More than Mud - Maia Fruchthandler
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?
I showed up to the AZ sprint in 2013 on a whim and decided, " Hey, why not?" Little did I know what I getting myself in to. I never looked back since!
How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community? (and why you do it)
People constantly ask, " Why do you do this to yourself? What's the point?" My response? "It makes me feel alive and in control." I feel my absolute happiest when i'm playing in the mud at a race or embracing the suck at an endurance event."
What's been your most interesting or memorable moment in your OCR career so far?
I would have to say my recent HH12HR experience was quite memorable. Especially in those moments where you are out there on your own, attempting the task at hand, no matter how crappy it may be, those are the moments where you truly learn about yourself. One Friday night, I found myself in the middle of a scavenger hunt looking for a checkpoint on the Vegas super course on top of what felt like the worlds steepest hill with a 35lb ruck and two 60lb sandbags. I thought i was done! Once I made it to the top, I was ecstatic! Climbing that mountain literally felt like a metaphor for life, and I knew I could not give up.
What's the best training or racing advice you've ever received?
Pace yourself!! I am completely guilty of this and and still have to remind myself when I'm competing in an event that giving maximum effort right away will suck all the energy out of you faster than anything else. If you are worn out after the first few miles, how are you supposed to give it your all for the rest of the race? Patience and finding that pace that exerts just enough energy ( you should still be able to breathe normally and not constantly gasping for air) will lead to better results. Promise!
What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?
I suffered from major insecurity, anxiety, depression, and panic attack issues once I hit my early twenties, and it emotionally crippled me. Feeling physically able to climb over walls, or ruck up mountains, and run for miles empowers me on so many levels.
What inspires you?
Seeing fellow athletes that come from similar backgrounds defeat the odds and live a positive, fulfilling life with OCR.
Any race stats you'd like to share? Any goals for this year?
Being a fast runner is not my forte. Endurance is more my calling. I have currently attempted two HH12HR (DNF, those things are no joke! Challenges the mind and body, and ability against others along with teamwork), and the Battlefrog extreme (21mi), along with a few other long distance trail races. My primary goal this year is complete Spartan Race's Endurance Trifecta ( Ultra Beast, HH12HR, HH). I'm currently 1/3 of the way there!
What's something about you that others might find surprising?
I started my journey into OCR as a means to become physically fit so I can pass my PT test when I apply for future law enforcement jobs. Little did I know it would help me mentally prepare for these tests as well.
What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?
I love the way OCR has expanded over the years. I especially love the fact that OCR companies are branching out and giving the endurance events a go. The community in OCR is amazing and so supportive whether you are an elite athlete or a weekend warrior. I have met some incredible people through these events. As for the future, I hope to see these events get progressively harder and challenge people to higher limits. I hope that OCR changes society in a sense that people will want to incorporate an active lifestyle into their daily routine, and schedule a few trips here and there to some races.
For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing
Photos courtesy of Spartan Race and Rugged Maniac
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