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Taking It To The Next Level

For many, obstacle course racing is an extreme sport that may be intriguing (or not). An obstacle race could be a bucket list item that is checked off and done with a friend. Or maybe, one tries a race and is enamored - hook, line and sinker.

That was the case for me.

When I started OCR (obstacle course racing) in 2016, I looked at the sport as a little bit crazy - but worth a shot. Why not - the pictures always showed people smiling and having a blast! So, I tried a few small, local mud races - that were way more about the mud than anything else. That was my first introduction to the ever growing sport of OCR.

Austin - 2016

After those few local races, I was curious enough to seek out training for those races that were more involved - more serious. I was in awe of those racers that could fly through obstacles and still manage to run in between. I found a gym that was SGX certified (the official training program of the Spartan races) and signed up for the class.

I thought I was in “good enough” shape to handle it - I was wrong! I can remember the first time I looked at the Rig (series of rings, ropes, baseballs and other ariel supported items) and my mind went to “no way”.

With some convincing, the coach got me through the Rig - and again, I was hooked. This started my Spartan/OCR journey. My first official race was in Austin, TX in April of 2016. I ended up doing 180 burpees as I failed six obstacles. Great start! :)

After many months of training obstacles (and only obstacles) - I was able to run my first clean burpees! However, I was still not competitive and was not sure I wanted to be. I was running with a group of teammates that were out for the fun of the course and I was good with that.

OCR World Championships - 2016

After a while, I decided to give the competitive group a shot- I wanted the challenge. The competitive heats are when you run against participants in your age group and the expectations of the race are higher - there is a podium spot on the line.

I was never able to quite get to that podium spot - I did get close with some 5th and 6th place finishes. However, when I moved back to Michigan (and after having taken a break from training), I begged Jackie to start training me. I did not have a gym - and was desperately looking to get back to decent shape and to racing. Luckily, she had an open spot and with her guidance, I was able to get back into a workout routine.

OCR World Championships - 2017

The difference in this new routine was the strength training - as we know - that is her expertise! It had been many years since I had participated in a program that included both the conditioning and strength. I had not lifted a weight in years! My training had been more functional movement based - more obstacle geared.

I have been working with Jackie and Coachman for a little over a year now - and low and behold, that coveted podium spot finally happened for me - a third place finish in the Atlanta Sprint in April - followed up with a second place finish in Chicago in June.

Atlanta - April 2019

For me, the difference was obvious - the strength training took me to the next level in my journey. Having technique and obstacle know-how is huge in OCR - but having the strength to carry, hang from, get over and move obstacles is vital. This was my missing element!

I am convinced - whatever you train for - OCR, triathlons, everyday fitness - strength training is the key!

I now train individuals in obstacle course specific ways to get them ready for a race. If you are an individual that might be interested in trying one of these races, I can help you get to a spot where you feel comfortable and ready for that race! Shoot me an email at

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