As of now, I’ve done 2 of my 3 planned obstacle races for the year. The more I do, the more I love them. Tell my younger self that this is what I would be doing for fun and she’d probably try to slap some sense into my current self. It’s pretty awesome.
The day started off less than stellar. Sore throat and chills to be exact. Thankfully, my determination (and a butt ton of Tylenol) had me on the road feeling only mildly craptastic. I wasn’t about to let some germs get the better of me (at least not yet!).
Unlike last year, there were no pre-race jitters. It was cool out, overcast to keep the humidity down and the sea of red Fukumoto Fitness shirts was exactly what the doctor ordered (along with a butt ton of Tylenol, as previously eluded to).
The rain we’d received the day before made the track really wet. Stand still too long and your feet started to sink/stick in the sand (horse racing track for those not in the know). I figured that would be the hardest part of the run portions.
Being in the Kick Ass heat meant that we’d be running the same 5k course and doing the same obstacles as the regular heats but we’d have additional fitness challenges thrown in to kick it up a notch. Last year, the extra’s were doable. Challenging but not overwhelming. This year, they added a lot more challenges starting right out of the gate with a sandbag carry on that wet, sinky sand. I managed to “run” about 10 feet with my bag and then just opted to walk it. I’m pretty sure my walking pace was faster anyway :).
After that carry, came…another carry! 2 cinder blocks to be exact. The weight was definitely doable but man, those suckers were awkward! I eventually found a good way to carry them, looping them around my arms (finally a good use for these little bony forearms!).
I was honestly shaking my head thinking “how in the heck will I do anything else”. I was already spent. But on we went. Over walls, up stadium stairs (twice), more carries, crawling through thick, rip-your-shoe-off-your-foot mud and more! Over, under and through we went, all the while hearing the cheers and enthusiasm of the next heats getting ready to hit the course. It was awesome!
It was a lot tougher a race than last year, which is saying something because I’m stronger and in better shape this year so you’d *think* it would have been easier. Total credit to the organizers for not going easy on us and coming up with different ways to challenge and push us harder.
I finished with a decent time but I’m learning that in OCR, time isn’t really the best predictor of success or ability. I could finish really fast having missed multiple obstacles and done the penatly or I could finish slower having completed them. Unless you’re opting for a podium finish (which is most definitely out of my league), time is relative. I finished well, I finished tired and I finished more or less happy 🙂
I loved that our gym had 100+ participating and cheering each other on. It was amazing. The support that we have for one another is amazing. In so many ways, it’s easy to let your inner competitor take over and make the race all about “me” so imagine how awesome it is when a group of participants can band together, help each other, cheer each other, support each other to the finish. It’s beyond awesome and makes for a much more enjoyable experience for everyone when you don’t walk in with a ton of pressure on your shoulders.
I will be the first to admit that it’s still hard for me to look beyond the chip time as an indicator of how my race went. Maybe it’s too many years of running road races or maybe it’s that people still insist on asking “so what was your finish time?” that makes it tough and easy to shrink down because suddenly, you don’t feel as accomplished. I’m making big strides with that one but it’s still tough sometimes because it’s so subjective and I always want to find ways to improve my performance, whether it’s by getting stronger, faster or simply having more confidence to try things I couldn’t previously do.
One thing is for certain: I am in love with this sport. Crazy because once upon a time I wouldn’t run outside because I was afraid someone would see me and make fun of me for being really slow (which has happened several times…). I still get nervous about being judged based on baseless points of merit but I’m also embracing the journey of progress and enjoying the fact that at 36, I’m more capable and confident that I have ever been in my life. A raw post about my struggle with confidence is coming one of these days but for now, I’m choosing to bask in the sense of accomplishment in my race and pride and inspiration from watching so many others rock their races as well.
Next up…Spartan Super (eek)!!