Team MudGear Blog

Profiles In Badassary: Shari Donison August 25 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.

 

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

I started seeing posts and pics on Facebook and it peaked my interest. I signed up for a 6km Mud Hero, and then went straight into a Tough Mudder. I was hooked from Day 1!

 

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

Aside from the obvious fitness aspect of the OCR, it is the most empowering, most enlightening, most personally challenging experiences I've ever committed to.  The team-work and comradery ensure that NO ONE is left behind, and that also makes it the most fun!

 

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

Every time I conquer something I couldn't previously complete, is memorable. Every time I stop to help others along the way, is memorable. Every laugh, every cheer, every high-five is memorable.

 

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

Recognize your weaknesses in each workout and draw them out in successive workouts. Don't just ignore them because they suck. They will give you the most pride to conquer.

 

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

Definitely my social skills. I had gotten to a point in my life where I detested social events, avoided crowds, and felt an attraction to serious hermit-dom. OCR's got me liking people again, enjoying the company of others, and working as a team.

 

 

What inspires you?

Strength; mental, emotions, physical. Humour. Humility.

 

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

I've registered for 14 runs this year as well as FEMSPORT. My goals include training to my fullest potential, finishing each event at the top of my game, and making myself ULTRA-proud.

 

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

I have a stubborn heart and head, and if I set myself on something, I will make it happen.  Period. And I've got a sick sense of humour.

 

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

OCR's are the most well-rounded sport out there. They include all people, all ages, all levels of fitness, all demographics and in all types of geographic areas. The future holds nothing but higher success; bigger, better, more inclusive and extensive events.  It's a very exciting time for OCR's, now and in the future.

 

 

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles In Badassary: Justin Escaravage August 18 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.

 

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

I got into OCR racing because of a friend. Back in 2012 my friend showed me a video about Spartan Race. I was instantly hooked just from that one video. It defined exactly who I am and what I love to do. I was an active person growing up, competing in many sports and I was a Collegiate Track and Field Athlete (Decathlon/ Pole Vault/ Javelin). Seeing the nature of what a successful OCR athlete needs to be, I knew this was a perfect fit for me once my collegiate career ended. Just like a decathlon, you need to be a well rounded athlete. With a combination of endurance, speed, strength, grit coordination, etc., I knew that OCR was perfect for me. Everything I love to do all thrown into one race and who does love getting an excuse to crawl around in the mud without being judged.

It wasn't until Fall of 2013 where I ran my first OCR race (Vermont Spartan Beast) due to finishing up my final year of college and Track and Field. Going into the Vermont race, I drastically underestimated this race entirely. Going into I thought it would just be a fun race with obstacle and it would be that challenging for someone with my background. I was completely wrong!!! 3 miles into the race, I realized how wrong I was and how much this race was going to kick my butt.

After the dreading sandbag carry, my body was wiped out and I still had 11 more miles to go. Towards the end of the race I was slowly chugging along and pushing my body past its limit, but I kept fighting and evidently finished. I will admit, I was miserable a majority of that race. With the cold, icy swim, steep hills, cramps, and being completely exhausted, somehow I loved every second of it. Challenges like these really drive me. I love putting up a fight and seeing how far I can push my body. It was that day, when I crossed the finish line, that I knew this was something that I would love doing for a while.


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

The most memorable moment for me in OCR would be my races in 2015 at the Tri-State NY Sprint. This venue was having the races run on 2 separate weekends back to back. So my plan was to run a race on each weekend. This was my first elite race of the year. On the first weekend I had the best finish I have ever had in a Spartan race ever. I finished 13th place overall.

My goal for this race was to earn my coin and qualify for the Spartan World Championships. To earn the coin you have to finish top 5 in a race or finish top 5 in a race that hasn't earned a coin yet. For this particular race, you needed to finish at least 12th to earn the coin. I missed it by 1 spot!!! I was very discouraged that I just missed getting the coin. Especially when the 12th place finisher was only seconds ahead of me.

So the week following that lead up to the next weekends race, I was determined to earn that coin. At the second weekends race, I fought to race even harder than the week before and ended up finishing 5 minutes faster than the week before! I was the 12th finisher in the race this time. After figuring out how many racers already earned their coin that finished ahead of me, I EARNED MY COIN!!! I qualified for the Spartan Race World Championships! This was the most memorable moment so far for me in OCR because it was a huge emotional roller coaster for me. Going from being disappointed for missing the coin by seconds, to actually earning it the week after! I never gave up after the first week and I was determined to get the next.

 


What inspires you?

The thing that inspires me the most is proving people who didn't believe in me wrong. Hearing my story as I transition into OCR may seem boring to most people. But what people don't know is what I have done and went through to be where I am today. Growing up I was never the biggest, never the fastest, never the strongest. I was a tiny little kid who looked like he was whittling away to nothing.

People, players, and coaches would take one look at me and assume I was no good and that I couldn't handle it. So I was constantly overlooked.  I was never given a fair chance to show what I can really do. I wasn't my physical appearance, it wasn't my overall talent, but it was my drive, my heart, my work ethic, and my will to be successful.

So throughout my entire life, I had to work twice as hard, sacrifice twice as much as everyone else. Still, after all the hard work, all the dedication, all the sacrifices, and proving myself that I am good enough, I was still underestimated. Through all of that, I still fought to be successful and eventually I did.

The main thing that drives me is to never give up, always fight for what you love and what you love to do. Although it was difficult to cope with the people that underestimated me, turned me down, told me I was no good, teased me, and belittled me, I thank them for who I am today.

If it wasn't for them I would not have the fight, the drive, and the passion to never give up. If it wasn't for them I would not be as courageous to fight for my dreams, goals, aspirations, and desires. Some people would crumble under the scrutiny and doubt. For me, it builds me up, make me stronger, and drives me to prove them wrong.

Even with all the doubters, I will admit I did have my share of supporters as well. I did gain some inspiration from my supporters as well. Without the love and support from them, I wouldn't have that extra boost to keep pushing forward. They helped drive me too when I was feeling low. The feeling of not letting them down help me be successful as well


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

College Track and Field

  • 2 Time New England Champion (Decathlon)
  • Conference Champion (Pole Vault)
  • Division 2 National Qualifier- (Heptathlon)

Spartan Race 2015

  • 12th and 13th Place finish- Tri-state NY Sprint (Coin qualifier)
  • 4 Top 20 Finishes
  • 88th ranked Male Elite in the U.S.

Goals for this year

  1. Finish top 10
  2. Get on the Podium (Top 3)
  3. Win a Race
  4. Rank in the top 50 for male elites in the U.S.
  5. Place top 50 at the World Championships

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

My thoughts on the current state and future of OCR is very positive. This sport is really booming and making a big splash in the world. It has been a huge growing sport in the past few years and is only getting bigger. OCR is the next big sport and I feel like it will become as big as some of the major sports in the world soon. OCR is doing a great job constantly evolving and trying to make it better and better each year. They are always coming out with new obstacles and challenges. OCR tests you as a complete human by pushing your mind, body, and spirit to its limit. It is set for a big future and I believe it will have a huge success in years to come!

 

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!

 


Profiles In Badassary: Jeromy Miramontes August 11 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.

 

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

One of my soccer teammates invited me to the Charlotte Spartan Sprint in spring of 2014 and I was hooked ever since.


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

My most memorable moment in my OCR career so far is placing top 30th in the OCR world Championships in Ohio of 2015.

 

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

OCR has helped me overcome being absorbed into the typical college lifestyle of going to clubs and bars and dropping hundreds of dollars a week on experiences that you will probably never remember. OCR has taught me how to treat my body and most of all gave me an epiphany of what i what degree to strive for in college.

 

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

Placed 28th in males 18-24 division at OCR world championships. Carolina Spartan Sprint/Beast weekend: Elite Sprint- placed 1st in age group and 31st overall.

 

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

The current state of OCR is great! I am definitely looking into the future with the OCR lifestyle. Hopefully big companies like redouble and Monster can start sponsoring racers and events to really take the OCR to the next level.

 

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles In Badassary: Doug Snyder August 04 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.

 

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

In 2012, a friend had told me about an annual mud run that went through the woods and over a few obstacles, hosted by the local Navy Seabees. I had been running road races for a few years, but I love the woods, so I tried it. It was awesome! Then in 2012 Spartan brought their first race ( a primal ‘founders’ race!) to Mississippi, near my home. I was asked to join my friend’s team. I did pretty well in the race. Around 60th place in opens! Seeing that this was an organized sport and that I had some aptitude for it, I’ve been addicted ever since!

 

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

It’s surprising how some people have no idea of what I’m talking about. Pictures can be quite helpful. Sometimes I have to relate it to a military boot camp mixed with a 5k run. At least then they can visualize climbing up, over, and under things while running. But then they wrinkle their noses and ask “Why in the world would you want to do that?” Sometimes I half-joke that it’s my way of dealing with having both a desk job and ADHD. But seriously, I explain that I am compelled to test and hone my willpower. I love the adrenaline rush of competition, and the excitement of achieving better and better results, and the satisfaction of setting and attaining aggressive goals.

 

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

There’s been so many memorable moments. Hurricane Heat 080 in Atlanta was notoriously memorable. The temperature dropped that night into the 40’s. Many people were not dressed for it, plus we all got wet and muddy early on. Everyone was shivering and it was my toughest mental battle to stick with it to the end. We continued for hours doing team challenges and reciting the warrior ethos (which no one will EVER forget). When it finally ended late that night, we were told we are the largest Heat to date, with over 200 people, and only about 5 did not complete it. That is absolutely amazing and inspiring to me considering the conditions and mixture of less-athletic people. We all even stay in touch now on a secret Facebook page.

 

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

It is from Rocky, of course! I literally recite this to myself when I’m maxed out: “The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that!”

 

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

At times, I became too caught up in stressful daily problems and I let things get out of perspective. OCR reset my “obstacle immunity” and taught me to not let problems push me around. I sometimes refer to racing as a lightning rod to ground out the negative energy in my life.

 

What inspires you?

I am very inspired by the beginner athletes. Both the young ones who don’t know what to expect and just dive in, and the older ones who have let life push them into an unhealthy corner. It makes me happy to see them giving everything they have, meeting a goal they have set to break out of their comfort zones and become something better. I love the stories of success. They see what once looked impossible now seems easy, and it’s time to set the bar higher.

 

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

This year’s goals include going to several world championship races, making it on as many podiums as possible, and competing in at least one regional ninja warrior competition.

 

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

People are usually surprised to learn I did not play sports or run in school. I was quite active on my own, playing in the woods and biking many miles regularly. Although I’ve ran for exercise for 20 years, I didn’t actually get into competitive running until about 2009, and elite OCRs in 2014.

 

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

I love that OCR has become more mainstream in the athletic world, yet each brand still has its own personality and quirks. A couple big brands have failed, which reminds us that it is a business that must make money and be managed properly to continue. I like the vision behind the OCR World Championship, because it brings together the best of all the brands without pledging allegiance to any particular one.

Given the competitive similarities, and growing popularity of Ninja Warrior, I see things like Battlefrog’s league/college short races gaining immense popularity. I already see how much more technical the rigs are at several races. People crave that kind of challenge. 

 

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


ESPN Trailer for 8/2 BattleFrog League Championship July 29 2016, 0 Comments

Airing 8/2 on ESPN...


Profiles In Badassary: John Sciarretta July 28 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.

 

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

I first got into OCR racing in 2014 when I ran a Spartan Sprint with my Friends in Boston, MA. I had no clue what Spartan Race was or what it really entailed and I thought it was going to be easy. I found out the hard way and loved how physically and mentally challenging this sport was. It's incredible because the sport really showcases every aspect of athleticism as well as mental and physical toughness. Once I realized they were timed and competitive I was immediately intrigued and hooked into this sport.

I have played and competed in countless amounts of sports and nothing pushes you to the limits the way OCR does. I was a boxer for a few years and that was the closest to mental and physical warfare I had come in a sport, the brutal training and toll it takes on your body is very similar it's a feeling I enjoy because it makes you remember you're alive. At the end of the day if you fail to achieve your goal in a race you have nobody to blame but yourself and that's what makes it so special.

 

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

My most memorable moment in my OCR career would definitely be completing a World Championship in my first year of competing. The amount of work I put in throughout the year to cross that finish line and compete for the world as well as my country was just so surreal. It will be tough to ever top that moment. My close second would be completing a sleepless midnight solo 50 mile mountain ultra marathon in 30 degree weather and pouring rain. That's definitely something I wont forget and neither will my knees.

 

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

OCR has helped me become a better person and has been a huge part of my recovery from substance abuse and depression. I have been sober going on 2 years now and OCR has easily been one the big reasons for me changing as a person and finding my passion as an athlete again. Instead of bars, clubs and party's all the time I am now focused on raising my daughter, training, and living the mountain life where I find peace. It's only on the course where I get crazy now and I wouldn't trade it for the world. OCR is really a lifestyle and the community is nothing but awesome people that turn into bad asses as soon as that cannon goes off.


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

My goals for the 2016 season are to race and train harder then the previous year. The competition is growing as the sport evolves and there is no time for breaks. There is always someone out there training harder then you whether you like it or not. I want to finish the year as one of the top racers in the world rankings and point series and complete another OCR World Championship, Battlefrog Championship and my number one goal for the year is to go out with a bang and complete the 24 hour Worlds Toughest Mudder Championship.

 

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

I believe OCR is becoming one of the largest and most popular sports in the world. It surpassed marathons last year and I think it will find it's way into the Olympics in the future. I believe every race series is different in many ways obviously and I like to stick with my thoughts on obstacle course racing and how it should be done.

