Human Octane Men’s Balls to the Wall Shorts

Human Octane Men's Balls to the Wall
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In a market that is flooded with so many choices of what to wear on race day, it is difficult for quality brands to stand out. Often, the best marketing wins out over the better quality product. There have been many quality products that have debuted within the obstacle race catalog, only to dwindle due to poor marketing or the product just not catching on. Enter Human Octane, a new brand of clothing designed specifically for the OCR athlete with durability and utility in mind. We tested out their entire debut line over the course of multiple races of varying type and distance. We’ll be taking a look at their Men’s ‘Balls to the Wall‘ compression liner shorts

Human Octane Balls to the Wall Shorts Features

 

Right out of the packaging you can tell the quality of the material that Human Octane chose to use. It is extremely lightweight and has a durable feel to it. The shorts have an interior compression liner already built-in, hence the name.  Many men wear compression shorts/tights and (should) wear shorts over them while racing. This eliminates the need for that since they come already equipped. The standard ‘put your crap above your tail’ pouch comes stock on these as well. The last thing to note is there is a drawstring to adjust the sizing, should it not fit properly in the waist.

Rear Pocket

Human Octane Balls to the Wall Shorts Usage

To say I’ve been impressed with these shorts would be a gross understatement. It is pretty much the only shorts I’ll race in at this point. As mentioned before, the shorts are super light-weight. As someone that would run in only compression shorts previously, I barely notice that I’m wearing more. The shorts drain liquids quickly as well. The back pouch has reinforced material around the zipper to keep from snagging when using it, an issue found in many low-end running shorts. The fit is accurate to the sizing chart available on the website. I ended up removing the drawstring since they fit well without it. They also, as the name implies, keep the little boys snug where they should be. The one small negative issue I’ve had is when standing in water. Water will collect under the shirts in-between the liner and the shorts themselves, causing the shorts to ‘balloon’ out. All that is needed is to just push the shorts back to your leg and it is fixed for a few minutes. Ideally you won’t be standing in water while wearing the shorts.

Human Octane Balls to the Wall Shorts Durability

I’ve been really hard on all of the Human Octane gear. It holds up extremely well. It is all machine-wash on cold and air dry. The shorts have yet to fray, rip, or bear threads anywhere on the seams. They look brand new out of the wash every time as well. I’ve had no issues with the rear zipper pocket either. They are also made out of an antibacterial material that keeps them from getting that rank gym smell.

The Pros and The Cons

Pros

  • Extremely durable
  • Water-Repellent
  • Working rear zipper pocket
  • 2-in-1 compression and shorts
  • Antibacterial material

Cons

  • ‘Balloon’ effect when standing in water

 

Human Octane Men’s Balls to the Walls Compression Shorts Liner Conclusion

Human Octane’s debut line is off to a strong start. I really can’t say enough about these shorts. I’ve happily worn these shorts for everything from road 5ks to 75 mile trail races, and every distance obstacle course in-between. I would consider the shorts a ‘must-buy’ for any male running athlete, casual or elite. They look good and feel good. These shorts make me really excited to see what other products become available.


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Charles Harper

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Charles is an avid runner and general klutz. He was terrible at running in high school and is trying to fix that while in his 30's. He is kind of hick-ish and has a man crush on Ryan Atkins and Atkins' dog, Suunto.
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Why Your Next Running Vacation Should be to Ecuador

(Author’s note: Full disclosure, this was a complimentary trip paid for by the Tourism Department of Quito. I will still be giving a fair review as if I had paid for the trip myself. Also, I’m a pretty simple-minded guy from the South, I’m not a 15 star reviewer on TripAdvisor or anything like that. These are honest thoughts that won’t require a thesaurus to find out if I’m complimenting or criticizing the location. Any places or restaurants that didn’t leave an impression, good or bad, are not mentioned.)

Day Uno

I arrived late the previous day and stayed at Casa Aliso for the night. This was a beautiful little boutique hotel in the city. After spending the night in several different hotels, the small boutique ones seem to be the best value and experience. It also gives a more authentic feel to the trip. You get all the luxuries of a big hotel, with the environment of a mom-and-pop joint.

