I’ve been procrastinating writing this because it’s extremely difficult to put my thoughts into words these days. Concussions will do that to you.
I had been eyeing XMAN Race since last season when it kept popping up in my Facebook feed because of my Quebec friends competing in it. I’ve typically avoided the excess travel to Quebec for races so it wasn’t on my radar until XMAN announced a ‘Toronto’ race this year.
With Post Concussion Syndrome looming over me, this OCR season has approached way too quickly. I missed an entire season of hockey for the first time in my life and was looking forward to training for huge OCR goals I had set out for myself for 2016 – qualifying for OCRWC and finishing the UltraBeast. I had my training all mapped out but my brain had other ideas.
I was only allowed to start physical activity again in April – NO running, NO jumping, NO high intensity workouts, NO heart rate over 160 bpm. So basically, no OCR training. *sigh* I watched with great frustration, sadness and emptiness as the 16 week (to the UltraBeast) mark went by in my calendar and I still wasn’t allowed to run.
I was cleared to start some strength training mid April – body weight squats, lunges, planks, push-ups, glute bridges – but I couldn’t find the motivation to workout at a level I felt was so low intensity, compared to how I was used to training. Not to mention it always made me feel like crap and I’d have to sleep off the rest of the day, and sometimes multiple days after.
April flew by and XMAN suddenly appeared. My athletic therapist advised against racing. My physiotherapist said if I wore a heart rate monitor, didn’t have any symptom increases and could quit the race any time I needed to, that I could give it a try.
I walked the entire course (just under 8km) and had to stop a few times to let my heart rate settle down. After climbing up one of the steeper hills (before the teeter totter) I got extremely dizzy and had to sit down. When I looked at my heart rate monitor I was at 193 bpm…OOPS.
The race itself was awesome! I loved that the penalty for skipping or failing an obstacle was a 200m loop rather than 30 burpees. Seems way more legit for stopping cheating. Luckily, I completed every obstacle and went penalty-free!
I encountered so many obstacles I had never done before – Hell’s Path, an amazing set of monkey bars, Tyrolean traverse, a combination of parallel and perpendicular bars and more. I was a little bummed about the lack of Platinum Rig and some of the really interesting looking obstacles on the XMAN race website, though. I was definitely happy with the “staying dry” aspect!
I loved being able to choose my t-shirt and headband colour! *other races, take note!* Overall, it was a well executed race and I would definitely do it again.
XMAN Race was the most active I had been in over 6 months. I definitely paid for it too, spending almost the whole next week absolutely wiped out. I’ve never felt that kind of lack of energy in my life. Stupid concussion.
At the time of me writing this, I am only 7 days away from the Spartan Sprint and Super in Quebec City and I am scared. I will still have to walk both of those. I am not sure I will even be able to handle the Super after the Sprint on Saturday. I am planning to do the Ottawa Sprints, so I could bow out of the Quebec City Sprint and just do the Super. It will be a last minute decision.
The good news is, I can now get my heart rate up to 190 bpm with no symptoms and I’ve been allowed to add back in burpees, jumping lunges and jumping squats into my workout routine as well as resistance training with dumbbells. I’m still having a major problem with spinning so I have to do exertion drills 3 times a day involving 360 turns, 180 jump turns and 360 jump turns until dizziness occurs (usually not long) in hopes to develop a tolerance to spinning again.