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When people bitch and moan…HB speaks up… BFX

Endurance racing is not a new thing, but it has finally started getting attention as OCR becomes increasingly popular.  When I started OCR 3 years ago, Spartan Ultra Beast was the big daddy race, until I discovered Death Race, WTM, TPK, etc….  This form of racing takes on a whole new meaning to those of us that claim to be an Endurance racer.  In OCR, that looks different from just running 100 miles on trails or roads (which is still hella endurance racing), just…different.

When I first participated in a Battlefrog race, running the elite wave, I DNF’d.  Not having the upper body strength to climb the freaking rope.  I was ok with that; this was when the Monkey Bars were the dreaded Soul Taker and every elite woman was competing for hours tearing up their arms and hands shooting for a top 10 spot!  For me, I was stuck at that rope for 2.5 hours and then decided that going to see my daughter race was more important.

I truly didn’t think much about BF after that.  I had other important Endurance races on my plate to train for.  Once they were over, I started looking more into Battlefrog Xtreme.  My first taste of this was skeptical…at that race I DNF’d, I knew what BFX was, but saw athletes coming through, touching the rope (not attempting it) then running over and doing their bodybuilders, and running on.  What was the point of that?  Isn’t that just mud running?  Anyone can do that!  Still, not being a fan of the Elite wave of Battlefrog, I wanted to play with my friends, and told Christopher Accord that I planned on winning ALL the BFX races I could;-)

San Antonio was my first BFX.  I planned domination on this race.  No other female was going to beat me, and if I saw someone not attempting an obstacle, I was planning on cutting them.

Here is the thing with this race, it is not like you are neck and neck with your competition the entire race.  You start off fast, or slow; then you are in your own world for 6-7 hours.  There is a checkpoint where you can refuel, change gear etc., but you may or may not see someone you are racing against.  I say against, because for me, I am not doing this to say “Hey, I completed a BFX!”, I am doing this to do as many laps as I can and win.  Here is where the competitive Elite in me comes out…all the questions going through my head…”no female has passed me, but what if one cut the course?”  What if she didn’t attempt the obstacle, and I did?  What if she just touched the rig and did 20 seconds of body builders and It takes me 5 minutes to attempt to make it??”  These are legit concerns for a competitive BFX’er, because all of that stuff has been witnessed, and non-deserving winners have walked away with Paddles that they should have been spanked with, rather than earned.  Personally, this happened to me at 2013 Savage race when I won 1st place female, had picture proof and everything that no other female was ever in front of me, but some chick crossed the finish line before me and was awarded the coveted Axe; I didn’t even know was the award until someone told me later.  (This was before competitive, cutting HB really emerged)

BFX1San Antonio was also the first time I had witnessed BFX having the three difficulties of lanes….Easy, Intermediate, and Elite. This was golden!!  As a BFX racer, we were allowed to use any lane.  Did that make me less elite because I did the easy lane?  Hell no!  I still did the obstacle, and if I failed it, tried again or did my penalty and continued.  These difficult choices are only on a few obstacles… BFX racers still did the same Wreck bag carries and other strength sucking obstacles.  My goal was 6 laps, I won just short, completing 5 laps.  Honestly, I was an idiot and took 10-15 minutes at my drop box socializing, taking pictures and stuff. Even going to the results tent, knowing that I never saw another female pass me, I was still terrified that some other chick was going to somehow claim that Trident, but my name was called:-)

Next BFX was Kansas, and I had the same attitude going into it.  I pretty much decided that the feeling I have wanting to win an Endurance race, is the same feeling most of the Elite chicks have going into the regular race.  I was planning on winning this again.  The venue had been all changed around due to the monsoon, tornado weather that had literally cleared up an hour before people started to arrive at the race.  I still sized up my competition, wondering if any of the other chicks arriving could beat me.  At first, I was the only one, and I joked that I could probably win doing only three laps!  I was also injured, not knowing that the Patella tendon in my knee had detached the week before at Spartan Super…but again, I am stubborn, was planning on running as many laps as the winning guy, no matter how bad my knee hurt.

This time, I didn’t take a break until starting lap 3.  I was on a roll running MY race; yes I was still worried about another female somehow beating me.  I saw other BFX racers not even attempt the rigs, or attempt, fail, and then just keep running…but Instead of worrying about it, I ran faster so that there would be no question as to who won.  At 2:57, I was in a ton of pain, and could have stopped after 4 laps, but that’s not what Endurance racers do, well, at least not the 30% of us sick minded ones that do OCR Endurance races…because we are not just out to win, we are out to push our bodies to their limit so that if we win or not, we know that we busted our ass and put everything we had into that race!!

So, I started my 5th lap.  This is where I bring up all of the controversies about BattleFrog and BattleFrog volunteers.  My last lap, I saw 2 photographers and 5 volunteers.  I was pretty much the last person on the course, coming up on a few last racers.  I still attempted every obstacle.  I made the monkey bars the first two laps…I failed them the last three…but attempted and did my body builders.  With no one but the photographer there to keep me accountable.  The first rig, I failed 1 time, but attempted every time, (yes the Novice lane, don’t you dare judge me). I came up on the Jerry cans, which were all so mixed up, I had no clue what was what weight…but I still grabbed 2 of them, and did my lap.  There were so many obstacles where there was no one, and it would have been so easy to just skip and keep running.  I was even told by one of the course builders at the second Rig, that I was the only female to not only attempt the rig every single lap, but also make it thru…most others just touched the rig, did their body builders, and took off.  But why?  Why would someone sign up for a race, especially an OCR and just run without doing the obstacles?  That is not the point of these races.  Anyone can go sign up for a trail run or road race, to just run.  Right?

