Giant Gear Guide: OCR Clothing Tips for Tall Athletes

The Giant Abominable Snowman

Height seems to have a corner on most of the sporting world. From football to volleyball, track to….what’s that sport again….oh yea..basketball. Height seems to be a central topic in most of the sporting universe. There is one nook within the wide world of sports, however, that appears unconcerned with the topic altogether. Yes, our wonderful world of Obstacle Course Racing. It just makes sense; OCR athletes need to be nimble, agile and compact. Not necessarily the descriptions used to portray those of us that are a tad more “extended” than the rest. As a result, most of the best OCR competitors are not extremely tall.

So where does that leave those of us who are likely to drag our feet while hanging from the monkey bars? Perhaps, the reason that we haven’t seen more giants in the sport is even more simple than physiological parameters. Maybe it is because the Giant OCR athletes just aren’t able to find the right sized gear! We are going to change that. As probably one of the world’s tallest OCR athletes and as someone whose nickname around the office is “The Bumble,” I have spent 5 years curating and crafting the ultimate Giant Gear Guide.  Today, I’m going to share my top OCR Clothing Tips for Tall Athletes with you and the real Bumble alike! Let’s bounce right into it!

About The Giant Author

For reference and for the purposes of this guide, my vital measurements are as follows. I am 6’7” (2 meters), I wear a size 15 shoe (49 UK) with a 38-39 inch sleeve length and have a 36-inch inseam. I am a certifiable, if such things were possible, giant.

Giant OCR Shoes

Having an elongated frame tends to lead to feet in proportions that resemble those found on the cast of the iconic McDonaldland commercials.

Image result for McDonaldland cast, giant

Cast of McDonaldland 1986, smallest shoe size: 20.

 

To put it less eloquently, tall people tend to have large feet. At times they are called boats, sometimes shoe boxes, other times clown shoes…you get the drift. Size 14 and 15 large.  Coincidentally,  the single most important purchase Obstacle Course Racer’s of any variety can make is the combination of cloth and rubber that covers those lengthened hooves. So far, three brands stand above the crowd and provide amazing solutions to our unique requirements.

Altra Running

A staple in the Ultra Runner community and the recently announced shoe partner of Spartan Race, Altra shoes are a part of the “maximalist” movement that provides unbelievably cushioned shoes combined with a roomy footbed and ridiculous drainage capabilities. Fortunately for the giants, they are available in sizes 14, 15 and 16! (Pro tip: Altra’s Fit extremely true to size)

 

Photo of Altra Timp Trail Shoes

Altra Timp Trail Shoes-$129

Hoka One One

The founding architect of the hyper cushioned, maximalist genre, Hoka One One is a brand that offers shoes with top-notch cushion, super flashy colors and a more traditionally shaped toe box. The only reason they don’t receive top-billing is because when it came to hooking up the tall OCR athlete, they didn’t go the distance and go to a size 16. The good news is that their 14 and 15‘s are beyond amazing!

Product image for Black/True Red

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 -$160

Merrell

On the other side of the “stack-height” conversation is a brand made famous for creating minimalist, lightweight footwear. Merrell now offers a wide variety of options for those of us who prefer to roll, jump and sprint in the mud. As an Official Sponsor of Tough Mudder and a brand with a history of innovation, Merrell offers up a slew of options in the size categories that readers of this article would be interested in. Size 14 and Size 15, respectively.

Merrell Trail Running Shoes

Merrell All Out Crush 2- $99

Giant OCR Socks

A great pair of socks makes a world of difference in the sport of Obstacle Course Racing.

If they are too short, it can lead to dirt building up in the footbed.

When they are too thin, it can lead to discomfort, blisters and a painful week following a race.

Should they be too small, they are simply too small and we live in a world where we no longer have to wear things that are too small!

The following brands understand and create giant-sized solutions to erase the aforementioned issues from existence.

