Why be Lazy when you can be Crazy? The Crazy Fit Challenge May 18, 2013
For most college students a typical crazy weekend entails staying out late, partying all night, and letting loose after a long week of class, homework, midterms, and papers. However, this particular weekend presented a different type of crazy. This past Saturday, May 18th I experienced a new kind of crazy when I participated in The Crazy Fit Challenge. As Santa Barbara’s only obstacle course race, the Crazy Fit Challenge is composed of a 1.5-mile obstacle course complete with a variety of challenging obstacles that are kept secret until the day of the event. Runners may complete anywhere from one to four laps of the course depending on their personal fitness level and goals. The difficulty of the Crazy Fit Challenge is further enhanced, as participants must conquer not only obstacles, but also the challenging natural terrain offered by Elings Park where the race is held.
The Crazy Fit Challenge was started in 2009 by Mike Claytor, owner of SB Training. Mike says, “I started this event 5 years ago to give my clients something to do that would show them what they are capable of. After spending time in the gym training, it’s often not apparent how it enhances your ability in real world situations. Crazy Fit Challenge take people out of their comfort zone and shows them what they can do”. While Mike does not get the chance to participate in Crazy Fit, he often runs the course multiple times prior to the race in order to get a feel for what the participants are experiencing.
An anxious excitement usually comes over me the night before I run a race and the Crazy Fit Challenge was no exception. The added mystery of what obstacles I may encounter made me even more eager for the sun to rise and the race to begin. I sprang out of bed at the sound of my alarm, made some delicious and filling oatmeal, then hopped in the car and headed to Elings Park, ready to partake in my first ever Crazy Fit Challenge.
Unfortunately, I was unable to convince any of my roommates to join in on the challenge and I as I arrived to the check-in table solo I quickly noticed that most people participate in The Crazy Fit Challenge in teams. From local youth soccer teams, to running groups, or co-workers, there were all different types of teams, most clad in matching t-shirts, taking on the challenge together.
The course began with a giant-no wait, gargantuan hill that wound up one of the park trails. After what felt like forever, the trail finally leveled out and along the top ridge was a variety of obstacles including a balance beam walk, rock wall, tire flip, and mud crawl. While the different obstacles set up for the runners were indeed difficult, the most challenging part for me by far was the natural challenge of the never-ending hill at the beginning of each lap. While I originally set out to complete two laps of the course, once I started I knew I could complete three, and in the spirit of competition and pushing myself to my limits, I decided after the first lap that I would complete not two, but three.
The challenge was everything I expected it to be and more! Unlike anything I have ever completed, the Crazy Fit Challenge forced me to test both my physical and mental fitness and strength in ways I never have before. After the event, SB Training and local vendors provided well-deserved food, drinks, snacks, and prizes for all of the hard-working participants. Nervous to try an obstacle race like Crazy Fit? With a little bit of dedicated training, anyone can conquer the Crazy Fit Challenge. I asked Mike how he suggested first-time challengers prepare and he said, “get a good running base and then spend as much time as possible cross training. Vary the training from in the gym, on the trails, and even jungle gyms at the park. We train groups for about 6 weeks before the event doing specific routines that will enhance the ability to perform well on this type of course. Don’t hesitate if you’re worried about the level of difficulty. In most of these races there are alternatives to obstacles if you can not perform them. Also, in many circumstances the other participants are helping one another to complete the task. So, don’t think about it, just get out there and have fun”.
For more information on the Crazy Fit Challenge visit http://crazyfitchallenge.com.