In 2021 I started a new sporting adventure, not so far removed from my training past. I like the fitness demands of OCR – obstacle course races (you need about everything: strength, endurance, speed, coordination, movement skills, tactics, etc.). I like the closeness to nature, and the atmosphere. I’ll keep you posted on my new race experiences and adventures in this article. So you might as well experience it from your armchair. I might even get you in the mood to give it a try once if you haven’t already, and you might even avoid a few pitfalls if you learn from my mistakes.
I have previously written a summary of what this sport is all about (click HERE). It can be completed by almost anyone with a basic level of fitness, but it’s not an easy genre, especially if you want to finish in the top. Many people have been racing for years, with lots of experience and many running miles under their belt. I started racing as an enthusiastic amateur, after 4 years of no running, but with an encouraging canoeing and MovNat background. I could train more and be more specific if that was all I have to do as a pro. So I see it at the moment more as a fun sport celebration or as a challenge. The first year was definitely about gaining experience, and then we’ll see later!
Aspects of the reviews
I have broken my report down into the following smaller specific sections. There will be some overlaps between them, because here too everything is connected.
- Summary: General impressions, thoughts about the venue, the race and the circumstances.
- Ranking: My result, the size and subjective quality of other competitors.
- Team: How the rest of the SunnyFitness team succeed.
- Workout background: Outline how much and what type of workouts I did in the previous months.
- Food: Briefly, my meals that day, i.e. breakfast and pre- and mid-race food. The day before races I usually ate a bit more carbohydrates, for me it was only about 100-200g. Basically I’ve been on a paleo-ketogenic diet for many years, at least 90% of the time, so my cells are mostly in fat burning mode. I could always complete the races energy-wise, but the pace is also important. That’s why I experiment with a bit more carbs near the races, to see if it gives me a little extra. I don’t think that’s the most important thing, but talent, diligence, mental management of the competition, and of course the training work done.
- Excuses: Excuses can always be found as to why I “just” made that result and I always have something! 🙂
- Lessons: I can always find that too, if I look within myself. I try to notice the mistakes and not make them next time.
Quick links to each competition
- I. The first, as a rookie (Bestial Race Fuerteventura, July 2021)
- II. Second attempt, with half arm-half leg (Baifo Extreme, Fuerteventura, August 2021)
- III. When a sprinter tries to run up the hill (Bestial race, Gran Canaria, December 2021)
- IV. Let’s run it again! (Wildrace, La Graciosa, February 2022)
- V. Some experience and a winner team! (Bestial Race, Fuerteventura, April 2022)
- VI. Surprise victory! (Bestial Race, Lanzarote, June 2022)
- VII. Going for a running competition without running (Baifo Extreme, Fuerteventura, September 2022)
- VIII. To go or not to go? (Wildrace, Lanzarote, October 2022)
The first, as a rookie
Bestial Race Fuerteventura, July 2021
9 km and 30+ obstacles
One weekend in July, we participated with our little SunnyFitness team in our first obstacle race at the Las Playitas sports hotel. I had a dual role as coach and competitor. It was a pleasant summer heat, slightly cloudy, slightly windy, you could say ideal weather for intense sport. There was a lot of running up the barren hills, interspersed with a few obstacles, then the last 1km or so the 80% of the obstacles. Climbing, hanging, carrying, balancing, probably the most fun was the giant water slide. The running part was fine, I knew in advance that at 92kg I would not be the fastest runner. The uphill running went pretty well, thanks to my strong legs. I was also fast, light and safe on the downhill, thanks to the balancing, jumping and agility trainings.
I finished 17th out of 229. Great for first time! I might have been a few places better if I had been more tactical on the obstacles. Judging by the physical outlook of the competitors, it was quite a quality race.
I’m very proud of the team, they were also first timers and finished the race with a good result: everyone finished in the top 15-45% of the competitors, injury free and happy. They did a great team job, helping each other over the obstacles. With 1-3 training sessions a week due to busy work and personal lives… And a big thank you to all the other team members and friends who cheered us on!
