I am a 52-year-old leukemia survivor who is in the middle of a major life transformation. I just discovered obstacle course racing this year and it has become my new passion in life and a major factor in my losing over 40 pounds in the past year. I am married to my awesome wife, Sandy, and have three awesome sons, Grey, Seth, and Kade, who I am trying to share my newfound passion with. I am a Software Solution Architect with a focus and passion on the power of leveraging data and advanced analytics to better the world.
In a broad perspective, my favorite part about the sport is how literally anyone can get involved. Since some courses are only three miles, it doesn’t take much training to be able to be complete a course. An amateur strongman, bodybuilder or triathlete has to put in many hours of training and dieting to even complete one event.
I love to compete and meet others who can make me better through completion and camaraderie. I have come to learn more about myself through this sport only third to the Marines and academics.
I grew up very active in sports and played a little over a year of college football. OCR gives me that opportunity to still feel competitive. OCR also allows me to push myself further than I have in any sport I have ever played and I love pushing myself to see how far I can truly go.
My first race was Malibu 2013 and it was COLD!! Not knowing what I was getting into, we went hard out the gate. I was huffing and puffing so hard, I literally thought I wasn’t going to make it. I was slipping everywhere because I was in experienced and was wearing Nike Frees! I failed pretty much every obstacle out there (rope climb, monkey bars, spear) so I was drowning in burpees. I wanted to cry because I was so tired and so cold. I kept asking myself “why did I sign up for this”! But then I crossed the finished line and earned my first medal. After that, I was hooked.
After our third kid, Emily (my killer awesome wife) starting working out hard in the most inconvenient times (early morning and late night) to lose the baby weight. She proved to me that it can be done and that health is important. The “I need to change” moment occurred in my parents’ kitchen. My dad squeezed my shoulder and said, “That extra weight looks good on you Rick. Makes you look like a man.” I wear my weight well, and he was sincere. I looked stronger, but it was just a layer of fat. It was the first time that someone, excluding Emily, acknowledged the “extra weight.”
I had little kids that I could not run around after my daughter was teased by one of her friends because of her weight. I was so young and I was trapped inside a body that would not allow me to do the things I wanted. My doctor saw me struggling to lose weight and suggested the surgery and five months later I did it.
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.
I did have a brief moment during my first race that I thought I might not finish when I looked up to the top of the mountain and was out of breath. I had to focus on one step at a time and tell myself that I was capable and strong enough to finish. When I did cross the finish line I felt extremely proud. I worked hard and it paid off in the end.
I was friends with Yancy Culp before he started training full-time. He is a motivator! It's hard not to get excited after talking to him. Yancy has been my personal trainer for two and half years. My wife and I also motivate each other to stay at it.