2018 Race Recap: #5 Blizzard Blast

Blizzard Blast is a winter themed 5k(ish) obstacle course race, “No Offseason.” Winter themed and also happily, winter run.  Obstacles include the Christmas Tree carry and Christmas light crawl.  There’s a heavy emphasis on beer kegs – monkey bars, carries – and the named sponsor is Shock Top beer, so it’s hard to know which came first although I did note that “Anheuser Busch” was stamped on most (if not all) of the barrels.

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No Offseason!

Some obstacles are expected – what would an obstacle course race be without wall climbs, for example – but some were novel: there was a paintball target, and a saucer-sled element.  The course also made use of elements within the park where it was held. Overall, I’m glad I finally did this race, but I’m pretty sure I won’t do it again; it was great to get out and do an OCR this early in the year, but it was a little more low-rent than I would have hoped and not quite as challenging as it could be.  If I do it again, I’d have to do the multi-lap option to increase the challenge.

 

There were plenty of shuttles from the parking to registration and to the course, and I know I’m going to sound like a curmudgeon here, but I just really hated the logistics of parking at the Cawley Stadium, taking a bus a few miles down the road to register/bib-pickup and then get on another bus to head back off in the other direction to the event…and to repeat that at the end.  Fine, I get that there’s no parking at the park and I’m used to shuttles, but four rides is just a bit much.

Now, about the experience of running the race.  Running with my son, we didn’t really push too hard with running but he did challenge himself on the obstacles.  This was more about the time together and much less about the overall competition, but it was really good to see him exert himself.  He grabbed a pretty heavy tree for the tree carry, attempted every obstacle and finished most of them. The only one that I truly had an issue with was the keg kingdom, aka monkey bars with hanging beer kegs.  I got two swings into it and for whatever reason decided that it wasn’t going to happen today; I’m not entirely sure what was in my head there.

Overall we did have fun, and we came across the finish line together.  A very nice bonding time.  We finished 1:22:18 – right about middle of the pack.

1:22:18   A little overcast, about 45-degrees.

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28 Days of Inspiration – Day 15

Rucksgiving and the New England Spahtens

Over the past year, I made a commitment to myself that I was going to run 50 Obstacle Races by age 50…which then morphed into 46 Races in 2016 for my 46 years…which has again morphed into getting as many done this year as I can.  As part of this evolution, I’ve connected with some wonderful people along the way, see here Joel Chavez the man representing Day 3 of the 28 Days.

One group which which I’ve connected is the New England Spahtens, a local obstacle course racing (OCR) enthusiasts team that has over time morphed (not unlike my race list, nor would that be coincidental to my own list) into other races, fitness activities, and social events.  After all, it’s a team, right?

OCR is an interesting community.  It’s designed as an individual challenge, but we’re social animals and want to engage these pursuits with other similarly minded folk.  I’ve noticed several “teams” of this kind in various places: joining is optional, there are no membership fees, no one gets cut, be as active or passive as you want.  If you want to register for a race, but the team hasn’t been formed, form it.  You can confidentially register for a race, join/create the team and you’ll have the support of others even if you don’t know them.  They’re there to support you, perhaps help you over an obstacle with the sole purpose of sharing the sport and making it accessible to as many as who want to join.

For the past two years, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the Spahtens marshal as many volunteers as they can, loaded with donations and carry  ruck sacks stuffed with the gear around a route through Boston to carry donations to the less fortunate. This isn’t an administratively heavy endeavor (read the blog post, linked to here – this is a general call to arms, some pre-planning, and general strategy on the fly).  There are no news crews covering the story, no administrative costs.  Just teams of people caring for others, while living the purpose of the group – health and fitness.  It’s a marriage of the mission and vision of healthy activity, and supporting others.  And it’s ridiculously inspirational.