From time to time, I have reached out to the community and asked for nominations for this series. I want to say that honestly, everyone that participates in this muddy OCR family of ours is amazing, and it is never ever easy for me to only select a few stories to tell. A goal of mine is to continue to profile these amazing women until the interest in Badass Women in OCR goes away (and I don’t see that happening anytime soon).
Without further ado, meet Tiffany Palmer. She is a Varsity high school cheerleading coach who decided to challenge herself and sign up for her first OCR (the Norm Koch New Jersey Spartan Beast on April 30th, 2016). Like many of us, after just one race you become hooked, and since that first beast, Tiffany has gone after more and more big goals. I wanted to feature Tiffany, as not only was she nominated by multiple friends, but to hear that her first OCR ever was a Spartan “Norm Koch” beast had me super curious. Who signs up for a BEAST as their first OCR race? Tiffany did.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a Varsity high school cheerleading coach (my 8th year) at my alma mater and for the past 8 years, I was a childcare provider. My last child just started kindergarten so now I am on to my next adventure. I recently got my ACE personal training certification and am ready to start following my passion. My ultimate goal would be to open my own OCR focused gym. I love to be outside doing anything, but my favorite place to be is near a mountain. I see myself living in Colorado at some point in the near future.
Did you always consider yourself athletic?
From a very young age, I realized I was gifted when it came to anything athletic. I started speed skating when I was 5 and continued that path until I was 11. I went to the Junior Olympics and learned a lot about dedication. I shifted gears and started playing softball, basketball, cheerleading, gymnastics, and lacrosse. I knew if I wanted to really excel I had to narrow it down to a couple sports I really loved. I made the choice of all-star cheerleading and softball. I cheered all the way through my freshman year of college and played softball up until my senior year of high school.
How did you get into the sport of OCR?
I started doing OCRs a few years ago just for fun with my sister. Warrior Dash in Maryland was our yearly event just to get out on the weekend and have family time together.
What was your first race like? Which one was it?
Scary. My very first elite OCR was the Norm Koch New Jersey Spartan Race Beast on April 30th, 2016. I signed up for the race because I felt like I needed something more in my life at the time. I remember being addicted to reading numerous facebook posts about the race, what type of nutrition to bring, what to wear, and what to expect. I was completely out of my element at the start line and a ball of nerves. I started to settle in and realized I was in first place for most of the race. I remember coming up to obstacles and yelling out to volunteers asking them what I was supposed to do because I didn’t know exactly what to do for some of them. I felt completely empowered and with each step, I started to realize this is what I was born for. I ended up 2nd place by 14 seconds in my first race and I was hooked from the moment I said my last AROO at the start line.
Tell us about the races you have done so far.
This season I have completed 21 races including 15 Spartan Races, 1 USAOCR race in Miami, 2 Savage Races, and 3 OCRWC races. OCRWC was one of my favorite races because I got to race with Brakken Kraker and Brian Gowiski where we took the Pro Coed team win! There is something so different about racing with a team than racing as an individual.
What initially drew you into the world of OCR?
The community. I loved going to races and being around like-minded individuals just trying to better themselves. People look for motivation every day and there really is not a better place to get it than at an OCR. The camaraderie of every event is so genuine and we need more of that in our world.
Do you feel that due to strong women like yourself, that others are more willing to push their own limits?
I think everyone out there is looking for motivation any way they can get it. Some people can do it themselves; while others need a little help. I figure if I can help one person a day want to get off the couch and go be active, then my day was a success. I have heard I am an inspiration from friends, strangers, family and it really lights a fire in me to keep striving to be better. I don’t want to let anyone down including myself, so I keep pushing and posting on social media so others will want to get out there. I always think, if I can be where I am now as an elite female racer, then anyone can do it. You just have to take that first step.
On-course what has been your favorite obstacle and why?
My favorite obstacle is anything grip related. The rigs, monkey bars, anything I can hang from. At my first Spartan Race elite race, I failed the rig and I told myself that would never happen again. I built a rig in my backyard and practiced every day until I knew I would never miss a grip obstacle again.
On course what has been your least favorite obstacle and why?
My least favorite obstacle is the spear throw. For no other reason that I let it get in my head and even though I have gotten better at it, I still have races that I miss it.
Is there is an OCR or endurance race that you will never do?
I am really open minded to try any OCR. I joke that I would never do a 24 hour race, but I really think that would be the ultimate challenge physically and mentally. I would love to try to tackle World’s Toughest Mudder sometime in the future.
If someone were to give you a plane ticket, and a paid race entry to any event in the world which one would you love to go and do?
OCR World Championships just announced they will be in London next year. Visiting London has always been on my bucket list, and what better way to see it than for OCRWC!
With so many amazing women on course this year, do you find yourself becoming more competitive, inspired or both?
With so many incredible women I find myself becoming more and more inspired. Which in result makes me want to train harder than ever before. Today I watched Rea Kolbl not only win World’s Toughest Mudder, but she placed 4th overall. It’s moments like that that make me believe we really can do anything we put our minds to. I love the days where I wake up feeling exhausted and hop on instagram to see one of my competitors posting their workout. It makes it easy to get up and go kick ass at my training day.
What type of training do you complete for OCR training?
I train under Robert Killian with Dark Horse Obstacle Course Training, so whatever he throws my way I complete. I have a heavy volume of running mileage and I follow the 80/20 rule. 80 percent of my workouts are in heart rate zone 2-3 and the other 20 are my speed interval days at a higher heart rate. Robert always pushes me past my limits and I love every second…once the workout is complete.
If you have one, what is an on course nickname people have for you?
Some people like to call me T-Palm and some call me T-Pain. I love both!!
For someone that is newer to the OCR sport, what is one solid piece of advice that you wish to pass on?
Do not be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Whenever you feel like you want to quit, tell yourself to “just keep moving. one foot in front of the other. Soon you will be crossing the finish line a different human than when you started.”
Who inspires you?
Robert Killian is my main inspiration. I have looked up to him since I first started obstacle course racing. Having the privilige to train under him has been a surreal experience. I am also inspired by every single open racer out there. I love going back out on the course to run with the open wavers to watch their drive, their fire, and the comaraderie. They're not out there competing against anyone but themselves, and I think that is the ultimate inspiration.
If someone wants to reach out to you on social media, how can they find you?
Facebook: Tiffany Palmer