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Being an Obstacle Course Racing athlete was awesome. It was the reason I was able to stick to my weightloss goals for the long run. I developed performance goals beyond just the initial goal to lose weight. And the idea of conquering every obstacle you encountered, the camaraderie and community aspect of climbing over walls together, and being able to travel the country every other weekend to race with your friends was a blast. The only thing that I didn’t enjoy too much was what I had to do during the weekdays: run…a lot.

In my 27 years of life, I quickly realized that I constantly crave new experiences. Routine is my enemy. But let me be more specific, routine workouts are my enemy. I loved everything about OCR except for the running part — which is about 85% of the entire race. This also meant that I had to supplement all of my standard workouts with runs. The idea of the same monostructural movement 4 to 5 times a week was so boring to me. So after I successfully accomplished all the goals I set for OCR, there was no more interest for me to keep racing competitively.

Enter CrossFit. My first ever real exposure to CrossFit was in 2017 when the CrossFit Games moved to Madison for the first year. Prior to this, I thought CrossFitters were just a bunch of bulky athletes that had no engine and only did pull ups like a dolphin. I honestly had no idea what or who I was watching at the Games, but I remember seeing the 60 year old masters athletes just crushing it. They were throwing big weight around, running fast, pulling sleds, doing gymnastics, and what really caught my eye was their performance on the obstacle course. I mean we have impressive masters athletes in OCR, but this was just something I’ve never seen before.

Goals for August 2052

The 2017 Games occurred in the middle of my best OCR season, so I didn’t revist CrossFit again until February 2018. The CrossFit Open was going down which is the worldwide competition where people would complete announced workouts for the next 5 weeks. This was a way the average CrossFit athlete could see how they stack up with people all around the world, and how the elites would qualify to the next stage. When I saw 18.Zero (the workout before the official ones) get announced, I decided to give it a shot for fun.

The workout was

  • 21-15-9 Reps for Time of:
  • Dumbbell Snatches (50/35 lb)
  • Over-Dumbbell Burpees

All I remember is how silly I felt doing a high intensity workout in the corner of Planet Fitness behind all the ellipticals and treadmills.

To think, that someone felt silly…working out…in a gym…because they were pushing hard, creating sweat puddles, and panting louder than everyone else.

But that’s a whole ‘nother topic about globo gyms that I won’t get into right now. I remember doing 18.1, 18.2, and then 18.3 where I encountered double unders for the first time! I was like, ‘WHAT IS THIS MAGIC?!”

Double unders was my first encounter of a CrossFit movement that I could not immediately pick up, and I’m usually pretty good at learning new movements within 20 minutes. This, however, was the first movement that I couldn’t get, not because of lack of strength, but it was just because I couldn’t get my brain wrapped around it. For the next few weeks, I remember practicing double unders 10 minutes every other day. I eventually got them 3 weeks later, but that was just my first taste of so many more CrossFit movements that I would have to work for more than 20 minutes.

For the rest of 2018, I started digging into all the CrossFit documentaries on Netflix, then the Road to the Games series on youtube, then the vlogs (specifically the Day in the Life Of w/ Team CrossFit Mayhem). I became a HUGE fanboy after consuming all that content. That’s when I really fell in love with the sport of CrossFit and the athletes. At the time I still hadn’t really started training exclusively in CrossFit. I was pretty much dragging my feet and half-assing my OCR workouts — I think I did a total of 4 races all season in 2018. On occasion I would hop in the group CrossFit workouts at my friend, Lisa’s gym, and each time was a blast because each workout was a surprise.

When the 2018 CrossFit Games rolled around, I knew all the athletes and their stories which just made it so much more entertaining. By this time I was basically hooked on to CrossFit. After the 2018 Games, I went from drinking a glass of the CrossFit kool-aid to doing a kegstand. I found a sweet free online resource of programmed workouts by the MisFit Athletics crew where they would release a new workout everyday. Cycle 1 began about a week right after the games, so it was perfect timing for me to fully commit to the training methodology. And so began my CrossFit journey.

There are two big reasons why I found CrossFit way more appealing than how I was training in the past. The reason I loved obstacle course racing so much was because of the obstacles. When you encountered one in a race, you could either conquer it or spend 4 hours trying until the race officials pulled you off the course. When I encountered double unders, that was CrossFit’s version of OCR obstacles for me. There are just SO MANY movements in CrossFit that are high skill movements and require a TON of practice.

The second reason (and biggest) was the fact that CrossFit is constantly varied. Every single day the workout is a surprise. My initial weight loss journey consisted of at-home programs which was great, but after awhile it got dull, and I would need a new program every 60 to 90 days. Even within each program there would be maybe 7 to 10 workouts for the entire 3 months. My desire for novelty was just too strong to ignore. Add in running as a workout supplement to workouts that I’ve done over and over — my motivation to workout went to almost 0. What I also love about the concept of constantly varied is that it doesn’t mean random. CrossFit is not a collection of random workouts everyday; there’s a method to this madness, but I won’t get into that. Never before have I ever gone to bed anxious and excited to find out what the next day’s workout is going to be.