Half a year, minimalist training. 3-4 short, specific workouts/week + daily natural movements and weekly surfing, physical work at the surf club. 1-2 intervals or shuttle runs of 30 minutes per week and 1 longer, 1-2 hour lower intensity run per week (4-5 harder hill runs). 1-3 full body strength workouts per week, for max strength and strength-endurance. In the last month we did race specific obstacle-running workouts 1 time per week and agility ladder exercises 10-15 min. We didn’t have time for a lot of training volume, I tried to make the most of the situation in a smart and time efficient way.
Breakfast at home as it was close to the competition venue. 4 boiled eggs with butter, salt and pepper, some sausage, bacon, ’pork cheese’, double coffee. I can’t remember exactly, but maybe the start was around 10-11, I had a caffeine-carb energy gel half an hour before. I drank 1-2dl of water once during the race. I had energy all the way through.
The tactics were not the best. There was a serious traffic jam at some of the obstacles, so I had to wait my turn when my first attempt failed, I lost a lot of minutes there. It would have been smarter to quickly do the burpees straight away… Ok, rookie mistake. After a full week of physical work, the competition was on the weekend, obviously I could have rested more. Besides, if that was all I had to do as a pro, I could have trained more.
In conclusion, I was very happy and satisfied with my own and the team’s results. After the race, we finally knew what this sport was all about. And I knew that with more focus and more training, the sky is the limit. Having some tactics are worth it, endurance is never enough fot this kind of competition.
Second attempt, with half arm-half leg
Baifo Extreme, Fuerteventura, August 2021
5 km run and 30+ obstacles
It was another great experience, even though I was “half disabled”, to run my second OCR. Cloudy weather, pleasant warmth, also ideal for doing sport. A couple of weeks before the race I had a huge fall while rope climbing and fell on my left wrist, which swelled up badly, luckily it didn’t break, but after that I couldn’t put any weight on it for a couple of months. I thought about cancelling the race, but in the end I decided to go carefully for the experience, the feeling and for the team. Also, I stepped on a rock 1 week before the race, so my foot wasn’t feeling well. After the first 1 km it cramped up badly, I could only stumble instead of run. The location was again the island itself with its barren, rocky beauty. We had to run around the Tindaya mountain first, so the 5km run was about done, with a few refreshing water container obstacles, almost all on flat terrain. Then came the stadium with all the other obstacles one after the other. These were not difficult, I went through them without burpee punishment even in such a lousy condition.
I ran (limped) at the 46th place out of 339. Not bad with the previous wrist injury and another on my left foot, so I had about 1.5 legs and 1.5 arms, far from 100% condition. The other competitors were perhaps not as strong like in the first event, with fewer high level athletes.
I think they did super again, a bit better than the first one! Everybody finished in the top 1/3 of the field, and in the team competition the girls were surprisingly 2nd and the boys 4th. With minimal training, busy work and family life etc.
Carried on as before the previous race until the accident. In the couple of weeks before the race I did very little and careful strength training and some running (even when running my wrist hurt…).
The race was further away, so I slept in the car, then around 7am, a pre-made egg menu, about the same as the first race, with camping-cooker coffee. As the race started around 12.30pm, I thought I’d eat a bit 2 hours before: 2 bananas, about 100g 70% almond chocolate, 1 protein shake, another coffee. With this combo I had plenty of energy, or rather I just didn’t manage to give off any due to my condition. I didn’t drink anything during the race. After the race, I would have gone 10 more times.
I think the above accidents are just enough…
It is worth doing more research on what the requirements are. We prepared for it as we do for most obstacle races: run-obstacle-run-obstacle… fairly evenly spaced. But here, about the whole run was covered at once and then the obstacles came together. With a semi-damaged foot, 5-finger barefoot shoes are not a good idea. It would have been better to wear a conventional running shoe, it’s true that it’s more uncomfortable and heavier, but it might have protected me from cramping and I would have finished much further ahead.
