Saturday, August 2, 2014

Spartan Race - Pac West Obstacle Course Race Report

So I just completed my first Spartan Race Obstacle Course Race (OCR) in WA.  The race started at 7:30am due to NBC-SN providing TV coverage.  The race will be aired on NBC-SN (channel 627 in Central Oregon) September 13th.

Preparing for battle...

  or for a run with a bunch of naked guys

Compared to many of the other OCR Races, this on has more physically challenging obstacles (think 80lb sandbag carry uphill vs. polar plunge).  There aren't many Spartan Races located out in the Northwest region, so this will most likely be the only one I do this year, bummer.

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60lb Sandbag carry

Several of the top ranked racers from the Spartan Race Rankings were on-hand to get more points as well as compete in what many say the best courses in the entire series.  Located in Washougal, WA at the Motocross track (also one of the better courses on that National Series too), the course is flooded with dense forest sections, steep up/down hills, several section on the motocross course consisting of many rollers, and lots of wet mud/dirt.  I would have to agree that the course was pretty epic, and very challenging, especially the steep uphill running.

Running on the motocross track


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Slip-N-Slide (aka: water launch)

The course length was 4.75 miles and included 20 obstacles, consisting of wall hurdles, cargo net climb, inverted wall, lattice bridge, rolling barbed wire mud crawl, traverse wall, tall walls, bucket carry (60lbs) for 100 yards up/down hill, 300lb tire flip, hoisting an 80lb sandbag up and down 20 ft, a slip-n-slide (I launched about 10 ft. off the end), 60lb sandbag carry up/down hill over 200 yards, uphill barbed wire crawl (probably the hardest obstacle for me), rope climb, spear throw, 10 ft. angled wall, a fire jump and 3 other "classified " obstacles that I can't remember.

Climbing up the lattice bridge

Low crawling through the tough uphill barbed wire

Rope climb

Spear throw attempt...

Juuust a bit outside, Sh*t...and the penalty is?

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30 Burpees

The tire flip was harder than I thought it would be because my hands kept slipping off the tire, but definitely the uphill barbed wire crawl was the most challenging.  It was about 300 ft long, up a moderately steep grade with loose muddy dirt as the surface.  The barbed wire was pretty damn low in a few sections.  I used a combination of bear crawling, low crawling and rolling to get myself up the hill.  To add an even greater challenge, the final 20 ft. of the hill was a running water stream and a volunteer sprayed you with a hose.  The good news is that there was a rope to hang on and use to help pull yourself up with.  Definitely didn't prepare for that in my training.

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Brutal uphill barbed wire crawl

Overall I'm happy how I did, 17th in the Elite category (3rd in Age Group), however,  I still have a few areas I need to improve on if I want a shot at the top prize at Worlds.  One of the best things about obstacle course racing is that you can never truly prepare for what will come.  Each race has different obstacles, and as far as I know no practice is allowed on the course before race day.  You have to be prepared for anything and everything and that is one element of the sport I love. 

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