I first heard about Andi Hardy through an OCR podcast and her story hit a chordwith me. Often when people think of OCR they think that your age or ability can hold you back. In Andi’s case, that is totally wrong. Not only did she accomplish great things during her very first OCR races, but she has continued to make huge strides and show the world it isn’t about a number but about who you are as a person. She was also kind enough to answer a few questions for me about who she is and what she is all about. You will know her if you see her, as she races in her signature “green” colors.
What was your first OCR race? why did you do your first race?
Merrell Down and Dirty in Atlanta, I had always wanted to try one of “those obstacle races” but with life-long knee issues was told I couldn't run, so listened to doctors until 2 weeks before this race came to town. I had just completed a triathlon in which I had not planned to run the running part, but the competitor in me made me run. It was then I realized if I wanted something bad enough I could do it regardless of limitations and physical pain. I ran every day for two weeks and then completed the Down and Dirty race, placing 1st in my division of over 150 women. This gave me the confidence to try a Spartan Race. Spartan Race was my second OCR, but the one that solidified my love and career in OCR.
In your racing career, what has been the hardest race you have done and why do you feel that way?
I have attempted many physically “hard” races. Several were quite taxing on my body and I still wonder how I am still in one piece. However, the hardest race for me was a half marathon in Yellowstone National Park. It wasn't a challenging course, it wasn't a new distance for me, the elevation didn't affect me much. It was a beautiful place and I was feeling pretty good physically at the start line. But my mind just quit on me during the race and my body stopped running. It was the first race that this ever happened to me and it was really difficult to get to the finish line. Running hurts, every step is painful for me, but this particular race was harder than others because I lost control of my head and mind.
If you have to look back on your OCR career, what is one thing that has scared you?
The one thing that continues to scare me is hypothermia. I get very cold – to the core-very quickly. I have been on the verge of hypothermia several times and it is a damn scary place to be.
Is there a specific goal race / or challenge you have in mind that you are training for now? If so what is it?
I am currently training for a couple of 30+ hour endurance races for early 2017: TPK Endurance (Arizona), The Gauntlet Endurance (Georgia), and SISU Iron (California).
Is it hard to be in the “public eye”?
I absolutely love seeing, meeting, and talking with everyone. However, there is a time and place for it. Just before a race I like to get dialed in and stay focused at the task at hand so my coach makes me wear a black hoodie and warm up/hide away from others. However, on the race course I wave to anyone calling my name. I've even been known to stop and give a few hugs along the way. After the race … I'm all about fun pictures, hearing stories, and hanging out with anyone and everyone.
What's one random fact about you that you would like to share?
I love the color green. LOL Just kidding, that's not random.
I have a pet tarantula and a possum.
I love, love, love to climb and swing from things.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by all of the people who overcome their own personal obstacles of life …. people who continue to defy the odds and get out there to face their fears, people who accomplish huge goals regardless of their limitations, people who don't use excuses!!! I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to meet so many people, I am continually inspired by so many that it is difficult to pinpoint one individual.
The one person who inspired me in the beginning of my OCR journey was Hobie Call. He was humble and personable and took time to show a newbie, unknown like me a few pointers. I continue to look up to Hobie as he puts his game where his mouth is, works incredibly hard, and stays true to his word.
Any fun or quirky nicknames you have?
Queen of Green, Green Machine, Greenie, Andi-Bird, Pickle
In one word describe yourself?
What is the best piece of advice that you have gotten?
Believe in yourself!!!
What is a favorite quote that you like?
“How bad do you want it?” The question that has lead me to the podium. I ask myself this question in training when I want to quit or in a race when I fall back into a comfort zone.
“Don't be afraid to fail, but be afraid to NOT try.” Failure is a daily experience for me, however, my life is much richer for those failures. There was a time not so long ago that I was afraid to fail thus tried nothing and was MISERABLE.
If someone wants to reach out on social media, how can they find you?
Andi Hardy, IG: BarbWireQueenofGreen