Strong Viking Gent


So my second OCR race in 2018 was Strong Viking OCR Series in Ghent, Belgium, this Sunday. After two weekends with intense trail races, I was worried about how my body would feel during this race. I had really enjoyed my trail races the last few weekends, perhaps because they resulted in a 1st and 2nd place, but going back to OCR worried me. I know I can push myself a lot when doing a trail race, but I struggle with pushing myself in the same way during OCR as i can't find the balance of when to push myself and when to save strength for obstacles.

Before my last Strong Viking and for my two trail races this year, I have made a plan for My Goals for the races. What do I want to achieve? What is my 4 step plan? And what challenges do I face? I made this plan a few days before the race.

My plan was:
  1. Follow my plan and be positive
  2. Keep my pace and have faith in my training
  3. Shake off mistakes and focus on what's ahead
  4. Believe in myself and my abilities and not give up on an obstacle
If I followed this plan, then I could be proud of my race no matter what the result was!

The race
Strong Viking had an event Saturday as well, so when we got to Ghent Anders, Tim and I went to the event site to check it out. Strong Viking named the race "Mud Edition" and for GOOD reason, the people we saw racing were covered in mud πŸ˜‚

We had a look at some of the obstacles, normally this would have freaked me out, and make me nervous, but not this time, I didn't worry at all, and I didn't really look at the course map leading up to the race, as I didn't really care what obstacles I faced. I don't know if this is because I am getting more confident or because Strong Viking doesn't have wristbands, so I knew that I would be able to complete the race thanks to the concept of penalty laps.

I woke up early on the morning of the race after a good nights sleep. People who know me, know that I have had so many issues with sleeping before a race, but this time i was calm and didn't get nervous until I was standing on the startline.

The race started and the first obstacle was rope climb. There were a ton of people, so focus was on getting a rope. I got a rope and tried to climb, but for some reason it took me forever to lock my feet. I made it to the top and hit the bell. When I got down I got irritated; "Seriously, how difficult can it be to climb a rope!" Well I contunied running, the next obstacle was balance bars. I didn't fall down, but I was slow and all over the place, not very impressive! It was 25 degrees and we were running in the sun, I got passed by a girl in a blue vest, so I knew she started behind me. This was not going well, and we were only 2km into a 21,1km race 😞
I was not impressed with myself, I actually considered just quitting! But I got through a few more obstacles, I decided to follow my plan, it was a long race and I should focus on having a good race and enjoy it, and not focus on the things that didn't work. I got to Throw the Hammer, they had changed the rules, so it was one try, if you missed on your first try then it was off to do 1 minute burpees. Considering the fact that I used 9 attempts in OsnabrΓΌck I didn't really have high hopes for this obstacle. Of course I throw the hammer too far, so I am off to do my 1 minut burpees.

It was getting really warm, we got to the first hydration point, and I decided to drink water at all 4 hydration points during the race as I was worried about dehydration. We got to the first mud trenches, it was so nice to be cooled down πŸ˜‚ But as soon as we got out of the water I could feel that I had a million small rocks in my shoes and we only just passed the 4km sign  - oh boy this was going to hurt for the next 16km😬 A few more obstacles and I got to the high Walls. I saw some men and one of the other girls struggling, I got over both of them on my first try, but my hands got really muddy. Next obstacle was Monkey Snakes which requires grip. I tried to dry my hands off in the grass, but they just got wet instead of muddy. I thought "trust your grip and try" the Snakes were slippery, but I got through, the Monkey bar was dry though, and I got through easily with my sideways technique, I started feeling great.I was almost 7km into the race and I was warm and ready to do this! πŸ˜€

From there it went really well, I got through the obstacles without any problems, managed to keep my pace up on the running part and was positive and looking ahead. I got to Gunnar's Ropes, where I failed last time and got a penalty round. I had decided to use a different technique this time, however, when I go to it, I ended up using my nunchuck technique. It actually went well, I got about 2/3 of the way, then this guy in the lane next to me accidentially kicked me and I loose my momentum and I fall down. I was so frustrated as I was doing so well and I was proud of myself, I honestly think I could have completed the obstacle. But I'm off to do the penalty lap, shake off the frustration and back to focus on running. The next obstacle was Atlas Slam balls, and can I just say I AM A FAN!!! 😍 This obstacle was awesome, you had to lift three slam balls, first a 30kg over a 1.5m ish fence, then a 40kg over 1,2m ish fence and then a 50kg over a 1m ish fence. The girl in front of me was struggling on the 30kg and when she got to 40kg she had to do the penalty round. I had no issues with them, when I got to the 3rd one my only thought was "well I have a 51kg atlas stone at home, this is easy!" and so it was.

A few more obstacles and I got to Strong Wall, which was new to me. My first thought was "Oh fuck! What is that? I hope there is a penalty lap I can do". I see the girl in the blue vest who had passed me earlier, she failed and went to the penalty. I get to the wall, I jump up and grab two small wholes in the wall, from there it's a pull up, to reach the top of the wall - talk about exposing my weakness after 16km running! I somehow manage to do the pull up, I grap the top of the wall with my right hand, get my left hand up. I struggle getting my right foot up, but I succeed! I get over the wall "SUCCESS!!".

I keep looking at my Garmin, they told us the route was 21,1km and I was only about 17km into the race so still had about 4km left. I get to the Weaver where I struggled a little last time, this time, I had a much better flow, and actually managed to pass people on it. I was coming to the end of the race and I started picking up my pace. I got to Low Rig, where I had failed at the race in Germany. I kept my cool and slowly worked my way through, I got 2/3 of the way and my foot got stuck in a ring, I finally got it free, I tried to swing to the last spinning wheel, but my feet fell on the ground. Because I made it so far, it only cost me one minute burpees in penalty.

When I am done with my burpees, I see a girl completing Low Rig. There's only two obstacles left, I started runing to Moving Pegboard - another obstacle I failed last time. But I had decided to try a different technique this time. My technique is working, I get to where I failed last time, but I am working my way towards the bell, even though it's slow, but my grip is good! I get to the end of the pegboard, go for the bell with my left hand but miss! Luckily I didn't let go with my right hand, I swing back and grab the peg with both hands - BREATHE! I find my momentum, grab the last peg with my left hand, a little more momentum and I go for the bell again and this time I hit it. My arms are so pumped! I look at the other girl, and she her fail. I am all alone, so I walk/jog to Flying Monkey. This time I am not worried, for the last month I have forced myself to practice this at fitness dk, even on days where I had a million excuses, so I knew I could do it and so I DID πŸ˜€ I cross the finishline, found shade and just collapsed!

It turned out I finished 8th, about 20 minutes after the first female, so that's about 1 minute per kilometer πŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚ Which is just a good excuse to do more trail running πŸ˜‰

I am not over-the-moon-happy about the result, but I did the best i could, and that I am proud off.

My take aways from this race is the following:
  • I turned a bad start into a good race and went back to follow my race plan, despite a shaky start
  • I conqured Moving Pegboard, Strong Wall, and Flying Monkey (AGAIN) 
  • I improved on Low Rig and Gunnar's Rope's
Once again having planned My Goals before the race was a huge help, it gives me positive things to focus on instead of where I place.

Thanks to Tim and Anders for another great trip 😊


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