More than Mud - PJ Magpantay February 23 2017
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?
First race was Savage and fell in love ever since. I got into it as a means to stay focused on training and keeping healthy. I got some fellow gym members involved and had a blast. As a result, we even started a special OCR training class at our gym.
Its helped gain some more interest in the sport. I find that OCR is a great way to get everyone together. What I find helps open the door to those who are interested is letting them know how close and supportive the OCR community is. On race day, the comments I get from most of the beginners in our group are how fun it was to help each other.
They knew we'd help each other in the group, but they didn't know how random strangers would help you out too! Wish it wasn't just an aspect of the "OCR community". That should be illustrated in just "community" in general!
What Are Some Challenges OCR Has Helped You Overcome?
All my life I loved to play sports and be active. I was never the best shooter in basketball and never the best hitter in volleyball (2 sports I always loved), but I was always the person willing to give it my all.
I was short (literally, I'm 5'6" on a good day) on talent, but long in heart. As such, I loved competing and testing my limits athletically as a high schooler and in college, but only with friends and in intramural sports.
Fast forward to 2013 - I am very fortunate to have a loving family, wife and 2 kids, and gainful employment as a dentist! In April of that same year, my father passed away after a steady decline is his health for years. He died at 67, but I can remember when I was a teenager how he was not the most active person and ate pretty much whatever he wanted.
That never changed and unfortunately his body started to decline, first with knee pain, diabetic neuropathy, then with failing kidneys and Parkinsonian-like symptoms. As hard as it was on him, it was just as hard on my mother and the rest of the family to see his body slowly shut down. Keeping up with his medical care and his increasing needs was challenging to say the least.
With the passing of my father, it forced me to take a good look at where I was physically. As a new dad, my health took a backseat and I slid HEAVILY. The following year, I had so many health problems - from gout to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, debilitating back and knee pain, everything! Basically, my body was telling me it had enough. Finally at 5'6" and at over 196 lbs in Feb 2015, I knew something had to change - not just for me, but for the well-being of my family.
I didn't want to just be alive (like my father unfortunately was for his remaining years). I wanted to LIVE!! I started to take my health seriously, joined a gym, ate right, and a year later, I was finding myself happy with the best possible version of myself I have ever been. During this fitness journey, I found the world of OCR. I loved how it gave me a way to be competitive again and achieve things I never would've even thought of before.
I feel like training for OCR gives me the motivation to be at my best, and not just physically. Now I find that training for a OCR races is something that guides me in my daily routine, whether it be my choice to wake up everyday at 5 am to train, or my choice to drop the pizza slice and pick up the roasted veggies, or my choice to face fears in my professional life that have, until now, held me back.
And finally, like any other parent out there, everything I do, I do for my kids. That means being there for them now, being there for them when they grow up, and being there for my grandchildren. I want my grandchildren to know me...not just know OF me. In short, OCR has been instrumental in helping me overcome obstacles in my personal life (with the passing of my father), my physical well-being (by becoming functionally fit and having lost 40 lbs in the process), and my professional life (as I embark on opening my first dental practice as sole owner).
Any Goals Or Race Stats To Share?
I have high hopes for 2017. I plan on completing my first trifecta! Really only bad timing for not being able to do it this pass year. I plan on competing in the most races than I have ever done in the past - about 11 races, including but not limited to Spartan, Savage, CMC, Goliathon, Tough Mudder, and OCRWC. Finally, I am really excited to participate in the Philly Toughest Mudder!
Although I mostly like to race competitively, its mostly just to force to push myself to my personal best. I'm REALLY not within striking distance to make a podium... although this year, I DID get 4th place in a smaller OCR called Muddy Brute (2nd in my age group) :)
Other than that, my only race "stat" that I was super proud of this year was surviving the NJ Super - Saturday in Vernon New Jersey. Wearing the MudGear compression socks definitely helped me through that one!
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Photos courtesy of Spartan Race, Savage Race, Muddy Brute, and BattleFrog