* Name: Joshua Grant
* Website: www.healingtreeyoga.com
Editors note – check my review written when Josh did some amazing deep tissue work on my back, and go visit Healing Tree!
* Age: 42
* What is your day job, and do you have other hobbies?:
I own a yoga studio where I practice deep tissue bodywork on the injured and ill. In the past I ran residential schools for kids with emotional and behavioral problems and spent many years volunteering for the safety patrol group the Guardian Angels. I was born and raised in Boston, though I have lived in South Carolina and Japan. The most important thing in my life is my family.
* When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race
In 2011 I attacked the Tough Mudder at Mt. Snow. I found the event to be very challenging in unexpected ways. The combination of fear conquering and camaraderie is really a unique aspect of their event. I still remember the views and the crisp air at the summit, as I watched the long line of suffering bodies toiling their way up. It was surreal at the time. Getting that first headband was quite a thrill. I remain very fond of TM.
* What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?)
So far, winning the Winter Death Race would be the biggest accomplishment. I wrote about this quite a bit. This Death Race in particular was both an extreme challenge and an actual race. The hours standing in the icy, fast moving river were among the most transformative of my life. We were faced with a clear danger of permanent injury by remaining in the water. At the end, when we received our skulls in the middle of a frozen forest, I knew that my ideas about limitations had been eradicated.
It was a great honor to share the finish line with Olof Dallner and Nele Schulze.
* What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?
I treat the world as a playground. Good days often end when you are dirty, worn out, and surrounded by friends. These course provide the above in spades. The challenge is ongoing as you are only limited by your willingness to push yourself. It is important not to acquiesce too much to the comforts our world provides. Most of us have learned how dramatically lives can be changed in an instant. When one of those instants occurs, we experience life with fearful clarity difficult to duplicate. Often, these moments are our most lucid as the value and significance of life is evident. The samurai expression “Live as though your hair were on fire” begs us to live our lives with such alacrity.
* What are your training and/or diet routines? Do you have other athletic pursuits?
I don’t follow any specific diet. I do eat well 70% of the time (the remaining 30% is dedicated to pizza, pancakes, ice cream, etc.). Coke Zero is my major vice. I climb two or three times a week and still attend arm wrestling training with the pros. Of course, I hit the playgrounds all the time. I continue to train in Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu as well.
* Were you always athletic? If not, what athletic changes have you made to keep up the obstacle course race lifestyle?
As a young one, I was an avid breakdancer and basketball player. I then got into to arm wrestling and was the New England Champ for a while. After that I focused on jujutsu and inline skating, achieving a 4th degree black belt and two National Slalom titles respectively. I’ve been running for three years. Recently, I became a yoga instructor and currently teach kids in lock-up the asanas and meditation.
* Who, alive or dead, would you invite to run an obstacle course race with you?
My father and my son. If they were unavailable, I think Gandhi could tear these courses up. There are few people he couldn’t walk into the ground.
* Tell us a fun fact about yourself that we may not know!
I have written two mystery novels.
* What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?
I hope to win the Team Division of World’s Toughest Mudder this year with Gregory Soutiea, Jesse Howes, and Sean Meehan. Shortly after that I’ll tackle Fuego y Agua in Nicaragua. I expect to retire from 24+ hour events after that and focus on marathon distance and under.