|Posted by Strength & Speed on July 2, 2016 at 10:35 AM|
Post Shale Hill, I was ready for a break. My body felt rough on the inside and looked even worse on the outside. Luckily, I had prepared for Shale Hill and wore gloves almost at every obstacle minus a handful that I went gloveless for better grip. The end results was sensitive hands and one ripped open callus. Compare that to Jordan (who was about to start his 4th day of OCR having covered 60 miles over the last three days) and Sty (20 miles over the last two days), who only wore gloves for part of Shale Hill both had multiple open wounds on each of their hands.
As I left Shale Hill the day before, I talked to the owner Rob Butler about the Viking Course.
“I’m looking forward to an easier day tomorrow” I stated
“Yeah, it will definitely be easier than today.” Said Rob “I should know, I helped design their course.”
Agh, my heart sank a little. Rob’s impression of easy does not always line up with other people’s impression of easy. After all, this is the man who created Shale Hill and some of the ridiculously difficult training products from Sinergy Sports.
We arrived at Viking a couple of minutes late and got ready to run. Viking is unique because it is an all-inclusive family resort. Families pay a flat fee which includes on site hotel, food and family activities (including access to the obstacle course). There is also a golf course on site, pre-organized events and in the evening they do rides on a half tracked Army vehicle across the back trails. If you come there for a race weekend, it is awesome because you can race, walk back to your room, shower and then go back out to enjoy the festival area. Talk about low stress.
Jordan said he was going to arrive later and Sty planned on sitting out the first lap or two. Instead, I had the pleasure of running with Neil Carey. Neil is a veteran of numerous Spartan races, was working on his Trifecta, had run Viking OCR several times and still enjoys cross training using strength based competitions like strongman. His knowledge of the course proved to be priceless as we navigated the woods and talked about upcoming obstacles.
The obstacles clearly had a Rob Butler flare to them, but were much more reasonable than Shale Hill. Both in frequency and difficulty level. If I had to pick one course I would be most interested in coming back to race on, it would be Viking (and I have my chance on July 10th…if I wasn’t still recovering from OCR America). The difficulty of the obstacles was hard but not over the top, the trail proved good sections you could get some running speed but also had some technical sections and the course was a good length (5.5 miles). I was thankful to finally be in a course that had lots of shade after baking in the sun on Days 1 and 2.
My favorite obstacles for the day were the monkey bars (which go from flat to incline to decline then back to flat), the floating logs (which appear easy at first until you hit the section that has moss growing on it) and the maze of balance beams which has a traverse rope in the middle of the obstacle. What was funny, was early in the day I said “This is a great beginners course”, until I realized it just seemed that way because of how difficult Shale Hill was. In fact, Viking is a course that is harder than Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Rugged Maniac and even some of easier BattleFrog races I have completed. It is not an easy course by any means and includes several climbing obstacles including a rope ladder, a beam climb, monkey bars, rope traverse, tall rope climb and so many walls it tested my patience after multiple laps.
For clothing choices, I was back to my standard obstacle racing attire of sleeves to protect the arms, no shirt to vent heat, spandex shorts to avoid holding water, compression socks to protect the calfs and Under Armour Speedform XC shoes. UA’s Speedform XC shoes don’t have very good traction but for Day 3’s course it was not an issue. My pacer, Sty, chose to go with similar attire but chose the INOV-8 X-Talon shoes and Mudgear’s socks.
Due to the two days prior of not reaching 26.2, I decided to stay on the course longer on Day 3. I multi-lapped until I hit 6 laps total with a grand total of 33 miles. Neil ran with me through most of it, Sty jumped in for couple of laps and Brianne Kuchera paced me through to the finish on the last couple of laps. She was fresh and I subconsciously matched her jogging pace making laps 5 and 6 my fastest laps (besides lap 1), which was great because the sun had started to set by the end of the day.
DAY 3: Viking Final Stats: 33 Miles, 4,908 feet of elevation gain, 192 obstacles, 3518 calories burned
OCR America Total: 79 Miles, 18399 feet of elevation gain, 452 obstacles, 8468 calories burned
This is an abbreviated excerpt taken from a working copy of my OCR America digital book, scheduled for release in 2017.