The way Battlefrog Elite runs there races is how I believe every OCR race should be done, you get an elite band and if you don't complete the obstacle you must either retry until you complete it or sacrifice your band and take a disqualified time. You clearly have to be fast in this sport and It's good to have a chance to catch up to a faster runner if they are stalled at an obstacle. It makes the sport more well rounded. The future is obviously bright and I can't wait for the day to come when I tell someone I am an obstacle course racer and they actually know what it is and have a respect for the sport.

 

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles In Badassary: Amber Headrick July 21 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.

 

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

In 2012, I was tricked into running a half marathon with friends and then completed the Original Mud run 2 weeks after that. I loved it and immediately signed up for another OCR a few months later; Mud Ninja in South Salem Ohio. I was in love instantly, it was the perfect balance of endurance and strength.

Since I despise running it was just what I needed to make me run but still allow me to maintain my muscularity and strength. I did a few more sporadic races over the years and in 2014 really started my journey into the OCR world.

 

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

When I tell people I OCR they often think I mean horse racing; not sure why. I explain that I do trail races with obstacles, similar to what our military members would do in basic training. I scale tall walls, crawl through mud under barb wire, throw spears and jump over fire while running between obstacles. Once I say that most people think I'm completely off my rocker. I'm ok with that though.

 

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

My most memorable moment thus far was earning my Spartan Coin and qualifying for Spartan World Championships. I was racing in Toronto Canada at the Spartan Sprint; my son, sister, brother in law and nephew were there cheering me on. I was a few weeks post a severe ankle sprain and nervous about the race because I didn't feel I was ready to qualify due to lack of training and that was my goal.

Throughout the whole race I was cursing myself out and questioning why I put myself through this because I didn't think I was going to qualify and thought I was racing like crap. I came across the finish line to the cheers of my family rooting me along. I was pretty upset coming across the finish line because I didn't think I met my expectations.

As I'm dying and reaching for water and a banana one of the young volunteers comes up to me and asks if I had just finished. I look at my muddy self, look at her and say yes bewildered. She then tells me I came in 7th overall and earned my coin qualifying for worlds. I was shocked, I was beside myself and almost hugged her.

I apologized for being a little sarcastic at first and had to have her write down my info because I couldn't hold the pen. After that I see my son waiting at the exit of the finish line and I run over to him and pick him up and swing him around. He starts yelling mom you're getting me dirty and I said I didn't care and told him and my family the great news. After a few pictures it was time to go take my son over for his race.  

 

 

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

OCR has helped me become a better person, friend and most importantly mother. I've always been a very confident, outgoing, active, competitive person and I lost that for a period of time. No matter what you are going through the type of people who obstacle race will be there to support you and pick you up again and again; sometimes literally. I've never met so many people who are as supportive and willing to help others even if they barely know you just because you are on the same team. I have met some of the most amazing people in the OCR world and I couldn't be happier to not only call them friends but my family. I love all you Crazy Mudder Muckers and Corn Fed Spartans!


What inspires you?

My Son. This was the easiest question yet! Being a single mother hasn't been easy. At 18 I gave up a collegiate athletic scholarship to stay in my hometown, attend college and have my son. I have spent the majority of his life as a single parent and we have had plenty of ups and downs. My goal was to bust my ass, finish college, start a career and provide him an amazing life despite the struggles we've had; most importantly teaching him that no matter what curve balls life throws at you anything is possible if you want it bad enough! He's my mini me, biggest supporter, travel and scuba diving partner and best friend. I love you Kota bear!

 

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

I ended the 2015 year with big goals for 2016. I wanted to join a professional racing team and gain a few sponsors. By February I had not only achieved both of those goals but I was also asked to join an OCR web series. I'm very honored to be the first and only female so far on the Machete Madness pro team as well as the only female on the BROCR Review web series. And I'm very proud to represent Vita Coco, PepPod and Organic Valley Protein.

2015 Stats

  • Savage Race Pro - Ohio - 4th place Age Group - 7th Overall
  • Spartan Sprint Elite - Toronto - 5th place Age Group - 7th Overall
  • Spartan Race World Championships - Lake Tahoe - 26th place Age Group - 112th Elite Overall Finish (suffered a major ankle sprain 2.5 miles from finish)
  • OCRWC - Ohio - Penalty Elite Heat - 1st place age group - 3rd place overall (I was very disappointed in missing the rig and will be more prepared this year with my attire and fuel to ensure this doesn't happen again)

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

I love scuba diving which most people know; however there is a specific part of diving I love most. I love diving with Sharks! They are the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen, the way they move so gracefully through the water is breath taking. My goal for 2017 is to do a great white dive in the Guadalupe Islands. I'm also a huge nerd...growing up I wanted to be an Archaeologist; more specifically an Egyptologist and still plan to join an excavation in Egypt some day.  

 

 

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

When I'm not doing OCR things I have a part time job as a hockey referee. I've been refereeing for 7 years, and I have moved up the ranks to officiate Junior A in the Eastern Ontario and have worked 2 AAA provincial championship tournaments. This past season I started working for the referee association in a teaching role focusing on the development of first year officials (often 14-16 years old)



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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


How to Deal With The Voice Inside That Tells You To Quit July 19 2016, 1 Comment

The following is a guest post from MudGear Pro athlete Laura Lunardi.
We've all had it. That moment during a race when those thoughts enter our heads.
  • "I can't do this."
  • "I'm running out of gas.
  • "I'm losing ground on the person in front of me."
  • "I need something - anything - to get me through this."
  • "How am I ever going to finish?"
As quickly as those thoughts enter though, just as quickly we discover ways to quiet them. Ways to overcome the negative voices. Just as there are endless choices of footwear and socks for racing, so there are many different ways racers regroup, gather themselves, and continue through to cross the finish line.
Perhaps you fall in to one of these categories.


1) Personal struggle or tragedy. It's amazing the strength we are able to summon when we think about family or friends who have gone through struggles, dark times, or even illnesses. Pulling strength from those who may be fighting their own physical battle can be just the motivation needed to dig deep and endure.

Similarly, if we remember a time in our own lives when things were bleak, we instantly recall the physical and mental fortitude required to pull through those trials, and somehow the mid-race struggles just don't seem as challenging. 

2) The drive to win. Period. We all race for different reasons. For some, just simply crossing the finish line is a long term goal following months, or even years, of training. Others might enjoy the comaraderie and company of friends that is overwhelmingly present among the obstacle racing community.

There is also, of course, those seeking victory, or even redemption.  The drive to be first. To stand on the podium. To hear the applause when your name is called. For competitive racers, this is enough to refocus when the doubts start to surface. Breaking up the remaining course in to small, achievable goals is a tactic that helps keep me pushing.

If I'm in podium contention, my focus is to run my race, stay confident through each obstacle, and keep the front runners in my sights. If I can see someone in front of me, my goal becomes to pass them. If I do, I look for the next person, and so on. If I happen to be in the front, I know I need to keep pushing. I envision my finish and that makes me smile. And don't we all run faster when we're smiling?

3) Mantras. For many, there comes a time in a race when the inner voice keeps us motivated. Maybe it's a particular line from a song (think Rocky soundtrack, Linkin Park, Metallica) or the motivational quote you memorized and recited before every race since you were in high school.

Some racers say the repetition of their cadence leads to mantras running through their heads. "One foot in front of the other." "You're almost there." "Keep pushing. Keep pushing." I often find myself saying - out loud - "C'mom, you got this. This is YOUR race. Don't let up." When I know what (or who, if anyone) is in front of me, but not what is behind me, the internal voice is critical in maintaining focus and concentration. 

4) For fun and gratitude. The "stop and smell the roses" of the racing world. During a particular grueling OCR event a few years ago, I found myself on the peak of a mountain on the verge of tears. Broken, exhausted, angry, and far from any step on the podium, I stopped.

It was at that very moment that I looked out and experienced one of the most breathtaking views I'd ever seen. From that race forward, I am sure to, even if only for a split second, take in the view. I never want to take for granted the privilege of being able to race in new and amazing places that I might otherwise never have the opportunity to see.

So what drives you?

Perhaps you can relate to some of these strategies. Maybe you have your own way of pushing through the pain. Or maybe the medal and banana at the finish line are really all the motivation you need...

 


Profiles In Badassary: Romney "Shea" Johnson July 14 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.

 

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

I was in jail for the third time in two years, I knew I had to change something. I was reading a men's fitness magazine and came across an article about OCR races, specifically Warrior Dashes, Spartans and Tough Mudders. I decided that that was what I wanted to do. I found out they had a race here in Indiana at Perfect North Slopes - Mudstash, so I started training. It was all new to me, I could only do HIIT, so I did that while I was in jail. When I got out, I competed in the Mudstash and met a guy named Travis.  He introduced me to the Crazy Mudder Muckers, and I started communicating with them, and got more involved.  

 

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

Overcome obstacles.  Its a parallel of what you do in everyday life.  By overcoming the obstacles on the course, it helps to overcome the obstacles in my life. I do it to prove to myself that I can, that I am strong.  The harder the obstacle, the greater the reward.  Proving to yourself that you can do anything you put your mind to. Another reward of OCR is watching other people overcome the obstacles and fears, the mental and the physical ones.  The looks on their faces is just as rewarding.

 

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

My most memorable moment in my OCR career would have to be at the 2015 OCR World Championship at King's Domain.  It was just my 6th race, having qualified at Battle Frog on the very same course 2 months before. It was freezing cold, and after crossing the Little Miami River at the 2nd mile of the 10 mile race, and completing several other water obstacles along the way, the water slide at the end finished me off.  Hypothermia had set in and I had to wait in line to complete one of the final obstacles.  I was wrapped in thermal foil and could not get warm. I had no dexterity in my fingers and it was a grip strength obstacle - Skull Valley.  I waited for 20 minutes trying to get warm, and finally my girlfriend gave me the sweatshirt she had.  Literally 3-4 minutes later, and I was able to complete the obstacle.  My girlfriend, sons, and a few of my CMM friends were there to cheer me on to the finish line.

 

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

Before I started doing OCR, I was a drug addict and a smoker, I ate horribly and drank 2-3 liters of Sun Drop a day.  I was constantly in and out of jail and prison. OCR has helped me turn my life around. The last time in jail, I knew I had to make a change.  OCR has given me something healthy and positive to strive for. Having to be in physical shape to compete has made me very aware of what I am putting into my body, so I try to make sure I only put good things in it.

 

 

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

Some people would find it surprising that at the age of 19, I got involved in ministry and went to two years of bible college. I helped start a large church in Alabama.

 

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

I think that right now, its gotten to where a lot of people are being exposed to it.  But there are still a lot of people that don't really know what OCR is.  I think that once OCR gets more exposure, it will begin to blow up.  I can see OCR being, if not an Olympic event, it will be X-Games event due to the extreme sports theme.

 

Photos courtesy of Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, and BattleFrog Series

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles In Badassary: Justin Lund June 30 2016, 1 Comment

 

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.

 

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

Kind of by accident.  I visited my friend Sara at a Crossfit box after a Turkey Trot 5K. I guess I always enjoyed the grit of lifting which was strange with my runners frame, but didn't stop me from being one of the rare bunch squatting and thrusters while busting out sub 5 minute mile runs.  Seems like a good fit.

 

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

I describe it as elementary playground equipment designed by the Terminator after 4 shots of espresso.  Either that or I go on YouTube and show them on my phone.

 

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

Sitting my 150lb butt down on the Herc Hoist next to a guy pushing 30-50 pounds heavier than me and blowing his doors off on it.  That can not be normal but I was jacked up about it.  My athletic career spans over a decade, but this is still very new and looking forward to all of the moments ahead.

 

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

I've received so much great advice on everything from shoes to racing, but if someone held a gun to my head and told me to pick or else, I would have to say taking the time to work on your grip strength will help you a long way in OCR.

 

 

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

My first OCR race was the last real moment of accomplishment that my step dad and I shared before he passed away late last summer of esophageal cancer.  He was so interested in how this OCR stuff worked and he being a baseball and football guy for him to really take to an endurance sport with such interest made it that much more special.

 

What inspires you?

I want to be the best at everything I do every day I wake up.  I want to be the best in the world at living my life and setting a good example of fitness for my daughter, but my step dads work ethic, his humbleness, and determination to make each day better than the last inspires me everyday to be a better version of myself and to push myself harder knowing that somebody out there is willing to work just as hard if not harder than me.

 

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

2016 is just starting for me due to the snow and cold that is Wisconsin, but I was able to post some decent indoor track and road race stats already this year going 4:53 in the mile and 28:29 in a 5 mile road race, but ideally should everything work in my favor, I want to be on the top of that podium at the Minnesota Sprint and earn my way to the world championships.

 

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

I'm a Young and The Restless junkie....I know, not very macho, but I do play the drums to that makes it even I think....right?

 

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

I LOVE what this sport offers everyone.  It's not about the cost of equipment that makes you a competitor it's about the attitude and drive and also the bonding amongst competitors helping each other grind through the open classes is refreshing in today's society.  I think it is a true test of who the best all around athlete is and should be a legit Olympic level sport.  Only worries are to make sure it's a clean sport in the form of performance enhancing drugs and also standardized distances and series championship schedule consistency.  As long as we don't have a governing body that loses touch with the athletes of the sport (who shall remain nameless) the sport has a great future.


Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!

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


Profiles In Badassary: Maia Fruchthandler June 23 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.


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.

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!

