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It’s time for the long overdue update on my journey to qualify for OCWRC!! So long in fact that I’ll summarize the highlights by months.

March

The offseason training continued. Nothing out of the ordinary.

April

We started the month off with a road trip to Minnesota after a butt-kicking boot camp in Milwaukee. Yes! Since the weather has warmed up, weekend boot camps are back! In Minnesota, we went to Obstacle Academy to play on the ninja obstacles, and the day after, we went to the Spartan Workout plus another round of ninja training at Conquer Ninja. In April, Jay added some speed training on a track to the schedule. I ended the month in Salt Lake City for a conference, but kept up with the training: an awesome boot camp, runs around the city, and a hike to a great view point of the city.

May

It’s interesting how I’m able to keep up with my training when I travel, but as soon as I came back home, my routine was messed up and I slacked on working out. One thing I learned about myself is that when a deadline is approaching or pressure hits, I move into action. With my first race coming up this month, I started getting back into routine the week of the Warrior Dash in Wisconsin. Let the OCR season begin!

The Warrior Dash date happened to be the same day as my sister’s graduation, so I had extra motivation to run fast to gauge how my training in the offseason went. It was my fastest race time yet for an OCR, and the first time I kept an elevated heart rate throughout an entire race. I had never run competitively prior to this year, so this was definitely a new experience for me. Approaching obstacles with a higher heart rate was challenging, but Warrior Dash’s obstacles were on the beginner side of difficulty, so it wasn’t too bad.

The next race was a spontaneous registration for Midwest Mayhem hosted by Dirt Runner in Illinois. I wasn’t planning on going to this one, but that’s what having a good influence will do for you. Good friends will challenge you to step it up to the next level. This race really revealed my weaknesses to me. It’s a locally run race on a permanent course, so it was filled with heavy carries which I’ve found is my weakness. Being small is no excuse either, since Jay who’s even smaller than me, still crushed the carries. Another weakness that I discovered was my lack of ability to run downhill on technical terrain. The course was filled with steep hills which wrecked my calves. Overall it was a great race, but it was my worst performance yet for a race that was only 5 miles.

June

The month of June opened up with the Spartan Super in Chicago. This was going to be my first attempt at qualifying for OCRWC. Long story short, I died. Whether it was poor hydration or lack of healthy eating the week before, my calves cramped up really badly during the race. Obstacles were easy, including the new twister obstacle, besides the mandatory 30 burpees for missing the spear throw. Safe to say that I did not qualify that day.

The next weekend’s race was Terrain Race in Milwaukee. This race was probably the most impactful this season, because we had over 50 people in our group. From people seeking the podium to first-timers including my sister! Another bonus was that I was going to be taking it easy for this race, because I was having some inflammation in my knee, similar to my injury last year. Thankfully this time around, it healed by the following week. You can check out Jay’s review of Terrain Race MKE at the end of the post.

Attempt #2 at OCRWC Qualifications: Spartan Sprint Lambeau – Competitive Wave. The qualifications for OCRWC in Spartan Competitive is top 20 in your age group. With my knee feeling better, I was super pumped to run this next race for a lot of reasons: 1) It’s a stadium race.  2) It’s at Lambeau Field and I’ve been a Packer fan my entire life. 3) Stairs are a strength of mine. 4) My first OCR was a stadium race. 5) No mud to slow me down. 6) My younger cousins (ages 5, 8 and 11) are running the Spartan Kids Race.

I ran in the competitive wave with a lot of familiar faces starting in the same heat, so I felt good. We were sent out in waves of 10 to avoid back ups at obstacles. This was one of my first races where I felt comfortable pushing and keeping my heart rate elevated, especially when I kept seeing fellow racers like Jeff Frank from Wisconsin OCR, who started in the wave 1 minute ahead of mine. This let me know that I was keeping a good pace. I finished the race with 0 burpees. Yep! 0 failed obstacles which means I nailed the spear throw! This no doubt helped me get my fastest time ever in an OCR and I finished 8th in my age group.

I DID IT! I DID IT! I finally qualified for OCR World Championships! It felt so good achieving this goal that was set in October of 2016 due to massive FOMO from watching everyone’s live videos during last year’s world championships. Safe to say that I won’t be missing out this time! Definitely wouldn’t have been able to improve so quickly without the help of Jay, Lisa, and everyone else that has pushed me along this journey — whether it’s from bootcamps or during races.

Now with the qualification out of the way, the pressure has been lifted and now it’s time to focus on the next goal: Surviving OCRWC.