First stop was the Basilica Towers. As you’ll hear on the podcast to come, I have a deep southern accent and it took me the entire trip to pronounce this place correctly. Bah-silly-ghu was the way I finally got it. This landmark was gorgeous. The best part is that you were able to climb all the way up the clock towers and look over the city. Neat fact, even though the Basilica is designed in a Gothic style, they actually used animals from the Galapagos instead of gargoyles as statues.

EQ_Basilica

We had lunch at Cedron, a nice little place downtown that is part of one of the boutique hotels. The food everywhere down here was delicious, and I’ll talk about its impact towards the end. Afterwards, we browsed around in one of the busier parts of Quito. There were many old churches that are must visits if you appreciate architecture, or just a lot of gnarly paintings of Jesus. We also toured the local San Francisco Market, which had some of the most interesting selections I’ve ever seen. That place smelled amazing though. It had the freshest fruit and vegetables I’ve ever tasted, and it was cheap. We visited a few local shops where there local toy makers, chocolate bars, and the most amazing ice cream I’ve ever had in my life.

We visited the Ultimas Noticias 15k Race Fair afterwards.Ultimas Noticias’ fair was extremely similar. There were actually many of the same vendors there. Getting your bib and goodie bag was extremely simple and quick. They did have a pretty in-depth gait/heart rate analysis station. Afterwards it was on to dinner at P.P. Botella EC. It was here I discovered the magic of micheladas, a ‘beer-a-rita’ style Mexican drink that is a-maz-ing.  While the food was extremely fantastic, the drinks were even better. This is a must-visit restaurant. It is a great blend of Ecuadorian culture with a familiar vibe. Back to ze hotel!

Day Dos

While this trip was a consistent 7 to 9 on a scale of 10, there were a couple experiences that were an 11. These are memories that I will never forget and consider once-in-a-lifetime. It starts at Tucanopy. This place is a family-run reservation for the Choco Cloud Forest. It. Was. Fantastic. Not only are the guides, whom are also the owners, super-friendly, they are extremely knowledgeable about the area and how the vegetation works in the ecosystem. The visit was a constant variance of long, suspended walkways and blazing ziplines. I wish I could have gotten more exotic pictures, but the trees are so thick it is hard to capture how high up off the ground you are. The final suspended bridge took you up to the top of a tree that was over 300 feet off the ground. From here, you attach to a zipline and take off on a route that is over a half-mile long and exceeds speeds of 40mph. As you zoom from point-to-point, you’ll see some of the most breathtaking views you’ll ever see. The food here was almost as good as the views. This place is about an hour outside of Quito, but well worth the trip.

EQ_Canopy

As amazing as it was, the most unique part of the trip was about to happen. We stopped at a small ice cream parlor on the side of the road that had a recently built shed attached to it. We were stopping for a ‘craft beer experience.’ Being from a town that has quite a few amazing breweries such as Monday Night, Reformation, Sweetwater, and Red Hare, I was perplexed by this small shed. What I discovered was a family business that is destined to succeed. I can’t say enough about this place. Not only did the father take the time to walk me around, he explained why it was important they kept the business within the family. While many people judge success by the amount of money you make, this guy believed it is judged by taking care of your family and raising your kids with values. The food here was the best I had the entire trip. I had a tasted a lot of the same foods over this trip, just at different locations. The Cerveceria Gourmet did it the best though. I ate the food so fast, I forgot to take a picture. The beer here was some of the best I’ve had in my life. The quality was on par with Victory, which if you haven’t had yet, get it. I don’t care which part of Ecuador you travel to, go to Tucanopy, and then come eat and drink here.

