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Agnus Alexander | agnusalexander122

Test-Driving the ROC Race: Does the Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge Live Up to Its Name?

Jan 2nd 2014 at 9:42 PM

This past Saturday, I took on the Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge, affectionately known as the ROC Race. This 5K event took place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds — we even began the race by running through the same starting gates used during horse races. While the ROC Race wasn’t as challenging as, say, the Gladiator Rock’N Run, it was easily the most fun event I’ve done since beginning my one-race-a-month personal challenge in March.

The 2012 ROC Race took place on May 19 and May 20. Read on for my experience at the race, how it differed from the mud runs I’ve done, and what’s in store for June.
What is the ROC Race?

The ROC Race is a Southern California race event put on by VAVI that blends military-style obstacles seen at mud races with “fun” obstacles inspired by shows like “Wipeout,” “Ninja Warrior” and “American Gladiator.”

This race was packed with 18 to 20 obstacles ranging in difficulty from super-simple to challenging. We ran through foam, got covered in vibrant (edible) chalk, hopped over orange traffic barriers, navigated horizontally across a rock-climbing wall, slid down multiple water slides (including the largest one in the world), and crossed a pool of water on a rope, Tarzan-style. Each obstacle was suitably staffed for the best experience; that meant dressed-up “gorillas” atop the monkey bars batting at our hands and well-muscled men shaking and jumping on hand and foot ropes as we tightroped across a water trap. My favorite obstacle by far was the Mammoth, the aforementioned super-sized water slide towards the end of the race.

ROC Race participants got a commemorative shirt and a beer voucher. The best part of this race was the afterparty: DJs spinning all day long, around 50 vendor booths with swag, lots of food trucks, several beer stations and a full bar, and even a makeshift shower station sponsored by an organic soap brand. (We elected to stay dirty, which is probably why I can’t think of the brand offhand.)

The ROC Race’s proceeds go to the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s Operation Rebound program for disabled military veterans and military personnel. I was especially inspired after running in the same 8 a.m. heat as several athletes with prosthetic limbs — what an embodiment of the phrase “no excuses”!

From left: Dora, Dana, Me, Diana. © Diana Weishar
ROC Race Training

As I alluded to before, the ROC Race was more about fun than physical exertion, but I’ve been building up my workout regimen in preparation for the June Camp Pendleton Mud Race and the October Tough Mudder. To mix things up, I made Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays my “heavy” workout days and took it easy the other days to recover. Here’s the day-by-day breakdown:

Monday: Insanity Max Interval Circuit DVD, kettlebell workout, “extra” workout
Tuesday: 60 minutes of yoga
Wednesday: Insanity Max Plyo DVD, kettlebell workout, 30 to 60 minutes of yoga
Thursday: 60 minutes of yoga
Friday: Insanity Max Cardio Conditioning, kettlebell workout, 30 to 60 minutes of yoga
Saturday: 30 to 60 minutes of low-effort activity, like an easy hike or a long walk, and 60 minutes of yoga
Sunday: Off

My “extra” Monday workout was any activity I felt like doing that wasn’t in my typical repertoire. Most weeks, it was a short (1- to 2-mile tempo run) run. Once I challenged myself to 10 minutes of pushups, 10 minutes of lunges and 10 minutes of burpees.
How was the ROC Race?

© Diana Weishar
In a word, FUN. Diana and I ran at 8:00 a.m. with two friends, Dora and Dana. I stayed with Dora after the race to partake in the food, beer and festivities. Although we didn’t dress up (save for matching tank tops and coordinating bandanas), the costumes at the ROC Race were legendary. We saw huge teams with well-planned-out costumes, every superhero under the sun, tons of body paint and even some women’s shaping underwear (on men and women). Ridiculous, indeed.

One thing I noticed, based on my day-after muscle soreness? I could use some practice on the monkey bars. Any ideas on how a childless adult can swing that?


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