by Guest blogger OCR Athlete & Runderlust Ambassador Josh Peukert
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in the USOCR Championships at the YO Ranch in Mountain Home, Texas. If you haven’t heard of it, the USOCR Championships combined obstacles from many OCR events into a single championship course. There were two distances, a 3K and a 15K. The idea of the races was pretty simple. You're given a wrist band which must be worn throughout the race. If you fail an obstacle, you can retry it as many times as you'd like. Once you complete the obstacle, you move on, but if you are unable to complete it, you give up your wrist band and penalty minutes are added to your total time. Being new to the OCR world, I had major anxiety (and excitement) experiencing these obstacles that I hadn't seen before.
The night before the races, I went to athlete check-in and received my wristbands, timing chips, bib, and swag. After checking in, I walked around the festival area and looked at the obstacles. The finishing gauntlet seemed pretty intense. There were 4 intense grip strength obstacles finishing off the course. The first was a classic multi-rig. The next was an obstacle called Skyline. Skyline is a zip line with a knob in the middle that you had to push the hand holds over.
The third was called Urban Sky, which incorporates several different types of hand holds. The final obstacle, and probably my favorite, was called Floating Walls. The walls were attached at the top to a pole, and the bottoms were free floating, making them move as you traversed them. You then climbed a cargo rope and had to do the walls again...this time 15 feet in the air. Those 15 feet though felt like 50 feet. Thankfully, they had a cargo net under you in case you fell.
Saturday morning started the 3K race. The 3K sent out age groups in waves of 8 at a time. I had decided I was going to go out as fast as I could. I jumped out to a fairly large lead on the other runners in my wave, and was having no problems completing the obstacles. I was running a solid race until I got to the first of the gauntlet obstacles (the multi-rig). I was cruising right along and was transitioning from the rings to the straight bar, and as I grabbed the bar, my foot drug across the ground...failure. I had to go through the retry lane which meant waiting for the person who failed before me. Now I'm losing precious time. My second attempt, my rhythm was just off...failure. On my third attempt, I cruised right through it, but my forearms were on fire! Thankfully, I made it through the final 3 obstacles without failure. My time wasn't great, but I had my medal around my head and my wristband still on my wrist!
On Sunday, I wore the USOCR jersey that my wife bought for our anniversary, and naturally, had to wear the Runderlust Stars and Stripes socks. Undeniable that I was looking good, and I was feeling pretty good. I had rolled and iced my forearms the night before and they seemed to fully recover. As I was laying on the ground starting my warm up, I felt something running up my arm. Have you ever been bit by a fire ant? Let me tell you, it's not fun.
The race itself started and I wanted to stay pretty conservative out the gate. I kept a pretty consistent pace as we immediately had to deal with the first obstacle...the heat. My heat started at 10:15 and by that time, it had to have been in the 80s, and by the finish, in the 90s. For me, the favorite obstacles day 2 had to be the two water crossings and the Savage Race Pipe Wet Dreams. This is a single bar traverse with your body from the waist down in the water. Those were welcome obstacles in the heat! The only failure I had on Day 2 was on the monkey bars...I missed the bell. Yes, you read that right...I...missed...the...bell. Oops! The last "fun" obstacle was the yoke carry. This was a 5-6 foot long log with 3 foot ropes attached to each end. At the bottom of the ropes was a bag full of rocks. It took maybe 50 yards before I was able to really stabilize the weight so it wasn't moving my shoulders (and legs) side to side. While I was definitely dehydrated by the end of the race, my socks helped keep my calves from cramping. And the best news...I completed all remaining obstacles, including my nemesis from day 1, the multi-rig. I received my medal and kept my wristband!
If you get the opportunity to compete in this event, you need to do it without hesitation. It has been my favorite OCR memory so far. The competitors, staff, longhorns and zebras, made this an awesome event and I am already looking forward to next year.
I received some other exciting news during this weekend that will remain a mystery until Spartan World Championships...stay tuned!
See you all soon at your next race!