Profiles In Badassary: Michael Romano July 07 2016, 0 Comments

MudGear Profiles in Badassary 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.


For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

 

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

I have always been competitive in nature, so when I got older and less involved with organized sports, I was missing some of that competitive drive. I never really liked to run steady long distance, but I was introduced to a Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run in 2010. I liked the idea of obstacles breaking up the run, so I ran the race with my wife and some friends. Like a newb, I went in old running sneaks, basketball shorts and a sleeveless shirt and took a hell of a long time completing just a 5K distance. Since then I was hooked, even though I didn’t quite yet commit to “competing” in races until 2014-2015.

 

How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community? (and why you do it)

I describe OCR to my friends and family as a challenge that combines strength and endurance. I usually go into how I don’t particularly like running, therefore the obstacles and terrain keep me sane. I try to tell them about the camaraderie, motivation, and positivity that come with the OCR community, but most just keep the same confused look as when I mention I am running a 28 mile race on a black diamond ski mountain with 60 obstacles for fun.  

 

 

What's been your most interesting or memorable moment in your OCR career so far?

My most memorable moment is definitely my first Spartan Race – Palmerton, PA 2014. I was feeling good coming out of a couple other OCR events, but Spartan was a game changer. From that point on, I knew this was something I loved. That race really challenged me and exposed a lot of weaknesses in my performance. I didn’t even know what a ‘Bucket Brigade’ was until that day, so you can imagine how that obstacle went. Truly a turning point for me.  

 

What's the best training or racing advice you've ever received?

Your biggest competition is you! Its cliché, but it is so true. Once I started to worry more about improving myself instead of catching up to the competition is when I achieved the most gains. Focus on improving your time, your endurance, your strength and the results will come. This is why I take so many selfies and videos, so that I can study and game plan against the “competition”. Or because I might have a problem :)   



 

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

OCR has helped me become a better runner for sure. Again, I was never a big fan of running long distances, but OCR has introduced me to trail running which I actually enjoy a lot now. The terrain and surprises that come with trail running keep things interesting for me. I signed up for the NJ Ultra Beast this year where I would never even think of signing up for a road race marathon. I’ve gotten faster and my endurance has improved significantly since I started training for OCR events.  


What inspires you?

Being a role model to my family and kids by showing the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle. I don’t want my kids to be prisoners of technology. I want them to enjoy playing outside, playing sports, and challenging themselves. I want them to understand victory and defeat, the importance of practice and training, and the value of teamwork. My kids watch everything my wife and I do and they often mimic some home exercises we do or talk about “daddy’s races”. I hope to get my son (soon to be 5) in a couple kid’s OCR events this year as well.  


Any race stats you'd like to share? Any goals for this year?

I really consider 2015 as my first “season” of OCR even though I raced in a handful of other events in prior years. I was ranked 101 (World)/ 69 (US) in my age group for the Spartan Elite Series. I qualified in multiple events for the OCRWC, but did not get out there to compete unfortunately. My best finish in any OCR to date was 3rd overall Men’s Elite, 1st Age Group in the ABF Mud Run in Oct 2014.

My goals in 2016 are to survive the NJ Ultra Beast, earn a Spartan World Championship qualifying coin, podium in an OCR event, and compete in the OCRWC in Canada. I have not gotten approval from the boss (wife) yet on the 4th goal yet so shhhhhhh!



What's something about you that others might find surprising?

I get mixed reactions, but most find it surprising that I am half Chinese. My mother is straight from Hong Kong, and moved over to the US in her college years. Some people can tell I am mixed with something, but I have gotten anything from Hawaiian to Spanish.



What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?

I am really encouraged by the state and future of OCR. The sport is growing rapidly. There are more and more events to choose from with a wide variety of challenges in each. Obstacles are getting more innovative and challenging, closing the gap between the hardcore runners and more strength guys like myself.



mdotromano@yahoo.com


MudGear Profiles in Badassary 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.


