The last ten or so days have been quite tricky as I get closer to my first competitive wave. As of this writing, I am 13 days away from my first time taking on real competition, where it’s not just me versus myself and the obstacles; it’s me against myself, the obstacles, and 50 other people who are also out to prove how good they are. While I have already chosen to not focus on being the best there, I still can’t ignore the challenge of racing other athletes. It’s not something I’ve experienced in years, and I don’t count friendly competition of HORSE on a basketball court. My main goal is still put up a respectable time in the competitive wave. And with less than two weeks till then, I’m officially in crunch time.
OCR Boot Camp
One of big steps I needed to do was take on a training session that is focused more on obstacle course racing than what I’ve been doing. And that’s why I went to NinjaFit Gym in Orlando this past weekend.
I discovered NinjaFit Gym last summer. They are the first and, as far as I know, only gym in Central Florida that is focused primarily on OCR and Ninja Warrior training. They usually do OCR boot camps on the weekends, and I knew this was the perfect chance I had to get out there. I got there right before 9am, and Coach Chad was in full prep mode getting four challenging stations prepared for the large group that made it that morning.
We were asked to divide into four groups or teams. I joined a young man I met named Hector. He was the only one at that point whose name I knew, so it made logical sense to join up with him. From there we were informed that we would spend 10 minutes at each station with four minutes rest between each.
Station One was a short jog of 100 meters followed by a rotation of various objects to be pushed (two weighted sleds) or carried (ranging between Atlas balls, sand bags, water jugs, and three levels of kettle bells). Station Two was a team challenge to carry a 285-pound barbell around the parking lot. Station Three was a mini-obstacle course inside the warehouse, which included several barricades to get over and under, plus rope swings, the rock-climbing wall, and a run through the massive ninja rig that takes up a majority of the inside space. Finally, Station Four consisted of a 200-meter jog with a rotation of fitness challenges: five burpees, 10 leg-lifts, 15 pushups, and 20 jump squats. All stations were AMRAP through the ten-minute periods.
For those visiting the Orlando area and looking for a place to train for OCR’s or Ninja Warrior, you need to heed my shameless plug for NinjaFit Gym. Of the staff members I’ve been able to meet, all were excellent to work with, plus their rig is second to none in the area. And since the owners are die-hard OCR competitors, having competed in many Spartan Race events, Savage Race events, and more, you know they will get you ready for whatever you’ve got coming up.
Beating “The Wall”
And no, I don’t mean a wall in an OCR (though that could be a subject for later). I’m talking about “the wall” or that feeling you get when you’re in a race or working out and want to stop.
We all know this feeling too well. It doesn’t even have to be fitness-related. It could be work-related or life-related. No matter what, the wall is an energy suck. Let me tell you about my most recent visit to the wall.
It happened about a week and a half ago. I was at Planet Fitness, using their PF 360 rig again, and I was nearly the end of my second circuit. I was on my third to last exercise, box jumps, when I just didn’t want to keep going. I found myself staring at the green light after every rep, waiting for it to turn red. I probably could’ve managed more than I did, but I kind of slugged my way through the remaining seconds until the light changed color. I then stared at the next station, where I would be doing Russian twists, and wondered if it was worth continuing. Now, I will admit I eventually did start the exercise, but I did them very half-heartedly. I just was running out of steam. By the time I hit the dips, my final exercise, I didn’t want to do anymore. I probably managed six or seven before I just stopped. I tried to blame the allergies. It that did have something to do with it (hard to work out when you can’t breathe). But really, I had hit the wall. Hard.
The best thing I’ve done since I’ve begun training was heading over to the OCR boot camp. It reminded me the OCR community is one full of people who believe in pushing themselves and, more importantly, pushing others to be their best. I chose to do a competitive wave because, after 14 obstacle races, each time seeing improvements in my personal performances, that doing a competitive wave is the next best way to push myself. So yes, there are days when I still find that wall. But, like the obstacle in so many races, there’s only one way to deal with the wall: get over it. And I don’t mean that as a snobby, “quit your whining” type of way. I mean that as in you have to get over it.