After doing BFX in San Antonio a fortnight ago, I knew that I couldn’t just do the Battlefrog Open in Dallas. So on race morning I upgraded to BFX and was ready to do better than before.
This time I knew what to expect in regards to the sorts of obstacles and I knew roughly how long it would take for me to do the course. Unlike San Antonio, this course was almost entirely flat with only a few minor inclines, so I wanted to run as much as I could. My strategy was to alternate between running/walking to obstacles so I could keep up a good pace and hopefully keep the shin splints at bay.
As I was waiting I the line to change my registration I had a guy ask if I was the Aussie before asking if I was The Nomadic Runner. I was pretty stoked to be recognised 🙂 We briefly chatted before I headed into the festival area to get ready. As I waited in the start corral I had another person ask me if I was The Nomadic Runner and he mentioned that he recognised me from the video I put on YouTube from BFX San Antonio.
Coach Pain stepped up to get us ready to race and started by asking us all to lie down on our backs. As he spoke I made sure to pay close attention to the words that would get me through the race. If you’d like to hear what he said then watch the race video (at the bottom of the page). Shortly after we all stood up and were ready to run. I ran out of the start line and weaved around to the first obstacle – over/under/through.
I was feeling pumped so I was ready to keep running but the course designers had another idea. We all headed into a muddy creek and waded through cold water whilst trying to avoid rocks and losing our shoes. The rain from the last few days had made the banks very soft and having a few hundred people trudge along didn’t help. After what seemed like almost 1km of wading in the creek and walking through mud, I got to the jerry can carry and saw that there was a giant line of BFXers waiting in the water. This carry was short, but we had to drag the cans through the mud and under the Normandy Jacks (wire crawl) which was different.
After getting out my shoes were heavy with mud but I ran on to the ladder wall before stopping for some water. Next up was more alternating between running and walking to the Delta Ladder and Ramp Wall. The terrain was flat and we were on a dirt path which made jogging easy. I found a good pace and kept to my strategy of alternating between running and walking between obstacles.
Next up was 60 Degrees, followed by the Wreck Bag Carry. After San Antonio’s carry, this one was a walk in the park. I jogged along to the next obstacle – the rope wall – before the jogging stopped. I’d gotten into the horse training area so the ground was full of holes from horse hooves. I decided to walk this section as I didn’t want a rolled ankle, but even so I managed to twinge it a few times after stepping in holes.
The next few obstacles included the Traverse Wall, Rope Climb, 6’ Walls, Monkey Bars, Confidence Climb, Hooyah (slide), Mud Pits and then Platinum Rig 1. The Rope Climb was the first obstacle that I failed and had to do 8-count body builders (8CBB), as I couldn’t get from the ring to the rope. I didn’t get across the Monkey Bars as I couldn’t figure out the best way to cross without falling. If there’s one thing I need to train it’s monkey bars.
The line at Platinum Rig 1 was long. Everyone was struggling as the first part was a rope climb, which was extremely difficult when you’d just come out of a mud pit. I tried and failed so I did my 8CBB and moved on to the 8’ Wall. I just did the beginners side as the wall was too slippery to do the elite side, but was at least able to jog after as we headed back on to a dirt path. The next obstacle was the inverse wall, followed by Platinum Rig 2. All the walls were covered in mud and super slippery, but I managed to get up the first round without assistance.
Platinum Rig 2 looked like a lot of fun. I managed to get halfway across (more than I’ve done before) before falling and deciding to do 8CBB instead. I realised on my second lap that I need to stop and strategise before just attempting the rigs. I almost made it the whole way on my fourth lap but my hands were red raw after two attempts that I gave up.
The last two obstacles were the Cargo Climb and Tip of the Spear. I finished lap 1 in 1 hour and 45 minutes and had some food and water before heading out for lap 2.
I was feeling energised before my second lap, and decided to stick with the same running/walking strategy as I had done in my first lap. I had to cut past people doing the Open at the Jerry Can Carry as the line was massive. The mud was getting worse and the hole in my shoes wasn’t helping as I was getting rocks inside my shoes. I got through fast enough and headed around the course doing the same as my first lap. This time through however I kept my hands out of the water to try and attempt Platinum Rig 1 with dry hands. It didn’t work, so I did my 8CBB and ran on.
I finished the second lap in just under 2 hours which meant I wasn’t going to get to my goal of 5 laps. I was however on track to get 4 laps, so after another quick food break I headed out for lap 3. My shins and hamstrings were sore so I power walked the whole lap with a lady called Deanna that I met on course. This time there weren’t any people at the jerry cans so I breezed through, but almost had a shoe sucked off my food as I got out of the crawl.
I failed the same obstacles over and over and my hands were getting red and a bit sore. I tried Platinum Rig 2 three times on the third lap, but kept failing at a section where there was a long reach for rings. You’d think I’d have the long reach down pat! I was just over six hours in so I had more to eat and pumped myself up before the fourth lap. I gave a few people a quick hug before heading out for my final lap. This time I wasn’t time conscious so I meandered along at a steady pace and took photos along the way. I learnt in San Antonio not to waste time on photos in the first laps!
I met up with Jess and Miles (who I’d met before the race) and together we walked the second half of the course together. I really wanted to get the second platinum rig this time and I got so close before getting my hands mixed up and falling. I tried another two times but my hands were stinging so I gave up. I’m determined to get the rig in Salt Lake City though. I just need to take my time and strategise before I start. I ended up seeing two lovely ladies that I’d met the weekend before at the Jailbreak so we said a quick hello before finishing.
I crossed the finish line over 8 hours after starting, with a huge smile on my face! Danial was there to give me my medal and I was almost on the verge of tears as I was happy to have finished. My hands were sore and bruised and my legs were shaking, but I’d done my four laps.
It was such a fantastic course and race, and I am proud of my achievements. The last few weeks have certainly made me realise where my weaknesses lie and what I need to focus on when training. Monkey bars and learning to breathe whilst running are two major ones! I am pumped for Salt Lake City and depending on the terrain I want to aim for 5 laps!! Hooyah!!!
Event: Battlefrog XTreme
Type: Obstacle Course Race
Distance: Multiple laps of a 8km loop.
Location: Dallas, Texas (USA)
Date: 16 April 2016