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.
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.
I used to weigh 225 lbs, hated the way I looked, hated my clothes, and wasn’t happy about my life in general. I honestly didn’t love myself. I was on Facebook in November 2013 and saw a sponsored ad for Spartan Race with the title “30 burpees for 30 days.” I didn’t even know what a burpee was, but something in me said, "I want to do that." The next day I started the challenge and it took me around 30 minutes to complete it. I was inside in the air condition sweating and panting. It was pathetic.
When the scale hit over 600 lbs Derek Mitchell knew it was time to make a change. In addition to walking everyday, OCR has been instrumental in his transformation. Already down 73 lbs, Derek has seen tremendous success and he is not about to slow down. Check out this inspirational story from a true OCR Warrior!!