EQ_Beer

Later in the day we visited the ‘Middle of the World.’ So there is a ‘real’ Middle of the World, and one that the Franco-Spanish Geodesic Mission claimed in the 18th century. There is a whole bunch of science that says they are both right and both wrong. Google the differences if you want, it is pretty nifty, but be prepared for a worm hole of science, reddit, and wikipedia. Both are really awesome and I advise visiting both. The ‘real’ one is a private museum that has a lot of Ecuadorian history, including about the tribes that live in the Amazon. The other is government-owned and is a great place to go on a nice day and play with the different experiments that can only be done on the equator, such as balancing an egg on a nail. Both of these places are must-visits on your trip.

Day Tres (Race Day)

So this was the day of the actual Ultimas Noticias 15k Quito. There were going to be a little over 18,000 runners this year. I’ll be using the Atlanta Track Club’s Peachtree Road Race as a comparison since it is the largest road race in the world and there is a good chance the people reading this have done it. The race is a 15 kilometer (9.3 mile) race through Quito. They did a fantastic job with this event. Everything was set up the way you would expect for a race this size. All the corals were done by expected finish times and they had pacers with giant balloons behind them in case you needed to play catch-up. The course was absolutely gorgeous. At one point, you hit a long, flat, straight-away. Towering over you as you approach is the Basilica Towers I mentioned earlier. It was one of the most fantastic memories from the trip I’ll remember forever. As you close in on the last kilometer, you descend in the national futbol stadium. Aside from the gorgeous course, this is where the Ultimas Noticias 15k separated itself from other large road races.  You come through one of the tunnels emptying to the field. As you round the corner, you hear the roar of thousands of people in a packed stadium. Your feet hit track and and you see the finish line. As you sprint with all you’ve got, you pass waves and waves of people on your right, and one of the most popular bands in the culture playing a concert to your left. You hunch over, completely out of breath because you’re running at the elevation of 9,300 feet and feel like you are about to die. It was amazing. The festival area was on point. There was everything you could imagine. As you turn in your timing chip, you are given your swag bag with all the normal sponsor goodies. You can go back and enjoy the concert, or follow the signs to transportation, whichever you fancy. We headed off and ate at El Esmeraldas, which was fantastic. Another ‘must-eat’ joint.

EQ_UN

Day Quattro (I know, I’m Southern, leave me alone.)

Ermagosh. Volcano-running time. We headed up to Tierra del Volcan for this day. Whatever you do, come here for at least two days. Tierra del Volcan is a little hacienda outside of the Cotopaxi area. They offer hiking, horseback riding, biking, and climbing. The service and food here were both amazing. They’ve got paths for hours that you can run or ride via horseback. If you are feeling really adventurous, you can hire a guide to summit Cotopaxi. I wish there were a better way that I could do this place justice with my words. We spent a good portion of the day horseback riding. The horses were exceptionally trained and the guides know all the points to hit to get the best pictures. It was so peaceful. If I ever feel so stressed out that I need a vacation, this is where I will come. There is no way to have a care in the world while you ride around in the cool wind on a horse on the side of a volcano.

EQ_Hacienda

I didn’t think this trip could get much better, but I had a surprise left. The first was Termas de Papallacta. Ho-lee-crap. This place is located around 12,000 feet from sea level in the magical High Andes landscape. It is another small hacienda on a volcano, BUT, with a full spa and massage parlor. AND…AND…hot springs everywhere. The heat from the volcano warms all the small bodies of water in the area creating hot springs. Oh, it is 3am and 35 degrees outside? It is ok, I’m going to get in this pool of water that is a deliciously warm 85 degrees. Even the tile bathroom floor was warm. Again, I could rant on and get a thesaurus to tell you how great this place is, or you could just go here and have a once in a lifetime experience.

EQ_Springs

Day Cinco

Sadly, this was my last day. This mini-vacation was capped off with a visit to the La Compania Rose Plantation. I’ve never seen so many beautiful roses in so many different colors in my life. It is a family-owned family plantation that believes in taking care of their employees. I watched the workers harvest the flowers, snip them to what was ordered, and send them out. They send out around 30,000 roses a week. That is a lot of roses. What was really surprising, was how cheap it is to have them shipped from Ecuador to the United States. It was less than $25 for a dozen roses including shipping, to any address in the continental United States. If you want to buy roses from them, I’ll link it below.

