Mission accomplished – sort of. The good news – I finished! Just not as easily or dignified as I had hoped. The course and the obstacles were more than I bargained for, and in hindsight, I should have researched, prepared, and trained differently.
I Hate Excuses…
…but will use one anyway! The cool, wet weather coupled with the course made its impact felt. Being in the Seattle area, it shouldn’t have been a surprise, it rained the majority of the time with temps in the 40’s which made for a wet, cold, slippery, and extremely muddy race (to many, probably the perfect OCR / mud run conditions!).
I’m pretty sure my struggles could have been negated had I researched techniques on how to conquer obstacles and which ones to simply avoid and take a burpee penalty. So if you’re a first timer mud runner or OCRer in training, here’s my ‘aftermath’ advice to you: as part of your training, spend a fair amount of time on the web and YouTube to learn techniques to overcome obstacles. This will increase your chances of conquering the obstacles, and ultimately a solid finish. Also, get to know the general weather for your race area and time of year, especially if not local to you. Keep a close watch on the forecast as race day draws closer.
For the first quarter of the race I felt good and was handling the course and obstacles with no problems, then we got to the underwater wall and things changed. It’s a relatively easy obstacle from a physical standpoint, especially if you don’t mind going under water, however the outcome of being completely soaked in the cool, wet air took its toll the remainder of the race. I couldn’t warm up, nor stop shivering. It was a strange sensation, and it zapped me for the remainder of the race. This is why it’s so important you try to learn as much as possible about the course, obstacles, and likely weather conditions – it will definitely help come race day!
As I look back on the race, gear is no doubt a critical piece of the equation, and can potentially make or break you depending on the course, conditions, and climate. Considering my race day conditions, I should have geared up differently: worn a smaller pack, or perhaps no pack as there were plenty of water stations and the temperature was cool. One or two fuel gels or bars in my shorts pocket would have been perfect. Also, the long sleeve compression shirt I wore absorbed the water and stayed wet and cold the entire race – short sleeve or a different type of material would have helped. No doubt this is part of the learning experience for a first-timer, but if you’re reading this, it’s something to consider for your first race.
Will I do another OCR? I think so. I feel like I need to redeem myself as it wasn’t my best output, and now that I have my first race under my belt, I can dial in the preparation and training for a better race day result!
A Positive, Dare I Say Exhilarating Experience
In retrospect, the overall experience of my first Spartan race was pretty awesome – great people and environment, a good challenge, and I learned about OCR’s, and more about myself.
I hope this article provides other newbies some insight and help in preparing for their first OCR or mud run. Of course if you have any questions about training, gear, or the race, I’d be more than happy to help – simply leave a comment below.
Here are a few links if you want to learn more about OCR’s / Mud Runs and training…
Helpful OCR / Mud Run Sources
Popular OCR’s / Mud Runs:
How to train / prepare for an OCR: