This entry is part 20 of 39 in the series Badass Women of OCR

As part of the Comeback Kids winning team on the Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge show, Laura showed the world who she is and how far she has come. She has faced times of self-doubt in her past, but has risen from the ashes to prove that you need to love yourself and be true to who you are. In this world, we have too much negativity and self-loathing and Laura strives every day to be the best person she can be, and through this inspires others. I cheered her on while watching the Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge show, and feel lucky to have been able to find out more about her and what makes her such an inspiration. Below find out more about what makes Laura a force to be noticed.

What was your first OCR race? 

My first OCR race was the Amesbury, MA Spartan Race in 2013. I was invited by my friend Jason for just a fun weekend, not knowing that this race was going to soon change my life!

In your racing career, what has been the hardest race you have done and why do you feel that way?

I think the hardest race I have ever done, mentally, emotionally and physically was the 2013 Spartan World Championships. This was the first year I took racing seriously and having not yet experienced a brutal long distance race, I took a solid beating. This was the year we first saw a sandbag that was heavier than the 25lb pancake. To our surprise we had to carry 65lb bags (same weight) for men and women, which separated a lot of the players. I was able to push through the obstacles fairly well and felt pretty good until mile 9 at the bucket carry, but after a few battles with my thoughts, I was able to continue strong.

It wasn’t until the last mile and a half that I started losing it. I was dehydrated and starting to get very emotional/sensitive. Every branch felt like razor blades across my skin and every step I took felt like I was rolling my ankle over and over again. I started crying as I was trying to keep up with a  top 10 finish, but my tank was empty. I ended up crossing the finish line in 14th place, which alone was an amazing accomplishment, but at that point it wasn’t so much the placement I was proud of more so then my “no quit” attitude when it seemed so easy to give up. Number one thing I have learned is to MAKE YOURSELF PROUD! 🙂

If you have to look back on your OCR career, what is one thing that has scared you?

One thing that has scared me throughout my OCR career was acceptance (I know that’s silly to think..) but before OCR I was a full-time model/singer without many friends. So jumping into this sport I may have seemed confident and happy, but I was extremely insecure and really hard on myself all the time. I didn’t love myself and so my attention and energy went into making sure everyone else loved me first. This is why modeling/singing was a comfort of mine for so long (easy acceptance), but what I noticed was I was craving that attention from all the wrong people.

So coming from a career where I was constantly judged and alone to then becoming a part of a loving/caring community was extremely different for me and hard to trust at first. It took a few close friends that I had made through OCR to make me see the person that I AM, not who I THINK everyone else wants me to be.  I remember one person had said: “YOU are the girl I see when you jump over that fire, covered in mud and smiling…that is the REAL you…not this girl pretending to be perfect all the time.” — So when I first joined OCR, yeah, I was afraid of not being accepted, but after talking to several people and making new friends I realized that they TOO have a past. They TOO are not perfect. They TOO have made bad choices, but they understand that they are NOT the person they used to be and that old version of themselves does NOT define who they are TODAY. So if they are not ashamed of who they are because of who they were then why should I be?? I then fearlessly opened my heart and my story to the community and was pleasantly surprised when they loved me just the same. The people of OCR are truly some of the most accepting/loving people I have ever met and for that I am so thankful!

Is there a specific goal race / or challenge you have in mind that you are training for now? If so what is it?

Currently, I am training for 2017, but no specific races yet. My goal is to tone up, eat right and pick up my running speed. I even got a nutritionist to help me learn how to properly FUEL my body instead of guessing all the time. I think 2017 is going to be one of my BEST years yet — and 2016 was a pretty awesome year! So lets see what opportunities open up next! 😛

Is it hard to be in the “public eye”? 

I wouldn’t say it is hard to be in the “public eye”, it is actually very flattering to be recognized by people. What is even more flattering is when others approach me telling me how inspired they are from my posts. Its a constant reminder that what I am doing is making a difference and that my words are being read and used to better others. Oh, and I love ALLLL the hugs! So if you see me at a race, dont be afraid say hello!

Do you believe it is harder to participate in an event or be a spectator?

I think it is more tiring to be a spectator at a race then to be a runner. I came to this realization when I first got injured an experienced how exhausting it is waiting around for friends and trying to anticipate when they will be at an obstacle. So spectating I found was a lot of hurry up and wait. On the other hand, if you are a runner, your mind and body are constantly on the go go go, releasing endorphins and making you feel accomplished as you push yourself outside your comfort zone.

Whats one random fact about you that you would like to share?

One random fact about me is I used to be a part of a cover rock group out of Boston (Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra) and one time we opened up for Smash Mouth at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas! 🙂

Who inspires you?

I am inspired by all those who are consistent in pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone.

What drives you to continue to race / OCR – is it a need to “feel the fear”, a competitive streak within yourself or?

I continue to race because it keeps me out of my comfort zone not only on race day but during my Yancy Camp training sessions throughout the week too. The more I risk (doing things outside of my comfort zone) the easier it becomes to do the things I used to say I couldn’t do. So each race I run I become more POWERFUL mentally, emotionally and physically and that power strengthens my personal life as well!

In one word describe yourself?

Blessed.

What is the best piece of advice that you have gotten from anyone over the years in regards to OCR, racing, life (this can be anything).

Best advice I have been given in regards to racing/life, which I didn’t fully grasp its full meaning until this past year is:  “Run YOUR OWN race.” and “Make YOURSELF proud.”

A favorite quote of yours that you would like to share with everyone is:

“The fight within is only won when you are willing to stop handing excuses to the things that scare you…” -Laura Messner

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