I toed the line for the first time in a long time. Found out this fighting spirit of mine still has quite the life of its own!
Warrior Dash Oregon | 24 Sept 2016 | 5km | 1st Female Overall | OCR World Champ Qualifier
Though I don't desire or seek out competitions these days they seem to come to me every once and a while, always inspired by an invite from friends or family, and when they do, it still surprises me how my adrenaline rushes as I get nearer and nearer to the start line.
In this case, this race was inspired by my mom and dad who, after I'd registered them for their first Warrior Dash experience last year, have been hooked. When they saw there was one happening in my current town of Portland, Oregon, they suggested it, and next thing you know my brother and his wife were on a plane for their first trip out this way and we were registered for the race.
Vibram FiveFingers - a sponsor of the race series - had hooked us up with a couple of race entries. Thank YOU! As a brand ambassador I was stoked to be able to represent while putting my Spyridon MRs - my personal favorite and the official shoe of the race series - to the test.
Speaking of feet and footwear...if you've been following along with me or FEET FREEX lately you may know that I am incredibly thankful I have Vibram FiveFingers to allow me to max my sensory input, muscle activation, mobility, impact absorbtion, stable base of support and traction on the trails. My feet are so capable and active all by themselves that I want to make sure I minimize the interference of their miraculousness when I do prefer footwear.
I didn't prepare specifically for the race, however my everyday fitness is high thanks to play, parkour, bicycle commuting and joining friends for the odd run here and there. I am always curious how that equates on race day. I was about to find out!
While milling around the start area it was obvious there were some serious competitors there. That said, body type means little to me when it comes to challenges that require coordination and cardio capacity. You just never know. I'm also acutely aware of how most footwear inhibits total body performance. So for the first time at a start of a race, while sussing out the competitors at the start line, I took a look down at the footwear to get a better idea as to what I might be in for. Somehow I'm still always surprised to see a sea of tapered toe boxes, cushion and high heels. At that moment I knew there was way less competition than first thought. And I was right. What I didn't see at that moment was Matt Hallet, in the front row, a fellow Vibram FiveFingers ambassador, also wearing his FiveFingers. I didn't notice any others in the crowd. I hope for everyone else's sake and competitive drive that changes!
The start set the tone. It was fierce! I was surprised. I didn't realize I was in for a full on all out 5km sprint. When that kind of energy is around me, and there is people in front of me however, I follow suit. It was a super slippery downhill mass start. Somehow my feet stayed under me, thanks of course to those Vibram soles I'm sure. The Spyridons from the start were fantastic. I didn't think about them once after that which is a great thing. They act like a part of me. The best! I kept waiting for an obstacle to appear so we could take a break from the pace. The trail however was super: lush, green, technical. My favorite. I enjoy it as much as I could while navigating the terrain with fast feet and doing what I could to stay with or pass those around me.
Eventually we hit the obstacles and although they are not incredibly challenging, my goal was to go into, over and out of them as fluidly as possible: one hand and one foot on front of the other. I could tell that my current everyday focus on quadrupedal movement (crawling patterns), parkour-inspired strength, balance and skills helped. Things I had yet to test on the fly in such a way. Stoked. I felt strong and was agile and confident every step of the way.
The last obstacle course race I did was the Warrior Race Black Ops in Johanessburg, South Africa back in 2013. It was 19km and 30 obstacles that took over 3 hours. When we hit the finish line for this race I couldn't believe we were done already! Though my lungs were burning from a longer and more intense effort than they were used to, the rest of my body was feeling fine. Must've been just over a 20 minute effort or so. Perfect.
First female - sweet! I'd barely caught my breath when my brother came up beside me having finished close behind. I must've been slightly ahead of him the whole time.
Found out that Matt and his Vibram FiveFingers won the race as well. How about them apples?? Coincidence?? I think not. Our feet were able to fully partake in that performance. That's huge!
Post-race included a couple fun muddy photos, a cool shower to scrub it all off, clean clothes and then a stop at the Vibram FiveFingers tent to get my brother fitted for his first pair YAY! While the rest of the masses were arriving to take their turn on the course, we were off to spend the rest of the weekend out and about in Portland.
Thanks Vibram, Warrior Dash, Mom, Dad, Brett and Kristen for the challenge, the support and a super Saturday morning. I wouldn't mind throwing another OCR race in the mix from time to time. There are so many these days! Got a favorite? Let me know! Maybe I'll see you soon ;)
Fun photos follow: