My race schedule has been different in 2018 than previous years. It has not been littered with triathlons and road running races. This year was a year for me to explore new things and challenge myself. As the year progressed and I found some races I wanted to do, I saw that October was going to be a busy month for me!
THE BOURBON CHASE
I gathered up a team of 12 consisting of some old friends and some new ones. We left at noon on Friday, October 12th on our journey to cover 200 miles of running through central Kentucky while hitting six different bourbon distilleries along the way. Our team consisted of some veteran runners and some guys that had only been running less than a year. We definitely exceeded expectations. Team “Holistic Athletes” finished in 27 hours and 34 minutes, placing us 19th our of 109 all-male teams and 36th out of 400 total teams. Lots of good memories were made while being stuck in a van together for over 34 hours. It had been four years since I ran The Bourbon Chase and I had missed it. Absolutely planning to get another team together for 2019!
STORM EVA BANDMAN CYCLOCROSS RACE
Back in the fall of 2014, I won a gift certificate by randomly having my bib number drawn at the end of a triathlon. I used this gift certificate to buy a Cyclocross bike (it was a BIG gift certificate) from VO2 Multisport, our local swim/bike/run store. I’ve used this bike to do some gravel races and taken it on a few easy trails over the last four years, but I always seemed to find an excuse when it came to actually registering and riding in a Cyclocross race. For those of you not familiar with Cyclocross, it’s a bike race that typically takes place in the autumn and winter and consist of many laps of a short (1.5 –2 mile) course featuring pavement, wooded trails, sand, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstacle and remount. Races are generally between 30 minutes and an hour long, with the distance varying depending on the ground conditions and lead rider times. The sport originated in Europe and we are fortunate enough to have a big CX scene here in Louisville.
With no excuses this year, I signed up for a local race on October 21st that is part of an Ohio Valley series of races. I took the bike out for a practice run a few weeks before the race, practiced dismounting and mounting a few times and thought that I was as ready as I could be. I jumped in the Cat5 race (lowest level) and was ready to see what this sport was all about!
The race had a Halloween theme, so riders were asked to wear costumes. Most people did NOT, but I did. Since my Alma-mater had upset the #2 team in the country the night before, I proudly dressed up as a Purdue University football player.
Based on some advice from my friend Peter, I took the first lap slow to avoid congestion. Despite this plan, I had to jump off my bike when someone in front of my fell going up the first hill. This put me pretty far behind everyone else and I spend the rest of the race trying to catch everyone else. My lap times were 7:54, 7:41, 7:19, 7:22. So as you can see, I got stronger was the race progressed. I ended up 12th out of 38 riders, which was better than I thought I would do. Now that I know not to hang back on the first lap, I’m hopeful that I can place better next time around.
After doing my first Spartan Race at Ft. Knox back in July, I knew that I wanted to train specifically for obstacle course racing and try to do another one before the end of the year. The only option in driving distance was Atlanta, so I signed up for the October 28th race and decided to step up from the Sprint distance and do a Super. This meant a total of 8-10 miles of trail running with 25-30 obstacles mixed in.
My confidence was pretty high after doing lots of monkey bars and burpees as pat of my runs a few times a week over the last two months. Despite the training, I still struggled with a few things.
Spartan Atlanta Super Obstacles:
Overwalls - COMPLETED
6’ Wall- COMPLETED
Hay Pyramid - COMPLETED
Vertical Cargo Net- COMPLETED
Rope Climb – FAILED = 30 burpees
Inverted Wall - COMPLETED
Monkey Bars - COMPLETED
Bucket Brigade - COMPLETED
Cliff Climb / Cargo - COMPLETED
Atlas Carry - COMPLETED
Rolling Mud - COMPLETED
Slip Wall - COMPLETED
Spear Throw – FAILED = 30 burpees
Hercules Hoist - COMPLETED
Twister – FAILED = 30 burpees
Sandbag Carry - COMPLETED
Plate Drag - COMPLETED
Bender - COMPLETED
8’ Wall - COMPLETED
Z Walls - COMPLETED
Low Crawl - COMPLETED
Stairway – FAILED = 30 burpees
Barbed Wire - COMPLETED
7’ Walls - COMPLETED
Olympus - COMPLETED
Muti Rig – FAILED = 30 burpees
A-Frame Cargo - COMPLETED
Fire Jump - COMPLETED
So in the end, I failed five obstacles and had to do 150 burpees (+ five as part of the atlas carry). I figure that each set of 30 burpees takes me about 3-4 minutes to complete. So if I can get through this distance race without any penalty burpees, I could shave 15-20 minutes off of my time. In this race, that would have moved me up close to a top 10 finish. I ended up placing 28th out of 66 in my age group.
The 9 miles of trail running was not a problem for me and I was routinely passing people between obstacles. The trail took us through some waist-deep water a few times and lots of shin-deep mud. The varying terrain was actually pretty fun, it's been several years since I ran trails. I came away bruised, bloody and very muddy, but I had a lot of fun and I’m ready to figure out how to train for the rope climb, twister and multi rig so that I can continue to climb up the results board. I’m not sure yet with my 2019 race schedule will look like, but I’m pretty certain that it will contain some Spartan races! These things are a blast!
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Wishing you optimal health and peak performance,