Confession: I’m racing in this weekend and I’m not ready.
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In May, I raced the XMAN Toronto (an obstacle course racing event) and surprised myself by qualifying for the Obstacle Course Race World Championships. As the summer came, I started thinking more seriously about the race and wondering whether or not I should actually sign up for it. Could I be a “world champion” obstacle course racer? No. But in the grand scheme of my life, this seemed like the only chance to compete in a world championship event. When I found out that the 2016 race was going to be held in Canada in October, I signed up.
Back in the peak of summer, October seemed so far away. Since I had spent the winter and spring of 2016 training as hard as I could for a new half-marathon PB, I took some well-deserved R&R after my race in May. Sure I still ran about three times a week, but I took a break from the prescribed workouts. I ran when I wanted, at whatever speed I wanted, and as far as I wanted. I would get into the gym usually twice a week to do some weight training and I would cycle to work here and there. I was certainly in good shape, but I was not in “world class” shape.
When September hit, I started wondering if I had made a mistake. This 15K-course was taking place on Blue Mountain in Collingwood and had over 50 obstacles. 15K up and down a mountain is enough of a workout itself, without the other physical challenges along the way. I started to worry that I had gone too easy all summer; that I should have been happy with my qualification and left the world class sports to the professionals.
Now, the race is this weekend.
I was speaking with a friend recently who is aiming to run her fastest half-marathon at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday. She has worked so hard these past months and I know she’s going to crush it. When I mentioned my race and how nervous I was, we got to talking about her A, B, and C goals. I realized that I hadn’t thought about my own. As a goal-driven person, this was a surprise to me. That’s when I realized that I had already accomplished a goal I didn’t know I had: qualify for the Obstacle Course Race World Championships.
Sometimes you realize that it is a goal in itself to qualify. How you show up on race day is up to you. With that in mind, I made my A, B, and C goals for race day.
A: Attempt every obstacle
B: Focus on running the trails
C: Finish the race
While you can finish the race without completing every obstacle, there’s a time penalty. Even if some may seem challenging, I would like to try them all and aim to do my best. As a trail runner, I found that I excelled on the trails at my last obstacle course race, so even if I can’t complete every obstacle, I want to focus on my own strengths and compete to the best of my ability. Lastly, even if I’m walking to the end– I want to finish the course.
For all those racers attempting PBs, running new distances, or even Guinness World Records this weekend, good luck to you all. Set smart goals and most importantly, have fun.