Lessons Learned from Savage Race

Savage Race is a mid size obstacle course race with races all over the United States. The race I attended last weekend was at Mad River Mountain Ski Resort in Zanesfield, Ohio. Being at a ski resort, it isn't surprising that there was over 1000 feet of uphill travel. Big, long, one after another hills.

I woke up the morning of the race nervous. Now I'm not usually nervous, but I just got over a pretty bad ankle sprain and all I could think about was coming down the hills. I use different tactics to help me keep my mind right before a race. I have a specific playlist I listen to. I also listen to Steven Furtick's "I will fight." It's really good. Nothing was really getting me out of it.

When we got to the race I was running late. I didn't have time to do my warm up. I was wearing compression socks that I don't normally wear. These by no means are excuses for performance, they all contributed to the negative self talk in my mind. 

In bigger races like this where I know there are really fast people I normally like to start toward the back. My confidence feels better passing people rather than being passed. I chose to start in the front this time purely because I know how frustrating that hill is when you are trying to go around people. Now I have about 30 competitors that will pass me since there were about 5 ahead of me. I try to tell myself I am just running my race. That usually works.

This is my first time racing this race. Last year I enjoyed it with my girlfriend who was pregnant. My memory of those hills weren't nearly as brutal. I pretty much thought they were going to suck, not SUCK. As my expectations were shattered the sabotaging self talk ensued. 

It wasn't until after mile 2 that things started to change for me. As soon as I stopped worrying about my ankle, and let my mind empty I was able to race. The obstacles didn't give me any trouble. Also the flat sections with all the turns allowed me to make up a lot of ground. As I let my fear disappear, the downhills became my friend again. 

After I finished exhausted I drank a ton of fluid, then took a nap. When I woke up I started thinking about my performance and how it could have been better. Really as far as effort goes, I did okay, for the mindset I had.  

I met many new people there. It was packed. My daughter Azalea got to experience her very first OCR experience, outside her mommy's belly. Both are always nice to have following a race like this. I'm excited for the rest of the season and the many new friends to make!
Lessons Learned from Savage Ohio: 

Most of the time giving our full effort isn't always physical during the race. Our minds allow the limits of our physical efforts to rise and fall. It is equally as important to train our minds as we train our bodies. We can prepare for the negative self talk with strategies like, targeted questions and honest answers before our race. We can also repeat affirmations, quotes or songs to help during the race. While training our bodies, if we periodically implement training days which will tax our minds as they can be during races, when we come face to face with that burn it will be something we are already familiar with. All these skills I believe will tie over very nicely into everyday life as well.
The Break Down
1) Recognize negative self talk before it has a chance to gain momentum. 
2) Have multiple mantras to repeat or recall memories of overcoming adversity to fight back against the enemy.  
3) Keep up with my training and add longer--Hill intervals.

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