The third, when a sprinter tries to run up the hill
Bestial race, Gran Canaria, December 2021
12km and 50+ obstacles
I was excited for the event, both for the experience of the trip and for a less specific preparation. The weather here was pleasant, a little cooler, also cloudy, more ideal conditions. It was my toughest race to date. The running was tough, a real endurance event, 12km almost all the way up and down on the hills and there were some difficult obstacles (I did burpees 5 times), and there was more volume as well. In return we ran in a beautiful forest. The usual climbing and hanging tasks were mostly, plus mud crawling, spear throwing, air rifle shooting, log carrying for 1km… I arrived at the finish line tired, dirty, happy and injury free.
I came 27th out of 356. I was pleased with that, seeing the quality of the other guys and girls, which I thought was stronger than the first race. I made a few minor mistakes and my preparation was not really specific. Great!
This time I started alone, the others didn’t commit to travel, taking holidays and had less time to train.
I trained more volume, but the focus changed. I was less enthusiastic about the specific OCR training after the crash and did more “joy workouts”, going for max strength and speed. I couldn’t run for 2 weeks after the foot injury race. Luckily I was able to do the strength training almost completely, even 4-5 times a week with a split body part program (15-60 minutes). And I had a bold idea: I skipped the aerobic training work almost completely, and only had one 30-45 minute easy, continuous run a week on Saturdays. I ran 10-20 second sprints 10-30 times, 2 times a week (half an hour workout with everything). I was curious to see how much endurance I could maintain, and in the meantime I fell in love with sprinting. Unfortunately, I didn’t have endless training time again, but I was getting stronger, more muscular and leaner. Running up the many long climbs in the race, I felt that it would have been good to put a little more endurance work into the bag… The lack wasn’t so bad and at least the descents were easier, faster and more agile than ever. I didn’t even had mucle strain or get injured. At the last obstacles (after 2 hours) I started to feel a little calf cramp starting (maybe I was not ready for 2 hour running…), but fortunately it didn’t develop. This was prevented by a little conscious relaxation.
After sleeping in the car, breakfast around 7am, from home made food. 5 boiled eggs, some sausage and bacon, fresh camping coffee. 1 hour before the race 2 bananas, about 100g 70% almond chocolate, 1 protein shake and another coffee. During the race, I drank 1-2 dl of water at the halfway point (It would have been better something with electrolytes and carbohydrates, but they only gave us water…).
I had to travel to the next island (3 hours ferry) and unfortunately I could only find a ticket for the evening ship. So I arrived at 10pm in the dark, then managed to find a campsite somewhere near the noisy motorway with the car, I didn’t want to wander around for hours, but wanted to get to bed as quickly as possible. It was not the sleep of my life. The previous days had been a bit hectic, I couldn’t get everything neatly arranged and rested. My wrist was pretty good, about 90%, I don’t think it was a disadvantage. My foot was also recovering quite well, but for some mysterious reason I had a recurrence of the muscle strain the week before the race (after running or SUPing). This only affected me to the extent that I chose a different shoe, so I didn’t feel any problems during the race. Previously, I had mostly run barefoot or, as in the previous two races, in my 5 finger, thin shoes. Here, just in case (and learning from the previous race) I put on my traditional trail runnnig shoes. Which was unusual and felt like a heavy “empire pacer” compared to the minimalist shoes. Especially after the wet, muddy obstacles. I messed up the food. I put together the menu from the previous race here because I felt in good energy level there. The problem was that the start here was at 10am and not 12.30pm. I had breakfast at 7am and had my banana-chocolate-white combo at 9am just in case. Unfortunately, it was an overeating on breakfast and I still had that flabby feeling in my stomach at the start of the race, less blood in my muscles, moving a bit dull and heavy. It took me about 20-30 minutes into the race before I didn’t feel any negatives. I was a little nervous, a little rushed, and I blame that for my bad decision. I lost a few minutes here and there during the race. After the first wet obstacle, the shoelace was too loose and the wet shoe was loose, so I had to stop and tighten it. Soon after, my racing bib (body number) came off my shirt after an obstacle, so shirt off, then body number transfer to my shorts, struggleing with the safety pins.