 

Terrain Race Review by Coach Jay

 

As your competence increases, your confidence increases.

Day 1 (Monday, Feb. 20, 2017): Recovery Run (2 miles) + Chest & Shoulders

After that huge accomplishment last week with the 5K, I was feeling good! So I ran my recovery run at a 10 minute pace which is much faster than my usual easy run.

Day 2: Rest Day (Missed Day — Rest of the week offset by 1)

Day 3: Intervals [5 min WU, 2x(5 min @ TH +1 min recovery jog), 2 min recovery jog, 2x(5 min @ TH + 1 min recovery jog), 5 min CD]

I finished this tough run with a 10:00 pace with 3.72 miles!

Day 4: Easy Run (3 miles)

Finished with a 10:09 pace! The confidence just had me feeling good!

Day 5: 30 Minute Bike + Conquer Ninja

Road trip!! Jay, Lisa and I made our way to Minnesota to participate in the UNAA Qualifiers Ninja Competition. Well…they participated, I played around. From ninja-ing around, I noticed that I had a lot of technique I needed to progress on in terms of swinging and transitioning, which is going to be necessary for me to succeed on the upper body obstacles in races such as the rigs.

Day 6: Easy Run (3 miles) + Biceps & Triceps

Finished with another 10:00 minute pace for 3.07 miles. Wooh! My average pace for the entire week was around the 10:00 minute mark!

Day 7: Long Run (6 miles — Missed)

Noooo! The momentum came to a halt as I missed my last run of the week.

Overall, it was a great week! Because of the excitement from the previous week’s progression assessment, I wanted to challenge and push just a bit harder this week. The journey to OCR World Championship is trucking along!

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

~Jim Rohn

Day 1 (Monday, Dec. 12, 2016): Long Run (7 miles)

Boomshakalaka! This was my longest run in the last 6 weeks! Since I had to run this beast of 7 miles on a treadmill, I was dreading the idea of being on there for an hour and a half, so I ran at an 11:06 pace and crushed it! I guess the accidental double rest day last week paid off.

Day 2: Intervals [5 min WU, 3x(7 min @ 10:00 + 3 min @ 9:30 + 3 min recovery jog), 5 min CD] + Triceps & Back

You’d think my legs would be jello after that long run, but this was another awesome run! I ended up running this interval at an overall pace of 10:04. I topped off the day with a fun set of resistance rowing exercises to work the triceps and back muscles.

Day 3: 30 Minute Bike + Full Body Resistance

This was a nice day of recovery after hammering my legs.

Day 4: Intervals [1 mile easy pace, 2x(10 min TH + 5 min recovery jog), 1 mile easy pace] + Boulder’s Climbing Gym

One of the coolest things about OCR is the community aspect. The sport is able to bring people together that normally wouldn’t have met each other otherwise. After rockin’ the assigned interval workout, I got to go climbing with some new friends that connected through our Facebook groups. By the way, if you’re interested in joining our Milwaukee/Madison, Wisconsin-based OCR FB group, click here!

Day 5: Rest Day

Sleep is bae. Nuff said.

Day 6: Intervals [5 min WU, 2x(5 min @ TH +1 min recovery jog), 2 min recovery jog, 2x(5 min @ TH + 1 min recovery jog), 5 min CD] + Obstacle Academy

It is absolutely great to have people to workout with and have fun, but it’s a whole different experience when you train with people that are ten times better than you. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know how much significance I place on the importance of your circle of influence. You become who you hangout with. It’s cool to workout with people that are at your level, but you won’t grow as fast as you would if you worked out with people that are playing at a different level.

I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to surround myself with ELITE OCR racers. This weekend we made the trip to Minnesota to go play at the different ninja gyms in Minneapolis. First of all, if Minneapolis can have 4 to 6 ninja gyms in one city, why the heck isn’t there a single one in the state of Wisconsin?!

I got to play on warped walls, rings, rigs, and all kinds of other ninja toys, but the best part was just being surrounded by amazing people that encourage and teach me how to become a better OCR athlete.

Day 7: Rest Day

This was supposed to be a second day of ninja fun, but we ran into some complications with the venue. It was still an overall blast of a weekend!

This was another solid 20 mile week in the books which is a significant number compared to what I used to do. If I want to get anywhere near these elite athletes, I’ll have to start getting closer to the 35-40 mile weeks. But right now it’s not about me versus them. It’s about ME VERSUS ME It’s about being better than I was yesterday and continuing to improve day in and day out!