Find Your Fire: Atlas Race Recap

atlasThis weekend was my first Atlas Race and only my third ever obstacle course race. After a fun and challenging experience at the Warrior Dash in the Fall, I took the great opportunity to join the Atlas Pro Team. So I approached this weekend’s Atlas Race as a learning opportunity. What did I learn? 1) The Atlas Team and the OCR community are filled with awesome people, 2) Atlas puts on great races, 3) I have a lot to work on, 4) Play to your strengths but DO NOT neglect your weaknesses.

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“A Little Mud in Your Blood”

Lauren Ho was a great travel partner, and it was fun to get to know the whole Atlas crew. Lauren and I didn’t get to see the course ahead of time, so we didn’t know quite what to expect, other than that there would be a strong field of women with Lauren, Cassidy Watton, Chikorita De Lego, KK Paul and others. Atlas kicked the race off with a hole shot, giving a cash incentive to whoever made it through the first 400 meters fastest. KK and her long legs took the win on that one. But I caught KK on the hills. This would be an approximately 4 mile course and I knew my only strength was running, so I did my best to move along on the hills. We got warmed up with a few over and under walls, but at the top of the first big climb we met an 8 foot wall. I just stopped and looked at it, asking the volunteers, “Do I have to go over that?” Silly question, of course the answer was “Yes!”

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My advice…DO NOT look up at how much further you have to go. Just keep putting one hand in front of the other.

“Holy cow!” There was no way I could get a hand on the top by just jumping. Pathetic, I know! With a few attempts at getting some momentum off the side posts I struggled my way over. Thank goodness for some more hilly running, because I needed a little buffer when I came to the Tyrolean traverse. All the videos I had seen made this obstacle look much easier than it is. The traverse felt ten times longer than that muddy crawl at the end of the Warrior Dash World Championship. KK ate up nearly the entire gap I had formed with that single obstacle. The rest of the race played out with me using my strength on the running and KK, Chikorita, and the other ladies kicking my butt on the obstacles. Despite the advice of The Great Max King to use two hands on the monkey bars, I didn’t even get a hand on the second bar before I fell.

A quick intro into what atlas 6a thruster was, and I was on my way to 20 reps with the WreckBag. It felt as if at any moment the other ladies would go flying by me. But I pushed on still in the lead. A few balance beams, walls and WreckBags later, I approached my favorite, the mud. No struggles there until my shoe got sucked off my last step out of the mud. Contemplating leaving the shoe behind, but thinking I had several more obstacles to go, I stopped for awhile and struggled to get my shoe back on. Little did I know, I was one little hill away from the finish. It was such a relief to come down that hill and see the finish flags with no obstacles in my path!

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Always enjoy your victories…

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But don’t forget about your weaknesses

Many firsts at this Atlas Race: 8 foot wall, Tyrolean traverse, sandbag carry, monkey bars, traverse wall, balance beams, WreckBag throw, WreckBag thrusters, cargo net traverse, and sadly…DROPPING OUT OF A RACE.

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This was day one..blue skies!

After a fun day hanging out at the course and cheering for the kids in the Atlas Kids Race on Saturday, we returned Sunday for the Ranger Course that would be around 8 miles with a few more obstacles. I was really excited for this race because it would involve more running. But apparently I had brought the Eugene weather to SoCal with me, as Sunday was cold and rainy. We usually fly by the mantra “A little rain never hurt a duck,” but obstacles in the rain are a whole new challenge. It was fun to toe the line with the men for Sunday’s race, but amongst the women the first bit of the race played out similarly to the previous day’s race. KK beat us to the hole shot, and I caught her a little later into the first big hill climb. One of the first few obstacles was a sloped wall with rope assist. The slippery surface definitely made it harder to climb, but the worst part was nearly falling off the back side when my foot slipped. Clearly I would have to pay more attention to my footing today. At the top of the first big hill, that darn 8 foot wall seemed to have grown a couple feet over night. With the wet, slippery surface, my method of getting momentum off the side posts left me landing in all sorts of compromising positions and never anywhere near the top of the wall. After several dangerous attempts, it was time to reassess.

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Team Run Eugene Teammates…GateRiver here we come!

I knew I had a team of ladies making their way up the hill who were counting on me, but I also knew I had a team of ladies back home in Eugene who were counting on me for the USATF 15k Road Championships in two weeks. Knowing I wasn’t going to make it to the finish line without getting hurt, I made the tough decision to drop out. Running down that hill past my teammates and everyone who was toughing out a muddy course was the hardest thing I did all weekend. As terrible as it felt to drop out, I believe it was the right decision for me. But I know I never want to Atlas 12make that decision again. I FOUND MY FIRE! I will be better prepared for the next Atlas Race, so that I don’t let me teammates and supporters down.

It was awesome to see everyone out there rocking that tough, muddy course. KK took the win, followed by Chikorita and Lauren. Those are some strong, hard working women.

All in all, a great weekend! From kids to adults, elites to rookies, there was so much fun, hard work, inspiration, excitement, and smiling at this Atlas Race. I’ll be back for more!

Have you found your fire? What motivates you to be better today than you were yesterday?

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7 thoughts on “Find Your Fire: Atlas Race Recap

  1. Kimber you are amazing!!! Your hill running terrifies me to know you put that much ground on that field despite your wall climbing/monkey bar skills 😉 – so deserving for the win!! and you’re only going to get better!!! Good luck at the 15K , can’t wait to meet up this spring !!!

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    • Thanks Julia, definitely things to work on…but room for improvement is always good. I’m really excited to see you soon in Arizona! You’re going to kick butt whenever you do your first Atlas Race!

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  2. Great job at the Atlas Race – that looks incredibly tough but fun as well. Sorry you had to drop out of the Ranger Course on the rainy day, but sounds like you made the right decision. While it stinks to DNF, you didn’t injure yourself or twist an ankle and can look forward to your next race! (I’m paranoid in those obstacle races that I’ll hurt myself and ruin my running season!) As for motivation, I’m motivated by trying to push my limits and inspire others to work hard and go after their goals. 🙂

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  3. Thanks so much! Yes tough but really fun and a great new challenge. It was hard to drop out but I do think I made the right decision at the time…hopefully I’m better prepared in the future so that doesn’t happen again. I love your blog posts that I’ve been able to check out…”Don’t wish for it, work for it” is such a great mantra. And the idea of A, B and C goals is huge! Keep up the great work. I love to talk physiology and training, so feel free to post something to my discussion board if you have anything you’re interested in discussing.

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