2017 Bonefrog Washington DC

The Location

Last weekend I participated in the Washington DC Bonefrog, which is the only Navy SEAL owned and operated mud and obstacle race in the USA. The challenge took place at the Wicomico Motorsports Park, which is is a 300-acre family owned and operated motorsports park in Southern Maryland that is near the Maryland International Raceway and Potomac Speedway in Budds Creek, Maryland.

The challenging course winds throughout the various trails throughout the motocross park, the wooded area surrounding the park, as well as an open area with various obstacles that was great for spectators.

The Obstacles

The race length was around 8 miles and involved over 30+ obstacles that were placed throughout the muddy terrain.

Some personal favorites from the obstacles included:

31 Heroes: Reading aloud each name of the 31 fallen soldiers on the bulletin board, followed by a burpee. This obstacle was early on in the race and really hit home because it was a big reminder that this was more than an obstacle, but a time to reflect on those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.

Black Ops: This was the final obstacle of the race and involved a series of monkey bars that you have to climb up to, and there is a safety net underneath the bars in case you can’t make it all the way across. Not only were there a lot of other participants crowded around taking turns to go across the monkey bars, but there were a lot of spectators watching as well. It was very encouraging having all the cheering and support while going across the bars, and the big USA flag next to the obstacle was definitely a triumphant way to finish out a great race.

The Experience

Bonefrog had everything that you would want in an OCR event: trail running, climbing, carrying, reaching, balancing, running and jumping, and sliding. All these types of movements took place in shoe stealing mud, slippery hills, and unforgiving uphill climbs.

It was truly a challenge from start to finish, and I felt that the obstacles were evenly spaced throughout the course to give the body time to recover and move on to the next obstacle successfully. Each obstacle was earned too because you had to really focus in on both strength and endurance throughout the course. Teamwork was also very evident on the course too because all the participants were helping each other.

Preparation for this event includes a well-rounded balance of trail running (hiking is very helpful too) on hills to help improve ascending and descending, upper body strength, balancing your weight, pull up strength, climbing from bar to bar, and bodyweight exercises are a must. Hanging from a bar to increase grip strength and endurance is very important. I also recommend pull-ups, chin-ups, and being able to carefully move from one log to the next with increasing height.

The Atmosphere

As soon as I arrived at the venue, I felt like I was a part of something special. First off, there was a great open area for spectators to offer encouragement to their friends and family. Not only was there a great support system out on the course with the other participants, but the military presence, from the staff to the volunteers was truly inspirational.

From start to finish, the atmosphere was a combination of adrenaline and patriotism. This was a challenging event that I was glad I participated in and extra glad that I had plenty of training in also.

Warrior Dash Maryland 2017

The Location

I recently participated in Warrior Dash Maryland, which was a very fun and challenging experience. The event took place at the legendary Budds Creek Motocross Park, which is a world class venue known for its many popular motocross events. This location has also become well known for a variety of the top OCR events over the past few racing seasons also.

The Obstacles

The race length was around 3.2 miles and involved over 12 obstacles that were placed throughout the muddy terrain.

The challenging obstacles included:

  1. Trenches
  2. Under the Wire
  3. Goliath
  4. Muddy Mayhem
  5. Pipeline
  6. Warrior Roast
  7. Fisherman’s Catch
  8. Bridge The Gap
  9. Upslide Down
  10. Magic Carpet Ride
  11. Pallet Jacked
  12. Mud Mounds

Some personal favorites from the obstacles included:

Goliath involved climbing two stories and then going down a 30-foot slide feet first. This was a fun obstacle because it was not only a great view of the course, but it was also an adrenaline rush sliding down into the cool water.

Warrior Summit was a great upper body workout that involved climbing up a 30-foot incline with the help of a rope and then climbing down the other side. Strength, quick feet, and balanced coordination helped to get up and over this obstacle efficiently.

Muddy Mayhem was the final obstacle in the event, and it included an army crawl under barbed wire across a 100-foot mudpit. I have a background in competitive swimming, and this experience was unique because it felt like a combination of both swimming and floating in slow motion through the thick mud. Definitely a great obstacle to finish out the event.

The Experience

As soon as the event began, there was a nice amount of distance to get the heart rate up and the blood circulating throughout the arms and legs. With the distance of the race being 3.2 miles, the rugged and hilly terrain added that extra degree of difficulty, especially on the steep hills and drops that are used in the motocross circuit. Some hills had such an incline, that it was a team effort with the other athletes to get to the top.

