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Featured Athlete: Jessica Wohlen


  • Name:

Jessica Wohlen

  • What is your day job, and do you have other hobbies?:

By day I am a desk jockey in the form of a friendly voice on the other end of the phone, walking users through fixing problems they may be having with their computer or an application.  I work in Information Technology, and I am a Tech Support Analyst (and technically a Field Services Engineer).  Sometimes I get to take to the road and get my hands dirty crawling on floors and replacing equipment.

For fun (other than racing) I like to try my hand at being crafty.  At any given moment I will have a crocheting project, cross-stitching project, and sewing project going. I pick them up from time to time.   I also enjoy reading.  For some reason I’m really into learning why we make choices and what makes us tick.  Beyond that I’ll read pretty much anything, but please oh please keep the romance novels away.

  • Age:


  • When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race.:

My first race was Ruckus Boston – 6.4.11 (see I even remember the date!).
A bunch of coworkers had talked about doing the Fall 2010 race, but we found out about it a little late and there wasn’t time to prep so the plan fizzled.  I kept my eye on the date for the Spring race and when I brought it to the attention of the same co-workers they all shrugged me off.  I knew I was going to do it, but I wanted to have someone to share the experience with me.  My better half, Jeff, was more than willing to be a participant and so it was.

The day of the race I was totally overwhelmed and really thought I had made a terrible mistake.  Everyone looked so prepared and fit, but I had NO idea what we were up against and I felt I certainly wasn’t as fast and strong as all these guys standing around me.  The horn went off and together Jeff and I started the race.  A short distance in and Jeff was off ahead of me so I was pretty much flying solo.  I wasn’t so sure I liked that idea but I chugged along all the same.  There were nets to get under, things to climb over and through, stuff to walk across.  I was having fun!  I struggled with some obstacles.  Air Loops – Seriously?  You want me to hold a rope, put my foot in a loop, and swing like Jane to the next one.  And then repeat until I’m finished?? I fell off.  Monkey Bars – There is photographic evidence that I tried really hard, but I am here to tell you that I dropped not milliseconds after said photos were taken (thanks Brightroom!).  Ranger Bars – I’m supposed to bring my legs up and then skootch across a bar and then do it again?  Ok…tried and failed.  And forget the tall walls.  At that point I was just DONE.  Oddly enough this is where I met up with Jeff again.  I gave him a hoist up and he went over, but I opted to just go around.  I was spent.  The highlight was climbing the last giant hill and then joining hands with Jeff and crossing the finish line together (The only time this has happened to date!).

Sure it had moments of not fun, but when it came right down to it I had a freaking blast and I wanted to do another one!

  • What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?):

I was never supposed to do the VT Beast in 2012.  The plan was to just do a Spartan Sprint and a Super Spartan.  I figured what the heck, I’ll earn a Trifecta!

The race started off fine, but about 3 miles in the monkey bars stumped me.  My hands started out dry, but then I wiped them on my very not dry capris (dumb!) and then fell off the monkey bars mid swing.  I thought I had just tweaked/sprained my finger, but later found out I actually broke my hand.  I had also been experiencing some anger from my IT Band.  Just 2 weeks previous I tackled a Super and it was pretty irritated then, but I thought I stretched and rolled enough to make a difference.  WRONG!

I learned a lot about myself on that late September day.  I finished the Beast in just shy of 10 hours, with an IT band that was so angry that it made me cry 3 times due to the pain alone (it never got worse than a 9.5 because it could always get worse!).  I attempted everything, even though my hand slowly morphed into what resembled a mitten.  I didn’t let these things defeat me, but I am going back to Killington in 2013 to take back the piece of my soul that remains!
What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?: Honestly, racing makes me feel badass!  Working out makes you feel great, but completing a race makes you feel invincible!

I keep coming back because of the thrill of the unknown and the people and the training.  I think anyone who is reading this and has done even only one race will COMPLETELY understand, but it is really hard for me to find the exact words.  The week before a race my internal dialogue starts going “EEEEK you have a race!” and it gets louder and louder until I cross the starting line.  THAT’S why I keep coming back.

  • What are your training and/or diet routines? Do you have other athletic pursuits?:

For the last 6 months I’ve been trying to find a training routine that works for me.  My gym closed down unexpectedly in June and since then I’ve been searching for a routine that can fill  my needs.  I basically do a mixture of cardio, cross-fit, Spartan WOD, and whatever my crazy mind can come up with.  Thankfully my current gym has a decent space for me to setup and do circuits.

As far as diet goes, I just try to eat healthy.  Generally there is very little junk found in my house, as I have a tendency to eat it mindlessly.  My husband and I have no food allergies to contend with so fruit, veggies, meats, and nuts are commonly found in our kitchen.  We try to steer clear of processed food and bread.

  • Were you always athletic? If not, what athletic changes have you made to keep up the obstacle course race lifestyle?:

I wasn’t always athletic.  In school I did play basketball (7th-10th grade) and volleyball (9th and 10th grade).  I was always heavier than all my friends even while playing sports (I hated running!) and I stopped playing sports when I started having trouble with my achilles tendon.

OCR is another chapter in my healthy lifestyle.  When I graduated from college I decided I needed to do something about my weight, that just slowly crept on over the years.  I started eating better with the help of Weight Watchers, and walking.  Once I was relatively close to my goal weight I started hitting the gym.  I did a lot of cardio and utilized the assisted weight machines. That was 10 years ago.  In the past 2 years I’ve stepped it up.  I’ve been spinning, bootcamping, lifting, and I’m constantly looking for way to keep it fun and interesting.  OCR is the winner!  It keeps me wanting to train and always do something challenging.

  • Who, alive or dead, would you invite to run an obstacle course race with you?:

I would love to run a race with my Dad.  I can’t remember a time when he was a healthy weight and I know the training would be a great outlet for the stress he constantly deals with from all directions.
I would also like to run along side any of the elite racers (very vague, I know!).  The catch is that I want to run along side any one of them and not the other way around.  I have a little work to do, but that’s a longterm goal.

  • Tell us a fun fact about yourself that we may not know!:

While I don’t have even a shred of a Boston accent, I am originally from Somerville, MA.

At the age of 7, my family moved to NH, and I had what I can only assume was a typical accent until 3rd grade.  I said “Mayan” when I actually was trying to say “Mine” as in “Hey so-and-so took that pencil and it’s mayan!” and my 3rd grade teacher told me I couldn’t have it back because the word was pronounced “mine.”  Accent was gone not long after that and now, for the most part, I sound like a newscaster.  (Unless I’m trying to sound like I’m from around here or from NH!) 🙂

  • What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?:

I struggle with the rope climb and the really tall walls – mostly anything that requires pulling your full body weight up using mostly upper body strength.  I want to be able to complete a course without needing help.

In 2013, I’d like to complete a 1/2 marathon – If I can find one that doesn’t conflict with my OCR schedule 🙂

4 thoughts on “Featured Athlete: Jessica Wohlen

  1. Wow! How did I miss my very own bio?
    Look! It's me!

    1. Rock and Roll!

  2. Wow! How did I miss my very own bio?
    Look! It's me!

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