Stance

Enter Stance, they specialize in high-quality socks of all varieties and types. From licensed NFL, NBA and MLB teams, to specific Athletes such as James Harden and Klay Thompson and musician Rihanna. They even have Seinfeld and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air socks, if those properties are of any interest. Suffice it to say, when it comes to gear for your feet, Stance has you covered. For running they offer a ton, but the type that rises above the rest of the fray is their selection of XL-sized, perfectly cushioned and stylish stockings. Stance XL Socks

UNCOMMON SOLIDS WOOL CREW

Stance Uncommon Solids Wool Crew – $22

Injiji

This stalwart in the Triathlon, Ultra, Trail Runner world should also be a constant part of your pre-race gear checklist. Injiji socks are unique in their design due to fact that they have individual sleeves for each toe. The hypothesis for this concept is that the design reduces the potential for blisters and helps to increase the breathability between toes in order to ensure a dry, comfortable and cushioned experience through whatever activity you are into. Lucky for us, these things are as a good as advertised and better yet, are available in over 23 glorious XL versions.

Injiji XL Sock

Outdoor Original Weight Crew NuWool- $18

Giant OCR Compression Shorts

Underwear. Most everyone wears them, but only in the sport of Obstacle Course Racing is it completely socially acceptable to frolic through the woods in them alone! If we giants are going to go this route, we need to protect ourselves not only from chaffing, but also our fellow racers being traumatized due to the gangly appendages on display while wearing traditionally sized offerings. That’s where these compression shorts for giants come in!

Under Armour

A brand built on making better undershirts has also perfected underwear. Under Armour’s Boxerjock line includes a version with a 9-inch inseam that is vital to helping us accomplish the aforementioned concerns. Wear them under shorts or as shorts, either way, your comfort is literally guaranteed. My personal favorites can be found at UnderArmour.com

Under Armour Clothing

Under Armour 9-inch Compression Shorts- $30

 

MudGear

With a name like MudGear, it comes as no surprise that this brand is focused on all things muddy. No Gear Guide for Giants would be complete without mentioning their 9-inch inseamed compression shorts! Find them here!

MudGear Base Layer Boxer Brief

MudGear Compression Shorts- $33

Giant Bonus Tip:

Giant Problem Solver: Lock Laces

If you are over 6′ feet tall, you know how difficult it is to bend over and tie your shoes on a non-race or training day. Now imagine your shoe comes untied in the middle of a race. The mud, water, and fatigue combined with bending over is sure to make you completely light headed and add costly minutes to your results. Lock Laces has the perfect solution! Simply install them before your run, slide the lock into place and never worry about your shoelaces coming untied ever again! That is, of course, unless that pesky Jack comes around to say otherwise.

Giant from Jack and the Beanstalk

Thanks to this Guide, the giant is ready to chase down Jack!

 

The Giant Finish

I hope that you, my fellow giants found this guide to be of use. Go gear up for a race in the near future and begin the inevitable process of Giant domination in Obstacle Course Racing! And if that domination never materializes, that’s o.k. too. At least you will compete in more comfort, more stability, and more confidence as a result of having the right sized gear! And if you have found anything that I should add to this list, please shout it out in the comments!

 

 

 

A Day at the Ball Park – Spartan Stadium Series AT&T Park Sprint Review

Take Me Out to the Ball Park


AT&T-Stadium-Sprint-Stadium-View

Home of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants, AT&T Park is situated in downtown San Francisco right on the San Francisco Bay with a beautiful view overlooking the water. This view was highlighted from the top of the rope climb; located in the stands above right field which overlooks McCovey Cove. Fun fact: home runs hit into “The Cove” are known, unsurprisingly, as “splash hits.”

AT&T-Stadium-Sprint-Rope-Climb

This was my first Spartan Stadium Race, but I had done my research beforehand as well as watched the Spartan live stream that morning. I felt prepared and honestly, most of the reviews that I had read of the Spartan Stadium Race Series indicated that they were the easiest of all Spartan race types.

This was an interesting race for me. It was the first race where going as fast as I could wasn’t my goal. My ultimate goal was to help a first time Spartan, and good friend, not only complete the course but actually enjoy himself. Running with my friend allowed me to really take in the venue and focus on how this race was laid out. This gave me a unique perspective on the course design.

Batting OrderAT&T-Stadium-Sprint-Obstacle-List

From my perspective, I thought it was a fast and furious course with few potential hang-ups. Once the Spearman was completed it was essentially a time trial for the rest of the course.