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


No spoilers! But here's what to expect from the 2016 ESPN BattleFrog College Championships June 20 2016, 0 Comments

Hi, it's Malko here.

Earlier this year, MudGear was announced as the official socks of the ESPN BattleFrog College Championships TV show.  I got a chance to see the taping in Atlanta and wrote about it here earlier. The season premiere will air in prime-time on ESPN on June 30th, 2016 at 8:00PM Eastern.

I recently had a chance to interview Tom Davis, writer and Executive Producer of the show.

 

Q: Last season was well received in the OCR community, especially for the focus on the action.  What did ESPN see in it that resulted in a bigger format for season 2?

The BattleFrog College Championship was ESPN’s first foray into OCR programming.

From the outset they expressed an appreciation for the passion and athleticism of OCR competitors and were intrigued by our unique Sprint OCR format and the idea that we would be adding a new chapter to some traditional college rivalries.   

Fortunately, millions watched the series and loved seeing the level of competition and camaraderie that’s inherent in any OCR event.  The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive and the ratings steadily grew with each episode.  

We, and our partners at BattleFrog, were very pleased the Worldwide Leader in Sports not only wanted to bring back the BattleFrog College Championship and add the BattleFrog League Championship, but also to air the premiere episodes of both series’ in prime time and commit to triple the number of broadcast hours throughout the summer.  It’s a great thing for the sport and we hope that the OCR community will continue to support the show as they have thus far.

 

Q: What things were you looking to keep in 2016 and what were you trying to improve upon? 

The answer to both questions is the same – competition.  

The first edition of the college series was very competitive and it was important for us to focus on the action as you mentioned before.  The challenge on the college side this time around was to select the schools and competitors who would push the overall level of athleticism and competition to even greater heights in Season 2.

On the League side, the focus was more on finding the best competitors in the world, many of them OCR champions in their own right, and letting them do what they do best.  I think the audience will see very quickly that the level of competition in both events is off the charts.

Q: What was the biggest challenge in the production process?  How is the sport different from others from a directors/producers prospective?

OCR is different from a production perspective because it’s not like football or basketball where you have a time-honored set of best practices for how things should be covered within a broadcast.  At least not yet!  So, our goal, along with our partners at BattleFrog, was to feature the action and the athletes in a very real way to give the audience a real sense of what it’s like to attack these obstacles and push yourself beyond what you think you’re capable of.  

 

Q: Athletes talk a lot about the legitimacy of the sport and wanting to get it more mainstream acceptance. What's your take on the future of the sport as a director/producer?

The great news is that OCR seems to be trending upwards as a television property.  I think the fact that you’ll be seeing the premiere episodes of both the BattleFrog College Championship and the new BattleFrog League Championship in prime time on ESPN, the most popular sports network on the planet, is reason enough to be optimistic about the future of the sport.  Beyond that, were in the midst of an expansion of OCR-type shows on both cable and network TV across the board, so hopefully a rising tide lifts all boats.   Of course, our goal is not just to generate viewers.  We want them to be so inspired by watching that they’ll decide to participate as well.   

 

Q: What are your favorite socks?

MudGear has the greatest socks in the history of feet!


Thanks Tom - we're looking forward to the show!

 

 


Profiles In Badassary: Danielle & Roy Munk June 16 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.

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

We've run marathons and ultramarathons for years and started to look for new challenges that would make us more well rounded athletes. Our first OCR's were Fuego y Agua (Nicaragua), Spartan Beast (Tahoe), and the Battlefrog BFX (Florida). Now our basement, garage, and car trunks are devoted to training for this sport.


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

Most see us running really far and carrying/pushing a lot of strange stuff around the neighborhood. They have a general idea of what we do but without actually seeing an event its tough to explain. Why do we do it? Its really not an option anymore. We are obsessive about it at this point and love it. It's in our families culture now. It's not unusual to randomly have all four of us (including our 3 and 8 year olds) doing a "Death By Burpee" session in the living room just for fun or go downstairs and play around on the pegboard for an evening!


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

Roy: Its tough to choose since all of them are great memories. The the Battlefrog BFX Championship was awesome. Fuego y Agua was amazing for so many reasons...the scenery, the people , and the challenge. Climbing up an active volcano is truly an amazing experience.

Danielle: In the Batttlefrog World Championship In Orlando this past December, during my first BFX, I just made the 3:30 cut off to start another lap.  Each volunteer I passed told me I was in 2nd place and then with 2 miles left I saw a woman in front of me.  As I passed her she said, "The paddle is all yours".   So I got to run the last 2 miles thinking, "Oh my gosh I could somehow win this thing."  Turns out in BFX, laying low and not telling people what lap you are on is a smart strategy.  The amazing woman that actually won and beat me by seven minutes, let me in on that very important lay low strategy.


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

Roy: Put in the time and be willing to do the long, boring hours that aren't the fun or flashy workouts. That's were the real gains are made.

Danielle:  Don't cheat the long runs.  If you want to race at your peak and be able to complete 26 or more miles, you need to train doing long runs.


What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

Danielle: When I just ran marathons, I could run forever but I never felt strong.  The idea of climbing a rope or scaling a wall was never even on my radar and now I don't feel like a weakling anymore.


What inspires you?

Roy: The other racers, whether its the guys and ladies out in the lead in the Elites or the first time finisher. Its cool to spend the day around a group that is pushing themselves to their absolute limits. And just when you think you have given everything you have, you see someone else that is working harder. That just makes us want to keep going.


Danielle: All the amazing people around me in races.  I have not even nearly mastered this yet and seeing all these strong women (and men) around me pushing themselves to their personal breaking points is perfection.



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

Roy: My goal is to do well in the Battlefrog Elite Masters Division. I have been working hard on upper body strength since thats where I needed to improve the most. We actually bought a Platinum Rig for home to train on. Also, I want our daughter, Haven, to continue in the sport and have fun this year.


Danielle:  I did 5 laps in the Battlefrog BFX Championship and came in 2nd.  If I could win a BFX, it would be the most amazing thing I have ever done (aside from giving birth to my 2 beautiful babies).


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

Danielle: No matter how much I work out, I always feel like I should have done more.  That being said after the BFX, I finally did not have that feeling.

Roy: We are vegetarians! I love to show people that you can not eat meat and still be healthy and have muscles.

 

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

Danielle: I wish it was around when I was younger but am so thrilled it will be around for my kids to be the next generation of champions.  It may seem like I'm calling this early but I think the future of this sport will include one or both of my kids as professional OCR racers.  I love this sport and am so glad (even at almost 41), I can still compete with the youngins in the long distance races.  


Roy: I think its the greatest sport in the world. Accessible to all people at all levels. And, it truly takes an all around athlete to excel. I love that the longer endurance events are becoming more common (ie: BFX, the 24 hour events for Tough Mudder and Battlefrog). That opens this sport up to a whole new group of people that may not have had an interest otherwise.

Photos courtesy of Spartan Race.

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles In Badassary: Michael Holtz June 09 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.


 

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

Someone very important to me invited me to join him in a team obstacle course race in 2013. The race took place three months after I finished a year of treatment for stage-3b rectal cancer. He's a fast runner and has run 60 marathons. He is also a cancer survivor and one of the most inspiring and encouraging people I have ever known.

At the race, I was slow and unsteady on my feet because of neuropathy from cancer treatment. He stayed with me to the end. We did the team challenges together. I carried him piggyback up a hill. The race was a long slog and quite a bit longer than the 10K it was billed as, but we finished. And we did the race again the following year.

In the summer of 2015, Spartan Race brought their free workout to Knoxville, Tennessee. I came to the workout, ran into my friend Marc. Spent two hours working out while wearing a black T-shirt in the sun -- I was cooked, but I was hooked. Since then I have completed two Spartan Sprints.


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

I'm an author and motivational speaker, using my experience as a cancer survivor and the fact that I should be dead from the disease as a springboard to tell people life is short, we should do things we love with people we love to be around, and we should be grateful for every minute of the life we have. I'm also a part-time PR guy and work full-time in public health.


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

I was the last finisher from my team (PTI Spartans) at the 2016 Spartan Sprint Atlanta. Outside the festival area, my teammates were waiting for me and cheered as I came out. That was both emotional and memorable.


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

The best advice I've ever received is to always have a goal in mind. When one race is finished, start planning for the next one and get to work.

 

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

OCR has helped me realize that I really can do anything I set my mind to. I'm a large guy with neuropathy in my feet and a permanent colostomy, but none of that has to stop me from challenging myself physically and mentally. I've also overcome worrying about body image. I don't look like an elite athlete and it is likely I never will, but I'm not competing against them ... I'm competing against me. I may be slow, but I have endurance for days. I will cross the finish line.


What inspires you?

My team inspires me. I have been welcomed in to a wonderful group of people who keep me motivated. My friend who invited me to that first obstacle course race inspires me. He's been a great encouragement on so many fronts. And my wife inspires me. Without her I wouldn't be alive, and she supports me in just about everything I do.


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

Like I said, I'm slow. I finished Atlanta in 2:46. I would like to do a Spartan Super. I'm a little unsure about the beast and whether my feet can handle it. Maybe another year.

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

I ran a marathon three weeks before being diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and a half marathon four days after I was diagnosed.


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

I think OCR is exciting right now. There are so many races and venues, so many incredible ways to challenge yourself and build camaraderie with team members. As a relative newbie, it seems the world of OCR has a lot to offer.

Photos courtesy of Spartan Race

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles In Badassary: Kelly Cameron June 02 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.

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

I retired from Roller Derby in 2012 and started coaching. I lost 40 pounds and got my personal trainer certification and I needed more.  Anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes with me knows I'm super competitive about everything and OCR seemed like a natural progression.

 

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

I do it to see how far I can push myself. I think most people know just nod their head and think of course she is trying this.


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

That on my first race I was able to do a lot of the obstacles unassisted!


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

Shoes matter.

 

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

Fear!  Fear of everything...being too old or not strong enough or monkey bars.


What inspires you?

Me!  lol...No what I mean is there is such a shortage of women who are pushing 50 and have not given into the stereotype that you are a soccer mom or your body can't do extreme things anymore.  Or that you can't at this age have the best body of your life.  I want people to say, if she can do it then so can I.  I live by the quote...May the space between where I am and where I want to be inspire me.


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

Before 2015 I hadn't run more than around the block and this year we have four races scheduled so far...I just want every year to push forward farther than the last....maybe I'll be on podiums before 55.


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

That I skated roller derby all over the country under the name of Lemon Drop for 8 years. I didn't start until I was 39. I have a few coaching videos...and 1 music video to my name.  When I traveled for roller derby I rarely got on the line without someone saying...I know you from your videos.  Seriously google Lemon Drop roller derby.


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

I think its exploding!

 

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles In Badassary: Corey White May 26 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.

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

Initially I found out through Facebook. One day a Tough Mudder ad showed up and at the time I accidentally clicked on it. As I started reading and learning more, I felt a spark that this was something I had to get into.


How do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community?

I tell everyone that it's the most fun they'll ever have. Whether you get the opportunity to run with friends or if you run alone, there's no other experience. Some people are confused why I would pay money to get dirty and cold but I always tell them the cold goes away and the mud washes off. It's the memories, new friends, and personal accomplishments that keep me coming back time and time again.


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

My first Spartan race was a complete surprise to me. I had done several Tough Mudders at the time but was told by the person I was running it with, not to be discouraged if I couldn't get through the obstacles because they were more independent and a little tougher.

I thought I'd fail about half of them before the race, but after I was finished the only obstacle that I failed to complete was the spear throw. Running my first competitive race and coming out of it the way I did was definitely something I will never forget.

 

What inspires you?

I get inspired by seeing what other people are capable of. I have always been a very competitive person who grew up paying sports. If someone was better or faster than me at a particular sport, I did whatever it took to become better. After seeing the people that do the OCR circuit regularly, it drives me to want to not only be on that level but to do everything in my power to surpass it.


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

Unfortunately I am still new to the OCR circuit so I don't have many races under my belt just yet, but after running the Atlanta Sprint I realized how much I really wanted to get into it. One of my main goals for this year is to reach a podium in one of my races. I've done a few just for fun and now have done two of them competitively and it's just a different feeling to push yourself that hard and know there will be some kind of accomplishment for it.


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

I think the present and future of OCR is very bright. Every day it seems like there is a new circuit opening up and every time I talk to friends there seems to be more and more that are finally deciding to race. As long as the camaraderie and encouraging atmospheres continue to thrive, OCR will do nothing but grow and draw more participants to it every day.

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles In Badassary: Bash Hussain May 19 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.

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

As a child I was always climbing trees, hanging from branches and jumping over walls so I guess I always was an OCR'er but didn't know it. I excelled it all sports throughout my schooling days but football (soccer for you guys - yes I'm originally from London, UK) and boxing was my two biggest passions.  

Having recently got hooked to American Ninja Warrior I always thought I would be good at some of the obstacles because of my sporty background and it just happened to coincide with an increase of OCR's around Dubai and the UAE.

So last year I got a few friends together, promised I train them and we entered our first OCR. It was the 5k Desert Warrior Challenge and we all loved it. I was hooked ever since and started looking around for more OCR's, the best OCR's and the best clothing (which lead me to you guys). I have completed 3 races since, many with friends who would not normally even consider doing OCR's.

 

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

"In my spare time, I enter races where I have to jump in mud/water, crawl under barb wire and jump over walls. Do you wanna compete in the next race?" People who know me don't ask why. They just give me a stare and try looking for the nearest exit.

