Obstacle course races? Hell yes

At some point in my life working out was not enough. Running was great, with a mixture of pushups and other outdoor activities like pull-ups. I was motivated but something was missing. Something to work towards, something to train for, a test to see if my training paid off. Although I do enjoy running – a 5K or ½ marathon is not my cup of tea. I have respect for those that do it but I was not excited at the prospect of just doing that. Soo a couple years ago I discovered what so many already knew about – obstacle course races (OCR).

Bootcamp Challenge at MCRD San Diego

My first race was as a team was the Bootcamp Challenge in San Diego. How did it go?

Eh, alright.

How did I train?

I did some trail running, and threw in some pushups and pullups. Not the best preparation. But I was really into it & so it began. But now I do it solo.

I did it again, and again, and will be doing it again this September. My training process has gotten alot better since the first time. This year it’s personal. Why? Well…Okay, let me back up.

I set the goal each time doing it solo to be in the top ten of my age group. I was close (11th place), hovered just in the 10 spot then last year 7th. I was great but I wanted more. I wanted to be in the top 3, get on the podium and get a medal. My training has evolved to a more focused progression of specific movements helpful in an OCR, endurance, strength and agility. Running a fast 3 miles or whatever length is not good enough. The obstacles can leave a participant winded and possibly injured if they underestimate (or don’t do their homework on) the obstacles. Without going meticulously over the training schedule it includes: stair sprints, bear crawls on grass, bear crawls down stairs, pull ups, high knees, timed 3mi trail runs, and timed long 7+ mile road runs.

My favorite toy/cause of delicious soreness and sweat are sandbag workouts. I was playing with a 40 pounder (Skilz sandbag) for a long time. These days even after getting it replaced due to rips way to early, it developed tears again. Nothing is more annoying a distracting than doing movements with a leaking sandbag….especially at home. Enter duckt tape. Alot of tape, it has about a roll and half. But it does not leak. Its pretty unforgiving and firm. I got used to it.

20150720_203718

Old sandbag on the block…meet the new kid. I think you can tell which one is the new guy.

I finally graduated to a Goruck 60 pounder after they were back in stock. I was super excited to get it. It’s interesting doing things like squats and turkish getups with such a heavier, softer and bigger sandbag. At least for me I feel as if I have to focus even more on my form with a heaver one.

Bootcamp Challenge post a lil shower & in between obstacles

Bootcamp Challenge post a lil shower & in between obstacles

Okay, so why is it personal this time around?

I know I can get in the top three, that’s what I want. I possibly could have last time but here are the mistakes I made.

#1. I didn’t start at the front. Some races – obstacles or otherwise have staggered starts so everyone does not start at the same time. The Bootcamp Challenge does not. Thus far the only divisions are elite group, teams, individual men and individual women. So regardless how many there are in each group they all start together. I am not complaining, its just a fact. I knew that and I could have saved time starting at the front so I didn’t have to get around other people. So suggestion – to someone that is doing a race and wants to really compete…don’t be shy if there are not staggered starts. Make your way (nicely) to the front before the gun goes off.

#2. I didn’t wear a watch. Obviously being fast and getting over the obstacles is key but perhaps I thought I was grinding out a good time and I felt like I finished strong and passed alot of people. BUT just like when I am timing my runs these days that time can motivate me to push myself more to achieve that goal. For sure I won’t forget my watch this time. BTW any water resistant watch will do. Mine is a cheapest Timex I could find and it works just fine for my timing needs. I can spend that money elsewhere on my fitness gear.

#3. I did not taper right. Tapering is essentially reducing the amount of exercise before a race. Perhaps in time I can give some solid advice about this. I am still learning myself how to do this right, re-reading resources about it and looking at my schedule two weeks out of the race and figuring out how to do this right. Stay tuned!

If this happens then I plan to move on to all 3 Spartan races next year.

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