This entry is part 5 of 30 in the series Faces at the Races

Michael Laconti -- profile picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name

Michael Anthony Laconti

Age

45

Lives

Westbrookville, NY

Occupation

I’m a Senior Project Manager for a Major Medical Imaging Company. I work with marketing to understand the technical requests of our customers and communicate back to our R&D division. I specialize in Networking, Medical Data communication (DICOM) and Cybersecurity.

Favorite OCR Series

Civilian Military Combine (CMC)

Favorite Obstacle

Monkey bars

Least Favorite Obstacle

Bucket carry

Ideal Race Distance

12-15 miles

2016 OCR Goals

5x trifecta, Savage Race, and Bone Frog Challenge

Bio

My Name is Michael Laconti, better known as “Michael Anthony”. I grew up in Cliffside Park, NJ and graduated from Cliffside Park High School in 1989. I was a cross country runner and the only award I ever got was 10th place at my first competition. My dad passed away senior year of high school. The next year I attended Rider College but flunked out with all F’s. I then lived in Queens, NY for a year and did nothing but party. I went back to Bergen Community College the following year and later graduated with my A.S. in Business Administration.

Shortly after, I worked in retail, got Married, then got a good job at a medical imaging company. My son was born the day before September 11¬th, and I later moved to Florida. After moving back to New York, my marriage broke up and my ex-wife moved back to Florida. Shortly after, I gained a lot of weight. A LOT OF WEIGHT. I think I was up to about 270lbs. At that point, I started my journey back to fitness, moved back to NJ, joined Krank Fitness in Nutley, NJ. I had the privilege to run my first race with some Team Vita members before they were actually a team. I personally know them and they were the ones that encouraged me to race and supported my goal. They are now a professional team and still very good friends of mine. I’ve been hooked on racing ever since.

Social Media

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/malaconti
Instagram – michael_decimus_meridius

Why do you compete in OCR?

I compete in OCR to remind myself that we must always seek to be uncomfortable in life. Growth is uncomfortable and growth is what I have done in my last three years of racing. In a larger sense, it is a metaphor that we must always strive to push ourselves to the point of discomfort to truly live our lives. OCR racing and training is the very essence of that.

Have you overcome any significant setbacks, such as injury, personal trauma, etc.?

I have been medicated for major depression and anxiety for the better part of my life. I never gave up trying to control it, however. Every doctor said that I had to take medication for the rest of my life and I’ve even been hospitalized a few times because of it. I continually tried to change my life and get off of medication, changing my diet and workout plan many times. Every time I would go back to taking pills to control it. The last time I was on medication was four years ago and it turns out OCR training and racing are the best ways to control this affliction. Finishing a race is an achievement that you never forget after you have been in the darkest places of your mind. It has truly changed who I am. I am not the same person I was four years ago.

What made you finally change while dealing with a lack of motivation?

The lowest point of my life was after my marriage ended and my wife left. I was in a house that still had my son’s toys where he last left them. It was truly the saddest point of my life. Months went by and I just went to work then came home and watched TV. I repeated that pattern day-after-day until, strangely enough, a movie changed it all. I specifically remember watching the movie “Gladiator” one Saturday afternoon. That movie is very special to me in that it is the story of how a man who basically loses everything finds his path in life again. He finds meaning and purpose, and even though the purpose is different, it is just as passionate as before. It struck a chord with me and I cried when I understood it. It was not too late for me. I jumped off the couch at 270lbs and ran down the block and back, and in an instant, I found my purpose. I ended up getting the tattoo “SPQR” on my arm and not a race goes by that I don’t look at it to remember that moment.

The little things seems to add up the most and most people don’t realize how easy it is to gain weight. Walk me through your battle with being overweight and how you overcame it.

It was basically trial-and-error. I was always a thin kid so I never had to develop good eating skills and could always eat what I wanted. I tried being vegan then vegetarian and they all kind of worked with varying results. Some made me weak while others made me unable to think clearly. Throughout the battle I always asked myself, “Does this feel right?” Even if I looked good it was not good enough. It had to feel good, too.

