OCR European Championship 2017

The OCR European Championship was held this weekend in Holland. For this Championship, I decided only to do the 15km standard course and the Team Relay. My focus was solely on the standard course, as I wanted to prove to myself “that I am good enough”! I’ve heard that the course last year was so difficult and the World Championship was nothing compared to that; “great I lost my wristband twice at the OCRWC!”
The last month and half up to the race, I could only think about that one race, nothing else mattered to me! I needed to prove that I could do this, and above all; I needed to get through with my wristband! Everything on my mind was about the OCR European Championship Standard Course, from when I woke up in the morning and went to the gym/for a run until I went to bed at 21.00 to be sure I got my 8 hours of sleep before my alarm went off at 5.00 the next morning.

The standard course
I get to the race site on Friday to cheer for the athletes doing the short course. This also allowed me to check out the obstacles and plan my approach. I feel confident, there’s no obstacle I can’t complete (at least not on it’s own, the question is what will happen when I have to take one after the other). I wake up Saturday morning, dead nervous, but I actually slept for once, which is rare for me the night before a race. It’s raining and all the obstacles are gonna be wet and slippery. I get to the venue, and I’m so nervous! My plan was to take it one obstacle at the time! No reason to worry about a single obstacle, before I get there.

It’s 11.40 and off we go! I go slow to begin with, soon we’re at the sandbag carry. I grab a sandbag, throw it around my neck and start running. I pass 3 or 4 other girls in my heat, we get to an open stretch and I can see 2 girls up in front, my focus is to catch up with them, I get closer and closer. I start to think; “we must be done soon, it’s just around the next corner” but no! We keep running with the sandbag, but I do get closer and closer to the ones in front – it feels good! Soon we’re off to the technical obstacles, I clear the Spinners in my first try, and I’m off to the next obstacle. It’s going really well! I start thinking about “oh maybe I can get a podium finish – NO, focus on the next obstacle!” It’s an internal battle in my mind! We get to the tire carry, I pass more people, up and down the extremely muddy hills, I slide down the mud into the water, off we go again, through more obstacles with the tire. Finally we drop the tire and off to the weaver, where you have to get over and under the beams. I’ve only done this once before, but I complete it. A few more obstacles and next up is the commando crawl. It’s a long rope you have to traverse from one side to the other. I knew this was going to kill my forearms, but I get through, off to the next obstacle, Monkey bars, not my favorite, but I pass the front girl! "Yay I'm in the lead!" We're about 11km into the race, next up is the Samurai poles, it takes me a few attempts to get through, DAMM! I get passed by others, "goodbye lead". Through the hamster wheel my mantra is “if you give up now, then all the energy you spent up to here is wasted” I push through. Off to Low Rig, not sure how to approach this, my first few attempts, I get a cramp in my left calf. Other girls catch up “goodbye podium dreams!”. I keep trying and finally I get through, off to the Wave Hanger, my plan is to jump down the board only hanging in my fingers, it looked so easy when people did that on Friday. It doesn’t work! I don’t have enough strength left in my fingers for that, damm! I see one of the Swedes, Karin, using a different approach, I copy it, and it works!

Yes I’m back out running! Get through Ufo, next up is Stairway to Heaven. I have tried this obstacle before leaving for OCREC, I’ve done the 90-95cm transition. I’m so ready for this! It's redemption time! I give it ago, but I only make it up 1 or 2 steps! Not to worry, go to the retry lane, do an extra pull up and do the narrow transition! But I can’t make it to the top step, I get up once, but fall mid-transition! I get frustrated! "This is not happening AGAIN! It’s OCRWC all over again!" I am not about to give up, I have it on video, I KNOW I can do this! What is going on? 90 minutes passes some girls get through others cut their wristband! I still can’t seem to make that one last pull up to get to the top step so I can do the short transition. My brain is all foggy, full of frustration and flashback to OCRWC, my hands are ripped, I’m wrapped in two folio blankets so I can stay warm.“Oh wait, what if I go for the wider transition?" That solves my pull up problem! I decide that’s what I’m gonna do! 1, 2, 3 pull ups and I am at the second to last step, “use the swing for the transition - YES!” I do the transition, now all my focus is on the descend, finally I hit the bell, I have completed the obstacle! 

Off we go again, wall, rings and pipe combo, and then some running. I get to the obstacle Hang-On! Crawl on the beam without touching the ground, off to the net, still no touching the ground and then crawl down another beam, still no touching the ground! This obstacle was without a doubt the toughest and most brutal one (for me) at the race. The last beam was endless, I didn’t dare let go off the beam to move my arms! Team Denmark were there to cheer for me, if they hadn’t been there, I’m not sure I would have made it through, that was the only moment, where I thought about giving up! I decided to simply wriggle my way down the beam like a three-hugging koala. I hear everyone shout; “hang on, hit the end beam” I finally make it all the way down and complete the obstacle.

Next up is a quarter pipe (ramp), flying up that, I’m almost at the last obstacle. I get to the last wall, which is the start of the Clog Combo, I struggle getting up the wall and on to the actual obstacle! I’m tired! I make it up, through the net, over the beams, through more net, down to the rings to the wooden clogs. OUCH! They cut my hands, I realize that my hands are ripped 5 different places, I only thought I had ripped it once! My gloves have blood stains on them. I keep failing off the clogs! I can see the finish line; it’s only 20m away! I can’t bear the thought of not making it through 8 stupid cutting wooden shoes! I lay on the ground utterly exhausted! I try to cover my hands as much as possible. I have gloves on, I try to layer my gloves with my sleeves, that doesn’t work. At the end I fold my gloves twice in order to protect my hands a little more. Team Denmark is there to cheer! I make a deal with myself “just suck it up and push through!” I get to the other side, all there’s left is to sprint to the finish line! I cross the line and I still have my wristband! I am beyond happy!     

