More than Mud is an article and interview series dedicated to documenting the incredible characters and stories that we come across in the world of OCR and outdoor adventure and endurance racing events. They range from everyday heroes to extreme athletes but all have unique and engaging stories to tell.
How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?
Throughout college I had issues with shin splints which kept me from finding an easy exercise routine. In my late twenties, I found myself heavier than I had ever been in life. Once I finally decided to do something about it, I was lucky to have some work friends that also wanted to start working out.
We started with workouts in our office three times a week. As it progressed, I found myself being able to run without shin splints. My first OCR was at a local Play Dirty. While most people in the afternoon heat were taking their time and walking, I kept it slow and steady. Eventually I passed them up and finished 1st in my heat. While I didn't find out until later, it turns out I was 10th overall. Since that moment I was hooked.
How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community? (and why you do it)
I tell them it's a race (5K or more sometimes) with obstacles along the way. Walls to jump over, ropes to climb, etc. I run these races because I like how the obstacles break up the race. Just steady running for more than 3 miles to me isn't any fun.
What's been your most interesting or memorable moment in your OCR career so far?
The Spartan World Championships at Lake Tahoe in 2015. I had a 12pm start time which got pushed back to about 1. After doing the freezing swim and getting into the middle of the back to back wall and barbed-wire crawls, the weather got bad. The clouds rolled over, and it started to hail. I was literally crawling under the wire as it started. It got so cold that it was hard to do anything - crawl, jump over a wall, or even burpees. People were hopping in trucks and dropping out of the race. I was shaking terribly and considering dropping out. My friend caught up with me, and we decided to keep going. Once we got into a smooth run, our bodies started to warm up and it became bearable. While I was on the mountain, I asked myself why did I put myself in this situation. While the hail was pretty darn memorable, the best part came the next day while traveling home. All I could think about is how I wanted to be back on that mountain again, but maybe with a rain jacket instead. :)
What's the best training or racing advice you've ever received?
Run. A lot.
What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?
OCR gives me a reason to be the best I can every day. Knowing that I want to be in a good condition for racing makes me push through. Some days I don't want to be in the gym or out there putting in the miles. But I know that if I don't push through, the next race will be that much harder.
What inspires you?
People who have exceptional abilities but aren't cocky about it. In the OCR world I think of particular Elites that I like to follow. But also the every day people that still run. Some people aren't in super great shape, but they still push themselves. It's something that it doesn't matter what level you are on. From Elites to beginners, if you are pushing yourself everyone is going to be proud of you.
Any race stats you'd like to share? Any goals for this year?
In my first full year of racing during 2014, I did a Spartan Trifecta along with a few other races. In 2015, a friend and I decided to do a double trifecta. Things got out of hand and we ended up doing a triple trifecta on top of some of the other races. During the last year I moved to Dallas where there are a lot more local races. So while I'm not traveling as much, I am doing one Spartan Trifecta. My goal for this year is to qualify for the OCR World Championships. I've scheduled races in different divisions to give myself the best chances. Some elite heats, some open, and now some competitive Spartan heats. I also am still highly considering trying World's Toughest Mudder this year.
What's something about you that others might find surprising?
I'm a hardcore gamer (video games), read comic books, skateboard, and used to be the singer in a hardcore band.
What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?
I think it's in a pretty good place. Making lots of money but very driven by the clients' desires. It's a sport where the hobbyists compete on the same playing field as elite paid athletes. I think this is extremely special. Not only does it make it cool yet normal when you see Ryan Atkins and just say, hey sweet. Ryan Atkins is running this race too. But more importantly, it gives us (the hobbyist) a reason to strive and believe in ourselves. Maybe we aren't doing it as fast, but we are literally doing the same thing as the Elites, right behind them. Even at the yearly Championships. The day that ends and the Elites compete while we sit in stands, that's the day I lose the drive to reach for goals that I may never be able to achieve, leaving me with nothing to strive for in racing.
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