Saturday, June 28, 2014

RACE REPORT: Battlefrog Carolinas 2014

Training:

Friday, June 13:
Finally got a chance to run again, after 4 days off, which is the biggest break I've had in a while.  Did 8.3 in 1:10:42, 8:28 ave, at the park.  No zombies, just wanted to get some miles in.  Could've pushed for another 0.75 mi lap, but I decided to save it for the weekend.

Saturday, June 14:
5.2 in 47:13, 9:05 ave.  Legs were a bit iffy, so I considered ditching the run, but I took it slow, and it was ok.  Did zombies.

Sunday, June 15:
65 min strength session.  700 crunches per side (front, left, right), 100 adductor + 150 abductor leg lifts, 15 divebombers, 2x75 single-leg squats, billy band arms, 105 unweighted lower leg extensions, 4-way elastic band hip exercises, 110 + 110 dumbell rows, 65 Russian twists, 30 tricep dips, 115 pelvic thrusts.

I had pushed it hard during that weekend, to make up for a lack of real working out the previous week.  With the battlefrog coming up the next weekend, I hoped that I hadn't pushed it too hard.

Tuesday, June 17:
Did a light run, 3.7 in 30:35, 8:16 ave.  It felt harder than it should've.  Did it on the treadmill, at 3 degrees of incline = 7:38 effort.  Had eaten dinner 45 min before, so the bathroom cut the run short, in any case, and my legs had started to complain, too.

Slept lots the rest of the week.

The Race:

Drove about 2 hrs, got there an hour early for the elite heat.  Got to park close to the festival area, checked in, used the restroom, checked out some of the obstacles near the start.  Did my usual pre-race prep with nutrition, big preparation, shoe prep.  I splurged on customized Reebok All-terrain obstacle course racing shoes, which have nice lugs and water draining functionality.  I didn't do any runs in the shoe before the race, but after trying on many different kinds of normal running shoes, even just standing around in a pair, you can kind of tell if it will work or not. I did my warm-up run... pretty minimial, since it was going to be a 15K race, and my dynamic stretches.


This is a race put on by Navy Seals, so they had demos and copters and guns, to make it exciting.  The elites were also jacked.  It was exciting being at the start.  We set off, to the sound of machine gun fire.  I went at a manageable clip, as if it was a normal 15K race.  On the first obstacle, where we had to jump over downed logs that were a few feet off the ground, I lost my race bib, which I pinned on my sports bra, as I belly-rolled over the log.  Oh well.

We got muddy pretty early.  The race goes through some streams.  One of them had very coarse sand, which got wedged behind my heel.  That made each step quite painful, as it sanded away my skin.  I tried to clear it out, but the shoe was pretty tight, so I just got used to it.  I breathe really hard, starting from early in the race.  A really nice guy wondered if I was ok.  I guess maybe it sounds like asthma or something.  It's normal for me, though.  He kept encouraging me.  He was so nice.  This was around the time when I was still adjusting to the sand and continuing to go through lots of water.  We eventually got into trails again, instead of water slogging, and I was able to get back into a normal pace.

I had to get help on the 8-foot walls (I think they were 8 feet), because there was no mini-ledge built into the wall.  Went over cargo nets, climbed laddery things, climbed the rope successfully this time since I wasn't super wet and muddy.  The course got very hilly.  Carried jerry cans.


I started off with some cans that had no green tape.  Then, a girl on her way back said that the elites had to use the taped ones, which were heavier, so I went back and switched.  Then, as I was getting back, another girl said that girls can use the non-taped ones.  Who knows which one was right, but I wish that rules were published before-hand, for the elite heats, to make everything consistent.  I know part of the challenge of OCRs is the mystery about what obstacles there will be, but general rules would help... like if there are two sides to pick from, where one has a ledge and one doesn't, who's allowed to use it?  If there are ropes with knots and ropes without, who's allowed to use each one?  Is it different for boys vs. girls?  If there are objects of different weights, maybe a certain color can be a universal sign of who's allwed to use which ones.  In which obstacles do you get multiple tries?  

The single-rope traverse was very long and difficult, and I probably only made it 1/6 of the way or something before my arms tired.  Phew, that's tough, tough, tough.  I had tried the under-the-rope approach.  Perhaps the over-the-rope approach would've been easier, although without a shirt, it would've probably given me some serious rope burn, in any case.  It was fun to try, but man, that was tough.  Crawling out of the water, though, the grass there was like patches of razor blades or something, and it cut up my hands a bit.  

We eventually got close to the festival area again.  At the monkey bars, you had to jump outwards just to reach the first bar, which I was happy just to make it to.  I made it to the 2nd-to-last bar, before slipping and hitting my tailbone on the dirt during the fall.  It was shocking, but ok.  Then, another net, and a paintball shoot.  The shoot is much easier than the spear throw. 



Then, a slippery, warped wall.  I tried the short rope about 5 times.  Each time, I got higher, but I couldn't get a good grip on the muddy rope.  I saw some men make it.  There was a longer, knotted rope.  I wanted to try the short rope as much as I could, but eventually, I gave in, and waited in line for the long rope.  I lost about 10 min there.  The penalty for failing an obstacle is 10 8-count man-makers, which can be knocked out in a minute.  I think that puts some subjectivity into the race.  How many times is enough?  I decided to just take my time, because if I don't try the obstacles as much as I can, it might as well be a running race, and you don't get many chances to do cool obstacles like this, anyway.  The knotted long rope, even, was too hard for me.  Too slippery, not enough strength to pull myself up.  So I gave up after failing at that, knocked out the man-makers, and continued on.  Kudos to anyone who did make it!  The 15K course was a 10K stretch, followed by the 5K course, so there were lines even for the elites... that only really factored in at the slip wall, but it did make it less of a race.


 The next few obstacles were very doable... Slide down (more of a mental thing), climb up a wall (less slippery rope, and better footing), slide down a tube, then the final un-barbed wire crawl.







This was a very fun 2nd OCR.  I was less tired at the end of this one than the 4-mi Spartan.  Maybe because I only had to do about 30 man-makers, vs. 90 burpees.  And the 4-mi Spartan took me longer (2.5 hrs) than the 9-mi Battlefrog (2.2 hrs), since this was a solo run instead of a group activity.  It was a good feeling to make the rope climb this time, and to nail the paintball shoot.  I need to work on my vert jump, to enable me to get over 8-feet walls without assistance next time.


It was a great event, and only the 2nd that they've run, ever.  The volunteers were awesome, and my fellow competitors were extremely kind and encouraging.  Great event.  

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