Picture that moment in your race, the moment when your mind begins to take roll call throughout your body of all the things that hurt.
It collects them up and then rattles them off one-by-one, each one progressively worse. Sore tendon in the knees and ankles give way to lungs screaming for more air and less movement.
Eventually, your brain tries to convince you that your body isn’t capable of going any longer. For most of us who haven’t succumbed already, that is the moment when we give in and finally slow down.
But if your name is Ally Reite, that moment is when the afterburners kick in.
Ally competing in the 2016 Battlefrog San Antonio
"I think it’s so exciting to see how far I can push myself,” she says.
"It’s so easy when you’re training to go to the gym and do the same workout; the routine is comforting.
But you have to make yourselfuncomfortableif you really want to see what your body can do. Each time I’m training, I try to remember that and push myself just a little bit further than the day before."
It’s a formula that’s led to impressive results.
In March, Ally placed 2nd in the San Antonio Battlefrog. Not bad, especially considering that she entered her first Obstacle Course Race 2 years ago when she couldn’t even do a pull-up.
Her gutsy performance may have something to do with the motivation she found during her last Battlefrog race.
"I raced in the San Francisco Battlefrog the month before and they cut off my wristband at the Tip of the Spear. I was so upset I ran the rest of the race in tears. But after I finished, the first thing I wanted to do was find the next Battlefrog and try again."
Elite OCR athletes are dedicated. They get up on that morning when the rest of us roll over and hit the snooze button. They don’t let anything interfere with the pursuit of being faster and stronger.
They make training as much of a habit as the way they brush their teeth. Ally’s training for San Antonio was no different in that regard, but what made it unique was her obsession with improving her weaknesses.
San Francisco made her realize that she needed to improve grip strength, so she went out to Home Depot and bought one of those big plastic 5 gallon buckets.
“I filled it with cement and took it down to the high school football field every week to train walking up and down the stadium steps,” she recalls, “It sucked, but I could tell I was getting stronger with each passing week.
Then when it came to the grip-strength obstacles during San Antonio, I was able to get past them." Obstacle course racing is an individual pursuit, fueled by an athlete's own motivation to push their body to the limit. In team sports you can only do as well as the worst person on the team.
With OCR, it’s you against the course. Training for such a sport can be both a tremendously rewarding and frustrating endeavor. It’s never a straight line of steady progress. There are peaks and valleys, sudden gains and maddening plateaus.
The job, relationships, and training injuries can derail anyone. "The key is persistence,” Ally says, “And to not be so focused on short-term progress.”
It's not about the numbers, it's about the results.
That’s one reason why Ally doesn’t track her training results. “If you asked me right now, I don’t know if I could tell you what my mile is,” she muses.
“It’s not about the numbers." Ally has unlocked the secret.
She’s discovered that training is a lifetime endeavor, and recognizes that we don’t often measure our routines.
She has made her training a dedicated habit, getting up at 4am 6 days a week despite working as a construction project manager.
Best of all, she has found a way to push her body doing something she loves. It’s a method that has removed any notion of a ceiling on her OCR accomplishments.
We’re proud to welcome her to our Human Octane Pro Team, and are looking forward to seeing just how far she can go.
Champion shows off her new hardware!