I completed the Obstacle Course Racing World Championship as my 20th and final race of 2015.
Around this time last year I watched friends tackle the OCR World Championships in Ohio and I knew I was going to add it to my 2015 race list. I thankfully qualified several times this year for the Women’s 30- 34 age group so I registered mid-season and waited for race day to come. I placed 6th in my age group at the Spartan Bahamas Sprint, 14th in the Montreal Spartan Super, 16th in the Toronto Spartan Sprint and 6th in the Ottawa Spartan Beast so I’m so grateful to know I belonged amongst the other women.
The weather while sunny was cold and right above the freezing mark. I felt strong and my legs felt good. I even came in smiling. I was wearing thermal compression gear by 2XU Canada and a Breathe Thermo Pullover by Mizuno Canada. I was warm at this portion of the race so I threw my pullover to my friend and kept running. That might have been my first mistake in the warmth department.
I had three goals for the race.
A Goal: Keep my OCR band (which meant complete all the obstacles)
B Goal: Do not get injured.
C Goal: Smile when things get tough and have fun.
We started off with 4 obstacles before I lost my band. I tackled Platform Hill, a set of walls, monkey bars (which I got with ease!) and then the Wreck Bag Carry (picture above). Although I wanted to keep my band much longer than I did, I lost it on the Savage Race Pipe Dreams (picture below). I made it 3/4 of the way across at least 4 times but my right hand just wouldn’t hold on. I was physically capable but I kept getting to the same place and my right hand would just let go. I can’t even describe what happens in my body. I was severally frustrated at this point and shed a few tears while my friends tried to keep my spirits up. I finally gave up, handed in my wrist band and pushed forward as I didn’t want to spend hours at one obstacle. I know my body limits and I didn’t want to injure myself running this race and I knew I’d be out there for a while so I needed to keep my energy and keep going.
I had a great run through the forest after this obstacle and the Men’s 25 – 29 heat who left 30 mins after us finally caught up with me. I held my own running in between a few of them, wading through river crossing, tackling hurdles, a cargo net, an obstacle called Log Clamber which I can’t remember and then we got to the Castle. This obstacle pictured below was fun but slightly scary as the men came rushing behind me and flying past me. Every single one of them were polite though and gave me encouraging words and asked if I was ok. I just wanted to let them pass and then I’d go on my merry way.
Then came the Destroyer. I saw pictures of this obstacle and video of people attempting it on Friday and I was a bit scared but I hardly struggled on it! Go me! The first shot is of Claude (2nd place female), Lindsey (1st place female) and KK (3rd place female) coming through early that morning in the elite women’s wave.
And here’s me coming up and over the top!
As I saw the next few obstacles,I had to listen to my body as my grip strength was really failing me. I chose to take time penalties at multiple obstacles. I’m proud that I finally learned to know my limits and when it would be dangerous for me to attempt something. While frustrating I’m ok with that. I did what I could, I battled the cold but it was really tough on my body. My nerves just wouldn’t communicate with my hands and my legs and feet were tingling most of the course.
I thankfully found my friend MC on the course near the second Platinum Rig and it was all fun from there on out. We chatted away, laughed and smiled and I even found another girl who I had met at the Ottawa Beast. Roseann, if you read this it was amazing to see you again! I’m so glad we had you around for laughter and strength.
We had two obstacles that gave us a bit of a mind game. Pinnacle hill & the slip and slide near the end of the course. For me Pinnacle Hill was scary as I didn’t know if my grip strength was going to go and we were basically climbing vertical up a hill with only ropes to get us to the top. If I let go I had a really long way to fall. MC climbed behind me and that gave me the confidence to get up. We had a mini celebration, high fived and went on our merry way to start freaking out about the next obstacle that we knew was coming! The epic slip and slide was next.
We paused and watched two women go down first and then it was our turn. I was scared to lose my contacts as the water whips you in the face on the way down. I don’t think I looked very elegant squinting through my fingers. But we did it and I hope the official photographer photo turns out amazing!
The last alleyway to the finish line was obstacle heavy. Since we got wet again at the slip and slide my body was shutting down hard on me again. We used team work to get over the ramp wall and this picture captured of my little trio means the world to me. These women supported me on course, kept asking if I was ok, Roseann held me while I was shaking at one water station and we encouraged each other. I would cheer for them on obstacles I couldn’t tackle and we’d run on together. They made my day and race experience amazing.
I finished this course in shambles. I did not get my A goal but I tried my darnedest to finish smiling. After strong tremors set in and I lost use of my legs, my friends Rich and John tried supporting me over to the medics. I knew I just needed to get my body back to a normal temperature.
A random racer ended up picking me up and carrying me to the ambulance as I was so weak and my legs went completely numb. After being wrapped in blankets and taking lots of deep breaths my body calmed down and I was able to change out of my wet clothes and watch other family members from Alpha finish or find out how their races went. By no means can I say this race was a feat accomplished but I didn’t injure myself, I honoured my limits and tried what I could. For that I’m super proud and happy.
Will I be back? I hope so. The athletes on this course from around the world were the most polite and supportive group I’ve ever seen. These obstacles were doable. I will train harder. I will get stronger and I will come back to compete. Unlike other races I’ve tackled and failed many obstacles in this race makes me excited to become stronger which means it was a course well designed! The festival area was impressive, the volunteers at the water stations were lovely. The ones on course were firm and strict but fair and I’m giving this race an amazing all fingers up rating! Because two thumbs is not enough.