It’s Ok That it’s Not Ok.

It’s ok to for things to not be ok. It’s also ok to not be ok that things are not ok.

Performance wise, I had a terrible race weekend.

I did get to run with some of the best in the sport, and spend time with some of my favourite people, doing what I love best.

So really, it was a phenomenal weekend. But am I totally ok?

Nope. No I’m not. And I cannot convince myself otherwise.

The Super on Saturday morning featured some added frosty-dewy challenge. I slid off the balance beam and then rig. Then I missed my spear. At the rope climb, I grabbed a rope that was coated with thick gooey mud and shot right to the bottom. 30 burpees at the finish line and my first failed rope climb. I dropped from second to fourth. Sunday in the Sprint Race, I choked on the balance beam and then missed my spear.

So many burpees.

The awesome thing about obstacle racing is that you always go home with homework. Something to improve. A way to make yourself a better athlete.

In that sense it’s these races that teach us the most. These ugly times where we cross the finish line with burnt-out triceps and stains on our chests, that offer us the most.

But they still suck. And I’m ok with that too.

If we jumped the fire 120 burpees down and with any sort of indifference, we wouldn’t go home with the same lessons: the same drive to fix the chinks in our armour.

We need both the sting of loss – and the appreciation for it’s honesty to drive us on.

My oldest daughter starts kindergarten this week. And to be perfectly honest, I have trouble embracing it. But a good friend pointed out how much one-on-one time I’ll have with my youngest and how many great times lie ahead with my growing munchkin.

In the mud, and in life, I guess it’s ok to not be ok… so long as you keep moving forward.

Sacramento Super, Triple Crown Race

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The Sacramento Super is the first Spartan age group championship and part of what they call “The Triple Crown”. The crown is made up of the Spartan World Championship Beast in Vernont, the Super in either South Carolina or in Sacramento, and the team championship in Texas.

One of the things I love about racing in the states is meeting the larger than life “OCR celebrities”. The best part of today was definitely keeping up with them.

The race started fast and uphill into a couple sets of over-unders and over-under-throughs, as per usual. Also as per usual, I was trying my darnedest to keep up with the fast off the gun pace.

Over the next mile, I somehow caught up and found myself in the “Rose chase pack” with Chikorita and TyAnn Clarke. Both hugely talented pro OCR racers.

Just to give you an idea of how tough these ladies are, TyAnn once gave herself a staph infection trying to aggressively massage out rhabdo. She’s also got two young kids and balances a career as an elite athlete with being an awesome mother.

I “raced” Rose in Washington in August and lost her after the first big climb, so I was happy to see her bouncy little pony tail and picture perfect stride just ahead.

The first real obstacle was a water pool to an inverted wall, which was neat cause you lost some jump and needed more muscling up.

Next came the log hop, where I actually pulled ahead just by running across. I used to fall over looking at anything requiring balance, so I guess all that walking around on a pole stuff worked.

At this point, I pulled into second but couldn’t see Rose – or any of the back of the pack elite males. I was on my own for way finding. Never good. Never good.

Coming back through the festival area totally spun me and I ran right past the monkey bars. To make things worse, when I got back around I saw that they were the infamous thick-bar up/down set from Vermont… which I failed. Of course, failure is what makes success sweet – so I was extra stoked to make it this time.

Those bars added some challenge to the rope climb and extra slick traverse wall that followed, but no burpees!

And then I went off track. Again. John was yelling for me to go straight and I was looking up at the hill ahead of me, instead of his straight… my right. Sigh.

The next obstacle was these huge tree trunks that you had to leap from to grab a higher one. I failed it without much glamour. Just slid off and resigned to the burpee mass.

I managed to catch up to the mighty TyAnn some time around the 7′ wall. I used to struggle a bit with the timing to jump and catch… but all that home practice sure paid off.

Then came the cords-tied-to-trees-like-those-lasers-in-Mission-Impossible-obstacle. Not challenging, just weird.

The spear throw was on a string again. I’m thinking they started doing this to prevent volunteers from having to run to retrieve the spears (which indeed seems a wee bit risky) and to give all competitors the opportunity for a clean shot into an empty bale. I noticed TyAnn throw the rope over the barricade so it wouldn’t wrap around anywhere. I did that too, and my rope didn’t tangle… but, it also didn’t go in. This is where I said figuratively said goodbye to Ty and did my 30 burpees.

I like to roll through mud pits – and this one was a roller. A long downhill pit, unimpeded by bumps or straw bales. I’m pretty sure those devils at Spartan planned it that way to laugh at us as we drunkinly try to run after rolling for several minutes. The mucky, lumpy transition into the water obstacle was challenging. I know from salsa dancing that you should “mark” where you’re going and turn your head to keep your eyes focused on the end when you spin. I also find blinking and bouncing on your heels to help regain your sense of up. It helped but boy was I dizzy. Someday they’ll plan a spear throw out of one of those. Or maybe their insurance won’t allow it.

The water obstacle was shallow for wading on the left and deep for swimming on the right. I chose to wade but swimming would probably have been faster… the muck at the bottom must have been a foot deep.

Then came an 8′ wall, pancake sandbag carry, tire flip, tractor pull, and bucket brigade. All relatively tame after the beasts in Vermont and Sun Peaks.

After the big cargo net, came a tractor tire drag uphill. I couldn’t budge the thing even using the peg that held the rope for leverage. Burpees that close to the finish line are the worst type.

The herc hoist was also especially heavy. I was also a bit rattled because I ran up to a rope wrapped with pink tape (which usually means it’s a woman’s rope) but was shuttled around the backend to a “red bag”. The volunteer at the station was awesome though. He pointed out which one to grab and then cheered me through it.

The last obstacles were a dunk wall to a very slippery slippery-wall. I usually just grab the top but I threw a leg over just to be sure today. Watching for John coming in later, I saw countless hyped up dudes try to sprint it and fall right on their faces to an accompanying “eeeeee” of them sliding back down the wall. Ouch on so many accounts.

Man, is it just me or does the fire jump just keeping getting bigger? Pretty soon they’re going to light picnic tables on fire 😉

I feel like there is room for improvement in today’s performance for sure (read as: spear throw and make more muscles) but I can also see the progress. Which is a good feeling. It’s special mix of progress and room for improvement that make hope.

Plus, with the age group championship even though I missed the elite podium, I still won my age group!

That being said, probably only half the people stayed to collect their prizes, which probably means the age group awards could have been better communicated.