Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Epic Sixth F.I.T. Challenge

April 9, 2016
The Epic Sixth F.I.T. Challenge was my second OCR of 2016. I have to admit I wasn't looking forward to it very much. It had been a very tiring week for me, and due to real life getting in the way, I had all but ceased training. Doing this race was going to stink in a big way. But I had paid my money, and so I went.
The race start was 10:45am, and was only an hour drive away, so relatively speaking I was able to sleep in the night before. I dragged myself out of bed, ate a banana, and was on my way.

The first thing I noticed that it was a lot busier this time than it was for Epic Fifth in November. The parking lot was overflowing. The bathrooms were still beyond disgusting. Registration was easy and there was no line. It was chilly, but nowhere near as cold as it was in November. I killed some time and stretched while waiting for the start.

Eventually we got started and up Diamond Hill we went.  Diamond Hill is roughly a 400 ft. hill that gets very rocky near the top. Lots of the rock is loose, so you have to watch your step. I followed the crowd uphill, and for the first mile or so, it seemed that we were following the same course as we did in November. I managed the hill ok, but my heart rate was really spiking--a testament to my lack of conditioning.  The first few obstacles were simple climbing obstacles like ladders and cargo nets.

Some of the obstacles (sorry, I didn't get pictures) were unique involving a sloped cargo net, which had a short line, a horizontal cargo net that you had to traverse like monkey bars (which I failed miserably), and a "floating" ladder wall that swung freely, adding a layer of difficulty to an otherwise simple obstacle. At many of these new obstacles there was a line, which I didn't expect at this race, but all in all it wasn't too bad. 

In addition was a hoist that is always the bane of my existence. The weight was either 100 or 140 lbs, but it didn't matter--it always gives me rope burn and the weight tends to lift me off my feet.  I've been working on my grip strength recently, but it didn't seem to help one bit. The rope inevitably rips my palms to shreds. 

By the time we got to a log carry uphill, I was at my low point. I was slogging along, but I was tired, depressed, and felt very much out of shape. I had my "why am I doing this?" moment. But I got past it and just kept going.  

Back to the bottom of the hill for a flurry of difficult obstacles. First was the horizontal cargo net I described above, and shortly there after was a peg climb up a tree--I failed that in November, and I failed it again here. Then a rope climb, which I actually managed this time (I failed in November, at least partly due to the cold).  After that was the mile two water station, which was a relief because it meant the halfway point. Next was carrying a 50 lb. Wreck Bag up the hill and back.

And then, the Destroyer.  I managed it (with help) in November, and this year I did much better. I still needed help (although I think I stood a chance to make it without the help this time), but I got over.  

Then another slog all the way up the hill, bit I knew that by this point, the hard stuff was mostly over except for the obstacles just prior to the finish.

After making it to the top it was a gentler slope back down, and then a plethora of over / under obstacles.  Then an climb over two logs where I needed a little boost.

And finally, the Rig obstacle.  I was dreading this one. In November my hands were freezing, and after attempting the monkey bars and bashing my fingers against the metal I dropped off it and climbed the cargo net.  This time, to my surprise, I was able to mange both the monkey bars and the horizontal swinging bar after it. Then over the cargo net. 

Then five reps of lifting an Atlas stone and dropping it over my shoulder, over an open inverted wall, and across the finish.

The race was essentially the same length as November's: 3.71 miles this time to November's 3.68. My time was worse, 2:11:21 compared to November's 2:05:15. I can blame some of that difference on the lines at a few obstacles. On the other hand, I did manage some obstacles like the Rope Climb and the Rig which I couldn't do last time, which gave me a boost, but overall I felt like I did worse.  

In the end I think it just reinforces that I have to step up my training if I'm going to get any better at this. 

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