Last Saturday I went back to Camp Rhino Boise to do another round of the Obstacle Course Race class. This time, after a vigorous warm-up, we started with rope climbs, and then moved onto a combination of slip wall and Olympus training. On the rope climbs, I was near some nice folks who are also doing the race in Boise in June, and we ended up chatting quite a bit. I was able to help one of the women get an idea of what kind of underwear one should use on race day – not the kind of tip that abounds on Spartan Race how-to’s.

I’m definitely improving on my rope climbs. I have a lot more comfort with them than I used to, and I can get up, most of the time, with just three pulls. I’ll take that at 5 foot 3. Though I do have a fancy that, maybe, someday, I might be able to do it in two if I jump really high. The woman I was sharing a rope with was a complete beginner to rope climbs, so she worked on standing with her feet in the hold, and I could see her improve as we continued to work.

Then we headed over to the slip wall, which is an angled wall with optional ropes. The ideal is to just run up it, but it is acceptable to use the rope to walk up it. I wasn’t sure I could just run up it, but I did, albeit with less grace than some other folks. Once we reached the top, we were supposed to drop on the other side, and make our way across a small distance and climb back up, then walk down the slip wall. The other side is on its way to becoming an Olympus, which is an obstacle in Spartan Races that has a very slightly angled wall with a variety of handholds. The idea is to get up on it in a squat and use the handholds to traverse across without dropping to the ground. I am not good at that – yet. I’m hoping better shoes will help out, but for now I’ll just keep working the strength angle.

All 15 participants went up twice, and then we headed back to the ropes to finish off the class. When the instructor asked who would be staying for Obstacle Course Boot Camp, a session that was not offered the last time I went, I asked if I would need to use another punch. He said no, so I decided to stay.

I had brought a sports drink and an apple to snack on after the class, but I decided to leave them in the car. I guess so they’d stay cold? That meant I didn’t have them to eat between the regular class and the boot camp, and on that decision I blame how much I dragged in the boot camp. Pro tip: have a snack before the boot camp!

Saturdays are usually a rest day for me, and I don’t consider the Obstacle Course class to be a “workout” though it is to an extent. But the boot camp is like a combination of a CrossFit Endurance class with obstacles sprinkled in. It was HARD.

Partner workout, split reps as seen fit, work at the same time: 100 air squats, 80 wall balls, 60 burpees over the bar, 40 calories, 20 dumbbell box step overs, 10 thrusters, 5 pull-ups and 5 dips each, 5 pull-ups and 5 dips each, 10 thrusters, 20 dumbbell box step overs, 40 calories, 60 man makers, 80 wall balls, 100 jumping air squats. Oh, and after every set, do two obstacles.

My partner, a young woman, and I, got through the air squats with dispatch and then came the hard part. See, this was only my second visit, and I’d only ever done three obstacles before. There were some that I simply didn’t know how to do. So I kind of made her take the lead on picking which ones to do. As we made our way through the torture, she got, I think, a bit frustrated at that, and we did end up splitting up on some of them. For example, I did a rope climb, and she did something else.

But the cool part about the boot camp was that it gave me an opportunity to work on obstacles while fatigued. And I made it across both the flat monkey bars and the up-and-down monkey bars in the middle of that workout. I was even able to go single handed on the flat ones, which I am particularly proud of, because that hasn’t been a part of my skill set ever before in my life.

I also got to try a traverse wall, the cargo net a-frame, a net climb thing where you roll over the top and then drop down to a bar and then to the ground, a slack line, log balance steps, and two different weights of hoists. We also did the 4 foot wall a few times when we couldn’t think of anything else to do.

We didn’t make it through the whole workout in the allotted 50 or so minutes. We ended in the man makers; I’m not sure how many she got through of the 30 each we had, but I got through 13. It’s definitely something that I’ll do again next time, with a little better planning.

I didn’t notice this until I got home and felt it stinging. I’m not entirely sure what caused it, but I’m guessing it was the lip of the slip wall from the first time I ran up it and didn’t get my whole body to the to at once… 
I went hand to hand across these narrow diameter black bars. 

It was hard to see where the bars were in my original picture, so I added some highlighting. I had to put both hands on each bar to get past this one, but I did it, which was pretty thrilling. 

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