No matter how seasoned a pro you are, every single one of us from the newbie, to the World Champ had to do their first race one day, and if you didnt go through these classic symptoms, well, then Ill eat my inov-8s

ocr addict

Denial

You’ve seen the adverts, you’ve got a friend or coworker who proudly shows off their muddy photos  and so called “bling” on social media. You’ve seen these people, these weird super human people who not only do “Obstacle Course Races” but do them with a smile. But not you, no way. You’re not going to do that! For one, you hate running, you can’t even run 5k without stopping, there’s no way you could run that distance AND do obstacles. You’ll fail them and feel rubbish. Sorry but no. It doesn’t matter how many awesome pictures you get, how many bruises you can show off, or how cool your kids will think you are, it looks like torture, you are just NOT doing one of those silly mud runs.

OCR addicts racing in an obstacle course.

Anger

Fine. Somehow someone tricked you into signing up, but it’s only a short one, and the time doesn’t matter. It’s about teamwork…or so they say. You couldn’t say no, it was a fundraising thing and you got cornered into it. You’re going to look like an idiot, you’ve no idea what to wear and you are NOT spending more money on kit. All the others will be faster and leave you behind and you’ll it’ll just make you feel really bad about yourself and bring back all that childhood angst. Why did you sign up for this? You feel like such an idiot!

OCR addicts at the starting line of a race.

And the training! Training?? You have to go out for jogs, and do stupid burpees, and carry stuff. You do NOT have time for this. What a stupid idea, who has time for this? It’s ridiculous.

Bargaining

Race day has arrived, and your team has set off on the course. Ok, it’s not as awful as you expected, but you do think you might die. You still don’t know why you agreed to this, you’re out of breath, your legs hurt, and you’re slowing everyone down. Please, please let me get to the end, you think, and I promise I’ll go out running more often. Don’t let me collapse cause I think I’m about to cough up a lung. I swear I’ll get fitter, just please don’t let me make a fool out of myself. I’ll have a little walk…I’ll just walk to that tree and then I’ll run, ok? If we could finish in the next 30 minutes I’ll give an extra $20 to the charity. It’s not awful…but it’s not easy.

OCR addict racing in an obstacle course race.

Depression

It’s “Medal Monday”, race weekend is over. All that build up and now it’s over. You can’t believe it. You keep reminding yourself of the really hard bits, the bits when you were so mad at yourself, and the course. That bucket that was too heavy and how you had to stop and rest so many times…but then you remember the feeling of when you actually finished that obstacle and how amazing it felt to be able to do something you really didn’t think you could do.

OCR Racing

How you overcame so many obstacles that you thought were impossible. That wall, that really high wall, the one you definitely couldn’t get over, and then your team helped you, and the smile you had at the top when you realized you’d made it.

You’re happy, but you’re also really sad that it’s done, that it’s over and you don’t get to have that feeling again… because you are definitely not doing another one, don’t be silly. You’re sad you didn’t enjoy the build up, you were too busy worrying, because now you realize how exciting it really was…but hindsight is a brilliant thing…

Acceptance

Every time you move you feel a twinge in your ankles, your elbows hurt, and those grazes on your knees sting in the bath. You’re tired to the bone….and yet. You feel energized, you feel powerful. You feel unlike you have in a very long time. You have a certain belief in yourself that you’d lost.

OCR addict in an OCR race.

You think back to the moment you saw the finish line, how all of your spirits lifted and you all managed to move a little faster. How you crossed the line holding hands, and had that medal placed around your neck. The delight in the food you ate afterwards, so hungry and feeding your body.

The friendships you made out on the course, the confidence you had to laugh and joke with strangers, to see other people try and fail and know it’s ok if you can’t do something, that the important thing is to give it a go. No one is perfect, but they’re all trying their best. You remember the fun of the crowd, not overwhelming but friendly. The atmosphere, the music. How you felt so at home and comfortable…a sense of community you’ve never felt before.

And then you realize, you accept it.

You’re an OCR addict.

-Francesca Chiorando

Francesca is an avid obstacle course racer, TV host, and blogger at Mud Is My Makeup. Follow her Instagram at @MudIsMyMakeUp and @FranChiorando.