Hi Foundry peeps! For those of you whom I haven’t met (I’m looking at you, evening crew), my name is Amelia Boone and I started at the Foundry back in June. I’ve been doing CrossFit for a little over a year, mainly as a means for which to train for the fledgling sport of obstacle racing.
You’ve probably seen ads for Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, and the Warrior Dash, among others, and you’ve likely had your Facebook feed littered with pics of people in covered in mud, crawling under barb wire, and various other forms of dirty torture. Or, as is becoming more prevalent, you’ve likely done one yourself. What you may not realize is how Crossfit and obstacle racing are fantastic compliments for each other.
WHY OBSTACLE RACING?
As a former road runner, I was often plagued by injuries – namely, stress fractures. I had fantastic endurance, but found myself getting bored with running 50-60 miles a week. When I stumbled upon an ad for a Tough Mudder in 2011, I was instantly drawn in by the mix of strength and speed, and by the forgiving nature of running on trails and in mud instead of the rock hard pavement. And, let’s be honest – getting dirty is kind of fun…
Many people start CrossFit to get in shape, lose weight, or build strength. And as we all know, CrossFit becomes addicting in the most fantastic of ways, which often leads to a desire to compete in CrossFit as a sport.
I came to CrossFit a bit differently. When I first found my way to obstacle racing in 2011, I competed in the inaugural World’s Toughest Mudder in November of that year which is a 24-hour obstacle. While I took second as a female, I realized that, while my endurance was fantastic, I was lacking basic upper body strength to complete many of the obstacles, such as hoisting myself over a 12 ft wall or making it across monkey bars or swinging rings. Along with obstacle racing, I had gotten into a different type of endurance event which I call “carrying heavy crap over long distances.” This took the form of participating in GoRuck challenges, and ultimately, several Death Races, which is a multiple-day race that takes place in Vermont every year, where participants don’t really know the finish, or even the beginning (www.youmaydie.com).
But the vast majority of my racing season is spent in the Spartan Race obstacle racing series, competing in races of various distances (from 3 miles to 40 miles). I started CrossFit with the goal of building strength, yet maintaining my endurance for long-haul events, and I’ve been able to find a happy balance with a mix of running, rucking, and CrossFit.
Using CrossFit as a means of training:
For those unfamiliar with obstacle races, I often get questions about what exactly is involved. Yes, you’ll be running, mostly on uneven surfaces (ravines, trails) and mostly either up or down a hill, but there are standard obstacles you’ll find at most all the race series. These include, among others:
-scaling walls (anywhere from 6ft to 12ft)
-barb wire crawls
-tire flips and/or drags
-atlas carries and/or buddy carries
(and as penalties for missed obstacles at a Spartan Race – burpees)
Any of those look familiar? It’s cliche, but everything we do in classes at the Foundry is truly a functional movement. Compared to other boxes and programming, we incorporate a lot of these movements into our training. And nowhere has the benefit of this become more clear to me than in my obstacle racing.
Interested in trying out an obstacle race? check out http://travlete.com/find-an-obstacle-race/, or look at the Spartan Race or Tough Mudder calendar (those are two big names in the sport). Or feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also have a blog that I (very) infrequently update with race, training and life musings: raceipsa.blogspot.com
I’ll be blogging periodically about my races, my training, and racing tips, prep and gear, so let me know if you have any specific questions. See you around the box!
Thanks for sharing Amelia! Really makes me want to try an obstacle race!