This is the second part in our series of reviews of training options for obstacle course racing in Southern California; last time, my friends and I hit up MROC in Oceanside; this time, we move inland to Fallbrook, and went to play with Nicole Kifer at Platinum OCR. The contrast between the two couldn't be greater. The first is in a formal and compact gym space behind a mini-mall; Platinum OCR is an outdoor obstacle course and training center built by Nicole and her family on her brother's 7-acre plot of land.
An eight-hour drive on a Friday afternoon through desert roads that reached 118 F. Setting up a tent in the dark. Post-race thunderstorm, and damp sleeping bags from not sealing the windows before we went out. Getting up early on Sunday morning and facing another 8h long drive home. All of these were totally worth it for the chance to run the Terrain Race in Flagstaff on Saturday.
If you've wandered into the world of endurance, be it a GORUCK event, Spartan Hurricane Heat, Agoge, or some other iteration, then you've probably had some experience taking on a leadership role, whether by choice or nomination. A big part of the process in events like these is figuring out what works and what doesn't and how to bind a team of individuals into an effective unit.
This past weekend, the Gladiator Rock'NRun returned to the Barona Motocross Park in San Diego for the first time since 2014 (they were unable to secure this venue last year for some reason). Put on by Dan "Nitro" Clark of American Gladiators fame, the Gladiator Rock'NRun is a solid fan favorite for smaller race series. It sits solidly in the middle of the spectrum, easy and fun enough for first timers looking to get muddy, and enough of a challenge to keep more serious racers interested.
These haunting words linger in my mind in the aftermath of one of the toughest and most interesting events I've participated in; the 60h Spartan Agoge Class 002 which took place this weekend in Pittsfield, Vermont.
Recently, I've seen a couple of articles talking about OCR burnout; about how the thrill of running obstacle course races can wear thin and become such a drag that people leave the sport. This isn't about the "one and done" runners who try a Spartan Race or Tough Mudder, finish it, check it off their bucket list and move on. This article is aimed at those who were avid obstacle course runners; those who were bitten by the bug and obsessed about OCR, only to find that after 2-3 years their interest has waned.
This past weekend marked the 2nd race in the NBC Spartan Series, the Spartan Super in Monterey, California. As such, it drew a huge crowd to this otherwise sleepy coastal town, and this included a completely stacked elite field. I don't normally pay too much attention to the elite runners; in many ways they are almost a different species from the rest of us and I'm usually on the course before their race is over. This time around, a little later start time of 10 AM afforded me the opportunity to watch the end of the elite races and it couldn't have been a more exciting finish!
Following the Monterey Spartan Super on Saturday, I had the chance to don a new cap, this time as a movie critic as I took in the premiere of the "Rise of the Sufferfests" documentary that has been lovingly crafted by Scott Keneally. Now, I'm no Leonard Maltin, but I know what I like, and frequently that revolves more around the Marvel Universe, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings than any dry and stale documentary.
A few friends and I (Melba Garcia, Mario San Roman, and Jeremey Katopol, seasoned OCR athletes of varying levels who workout regularly together) offered up our services to check out some of these programs and facilities, meet and chat with the owners and give you our impressions of them. This is the first in what I hope will be a series of reviews of such training programs.
“It’s all about the journey” is a catchphrase often used by big, difficult events where the outcome of success or failure takes a backseat to personal growth, the process and lessons learned. The SISU Iron, a 30+ hour event in the hills of Monrovia, California is one such event. Born of the Death Race but given a unique flavor and experience thanks to founders Daren de Heras and Matt Trinca and the rest of the SISU staff, the SISU Iron is an event that only participants can truly understand.