This entry is part 13 of 30 in the series Faces at the Races

Jacob Kohler 1Name
Jacob Kohler

Age
24

Lives
San Antonio, TX

Occupation
Automotive Technician for Lexus

Favorite OCR series
BattleFrog

Favorite obstacle
Rope Climb

Least favorite obstacle
Spear throw and heavy carries (but I’m working on it)

Ideal race distance
6-9 miles

Favorite previous race venue
Spartan World Championships at Lake Tahoe

2016 OCR goals
Podium at multiple races, qualify for Spartan World Championships, and place in the top-25 for BattleFrog points.

Jacob Kohler 4
Brief bio
I’m originally from Minnesota and grew up and lived there my whole life. In August 2013, I married my best friend and high school sweetheart, Brittney. We then moved Texas for her to pursue her law degree at St Mary’s. We now live together in San Antonio with our three dogs. I work about 60-hour every week as an automotive technician at Lexus. I like cars, guns, tattoos, working out, and (of course) running OCR. I ran my very first OCR race in 2013 (Gladiator San Antonio) with my wife and her dad, who had done a few races in the past. From then on, I fell in love with the sport and have been running ever since. Last year alone we ran about 20 OCR races and also ran a few road races as well.

Social media
Instagram: @jake_ocr_kohler
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jake-OCR-Kohler-358311894365566/

Why do you compete in OCR?
I’m a naturally competitive person and I’ve also always loved climbing and monkeying around on things. After doing a couple races, I found that the community is great and I have a natural ability with obstacles that I really enjoy. I love what I do and that’s important.

Have you overcome any significant setbacks, such as injury, personal trauma, etc.?
No, luckily, I have been fortunate enough so far to not have any significant setbacks.

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How did you end up moving from Minnesota to Texas? What has been the biggest difference?
My wife was applying to law school and wanted to go someplace new and different. Her dad, stepmom, and brother live here in San Antonio, as well. There are definitely a bunch differences between Texas and Minnesota. First off, OCR is much bigger here. In Minnesota, there are only a few races near the major city so I probably would not have gotten into OCR if it weren’t for the move to Texas. Also, I miss the winter/snow season that we have up north. There are a lot more people here. It’s crazy how much traffic there always is. Finally, the biggest difference is being away from my friends and family. I lived in Minnesota my whole life and it’s difficult being so far from them now.

Tell me more about your wrestling background. What were some of your highlights?
I started wrestling when I was in the 3rd grade and basically continued all the way through my senior year in high school. Our school had a very good wrestling team every year and I wrestled varsity both my junior and senior years. My biggest highlight was going to state my senior year. I wrestled at 125 lbs for my weight class and the whole weekend was a great experience.

Joe De Sena, CEO of Spartan Race, has said that he thinks a wrestler could one day become a Spartan Race champion because of how much grit they have. Do you agree with this?
Yes, I do. Wrestling is a very intense sport. You have to be both physically and mentally tough. It requires full body strength and endurance. Wrestlers constantly push their limits and always continue to raise the bar on what they can do.

What went through your mind when you crossed the finish line at your first ever obstacle course race?
My very first obstacle race was the Gladiator race in the fall of 2013 with my wife and her family. After crossing the finish line my very first thought was me wondering where the medical tent was so I could find my wife who had sprained her ankle on a rock during the race. But after I found her and made sure she was okay, my next thought about the race was how much I enjoyed myself and how it was cool to breeze through obstacles. I thought I had found something I could really be good at and enjoy doing.

What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses in terms of racing and training? How are you working to overcome them?
In racing, my strengths include upper body and grip strength obstacles, like rope climb, rigs, and monkey bars. My weaknesses are running and heavy carries. When it comes to training, finding time is my biggest weakness since I work such long hours every day. A strength I have is that I make the most of the time that I have and push myself during my workouts. I have been working hard to overcome my weaknesses. I have gained mental toughness by making myself train even though I am tired. During the week, I get up at 4;00 am to go to the gym before I have to be at work at 7:00 am for my 12-hour shift. Also, I have found strength by knowing what my weaknesses are and specifically training to get better in those areas.

How do you fill the void of not racing for so long during the off-season? Do you have any non-OCR activities that take priority during the off-season?
During the OCR offseason we pick up random road races to run (5k to half marathon mostly). Also, during the offseason, I am able to have a better, more routine training schedule.

