Monday, April 30, 2012

High Rock afterthoughts.

 I gave it a couple days after H.R.C. 2012 to gather my thoughts, so here it goes.

This was my 5th High Rock and by far our best performance. It was in my estimation the best laid out  High Rock course I did as well.

 Regarding the start. Before we began every contestant had to go through the "Pit" courtesy of the
Civilian Military Combine. The C.M.C. is another company putting on the ever so popular obstacle race. I don't say that negatively, I liked the concept of doing the pit for grade and then being sent out to run an obstacle course. The problem I has at High Rock is that the vast majority of participants had never done a barbell thruster of a kettle bell swing. I saw some seriously dangerous form waiting my turn.

 I know that the C.M.C. is coming to S.I. in the fall and I am looking fwd. to participating but they could have promoted themselves in a way that was a little more inclusive to High Rock instead of gumming up the works a little bit like it did. A slight issue but really no big deal.

 Oh and one last thing about the pit. After i completed the barbell thrusters the C.M.C. guy asked if i was a Crossfit guy. I simply shook my head and said no. I got no beef with Crossfit, it's a great workout obviously but I learned proper lifting technique from Donald Girard, head trainer at he is a master.

 Okay, the race. First of all i told everyone that came along for the group trail runs or were at the workouts, listened to my nutritional talks that this is primarily a running event. You have to be ready to run at least 7 miles on the trails up and down a lot of hills. Well, I ran about 8.5 miles up and down the hills of the Greenbelt and I was in heaven for every second of it.

 We started of cautiously for the first mile. Warming up the legs, getting used to the terrain etc.. By the time we had to scale Moses Mountain we were ready to rock. We shot up Moses with little problem, ran to the tippy top and began the trek back down.

The only terrain that I really hated was that service road with the broken up rubble. I had a hard time getting a purchase other so we decided to power walk up it and resume running at the top. That was a judgement call and in hindsight I probably should have just jogged up it. Either way, it was a tiny section of the course. the kayaking on the pther hand was amazing. Mike and I flew through that by the time we rounded the bouey my chest and arms were burning but there was no way we were going to slow down.

 The run after the kayaking to the pioneering was terrific. If you did the Sunday runs with me then you did that section a lot so it should have looked familiar. As we reached the table to get ziptied together we knew that this challenge was all about slowing down, figuring out the best course and then picking the pace back up. We did exceptionally well with this challenge.

 The draw on your partners face challenge was a little silly but fun and I assume thrown in to give first timers a chance to catch there breath before they move on.

 Here's where it absolutely paid to start early and why i will start as early as possible for every High Rock here on out. From the face painting to the creek run and the crawl under Rockland avenue we were alone. I know that later on this area had a good 20 minute wait. I think that unfortunately the High Rock has gotten to big for the underpass crawl. If one person freaks out and freezes in there it can screw up a lot of peoples times.

 Now, once we made our way out of the freezing water, and it was really cold we began my absolute
favorite part of the course. A long, long trail run. To me the High Rock Challenge is not an obstacle race like the Spartan, or Tough Mudder it's an Adventure Race where you have to travel a long distance and do some mental and physical challenges along the way. As we traveled up the red trail and were turned left to go up the long red trail hill we slowed down to suck down a gel pack. I don't know if it was totally necessary but by the time we climbed the top, shot down white trail and then looped back onto yellow/red we both felt great.

  Here is where we slowly turned up the heat. Mike and I have both run these trails dozens of times so we knew when they were going to slowly elevate and slowly decline. We pressed forward knowing that the end was less then 2 miles away. As we came to the lowest part o the yellow/red trail we turned it up again. In the distance I heard another team and at this point I made it a goal to only pass other teams not to get passed. the trail switched back and forth all the while consistently getting steeper and steeper but in the distance is another team to catch, We see them, we reach them, we pass them. My heart is racing, my lungs are burning but I know that this is the last hill to climb so were going full blast until the top. That was sweet relief reaching the peak of that hill because heading back down was a twisting, turning recovery run until we hit the nature center.

 I let Mike take charge of the math problem station and although his answers were correct the girl insisted they weren't until we were done when she admitted that he might have been right all along. We lost a minute of time due to some silliness but at this point its a short run up the gravel path back to the recreation center and here's where rule number one applied for the second time this year.

 I knew that the course veered to the left behind the tennis courts a team ahead of us went straight into the courts and probably lost a couple of minutes until they realized that they missed the course. The section behind the courts is the last of the running so we started sprinting. Zigzagging until we were sent to that weird back road behind everything until we ended up back at the soccer field. We ran to the log hop which I loved but they should have added penalty pushups if you fell off esp. since i didn't fall. The log walk was fun and the run up the wall, rolling over the matt and the crawl down leading to the final sprint was a blast.

What a great experience! I loved this years High Rock Challenge.

My next blog will be about the painful 5k run I did the next day.

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