Food wise I should have just eaten breakfast and had an energy gel during or shortly before the race. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to get it the previous days, next time I’ll have to get it well before. It’s worth planning more time for preparation and getting there earlier. It’s better to wait a little rather than rush. A permanent and secure fix of the racing bib counts! As an afterthought, it’s better to put it on the side of my pants and race shirtless. If I want to finish in the top group, there’s no way around it, serious endurance work is needed. But then there’s less time for strengthening and practicing MovNat, which I prefer (goals, motivation). I’m not a professional OCR athlete yet, I’d rather enjoy my own training and start on these races for fun. Next time if I’ll do this kind of training, I’d rather sign up for the short distance ninja category (if possible, there was some limited number here) or do more endurance training if I want to finish faster in the long distance competition. Anyway, the strength-sprinting-speed focused program was working quite well and was very enjoyable, I saw a lot of benefits, I’ll fine tune it.
The fourth, let’s run it again!
Wildrace, La Graciosa, February 2022
5km + 15-20 obstacles
I had already tried to attend on this race once in December last year, but then I was told at the ferry when I was about to go out to the small island that the race was cancelled. No notification by email just a social media post that I didn’t look at… For a few minutes I was nervous at the sloppy organiser communication (time, money, sacrifices to get there..), then quickly switched to holiday mode. At least I got a super weekend trip in beautiful locations. Then the race was re-announced for February, I definitely wanted to make up for it, although until the last few days it was questionable if I could go (car at mechanic, busy week, etc.). I finally managed to get to my easiest race ever. Flat terrain, easy obstacles. It went well, I enjoyed it.
We don’t know in advance what obstacles we will face, so there were some unexpected, funny surprises. I would never have thought during the preparation that I would have to wrap a nut on a 20 cm long thread as fast as possible or hammer a nail into the wood. It happened here, at a heart rate of 180. Since then I’ve been thinking about what kind of training is needed for this:). The rest was the usual obstacle jumping, hanging, rope climbing, water container, spider webs, sandbag carrying etc. It was a great experience all in all!
50th out of 398, with an average km pace of 5 min 11s. Overall I was pleased with it, knowing that I’ve hardly run long runs in the last few months, just short, intense sprints. Now, there was only one category here, we were running with the more fanatic “pro runners”, of which there were quite a few. So you could say it was a quality field. The front runners ran around 4 minute kms including the obstacles!
Team: this time I went alone.
I was in base building period, no rest at all for this competition. The previous weeks-months had been a bit of strength-endurance and mostly max strength development. A little running, 1-2 short intense sprint workouts per week and a weekend jog of about half an hour.
For breakfast the usual scrambled eggs, 4 eggs, bacon slices and coffee, prepared camping style. My start was at 2pm, so I had another meal around 11.30am, maybe too much. Tinned sardines + rice with coconut oil from home, then I had dates, bananas, pistachios, dark chocolate, I had a snack of these too. I also had the energy gel from the organisers. I probably shouldn’t have taken the latter extras, I was a bit dizzy after. Before the race I went to a local bar for a coffee.
I hadn’t had an easy week beforehand, but I definitely wanted to get to the race. I pretty much managed to pack well, I just forgot to bring socks:). So I put on my traditional trail running shoes barefoot. I also had my five finger shoes with me, but seeing the heavily graveled terrain, I decided to stick with the thicker soled shoes. My training wasn’t geared towards this at all, I prefer to save my “peak form” for the summer and I didn’t really do any aerobic training. We were running through the streets of the small village, I had no idea when it would end, so I was conserving my energy. Then suddenly the finish line was there, so I finished with a huge sprint, my last 100m was definitely under 9.58 seconds! So I didn’t run myself completely out, I could have gone maybe 1 minute better and finished a lot of places higher. Anyway, it’s not the Olympics and next time I’ll be more aware of this race.