 

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

The most memorable moment was completing my first Spartan Race, a super, in February 2016. Before the race I got involved in the Spartan Street Team (shout out to Marie C) so really got to understand the ins and outs of OCR'ing which just increased my passion for anything and everything OCR related.


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

In order to exceed in an OCR you need to be an all-round athlete, so train for that.   


What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

As a suffer of Keratoconus, a rare eye disease which pretty much wiped out the vision from my right eye, I had to stop playing competitive sports, mainly team sports and I thought I would never have the passion for any sport again. There was a while where I stopped training and put on weight.  However, OCR'ing enabled me to continue to be competitive, even if its against myself at the moment, and sporty again.  

 

What inspires you?

Anyone who has the same passion for OCR'ing as I do.


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

So far all the races that I have run, I did so with friends so it was never about completing the race in the quickest possible time it was about getting people involved in OCR who would never had considered it.


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

That I'm blind in my right eye. No one could tell because I wont let it stop me from doing anything.


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

I would love it if OCR became an Olympic Sport. An in the Middle East, would love to see it grow and more races rather than a few a year.

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles In Badassary: Alberto Medellin May 12 2016, 1 Comment

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.

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

Ran my first OCR (Tough Mudder) in October 2012. Met some friends through mutual friends on Facebook and they were recruiting for a TM team. At the time, I had never heard of TM but I agreed to it anyway. Holy heck! I had never even run more than 6 miles at that point. We started training together and ground through our first OCR together. I was hooked. I signed up to run the Texas Spartan Beast a couple months later. After that, I knew I was a Spartan. Since then, I've completed multiple trifectas, the ultra beast in Vermont, Mexico Death Race, Summer Death Race (DNF), multiple GORUCK events, multiple ultra marathon trail races, 50 miler, and 100 miler. Currently training for the SISU Iron.


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

I describe what I do as extreme endurance events. To me, those are events that last longer than 4-6 hours and go for 10+ miles. The longer and tougher the better. It could include an OCR, a GORUCK event (Tough and Heavy), or something like the SISU Iron (30 hours). I mainly do this to be a positive example to my children, family, and friends. I went from fat to fit in a short period of time.


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

Completing the Vermont Ultra Beast in 2015 is one of my most memorable. I DNFed in 2014 so I was back for redemption and I got it.

 

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

You are capable of more than you think. When I first started on this journey in 2012, I had all of these self imposed limits that I placed on myself. As time went on, I realized that I could push past those limits if I let go of the fear of the unknown. I tell friends all the time, when you feel like quitting, just take another step. Rest, then take another step. Do this until you reach the finish line.


What inspires you?

Family and friends who are just starting their fitness journeys. I know what it takes to make that decision to make a change in your life. It takes a lot of resolve and grit to make the decision and even more so to stick to it.


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

I'm no elite by any stretch so I don't have some amazing PR times to brag about. I have completed a 100 mile trail race. It took me close to 28 hours to complete. I'm most proud of that. I'll be going to Iceland in September to compete in a multi-stage trail race covering 110k. My immediate future is consumed with the SISU Iron at the end of April.

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

I was once a cigarette smoking, beer guzzling, cheeseburger smashing fat man. Most people that have met me recently can't believe that man ever existed.

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles In Badassary - Katelyn Robertson May 05 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.


 



How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

I got in to racing when I joined my friend's gym, Mad Dawg Fitness. There I met a group of people who encouraged me to try my first Spartan with them as a way to test myself and push myself outside of my comfort zone.  I was pretty much addicted after that.

 

 

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

Well, the short answer I usually give people is that I get to play in mud and move really heavy stuff. Long story though, I get to get outside with a huge group of amazing people and test myself, both physically and mentally. I get to literally face challenges head on and push myself to conquer them. I get to take control and overcome obstacles. Sure, I have had people tell me I am crazy (and they are probably 100% right), but I think people who NEVER test themselves and see what they are really capable of are the crazy ones!

 

 

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

Most interesting is definitely the people I have met along the way. I went in to my first Battlefrog solo, which was a little overwhelming, but I encountered so many helpful and encouraging people along the way. The people of OCR are definitely different than any sport I have ever participated in. My most memorable would have to be the finish line of the 2015 Spartan Beast. It was a cold and rainy weekend, and I had a sinus infection that I later found out had made its way into my lungs. Needless to say, I was miserable. Thankfully, I had an amazing team that stayed with me the entire time, encouraging me the whole way, no matter how slow I went, or how many times I wanted to stop. I knew that I could conquer the Beast, and nothing was going to stop me. Seeing that finish line, and crossing it with the people that had stuck with me the entire way was definitely the most amazing feeling I have experienced in racing.

 

 

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

As simple as it seems, what sticks with me the most is my old boot camp instructor telling me I am strong. I have a bad habit of selling myself short and doing less than I am capable of. One day, we were doing an exercise and I grabbed the weight that everyone else seemed to be using and my instructor totally called me on it. She said "Katelyn, I never want to see you with that weight again. You are strong. You need to act like it." That sticks with me a lot during races and training, and reminds me not to sell myself short or take the easy way out.

 

 

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

A few years ago, I was in a bad car accident. I had severe whiplash that left me with permanent damage and deteriorating discs in my neck. I had months of physical therapy and doctor visits, with neurologists, radiologists, every kind of -ist imaginable, each time hearing that I might not ever return to my previous physical state or level of activity. Basically, my athletic career was over. For a while, I believed it. I got pretty depressed. I tried to take up painting. I tried to teach myself guitar. I tried to find something to fill that spot in my life. One day, I finally came to my senses. I have been stubborn and hard-headed my whole life. I have never done things any way but my own. Why was I letting these people tell me what I "couldn't" do? Racing has not only helped me to overcome that depression, it has shown me that I am not only stronger than I "should" be, I am STRONG.

 

 

What inspires you?

I inspire me. Not in a selfish, I'm awesome kind of way. The feeling that I get from racing inspires me. The feeling of accomplishment when that long-awaited finish line finally comes into view. The rush of completing an obstacle. The feeling of racing inspires me.

 

 

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

Last April, I finished 7th in my age group in my first Battlefrog, which qualified me for the OCRWC. Sadly/stupidly, I did not go compete in Ohio, so my goal for this season is to qualify again and compete at the OCRWC.

 

 

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

One thing that I think surprises people most about me is that I do not at all consider myself a runner. I am an athlete, and a racer, but I have never actually enjoyed just running. Honestly, I don't think I ever learned HOW to run. My pacing is awful. My breathing is all off. I am NOT a runner, but I have never let that stop me.

 

 

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

It is definitely a growing sport. I am so honored and happy that I got involved pretty early on in racing, and it has definitely taken off in the past few years. I think that it started as sort of a novelty event, but now more and more people are becoming aware of it. My boyfriend is even planning an OCR-themed field day at the elementary school where he works. I am very excited to see where OCR can go as it continues to grow and become more of a mainstream sporting event.

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!

 


The Ultimate OCR Pre-Race Checklist May 05 2016, 0 Comments

What to bring to your obstacle race

 

Besides proper training, eating right, and getting your mind prepared for an OCR race - it's critical to have the day before all planned out and ready before you hit the course. We've made a short checklist below to help you prepare before, during, and after an OCR race. Good luck, race hard, and crush it!

  1. Your ID and race registration. Don't come all the way to a race and forget this critical first step. Keep a photocopy on your phone in image or PDF file to be safe.
  2. Cash for parking and the event area. Head there early to find a good spot, stretch out, and get mentally prepared before the race.
  3. Something to eat and drink before the race. Go with what your stomach already knows and avoid heavy foods. Many racers we know go with smoothies since it's easily absorbed by the body.
  4. Race clothes. Avoid cotton at all costs since it stays heavy and wet once it gets in contact with water or mud. Go with performance fabrics, preferably MudGear. 
  5. Protective Gear. Compression socks, arm sleeves, and gloves for protection if you plan to attack the course. Preferably MudGear too if possible.
  6. Shoes with good tread. You don't want to be the one slipping down a hill that's wet and muddy because your shoes had poor grip!
  7. Sunscreen. Just because you are cold and wet doesn't mean you are protected from the sun's UV rays.
  8. Old Towels. You won't get all the way clean after a race, but they will help!
  9. Change Of Clothes. Depending on where you run, a jacket or small blanket might be useful too afterwards.
  10. Garbage Bag. For your dirty and muddy clothes
  11. Extra Shoes. Self-explanatory
  12. First Aid Kit. Band-aids, ibuprofen, and other items for cuts and bruises.
  13. Sunglasses. Because who doesn't want to look good jumping over the fire?
  14. Phone. Chances are you're reading this on one, so if you take a selfie and use #MudGear you'll get a chance to win some free gear!

Until next time, 

Team MudGear


Profiles In Badassary - Terry Garbis April 28 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.

 



How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

My friend asked me to be on a team at the super hero scramble a few years ago.  I was warming up in the parking lot when I heard the countdown to start.  I started about a half mile behind everyone else just getting to the starting line.  I took tenth place at that race and decided I could win some OCRs that day, and not only did I decide that, but I have :)

 

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

I radiate positivity. There is good in every situation, sometimes it's harder to see than others but it's always there. There are no problems only solutions waiting to happen. I work as a bartender and most days when I leave work my face hurts from smiling so much.  I think people connect to that wether on a conscious or subconscious level and I think I make a positive difference in people's lives.  I have had a few people tell me that they started eating healthy and running because I inspired them to do so. To that I always reply, "I didn't do anything, you did it."

 

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

I have been competing for a few years now, and there have been a lot of good times on a lot of different courses. It's always a good feeling standing on the podium.  Most recently I convinced my brother to start competing and watching Max win a 300$ cash prize in his second race out was pretty awesome. I have had some injuries that have held back my training, but I can't wait to go out and compete against him, and my other brother Phil who did his first OCR recently as well.

 

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

Have fun. If you don't enjoy what your doing you should probably not do it.  It's just a sport and it's all for fun.

 

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

I get depressed. It's a physical condition that I have grown to recognize the symptoms to.  Remaining focused on a healthy lifestyle helps limit the outbreaks and maintaining a positive thought process helps battle the negative thoughts that can occur. It's a lot like running  a race, you can't let up for even a second or someone will take you out.

 

What inspires you?

I find great personal satisfaction in setting goals and achieving them. Whether it's running consecutive sub six minute miles or doing being able to do 10 pull ups in a row or starting a successful business.  I also really enjoy seeing other people overcome their personal challenges, it keeps me motivated to keep working on myself becoming a better person each day.  I truly believe that we are stronger working together.  In community there is strength and sometimes we all need a little extra encouragement.

 

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

My goals are a little different lately than in the years past.  My 9 year old niece Summer was diagnosed with leukemia and has been suffering tremesously.  I really want to to help her and my family stay strong together and fight cancer until the end. It's pretty devastating watching the transformation that the chemo has cuased on her young body, and how it has affected my family.  I want to put together a 5K in honor of her and all those fighting cancer.   If you want to give her some support and kind words you can leave her some inspiration on her Facebook page here.  Words really do matter. #summersoldiers  

 

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

I have 8 brothers and one sister.  I speak Spanish, French, Portuguese and a little bit of Greek.  I have also traveled to over 60 countries.  

 

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

I think the sport is heading in the right direction.  There are some bugs that need to be worked out but it's a very complex competition.  Sheer speed and the balance of strength and technique of obstacle completion is a delicate balance.  Judging who is the best at that properly definitely presents its unique challenges.

 

 

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles in Badassary Presents Mimi Schector April 25 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.

Mimi Schector Obstacle Racer 

How did you get into OCR racing?

I ran a marathon on a dare, and it was my first timed race, and my first race, of any kind. This was in 2011. I trained for 8 months and tore my meniscus at the 5th mile. I finished the race after 6 hours 20 minutes, limping and in tears. I'm incredibly stubborn, so quitting was not an option. From there, I ran a Merrell Down & Dirty 5k OCR the following year, and I was hooked. The past two years have been insane in a good way. I race pretty much every other weekend, including OCRs and endurance events.


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

I tell people that it makes me feel alive. There's nothing quite like the jolt of electricity that courses through my body as you walk from the parking lot to the venue and pick up your race packet. From there, it's test after test as to how well you do or don't complete the obstacles. I race for the pure enjoyment of the experience - whether good, bad or somewhere in-between. Every experience has value, and the most valuable ones are the ones that you've failed at. My first, and only, DNF (did not finish) to date was last year at the SISU Iron, a 30-hour endurance event where I let the cold get to me - physically and mentally - after 5 long hours of being perpetually cold despite the two hour PT workout I went through. Was it worth doing? Absolutely. It makes you stronger as an athlete, and as a person.


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

My most memorable moment/experience was at my third OCR ever, when I saw a woman who was alone, untrained, young, and out of shape.She was struggling at the first obstacle. I ran with her through the entire race (a Spartan Super). I'll always remember the smile on her face when we crossed the finish line. I occasionally race for time, which requires me to run solo. I'm a very social person, so it's a real challenge for me to not come across friends and finish the course with them. Taking the time to help her, and show her how to complete the obstacles, was absolutely the right decision. I've done this at a few races, including a Spartan Sprint last December, where I was racing for time as an Elite racer until a woman was going to walk around an 8' wall within the first 30 minutes of the event. I just had to stop, help, and finish the race with her. There will always be people who race for themselves, but more often than not there are people who take the time to help another racer. The sport is comprised of so many good people, which is what makes it a community. This is one of the reasons why I race.

