So you know you’re a dedicated Obstacle Course Racer when you drive over 10 hours, through 3 US states from Canada, sleep for 6 hours, race, hang around all day to cheer on your friends, eat, sleep and then drive home for another 10 hours. Was Battlefrog Tri-State worth it? Hooyah! Yes!
I have run Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Mud Hero, Spartan Race, X Man Race and Dead End Race but I haven’t had the opportunity of hanging a frog around my neck until this past weekend at the Battlefrog Tri-State New Jersey race. Some of the members of my training family from Alpha Obstacle Training and I headed down to tackle the course held at Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey on June 20th, 2015.
The morning of the race our training family spread out with members in the Elite Male Heat, Elite Female Heat, the Xtreme Heat and the first Open Heat of the morning. We had seen the course map posted on social media the week before the race so we prepared to do battle on an 8K course with 32 obstacles. Those in elite mentally prepared for 2 laps of the course, the Xtreme participants started to guess how many laps they could fit in from 8:30 – 3pm and I started googling as many obstacle names as possible to get prepared for the open course. My goal was to try and complete all obstacles.
I chose to race in the open heat to get a great taste of what Battlefrog represents. Since it was my first Battlefrog, word on the street was that if you cannot complete an obstacle (despite being given as many tries as possible) you had to surrender your Elite band. You are still able to finish the course but not eligible for ranking or prizing. Since I have trouble with grip strength obstacles I wasn’t confident I’d be able to complete all obstacles which meant the open heat was the place for me.
After watching my friends take off in the elite heats & xtreme heat I climbed over the starting line wall, took a knee, listened to a rousing pep talk from Coachpain Dewayne and then launched myself out of the start with the first open heat of the day.
After rolling under the first wall we came upon the first epic obstacle of the day and the first bottleneck on the course. After running to the front of the line to grab a wreck bag from one of my Alpha family members, April (who was the 4th place elite female!) we were made to run over the motocross sand dunes of the park. I absolutely loved this obstacle. I motored along up and down hills, jogging with the bag on my shoulders and looked around to realize the struggle that was happening around me. I’m truly grateful for my strength training, hill running and strong legs that carried me through this 1km portion of the course to feel like I’d beasted this obstacle.
As we completed obstacle after obstacle under the gloomy overcast skies, trudged along in ankle deep, knee deep and shoulder deep mud, dragged jerry cans through the mud, climbed countless obstacles, I still had a massive smile on my face because this is what I truly love. I race to challenge my strength, stamina and determination. BF Tri-State gave me the perfect recipe for that.
In no particular order here are 4 obstacles that were my nemeses for the day.
1. The Dirty Name – this was the 4th obstacle of the day. I watched people attempt, smack their bodies into the higher wooden beam and fall and so I let my fear get the best of me so I knocked out 10 bodybuilders and didn’t even attempt. I didn’t want to hurt myself so early in the race. Watching others do it later just goes to show sometimes you need to suck it up and try because it’s not as hard as it looks.
2. Platinum Rig – This is the most prestigious rig in the industry. Since 2012, Platinum Rig has been building stronger and more stable rigs ahead of the competition. Apparently this was the first US Battlefrog race that this obstacle made it’s appearance. It was set up with a hanging rope (knot on the bottom), 3 hand rings, 2 ring footholds, another hand ring, another foothold ring, a numchuck to swinging bar to one last hand ring. I’m pretty proud to say I made it to the numchuck before slipping off. When I went to grab the swinging bag another girl was on it and had swung it forward out of my range.
3. 60 Degrees – This obstacle was covered in mud by the time I got there. I have trouble with my grip strength and was quite worried about slipping off at the top as you try and get up and over. I opted for body builders but know I could have done this obstacle if I had really tried.
4. Rope Climb Wall – I failed the first time I attempted. I didn’t get my feet high enough up to the next green rung to pull myself up and almost fell on my back. I shook it off, took some deep breaths and just attacked it. I’m proud that this could have been a failed obstacle for me but instead I killed it.
And again in no particular order here are 4 obstacles that made me feel like a bad ass.
1. Wreck Bag Carry – to my legs that carried me over this track. Thank you for being strong. To my shoulders and back that supported the bag. I’m sorry I promise I will get you a deep tissue massage this week.
2. Tsunami – who doesn’t like to conquer fear of heights and slide down a huge slip and slide as an adult into a mud puddle?
3. Rope Traverse – while I hate the bruises you left on my legs, I love how you made me feel strong for staying on the seemingly endless traverse. Note to future racers, long tights or capris with compressions socks will save you skin burns on the legs.
4. Caving Ladder – I practiced a few days before the race at my local climbing gym doing an inverted climb upside down, so I was slightly thankful when the ladder was vertical in the forest. Up I scrambled, rang that bell (oh that sweet sound) and scrambled back down.
The race really had so much to offer. The festival area was awesome. There were massive signs beside every tent from registration, merch, bag check, a place with tables & chairs to get ready or just hang out, showers, washrooms and change rooms were easily marked so everything was easy to find. The Xtreme tent was placed off to the side from the start line for drop boxes. It seemed a tad small but worked well for all those involved. I didn’t hear any massive complaints from those racers. Spectators could easily hang around to see our friends and help them with anything after every lap or to yell madly at them to just keep going! The finish line was well stocked with water, bananas and protein bars. While the showers were hoses, the water was actually not as cold as I’ve experienced at other races. I was thankful for the baby wipes I remembered to bring to tidy up post hose shower in the change tent 🙂
As someone who has raced in over 10 obstacle course races and trains 3-4 times a week for them I found the course challenging, but doable. The course set up was amazing, the obstacles top rated. The course however was much flatter than what I’m used to up in Canada. But then again we have a lot of ski hills. All my hill training definitely paid off in the wreck bag carries. I was actually anticipating much tougher obstacles. I technically could have completed the dirty name obstacle, the 60 degrees pipe wall and I’m confident I could’ve gotten the Platinum Rig after a few attempts. I was beyond proud of getting the rope climb on the first try which has been my nemesis at other races and the caving ladder with ease. What’s great about the open heat is that it really is accessible for anyone who wants to try to push themselves but isn’t able to complete every obstacle. The 10 body builder “burpees” are penalty worthy but don’t gas you like the 30 burpees at a Spartan race does.
The top 3 males were Ryan Atkins, Marc-Andre Bedard and Brian Gowiski
The top 3 females were 1. Claude Godbout, Corrina Coffin, and Ashley Samples
I am a bit disappointed that I didn’t challenge myself to run in the Elite heat. I am a competitive person and love to push myself. The only challenge I truly had in the open heat was being stuck in bottlenecks waiting for obstacles. As an elite or xtreme runner you had the benefit of yelling out what you were since you were wearing an identifying wristband and were able to move to the front of the line at an obstacle. Although I was fine waiting, it didn’t give me a chance to compete for time or even see how I stacked up against elites on the course. But if that’s my only complaint than BF you have an amazing race series and I can’t wait to see you come up to Canada! HOOYAH!