This entry is part 19 of 28 in the series Faces at the Races

Erik Carranza 2Name
Erik Carranza


Kenosha, WI

Trainer at Monkey Bar Gym Milwaukee

Favorite OCR series
BattleFrog, but Conquer The Gauntlet is getting up there

Favorite obstacle
Walls and rigs

Least favorite obstacle
Any ice cold water obstacle

Ideal race distance
5-7 miles

Favorite previous race venue
Lake Tahoe at the 2015 Spartan Race World Championship

2016 OCR goals
Place in the top 3 for my age group in every race and top-20 at OCR World Championship

Brief bio
I live on the fun side of life. I do amazing things with amazing people.

Social media
Instagram: @iamthe_eza
Snapchat: erik_carranza

Why do you compete in OCR?
It brings us back to nature. It’s like being a kid again, except now we get to overcome bigger obstacles and get a cool medal when we finish.

Have you overcome any significant setbacks, such as injury, personal trauma, etc.?
Just recently I was at a point where my knee was so badly hurt that I couldn’t even walk. It was fustruating because it was cutting away time from training and racing, two things that I love dearly.

Erik Carranza 1You said that you fell into the wrong crowd as soon as high school started. How long did that lifestyle last and what caused you to go down this path in the first place?
Yeah, I was definitely hanging with the wrong crowd. For nearly a decade I was a stoner hanging out with people, skipping school to get drunk, starting fights, getting arrested, and overdosing on drugs. I don’t even know how I fell into that lifestyle. I knew it was all bad but somehow I never left. It became a habit to associate myself with those kind of people.

What was the turning point in your life when you decided to make a change for the better?
The turning point was when I got locked up. Seeing my mother cry and scream was the worst feeling I’ve ever felt. The worst part was that I caused all that pain. When I was in jail I decided it was time to change. I was not going to put my parents through that much pain ever again.

Do you have any advice for teenagers so they don’t make some of the same mistakes you did in your past?
I would tell them to join a sport. Something about fitness makes you want to get stronger and become a better human being. It really doesn’t matter what sport you get into. All that matters is that choose one and go with it.

Describe what was going through your head once you crossed the finish line for the first time.
Since it was a Spartan Sprint I was done in less than an hour, so the first thought that came to my mind was “That’s it?” I was having so much fun I didn’t want it to end. When I crossed the finish line I was already thinking about the next race. I loved the challenge and something inside me told me that this was the change I was looking for.

What sports did you play growing up? What were some of your accomplishments?
As a kid I played Little League baseball. My dad was a phenomenal player so he signed me up every year for about 7 years. The best I did was 3rd place.

Erik Carranza 6Tell me about a time when you experienced a lack of motivation. What caused this and what did you do about it?
There was a point during the Spartan Race in Lake Tahoe where I was going hypothermic. I started thinking about quitting the race just so I could go to a warm place. My friend told me to keep moving, otherwise I was going to freeze. I started running and taking selfies. Before you know it I was moving and motivating others to keep pushing forward.

Do you think OCR companies do a good job advertising their events?
I think they’re doing a good job. I love what Battlefrog and Spartan Race are doing getting the race series on TV.

What does a typical week of training look like for you? Do you have a training partner or a coach?
Every week is different. Sometimes I’ll do more running and hills while another week I’ll focus more on grip training. It usually depends on what obstacle I had the hardest time on in the last race.

Do you keep up with/have you met any of the top elite racers? If so, who are your favorite athletes?
You have to keep up with them if you want to beat them. I see Jon Albon running up and down mountains. I see Ryan Atkins winning not just OCRs but ultras as well. Hobie Call is making some noise nowadays too. It’s exciting to watch.

Erik Carranza 7Give me a fact about yourself that would impress most people?
I meditate and do yoga every morning before my day gets started.

Besides obstacle course racing, what is your biggest passion?
Outside of OCR my biggest passions are life and personal development. I love how personal development has improved my life and I don’t plan on stopping soon.

Are you pursuing any achievement this year, like a Spartan Trifecta or running one race from each of the major series?
Nothing major. Compete in the OCRWC and try to run a race every weekend until the end of the season.

How many medals do you own and what do you do with them after the race?
At least 40. I hang them in my room and look at them for motivation. Knowing that I went to hell and back on some of these races motivates me to get up and get going throughout the day.

What’s the furthest you’ve traveled to attend a race (or are planning to travel this year)?
The furthest so far is Lake Tahoe for the Spartan World Championship. I’m planning on traveling to Canada this year for the OCRWC so that might be the farthest. I do plan on going to Europe soon to run the Toughest race.

Erik Carranza 3Pretend you’re a race director for a day. Describe the course you would design (including pre- and post-race festivals, if you’d like).
I would make the course replicate a movie. For example if we were doing a Jurassic Park theme race the pre-race festival would welcome you to the park. At the starting corral we’ll announce that the dinosaurs have escaped and for you to survive you’ll need to finish the race. The course would have many obstacles from the movie to give the race a unique experience. At the end you’ll almost feel like you were actually trying to escape the dinosaurs or whatever the case may be depending on what movie we choose to do for the race.

Is there anything else you’d like to mention (about OCR or life in general)?
Enjoy life. Always stay positive. We’re only here for a short time so live it like it’s your last. Smile and laugh. There’s no reason to stay mad or angry.

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