EQ_Roses

Summary

This was a trip-of-a-lifetime. As I mentioned in the note at the start, this trip was paid for by the Department of Quito Tourism. But I know one thing, I’ll be returning on my own accord to share the experiences of this country with my friends and family. Ecuador, for a such a small country, has massive varieties of ecosystems. You can go to the beach and enjoy warm rays. You can kayak through the Amazon and see sights you’ve only seen in movies. Visit Quito and eat some of the most delicious foods you’ll ever stick in your mouth. Head to Cotopaxi and summit a mountain covered in snow, in July. Seriously, do yourself a favor, plan a trip to Ecuador. I’ve traveled the western hemisphere pretty extensively, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t visit this place. There is a lot more information on the official Quito website. I actually used their travel tool to ball park a return visit for 7 days. Airfare/hotel for two came out to about $700 per person.

EQ_Lagoon

TL:DR – Food

This post is kind of long, but there was so much to say. I wanted to include a small list of places we ate that are worth visiting at all costs if you are within a few hours. Not all places we ate are mention here or above, and some are repeated from above to make the list complete.

P.P. Botella in Quito – Amazing nightlife, food, and drinks. It has a local vibe, but with American comforts. I’d spring for dinner here on a weekend. Some of the best soup I’ve ever had.

Cerveceria Gourmet in Quito – I don’t even know how to link you to this place. They are on Untapped, and there is a video on YouTube. You can find information listed here with their address and phone number. Oh dear God. The best beer and sausage. I could have stayed here all day and ate and drank if they would have let me. Ever watched the episode of Family Guy where Peter gets a job at the brewery? That would be me here. Must-visit.

Cafe Mosaico in Quito – This place serves American recipes with Ecuadorian ingredients. Dee-lish-us. The ambiance here is unique as well. They have a patio that overlooks the city. I would definitely eat here at night so you can take in the view.

EQ_food

Utilizing Pull-Ups as an OCR Athlete

Obstacle Racing Media (ORM) has teamed up with Complete Human Performance (CHP) to bring you reoccurring tips and training advice that will help you at your next race, whether you’re trying to conquer your first rope climb or move more quickly and confidently across the Platinum Rig. This week’s training is brought to you by Alec Blenis, running and OCR coach at CHP. You can see him below at the fire jump of the first Spartan World Championships in 2011, where he finished 5th. Alec has been around OCR for over five years.

Fire Jump

Why Everyone Should (and can) Do Pull-ups:

If you had to pick just one upper body exercise for OCR training, the pull-up would be it. So many obstacles require the upper body strength that you can develop with a strict pull-up or pull-up variation. However, training for pull-ups is one area where I see a ton of mistakes, especially among beginners.

In this article, I’m going to discuss some common training mistakes that people make and some fun pull-up variations to include in your training. This will be especially useful for those of you working towards your very first pull-up, but also for more advanced athletes too.

Preparing for your pull-ups:

Warm up: For some reason, a lot of athletes will perform plenty of warm up sets before heavy squats or deadlifts but rush right into pull-ups without even considering warming up. Don’t do this. If pull-ups come towards the end of your workout, you are probably already pretty warm, so you might not need an extensive warm up, but you should still do something. If pull-ups come first in your workout, take a few minutes to warm up your core, back, and lats. Some great exercises to try here include hollow holds, face pulls, and easy ring rows.

Brace Yourself: When it comes to developing athleticism and the ability to conquer obstacles, a well-braced “hollow” pull-up is going to be most beneficial. What does this mean? When you are hanging from the bar, your abs should be tight, your glutes should be tight, and your pelvis should be tucked. If you’re unfamiliar with this position, I suggest working on some hollow holds on the floor first. Basically, your body should be concave like the photo below.

