I am honored to share the story of Erin Rost. Many of us know her as the woman who finished 2nd place in Worlds Toughest Mudder in 2018 (a shocking victory even to Erin), however, there is more to her story than just OCR. She is a flight commander in the airforce and has been on the Price is Right (where she won). Erin has proven that making choices and sacrifices towards your goals, in the end, is totally worth it. She is strong, humble and has had quite the professional military career.
I am excited to follow along in her OCR journey and see what 2019 holds for her. I hope you enjoy getting to know this Bad Ass Woman of OCR a little better.
Please tell us about yourself.
I grew up in Sacramento, CA. My dad served in the United States Air Force and my mom was an Emergency Room Nurse. I followed in the family’s tradition of service by attending college at the United States Air Force Academy where I played Division I Soccer and was a jumpmaster and skydiving instructor for the United States Air Force Parachute team. After graduation, I moved to Boston, MA where I have served for the last 5 years as an Air Force Acquisitions and Recruiting Officer. I have always been athletic and competitive as I grew up with an older brother who was a 3-sport athlete and ended up playing college football. He never let me make excuses for anything and always challenged me to be my best. That being said, I grew more like a younger brother than a younger sister. As a result, when I was younger instead of learning how to wear make-up, I learned how to load barbells. I have carried my love for sports and competition with me throughout my entire life, this along with the spirit comradery and teamwork I learned from the military, is what drew me to Obstacle Courses Racing.
I know your career is within the military. Can you share with us what made you decide to choose this as your career route?
I come from a long line of military veterans, the most influential being my father. He is a retired SMSgt, having served 24 years as a C-5 Loadmaster. He took my family to the United States Air Force Academy when I was 8 years old and from then on, I told everyone that I was going to the Air Force Academy for college and was going to be in the Air Force. His experiences, opportunities and most importantly incredible friendships are truly what drew me to this career path.
In your professional career, what are you most proud of?
I am currently a flight commander, which has been the toughest yet most rewarding things I have ever done. The members of my flight have significantly more life and professional experience than I do and they constantly push me to be a better leader and a better person. I learn more from them on a day to day basis than I have ever learned in a classroom setting or from a book, etc. I have grown significantly since taking the role of flight commander and I owe it to them. I am most proud to be able to serve with individuals like this who have helped shape the person I am today.
What is your proudest moment in OCR to date?
I would have to say achieving 75 miles at World’s Toughest Mudder 2018 was my proudest moment in OCR. The whole race I was just pushing myself with the goal of simply finishing the 24 hours. Being in contention for a podium placement, let alone a top 10 finish, wasn’t even on my radar. While it felt great to have earned a second-place finish, nothing can compare, as many other races know, to the feeling of completing your first World’s Toughest Mudder.
In regard to your World’s Toughest Mudder win, looking back now how has that changed you as an athlete?
I wouldn’t say it “changed me” but I would say it opened my eyes to a part of myself I didn’t know was there and opening that part of me has affected my life. I am finding I have a lot more confidence in myself, in my training strategies and my ability to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve my goals. In the past, I would find myself questioning “Am I doing this right?” or “Is it really worth all of this?” However, my success at WTM served as a reminder that while sacrificing for your goals is not easy they are always worth it. I learned to push through challenges and adversity helps make you stronger, more resilient and ultimately capable of pursuing and conquering your goals.
For those in the community that may not know your OCR background well, what races have you done so far?
Not too many relative to many of the competitors in OCR. I am new to the sport and have done about 10 Tough/Tougher Mudders, 1 Toughest Mudder, 1 World’s Toughest Mudder, and 2 Spartan Super Races.
In terms of endurance sports/events is there a race or challenge you won't do? and if so why?
Honestly, I’m still learning what races are out there. That being said, I haven’t heard of one I would not do, except for races over 100 miles, I’m not sure I will ever do one of those.
Is there an obstacle on course that you personally struggle with?
I struggle most with speed on the course. I don’t come from a running background so improving my abilities as a runner has been a major focus area of mine.
If yes which one and what are you doing to overcome it?
I have been working on running speed and decreasing mile time.
Who inspires you in your life and why?
The men/women with whom I serve. I know and work with individuals who are a mix of Fighter/Heavy Pilots, Maintenance crews, Health Professionals, Recruiters, Special Operations Officer, Scientists, Intel Personnel, etc. They are truly the most incredible individuals I have ever met and I am constantly in awe of them. They make sacrifices on a daily basis in service to the United States. Some of my friends go 6-9 months without seeing their friends or family or have been separated from family for years. They inspire me each and every day to push through any and all challenges life throws at me.
Is there an exercise that you use to train specifically for OCR races?
I got into CrossFit and rock-climbing to help build muscular endurance and grip strength, respectively. I also got into Boxing, mostly for stress relief, but it has almost helped build good core strength, upper body strength and endurance. In addition, I spend A LOT of time doing various hanging/grip strength exercises on pull up bars.
In terms of your military training, do you feel this has helped you form a good solid mental grit (when the going gets tough)?
Definitely, I leveraged my experiences from both Basic Training and my time at the Air Force Academy to help me through the challenging parts of WTM. That being said, developing mental grit is a skill. Just like with any skill, it takes practice to not only acquire but to maintain. So, in order to hone my grit, I constantly put myself in challenging mental and physical positions in order to learn how to overcome them. Sometimes this means signing up for a race I know I’m not ready for and just seeing how I handle that challenge. The more I practice this, the better I am when challenges arise.
Let’s have some fun here. What is your spirit animal and why?
I never know how to answer this question, because honestly, I feel more like “The Little Engine That Could.” If you really want to make me pick an animal I am probably more like the tortoise in the “Tortoise in the Hare.” While neither one of these characters/animals is flashy, I have learned that if you just dig deep and keep going, the universe will conspire to help you.
What is one little known fact about you that you are willing to share?
For my 18th Birthday, I went to the game show “The Price is Right” with my mom and was selected to be on the show. I ended up winning! Check it out!
What are your OCR Goals and or plans for the 2019 season?
Not in any particular order:
- 1) Complete 40+ miles at a Toughest Mudder
- 2) Compete in the elite category for Spartan Races
- 3) Run a Savage Race
- 4) Run at least a 100km ultramarathon
- 5) Race WTM again!
Have you decided if you will return to compete in Worlds Toughest Mudder 2019?
Absolutely! I loved WTM 2018 and I plan on returning to WTM 2019
Is there anything else you wish to share with us?
I like to take any opportunity I get to thank some very special people in my life, because without them, I would not be anywhere close to where I am today. To my boyfriend, Travis, thanks for listening to me, loving me and believing in me throughout this journey. To my mom and dad, for teaching me how with hard work and a good attitude anything is possible. To my brother Joe, thanks for making me tough and never letting me back down to any challenge.
If people want to reach out to you on social media, how do they find you?
- You can follow me on Instagram: @Womazonian
- You can email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org