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2014 in Review: Obstacle Course Racing, Triathlon, CrossFit, Climbing and More

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Sandbag carry, Civilian Military Combine (CMC) 2014

Some years are better than others and when it comes to fitness, 2014 was definitely a great year for me—one in which I achieved my goals I set out to do and had new adventures. Perhaps the most exhilarating was my deeper exploration of the sport of obstacle course racing (OCR). I first started with the sport in 2013, but took things up a notch in 2014. I completed seven OCR races in 2014, including qualifying for and competing in the OCR World Championship in Cincinnati, Ohio. Other highlight races of the year included the Civilian Military Combine and the Vermont Spartan Beast—a 16.5 mile event on the slopes of Mount Killington, VT that included 18,000 feet of elevation change (can you say shredded quads?).  I also completed the Spartan Boston Sprint and Spartan TriState New Jersey Super, earning the Spartan Trifecta along the way.

Obstacle course racing has been a natural extension of my triathlon and endurance sports background, allowing me to push new boundaries and further fuel my passion of integrating variety into training and competing. I’m a firm believer of true multi-sport training, focusing on different sports that will enable you to enjoy the outdoors, get fit and push your physical and mental development. OCR does this in a great way, mixing trail running and a variety of movements—climbing, crawling, throwing, etc.—all while forcing you to stay focused mentally.

spartan certBeyond competing as an athlete in the sport of OCR, I also decided to pursue my certification as a coach, specifically with the Spartan organization. The Spartan SGX coaching certification, which I achieved in the fall, complements my United States Triathlon (USAT) Level 1 coaching certificationCrossFit Level 1 trainer and CrossFit Endurance trainer credentials. The Spartan SGX coaching certification focuses on preparing athletes with the skills they will need to compete in the sport, including physical training, nutrition, mental preparation, and skill development specific to OCR.

My love for other sports and dedication to coaching athletes in other sports also continued in 2014, particularly with triathlon and endurance sports.  In addition to re-certifying as a USAT coach for my 12th year of triathlon coaching in 2014, I completed my 18th half Ironman race at the New England TriFest in Vermont, opened the season for the third straight year at the South Beach Triathlon in Miami and completed PR’d my half marathon time at the Earth Rock Run Half Marathon. I also continued to have swimming, biking and running, coupled with CrossFit, serve as the foundation of my training. The early morning swims at Walden Pond continued, including swimming deep into October—the latest in the season I’ve ever gone!

Gary Ice Climbing

Climbing a frozen waterfall, New Hampshire

Winter sports also remain at the center of my fitness training, with lots of ice climbing, skate skiing and alpine backcountry skiing being done last winter. I managed to get 15 days of skate skiing in at Great Brook State Park (which is laudable I have to admit given the short amount of time snow lasts these days in the Greater Boston area). I also had a goal of skiing down Tuckerman’s Ravine headwall (finally), but multiple attempts were foiled due to extreme weather. I did manage to climb in many of my favorite spots in New Hampshire, including Champney Falls, the Flume, Frankenstein cliffs, Arethusa Falls, as well as in Huntington Ravine. There’s still nothing more exhilarating than hanging off of a fat, frozen waterfall on a bluebird-sky day in the middle of the winter!

So, I look back at 2014 as perhaps one of the best years of my life for fitness. I plan on making 2015 even better with a slate of events and activities planned around obstacle course racing, triathlon, running, biking, swimming, CrossFit, ice climbing and mountaineering (Karakoram finally perhaps?).  I also look forward to continuing to evolve as a coach, working closely with my athletes to help them achieve their goals and improve performance.  Stay tuned!

One Response

  1. Michael says:

    Nice! Now lets kick off 2015 with some vertical ice.

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