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

The best training is to look at everything as a training opportunity. Do squats while you brush your teeth, calf raises while at the copier, etcetera. Pushups, planking, lunges, bear crawls - there's so much that can be done without equipment. Carry a bucket of rocks on a walk, hike often with a weighted pack. Get up every thirty minutes at most to walk/stretch, and invest in a FitBit or download an app to track your steps - and give yourself a mental reward for the days that you reach 10,000 steps.


What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

The biggest challenge that I've learned to overcome is confidence in myself as an athlete and as an obstacle course racer. I was always the last kid picked for a team in elementary school, and didn't participate in sports of any kind until I was an adult. The irony is that I was the jungle gym champ all through elementary school, so I suppose my OCR lifestyle was destiny. The word 'athlete' wasn't something I was comfortable for a very long time. I finally realized and accepted it recently. I eat clean (except for my pizza and chocolate habits), and I train hard. The confidence is one of the best takeaways from the sport, along with the friendships I've made along this journey.


What inspires you?

What inspires me is the community within OCR. I belong to many OCR communities nationwide, and there's something special about people who race. The whys are varied, from wanting to be in shape and losing large amounts of weight, to wanting to inspire others. I have so many incredible friends who share my passion, and I love my life. It really was a game-changer. I also started Team Dirty Girls, an OCR and fitness team with a friend in 2012 when I ran my first 'real' OCR with a friend who stopped racing soon after. It was a Tough Mudder. Another friend set up a Twitter account and said 'Here it is - start tweeting. I knew nothing about Twitter and now have over 4,500 followers there, along with accounts on Facebook and Instagram, as well. Huge thank you to Jeff for the push. 

https://www.facebook.com/TeamDirtyGirls/

https://twitter.com/TeamDirtyGirls

https://www.instagram.com/teamdirtygirlsocr/


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

Race stats? In my age group, I'm often in the top twenty and occasionally in the top ten. I'm actually not competitive when I race, except for the rare times when I want to race solo and run fast. I did participate in something that was absolutely amazing last summer. I answered a small, vague ad on Facebook about an adventure in Africa. Out of 6,000 applicants, I was one of twenty who were chosen. I can't discuss the details yet, but I can say that it was the most difficult, scary, uncomfortable and incredible thing I have ever done. Five weeks into the unknown was a huge leap of faith, and I was out of communication for the entire time. This taught me so much about inner strength, and about taking risks. Life really is short, and I'm approaching the rest of mine with a completely different mindset. Goal for this year? OCRWC - I qualified in October, and it will be the most challenging OCR yet. There's also a back-to-basics (think navigation by the stars, building a fire with no tools, etcetera) event on the east coast that I hope to get to as well (the Rynge).

I'm returning to the SISU Iron this weekend to face my demons and hopefully slay them after my DNF of last year. The SISU staff is incredible, and they're also friends. It's not an easy event in any aspect, and they're not your friends during the event. It's part of why the SISU Iron has the reputation of being such a tough and respected endurance event. The 30-hour Iron has an insane gear list and ridiculously difficult mental and physical challenges. Attendees come from all over the country to be put through such a rigorous event. People train hard - very hard - for this event, and sometimes it's the unexpected athletes who finish. I've upped my training and am in it to finish it. If it ends up being another DNF, I'll lick my wounds, learn from it, and register right away for the next one. Fear is temporary. Regret lasts forever.

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

Honestly, I think my age is what people find surprising. I recently turned 54 and am in better shape and health than ever before. So many women approach me, whether at races or everywhere else to tell me that they could never do what I do. I decided to show them they can. I'm currently studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), which is the most respected trainer certification program out there. After that, I'm going for my Spartan SXG Trainer certification. I'm targeting women 40 and older, and can't wait to start this next chapter in my never-ending book.



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

This is a wonderful time for the future of OCR. It's growing every year, and now many race organizations have included kids races, so the next generation is already hooked. In addition, endurance events are attracting the OCR participants who want something more. My favorites are GORUCK and Team SISU, and you really discover what you're made of - mentally and physically. Shows such as American Ninja Warrior and the Amazing Race are helping, as well. Everyone's why is different. Mine is that I want to experience as much as possible and push myself as much as possible. We're dying from the moment we're born, so you need to start living your life your way.

Photo Credits to Spartan Race and Tough Mudder

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!

 

 


Profiles In Badassary - Ron Zastocki April 21 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.

 

Profiles In Badassary - Ron Zastocki

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

I became very tired of running 5ks. After a while, running the streets became boring. I wanted something that was more exciting and found it in OCR.


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

I tell them it's like boot camp style obstacles with running. As far as why I do it, it's because I love to push myself to my limits. I want to see how far I can go and what I can accomplish. Plus nothing beats the feeling of crossing that finish line after a long grueling course.


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

The most interesting moment was when I was at the final barbed wire crawl at the PA Spartan Sprint a couple years ago. One of the strands of barbed wire had fallen into the water and wasn't visible. As I came through the obstacle, the barbed wire got wrapped around my shorts and became lodged in my butt cheek. I had to practically rip the shorts off in order to get out of that mess.

Profiles In Badassary - Ron Zastocki

 

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

Keep pushing until you have nothing left. Whether it's training or racing, you have to give it your all in order to succeed.


What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

OCR just teaches you to never quit. We battle obstacles on the course and find ways to overcome them. That mentality crosses over the our real life obstacles and helps of move on.


What inspires you?

Seeing the other racers on the course and listening to their stories. I love doing the sweeper wave for Spartan Race because the final racer always has a great story. They go through hell all day to complete to the course and when they finish the get a hero's welcome and never a dry eye in the house.

 

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

  • Rock Solid Mud Run: Winner 3 years in a row
  • Top 100 Spartan Race Elite Male: 2 years in a row
  • Top 100 Spartan Race Stadium Series: Elite Male

Goal this year is to qualify for World Championships, I missed last year by 6 seconds. I want that coin!


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

For the Special Spartans Kid's race, I dress up as Spiderman and run with the kids.


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

The sport is growing and I love it. I think the future is very bright for the sport. There is more attention on it and now that it's televised, there is more exposure to our sport.

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!

 


Profiles in Badassary - Jason Dupree April 14 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.

 

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.

 

Profiles In Badassary - OCR Interview with Jason Dupree

 

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.

 Profiles In Badassary - OCR Interview with Jason Dupree

 

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.

 Profiles In Badassary - OCR Interview with Jason Dupree

 

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.

 

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles In Badassary - Lauren Kruppa April 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

 

Profiles In Badassary - Lauren Kruppa

How Did You Get Into OCR Racing?

My sweet boyfriend was the one who got me hooked. When we first met, he asked if I wanted to tag along and be a spectator. I'm actually more of a team player than bystander, so not knowing what I was getting into I agreed. I raced alongside him, and have been addicted ever since!

 

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 test of what I'm really made of, and I push myself past the comfort zone. In the moment it may seem tough, but crossing that finish line makes everything second worth it. I've been an active person with sports and outdoor hobbies my whole life, but OCR takes that to a whole new level. It tests both my mental and physical strength.

 

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

It would definitely be my first race. Crossing that finish line with my boyfriend was just amazing. I had challenged myself and he was there to help me through it all. It really defined the teamwork that the OCR community has as well as the strength and support our relationship has. I knew that moment that I could count on him for anything.

 

 

Profiles In Badassary - OCR Interview with Lauren Kruppa

 

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

Never give up. As simple as this concept was, it can be hard to maintain this mindset through training and racing. Sometimes there are tough training days, where I'd rather sit on my couch with a Playstation. But then I think about my goals and the person I want to be and push through it. No one has achieved greatness giving up, ever.

 

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

Being a mentally strong person. A few years back I was a victim of domestic violence. The process of building yourself back up is long and tiring. OCR helped me rebuild myself to the strong and confident person I was again. I learned to not listen to negativity and to believe in myself. Life handed me some sour lemons, but I made some pretty damn good lemonade from it!

Profiles In Badassary - OCR Interview With Lauren Kruppa

 

 

What inspires you?

The ability to be able to participate in activities such as OCR. Not everyone is able to partake in such sports. I am fortunate to be blessed with a healthy body, a wonderful life, and a fantastic boyfriend/racing partner, so why not live life to the fullest. We are not here for long and life flies by quick, so I like to do all I can while I can.

 

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

My two goals for this year would be to cut minutes off my race times compared to last year and to complete 90% of my races penalty free. I might be crazy, but we'll see how it goes!

 

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

Before OCR, I was a pageant queen and a published model. One of my biggest modeling accomplishment was being published in the UFC magazine. Pageants and modeling are quite different from OCR, but the variety definitely adds spice to my life. I was also a dancer, starting when I was about 3 years old. I continued dance through college. It was a strong passion of mine and my longest running hobby yet. The balance I learned from dancing has definitely come in handy in OCR.

 

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

The sport is growing and I love it. The new trend to be fit and active is a fantastic trend. It's something the country really needs. I love the expansion that all race series are doing. Battlefrog going nationwide, Spartan going more global, it's fantastic! I love hearing that someone new has tried OCR. They were inspired and believed in themselves enough to sign up, and I can say that takes a lot of guts. I hope this trend keeps continuing!

 

Photo credits to Spartan Race and Rugged Maniac

 

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!


Profiles In Badassary - Bobby Pierce March 31 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 do you describe what you do to people outside of the OCR community?

As a high school biology teacher and avid fitness enthusiast, I try to inspire people to be successful in whatever they choose. At my Camp Gladiator fitness group, I work extremely hard and take the sessions seriously to improve. As a result, people in my CG group have also expressed interest in trying out Spartan Sprint and Beast this year. This year, we will have almost thirty members from CG attending the Spartan Sprint race for the first time in Austin!


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

Dallas Spartan Beast in October 2015. Before the race, the area had a huge rainfall. I had a 12:30PM wave time and arrived two hours before the race, only to be stuck in the biggest traffic jam. I was stuck in my car for almost five hours before I finally got to park and dash to get checked in.

I went off with the last wave of the day at 4:30PM and have never been in so much mud. I race solo, but met three other great guys at one of the obstacles where we helped each other. We ended up racing together due to the massive amount of mud. Luckily, I was prepared and packed a headlamp as the last 3-4 miles were in complete darkness.

Shortly after, we ran into a group of 25 people that had no lights and were just standing on the trail because they couldn’t see where to go. I went to the front and lead them all the way in. I felt like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer leading the pack to Santa.

 

Bobby Pierce - Profiles In Badassary by MudGear

 

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

I’ve made so many friends in the OCR world over the last two years. Veteran racers have helped me with the proper attire, training tips, and encouragement. The best advice I received was how to climb a rope. I paid $20 to attend a class and got personal help learning the J-hook method. Now I can climb a rope with no issues, and can’t wait to ring the bell when I complete my climb at the Spartan Sprint Austin in April 2016.

 

What personal challenges has OCR helped you overcome?

My biggest challenge was my lack of upper body strength. At the Savage and Spartan races I failed miserably at monkey bars, walls, and rope climbing due to poor technique and grip strength. I began to focus on those areas and boy, what a huge difference it made in six months. I used to be so weak that I could only hold on to a few monkey bars and fall off. There’s still a lot to improve on, but it’s motivating to see progress and overcoming those obstacles.

 

What inspires you?

The first is my wife. She has asthma and allergy problems but still trains with me even when her breathing is compromised. Watching her work out inspires me to go harder because I know how difficult it already is for her to push so hard. Coming back from a bad car wreck many years ago and dealing with her breathing problems, it really inspires me to push my limits. She’s also completing her first OCR at the Austin Spartan Sprint in April 2016 with me, and I can’t wait to be on the course with her.

 

Any race stats to share, and what are your goals for 2016?

I’m still new to OCR and have only completed five major races. I made the award podium twice in the competitive class at Dallas Savage, with a bronze in my first year and silver last year. I’m very competitive and can beat many people younger than myself.

Being a school teacher I’m very observant and have great hearing. I love racing by younger guys and hearing them say “Did we just get passed by an old dude?” I always turn my head back at them and smile.

 

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

I’m an avid health and fitness person, but my profession is a public school teacher that has an award winning competition Science program. We’ve won six science team state championships in Texas over the past 7 years.

 

How did you get into OCR racing?

I started fairly late at the age of 52 with my first race in the summer of 2014. It was at a local church to support their summer vacation bible school program. The race was nothing big, just a two mile loop with five very small obstacles. Surprisingly with no training, I finished in 5th place and found out my strength and conditioning was not as good as I thought.

I put some work into my strength and endurance training in the following months. Three months later, I joined the Dallas Savage Race. After earning a bronze medal in the competitive class, I knew I had some skill in OCR that could be honed in more. With more training and work, I eventually moved into the Spartan and Savage races locally in 2015. My passion is now training and running OCRs and I’m improving quickly for a guy that’s almost 54!

 

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

In the two short years I’ve been competing in OCR, there’s been a huge growth from the local to national level. Some people say it’s just a “fad”, but I totally disagree. It’s going to continue to grow as Spartan races are televised by NBC and many top sponsors are supporting various events. I know I’m just beginning, and I plan to do OCR as long as my body will allow.

 

Here's also a video of Bobby conquering an 8-foot wall at the age of 54: 

 

 

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

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!

 


MudGear: Official Socks of the 2016 ESPN Battlefrog College Championship and League Championship March 25 2016, 0 Comments

Hi, it's Malko here.

Last week I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to see the Season 2 filming of the 2016 ESPN Battlefrog College Championships and League Championship. This show has 16 co-ed rival college teams and city teams competing for a national championships in an OCR course built by the guys at Battlefrog.