In hindsight I think my problem at Stairway to Heaven was that there were so many other people, and awesome Danish girls there, who were struggling with it, so in my mind I was like “it’s okay not to make it, they are not making it either” - but that thought process is not welcome again!

Team Relay

Sunday morning it’s time for the Team Relay; each team member gets a wristband, but all three members need to complete the course with the wristband intact in order to stay in the competition.

I was really looking forward to this, Mica, Annika and I were racing in the women’s elite as Team Flying Monkyes. Saturday after the standard race, we decided to change our game plan, Annika would take the running part, Mica the strength and I would take the technical part, the fourth part of the relay you had to run as a team. All three of us had ripped our hands Saturday, we agree that it’s okay to give up your wristband, no hard feelings.
Annika starts us off with an awesome run, she comes in second. Then Mica is off on her part, she flies through the obstacles with a sandbag. We’re still in second place, when we take on the team part. We have to run with a 6m pole between the obstacles we need to complete. The best part is that we get to help each other on all the team obstacles. First obstacle is Wobbling Monkey bars, we already decided that we were gonna sit on each others shoulders for all grip required obstacles, so that’s what we do J

Soon I face the technical part of the course, it’s 9 highly grip intense and technical obstacles before we as a team face the Clog Combo. My body is exhausted, I had tried to tape my hands to protect the open wounds, I have gloves on to protect the tape and hands as much as possible. I feel sick, I have absolutely no desire to face the next 9 obstacles, I wanna cry. Both Mica and Annika kept there wristband on their part, so I knew it all came down to ME! Yes we agreed we could give up the wristband, that would be okay, but that’s not something I’m okay with doing, I'm not letting them down.

First obstacle is the Spinning Wheels, I completed them on my first try the day before. Now I fail my first try, “okay, try again” I complete it on my second attempt. Off to the Ovals, another grip strength obstacle I cleared on my first try Saturday, I fail! That’s it, the gloves are literally coming off! I have another go, complete the obstacle. Off to the endless Hamster Wheel, I start off strong, but soon I feel my hands start slipping, I keep going, the obstacle feels as it’s twice as long as the day before I can hear people say “you’re almost there” I look “like hell I am!” I keep going, my legs can almost touch the platform, one more pull and I am there! My forearms are pumping and rock solid! Off to the Low Rig, I get through 3/4 of it, it’s going well. I am about to begin the last ¼ of the rig, somehow I end up with my feet pointing forward in front of my body, no idea how I ended up like that, but if I don’t start moving I’ll run out of power. I just have to make the most of a not-ideal situation. BUT as I get closer to the end of the rig, I realized this is GOOD! Long legs = I can kick the bell a lot quicker than I would have been able to reach it with my hand! WIN! Off to the next obstacle, Wave Hanger, and I fly through that, only 4 more obstacles to go!

As I make my way to Stairway to Heaven, Mads runs with me, to keep me company. This is my third time ever facing this Stairway to Heaven! The first time it took me more than two hours to complete, the second time (the day before) it took me over 90 minutes! I start doing my pull ups to get up the steps, it’s heavy! I (finally) get to the top step to go for the 90-95cm transition. I grab the other side with my right hand, move my left hand, grab the step below; “oh no I’m loosing my grip! HIT THE BELL! HIT THE BELL! HIT THE BELL!” while I am falling my right hand is going for the bell! Not sure how I did it, but I hit the freaking bell! I lay in the hay and look up at the crew “did I make it?” Thumps up! Oh yea! I stand up and start running towards the next obstacle when I suddenly hear crazy celebration screaming! I look up and see Mica and Annika jumping and dancing around on the field in their Dryrobes shouting “PIAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” I just burst out laughing, that was the funniest sight ever and one of the best parts of being on a team! But at this point I knew we were gonna finish with three wristbands intact! I get through the rings and pipe combo, I remember Mads said, “use both hands, and kick the bell!” so that’s what I do. One more obstacle and I’m at the Clog Combo with Annika and Mica. We help each other up on the wall, through the rings and the mean clogs, before we run towards the finish line together! When we crossed the finish line, the lady tells us your 4th, I remember feeling disappointed, why couldn’t we have been 3rd? That feeling disappears quickly and we were all just so happy that we made it!
I must admit, that’s the moment I realized the my body can do so much more than what my mind tells me I can! Also, I completed 3 obstacles on Sunday on my first try, which in total cost me about 2 hours all together during my race Saturday J

The OCR European Championship was the hardest challenge I have ever faced! The fact that I completed it shows me I am taking my training in the right direction. Next goal is the OCR World Championship in October. I want to finish Top 10, but more importantly, I want a smooth race, where I don’t spend hours battling one obstacle. And I no longer have nightmares about Stairway to Heaven, the first thing I did when I got home was to sign up for Reborn's next race, so I can face Stairway to Heaven again soon J              

A HUGE thank you to PowerDot for believing in me and sponsoring for me at this event! I am so grateful!


Popular posts from this blog

2018 in pictures

Julsø Ultra 60km

A status of 2018