It’s been a MONTH since Bonefrog?! OMG I am so bad at getting these race recaps posted!
On April 29, battle ready racers descended upon the Circuit of the Americas racetrack just outside of Austin, Texas to dominate the first ever Texas BONEFROG Challenge Race.
What is Bonefrog?
HESCO BoneFrog is a Navy SEAL created race series designed to push you beyond your perceived limitations. To inspire athletes to see that they are capable of accomplishing anything while promoting camaraderie and teamwork toward a common goal.
There are a few different course lengths you can choose, the Sprint, Challenge and Tier 1. I opted for the mid range Challenge and although quite brutal, I wished I’d done the Tier 1 (a combination of both the Sprint and Challenge courses!)
I never take my camera or phone on course so I don’t generally get course pictures but thanks to my beautiful friend Shelby, I’ve snagged some of hers- she’s ALWAYS got her camera~ You never know when there’ll be a photo op!
A mini version of a slip wall at the top of the first hill. Sit back into your heels and you’ll be at the top in no time! Watch out for the transition at the top though- it can be painful.
Those tires are NOT stationary! If you don’t have a massive vertical leap, you may need some help so you don’t roll right back to the ground.
A Navy SEAL inspired course would be remiss if it were to fail to honor those who have paid the ultimate price. Obstacle 17, a tribute to 31 Heroes from Extortion 17. I won’t lie, I got pretty choked up here and took a lot longer than I may have at any other obstacle. There is something hauntingly beautiful in the echo of dozens of people calling out the names of each person listed on the banner, some, much like myself, holding back tears.
Offset pipes on either side of the beam make for tricky transitions. When I first climbed up I was convinced I couldn’t make it across. I tried to quiet the negative voices and I thought I’d made it just about halfway before I slipped off, but my battle buddy said I was closer to 75% of the way across!
I almost didn’t make it to the top of the tower. I tripped on one of the stairs and inhaled a gummy bear. A lovely gentleman said, “you can just turn around and go back down”…. No freaking way dude! Here, at the top of the tower I wrote my brother’s name. We are the lucky ones. He came home to us, his wife, and children and is such a wonderful husband and daddy! I am so proud to be his sister!
I actually had to ask about the name of this one. Well, it turns out that this monster has been called every “dirty name” in the book including the ones you just made up and the ones that haven’t been invented yet! I can definitely see how this one could really mess you up! Overshoot the jump and you’re diving head first toward the ground. Undershoot the jump and knock the wind out of yourself and bust your ribs! This is apparently a scaled down version so us “normal” folks have a chance 😉 You’d think that at just over 6′ tall this one would be a cakewalk, but considering this white girl CAN’T jump, it was a little unnerving launching myself up to that top beam. I made it though despite the instant flood of what ifs that assaulted my mind. What if I can’t hang on? What if I fall backward and hit my head (like I did at CTG)? What if I overshoot and break my arms trying to break my fall? What if I get stuck? I mean c’mon Amanda! Whatever is going to happen is out your hands, just do the best you can and enjoy the moment!
One of the last obstacles was Black Ops, a vertical wall with a rope and a set of monkey bars to traverse at the top. By this point my grip and arms were shot. I didn’t get up the wall and looking back I should have asked for some help. Even if I failed the monkey bars, those action shots with the American flag in the background were EPIC!!!
I crossed the finish line feeling really good about my run. It was hard, physically and mentally, but so incredibly rewarding! The best part of this race was that I truly threw all of my goals and expectations out the window and focused on being present on the course. When I checked in at the timing tent my mind was absolutely blown. Initial results put me at 4th place in my age group. What the f&%$?!?!?! No way! I was in such disbelief that I checked the results page every 15 minutes or so for the next 3 days! And much to my surprise…my placement DID change… to 3rd in my age group! Holy shitballs! That’s an OCRWC (Obstacle Course Racing World Championship) qualifying run!
If you’re familiar at all with the OCR community you should recognize the men above and below (pictures placed as such INTENTIONALLY) as two of the most loved and love/hated men in the industry.
I first met Coach Pain when he was the starting line mc at another frog race we don’t have to mention(RIP).
I was going through a particularly rough time in my personal life and the world seemed to be crashing down on me AGAIN and just getting to the race felt like a mental prison escape. As we were kneeling at the start line, Coach began to talk about our trials, our tribulations, our fears and our demons. He said, “You are NOT your circumstances. You are NOT your situation. YOU have the power and the ability to RISE UP. RISE UP against your adversaries, be they mental, physical or emotional. You were not meant to be meek, you were not meant to be AVERAGE, you are meant to RISE UP. RISE UP and sieze this moment.” Now it’s been a couple years, so forgive me if my quoting is a bit off, but I have carried this message in my head and in my heart ever since. When the burdens of my life feel too heavy, too much to handle I call on Coach Pain and I hear him echoing in my head to RISE UP, and always, with a tear in my eyes I smile and I do exactly what my Coach asks of me. I RISE UP and #CONDUCTmyBUSINESS
Norm Koch…. #EFFNorm The Beast behind some of the most brutal courses ever… Man I’ve heard stories about his sadistic course designing and when he parted ways with that OTHER race company I thought I’d never have the opportunity to run a soul crushing, body testing “Norm Course.” Imagine my surprise when I found out that he did in fact design the Bonefrog Austin course. I may have cursed him a few times with a smile on my face knowing that I would NOT let this course get the best of me. He designs these to push your will and not so subtly test your grit. When I met him after the race, it became apparent that he is a complete psychopath. Just kidding, he’s an absolute gem, kind as they come. There’s a fire in his eyes when he speaks and a passion for pushing athletes WAY out of their comfort zones. You will be pushed to your breaking point on a Norm course, but you succumb or will you succeed? As in everything, the choice in entirely yours to make.
I jokingly made this statement before the race, “Between these two men, we have the ULTIMATE race experience. Coach Pain will breathe life into our souls and Norm Koch will suck it right back out!”
These two men made qualifying for OCRWC on THIS DAY, on THIS COURSE, the sweetest victory I could have ever asked for!