So when I hear of all of these people complaining they will never do a BFX because now they are going to be held accountable for not doing an obstacle by being given a penalty, I want to falcon-punch them!  So, yall are telling me that you were planning on just coming out to do the race and do bodybuilders instead of the obstacles?  Good way of calling yourself out.  Even better are the people who failed to read all of the facts about the new BFX changes and start meowing all over social media how the race is now geared towards only elites.  No, the race is now an even better Endurance event geared at those that want to push themselves further to see what their bodies can do.

I said earlier that I did not agree with the mandatory completion…this is totally opposite from all of my elite besties who feed off of this and praise #bandsoverburpees.  I don’t see anything wrong with penalties.  Spartan is still a competitive sport to me.  When I cannot do an obstacle, and go from 3rd place to 6th place because I have to do 30 burpees, still upsets the hell out of me.  But it was still a race.  I was still able to test my strength and speed because then I had to haul ass to catch up to the girls that were stronger than me on the obstacles.  For Battlefrog, I don’t even go out fast (well, just the beginning but that is all totally for the sweet photo ops). I don’t go out fast because I know it will be hit or miss when we all get to the obstacles.  I could get there first, and still be the last female there.  Or I could get there last, and beat all the females.  At that point, it’s not much of a race for me where I am able to show my true strength in Endurance and running.  I’m weak when it comes to upper body.  I could use being old as an excuse, but truth is, I am weak.  Does that mean that I don’t train for these races? Hell no.  I still train, but my focus is on the BFX where I know that I still get to attempt and hopefully conquer those obstacles, but if I don’t, I now have a penalty more equivalent to doing the obstacle.  I am ok with

I’m weak when it comes to upper body.  I could use being old as an excuse, but truth is, I am weak.  Does that mean that I don’t train for these races? Hell no.  I still train, but my focus is on the BFX where I know that I still get to attempt and hopefully conquer those obstacles, but if I don’t, I now have a penalty more equivalent to doing the obstacle.  I am ok with this because it is still a punishment for not being able to do the obstacle.  Not only did I already attempt and fail the obstacle, I now have to do something additional that will hold me back and potentially cost me the winning spot if a stronger chick comes thru and makes the obstacle.  Still a penalty.  Still a competition.  Just better than it was before.  Doing some sort of short penalty lap that will take about the same time to complete as it would to complete an obstacle, makes a hell of a lot more sense to a competitor than doing body builders.  Don’t go comparing burpees also…that’s not the point…30 burpees still sucks and takes time.  I see people training daily to be able to do 30 burpees without stopping in a short amount of time.  Still a penalty.

Here is the point of all of this….BFX is an Endurance race.  You are given a time limit to complete AT LEAST three 5 mile laps that contain obstacles.  You have to do the obstacles, or complete the penalty. You are given easy, medium and hard lanes for obstacles AND CAN PICK WHICH ONE YOU WANT TO DO!  You can even get help on an obstacle if you need it. Ultra Beast is an Endurance race.  You are given a time limit to complete 30 miles, with obstacles, or complete the penalty. You are given only one lane of difficulty, and its the same as the elite do. You cannot get help if you run elite, but can if you run open. Hmm, doesn’t seem like BF broke the mold here people?

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If you know you cannot do 15 miles in 6-7 hours, then don’t sign up, or if you do, don’t whine if you don’t make the 3 laps.  You will still get a regular finisher medal AND a shirt.  Ultra Beast, you could go 29.6 miles and DNF…get no medal, and no shirt, and have paid a lot more to do it.  If you are not that person out trying to win the Trident, then you already must have your own goal.  3,4,5 laps?  Getting that 5 lap silver star?  Either way, chances of you getting a DNF are extremely slim unless you just stop running.  In the end, it will be totally worth it because you will be able to see what your body is capable of when it comes to Endurance racing.  If you make it 3 laps and are crawling across that finish line dying, I guarantee your next goal will be to make it 4 laps!

Now, if you plan on going out for that Trident, you better bet your butt that you should plan on running your fastest and not even thinking twice when it comes not attempting the obstacles or not doing your penalties.  Because there will be someone like me out there that will question your time and effort if you do win!  Volunteers shouldn’t have to keep you accountable, you keep yourself accountable, because you are a grown person.

Oh, and on the issue of complaining that BF made this change in the middle of race season…last I checked, OCR is not on a school schedule to where we all take a break 3 months in the summer and then come back.  Racing is all year.  They heard a need for a change, they listened to those of us that take BFX seriously and want the race to be as serious as the Elite race.  They listened to those of us that have been doing the race and voiced our opinions…not the people who had never done one or were thinking about it.  I am sure they also hear all the complaining about not enough volunteers.  If you are not volunteering, stop complaining.  Races cannot force people to volunteer…look up what volunteering means in the dictionary.  I don’t volunteer because the races are usually one day, and BFX takes up that whole day.  So I cannot complain about volunteers, I can only run my race and hope that others race with integrity as well.  If they don’t, then I will make it my personal duty to ensure everyone knows what a slacker they are.  This is all of course just my opinion, but I am HB, I am vocal, I will call your BS, but I will also make you want to be a better racer in the end.

About Christina Armstrong

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