Jacob Kohler 2
What OCR accomplishment are you most proud of?
Qualifying and racing at the Spartan World Championship last year and also placing third and getting on the podium at the San Antonio BattleFrog this year.

This year’s OCR World Championships will feature a short course (3 km) and long course (15 km), and the general consensus to featuring both distances has been positive. Would you like to see more race series continue this trend of offering multiple distances at their championship race?
Yeah, I think it’s a good idea to have the varying distances, especially at a world championship event. That way, people can race at the distance that is their strength, as opposed to a set distance that may favor certain types of runners over others.

Walk me through a typical week of you working out. Do you have any training partners or coaches?
My training primarily takes place at the gym and I go there about 5 times a week. My wife and I go to the gym together, but we don’t necessarily work out together while we are there. Also, a few times a month, Dale Marshall hosts OCR training workouts at his house that we like to attend.

Many athletes get injured because they push themselves too hard day-after-day without taking time to recovery. What kind of recovery techniques have you found to be the most effective?
For the best recovery I make sure I am getting the right nutrients, stretching, foam rolling, and the occasional ice or Epson salt bath.

It’s pretty obvious by looking at you that you’re a fan of tattoos. How many do you have and which one(s) are your favorites?
Right now I have six tattoos, including three OCR-related tattoos. Each one is my favorite for a different reason. On my leg I have the Spartan logo and BattleFrog logo. On my chest is a skull with a Spartan helmet and spear. Down my left side is the word “BEAST” ripped through the skin with a Godzilla beast underneath. I have a cross on my back and I have a biomechanical quarter sleeve on my left arm.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I will probably be living back home in Minnesota, raising my family with my wife, in a house we built with some land around it. Also, I plan to still be training and traveling to OCR races as much as possible.

Jacob Kohler 5
Have you been able to convince your wife, Brittney, to race with you? Do you think OCR couples make the best couples?
Yes, but luckily I haven’t needed to convince her. She signs up her on her own and wants to do the races, which I think is awesome. We have run a few together, but we will also do them separately a lot because I will run the elite heat and she will usually run the open. I’m proud that not only does she do the races, but also she’s not afraid to go out and do them on her own either. I think more couples should race together. And yes, I think OCR couples make the best couples because it’s a great support system, you can help and motivate each other, share a common interest, and spend a lot of time together training, traveling, and racing.

Do you follow any of the elite racers on the pro circuit? If so, who are your favorite racers and have you met any of them in-person?
Yes, I follow some of the elite racers on the pro circuit. One of my favorites that I have also met a few times in person is Rose Wetzel. She is awesome and just a beast. I’ve talked with her at a couple races and I also went to watch her qualifying round of American Ninja Warrior in Houston last year. She is fun to be around because she is approachable and always in a good mood. Also, she is inspiring and motivating to so many people.

Choose one: do you love to win or do you hate to lose?
I guess I would say that I hate to lose because even when I do well in a race, I am always comparing myself to the other racers ahead of me and wondering if I could have done better.

Give me a fact about yourself that would impress most people?
I’ve run a marathon. December 2014 we ran the Rock n Roll marathon in San Antonio. It was a long boring 26.2 miles, but we did it and it’s a cool accomplishment.

What is the farthest you’ve traveled to attend a race and what made you decide to do it?
Last year my wife and I traveled to Lake Tahoe for the Spartan World Championships. At the beginning of the year, we talked about it and decided that if I earned the coin and qualified that we world make the trip to the championships. Since I earned my coin, we then planned the trip and the experience was definitely worth it.

What’s your 15 seconds of fame moment?
When I placed third at the San Antonio BattleFrog and was called during the award ceremony to go up on the podium.

Do you have any secret talents?
Not really. I guess I could say I’m a skilled driver, basically anything with a motor (car, dirtbike, motorcycle, etc.). I can drive well without practice.

Pretend you’re a race director for a day. Describe the course (including pre- and post-race festival areas, if you’d like).
I would want a good venue for a 6-9 mile trail run with a technical terrain. The race would be obstacle-heavy with lots of grip strength obstacles. It would be mandatory obstacle completion for elites, so basically a lot like a BattleFrog race. Post-race, I would make sure there is an award ceremony and would offer something other than beer for people to get with their drink ticket.

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