It’s pretty hard to imagine. In November, I took the chance of registering for Warrior Dash’s competitive wave. That was over three months ago. As of this writing, I am less than a week away from entering the ranks of OCR competitors around the world. With only six days (or five days and 16 hours to go for those who enjoy being technical), this is a good time to reflect on what’s to come from this experience.
One thing I must always keep in check is the ability to manage expectations. I have to remember that I am not like the other competitors out there. As a full-time teacher, finding the time and energy to train is not easy. So I’m already going in with a bit of a disadvantage. Several of those, or possibly nearly all, I’ll be racing against have lives more conducive for training. Because I know that I’m going up against elite athletes who have the ability to train properly for such events, I don’t plan on making the podium and getting a big fat check. I don’t even have aspirations of landing in the top 10 men and securing a spot in the OCR World Championship.
I chose to do the competitive wave as a means of pushing myself further than I have before. The other races I’ve done gave me a glimpse of who I am as a person and what I can do as an athlete. In those instances, it was always me against myself. Me against the obstacles. And I’ve been proud to beat some of the most challenging obstacles in the sport. Now, I’m taking it to the next step. Competing against others is my way of seeing what else I am capable of. All I hope for is this: I’d like to finish the race with a respectable time. My fastest recorded time on an obstacle course race so far was about 48 minutes (done at the Melbourne Mud Bash in October). I’d like to be able to complete Warrior Dash in 40-45 minutes. That will probably not be enough to beat any major competitors, but it’ll be a time I’ll be proud of.
It’s probably too soon to think about what will happen next after Warrior Dash, but there are a few events I know of already. My next goal will be to preparation for my first Spartan Race. I’m aiming for the end of April in Miami for the Sprint, followed by stops in Asheville for the Super this summer and the Central Florida Beast in November. I also have my sights on finally taking on Tough Mudder in October. There’s also a possibility of jumping in a couple more races in between. I’m considering another volunteering stint with BoneFrog Challenge, which could mean another race with them, plus taking on one of my favorite local races, the AIDS Orphans 5K in Merritt Island, Florida. (Still the muddiest I’ve ever gotten.)
Also, with the new US OCR Championship, a chance to go to Texas and compete again might be an incredible experience. And assuming I read the directions correctly, I believe I can just register for that (with the exception of the Pro Division, which must be qualified for). If anyone has correct information, please feel free to comment.