Hollow Hold

Hand Care: There’s nothing tough, hard-core, or beast-mode about ripped up or bloody hands. It may have been a great workout that tore your calluses off, but it’s going to take time to heal before you can really work hard again. Pull-ups result in more hand tears than any other exercise by far, so it’s extremely important to take care of your hands. Use chalk. Use a pumice stone. Take care of your hands and keep them looking good so that you never miss a beat.

Chalk

Plan your workout: You should never begin a training session without a clear goal in mind. Is your goal for the day to improve your strength? Do you need to improve your muscular endurance? As an OCR athlete, you may want to ask yourself what obstacle weaknesses need addressed. If you’re just randomly playing on a pull-up bar until you’re tired, stop and come up with a better plan. If you’re not sure how, we can help.

Pull-up Variations: 

We’re going to look at a couple variations of pull-ups now. Below you will find a video demonstrating each kind of pull-up, with a detailed explanation below it.


Ring Rows: Of course, the ring row is not really a pull-up at all, but this is an ideal starting point for the athlete who can’t even come close to doing a strict pull-up and for whom even banded pull-ups are a struggle. One great thing about ring rows is that it’s simple to adjust the difficulty of the exercise by modifying your foot position. At first, you may be nearly vertical when doing these rows. Over time, you should walk your feet out and approach a more horizontal position. Ring rows strengthen many of the same muscles that a pull-up does, but it is not a direct substitute. You should start here, but quickly introduce banded pull-ups and other beginner variations as you get stronger.

Banded pull-ups: A common mistake when training beginners is to abandon the bands too soon. Just because someone has successfully completed their first strict pull-up doesn’t mean it’s time to ditch the bands altogether. Even for athletes who can complete as many as 5 strict pull-ups, there is still value in utilizing an assistance band to complete sets of 8, 12, or more.

Banded pull-ups with pause: If you’ve been progressing towards a strict pull-up using bands for assistance, you may find that the hardest part of a strict rep is breaking from a dead hang. Because a band offers the most assistance at the bottom of a rep, banded pull-ups don’t develop much strength in the dead hang position. So, if you’re progressing towards a strict pull-up using bands, you’ll need to focus some extra energy on this position. One simple and effective way to do this is to implement banded pull-ups with a pause. All you do is pause in a dead hang position for 3-5 seconds per rep. Whenever implementing banded pull-ups, I recommend at least a slight pause at the bottom to help develop the strength needed to break from a dead hang. Also, don’t forget to move up to the next band when you’re ready! Go ahead and purchase multiple bands with varying degrees of assistance. Use a different band when the goal of the workout is different. Trying to improve strength? Use a less helpful band. Training muscular endurance? Use a more helpful band.

Negatives: Negatives and weighted negatives are great pull-up variations but, in most cases, are overused, especially by beginners. Imagine telling someone who wants to increase their bench press from 95 to 135 that you’re just going to have them do negatives with 135 until they reach their goal! They certainly have their place, but don’t neglect other variations liked banded and jumping pull-ups by devoting too much time to negatives. That said, don’t be afraid to add weight for negatives, even if you struggle with strict pull-ups. You can safely and effectively do negatives with weights as heavy as 20% greater than your one rep max, so if you can do one strict pull-up, you may want to add about 20% of your bodyweight to slow negatives for maximum benefit, but this should just be a small portion of your total training.

Pronated vs. supinated grip pull-ups: pronated-supinated-grip
Most people find it easier to start with a supinated grip as you’re able to recruit the biceps more in this position. However, this doesn’t mean that the supinated grip is a beginner variation. It’s important to routinely train both grips, and even neutral grips for well-rounded athletic performance. Close underhand grip pull-ups are great for developing the strength you need for rope climbs and heavy hoists, while overhand pull-ups will help you prepare for wall climbs and monkey bars.

Jumping pull-ups: Jumping pull-ups offer many of the same advantages and disadvantages as banded pull-ups. Like banded pull-ups, jumping pull-ups are not very effective at developing strength near full extension, but they offer the advantage of being a convenient and effective exercise that can easily be worked into body weight circuits without additional equipment. For an added bonus, try variations like burpee pull-ups mixed into a circuit. Jumping pull-ups are generally safer than kipping pull-ups for beginners (advanced athletes can do kipping pull-ups just fine with practice), so these are my preferred option for new athletes in workouts like Cindy and Fran that involve a lot of pull-ups.

