Saturday I completed my first ever obstacle course race. I had wanted to do a Dirty Dash for a few years but never committed to doing it so when I saw that Terrain Racing was coming to town I decided to pull the trigger and sign up. I had never heard of the organization but the registration was pretty inexpensive for this type of race so I took the risk (Tip: when you register they have a countdown to when the price will increase…I registered in April and despite the counter the price never went up before race day, so don’t feel pressured to rush into it!).
One of my friends ended up registering at the last minute and could only get into the 8 am competitive heat, so I switched into the 8:05 women’s heat to be able to run with him. Then, about 20 minutes before the start of the race, I get a call that he locked his keys in his car and would be late. This made me quite a bit more nervous because I knew I wouldn’t have a buddy with me on the course. Fortunately I talked to a few other girls who were also first timers so I felt less alone.
The course itself was pretty interesting and challenging. I had watched a few YouTube videos before hand so I had some idea what to expect (Terrain Racing doesn’t post obstacle lists or maps). We started in a pool of waist deep whatever that we jumped out of when the gun went off. After that we were off and running up the gravel hill towards the first obstacle. The course consisted of vertical walls of varying heights, sandbag carries, rope walls, rope swings, cargo net climbs, tire flips and pulls, different types of pools and tunnels, and of Terrain Racing’s trademark “monkey balls”. The monkey balls are balls hanging from straps that you need to traverse without touching the ground. They were the obstacle myself and many others failed on. I managed to get halfway across but didn’t have the upper body strength to finish. Out of the competitive heat only four women managed to get across.
Overall I enjoyed the obstacles and was glad I was able to do most of them. I wasn’t too excited to find out the the 10k was just two laps on the 5k course, but I understand that space and resources are limited. Prior to the event I had read some negative reviews saying there were long lines, delayed race waves, and even a case of one of the obstacles collapsing with people on it. Fortunately I experience none of this, actually for how many people were participating I though the race directors did a good job keeping everything organized and moving.
The only complaint I would is that some of the volunteers on the course seemed distracted or spread too thin. There were a few cases where there was no around to offer instruction and this led to people performing the obstacles incorrectly. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded more water stations but I drink much more while racing than most so it was probably fine for every else.
So I survived my first obstacle course race with a sweet medal and some bruised knees. While I had a good time I’m not in a rush to do another, I enjoy running too much to devote enough time to the strength training required for these races. I can see why people get addicted though, and I definitely enjoyed and appreciate the camaraderie formed on the battlefield.