One unusual (for a distance runner) race
My buddy Brent roped me into doing this with him. Pun. Ironically, it was his first any-kind-of-race. Talk about a difficult choice for your first. And after 8 years of running races, this was my first OCR. I will also say I wasn’t prepared for the upper-body requirements of this (or the rock wall climbing flexibility/agility). If I had spent a dedicated 4 months in the gym specifically building muscle in my chest, arms, and back then I think I could’ve rocked this Spartan. However, I was playing catch up on a delayed marathon training regimen and was focusing exclusively on cardio and endurance during the first 4 months of this year. Only so much free time to train when you work full-time irregular schedule with OT.
Brent naturally has more upper-body strength than I do and I definitely think it helped him. Luckily, Spartans can help other Spartans in specific instances during the course and that helped in key areas. However, I also ended up doing approximately the number of burpees I thought I may have to do (note: 30 burpees per failed obstacle). There were 24 obstacles over 8 hills of terrain.
I will also note, as I don’t have photos of the course (my iPhone would’ve got jacked in the mud pools), there were some awesome obstacles, like thick-rubbery mud that gives a lot but isn’t wet, then thick mud which gives a lot and is wet, the series of mud pools, the rock-filled bucket haul, the uphill-rope climb, the horizontal rope traverse, and the spear throw (I was sooooo close). I will also say, if you are able to train with these obstacles, it’s no-duh you would perform much better on the course.
Spear throw. By watching others do it for 2min before I tried, I saw weaknesses and strengths. There are some secrets to simply keeping the spear horizontal in trajectory and position of hand and type of grip on the spear. My 1 throw went slightly above the hay barrel, maybe 6 inches. Ie. 30 burpees.
Horizontal rope traverse. If I hadn’t watched someone do this while I was waiting for my race start, I’m not sure I would’ve had a clue. While this O is totally arms, legs, and core, if I didn’t know the alternating leg kick, it would’ve been much, much harder.
Rock-filled bucket haul. This O was about halfway in the race, and while there were some challenging obstacles already, I found this obstacle almost easy. Some people were struggling. Guess my cardio training paid off in some areas. I also realized, in hindsight, there were few obstacles at this race that focuse on back muscles. Maybe that’s why this O seemed easy.
Barbed-wire log crawl. In the latter section of the race, taking a 60lb log and rolling it ahead of you in thick mud under barbed wire was both fun and muddy (go figure). The odd part about this O is the log gets heavier as you go because more mud collects to the already muddy log, making it more difficult to push. Plus this was a congested and relatively slow O due to all the people, so it was a moment to move through and chat with your fellow Spartans.
8 foot stationary wall. Or 9 feet, rather. After jumping over 3 smaller walls by this point, I was used to scaling walls. I wasn’t ready for this one. After getting tired, my bud Brent, gave me a boost and getting over the top my chest fell on top of the 2×4 plank (the top of the wall), and I ended up bruising 4 ribs (first time ever – ouch).
All in all, it was some day. The race was close to where we both live – bonus. It was something challenging – awesome. And different – awesome. I got injured – um, cool? And a badass medal.