I trained. I prepared. And it still pushed my limits.
With two Spartan Sprint OCRs (5K), one Tough Mudder (5 miles), and one Terrain Race (all of which were run with a group) under my belt, running Hyrox Miami is the most difficult self-challenge I’ve completed, but it was also just as rewarding as my first Spartan Race. Hyrox covered five miles of running with an additional two miles or so of workouts in-between.
SN: I’m not an OCR athlete, but this IG post will help give my recent affinity for OCR races, and this blog post, some context.
Outside of being a physically grueling format that puts your endurance to the test, running Hyrox Miami alone presented a mental mind game I’d yet to play. On course, I’d jump between hyping myself up, distracting myself from my burning muscles and foot, and slowing my breathing down as to not collapse.
When I signed up, I committed to myself that I would train for and run the race regardless if someone else would join in. Preparing for Hyrox that way turned out to be my saving grace. I was on the course alone, and that isolation turned out to be a bit freeing, and given my chaotic and self-healing summer, poetic. No one was going to tap me out. No one was going to give me a chance to catch my breath. No one was going to be in my ear encouraging me. It was just me. I had to rely on me. And that can be scary.
So from the start, there was no way I wasn’t going to cross that finish line. I wasn’t going to compare myself to anyone around me. I was competing against myself. Two months before October 19 (race day), I wouldn’t have been able to assure myself that I would finish. On October 19, I knew I would, even if I had to crawl to that podium.
I have to give a shout out to my “enthusiasts,” though, who were so loud and unruly that they caught the MC’s attention. They all had hoped to join me on the course but had to bow out for their own reasons. But they still showed up for me and posted videos of my self-inflicted slow death, and for that I’m forever grateful.
How I trained: I knew my biggest challenge for Hyrox would be the conditioning and how it could affect my hip. I worked with Myorenew on a Recovery and Mobility Program with bi-weekly visits and bi-weekly virtual check-ins and tracking through PT Everywhere (Andy Fortuna also ran the race). It addressed my overall mobility with an emphasis on my hip, squats, and core. I have never hated dead bugs more.
EDITED 10/27/19: It is important to note that I did not intentionally allow for any caloric deficit while training. I was actually eating more in order to maintain the intensity and volume of my workouts.
Workout wise, I balanced training at Per4orm with weekly sprint sessions, and sprinkled in exercises from Hyrox’s eight week training program. Myorenew had me up my overall mileage from five miles to six miles a week about two weeks in.
Race day was the first time I ran the full course through. It was also the first time I touched a ski-reg in over a year–I just didn’t have access to one: I supplemented with med ball slams (20lbs – 25 lbs) and bands. By my third week of training, I was warming up for HIIT and distance days with 1,000 m rows. I practiced my wall balls with 10 lbs and 15lbs balls (9 lbs for Hyrox), and my lunges with 50+ lbs (22 lbs for Hyrox). My heaviest sled push before the race was 185lbs (165lbs for Hyrox) and my heaviest pull (with ropes) was somewhere around 150 lbs (110lbs for Hyrox). I didn’t practice my farmers carries as much because I was comfortable with my grip, but when I did, I ranged from 35lbs-50lbs for distance (16kg for Hyrox).
How I did: I finished in under two hours. I kept a consistent pace and finished without being too winded. My hands and legs were shaking at the finish. I’m most proud of the fact that I never stopped running during the running portions.
I didn’t anticipate how hard the exhibit floors would be, so my calves cramped up around mile two and my feet flared up, particularly the right foot. I realized pretty quickly that the pain wasn’t going to get much better since the floor was not going to magically change, so I was just going to have power through it, stretch between the workouts, and take electrolytes to avoid further cramping.
The turf was slippery as hell. Despite practicing heavier than the course weights for everything, I could have never fathomed how tired my body was going to be during these workouts–and I love this sh*t. BUT IT BURNED. The sled push felt like an eternity. The lunges had my quads on fire. The burpees were just cruel but I finished them quicker than expected. The wall balls were the finale and the hardest portion–at that point your body just wants out.
How I recovered: I felt like I got hit by a bus when I woke up on Sunday, so I mostly lounged around, walked the dog, and took hot showers. Everything was sore.
On Monday, my right plantar made it difficult to walk. I took a light mobility day with foam rolling, stretching, Hydromassage, and very light cardio. I went to Per4orm on Tuesday but didn’t do the agility work. I rolled out my foot three times. I also went to full body at Per4orm on Wednesday and while I felt good after a Hydromassage, my body was tired and burning again on Thursday. (I also had to wear heals Wednesday night, no bueno.) When I went in for heavy/strength lower body day on Thursday, I was basically told not to come back until Monday.
Would I do it again?: I would, especially now that I know what to expect and what aspects I could improve on–even if only for the Shake Shack reward at the end (it’s a thing after every race).
I’ll close with some church from Andy Fortuna from Myorenew. Challenge yourselves.
“Words and thoughts are powerful. The way we use both of these tools determines the state in which we interact with our selves and the rest of the universe. It is with great discipline that you achieve what you want most. Health and Performance are achieved in the balance of four elements: Mindset. Nutrition, Recovery, and Movement. All these elements need to be respected, nurtured, and constantly developed.”