I get the same jitters as I used to get every Friday night before an OCR on Saturday morning — except with CrossFit, it’s EVERY night.

Add in the community aspect of shared suffering during the workouts, and you’ve got all the right lures to hook me in.

On the next episode of Anousone’s CrossFit story, you’ll find out how I fared training mostly solo and self-teaching the CrossFit movements.

Welcome to the first of my series of posts that will be documenting my journey as an entrepreneur and Obstacle Course Racing athlete! One of the things that I noticed from other online entrepreneurs, network marketers, OCR athletes, bloggers, etc. is that everyone is at the top of their game or at least that’s the image they’ve created. They’re already either a leader in their industry or in the top 1% of their sport, but we don’t often get to see how they’ve gotten to that level of success. I’ve decided to bring you along with me on this journey to show you the ups and downs on the way to greatness.

Check out this post on why I think this is important to document the journey not only for me, but also for others that may be on a similar path. So let’s get into the details of my journey to become an elite OCR athlete and to qualify for OCR World Championships 2017!

The Big Goal: Kick Butt (mostly my own) and Qualify for OCRWC 2017

In May of 2015, I got my first introduction into obstacle course racing with the Spartan Sprint at Miller Park Stadium in Milwaukee, and I was instantly an OCR addict. For the rest of 2015, I continued to focus on my weightloss and dipped my toe into other races like the Warrior Dash and BattleFrog (R.I.P.). This year (2016), I stepped it up a notch and ran eight races including Savage Race, Rugged Maniac, and Conquer the Gauntlet which have become part of my favorite races.

I’ve been able to meet and connect with some amazing racers this year and dive deeper into the OCR community. As you well know, you become the average of the five people spend the most time with. Well it just happens that most of the OCR people I hang out with are elite OCR athletes that have made the podium over dozens of times. After watching all of my OCR friends’ Facebook live and share their awesome photos at OCRWC this past October in Blue Mountain, Canada, I made a new declaration for the 2017 season. I want to qualify for OCRWC and take my OCR racing to the next level! It’s time for me to stop watching from the sidelines and get in the game!

The LONG Journey Ahead

Now I’m nowhere near being an elite racer, but we all have to start somewhere right? In order to know where I’m going, I need to know where I’m starting, and boy am I starting a mile behind the start line. An example of how far I have to go is my performance at the last Savage Race. To qualify for OCRWC through a Savage Race, I would need to be in the top 10 of my age group which is roughly the 55:00 to 60:00 minute mark. I’m landing around 1:45:00. Even after we take away the 5 or 10 minutes where I was goofing around on obstacles, I’ve still got a lot of time to get rid of.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

~Lao Tzu

It’s all about progress, not perfection. I know I’ve got a huge task ahead of me, but with my awesome coach and support team, it’ll be a fun challenge to take on.

The Team

Jay Flores, my coach and founder of The OCR Project, will be helping me step my OCR game up. 14237683_10210681318935876_3831114760156234010_nHe’s podiumed numerous times in various races as well as killed it on ESPN’s BattleFrog League Championships. Jay has also helped me lose 75 lbs and was the one that introduced me to OCR, so there’s no one I trust more and am more grateful to.

I also get the pleasure to train with Lisa Nondorf, who is one of the top OCR Elite Masters in the world! She’s also part of Team Chicago from ESPN’s BF League Championships with Jay. When Jay’s out of town, she’ll be dragging me along on her runs, making fun of me on Facebook live when we’re rock climbing, and kicking my butt at the ninja gym.

Jumping in on the fun will be our friends of the 414 Fit Club which includes a mix of OCR first timers and OCR weekend warriors! Training and working out is a lot more fun with a group than it is alone, so I’m super excited to have all of these wonderful people with me as I embark on this journey.

The Game Plan

The two things I really need to improve on are running and rig obstacles. I’ve never been a great runner, but I’ve seen my own progress in running in the last two years. Two years ago, I couldn’t even run a mile. Last year I was able to increase my running ability to three miles and now I can run six miles with a consistent pace. And this is all without focusing on run training!

When it comes to rig obstacles, I need to vastly improve my grip strength and overall technique when it comes to these types of obstacles that require a lot of swinging. I’m not that strong when it comes to upper body obstacles, so that will also be a focus for this journey. So I’ll be supplementing my current workouts with running and some grip focused activities like rock climbing!

I’ll be returning to my 90 day workout program format which has been proven to work successfully with me for the last two years. Every time I find myself in between a 90 day challenge, I end up slacking and going back to bad habits. P90X3 will be back in my training regimen which contains strength training, endurance, flexibility, balance, and everything else you need to perform well in OCR. My first round of P90X3 last year revealed to me that I had abs hiding under all of that insulation, so I’m super excited to see what else it will reveal to me after three more rounds!

After each week, Coach Jay and I will reflect and review to see if any adjustments or improvements need to be made. I’ll also be posting a weekly recap of the week to let you know the details of the training and the numerous eventful naps I take.

I’m super excited to go on this journey with everyone! I’m already feeling sore from just thinking about the amount of hard work I’ll have to put in!

Click here to check out the recap of the first week!