More than Mud - Amanda Wiles Davis

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. 

What is it about OCR that got you hooked on the sport?  
The competitiveness and overcoming the challenges is what got me hooked. So many times in my life I've been told I can't do this or that blah blah blah! Well, OCR gave me my outlet.

Who were some of your heroes growing up?  Who is a hero in your life now and why?
I didn't have any heroes in the sports world growing up and I still don't. Growing up I looked up to my mom more than anybody else. Her dream was to own and operate her own fitness facility. After working another job for years she saved enough money to open her first aerobics studio in 1990 and now 25 years later she owns the largest fitness facility in Danville VA, Perfect Body Fitness Center all because she refused to give up when people told her she would never make it... That were wrong; My heroes are people who never give up, never use excuses and those who build up others.

Among your family and friends, do most share a love for the sport or do you have to try to explain it?
When I first started OCR it was always 2 or more of us that would travel together to make travel cost a little easier and normally we all ran the races. My family supported my new love affair because it pulled me out of a very bad frame of mind and most of my friends joined me in the races. There of course has been and always will be people that don't understand why I do these but I always say the same thing, "until you run an OCR you just wouldn't understand".

What are the highlights of your race and event resume?
The highlights for me are always the trips getting to each event. Traveling with my friends is always fun and definitely never any dull moments.

What has been your favorite moment or accomplishment as an OCR athlete? Any disappointments? 
Each race is always exciting and a blessing to be a part of. Two of my favorite moments happened at spartan races, the first at the 2014 Charlotte Sprint when for the first time they gave awards to the open class and I won my age bracket and 3rd in gender. I was just so over the moon to get that acknowledgment from Spartan. The second was at the 2014 DC spartan sprint, I won my age  group and gender. Even though the open class doesn't get to be on the podium or anything I'm still happy to prove to myself I can do anything if I want it bad enough. However, I also know what feeling defeated is like. At the 2014 Ultra Breast I DNF, worst feeling in my OCR career. I realized I just was not built for that kind of distance.

Do you ever battle nerves before or during competition?  How do you manage them?
Nerves are always a part of racing. I use them to get amped up and my blood pumping. 

How do you stay in shape in the winter? How does your training change?
I've grown up in the fitness industry and have always had a gym at my finger tips. Training for OCRs has really helped me branch out as a trainer and instructor. Taught me how to think outside of the box and use conventional weight lifting to better my weakness's along with other methods. I started a BOOTCAMP program in 2013 in the parking lot of our gym using anything I could get my hands on and the surrounding terrain. Now we have tired of all sizes, sandbags, monkey bars, logs, and buckets. I try to train outside as much as inside to stay versatile. There is no off season for life.

Have you always been fit?  and If not, what was the turning point for you?
Even though I've always been in a gym and around physical fitness activities in 2009 I went through divorce, in 2011 a bad relationship and started partying too much. A friend called me out on my reckless behavior and told me about a spartan race in Miami FL February 2012. I had never ran 8 miles at one time in my life but I just wanted to go to Miami. And their T-shirts at that time read; "You'll know at the finish line", and that was so true! I had reached that turning point in my life where I could either throw away any talent to partying or I could get back in shape and chase one OCR after the other. My life changed that day.

What's one thing that you are really good at compared to most other OCR athletes? 
I do not believe I'm better at any one obstacle than another athlete. OCR is full of very strong men and women who are very determined to be their best. I go at each race just trying to improve my performance.

What's next for you - what are your goals in 2015?
My goals for 2015 are in limbo right now. I just got married December 2014 and sadly just suffered a miscarriage in the last few weeks. So I hadn't planned on racing at all this year because of being pregnant, something I've always dreamed about, being a mommy. Well, I've never known emotional pain like that before, not to mention the tornado of things my body went through. However, finding the next OCR to train for is one of the few things that has helped me overcome the whole event. I will be doing the Battle Frog in Florida this March to kick off my 2015 season.  

The man above & OCR has shown me over and over again that I can and will overcome any obstacle that life throws at me. 


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