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Experiences

My 600 lb Life: A Cotton-ary Tale for Beginner Obstacle Racers

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There I was bent over, all dirty and depleted…a shell of the former athlete I used to be. There were no warning signs, it all happened so fast. One moment I was living the dream, the next moment I felt like a prisoner, like I was in a nightmare. The weight was unbearable, it was pressing against my chest and I couldn’t breathe. As I struggled for every last bit of oxygen I could force down my lungs, I remember thinking – “why is this happening to me?”

People often talk about a “trigger event” that may account for why things went so wrong … well here is my story … a cautionary tale, so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.

 

Take it from me folks; cotton is not the answer! Put down the cotton! Seek alternative clothing that wicks away moisture and remember: when it comes to obstacle course racing: “light is right”.

It all started when my buddy Robby Moss – a local MMA fighter and I decided we were going to sign up for Muck MS – a charity mud/obstacle race designed by former Marine Drill Sargent Tony Austin, OO-RAH!! As I packed my gym bag that morning I made a mistake that I would soon regret: I picked out my favourite (cotton) t-shirt! I mean, doesn’t everybody want to look good for all those profile pic worthy race pictures?

Eager to win our heat; Robby and I lined up at the front of the starting block. As the horn sounded, we sprinted 100 meters before diving into a massive mud pit. We were grinning from ear-to-ear because as we looked back, there was no one even close to us… and the race just started. It was at this precise moment that things went spiraling out of control. My favourite (cotton) t-shirt began absorbing all of the wetness and mud. When I finally made my way out of the mud pit, it felt like I was now 600lbs. One moment I was living the dream, the next moment I felt like a prisoner, like I was in a nightmare. The weight was unbearable, it was pressing against my chest and I couldn’t breathe…

Take it from me folks; cotton is not the answer! Put down the cotton! Seek alternative clothing that wicks away moisture and remember: when it comes to obstacle course racing: “light is right”.

 

Some time later…

Excited to race again, I bought myself some new race gear and signed up for the Alpha OCR: Spring Training OCR designed by OCR World Class Elite Jesse Bruce. As I darted out of the start line I was full of boyish enthusiasm. However, this would soon change.

Ottawa Spartan Super 2015 Fire Jump Ed Draycott copyNot even one kilometer into the race I found myself running through knee-deep snow. With the cold winds blowing off Lake Ontario against me, I was freezing cold deep down to my very core. My calves began to burn, all of my new gear was wet and I was extremely uncomfortable! In an instance all the energy and enthusiasm was taken from me like candy from a baby. I wasn’t used to this! I was used to the nice warm, dry, comfortable, inviting, nurturing, beautiful place that is my gym.

This is when I learnt another valuable OCR lesson: race conditions are not always going to be ideal. Some athletes are capable of being an all-star under normal conditions but are easily thrown off by unexpected conditions.

How do you perform when your socks are wet?
How do you perform when it’s so cold your muscles begin cramping?
When the monkey bars are wet?
When the rope climb is slippery?
When the traverse wall is muddy?

Race conditions are not always going to be ideal so train yourself every so often for the what-ifs. Soak yourself from head-to-toe before a run. Run when it’s freezing cold out. Practice monkey bars with wet hands. In true sense of OCR, you’ve got to train yourself to be comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s this training that will help you dig deep and push through every cotton-ary situation you experience!

 

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