Socks! Pre-race food is not a feast! The 5km is more of a distance race than a sprint! Thorough course analysis (as far as you can get into the race), know when the finish line is coming up for pacing!
The fifth, some experience and a winner team!
Bestial Race, Fuerteventura, April 2022
9km and 30+ obstacles
After debuting last year, I was now an „experienced” runner at the biggest local OCR event. Two from our SunnyFitness team were also racing again after last year, and two were testing themselves as rookies. It was nice and warm weather (maybe too much of it, running up the hill at noon…), fortunately there was some cooling wind and a few refreshing water obstacles. Most of the obstacles were familiar and a bit more spread out than last year. However, the run up the hill didn’t get any easier this year. 🙂 The organisation was more focused, e.g. no need to wait 5-6 hours for the results announcement.
I finished 14th out of 390 (within the top 4%!), which I’m happy with, knowing the training work I put in and my less than optimal long distance running physique with 90kg. Compared to last year, I moved up and also completed the course 2.5 minutes faster (the running was about the same, the hurdles changed a bit). Last year I finished 17th, about 12 minutes off the podium, this time I “only” needed to finish 5 minutes faster to finish third. I guess everyone has been training hard, the quality and density of the field has increased.
Everyone did great individually and finished in the top 10-25% of the field! The icing on the cake, much to our surprise, was that the girls won the team race easily in the 6km! Big congratulation to them, as moms, working, with 1-3 organized workouts a week and 1-2 individual “home” runs, two of the three were rookies. There were only two of us in the men’s field, so we couldn’t race as a team (you’d need 3 to do that). We are looking for at least one more brave titan next year! Thanks to all the other team members and friends for coming to cheer us on the spot!
In 2022 I trained also more for full body max strength, explosiveness, 3-4 times a week, running 1-3 times a week. Mostly 10-20sec sprints and one 30-60 minute light fartlek jog per week was on the menu. Mountain running only happened once this year, otherwise I never ran longer than 1 hour. So overall, I ran less before the race than last year, but more intensely and improved my max strength in everything. In the month before the race I switched to longer interval runs and 1km intense laps. The last 2 weeks I rested on it, cut back on the volume but increased the intensity. I practiced “sport specific” hangs and obstacle jumps very minimally, relying more on my raw strength and broad spectrum MovNat type training. I did most of my running training barefoot in the sand, and wore normal running shoes or the five-fingered ones for weekend cross-country runs. For the race I wanted to wear the fivefingers again this year, but finally I decided to go with the regular cross-country shoes, because I have to slow down a lot in the minimalist shoes on the gravel downhill.
My breakfast was the usual bacon and sausage scramble with 5 eggs, and coffee. At home, in peace, around 7am. My start was at 10.40, another coffee around 9.30, energy gel, banana, some dark chocolate. This again made me overeat, the first 10-15 minutes of the race were miserable, maybe the blood was still stagnating in the digestive system instead of the muscles, even though I had warmed up thoroughly. But after that „accident” the picture cleared up and I was energetic and fit all the time. After about 45 minutes I slowly consumed one more energy gel. During the race I drank about 1dl of water at the halfway point.
There’s really nothing to explain, I was doing a „halfass” training, with 1-3 runs a week. I started running regularly again about a year and a half ago, it seems to have accumulated some of it as I improved in the ranking. I know that if I ran 4-5 times a week, preparing for long distance, I could do better, but then I would have to give up continuous improvement in strength and surfing. So for now I’ll continue to consider myself an avid hobbyist in the OCR genre. Well, I might pick a race this year and prepare for the run properly, watch out! I’ve been more tactical, I haven’t lost much time. During the race I choosed the 15 burpee penalty 3 times instead, due to the long line in front of the obstacle or the slippery grip heavy hanging obstacle.
