- What is your day job, and do you have other hobbies?:
Four years ago I completed my 8 year enlistment in the United States Navy as a Nuclear Electricians Mate First Class and was blessed to find myself back in New England. I’m currently employed at Northeast Utilities in Berlin, CT as a System Operator Supervisor. What the heck is it that I do, I never have an easy time answering this question; big picture, I keep the lights on in CT and Western Mass. I monitor and control the high voltage transmission lines that crisscross Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. I ensure the safety of the workers completing maintenance on the lines and prevent widespread blackouts due to overload lines.
When I’m not racing or training to race I can be found spending time with my two little ones or on the ski slopes in Vermont. I’m also a fairly ardent fan of Mixed Martial Arts.
- When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race.:
I was introduced to obstacle racing two years at a very dark time in my life. I was about forty pounds overweight, and found myself heavier then I had ever been. I had recently lost my Father and was going through some major life changes. I was disgusted with myself and felt totally out of control of everything. I no longer had an outlet for my stress, my health was suffering, and I was falling into depression. I knew I needed to change, I knew that I needed to recapture the spirit of competition that seemed to have disappeared from my life so many years ago. I needed a challenge.
To this day I don’t know what compelled me to sign up for my first race. I don’t know if it was some macho bravado that I needed to prove that I was a man or if I simply needed a goal and someone to nudge me in the right direction. Whatever the reason was, I did it, I signed up for the Tri-State Tough Mudder in Englishtown NJ in 2011. My life was forever changed.
- What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?):
My biggest racing accomplishment to date wasn’t completed on an obstacle course; but is a direct result of obstacle racing. I completed my first marathon in 3:39:42 and in the top 25%. I know that this didn’t in any way make me an elite racer in any sense of the word, it did however prove to me that I am now a different person. Before I started this journey two years ago I never thought I’d complete a marathon, I never even understood why anyone would want to complete a marathon.
That marathon was my greatest accomplishment because it changed my beliefs about myself, it changed my perceptions about who I am today, and about what I can accomplish. It wasn’t easy, it hurt, I wanted to quit; but I couldn’t a fire was ignited in me after that my first Tough Mudder a year earlier.
- What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?:
My love of obstacle racing is rooted in variety and balance. OCR is not about being the fastest runner, though it helps, or the strongest athlete, though it helps, or the smartest individual either, though it helps too. OCR is about being balanced.
I think balance is the hardest thing to achieve in life. It’s something that I’m always trying to achieve. That’s what I love about obstacle racing it’s about guts, determination, perseverance and balance. It’s a representation of life.
- What are your training and/or diet routines? Do you have other athletic pursuits?:
I run, I run a lot. I run long distances, I run hills, I run tracks, I run stairs. I’ve become a runner. I’m currently running 5 days a week for about 50 to 80 total miles per week. My running schedule varies based upon the length of time before my next long distance race. I’m generally somewhere in middle of a marathon or ultra marathon training program.
I will generally hit the gym for about an hour plus two or three times a week. My workouts include combination of traditional style weight lifting circuits and cross-fit style workouts.
In addition I try to do some basic exercises everyday, there are almost no rest days in my world anymore. Abs, push-ups, pull-ups and burpees are all a part of my daily routine.
When my schedule allows I like to get together and bag out a good group workout. Camaraderie is important to keep motivation high.
I maintain no specific dietary regimen. I try to eat as cleanly as possible without putting undo stress on myself. I eat a high protein diet aprox. 1 gram of protein for 1 pound of body weight; but I do not for go carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are needed in my daily diet with the amount of running and the length of workouts I do.
- Were you always athletic? If not, what athletic changes have you made to keep up the obstacle course race lifestyle?:
I grew up in a household that believed in competition. I was taught from an early age that if you want something you work for it.
As a child I played football and swam competitively. In my eighth grade year i took a football helmet to the knee and that put an end to my career as a football player. My focus was now solely on swimming.
As a swimmer I’ve competed in National Championships and broken and held team and local records. Some records I still hold today. I always competed as a distance swimmer and I think it says a lot about my personality. I excelled in the events that no one else wanted; the events were the pain level gets high and must be endured for a while. I was never the most gifted athlete but I was willing to work harder then almost everyone else. I like to think that this carries through to my life in OCR.
Who, alive or dead, would you invite to run an obstacle course race with you?: I’d invite my father to run a race with me. He passed away before he could see my life change because of these great events and the great people involved in them.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that we may not know!: I originally went to school to as a fine arts major, before I dropped out and joined the Navy; essentially because I dislike being in school. When I enlisted in the Navy I choose the program with the longest schooling and qualification process. See now that really is ironic.
- What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?:
This coming race season finds me training and competing in Summer Death Race and as a team memeber for World’s Toughest Mudder. All other races are training races for those two events.