For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing




How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

I have always been competitive in nature, so when I got older and less involved with organized sports, I was missing some of that competitive drive. I never really liked to run steady long distance, but I was introduced to a Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run in 2010. I liked the idea of obstacles breaking up the run, so I ran the race with my wife and some friends. Like a newb, I went in old running sneaks, basketball shorts and a sleeveless shirt and took a hell of a long time completing just a 5K distance. Since then I was hooked, even though I didn’t quite yet commit to “competing” in races until 2014-2015.




How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community? (and why you do it)

I describe OCR to my friends and family as a challenge that combines strength and endurance. I usually go into how I don’t particularly like running, therefore the obstacles and terrain keep me sane. I try to tell them about the camaraderie, motivation, and positivity that come with the OCR community, but most just keep the same confused look as when I mention I am running a 28 mile race on a black diamond ski mountain with 60 obstacles for fun.  





What's been your most interesting or memorable moment in your OCR career so far?

My most memorable moment is definitely my first Spartan Race – Palmerton, PA 2014. I was feeling good coming out of a couple other OCR events, but Spartan was a game changer. From that point on, I knew this was something I loved. That race really challenged me and exposed a lot of weaknesses in my performance. I didn’t even know what a ‘Bucket Brigade’ was until that day, so you can imagine how that obstacle went. Truly a turning point for me.  




What's the best training or racing advice you've ever received?

Your biggest competition is you! Its cliché, but it is so true. Once I started to worry more about improving myself instead of catching up to the competition is when I achieved the most gains. Focus on improving your time, your endurance, your strength and the results will come. This is why I take so many selfies and videos, so that I can study and game plan against the “competition”. Or because I might have a problem………… :)   



What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

OCR has helped me become a better runner for sure. Again, I was never a big fan of running long distances, but OCR has introduced me to trail running which I actually enjoy a lot now. The terrain and surprises that come with trail running keep things interesting for me. I signed up for the NJ Ultra Beast this year where I would never even think of signing up for a road race marathon. I’ve gotten faster and my endurance has improved significantly since I started training for OCR events.  


What inspires you?

Being a role model to my family and kids by showing the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle. I don’t want my kids to be prisoners of technology. I want them to enjoy playing outside, playing sports, and challenging themselves. I want them to understand victory and defeat, the importance of practice and training, and the value of teamwork. My kids watch everything my wife and I do and they often mimic some home exercises we do or talk about “daddy’s races”. I hope to get my son (soon to be 5) in a couple kid’s OCR events this year as well.  


Any race stats you'd like to share? Any goals for this year?

I really consider 2015 as my first “season” of OCR even though I raced in a handful of other events in prior years. I was ranked 101 (World)/ 69 (US) in my age group for the Spartan Elite Series. I qualified in multiple events for the OCRWC, but did not get out there to compete unfortunately. My best finish in any OCR to date was 3rd overall Men’s Elite, 1st Age Group in the ABF Mud Run in Oct 2014.

My goals in 2016 are to survive the NJ Ultra Beast, earn a Spartan World Championship qualifying coin, podium in an OCR event, and compete in the OCRWC in Canada. I have not gotten approval from the boss (wife) yet on the 4th goal…….shhhhhhh!



What's something about you that others might find surprising?

I get mixed reactions, but most find it surprising that I am half Chinese. My mother is straight from Hong Kong, and moved over to the US in her college years. Some people can tell I am mixed with something, but I have gotten anything from Hawaiian to Spanish.



What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?

I am really encouraged by the state and future of OCR. The sport is growing rapidly. There are more and more events to choose from with a wide variety of challenges in each. Obstacles are getting more innovative and challenging, closing the gap between the hardcore runners and more strength guys like myself.

 

Photos courtesy of Spartan Race

For free OCR training tips, get this powerful free OCR Guide: Warrior Strong - How Elite Athletes Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

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