- Your website:
- What is your day job, and do you have other hobbies?:
By day (well, night actually… I work 2nd shift) I am a Facility Control Systems Operator at MIT (fascinating, I know). Basically I work with the vast network of Building Automation Systems on campus.
When I’m not at work or in the gym, I spend as much time as I can with my two boys, Logan (5) and Gavin (3), playing sports and generally being goofy. I also run a No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em Poker league that plays tournaments monthly.
In addition to that, me and some fellow OCR runners started Team Mike McNeil that works with the Mike McNeil Organization to help raise money for cancer research at Massachusetts General Hospital.
- When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race.:
My first obstacle course race (and first race of any kind, ever) was the 2012 New England Spartan Sprint. About a year prior to the race, I finally gave in to my wife’s pleas for me to start going to the gym with her. It had been 6 years since I had worked out regularly, but I got back into the groove quickly, dropping weight and getting stronger.
My good friend, Team Mike McNeil teammate, and fellow NE Spahten Scott Houghtaling suggested I run the Sprint with him. I registered shortly after, not knowing what I was getting myself into. I think I just wanted to test myself to see if the past year of working out/training would pay off.
I couldn’t believe that 4 miles of mud, rocks, hills, walls, barbed wire, and fire could be so much fun. When I caught my breath after crossing the finish line, I turned to Scott and said “I wanna do it again!”. I was instantly hooked.
- What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?):
Being relatively new to the OCR world, I feel that my biggest accomplishments are ahead of me. But if I had to pick one right now, I would say that not only finishing the Amesbury Sprint, but finishing in the top 1/3 of the field in my first race ever would be it.
- What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?:
I like obstacle course races more than just a typical road race because of, well, the obstacles! I feel that OCR’s are much more exciting to run because of the mental aspect; you don’t really know what’s coming around the bend, so it keeps you on your game, both mentally and physically. Additionally, I love the camaraderie that OCR’s offer. I ran my first race solo, yet had no problems finding that helping hand getting out of the mud or that friendly push over the 9′ wall.
I keep coming back for 2 reasons. First off, it really is a lot of fun. Sure, it may suck a little bit when you’re hip-deep in mud, but nothing beats that sense of accomplishment when you cross that finish line. Secondly, my competitive nature pushes me to do better. My teammates laugh because as soon as the post-race euphoria wears off, I immediately start picking apart my performance in my head and thinking about what my shortcomings were, and how I can better myself for the next race.
- What are your training and/or diet routines? Do you have other athletic pursuits?:
My diet routine is pretty straight forward… I’m certainly not eating rabbit food everyday, but I do try to watch what I eat. I’ve lost 45+ lbs over the last year and have no intention of finding it again.
As for training, I typically work out at the gym 5 days a week, with a nice mix of cardio and weights. On Sunday’s I get together with my Team Mike McNeil teammates for what we call “Spartan-specific” training sessions, where we typically try to re-create race conditions and work our weak points. I mix in running whenever I can, typically 1-2 times a week.
- Were you always athletic? If not, what athletic changes have you made to keep up the obstacle course race lifestyle?:
I was athletic in the sense that I played sports, but nothing more really than a game of baseball or football here and there. In September 2011, I was a 226 lb couch potato. My wife had started going to a new gym, and was “nicely nagging” me for a few months to join her. I finally agreed and started getting back into shape and back down to what I refer to as “wedding weight” of 185 lbs.
The most significant changes I’ve made to adjust to the OCR lifestyle is running. I had always despised running, or anything cardio-related for that matter. Upper body strength has never really been an issue for me, but I’ve had to put some miles under my feet in order to stay competitive in the races.
- Who, alive or dead, would you invite to run an obstacle course race with you?:
I’d really like to get my wife, Tara, out in the mud with me one of these days. I’ve already extended several invites, but in the end, she just wants nothing to do with the mud. It’s too bad too, because I think she’d fare rather well. She was a distance runner in high school, and she tears it up in the gym. Add in the fact that she’s just as, if not more competitive than me, and you’ve got an OCR star. We’ll see what happens; she’s in for Fenway 2013 (read: no mud). Maybe she’ll get hooked, and with some of my own “nice nagging”, maybe she’ll end up in the muck with the rest of us.
- Tell us a fun fact about yourself that we may not know!:
Well I wouldn’t exactly call it a “fun” fact, but I was in a pretty horrific motorcycle accident in July of 2000. I fractured my L3 vertebrae and had some pretty serious internal injuries. The first night in the hospital, the Docs weren’t sure I was going to make it. The second night, I was critical but stable, but the Docs said I may not walk again. Lo and behold, 4 days later I was walking (albeit very, very slowly) down the hospital corridor with the assistance of a walker and my rear-end hanging out of my hospital gown.
Most of us know that moment during a race or a long run where you just want to stop. When I get to that point, I think about how lucky I am that I still have my life and the use of my legs, and that keeps me moving along.
- What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?:
Short-term, my goals are to just keep improving… Identifying my weak spots from previous races and working hard to better myself. I’ll certainly have plenty of opportunities to do just that, with 20+ OCR’s and road races planned for 2013, including my first Trifecta. Long-term, I’d love to win one of these things… Not sure how realistic that is with the likes of Call and Pak out there, but it will certainly motivate and drive me to do my very best.