The BattleFrog Championship race took Central Florida by storm this weekend, delivering a race which sought to rival all competitors. Since its inception, BattleFrog has sought to position itself as the top dog in the OCR world, and has made bold marketing choices (case in point: a large digital ad in Times Square and the recent sponsorship of the Fiesta Bowl) as it seeks to gain notoriety not only in the sport of Obstacle Racing, but in all of the athletic world.
Not long ago, BattleFrog announced that their December 12th event had been dubbed the inaugural Championship Race, and I enrolled without hesitation as the event had been conveniently scheduled the day before my birthday. Naturally, the BattleFrog Xtreme sounded like the perfect way to complete my 32nd year, as it – in a way – would symbolize struggles conquered, perseverance through all challenges, and new adventures to come.
The BattleFrog Xtreme provides a unique experience, as it requires runners to complete at least 3 laps of the 5 mile course if they wish to earn the impressive BFX medal. Many had arrived to accept the challenge that day, and the designated BFX tent buzzed with excitement as runners anxiously discussed how many laps they hoped to complete. I arrived prepared to test my endurance, strength, and mental grit, and was eager to hit the course for 7 hours of OCR fun.
With the elite waves well into their race (2 laps of the 5 mile course were required of podium hopefuls), the BFX wave was sent off at 9am with an inspiring speech and dramatic music. It was time to take on the day, and we were ready to show BattleFrog what we were made of.
Shortly into the race, the realization began to set in that acheiving multiple laps would be no easy feat that day. With temperatures quickly rising into the mid-80s, and miles of powdery sugar sand winding through the dense Florida terrain, runners quickly began to fatigue. Proper hydration was an absolute necessity, and legs became weary after miles of pushing through the soft sand. For many initially ambitious BFXers, the goal of 4-5 laps quickly slipped away and was instead replaced with the sole focus to simply acheive the minimum 3 laps.
As for my own journey, I felt strong through the 1st lap, completing all obstacles but the 2nd Platinum Rig – an 80 foot long technical nightmare – positioned near the finish line. Yet despite a successful run, the half mile long Jerry Can Carry (with 3 obstacles sprinkled in mid-carry), strenuous Wreck Bag Carry, and multitude of upper-body focused challenges left me with the realization that further laps may not yield the same results. My upper body was already buzzing, and I knew that fatigue would slowly but surely set in.
Boy was I right.
As I began the 2nd lap, long stretches of sugar sand began to slow my running pace, and the spinning pipes of the Monkey Bars tore both of my palms open. The resulting pain in my hands attributed to my inability to complete either Platinum Rig that round. However despite any discomfort or weariness, I pressed onward at a steady pace, completing the 2nd lap with similar timing to my 1st.
Upon finishing lap 2, I found myself desperately seeking nutrition as my blood sugar had dipped to the point where I had become light-headed and dizzy. It was at that time I decided the 3rd lap would be my final lap for the day, and this would be one which I would take my time and enjoy. It was my birthday weekend after all, why not have a bit of fun? And so I donned a cake shaped birthday hat, found a few of my OCR friends, and we embarked with the sole goal of completing those final 5 miles together.
A majority of the final lap was spent walking, talking, joking, and enjoying the company of friends. Having companions helped dull the pain and fatigue we had all begun to feel, and we supported one another through obstacles that had become increasingly more difficult as the day wore on.
Finally, with the finish line in sight, I pushed through pain and fatigue to complete Tip of the Spear for the 3rd and final time that day. This being the same obstacle which had bested me at the OCR World Championship just a couple of month prior, I reached over and kicked the final bell in a fit of excitement. I happily cruised across the finish line and accepted my medal and stars, thrilled to be done but proud of my accomplishment.
The Battlefrog Xtreme is an incredible challenge, but what makes it worthwhile is not just the personal test it delivers, but also the relationships that are built on the course through the struggle, and by the sense of pride earned through overcoming a great challenge to accomplish something truly amazing.
Now that my 2015 race season has come to an end and I sit comfortably (albeit a bit sore) today celebrating my birthday, it’s nice to pause and reflect on my experience at the BattleFrog Championship, and I’m looking forward to the many exciting experiences and races to come. I’m truly proud to have ended my year with an incredible challenge. Congrats to all who raced yesterday, you should be very pleased with your accomplishment! Hooyah!
Think you’re up for the challenge of a Battlefrog Xtreme? Check out more details here!
Side Note: Although I was disappointed to witness a severe lack of volunteers on the course during the afternoon hours (most obstacles and water stations were left unmanned), I want to give kudos to the volunteers who hung in till the bitter end when relief did not come as promised. Thank you for your dedication and commitment, it was very appreciated to those of us racing! BattleFrog was lucky to have you.
Video Credit: OCRTube