The short course is a fast 350-meters long with 20 obstacles, and teams are made up of four people - two men, two women. The short course creates an all-out sprint race in which the cameras are able capture end to end footage of the contestants.

Season 1 had an incredible reception, drawing over 2 million viewers in the first week on ESPN 2, and garnered a strong fan base for this year. In fact, ESPN picked it up for prime-time episodes this year.  In Season 1, MudGear sponsored gear for the Black Knights of the United States Military Academy who took the Trident Cup home to West Point.  They will be defending their title this year against some stiff competition.

With the expansion of the event, this year, MudGear is proud to be the official socks of the 2016 ESPN Battlefrog College Championship and League Championship. Every athlete on the course and show received our compression OCR socks and trail socks and I was thrilled to see MudGear all over the course. We even had MudGear banners and a MudGear obstacle which was super cool.

The ESPN crew put in great effort to capture every angle of the race.  Cameras were everywhere, including attached to obstacles and drone shots that will make it phenomenal to watch on television. Season 2 is scheduled to air in June and I predict it will be some the best OCR race coverage we've ever seen.  It's a big step for the OCR community!

I'm not allowed to give away any results, but here are a few action shots of the event that don't spoil anything:

 

 

 


Profiles in Badassary - Garfield Griffiths March 21 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.

Garfield Griffiths is the kilt wearing race director of the OCRWC and will direct this year's highly anticipated re-release of Civilian Military Combine.  

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

I tell people I’m a producer of big and muddy obstacle races that crazy and fun people like to do. I do it because I absolutely love it. Being able to meet the participants, staff, and OCR community as a whole is incredible. Behind the scenes there’s always a rush of a million moving parts. One minute I’m setting up digital marketing campaigns, talking to China for materials, or vendors regarding merchandise orders. At the end of the day, I’m operating heavy machinery in the middle of nowhere building amazing obstacles. It’s really the ultimate job for anyone with ADHD. Oh look...a squirrel!

 

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

Too many to count. Seeing my obstacle design "Wheel World" (originally Spin Class) launched at Savage Race and being incredibly well received and also nominated for "Best New Obstacle In 2015".  Then to have it recreated at the UK's Nuclear Races was pretty great. Seeing the 2015 OCR World Championships go off without a (major) hitch and then winning the"Best Event Of 2015" award kinda made me tingly all over as well.

 

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

Do not go under my kilt when racing (not nice for people below me on obstacles).

 

What personal challenges has OCR has helped you overcome?

OCR gives me a way to channel my (slightly) overboard passion and hyperactivity levels into something I love.


 

What inspires you?

My family and friends.  My kids are my life. Also those inspiration quote pictures on Facebook with mountains and waterfalls in them.

 

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

I was bullied terribly as a child, and because of that I've been a martial artist for 30 years. Now I’m a certified Krav Maga instructor (Israeli special forces martial art). I also dealt poker to the heads of the Turkish mob in Istanbul during the Gulf War. I was a very successful club DJ back in the UK and here the US working with the biggest names in the industry (Tiesto, Oakenfold,Sasha, Van Dyk). I like long walks on the beach...wait, this isn't Eharmony.

 

What are your thoughts on the current state and future of OCR?Garfield Griffiths OCR Profiles In Badassary

I don't like to get into the whole "what does the future hold" debates. It’s f***ing amazing right now. Yes, maybe it has leveled out and we all know that - but I’m just thoroughly enjoying every second while it lasts. So in my best Forrest Gump voice "That's all i have got to say about thaaaaat...

 

 

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

 

Know a real badass? Send them here to submit an application to be our next profile in badassary -  or apply yourself!

 

 


Team MudGear 2016 Open Call Winner #2: Ryan Bowyer March 09 2016, 0 Comments

Ryan Bower Spartan Race OCR
Photo Credit: Spartan Race

After going through 300+ qualified applications to our open call for Team Mudgear 2016, it’s time to announce our second winner.

Team MudGear is proud to announce our latest addition, Ryan Bowyer.  Ryan overcame physical obstacles to achieve his dreams of earning medals and trophies from Spartan Races, Rugged Maniacs, and Warrior Dashes.  He has channeled his competitive spirit into encouraging students and co-workers to break through their own obstacles as a community coordinator and mentor at Coastal Carolina University, where he has brought many into the sport for the first time.

“I was born club footed in 1987. I spent the first year and a half of my life in extremely difficult casts. As a result, I absolutely have to run on the forefront/balls of my feet because I physically am not able to efficiently run heel to toe. My father used to joke that every runner in a race could be wearing the same uniform but that he could pick me out of a crowd. He always said that running heel-to-toe seemed difficult for me, and it was true. I overcame those limitations and have had an incredibly successful collegiate and post-collegiate running career.  

In my office at Coastal Carolina University, I hang the medals and trophies that I receive from racing. These are often conversation starters with students as they come in and out of my office. All of my student-staff and co-workers know how important being physically fit, active, and racing is to me. Over the years I’ve gotten numerous co-workers and resident directors to race with me.

The obstacles in our races are more than physical barriers – they represent what so many of us have gone through in life. A typical road race often does not have the ability to stop us in our tracks like OCR races. As a result, overcoming and succeeding in these races appeals to so many people. The more people we get to challenge themselves in one of our races the better our world becomes.”

Team MudGear would like to thank all the amazing athletes who applied to be on this year's sponsor team.  Please be on the lookout for more opportunities to join our team later this year.  Thank you for supporting MudGear!

 

 


Team MudGear 2016 Open Call Winner #1: James Schissler March 09 2016, 0 Comments

James Schissler Team MudGear 2016

After reviewing over 300 qualified applications from the phenomenal OCR community, it's time to announce our winners. This was no easy task considering the many, many inspiring stories you submitted, but there were two that stood out as examples of people using OCR to build up themselves and those around them.

Team MudGear is proud to announce our latest addition, James Schissler of Gloucester County, NJ to our 2016 roster of sponsored athletes. He’s a trainer from South Jersey OCR, and is also heavily involved in his community by helping the homeless, veterans, and more.

James has been recognized for his works with a national group called Active Heroes, helping raise awareness in suicide among US military veterans. You can read about the impressive fitness challenge he led to raise awareness.  

As a former corrections officer, he also ran 117 miles to honor the lives of 117 police officers killed in the line of duty in 2014. We admire his dedication to helping others overcome obstacles, and are proud to have him part of the team.

“I'm the standard everyday 9-5 working individual that's into fitness and giving back to the community. I mainly train for obstacle course races (Spartan Race, Tough Mudders) and have competed on all levels since 2010.

I stay active and fit for not just for myself, or the thrill of obstacle course racing, but to help others lift themselves off the couch and realize that they can do anything they put their mind to. I want to spark inspiration to people that'll ignite a passion to change themselves for good, fitness and health is a lifestyle and a journey that lasts a lifetime.”

Please join us in welcoming James to Team MudGear! 


Open Call For Team MudGear 2016: Become A Sponsored OCR Athlete! February 25 2016, 0 Comments

Hi, it’s Malko here from MudGear.

The moment is now. If you’ve got dreams to be a sponsored OCR athlete, you can now take that first step in making them come true.

Team MudGear is looking to fill our 2016 roster with two more sponsored athletes from the OCR community. Whether you’ve been racing for years or just joined, everyone is welcome to apply. 

Who Are We Looking For?

Most importantly, we’re looking for someone that embodies the spirit of OCR, pushing themselves to new limits, and strives for the best every time they’re in a race. We also need people who can help us spread the word about MudGear. Does that sound like you? If so, we’d love to learn more about you.

What Perks Will You Get?

As a sponsored athlete with Team MudGear, you’ll get perks such as free swag and gear, access to our private Facebook group, and of course, the right to brag to the world that you are a sponsored OCR athlete.

How To Apply?

1) Please fill out the application form below. It shouldn't take more than five minutes and you'll be on your way.

2) We'll be announcing the winners on March 8th, 6:00PM EST on our blog here and social media pages. 

When Is The Deadline?

The deadline to apply closes on Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 6:00PM EST.  If you’re looking to take that first step towards being a sponsored athlete, fill out the form below to apply. 

Good luck, and I look forward to seeing your application!

Malko

 


Applications are currently closed.  Enter your email address below to receive an email alert the next time applications are being accepted.

 

 

 

 


Kevin “MudMan” LaPlatney: OCR Expert and Evangelist February 22 2016, 0 Comments


Kevin is the founder of the premiere OCR race review website The Mudman Report, and has been a long standing member of Team MudGear. The Mudman Report is a comprehensive guide to the best races across the country based on his personal reviews of each event. Known as the “Mudman”, he is also a critical figure in driving the exponential growth of OCR over the past few years.

  • Nearly 100 races
  • Founder of The Mudman Report
  • Magazine author and contributor to the MudGear Blog

From Long Island NY, Kevin has been running OCRs since 2010 and is now closing in on 100 total races completed. In 2015 he managed to complete 22 races and podium at a few despite dealing with injuries. He also finished the BattleFrog Elite season ranked #36 in the country. We are proud to have the Mudman on our team, and look forward to having him represent MudGear on the course.  

 

 

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

 


Meet Elliott Megquier: World Record Holder for the Most Spartan Race Podium Wins February 21 2016, 0 Comments

MudGear is proud to announce Elliott Megquier as a 2016 Sponsored Team MudGear Athlete. Elliott was the first elite athlete to wear MudGear on the race course 4 seasons ago, so we are thrilled to have him back for 2016. Over his career, he has completed over 127 Spartan Races and placed on 53 Spartan Elite podiums, the most in the world. In 2015, he ran 27 Spartan Races with 8 podiums and 2 wins. Elliott also won both snowshoe races that he entered.  

 

  • 127 Spartan Races...more than any other athlete
  • 53 Podium finishes
  • First athlete in the world on podium wearing MudGear
  • US Army Strong
  • Genuine badass...to the max

In the 2014 Carolinas Spartan Sprint, Elliott took 2nd place wearing MudGear trail socks and base layer briefs. When told the base layer briefs were meant to be worn under shorts, he said he didn’t give a shit. From that moment on, he has been one of MudGear’s favorite racers. We are proud to continue having Elliott on the team, and look forward to see him crush more races this year. 

  

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

 

 

 

 

 


Meet Laura Lunardi: OCR & Ultra-Marathon Crusher February 20 2016, 0 Comments

MudGear is proud to announce Laura Lunardi as part of Team MudGear. She’s been a star athlete since her college days, a Division 1 athlete in both field hockey and lacrosse. Now working in geriatric physical therapy and a mother to five kids all under the age of 9 - she still manages to find time crushing OCR races and ultra-marathons. In 2015, she completed over 35 races with over 20 of them in OCR. With a podium finish to every race except one, she’s a true inspiration for all OCR athletes.

  • 10 Elite Spartan podiums in 2015
  • 14 Elite Masters Spartan podiums in 2015
  • Top 3 Female in 3 ultra marathons in 2015
  • 2015 Elite Masters: #1
  • 2015 Elite Female Spartan: #10
  • Podium finishes in all 2015 races from 10K-15K distances

 

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

 

 


Meet K.K. Stewart-Paul: Obstacle Course Dominator February 19 2016, 0 Comments

  

 

MudGear is proud to announce K.K. Stewart-Paul as part of Team MudGear. As a Crossfit endurance enthusiast, mountain runner, and former equine trainer - she now dominates OCR courses around the country. In 2015, she won 1st place in over ten races, and looks forward to breaking new records this year. 

  • 2015 Arizona Spartan Race (back to back days): 1st
  • 2015 Atlas Race SoCal: 2nd
  • 2015 Atlas Race SoCal: 1st
  • 2015: Atlas Race San Antonio: 1st
  • 2015: Battle Frog Dallas: 1st
  • 2015 Colorado Spartan Race (back to back days): 1st
  • 2015 Pac-West Spartan Sprint: 1st
  • 2015 Breckenridge Spartan Sprint: 1st
  • 2015 Dallas Battlefrog: 1st  
  • 2015 Atlanta Battlefrog: 1st
  • 2015 Miami Battlefrog: 1st
  • 2015 Orlando Battlefrog Championships: 4th
  • 2015 Obstacle Course Race World Championship: 3rd

 

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

 


Meet Brakken Kraker: “I Am OCR” February 18 2016, 0 Comments

MudGear is proud to announce OCR pro Brakken Kraker as part of Team MudGear. Since 2014 Brakken has been a full-time OCR racer, but his beginnings started at the Illinois Spartan Sprint in 2011. At that race, he discovered how bad his fitness was and the misery of burpees. Since then, he’s pushed himself to become one of the leading figures in the OCR community. Brakken currently lives and trains in Colorado Springs with his wife, his brother, and two kids.

