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.
I had back surgery in 1998 and this started the downward trajectory of my health and fitness. Once a HS basketball star, I quit taking care of my body and the scar tissue from surgery did the rest. At times I was confined to a wheelchair because of back spasms when I would walk. After finally reaching 220lbs, I decided to not let back pain hold me back any longer.
I love OCR, as it encompasses so many different types of fitness throughout a race: cardiovascular, strength, muscle endurance, along with agility, speed and skill. I do it to model the lifestyle that is possible to my clients and everyone. OCR is a great metaphor for life: we all experience obstacles that we must overcome.
OCR forces me to live a healthy lifestyle, or I simply wouldn't be able to compete and do the things I do. It has re-taught me to appreciate my body and value it for what it can do, rather than how it looks. I marvel at the progress I have made and feel proud of how far I have come, and recognize that I am indebted to the OCR community and all who have supported me along the way. I also feel inspired by so many of the people I've met and stories I have heard.
I’m a naturally competitive person and I’ve also always loved climbing and monkeying around on things. After doing a couple races, I found that the community is great and I have a natural ability with obstacles that I really enjoy. I love what I do and that’s important. This week on Faces at the Races we profile Jacob Kohler.
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.
I am just an average guy born and raised from a small town in Wisconsin. I have always loved to play sports and be part of a team. The most important things to me are my faith, family, and friends. I am somewhat new to this OCR community but have enjoyed it thus far and looking forward to continuing to meet new people! Oh yeah and one more thing I have lost over 200 pounds in the last two years!
Faces at the Races focuses on Samantha Ellison today. This 14-year old is living the OCR life already at a young age. She is the daughter of a Death Racer and lives and breathes the sport of OCR. Learn more about Samantha and her love of OCR.
"I’ll never be the tallest or the strongest at a start line, but I promise you that there are few out there will as much heart and will power as me. There are no other option but to complete the course or be dragged off." Jay Flores is this week's Faces at the Races profile.