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.
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.
We all hear this excuses: I don’t have time! It’s too much of a commitment! It’s too expensive!
We’re barely into the new year and I bet most of you have made some kind of resolution to get in shape and have probably already used one of these excuses. Well, take this time to knock that out! Seriously. Do it right now! Shout it at the screen: “I will no longer make excuses!”
Now, after you’re done calming down your spouse, your neighbors, or any other innocent bystanders who are now giving you dirty looks at the coffee shop, let’s get down to the business.
Working out is not something that has to cost you the arm and the leg you’re trying to make stronger. Yes, it’s true that there are pricey options out there, from gym memberships to expensive equipment that you can order from the comfort of your couch. Of course, then comes the dreaded rut you get into where you’re paying for a gym membership you’re not using (and I’ve been there) or your treadmill or home gym machine is now a glorified coat rack.
Today marks 28 days before I take on my first competitive wave at Warrior Dash. With just four weeks to go, it means that my training needs to be pushed to the next level, and soon! This week was the first full week back to work since break, so finding time from this point on to get my workouts in will be tricky, but as long as I keep myself focused on this goal, then I will be fine.
The first of my series. For those who’ve read my Prospective 2017 Calendar, then you know that I’ve recently signed up for the competitive wave at Warrior Dash. This is their first event of the year, and running in the first wave of the day lets me join the elite group of individuals who will be a part of their season’s kickoff. That in itself is pretty great. However, going from casual racer to competitive racer already has its effects on me as a person and an athlete. The focus of this series is to chronicle those changes.
Most of you are probably reading this because you want to see someone who is pushing himself in the way you hope to do. I applaud that! Of course, I’m not perfect either. One of the areas I have discussed before as a place where I can improve is in planning ahead. This will be good for me for two reasons: first, OCR is an expensive hobby, and planning out my races will allow me to better budget out my year; second, it gives me a better focus on how I should train for these races, also making me a more focused athlete in the process.
It’s been a little over a years since I started this blog. I will admit that most of 2016, I’ve not been great at keeping up with it. However, for 2017, I hope to change that.
The first post you will see in January will be a breakdown of my OCR calendar for the year. The full breakdown you’ll see next week, but the other side of this journey is properly documenting it through the blog with the hope of inspiring those other casual racers who are looking to try something new and get out off the couch!
The first thing you can expect from me: more blog posts. It is my goal to publish at least two posts per month, no matter what. So if you’ve read my blog and like what I have to say, then hopefully you’ll have more to like starting in 2017. Blog posts will go beyond just reviews of races (though I’ll continue those where I can). I will be expanding to stories of individual obstacles, specific exercise/workout regiments that will hopefully help you improve your OCR game.
Along with that, I’ll be launching two new blog series. The first, starting in January, will be From Casual to Competitor, a short run in which I hope to chronicle the differences I’ll be going through as a prepare to take on my first competitive OCR wave. The second, which will start in February, will be My Quest for the Trifecta. This one will be the obvious for the OCR fan as I tell the story of my push for my Spartan Race Trifecta. Yes, there are many around the world with several trifectas, but I want to show those other prospective Spartans what I specifically go through.
Overall, 2016 was rough for many, including myself. However, I am optimistic about 2017, and I look forward to the adventures that it brings.
So with that, I say Happy New Year!
On Christmas Day of 2016, a historic event occurred for obstacle course racing. Two end-of-season events for two of the biggest names in OCR were featured as one-hour specials on major broadcast networks. The early afternoon was graced by a special on World’s Toughest Mudder on CBS, while a special on the Spartan Race World Championship was shown on NBC. Both of them featured major names in OCR, like Ryan Atkins and Robert Killian. Both of them were all about the premier compeition. So when these two titans of OCR have their signature events highlighted on the same day, it’s hard for one to ignore the obvious question: Who told it better?
Let’s start with World’s Toughest Mudder on CBS. Viewing this special was more about the people who participate in the event than anything else. There was less talk about the obstacles or the technical aspect of competing in WTM. They featured those competing for the coveted $10,000 prize and those who were shooting for a place in the 100-Mile Club. But it wasn’t just about the hardcore competitors. It was also about those who decided their best needed to be pushed forward. The man with a prosthetic leg who wanted to prove he could do the race. The woman who celebrated her first year free of cancer by shaving her head before taking on the course. This makes sense. Tough Mudder has always been about the people who do the races. This is why they really don’t push competitions during the year. Tough Mudder has never been considered a competition; it’s always been a challenge. So while it’s true the competitors were highly featured during the broadcast, it was definitely about more than just the competitors.
The Spartan Race World Championship on NBC seemed to abandon the formula that was used over the summer with the Spartan Team Challenge mini-series over the summer. The summer series was about the people; the World Championship was all about the sport. They focused more on the competition, even giving obstacle breakdowns and focusing on the elite athletes and big names (such as NFL great Randy Moss, who entered the Beast that weekend with the intent of finishing his Trifecta). Throw in a commentator and epic music and you’ve got a serious athetlic event happening here. This makes sense since even CEO and Founder Joe DeSena has spoken highly about the athletic prowess of the OCR sport. He’s talked about wanting to see Spartan Race in the Olympics one day. With that in mind, this broadcast already had the marks of a high-level sport when it came to sponsorships. Obviously, we know about Reebok, but there was also Marriott, Beet Elite, and more. (Before anyone says anything, yes, WTM had multiple sponsors too, but there were far less commercials for those sponsors during WTM’s broadcast versus Spartan Race’s.) Let’s also be fair: this is not a knock on having sponsorship. It’s a smart business move. It’s just an interesting note.
So, now comes the epic question…who told it better? Truthfully, and this might be the most anticlimatic response you could get, but I thought they both did it well. The world of OCR is made up of two very distinct worlds: the sport itself and the people who participate. Tough Mudder has always been about focusing on the people who participate because they want the diversity of the people to be clear. Spartan Race has been pushing hard (successfully) to advance the sport of obstacle course racing. Both of these names are the biggest names in the sport because they hit on the most important aspects of what makes OCR great. And it was incredibly exciting to see this sport highlighted on such a big stage on Christmas Day. Truly a great present for OCR enthusiasts all over!
It’s the holiday season! Throughout the neighborhoods, you see lights and Christmas trees and all sorts of decorations. The malls are packed with shoppers trying to get their shopping done early this year. (Though, inevitably, many won’t.) So, I thought it be fun to take a holiday classic and add a little OCR spin on it. Feel free to confuse your friends and relatives with it.
I remember it like it was yesterday. The excitement, the anxiety, the anticipation. And no, I’m not talking about my last Valentine’s Day date. I’m talking about my first OCR. It was June 14, 2014. The Rugged Maniac in Dade City, Florida. I’d spent months working out and training for this day, but aside from the obvious, there are a few things I feel like every first-time obstacle racer should know. Here are my tips for your first run.