Socks! This was again left out of the pack, luckily Geri buddy borrowed one for me. No food 1-2 hours before the race! Amateur mistake, I learned this at the canoe competitions, but I seem to have forgotten. Encouragingly, I improved in the field with less running than last year, so it seems my individual, strength-based training program works. I was really happy for the girls, they did a great job with minimal training but they all did it well, brought their best in the race and worked well together as a team. I continue to see OCR as mostly a long distance, cross country race with some obstacles, which also requires some strength, movement skills and situational awareness.
The sixth, a surprise victory!
Bestial Race, Lanzarote, June 2022
6km running + 30-35 obstacles
I continue to enjoy the OCR genre and was excited for the next event of the Bestial Race series in Lanzarote, even if I wasn’t 100% focused on it this time as well. In the previous days I wasn’t sure I could go for the race, but I finally made it. I went in the morning by car and ferry to the neighbouring island. There was plenty of time until the late afternoon start. The event was in a small town, it was sweltering hot, with the occasional clouds and water obstacles helping to cool us down. I think the organisers put the whole thing A-Z together in a totally professional manner, bravo! And I had been warming up professionally for about 1 hour, so I was in a “give me the lion” state waiting for the start and the race went great! This time there were no brutally steep climbs on the run, just a sneaky hill about 1km long and then a long downhill run. The obstacles were the usual jump over, hanging devices, tire flipping, target throwing with spears, rope climbing and this time we got a mud zone of about 5-6 minutes where we got to swim in plenty of ditches and met inflatable rubber crocodiles along the way. There was also a 30-40m long gravel crawling obstacle under ropes, where I managed to get a few bloody bruises, I don’t know what the point of that is, but I survived, I hope the others did too.
I won the 6km race to my surprise!!! I was expecting to finish in the top 10-20 based on previous experience and my training. 110 runners and I don’t think it was a very strong field if I managed to finish 6.5 minutes ahead of the second place finisher. But I had to fight my way through the field, I pushed myself hard because I couldn’t see where I was in the field, we were starting in several smaller groups. I am very happy with my first OCR gold!
Team: this time I went alone.
Training background: Again, I did not train specifically for this race, but I did try to adapt my training to be fit for the OCR. I saw it as a kind of training race, a chance to gain experience and having fun. Now I’m at the stage where I’m more interested in developing maximum strength and sprinting than in long distance running and practising the obstacles regularly. Serious development of the two together (max strength and endurance) with limited training time while working is almost an impossible mission. For the previous 6 weeks the menu was 3 full body max strength workouts per week, 1-2 times 20-30 minute sprint workouts and 1 time 20-30 minute light aerobic fartlek run per week. Oh, and light MovNat – natural movement practice daily, plus occasional surfing. I also walk 30-60 minutes a day.
Usual breakfast of scrambled eggs with bacon and sausage, 4 eggs and coffee. My start was relatively late, at 18.35, so I could fit in even a lunch (refrigerated- coconut oil rice, tinned sardines, boiled eggs, flavoured with super spices) and some snacks (homemade sweet from rice, cocoa, marmalade, cream, protein and dark chocolate). Oh, and I was not avoiding the coffee either, to take advantage of the mild performance-enhancing effects of caffeine. Learning from my previous experience, I stopped eating 3 hours before the race so I didn’t struggle with food coma after start.
In the first place, with a big lead, I don’t think there is much to blame, I felt very strong and flexible after the proper warm-up, the obstacles and the run went very smoothly. Obviously, if I had run more, I could have been faster. This time my equipment was fine, I didn’t even leave my socks out of the pack!
In previous Bestial Race events, I preferred the longer 9-12km distances (see reviews above), I thought I’d try my hand at the shorter 6km track, since I’m not training for the long distance anyway and the 70-80kg guys aren’t going to run in 10-20kg weight vests for me. Although I wouldn’t be scared of a 20-30km race, it suits my physique and training better if the distance is as short as possible in terms of results.