Weighted pull-ups: Once you can do at least 3 strict pull-ups, it’s time to start thinking about adding weighted pull-ups into your routine. You don’t have to be an elite athlete or pull-up monster to do weighted pull-ups. Even if you’re just adding 5-10 pounds for sets of 3, that’s great. Treat pull-ups like other exercises, implementing heavy singles, triples, sets of 5, 10, and more. Don’t get bored by only doing bodyweight sets all the time!

L pull-ups: To further engage the core while also working the back and lats, try pull-ups with your legs lifted. The easiest variation is with your knees tucked towards your chest. A more advanced variation is a strict “L” pull-up. If you feel like you are good at pull-ups but struggle with obstacles like Spartan Race’s Herculean Hoist, then this is a pull-up variation that you should try. Many obstacles require you to engage your core and even legs while pulling up your bodyweight (or pulling down on a rope), so pull-up variations like this are great at replicating the sort of challenges you’ll face on race day.

Monkey bar simulation: For the advanced athlete looking to get better at monkey bars, rigs, or even progress towards a single arm pull-up, this monkey bar simulation is a great way to develop the shoulder stability, grip strength, and body control needed for those challenges. To execute the monkey bar simulation, simply get into a dead hang position, then tap your right leg with your right hand, then your left leg with your leg hand, and repeat. For an even more advanced variation, try touching opposite hand to opposite foot. Once you’ve got this down, you can start working on single arm banded pull-ups, negatives, and eventually, single arm weighted pull-ups!

Remember, you should treat pull-ups like other exercises. Don’t allow your training to get stagnant by doing the same thing every week! And make sure you check out Complete Human Performance!

MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves Review

MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves
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We were recently given the opportunity to test out MudGear’s latest addition to their Obstacle Course Racing lineup. The product is a pair of compression arm sleeves that contain slim padding at the elbow and down the forearm. We will be looking at their comfort, fit, wicking, function, and durability via multiple laps of a local obstacle course race.

IMG_5974

MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves Comfort and Fit

The MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves fit to size based off their sizing chart on the website. The sleeves are available in three sizes. The sizing chart is included below for reference. My arms were right on the cusp between small and medium. I opted for the small size. They fit snug with little slack. The sleeves were extremely comfortable and weren’t as noticeable as other compression gear. I will address a ‘comfort’ issue in the function and wicking section below.

PaddedArmSleevesSizeChart_df011acb-6a8a-4c6c-b91b-7e8de7301597

MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves Wicking and Function

One factor that a lot of racers fail to take into account is how the product deals with water and/or mud. This is important as many races have you constantly in and out of liquid. MudGear’s sleeves did not retain a noticeable amount of liquid. The sleeves were exposed to water, mud, & sand, and while damp, the sleeves never gave off a ‘water-logged’ feel. Upon removing the sleeves after a few laps, there was very little sand in the sleeves. I attribute this to the tighter-than-most bands at the top and bottom of the sleeves. The bands kept unwanted foreign objects from getting into the sleeve and avoided sacrificing comfort.

One of the traits noted above is how slim the pads on the sleeves are. My initial concern was the lack of protection it was going to provide. This was not the case. Typically after multiple laps where there are constant crawls, my elbows will be slightly bruised or tender to touch. The MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves prevented this from occurring. I put more weight than I should on my elbows when crawling to free up the pressure off my knees and the sleeves worked flawlessly. I was quite impressed with how much protection they provided with so little padding.