From the other perspective, and the focus of this article, I saw a course designed to exhaust untrained/new racers. Having the Spearman (the most failed obstacle) as the 2nd obstacle on the course, it was almost guaranteed that anyone who was not prepared for this race was going to be pumping out 30 burpees early on. Shortly after the Spearman, there were multiple low crawls up an incline and then the Z-Wall. For someone unpracticed in grip strength and balance, the Z-Wall can be a difficult obstacle. For these people, they are looking at 60 potential burpees within the first 5 obstacles.

The Z-Wall was followed by more stairs and then 20 slam balls before you could move on. While the slam balls aren’t difficult from a technique perspective, it really ramps up the heart rate. Moving on from the slam balls there were more low crawls followed by low crawls, and once again… Low crawls. It seriously felt as if we were going to low crawl from the very bottom of the stadium to the top (and we may have). Once we made it through all the low crawls we just had to clear the 8-foot wall before the sandbag carry.

Foul Ball 

In my opinion, the sandbag carry, which was really a Spartan pancake, was by far the most difficult obstacle in this race. Not because of weight or distance or any actual factor relating to the obstacle, but because of the DISGUSTING stench of the sandbags. These things smelt rancid. Even as I approached the sandbag carry I could smell them from a good ten yards away. At first, I thought I had come upon a group of Spartans that did not believe in personal hygiene, but I could not have been more wrong. The carry was only a short route and yet nobody wanted those things anywhere close to their body. That scent attached itself to any body part or piece of clothing that it came in contact with. I do not know what Spartan did to make them smell so terrible, but there were people at the end of this struggle that were on the verge of vomiting.

Once everyone’s stomach settled from the smell of the sandbags, we did some more stairs and approached the box jump obstacle. This was another obstacle that wasn’t necessarily difficult in terms of strategy, but rather conditioning. My one issue with this obstacle was the lack of coordination between volunteers. Some volunteers would tell Spartans to stand straight up after jumping on the box while other volunteers just let people do it however they wanted.

Seventh Inning Stretch 

Up and down some more stairs (it’s a Stadium Sprint – shocker, right?) and there was the rope climb. Really the only reason to discuss this obstacle was the view. I finished my rope climb quickly, but my friend was unable to make it to the top and had to do his burpees. Being the good friend that I am, I enjoyed the view while he did all his burpees. I actually did offer to do some for him, but he wanted to do it all on his own no matter how long it took, which definitely earned him added respect from me.

AT&T-Stadium-Sprint-Assault-Bike

After a couple of staple Spartan obstacles – the Atlas carry and Herc hoist – there was a brand new obstacle: the assault bike. This was another take your heart rate through the roof type of obstacle. Burn 10 calories and then move on. Simple enough, but being so close to the end of the course, a lot of people were already exhausted. Right around the corner from the assault bike was the jump rope. 20 revolutions to advance. The only caveat being that you had to have an exercise band wrapped around your ankles. This was more of a nuisance than any real added difficulty.

AT&T-Stadium-Sprint-Multi-Rig

The Multi Rig was next and turned out to be a tricky obstacle due to the fact that the rings/baseballs were hanging precariously low to the padding. Being 6’2” myself and my friend being 6’3”, this made things more difficult for us and it was crucial to keep our knees up and arms bent in order to complete this obstacle.

Sliding Into Home Plate

There were only a few more obstacles left to finish the race: the A-frame cargo, some military hurdles, a couple walls and then the gladiator. I have only been doing Spartan races for a couple of years now, but I have read that they used to have actually “gladiators” at the end of a race that you had to get past. Unfortunately, now they just have some punching bags hanging from a structure that you need to run through.

AT&T-Stadium-Sprint-Hurdles

Going back to my perspective, I found the course to really be too easy. I completed the race burpee free, and I didn’t feel like there were any true challenges. With that being said, I did enjoy it and would love to do another Spartan Stadium Race. Plus, the medals are really cool.

I did regret not being able to run the course as fast as I could. In hindsight, I could have run it earlier in the day and then run again with my friend. More importantl, though, I was able to introduce another person to Spartan races and he is already talking about signing up for his next race! No matter what time I could have run on my own, I consider this a far better result.

AT&T-Stadium-Sprint-Medals