The preliminary conditions were not optimal, there was enough stress this week, logically it would have been better to skip the race, but inside I felt I should go there. So I had already climbed a few obstacles before the race… In hindsight, it was still worth the adventure, because there was a great treasure waiting at the end! My basic endurance “mitochondrial engine” seems to be in pretty good shape due to my lifestyle habits and sporting history, as with only minimal level of maintenance training I managed to deliver excellent endurance performance. It would be nice to just do this as a professional for once, I know I have plenty of untapped potential. I am very motivated by this result, and I am eager to continue preparing for the next competitions as much as I it is possible next to other areas of life!
VII. Going for a running competition without running
Baifo Extreme, Fuerteventura, September 2022
5km run and 30+ obstacles
This was our second time participating in this relatively easy, rocky desert race. After last year, we knew it was going to be a special event, with the full running part first with some water container splashes and then about all the other obstacles. Even the weather was a challenge, it was super hot and the wind was barely blowing, but we survived and managed to have a great experience again and finish 3rd place as a team! I thought the organisation was absolutely great, with maybe one exception. Not that I’m a big scrap collector, but if they are announcing a team competition, they really should have given something like a medal or a dust catcher trophy to the other podium teams, not just the first one. We weren’t exactly in tremendous top form for various reasons, but here it was really true that participating in these atmospheric races is already a great experience!
22nd out of 321, which is not bad considering the circumstances. The field was mixed, the front I thought made a high level (running) performance, the large crowd tended to be of average or beginner fitness to start the adventure. The obstacles went well, only once I had to send 10 burpee penalties because I couldn’t get with high heart rate on the first attempt at the archery task towards the end (and we only had 1 chance…).
We managed to reach 3rd place out of 18 in the mixed team category. The rest of us finished in the top 13-45% of the field, which is a super achievement with 1-2 workouts a week, work, family life, or as a newbie. Originally 7 of us registrated, but by the end only 4 of us were left due to other commitments.
I didn’t run much before either, now I didn’t run at all. It’s an interesting exercise biohack experiment too. 🙂 Unfortunately a serious leg adductor injury got in the way… I could barely get out of bed for a few days, running was completely out for about 1 month. I could only train upper body, careful light leg strengthening gradually. By the race I was about 90%, but I still felt the “underfunctioning” in my wheels and missed that minimum amount of running training. At the beginning of the summer I had my 1-2 short running workouts a week, along with 3-4 max strength training sessions, then in August the running completely dropped out. I tried to walk and bike more every day to get some minimal aerobic cyclical movement too.
After sleeping in tent, the start was at 10.15am, so the menu before was just the usual bacon and sausage scrambled eggs, prepared camping style and I sent in 2 coffees. About 45 minutes before the race, I had 1 lemon, 2 oranges and a sugary energy drink hoping to give me a little extra. No miracle happened, but at least I didn’t get a food coma.
That was it for now. I had higher hopes at the beginning of the year for this competition, as a second-year, more experienced racer, but then life got in the way. I had a busy work schedule, stressful life situations, social life for a few months before, tried to train hard alongside it, and it was sustainable for about 2 months, then suddenly I had an “unexpected” injury after a SUP wave surfing session which was healing very slowly. So I was a bit unprepared and moved with caution, I didn’t have that “give me the lion” feeling. Encouragingly, I still finished in the top 7% of the field and the others also performed well with busy life background. In the previous race, where I won, I felt in good shape and was able to push myself fully. I’m confident that I’ll be back in the top again in the next competitions!
Sometimes in life you have to rush day and night for weeks or months. I think you can tolerate that for a while, but you need to pay more attention to your body’s feedback, your training and your sleep intake. I didn’t get it perfect this time, but I’ll get it better next time. Also, a little more adductor training might be good idea to make them more bulletproof and not having a weak link..