Two points that I would note about the sleeves. The first is obstacle specific to ‘tube crawling.’ Many races have some sort of PVC tube on an incline that you have to slide/jump/scoot/wedge yourself up and then back down on the other side. Some wet compression gear is terrible for trying to get a grip while inside the tube. I was quite surprised that the sleeves were able to support my body weight from sliding back down the tube. I ran my laps earlier in the day before the course was mega-muddy, but even after going through water and mud, the sleeves gripped well. The second concerns how warm the sleeves got after being out of water/mud for an extended period of time. While a lot of compression sleeves don’t wick well and will keep your arms chilly, MudGear’s Sleeves wick extremely well, almost too well. I found that, after being out of liquid for 10-15 minutes, my arms became substantially warmer than with other sleeves. It is worth noting that the race was in Georgia during summer. The temperature that day had a high of 85. This appears to be a trade-off for the durability (see below) of the product.

MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves Durability

At the time of this review, I’ve only worn the sleeves for multiple laps of one race. I can not speak for the validity of the product’s long-term durability, but I will tell you that I made it a point to try to get these as pricked. stuck, and mauled as possible during that time. I inspected the stitching upon arrival to check for loose seams or any defects. The product was very well intact. After the race, there were no noticeable rips or holes in the material. They are machine washable and clean up nicely. I inspected the seams again after machine washing and found no defects or loose threads. They also ‘feel’ a lot more durable than most compression sleeves. I believe this may contribute to how warm your arms get while wearing them.

IMG_5942

MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Protection. Quite possibly the best protection I’ve seen in an OCR sleeve.
  • Wicking. They dry extremely well and retain very little liquid.
  • Durability. Again, I can’t speak for the long-term durability of the product, but I tried to break them and couldn’t.

Cons

  • Warmth. The sleeves got extremely warm, almost uncomfortably so, when not subjected to water on a warm day.

 

MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves Conclusion

I loved these sleeves. MudGear did an exceptional job adding a new product to their already stellar line-up. The product does everything that it claims to do. It protects, wicks, is durable, and has a sleek look. If you wear compression sleeves for obstacle course racing, I’d put these in the no-brainer catalog. Anyone that has worn MudGear’s socks can vouch for the quality of their products. MudGear Padded Arm Sleeves fit properly into their product selection right beside the socks. The only time I’d avoid wearing them is in warm conditions if the course doesn’t have ample water/mud obstacles. Good job MudGear. Way to keep the bar high.

(Note: I wanted to experiment more with the wicking and the warmth I felt while wearing the sleeves. Logically, material drying quickly and being overly warm on a hot summer day in Georgia is common. To test the product out and give an accurate review, I actually got in the shower with the sleeves. I wore them around the house for a short period of time. They still wicked fairly quickly and dried out as expected. Upon stepping outside in the morning when it was around 70, there was a minor increase in warmth, almost not worth noting. I retried this later in the day when it was 85. After wetting them in the shower, I went outside to throw a spear for a few minutes to see how they did. There was a significant increase in how hot my arms got.)

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Charles Harper

Social Media Dude at Obstacle Racing Media
Charles is an avid runner and general klutz. He was terrible at running in high school and is trying to fix that while in his 30's. He is kind of hick-ish and has a man crush on Ryan Atkins and Atkins' dog, Suunto.
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MudGear has your chance to be on their sponsored team!

 

Mud Gear Logo

We want to help MudGear find athletes to be on their sponsored race team.

Currently their race team consists of:

– Janet Barry
– Robert Killian
– Brakken Kraker
– Jackie Landmark
– Kevin LaPlatney
– Laura Lunardi
– Elliott Megquier
– K.K. Stewart-Paul

MudGear Athletes

 

Here is your chance to join their team. We’ve included the text from their post, as well as the link.

Want to be a sponsored OCR athlete?

The moment is now. If you’ve got dreams to be a sponsored OCR athlete, you can now take that first step in making them come true.

Team MudGear is looking to fill our 2016 roster with two more sponsored athletes from the OCR community. Whether you’ve been racing for years or just joined, everyone is welcome to apply.

We’re looking for someone that embodies the spirit of OCR, pushing themselves to new limits, and strives for the best every time they’re in a race.

Does that sound like you?