      • Spartan Points Series 2015: 3rd
      • 7 OCR wins in 2015
      • 20 races completed in 2015
      • 16 races with podium finish in 2015

 


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


Meet Robert Killian Jr.: “The Captain” February 17 2016, 0 Comments

MudGear is proud to announce Robert Killian Jr. as part of Team MudGear. Robert has a distinguished career in the US Army Special Forces, routinely working with coalition allies throughout the world. He’s also placed top 3 in the grueling three-day Best Ranger 2015 competition. He also has the highest ever finish by an American at the World Military Orienteering Championships, being nominated for US Army Soldier-Athlete of the Year in 2015. His records in OCR for 2015 are just as impressive:  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 2015 Spartan World Championships: 1st
  • 2015 Longmont Triathlon: 1st
  • 2015 Colorado Mass Start Winter Biathlon: 1st
  • 2015 US Army Best Ranger Competition: 2nd
  • 2015 OCR World Team Championships: 3rd
  • 2015 Spartan Beast Breckenridge Race: 3rd
  • 2015 Spartan Super Pennsylvania: 3rd
  • 2015 Spartan Super New Jersey: 3rd
  • 2015 Warrior Dash World Championships: 9th

 

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


Meet Jackie Landmark: OCR Addict & Supermom February 16 2016, 0 Comments

MudGear is proud to announce Jackie Landmark as part of Team MudGear. A self-professed OCR addict, she currently lives in Deerfield, MA with her husband and five kids. In less than two years after her first OCR race, Jackie has already bagged over a dozen podium finishes across multiple races:

  • Charlotte Spartan Sprint: 1st
  • Bone Frog Challenge NJ: 1st
  • BoneFrog Challenge NE” 1st
  • Spartan SC Beast: 1st
  • Spartan SC Sprint: 1st
  • Tri State NY Sprint (1st Weekend): 1st
  • Tri-State NY Sprint (2nd Weekend): 1st
  • Citifield Stadium Sprint: 2nd
  • Boston Super: 2nd (Saturday), 1st (Sunday)
  • Savage Race PA: 2nd
  • Spartan AT&T Stadium: 2nd
  • Spartan Fenway: 2nd
  • SoCal Spartan Sprint: 3rd
  • Spartan VT Beast: 3rd

Jackie looks forward to breaking her own records in 2016, and we at MudGear are proud to have her be a part of this elite team.

 

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


Meet Janet Barry: Rising Star February 15 2016, 0 Comments


MudGear is proud to announce Janet Barry as part of Team MudGear. She’s a 25-year old athlete that competes in both OCR and road races. In her first OCR race at the DC Spartan Sprint. she placed 5th and realized this was a sport she could excel at with hard work and dedication. Since that sprint she “climbed the podium” over the next three races, finishing as the third, second, and finally first elite woman. In 2016, she intends to compete with the best athletes in OCR.   

  • 2015 Alabama Spartan Race: 1st Place
  • 2015 Spartan Sprint: 2nd
  • 2015 Asheville Spartan Super: 3rd Place Female (Overall)
  • 2015 Spartan Race: 5th Elite Woman
  • Numerous 5K road race wins
  • Division 1 collegiate track athlete

     

    As one of the youngest members of Team MudGear, we look forward to seeing Janet crush future races and pushing herself to new limits.

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

     

     


    The #1 Question To Ask Yourself After A Race January 20 2016, 0 Comments

    A pro tip from Team MudGear Athlete Laura Lunardi

    In the world of GPS, heart monitors, time clocks, and OCR rankings – we spend so much of our time worrying about the numbers. How was today’s run? Did we reach our target heart rate? Was that a podium finish? Did you PR? As competitive athletes, it’s naturally in our blood, spirit, and mind.

    But are we missing something bigger?

    Perhaps we’re too concerned about the numbers. Now we quantify just about everything from nutrition, fitness, and races. We also have to remember so many passwords, access codes, social security numbers, and PINs. 

    As competitors, it’s definitely hard not to pay attention to all of these things. Yes, they are important, especially if you have set goals in certain areas. But are they so important that we forget why we run (or race) in the first place?

     

    Nobody ever asks: “How did you feel after your race today?”

    I’m the first to admit that I have lofty goals for just about every race I enter. I usually have a specific finishing time or overall gender placement I’d like to reach. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to achieve most of my racing goals.

    However, along with all of the “good” races, I’ve certainly had my share of bad ones. There have been times where I’ve finished with a PR, but didn’t feel “right” during the race. I’ve also had morning runs where the successful time doesn’t reflect how physically awful I felt. So really…how important are the numbers?

    In my last race of 2015 (the Palm Beach Marathon), I finished as the 2nd overall female.  

    Great, right?

    Truth is, I felt miserable the whole time. It may have been the worst I’ve ever felt in a race (probably nothing related to my 3rd place finish the previous day at the Spartan Miami Sprint…). Was it satisfying to stand on the podium at the awards ceremony? Honestly, no.

    Sometimes the most enjoyable runs I’ve taken were the ones where I left my GPS at home. Or when I don’t look at my watch until I’m back home running up the driveway. Runs where I ran based on how I was feeling - not by what the numbers on my watch were showing.

    Does this mean I will stop counting my cumulative miles? Abandon my GPS watch? Forget about the clock? Not worry about placement? Ignore the numbers on my training schedule?

    No. But it does mean I will savor the times when I can run without the distractions of numbers floating around in my head. I will enjoy the feeling of strong, swift legs and easy breathing, not necessarily the feeling of a PR.  And hopefully with the perfect mix of the two, there will be even more happy running in 2016.

    Laura Lunardi

     

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

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Mudman Reveals How to Conquer Your First Obstacle Race January 05 2016, 0 Comments

    A Mudman Pro Tip from Kevin "Mudman" LaPlatney 

      

    first mud run2016 is here, and before we know it the obstacle racing season will be blooming with the Spring flowers (and mud). So if you’ve made it past the first step of New Year fitness Resolutions and signed up for your first OCR, congrats! Whether it’s a competitive BattleFrog or Spartan Race, or a more fun and party focused Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash, you probably have all kinds of jitters already on how to get ready for those miles of mud and obstacles. Of course, there are lots of hours and dollars to spend getting ready, but have no fear- here’s a simple list of “free” things you can do, to be ready physically and mentally for that starting line. 

    If you haven’t joined the other thousands of new January gym goers (which honestly, might be the place to avoid this month!), know that running outside has and always will be free of charge! OCR’s are still races, and no matter how competitive you want to be, you’re looking at a minimum of 3 miles to cover in addition to all the other obstacle tasks. Even if you’re in colder climates, you’ll be glad if you had stuck to a minimum of 2 days a week running all winter. And of course, you’ll need to build up mileage to match the distance of that race coming up. But do so gradually, maybe by an extra 10% each week, so as not to burn yourself out or face some overuse injuries.

    Besides running, the other half of obstacle races are in fact, the obstacles! Being prepared for the unexpected is the name of the game, as we never know what crazy loops the races will throw at us in 2016. Though it’s a bit of a gut check, working on any of your known weaknesses is key, whether that’s cardio (aka running), strength (lifting, carrying, pulling), agility (balance, focus), or other faces of fitness that you struggle with. What better time than a New Year Resolution to commit to building a better you, if you’ve been honest to assess where those weaknesses lie. If you don’t belong to a CrossFit gym or bootcamp, or have subscribed to any online training programs, my earlier article on outdoor workouts will give you some great ideas on how to get started at a local park or in your own backyard.

    first mud runThe questions I get asked most often from rookie obstacle racers are something like “do
    you really think I can do ABC race?” or “what if I can’t do XYZ obstacle”. My answer generally starts by saying that if you have already pysched yourself out, it’s going to be harder to get in good training and ever believe you are actually ready. There is a huge mental factor to obstacle racing, so you need to understand a few things:  

    1. Yes, EVERYONE can do these races. I have literally seen folks from age 9 to 90 do some of the toughest events out there. There are racers with all kinds of setbacks and disabilities, but it sure doesn’t stop them. Thinking you can’t do ANYTHING is really just making an excuse. Take inspiration from the millions of people who have done these races, and get excited to soon be one of them!

    2. OCRs are supposed to be hard, as is training for them. Don’t get intimidated by the look of brutal planned workout or the look of a nasty mountain to climb in a race. Those things are meant to test you and every other competitor alongside you. Embrace that challenge and it will make the finish line so much more satisfying!

    first obstacle race3. Remember to compete with yourself and not to get too wrapped up in the timing chip or standings. This race is hopefully your stepping stone into much more of this awesome sport and community. Enjoy the camaraderie of fellow racers, appreciate the wonders of nature around you, and respect the plan that has been set up for you to enjoy a great day out with like-minded people, many of whom are just like you and doing their first race too. Before you know it, you’ll be one of the diehards pulling others in and giving the advice to OCR newbies! 


    - Mudman

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


      Reject Winter Hibernation and Gear Up - Get Massive Gains with Cold Weather Training December 18 2015, 0 Comments

      A Mudman Pro Tip from Kevin "Mudman" LaPlatney 

      Just because the weather has shifted and the OCR season has wrapped up in most parts of the country, that doesn’t mean that we have to resort to indoor gyms or fall into a winter fitness hibernation. The truth is, this “off-season” period is the most important time to focus on addressing weaknesses. You need to be building up your workout resume rather than succumbing to the urge to stay cozy on the couch through the holidays and stall on those New Year’s Resolutions. Plenty of off season training can (and should) take place out in the harsher weather and temps, and it’s smart to know how to gear up to make the most of those workout sessions.

      While the obvious focus is to stay warm, we also want to make sure we’re keeping our bodies protected while we’re out in the blustery wind or snow that everyone, except you lucky Floridians (?), might have to face for the next 3 or 4 months. I’ll admit that as a New Yorker I’m not a fan of the cold (and should indeed be a resident of the Panhandle State instead). So, although it’s not as fun as training in shorts and tee-shirt, bundling up a little will prevent everything from dangerous hypothermia or frostbite, to just annoying muscle strains or chafing.

       

      One of the biggest troubles I have in winter weather is quickly getting numb hands and fingers, so keeping them shielded from the cold will vastly improve the quality of an outdoor workout or run. I like to wear tough outdoor training gloves on these delicate hands when it’s even under 50 degrees, but I’ve discovered a training tip that with that extra layer, I have to work even harder to hold things (for a farmer carry, let’s say). So it’s almost intentional that gloves are sometimes part of the equipment, since it can benefit your grip strength for so many other obstacles you’ll face later, when you might not have have the gloves on.

      For the rest of your body, some simple rules apply. It’s no secret that you want to avoid cotton, which will only retain sweat and quickly zap you of body heat. Not mention the likelihood of a rash from chafing = not a good time! So, stick with more “tech” material and outdoor performance apparel, which will also be lighter and more comfortable. I also tend to overheat quickly, so I prefer to dress in layers that are easy to shed if needed. A good base layer is key, which can be top and/or bottom of tighter fitting compression gear, and at the very least will cut some of the wind-chill down. I get the same issue with my toes as I do with numb hands, so good outdoor performance socks are absolutely critical. Again - no cotton unless you really want some blistered up, raw, unhappy feet. And lastly, since we know body heat is primarily lost through the top of our head and I’ll sometimes even get a headache from prolonged exposure to cold, we want to keep our noggins and ears well covered. A fleece or wool hat is perfect, even if you have to take it off at some point from too much warmth, and a neck gaiter or balaclava can also be helpful for the chilliest temps.

       

      Though it might not exactly be considered “gear”, it’s also important to mention how sensitive our faces can be to the wind and elements, so never forget to bring some Chapstick in your pocket and maybe even apply some Vaseline to your cheeks and nose if they’re not already covered. It’s also never a bad idea to wear goggles or at least some (sun)glasses to block the wind and sun from your eyes, especially if snow on the ground is reflecting the light back at you, a bad recipe for squinting, headaches, and teary eyes that will only be distraction from enjoying your outdoor winter OCR training.

      There’s a lot of research in progress right now about the benefits of cold shock therapy and regular exposure to cold outdoor training. It can be hard to face the cold, but finishing a cold outdoor workout is invigorating in a way you just can’t replicate in the gym. Good luck and get out there!

      - Mudman

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


      Getting Back in the Race - Post Race Recovery December 04 2015, 0 Comments

      A Mudman Pro Tip from Kevin "Mudman" LaPlatney 


      No doubt you have all read some of these viral news articles on the extreme and terrible dangers of this scary sport called Obstacle Racing- everything from nasty skin infections to the possibility of death (you do sign a waiver after all). But the truth is that while injuries do occur, the vast majority of them are minor. Most can even be treated and dealt with on your own, and likely not miss too much training time or races. As an OCR athlete closing in on 100 career races, and by profession being a Certified Athletic Trainer for the last 16 years, I have had the circumstance to treat (too many!) injuries on myself and my patients, but can offer some basic care and ideas on how to not be on the shelf too long for these more common and less severe cases. Of course- and this also where I am going to sound like a pharmaceutical commercial- I still am obligated to tell you to seek advice from your physician on any injury or ailment you may be overly concerned about, so don’t be hero if it might mean risking further damage to your health (or your race season). So, without any further adieu, let’s get into the topic of our soft tissue aches and pains, and see what we can do about them…

      MUSCLE SORENESS, STRAINS, and TENDONITIS


      Probably the type of injury that has affected every single OCR athlete in history. There is virtually no way anyone has come out of a race completely unscathed after miles of running and obstacle torture. And it makes sense that the degree of that beatdown usually increases over further distances and higher number of obstacles to attempt- all potential sources to pull, bruise, cramp, and in some way irritate your muscles and tendons. If these boo-boos are nearly inevitable anyway, the best approach is really knowing the best ways to handle them the following week as we limp around the office or try to get back to the gym.

      My first move after getting my muddy shoes and socks off at the race is always to throw on a pair of compression socks for recovery, which I’ll keep on for at least an hour and maybe for the whole ride home. Not only does it feel comfortable, but this will help to alleviate a lot of the naturally swelling and stiffness that occurs in my feet, ankles, and calves, even if no specific injury occurred (though I have had some ankle problems before, and cramping in the longer races has it me too sometimes).

      Step two, after I’m back home or at the hotel, is to use a foam roller that I’ll usually bring along with me. It’s like a poor man’s massage, even though it might not feel quite as lovely when you’re bruised or cut up. Either way, a short session of that deep tissue work and some mobility focus will loosen up your legs and back after being stuck in the car for a while. The same goes for for using a lacrosse ball for your foot’s arch, or any other hard to reach sore spots.