Run, run, run! OCR is 60-70% long distance running in my opinion, it doesn’t hurt to have steady and regular running workouts. The running part this time was more challenging for understandable reasons, but the obstacles were easy this time too, so the strength and technical part of my training seems to be going in the right direction. Okay, time to get a bow and shoot occasionally. To be continued. There will be another 1-2 events in the fall not so distant places, we’ll see which one I can make it.
VIII. To go or not to go?
Wildrace, Lanzarote, October 2022
7km running and about 30 obstacles
I was participating second time in a Wildrace OCR event (or 2+0 times if I count the cancelled race last year). Contrary to its name, I wouldn’t say it was too wild, I’ve been in much harder and muddier races. This was more like a comfortable walk around town, and of course, you had to push as hard as you could for the top places. I had this race in my diary beforehand, but until the last minute it was not sure if I can go. I hadn’t peaked my trainings for this the week before. In the end, it just worked out, with a long trip on race day, no rest, rather a lot to do, stress in the previous weeks.
The organisation was basically great, we had even a big stage with live music. I give a small black mark for the half hour delay of the start. I like to warm up thoroughly, starting half an hour to an hour before the race. I build it up nicely and be in the „beastmode” by the start time. However, if you have indefinite delays, try to get yourself ready somehow…
Apparently this Wildrace organising team must be made up of carpenters, again there was a nailing obstacle and a fun stilts-like walk on wooden dices. Climbing two walls in a row right after the start, and then soon after 4 incline walls. There was also sandbag carrying twice, 4 Tarzan-monkey climbing tasks in a row, tractor tire rolling, lots of mud puddles, water containers, etc. So mostly the usual.
13th in a field of 273. I would have been happy with a top 10 finish beforehand, as how I entered the race. It didn’t take much to make the top 10. If I hadn’t wasted a few minutes at one of the obstacles when a lady was struggling front of me and stopped to empty gravel from my shoes, I might have had a 6-9th place. Still, I was not crying or doing harakiri, it was a great experience!
Team: This time I went alone from the team.
My serious leg injury from a couple of months ago has thankfully healed, here I “only” had a slight glute strain this week, but after a thorough warm up it didn’t bother me.
I started running again in mid-September, 1x sprint intervals per week, 1x 30-50 min light aerobic fartlek runs per week. More recently I’ve been practicing classic weightlifting (clean and jerk, snatch) and doing additional full body max strength workouts 3-4 times a week. Well and natural movements briefly, walking, cycling about every day.
My standard breakfast (scrambled eggs with bacon and sausage) at home early in the morning, then about 4 hours travel to the venue. On the way, an early lunch from a box around 11am, bodybuilder style (coconut oil-rice with Italian spices, tinned sardines, boiled eggs, dark chocolate). Early afternoon another rice, berry, protein, cream mix stuff and dark chocolate. Double coffee 1 hour before the race. Start at about 17:10 instead of 16:40. 0.33 sip of water at the halfway point during the race. Energy wise I think I was pretty good (apart from less sleep the previous days). I still had a little energy left in me, I didn’t manage to push myself fully, I couldn’t see exactly when the finish was coming through the narrow streets.
I need to figure out something to manage the half-hour start slip and warm-up more skillfully, if it’s even possible to prepare for that. Or is this just another obstacle that needs to be solved somehow? My left-footed fivefinger shoe has had a sizeable hole in it for a while, so the stones have been digging in easily, time to get a new one. Anyway, the barefoot shoes worked perfectly well for an urban event like this, where there was little cross-country or hill running.
Next time I’ll be harder on the one in front of me at the obstacles if I find he/she is really holding me up. I think it would be appropriate to let go if someone is significantly faster and catches up. This time I just gently signalled to the lady in front of me through 4 walls to let me go, but she didn’t take the hint. I also helped her to escape sooner. Okay, it’s a fun race, but if we are going for time, don’t waste precious minutes.
As an enthusiastic amateur, the move doesn’t always come out perfectly and just getting to one of these races involves jumping over several “life obstacles” before. Well, in hindsight, it’s still worth it for the experiences and the journey!
To be continued...
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