If so, we’d love to learn more about you.

As a sponsored athlete with Team MudGear, you’ll get perks such as free swag and gear, access to our private Facebook group, and of course, the right to brag to the world that you are a sponsored OCR athlete.

The deadline to apply closes on Tuesday, March 1st 6:00PM EST. If you’re looking to take that first step towards being a sponsored athlete, fill out this form to apply: http://goo.gl/forms/0Koy9NE57P

 

Good luck!

Get To Know ORM – Charles Haley Harper III (Charley)

Compassion and Laughing at Fat People on an A-frame.

My father raised me to try my hardest at anything and everything I did. This typically involved being one of the best at anything I attempted. It didn’t matter if it was a video game, debate, trivia, work, or sports, I always strived to be the best. Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I did not. Compassion was not one of the things we practiced; in competition, there is no room for compassion.

Despite my best efforts, running, is something I’ve always sucked at. I ran cross country in high school and the only time I ever broke a 22:00 5k was because the course was short. Long story short, I developed a very elitist attitude. I was adept at being a top dog. I was promoted very quickly at any job I held, and I ranked top in the nation at any video game I played.
Charles Harper Hardware

After a nasty leg break in 2010, being told I’d never run a mile again, I figured I’d start running. I was slow, still am, but I enjoyed it. I started doing 5ks on the weekend. I’d place in my age group here and there in small fields. My competitive nature kicked in and I started to grind. As I got faster, my elitist nature started to kick in. I started running more and training harder.

On a random weekend in September 2013, the girl I was dating invited me to do Savage Race with her. She had been telling me about doing these mud runs and that I would like it. I told her that if I wanted to spend a lot of money to drink and get dirty, I’d go in the backyard with a twelve pack with a water hose and have it out. A family friend had a bib and wasn’t going to be able to run it due to injury and gave it to me. I figured, why not?

Oh – how I fell in love. It was like the first time a girl runs her hand up your thigh. I was hooked.

I wasn’t great at it, but I knew I could be good. I saw this sport as something I could conquer. I started looking down on others, making fun of those that couldn’t make it over an A-frame, and ridiculing someone who couldn’t even get over the entry wall into the wave. I’ve always been that person. Compassion has never been my strong suit.

I started doing more and more races and scoffing at others. I remember seeing ‘a guy’ with funny glasses at Firebreather Challenge in Woodstock, Georgia. A random person came up beside me at one point and said, “I can’t believe a blind person is doing this.” I thought cool, he can’t see, I’ve got a jacked up leg, same difference, and went on my way.

Blind Pete

Charles Harper BFX
Skip ahead to BattleFrog Atlanta Spring 2015. I was running BFX. I had just finished a lap and decided to drink a couple beers and eat a hamburger. As I was sitting at the BFX tent, a group came around the bend with a gentleman in a wheelchair at Tsunami. I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I sat there and watched this team work together to build a human rope for the guy to climb to the actual rope, and he made it up alone after that. I can’t pinpoint when it happened, but I think that was it. OCR taught me compassion.

Mudstacle OCR OEW OCR

OCR taught me what an actual adaptive athlete is. OCR has helped me develop a character trait that the world needs more of. It has taught me to respect what challenges some people are facing and the fact they are overcoming them. As much as I love running the elite waves, I enjoy the kick in the feels of someone doing something they never thought they’d accomplish by making it over an obstacle much more. It bleeds over off the course too. It has changed the way I look at people. An elite athlete making it through Sawtooth is nothing new. You want to see what OCR is about? Go by Sawtooth around 2pm when the late open waves are coming through and watch a 240 pound woman pass out before she is willing to let go of that bar. OCR isn’t about the elite. OCR is about the everyday people who are willing to make a change in their life and challenge their existence.

(The blind guy I referenced is Blind Pete. Blind Pete possesses an athletic talent most people could only dream about. If he isn’t your friend on Facebook, you should make him your friend. He is one of the most inspirational people you’ll ever meet.)

Charles Harper Fire Jump