Slow and careful steps back down the hills were also critical. For this reason, I’m very glad that I put some extra time over the past few months into my trail running abilities because it helped in the ascending and descending throughout the course. A pair of shoes with an adequate amount of grip is also recommended for added stability, not just in the obstacles, but also on the trail sections.

For this reason, I’m very glad that I put some extra time over the past few months into my trail running abilities because it helped in the ascending and descending throughout the course. A pair of shoes with an adequate amount of grip is also recommended for added stability, not just in the obstacles, but also on the trail sections.

There was a fair share of obstacles that involved crawling through mud and under barbed wire throughout the course, so core workouts and preparation for crawling in tight spaces are helpful.

Warrior Dash Culture

The atmosphere at the athlete area, as well as throughout the course, was friendly, fun, and motivational. Everyone was cheering for each other throughout the various obstacles, and even though I ran the event by myself, there was definitely a strong support system among all the participants.

One of the other things that I liked about the Warrior Dash was that there were no additional costs for parking or spectators. Race medals were awesome too!

Overall, an event I highly recommend for any experience level.

Photo Credit: Author and Warrior Dash

Tough Mudder Virginia – The First of Many

Since my first OCR event last summer, I’ve added a lot more strength training to my routine, which was very influential when I recently participated in my first Tough Mudder in Virginia.

As soon as my 10:45am group was unleashed, I kept a steady pace with a determined group of fellow participants as we made our way to the first obstacle, Devil’s Beard, just beyond mile one. This was a nice obstacle to begin with and I kept as low as possible while moving under the heavy netting.

The next obstacle was the Mud Mile 2.0, and after I slid down the first muddy embankment into the water, I started trying to find small grooves in the next slippery mound. Another mudder reached out his hand for me to climb up, and I returned the favor to two more mudders. After reaching mile two, it was on to the Hero Carry, which involved carrying another person for about fifty yards; the fireman’s carry position worked well. I continued on through the Quagmire, which was a long stretch of muddy water where I carefully placed each next so I wouldn’t slip into the random two-foot drops in the deep mud.

With each stride, sweat began to mix with the dried dirt on my skin. Closing in on mile three, the Kiss of Mud 2.0 included getting as low as possible and staying under the barbed wire, while crawling and sliding throughout the terrain. There was almost a mile until Shawshanked, and taking a plunge into the water felt good as the temperatures continued to rise. Next up was the Berlin Walls, which involved getting a good sprint before strategically placing your feet to help you get up and over a series of high walls. I was glad I did a lot of pull ups and chin ups over the past year because they were essential for this obstacle. Hold Your Wood 2.0 involved carrying a large log for a few hundred yards, and I found it helpful to switch positions from shoulder to shoulder. Everest 2.0 was next on the agenda. I wasn’t able to practice for this obstacle or sure how to approach it, but I just ran as fast as I could up the angle of the halfpipe, jumped and reached for the hands of the other mudders. I then turned around and got in position to help a few more mudders that were making their run up the hill. Then it was through the Birth Canal, which was a tight squeeze under the heavy tarps full of water. The journey continued on, all the way to the Artic Enema where I slid down into an ice cold tank of water that you had to traverse throughout the fenced in area to get to the other side. A few people slid into the frigid water and then hopped out immediately because it was such a shock to the system.

After warming up with some steady hill running, it was on to the Bale Bonds, that involved sprinting up and over a large stack of hay bails. Timing and foot placement were very important. Upon arriving to Funky Monkey: The Revolution, I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it across the series of inclined monkey bars followed by two rotating wheels and a straight bar. The key component to this challenge was momentum and swinging from one grip to the next.

Not long after this, the Stage 5 Clinger involved climbing up, across, and then above a wooden ledge to finish the obstacle.

Upon reaching mile nine, the obstacles were more frequent with minimal recovery. Skidmarked tapped into what upper body strength I had left, followed by going up and down a slope during Pitfall. It felt good to be back in the water facing The Blockness Monster, which was another team effort to get up and over the large blocks in the muddy water. The Pyramid Scheme was a similar approach to Everest 2.0. The ElectroShock Therapy soon followed, which was about keeping your composure while running through the dangling high voltage wires.

After a little over 10 miles, the finish line was finally in my line of sight. As soon as I crossed it, I was motivated to start preparing for the next Tough Mudder adventure – pursuing the Toughest Mudder and World’s Toughest Mudder.

Overall, an event that I strongly recommend to anyone looking for a great challenge!

My bulldog, Daisy, enjoyed it too.