A test of Grit & Grace

This past weekend brought me to the vibrant and challenging terrains of the Czech OCR Championships, an event that tests more than just your physical limits. With a focus on intrinsic goals and the pure joy of competition, I lined up at the start with no podium dreams but an eagerness to push my limits and enjoy every moment of the race.

First OCR of the year!

The Fiery 3k Race

The air was charged with anticipation as we toed the start line, surrounded by a field of fast athletes. The race kicked off with a wooden log carry, navigating through a series of crawling and balancing obstacles that really set the tone for the race. I found myself in the lead early on, with local superstar Patryk and fellow Dane, Jonas Drescher, hot on my heels.

We approached the first technical. Knowing the strict FISO rules could penalize us at any moment, I cautiously relinquished the lead to avoid any obstacle penalties. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking to balance aggression with caution, but under these rules, a single mistake could cost you everything. That patience paid off, as I managed to stick with with the front, only to be confronted by a last-minute addition to the course—a tricky balance obstacle consisting of two tiny wooden blocks. The locals seemed to know it well and navigated it with ease, but Jonas and I struggled, losing precious minutes.

Once past this hurdle, I pushed past Jonas, sensing his frustration. It mirrored my own, as such unexpected challenges (and, in my opinion, not race worthy obstacles) can mentally throw you off. However, staying focused on my race plan, I was determined to see how well I could maintain pressure after a winter marred by health issues. The multitude of rigs that followed felt almost effortless, a testament to what I do the very best thanks to years of technical training and #getagrip workouts.

Overcoming Obstacles and Setbacks

The balance obstacle was more than just a physical challenge; it was a mental game-changer. Losing several minutes there might have seemed like the race was over for Jonas and me, but the spirit of OCR is all about pushing through. Despite the setback, my focus was unwavering—I was here to test my resilience, especially after a tough winter battling bronchitis, pneumonia, and a bent rib. Every next obstacle was an opportunity to prove that my spirit was as strong as ever and I had my mental game in a healthy space. I navigated the rigs with ease, and was on the last obstacle with 2nd and 3rd place, finishing in 4th. Normally that’d frustrate me, but I wrapped it up with a smile knowing I had raced well.

A huge shout out to travel buddy and rockstar, Signy Karoline, on finishing 1st in the Women’s race!

The Strategic 12k Run

The next day brought the 12k race, which I approached not as a competition, but as a high-intensity training session. It was a chance to run at a controlled treshold effort, focusing on obstacle efficiency rather than desperate speed. After the first 1.5 km, I settled into a rhythm that felt challenging yet sustainable. The course wound through beautiful woods, and I found joy in the effort, letting faster racers pass while staying consistent.

By the midpoint, I had built a decent lead over the fifth place and could see the third-place runner, Patryk, just 52-55 ahead. The temptation to chase him for a podium finish was strong, but I stuck to my plan, focusing on my own race. This discipline paid off, as I managed (almost) each obstacle with precision and maintained a good position throughout.

I actually don’t like training in racing. Mainly because of the voices from the people watching and judging the athletes based off placement. It’s hard to justify running “slower than max effort”, but in OCR the best possible training opportunity is a race! So here I was, let me know if you think that was dumb.

Approaching the final stretch, the obstacle gauntlet tested every racer’s limits. I executed smoothly until a moment of beautiful overconfidence on the flying monkey obstacle led to a minor slip. This mishap was embarrassing, sure, but it was also a learning moment about the importance of smart racing and being cautious instead of trying to win every single second. Finishing the race with a smile, I was proud of how well I had performed, celebrating the process over perfection. I didn’t enjoy the penalty loop as it was a heavy carry, but it helped that the winner, and my friend Thibault, laughed at me all the time. 

This weekend at the Czech OCR Championships might not have given the results some might have hoped for (or even expected), but for me, it was a victory in many ways. Racing with a smile, focusing on personal goals, and enjoying the journey were my true achievements. It’s a reminder that success in OCR, and in life, isn’t just about the positions we finish in but the challenges we overcome and the joy we find along the way.

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