show, so a number of friends and family who dedicated 3 hours last Wednesday night watching American Ninja Warrior are now more than curious to know and see how I did (they said they loved watching the show though, even if I wasn’t featured, and I think ANW has a gaggle of new fans). I won’t overanalyze how I did here before you watch the video itself, maybe I’ll save the obstacle-by-obstacle analysis for a subsequent post if people are interested, but I will preface it with a few background characteristics.

First, the opening round covered two days…both Saturday and Sunday over that great weekend at Venice Beach. My run slot was around noon on Sunday, so I had the advantage of watching other competitors do their runs on Saturday and build my tactical plan. That was great. What was not so great was the second dynamic at play, since I had all day on Saturday and a ton of adrenaline to process, I did something very stupid. I went to the “fan mini-course” that had small replicas of several obstacles just to goof around with some of my friends. Long story short…I long-jumped over a pit and the pad was misaligned on the far landing platform, and I rolled my ankle over giving myself one of the worst ankle sprains of my life. I spent the rest of the day cursing my stupidity. I went to bed that night and woke up the following morning believing that I would probably pull out since I could barely walk. I was beating myself up pretty badly for what I had done, and the likelihood that I had just ruined a dream of competing in Ninja Warrior.

The third and final dynamic…adrenaline and ibuprofen! I took a fistful of the latter, and about an hour before I was about to run I started to get bucketfuls of the former. The two combined to numb out my ankle and while I was waiting in the holding pen behind the starting platform I finally believed that I was going to be able to run after all. I’ll admit, I was more than a little nervous for the first obstacle the Quadruple Step that had actually felled quite a number of pretty strong competitors. The steps on the platform were all angled at about 45 degrees and pretty far apart, and I had witnessed more than one competitor jack up their ankles on it. I was afraid my ankle would buckle the first big landing on it on one of those angled steps, and I’d scream like a stuck pig and flail into the water. But I decided I had to attack the obstacle at full bore, not even thinking about my ankle, and just see how it turned out. In the end I feel very fortunate that I was able to get on the course and compete at all given my ankle situation, so while I was disappointed not to achieve my goal of advancing to the semifinals I felt some degree of satisfaction derived from just getting out on that course and letting it rip the best I could. In the end the adrenaline and ibuprofen did their trick, and I didn’t feel my ankle at all during the run, although it was pretty cranky afterwards!

I hope you enjoy the video, stitched together from two videos captured from slightly different angles, and let me know what you think! I’m hoping people start using the fancy new Comments system I just integrated on my blog 😉