Even though I changed diets radically, my workouts were always the same: I would only run. My workout changed on accident one day while running by Krank Fitness in Nutley, NJ. I was outside looking in and saw exactly what I needed and where I needed to be. I didn’t have to be outside running and doing a workout that I really didn’t want to do. The people inside were working out hard, pushing each other, and having fun. Joining that gym and adopting that lifestyle was the key to success. Since then, I’ve started weightlifting, rock climbing, and, of course, obstacle course racing. One thing to remember is that my mind was fixed wayyy before my body.

When it comes to eating well, what are your top-3 recommendations?

1. Controlled cheating is essential to eating healthy LONG-TERM. It’s about control not about the food. YOU need to pick the time and place before so your cheat is planned and controlled. If you control cheating you’ll control your diet.
2. Only keep healthy foods in your house. Weak times come late at night, so this will help remove the possibility of uncontrolled cheating.
3. STAY AWAY from refined sugars and processed foods. If it came from a tree, the ground, or walked the earth, then it’s ok to eat. If it came from a beaker in a lab with a color as its name, then stay clear.

Do you have a go-to meal? What is the recipe? How did you manage to alter your eating patterns and accommodate the rest of your family?

I live alone so that is a huge advantage. I am hoping the person I meet has the fame fitness goals as me. My go-to meal is a steak cooked rare with a salad. I have a weakness for salt and olive oil. Very plain and easy to make.

Was there ever a time during your first race that you thought you couldn’t finish? Once you did finally cross that finish line, what thoughts were going on in your head?

I’d like to point out a couple of things about how I race. First off, I always race alone. Always. It is metaphorical to my life and the problems I faced. I face and I race alone. I turned white during my first race when I turned the corner and saw a wall taller than me. I had never climbed a wall EVER! I thought at that moment I would never finish this race but I finally made it after four attempts. Crossing the finish line was the best I had felt about myself in 10 years. A journey that stated by running down the block at 270lbs ended with me completing a Spartan Race. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t shed a few tears that day.

I see you’re very active on social media. What groups are you involved in and how have they shaped your experience in OCR?

Spartan 4-0 and Spartans of the Northeast are my biggest and best communities. The best of the best and the most positive and uplifting people are on those sites. My racing and training today is a result of being part of those sites, not just for the practical knowledge but for their continued encouragement and brother and sisterhood of my fellow racers. I respect them all and like to think I represent them wherever I may be or however I am conducting myself as a person. I am a Spartan.

Tell me more about your YouTube channel.

YouTube is a special love of mine. I have many personal experiences and thoughts to share about my life, so when I get inspired, I pick up the selfie stick and go off on an experience or topic close to my heart. The first was a contest in which I recorded a video about how Krank Fitness in Nutley, NJ changed my life. I lost the contest but I loved watching myself speak about a topic and get emotional or passionate about it. Since then, I’ve talked about divorce, getting your identity back, how to incorporate passion into your life goals, and many more topics. I have to be in the right mood but I love that new side I discovered. I want to do so many more but just don’t have the time.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGXnPQGcwRWCUWj-ivhpYRw

Do your friends still consider you crazy for “doing all of those mud runs?” How many people have you been able to convince to join you at a race?

Simply put, yes. At work they think I am insane (that is the nice word). Some like to judge or offer physiological opinions as to why I do it. The truth is that we should all have a crazy side. It makes life worth living. Who wants to be dull? This year I have organized a fitness group and so far we have done indoor climbing and a functional boot camp. I’m working them up to a mud run and definitely think it’s in the cards this year.

Pretend you’re a race director for a day. Describe the course you would design (including pre- and post-race festivals, if you’d like).

No comment. I don’t have the mentality of a torturer so I wouldn’t be a good course designer. You have to be evil to be one of them.

Do you have any secret talents, unusual hobbies, crazy stories, etc. that you’d like to share?

I only take cold showers. Literally it’s just cold water, never any hot water. It’s good for your skin and hair, but most of all, it is an exercise of being uncomfortable. If you can force yourself to go under cold water in the morning you can do just about anything. Doing what is required is easy.

Is there anything else you want to share (OCR-related or completely random)?

OCR has given me one thing I can never fully repay: the ability to be a father to my son. I can finally be the man I always wanted to be to him, someone that looks and talks strong and someone to look up to. Not a day that goes by that I don’t think what it’s given back to me.

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