Race Recap: 2016 Terrain Racing in Englishtown, NJ
Race: Terrain Racing
Date: August 6th, 2016
Wave: Competitive 10K, Open 5K (two laps)
Miguel Miraglia won the male competitive 10K heat with a time of 42:37 while Kelly Sullivan took home the female 1st place 10K award by finishing in 1:03:54. In the 5K, Charles Vassallo was the winner by 1/100th of second (25:33) and the female winner was Chelsea Aronica with a time of 33:42. I wasn’t at the award ceremony because I was running additional laps after the competitive lap so I can’t confirm these results past what has been posted on Terrain Racing’s website. I feel the need to mention this because the only issue I had with Terrain Race is that there was supposed to be mandatory obstacle completion yet when people failed the “Monkey Balls” rig obstacle, there were not disqualified and their results still stand. This is according to social media posts. Aside from the fact the results are inaccurate, I had a great time! Seriously!
During my initial 10K lap, my calf strain started acting up, the same injury I’ve had since March. I’ve gone to physical therapy for a month, which initially helped, but for some reason the sharp pain in my calf returned while running. The competitive 10K had another slight error aside from results, some of the course wasn’t marked and myself and other racers were doing obstacles that weren’t part of the 10K course. There were also no referees to ensure completion of any obstacles. With that said, the terrain, which was a perfect mix of not so steep rolling dirt hills and grassy woods was utilized to the tee. The Wreck Bag carry had actual Wreck Bags, which was the first time a carry has actually been a Wreck Bag in my experience, so that was a plus for me since I used to train with Wreck Bags. The sandbag carry wasn’t overwhelmingly heavy either. Overall, there were no super challenges obstacles, until the Monkey Balls.
THE MONKEY BALLS WERE AWESOME
Once I arrived at the Monkey Balls, I got confused in every way possible. Why were so many people standing in line for this obstacle? Oh, because you have to complete it to not have your band removed (which as I mentioned, turned out to be untrue). Should I just cut people in line and keep going since I’m in the competitive heat? No, that would be rude, I thought. So, I stood in line, starting at the obstacle waiting for my turn as others with bands kept repeating their tries. Eventually, it was my turn and I failed my first attempt at this grip strength/rock climbing obstacle that is best described by viewing the video above, the last minute of my GoPro Footage or my recent Instagram video. After failing, I kind of forgot about the fact I was being timed and started talking to OCR friends, taking my time. After failing a second time, I decided to eat a GU energy gel. That worked, and I completed the obstacle on my third attempt. That was the hardest obstacle I’ve ever encountered aside from the sandbag carry at Palmerton PA, because I don’t rock climb or train grip strength and I weigh 195 pounds (200 pounds soaked in mud water).
FUN RUNS WITH A FELLOW MEDAL ADDICT
After supplementing with BPI Sports Glutamine and a Clif Bar, I was ready to run a 5K lap for fun. The cool kids call these “fun runs.” About a mile into my 5K fun run, I saw Tara Skinner, a fellow contributor to Medal Addict and “everyday OCR athlete” like myself. When I caught up to her on the course, we stayed together, so it was Skinner, her daughter, her daughter’s boyfriend and I. After completing the 5K, Skinner and I ventured out to run another 5K lap. By the end of the day, I had tried the Monkey Balls obstacle five times, but only completed it once during the competitive wave. What I learned after seeing Skinner on the course was that I rather talk obstacles and hear about someone’s fitness journey, (stay tuned to this site for more about Skinner), than use my time to “train” during a lap that is non-competitive. As a journalist always searching for the “why” in everything, Skinner’s why in relation to fitness is similar to mine: to challenge one’s mind and body in ways never thought possible.
Terrain Race was the muddiest OCR I’ve ever done, aside from Tough Mudder, which technically isn’t a race unless you count World’s Toughest Mudder. I came away with a sprained middle finger and an aggravated strained calf and I have two weeks until my next OCR. This is an inexpensive OCR that provides a lot of bang for the buck considering the amount of walls, mud crawling, and varying terrain it provided. The fact that there were no extended climbs made 2nd and 3rd laps more doable because otherwise, my quads might’ve been too sore and I may have opted out of multiple laps. For fitness enthusiasts looking for an obstacle course race with minimal elevation gain (essentially no vertical hiking in the woods), the Englishtown, NJ Terrain Race is for you. What did you think of Terrain Race? Is there anything you’d like to know about this OCR? Leave a comment below!