Thursday, August 25, 2016

2016 Chicago Terrain Race

Daaaaayuummmm!  What a race this was.  I made the 5+ hour trip into the Southwest side of the Chicago area for the Terrain Race at the Chicagoland Speedway.  As luck would have it the rain came down immediately after I filled out my waiver and grabbed my timing chip, go figure, but I got warmed up, changed, and headed for the start of my 10K Competitive wave. 

Image result for Terrain race start pool
An example of a Terrain Race Start!

The start of this race was all new to me and actually kinda cool both in literal terms and its uniqueness.  Start line was ahead of two large pools maybe 3 feet deep you had to hop out of prior to crossing the start line....I snagged a great spot in the front and out the water quickly I went.  Rain wasn't issue here as it would come down extremely hard at times making things slow a bit.

The rest of course had some great obstacles and the best part of the whole damn thing was there was no penalties for non completion of an obstacle you just keep trying till either you get it or you give up your band and out of the running for any awards.  That all aside, I rolled into the first obstacle sitting inside the top 10 pretty easily as the pack separated shortly after the first crawl under some bungees inches of the surface of the water in which I did drink some and not at all impressed with the flavor, but after clearing out my lungs a bit things seemed to come back on track through some mud pits and a culvert crawl which proved to hold me up a bit as not all could squeeze through easily and I picked the wrong lane for sure, but oh well, that's racing.  The separation point of the race came pretty early on where a cargo net went into a wreck bag carry.  I climbed the cargo net to the top reached down the other side and managed the flip but held on and really wrenched the shoulder....didn't think that technique through in regard to the shoulder, but I got it done anyway and seemed like the wreck bag run went fine, but slow as I was more focused on the status of the shoulder and it took a bit to shake off what just happened.  Turned out to be sore, but completely fine to use.

2nd and clean attempt at the rig

From there it would be some 4', walls and then the breaking point of the race.....THE RIG.  So here's how this went down.  There were shapes of all sorts hanging from lanyards of some sort in which you could not use...had to use the ball or cone or skull shaped grip to get across without touching the ground.  I really worried about my shoulder and it showed the first time through and had to start over.  The second time I just really slowed it down and just focused on having a good grip and my swing to the next one and nailed it, but lost a spot....honestly with my one fail I actually made up more than I lost as many struggled here, but who still has their band?  Me!!!!  Onto the next one......

There's our section of bleachers, Sara Palin swears she can see Russia from the top..

I made up ground to another dude who I had been swapping spots with all morning and we charged through the rope climb, did some tire flips, and we talked a bit about who we are where we were from etc while heading into the Speedway for the entire bleachers full of running steps.  I would struggle with one 8' wall due to a poor technique and over analyzing the damn shoulder but this guy ahead waited for me which was pretty damn cool. 

When we left the stadium we grabbed sandbags and headed into the speedway again for some additional steps but this time with a complaints from me considering I've been hauling some weight around in my training so it should have been nothing and it was.  We were told we were in 3rd and 4th....I was stoked to say the least.

Tire drag was a drag

At this point we were on the last stretch and I just kept pace with him only increasing my tempo little by little but that would be a mistake as he was stronger on the obstacles like the tire drag as in pull a huge ass tire with a rope and return it back to it's home and sprint to the last two obstacles.  

This kicked my butt mostly cause of technique which is poorly documented in this picture....CAN'T USE THE STRUCTURE PEOPLE!

The last real difficult obstacle was the monkey balls (I think this is the name...well look at the pic above) which I believe is a series of climbing grips over a pool and you cant use the beams to advance and I didn't care much for the layout and that cost me big the first attempt as I couldn't see my next move and resorted to grabbing the top and so I dropped into the water and reset....second try I simply swung to wildly and lost it toward the end.  The last time I nailed it and the grip felt pretty solid, but the damage was done as there was one small obstacle left and after sliding down the pole I crossed the line in a hard fought 4th place just out of the cash money, but I would rather take 4th in a stacked field which this truly was vs 1st with nobody to compete against although don't get me wrong, I do like cash!!!  It was great to finally meet some of guys I've been running against at these Spartan Races and I definitely look forward to going after them very soon if I can. 

The last obstacle, I was relieved to say the least.  Unfortunately this structure would get it's armband taken away, but that OSB wasn't going to keep up with the rain and moisture anyway....I am sure they've already worked on this issue.

I don't know what happens regarding OCR Worlds, but even if I qualify I may back off a year and make sure my shoulder is truly 100% not just 100% functional.  I also need to work on a lot of skills to get me speed ready for the next one.  So for now just hammer out hard workouts and get ready for whatever happens next.

looking for the finishing obstacle and happy with the outcome

Takeaways from this race.  1. I need to get a lot of practice on rigs.  2. $20 is not enough money for tolls.  3. My running ability bailed me out today. 4. I love mandatory obstacle completion....I love doing the whole course.  5.  The OCR community is incredible....everybody is out there pushing each and we are each others cheerleaders out there on the course..  And finally 5+ plus hours in a car = some heavy legs at the beginning of a race...I felt horrible for most of that race till the speedway some 4 or 5 miles into it.....yikes.

I have lots to write about following this race and the demise of Battlefrog, but I'll fight off the carpel tunnel syndrome for now till after I get my workout in.  Mile repeats and some deadlifts and legs today should get the creative writing juices going for the time being.....