Athlete (and we are all athletes) Profiles:
Check out more details about why we do this and even submit your profile HERE.
What is the best thing about your hometown?
Blue Crabs! (My hometown is Baltimore, MD although I’ve lived in so many different places I don’t really have a true hometown). .
I “accidentally” started running when I was 7 years old because I wanted to do the same fun run my 14 year old brother was doing. It’s kind of a funny story, because my parents thought I was missing until they found me sitting on the curb at the finish line waiting for my brother to catch up so we could cross the line together. After that, I didn’t run again until middle school where I ran track and cross country through high school. I also played baseball until I was 13, when I felt pressure to choose between baseball and running track. I played a lot of intramural sports in college but decided not to run competitively in order to focus on school. After that, I was in and out of fitness. When I was 33, I decided to learn how to play soccer and played in a rec league for several years. It was a humbling and extremely rewarding experience.
Current athletic passion:
When I turned 40, I did a local mud run (Project Mud) in Charleston, SC. It didn’t seem too bad, so I signed up for a Spartan Race the following April. I ran the first mile at 5K pace and then failed three obstacles in a row. Needless to say, I got crushed and barely finished! Since then, I’ve been hooked and have been getting a little bit better each year. I was fortunate enough to qualify for and run in this year’s OCR World Championships and recently qualified to run it again in 2017. That was a truly amazing experience.
Who or what in the world is inspiring you right now?
Prior to starting with OCR, I was 30 lbs heavier and drank way too often (mostly out of boredom). After three years of mostly focusing on the fitness side of things, I recently completed the 90 day OYNB challenge (mentioned in one of your podcasts). What is inspiring me now is how good I feel both physically and mentally as I’ve gone through this journey and how much better I am as a parent, husband, and business professional.
What is your favorite single workout or physical challenge that people can try today?
Aside from trail running, my favorite is to find a local playground with monkey bars and a football goal post. You can do traditional monkey bars, lateral monkey bars, Tyrolean ladders, and pull ups on the monkey bars and Tyrolean traverse, overhead beam traverse, and lateral beam traverses on the goal posts. I usually run back and forth between the monkey bars and goal posts between sets. I also live near a state park, so I like to run through the park and hit all of the nearby playgrounds, trees, etc. to do the same exercises during the run. It’s basically like creating your own obstacle course race in training.
Why do you consider yourself an athlete on fire?
When it comes to athletics, I’ve always been pretty competitive, so I have always thought of myself as an athlete. (Even when I was 30 lbs heavier and not taking care of myself, I still had the mental image of myself as an athlete). I am also a bit of an introvert, which I think makes it easy for me to go to an event and stay in that competitive athletic mindset because I find it hard to socialize. That being said, one of the things that I unexpectedly love about the OCR community is the completely welcoming atmosphere shared by everyone who participates, from the super-fit elite racers to the less fit first timers who have never done an event before. I have literally never seen anyone make fun of another person at one of these events, and I believe that if someone did, they would be immediately called out and probably shamed off of the course. Everyone is constantly encouraging everyone else. I think this community truly embodies the notion that everyone is an Athlete, regardless of their physical ability or appearance. If you are on the starting line, you are an athlete. It is very common to see people stopping to share food or help someone else who is struggling. I know I have become a lot more social at these events over the years, and now I always bring extra food to share during a race just in case someone needs it. I would never had thought to do that three years ago when I started.
What would you say to someone who hasn’t found their passion in sport or life yet?
Keep looking! You don’t know what you don’t know until you do, so just try as many new things as you can until you find what connects with you. It’s out there somewhere.
Until I found OCR, I was a bit lost and bored with life. Now I wake up every day with a purpose beyond the daily routine. It has driven me to make better positive choices and to try to be a better person in all aspects of my life. It just makes everything better overall.
Where are you on your athletic journey? Flicker, Flame, or Fire?
What keeps you up at night?
Getting injured! I have learned a great deal in the past three years about how NOT to train and what NOT to do nutritionally. I ran incorrectly, I ate incorrectly, and I trained incorrectly. As a result, I’ve had IT band syndrome, heat exhaustion, dehydration, “bonking”, and this year a broken 5th metatarsal in my right foot. I am now an avid podcast listener and have completely changed my entire training program based on what I’ve learned. We’ll see how this year goes with my newfound knowledge!
What’s your favorite healthy recipe that anyone can try today?
I am not a big cook, so I go for simplicity. One of my favorites is grilled chicken in a small soft taco shell with chopped cilantro and white onions, a pinch of lime, and La Victoria Salsa Brava hot sauce. It is super easy and really good!
NOTE FOR Stephen:Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with the Athlete On Fire community. Thanks for sharing the awesome workouts and attitude! OCR is such a great sport. You are inspiring us as much as we are you! You are definitely an inspiring Athlete On Fire!
Remember. I am, you are, everyone is an athlete on fire!
Listen to some inspiring athletes here!
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AOF:190 Gold medalist and founder of WheelWod.com on adapting.
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AOF:189 Adventure writer and ultrarunner Morgan Tilton.
Morgan Tilton decided to run ultra after ultra one summer after catching the “bug”. She just happens to also be a freelance writer who has written for Backpacker, Outside, and Men’s Journal to name a few. She shares her creative process and some basic guidelines we should all follow when writing. She shares her training […]Read More ›
AOF:187 Great white sharks, sea lice, and big time open water swimming.
Eliza Cummings is a young athlete who is competing in some of the biggest open water swims in the world. We learned so much from her and enjoyed the passion she brought on a sport we really haven’t covered. On the show There is repellant for sea lice, larva of jellyfish Painting stripes on your […]Read More ›