      The last part of treatment will test your mettle a little more, but might be the most effective in helping muscle recovery. It’s called contrast therapy, and involves a sequence of varying hot and cold to help get fresh blood to reach those beat up muscles and flush out the waste byproducts of exercise that cause lasting soreness. It can be done simply by alternating tolerable temperature range back and forth in the shower, or if a warm bath and then cold rinse are both available (think that steaming jacuzzi next to your chilly backyard pond or swimming pool), that will do the trick. Not only will it help recover your achy tissues, but I like how the chill can also wake you up and leave you revitalized after. 

      One final piece of muscle recovery advice I can offer, really applies to both after your races but is best for every day practice. Proper nutrition and hydration is logically as much good preparation for competition as it is for followup recovery. Without getting too much into the individual food science or water intake recommendations, I assure you that if you are consistently on your game here, these small muscle complaints should be less likely to visit, and you’ll surely perform better on and off the course.

      - MudMan 

      For more OCR training tips, check out our Free Guide: Warrior Strong - How to Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

       

       

       


      Get Out of the Gym and Become a Better Obstacle Racer November 16 2015, 1 Comment

      A Mudman Pro Tip from Kevin "Mudman" LaPlatney 

      Some of the most important training for OCR doesn’t necessarily require any fancy equipment or expensive gym membership.  And most of these routines can be done at home or at the local park, with simple supplies that you might already have, or can easily create on the cheap.


      How to become a better Obstacle Racer - Animal Movements

      1. ANIMAL MOVEMENTS (Bear crawl, crab walk, alligator crawl, etc.)

      If other creatures have perfected their movements to be fast and agile on the ground and in low or tight spaces, why shouldn’t we follow suit? 

      For humans, and especially our crazy little muddy subspecies who participate in obstacle races, these full body exercises are great to practice for getting under the barbed wire mud pits, through tight tunnels, or under narrow wall holes.  Move like the animals they are named after.  Gives a new meaning to “beastmode”, right?

      2. PULL-UPS/DIPS/MUSCLE-UPS

      How to get stronger for OCR - Pull ups

      To make sure climbing obstacles such as monkey bars, cargo nets, rope climbs, vertical walls, and hurdles won’t give you trouble, these basic upper body pulling exercises are the biggest part of getting yourself up or over those structures, while also developing super grip strength to hold on when you’re hanging for dear life!  Even just a simple long hang, suspended from any ledge or horizontal pole, will blast your forearms and fingers so much that the obstacles will seem like nothing.

      3. CARDIO (run, swim, bike, etc.)

      Even the shortest of races that are in the 5k range are going to test your endurance when obstacles get thrown into the running mix, so you had better have that engine ready to go.  Running might be the most ideal form of cardio training for OCR, but other methods will actually translate well and even compliment the mileage you’re getting on your feet. And you never know when a race may surprise you with a nice brisk swim mid-course anyway.

      How to get stronger for Mud Runs - Plyometrics

      4. PLYOMETRICS (Squats, lunges, jumping/bounding)

      Nothing develops pure power better than explosive, ballistic movements and lifting.  Even if you don’t have bumper plate weights, wooden boxes, or the typical CrossFit setup, most of these done with just bodyweight are effective for what you’ll need to do in OCR.  Jump ropes are a classic and inexpensive piece of equipment you can carry anywhere, and it’s never hard to find a sturdy bench or sidewalk curb to bounce on and off. 

      5. STRONGMAN “toys” (tire flip, sandbag carry, atlas stone lift, sled drag etc.)

      How to get better at OCR - Move heavy stuff

      This is where you can get creative with your own personal inventory or workout supplies.  Many of the above items can be made from parts at your local home improvement store or even found laying by the wayside.  One means trash can be another man’s treasure, when it comes to training equipment.  I personally have grabbed old used tires from the corner mechanic shop, and picked up hefty logs and rocks to carry while on my trail runs. 

      If you want some brand new stuff of your own, cinder blocks (to carry or attach to a chain and drag) and demolition sandbags are two very inexpensive but very effective workout tools to keep in your car’s trunk.  Plenty of bang for your buck!

      - MudMan 

      For more OCR training tips, check out our Free Guide: Warrior Strong - How to Become Resilient to Injury in Obstacle Course Racing

       

       

       


      How to “Survive” Tough Mudder’s Most Frightening Obstacles October 30 2015, 0 Comments

      A Mudman Pro Tip from Kevin "Mudman" LaPlatney - (Halloween Edition)

      While we all know Tough Mudder is “not a race, but a challenge,” a big part of their slogan comes from the fact that a number of fear-facing tasks await you in their 10-12 mile events. While little of the course is truly physically strenuous, here are some of the phobia-centric obstacles that many Mudders would sooner skip than miserably attempt, with tips on how you can get through them a little easier.

      Shawshanked

      Like the namesake movie starring Tim Robbins, a long and dark inclined sewage pipe opens to drop into a muddy pool of freedom below, testing your fears of the dark and heights.

      TIP: Try night swimming, preferably not in shark infested ocean water though. The drop from Shawshanked tube isn’t very high, so even just a closed eyes jump or backwards fall into a pool might get you prepared for the fall.

      Birth Canal

      I’m not sure many remember their actual birthday entry into the real world, but this is Tough Mudder’s recreation - having to crawl and push through a narrowing path while a water-filled liner squeezes down on you from above.  

      TIP: Don’t worry, even in this “womb”, there is enough air to breathe but you’ll need to lay out flat to move more comfortably. Bear crawling only gets you part way as the space narrows, so work on doing army crawls with weight or a heavy pack/ruck to get used to the pressure on your back. 

       

      Cry Baby

      Like a police academy hazing or just a locker room full of too much Icy-Hot, the crawl through a tear gas filled enclosed tent isn’t an enjoyable stay if you’re stuck there very long.

       

      TIP: Sure, you can douse yourself for weeks in some sports cream or Vick’s VapoRub, but that still may not take the sting out this task on race day. Instead, work on being able to crawl with eyes squinted so as to limit their exposure to the chemicals in this harsh (but apparently safe) gas. I guess you could also pack some ski or swim goggles with you for this obstacle, but that wouldn’t be very Mudderly.  

       

      Electroshock Therapy

      Quite likely Mudder’s most infamous 10 second torture chamber, having to run through a corridor of hanging live electric wires is something you probably have to be off your rocker to actually enjoy. And like a Cialis commercial, only adults healthy enough to engage this should even attempt running through, as it could have some potential health risks. 

       

      TIP: In no way would I suggest “practicing” for the voltage zap of wires tied to car batteries because that’s just stupid. If you’re hoping to complete it but without the bragging rights of mild electrocution, you could take your time and try evading the wires or low crawling to be below them, but that's the best advice I can offer. Otherwise, just throw in the towel and skip this one - never been a fan.

      Arctic Enema

      The drama that surrounds this ice bath obstacle has little merit. Hypothermia is extremely unlikely since you are “in it” for such a short time, unless you drop your car keys and need to go dumpster diving for a while. The two biggest effects are muscle cramping from the temperature shock, or maybe a temporary headache (think ice cream brainfreeze) for a couple minutes after you exit.

       

      TIP: Believe it or not, this is one obstacle that you really can actually train for this with cold showers or icy tub sessions. Doing so is not just a way to survive the obstacle, but a great daily recovery tool after your workout or run too (you do exercise also, right?).

       

       

       


      The Best Way to Wash Your Clothes After a Mud Run October 15 2015, 0 Comments

      A Mudman Pro Tip from Kevin "Mudman" LaPlatney

      It’s been said a good obstacle race should leave every inch of you, and what you’re wearing, completely covered in mud. For most, that look is a sign of total badasseryTM and likely ends up being their best Instagram pic for at least that week. However, spouses and roommates alike may not share in the feeling when you bring home that pile of dirty stinkin’ laundry. So, here’s a quick strategy guide on the best way to wash your clothes after a mud run that will help you avoid sleeping in the doghouse, out in the backyard, where it’s also quite dirty… 

      Spray wash clothes after a mud run with a water hoseSince a lot of races like to place their most epic mud obstacles toward the finish line, odds are the water that made that area all mucky isn’t too far away. My first advice is to seek out where you plan to clean off right after the race is over, while you are still soaked (but after the selfie shots are secured of course). The obvious destination is the shower or hosing-off station, but sometimes a pond or lake is nearby, where you can make your initial attempt to pre-rinse your mud-caked clothes, shoes, and body. You know you’re not getting everything spic-and-span here, but this step might save your washing machine and bathtub from a lot of mess, and even potential damage, later on at home.  

      I always bring a large garbage bag to carry this soaking wet race outfit, and also keepCleaning up after a mud run is the final obstacle it from leaking all over the car on the ride home provided you are now in a clean(er) change of clothes for the drive/flight. If you’re staying a last night in a hotel and don’t have any plans other than a refueling dinner and maybe an adult beverage to celebrate the race, you can always kill an hour or two using their laundry machines and again save your own from getting hit with the residual dirt. But if you are dragging that sopping wet pile of clothes home, it might make sense to give it one last blast with the hose out in the driveway. You’ll be shocked at how much dirty silt is still hiding in your clothes even after that. I usually find that socks, compression sleeves, and even race shorts (with zipper pockets opened) often need a second rinse done inside-out to finally get back to looking like new. A little Febreze after everything’s clean and dry doesn’t hurt either.    

      How to Clean Your Shoes After a Mud Run

      If there’s anything you ought to give the most care to cleaning, it’s your precious OCR running shoes. Take good care of them, and they’ll return the favor at your next race. I know you may be saying, “but they’ll just get muddy again next week”, but there’s also a certain psychological advantage to toeing the start line the following weekend with shoes that look (and smell) fresh. Trust me. While the hose-down may be good enough for most pairs of sneakers, here’s an instructional video for those that want to go the extra mile (no pun intended) for your #1 racing kicks:
       

      The Awful Infections of OCR You Must Avoid! July 20 2015, 0 Comments

      Similar catchy and fear inducing headlines like this one have recently cropped up again with new stories of obstacle racing health hazards that warn of disease, plague, and man eating parasites.  Sure, there are real documented cases of pig sty nastiness, and some individuals have suffered dreadful fates, but there’s also clearly a large dose of media sensationalism at play here.  What is even more apparent is the effort by some (perhaps even subconsciously) to write off the sport of Obstacle Racing as something that only crazy people do.  If you can paint for yourself a picture of OCR that is too dangerous, too unhealthy, and too crazy, then you don’t have to deal with it.  You can ignore your primal urge to get out and test yourself on the course.  In fact, those who dismiss it, and seek to justify their avoidance are ironically the people who are most in need of the visceral awakening that OCR delivers.

      So, in the spirit of non-avoidance, let’s look at these health hazards and tackle how to deal with them head on.  First, you must recognize that headlines aside, Obstacle Course Racing is risky business.  But bubonic plague is not your first concern.  You will face many physical challenges in the course of your race that are foreign to your day job.  Scrapes, blisters and rope burns are inevitable, and you’ll proudly show them off to your co-workers on Monday.  Those are not injuries, those are badges of honor.  An injury is a whole different matter and involves broken bones, stretchers, and sadly even a few deaths each year.  The same can be said for skiing, surfing, hiking and countless other adventure activities.  Add to that list crossing the street and driving.

      If you have steeled yourself for the physical risks, you are 99% ready to tackle the course.  But since the great outdoors does present some dangers you won’t find in a plush yoga studio, let’s look at how to deal with the number one health risk: infection.Mud Run Injuries can lead to infection if not treated

      ​​The majority of OCR events are held in rural areas or fields commonly frequented by animals where topsoil is contaminated with fecal matter from domestic and wild animals.  Races run on cow and pig farms are the perfect breeding grounds for serious infections such as E. coli, Staphylococcus and yes, albeit very rarely, even f​lesh-eating bacteria (Necrotizing Fasciitis).  These serious infections are extremely rare but make the best headlines.​  

      Contaminated mud becomes hazardous when introduced to any break in your skin.  Infections occur when organisms enter your body through cuts or abrasions.  Skin infections such as pustular follicular dermatitis, cellulitis, pyoderma​ and scabies have also ​been documented.  

      OCR injuries from calf burn are common from ropes

      One of the most common areas for cuts and abrasion is the back of the calf and lower leg due to obstacles like the rope traverse.  A high compression sock is often the best defense against this common injury and entry point for infection.

      Another problem area is your hands.  If you don’t work with your hands daily or you have many callouses from weekend lumberjacking, you should consider wearing gloves.  Obstacle race gloves prevent rope burns, provides protection from splinters, bruising, and rough obstacles components like chain, wood, cinder block.  Gloves also improve grip on rope obstacles and help when crawling over rocky surfaces or doing burpees in the dirt.

      Other general precautions to keep in mind the next time you hit the course include packing an antibacterial ointment, like neosporin, or hydrogen peroxide wipes to clean any cuts and scrapes.  It's also a good idea to shower or clean up as best you can immediately following the race using soap. Although you are not likely to get completely clean until you get home, some experienced racers bring their own water jugs or spray tanks to make sure they can still wash off a bit directly after races.

      While the headlines might seem scary, the best way to prevent infection is to cover and clean yourself up well (and don't chug the mud).  ​Your odds of catching a serious disease are slim.  With a few precautions, good packing and smart racing you can substantially reduce your chances of catching something nasty.  So, face your fears and get out there!