Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be writing this and linking up with a bunch of awesome ladies for this post! We’re all talking about our year in racing- the ups, the downs, the in betweens. This year was pretty amazing for me, and I learned a lot about myself in the process. Let’s get to the races!
Favorite Race: This is such a hard one for me! There have been so many races that I’ve had an awesome experience at. I have to go with Tough Mudder, though. I have a soft spot for Tough Mudder because it was my first “big” OCR event. I also met several of my now close friends (Brian, Deb) through Tough Mudder events and we have gone on to do several other OCR events together. The obstacles are amazing, the teamwork and conversations on course are hilarious and fun, and it’s just an overall great experience!
Best Time/PR: Spartan Miami– sort of? Does it count as a PR if it’s the same race but a totally different distance and course? It’s hard to have a “PR” in the obstacle racing world; Spartan has three distances (sprint, super and beast) but each time the course, obstacle placement and distance are different. The first Spartan Sprint I did was 4.2 miles; the one in Miami was 5 miles. However, I did shave 25 minutes off my overall time at a Sprint event, so I’m counting it! I also came in the top 15% of my age group and gender overall. I’m looking forward to improving on those times in 2016!
New Distance: 2015 was the year I ran my first half marathon! I completed the Iron Girl half in April in Clearwater. It was a good race but I did get a little bored around mile 8 on. Honestly, I prefer the mud/obstacle events, but I wanted to say that I ran a half marathon. Now I can officially call myself a half marathoner!
Best course: Battlefrog Championship in Orlando takes the cake here! The obstacle placement was good with several obstacles in the first few miles and more spaced evenly throughout the course. They upped the challenge factor with two Platinum Rig’s and a 1/2 mile jerry can carry- more on that in my official recap, but it was certainly difficult! I also think they’ve hit the “sweet spot” on distance- 5 miles seems to be a good middle distance OCR…not too long, not too short.
Best amenities: This fall, I was able to get a taste of a new offering from Savage Race- the Savage Race VIP experience. They definitely win for best amenities! We had a great race experience, followed by free beer and food in the VIP tent, our own port-o-potties (much better than the communal ones!) and a good variety of activities in the festival area.
Best of 2015! Did your event make the cut? @spartanrace @toughmudder @savagerace @battlefrogUS Click To Tweet
Best volunteers/staff: Of course I’m biased here because I’ve volunteered for several events, but I think Tough Mudder has the best volunteers. Every time I’ve done an event, they’ve been encouraging and helpful. I’ve had great “team leads” when I’ve been the one volunteering and they really do treat their volunteers pretty well. I’ve worked on the course with them and at the finish line and both times had a great experience. As far as best staff- that one goes to Savage Race. Sam and his team do a great job with the entire event series and are very interactive with the participants. They definitely take the feedback they receive and work on continuously improving the brand, which is something that is rare to see.
Race that didn’t go as planned: First let me say it’s super hard to “plan” how an OCR is going to go. Because the courses are always different and new obstacles are added all the time, it’s hard to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are going to be going in. That being said, I’d say Battlefrog Atlanta was my ‘race that didn’t go as planned.’ I seriously underestimated how challenging this race was going to be and had several panic attacks along the course. Overcoming my fears and crossing the finish line was one of the most challenging things I’ve done but I’m very proud of myself for doing so.
Most challenging event: Battlefrog Championship was the most challenging event I’ve participated in all year. The course layout was excellent, with several different obstacles along the 5 mile route. They spaced everything pretty well, and with the addition of two Platinum Rigs, the wreck bag carry right before the last two obstacles and the placement of three obstacles during the jerry can carry, it definitely makes the cut for most challenging. The bling was well worth it though!
Event I’m most proud of myself for completing: Spartan Race Miami was my first “solo” OCR event. Normally I run with my team, but for this event I didn’t have anyone to actually race with, so I was by myself. Although there are several people who helped me along the way, being there by myself was pretty nerve wracking. On top of completing the event by myself, I also had a great run, so I’m very happy with my overall performance at this event.
This year has been lots of things: challenging, amazing, fun, exciting, exhilarating. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my abilities as well as my strengths and weaknesses. My performance on obstacle courses has improved a lot since the beginning of the year and I am looking forward to next year and the improvements I’ll see then! Though 2015 is coming to a close, I’ve come a long way and have a lot to be proud of! Here’s to an amazing year in racing and a great 2016 upcoming season!