OCR Transformations- Nicholas Hoyer

ORM presents the series of stories on OCR Transformations. Runners and athletes whose mind body, and spirit have been altered through obstacle racing.

Nicholas was overweight as a child, but his battle with obesity did not begin until after high school. Over the four years of college, his weight went from 235 pounds to 335 pounds. At the age of 26, Nicholas hit his max weight at 425 pounds.

Nicholas College

COMFORT FOOD

Since the age of seven, Nicholas had been made fun of because of his weight. He ate to feel better and gained more weight as a result. Luckily his outgoing personality helped him to make friends along the way, but they all enjoyed the same bad habit…food. Nicholas played golf all four year of high school at Varsity level, but his insecurities hindered him from going out for any other sports. Once he reached college, his busy schedule caused him to eat out more and more causing him to gain 100 pounds his first two years out of high school.

AROUND THE CORNER

Nicholas’ mindset changed drastically once his daughter Avery was born in 2005. He wanted to be a major part of her life and he knew he needed to lose weight and change his lifestyle in order to do so. His biggest motivator was to not be an embarrassment to his daughter when she got older. Nicholas recalled a dream he had when Avery was just a baby, “I went to drop her off at school and she asked me to keep going and drop her off around the corner so she didn’t have to be seen with me”. That was one of his biggest moments that convinced him to take control of his life.

Nicholas and Avery

CHANGE IN HABITS

When she was six months old Nicholas decided to go to the gym and eat healthy. His diet initially consisted of Clif Bars, Smart One frozen meals, and salads. For a year straight he did not stray from this routine and was able to lose over 100 pounds. The only cardio he would endure was the elliptical machine which he built his time from 15 minutes to 90 minutes a day within the first year.

Nicholas First OCR

SETTING GOALS 

The first goal he set for himself was to one day do a Tough Mudder. He saw videos of the event wanted to be a part of the fun. He would run and lift weights in order to train for the first race, but his biggest struggle was making sure he did not over eat. After completing his first Tough Mudder he felt a sense of accomplishment, pride, and motivation. It was one of the best feelings of his life. From this point on Nicholas set new goals for himself to continuously work hard and continue making a difference in his life. Since his first Tough Mudder, Nicholas has participated in many OCR events as well as marathons (full and half).

Nicholas Spartan Transformation

Nicholas has several people in his life that have helped him in his journey. His wife Lisa has become his running and training partner and Carl Hultgren who owns PFT Pure Form Gym where Nicholas is now a trainer.

Nicholas 4 way Transformation

CURRENT TRAINING PLAN

Nicholas currently does HIIT training Monday through Friday for one hour a day and runs about two to three miles those days as well. On Saturdays he coaches a Spartan workout which is a circuit for an hour and on Sundays he runs six to twelve miles. Nicholas also loves adding some basketball games to his training routine to mix things up!

His highest weight was 425 pounds and his is currently a fit and healthy 198 pounds.

Nicholas Final

Follow Nicholas on Facebook!

OCR Transformations- Katie Purcell

ORM presents the series of stories on OCR Transformations. Runners and athletes whose mind body, and spirit have been altered through obstacle racing.

Katie grew up in Fairfield County, the suburbia of Connecticut which many would reference as “the OC of the East Coast”. Although she lived in a great location on the outskirts of New York City which allowed her to go to the city on the weekends and to the beach in the summer…the pressure of fitting in to a certain “norm” was very predominate. Social influences started shaping Katie’s future at a young age which would haunt her for years to come.

FOLLOWING THE TREND

One day during lunch in the 8th grade, Katie remembers her friends talking about dieting, starving themselves, and making themselves throw up in order to look a certain way. At the time Katie thought they were a bunch of attention crazed young girls, until the trend kept catching on among her group. Before she knew it, Katie was getting sucked in to this diet “trend”. From that point on she experienced the slippery slope of dieting which became easier for her to hide her habits when she was transferred out of town for high school.

Katie Before 3

Katie began to literally eat just a single apple a day and then the next day she would binge and purge. This vicious cycle took a toll on her mind and body. Katie would spend countless nights crying herself to sleep not knowing if she would wake up the next day from the lack of nutrients in her body. The whole experience put a lot of stress on her relationship with her family. Katie even had thoughts of not being able to graduate high school or succeed in college. Her college social life was also hindered by her eating disorder because she would constantly avoid social outings where food was involved (very limited time to hang out in college).

Katie Before 2

The stress and pressure of her habits came to a head when she dropped out of college halfway through her freshmen year. Once she got home, Katie went in to therapy for 6-8 months for general depression which in turn brought to light her eating issues that needed to be addressed in order for her to move forward in her life.

Katie Before 185

STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY

A few years ago, Katie was able to finally start going to the gym and take fitness more seriously (other than elliptical sessions to burn calories). Her friend Kristi asked her if she wanted to sign up for a Spartan Race that November. This gave her something to train for and she was able to tailor her workouts toward prepping for the Fenway Park Spartan Sprint. Having a goal gave Katie more motivation to work out in the right way so that she could develop strength enough to do the obstacles.

Katie Sand Bag

The impact of Katie’s first obstacle race left her with an indescribable feeling. In that moment, she was the proudest of herself she had ever thought possible. She felt invincible and grateful for how far she had come in order to get to that point. She knew that from finishing her first race, she was able to open an entirely new chapter of her life. She was now ready to take on any obstacle that came her way (literally). Previously, Katie was the girl who would actually black out just walking up stairs from being so unhealthy and nutrient deprived. After her first event, she knew that all of the hard work she had done for herself was paying off. The emotional, psychological, and physical growth Katie endured allowed her to complete the course. This event marked the moment that all of her baggage and pain was able to melt away…Katie was finally able to move forward with her new life.

Katie Back Flex

WOMAN IN THE MIRROR

The more she competed; Katie noticed that her race stats were actually pretty good compared to others. She was also able to deduct that her performance was better when she provided herself proper nutrition verse the days she didn’t. The experiences of OCR also helped Katie shift her priorities because of how proud she began to feel after finishing a race. She felt like she accomplished something while having healthy fun and her new healthy hobby allowed her to focus on the person in the mirror and not on the number on the scale. The new friendships she had developed at OCR events made her want to be a part of something instead of taking herself out of the game.

Katie Rope Swing

There was a memorable weekend for Katie that truly helped drive home the fact that in order to race efficiently, her health and nutrition had to be her number one focus. She did an event that allowed her to race the same course/ same location two weekends in a row. The first weekend, Katie had not taken care of her nutrition the way she needed to leading up to the event. This caused her to struggle with everything from the hills, running, and even some of the obstacles she would usually excel on. The second weekend, Katie was able to properly prepare and it was like night and day the experience she had. Her mind was better and she was able to overcome all of the challenges she had struggled with the previous weekend.

Katie Wall

BIGGER THAN

Katie’s parents have been incredibly supportive throughout her journey. Her race buddy Kristi is the one who first inspired her to take the next step in her recovery by signing up for an event. That push gave her hope to start something new and consider going out of her comfort zone. All of the “race friends” she has met along the way have also aided in her success. She also thanks her Spartan boyfriend Luke Walsh, Danielle Rheinhardt (founder of the non-profit Bigger Than The Bully), and others who have continued to be positive influences in her life.

Katie BF

CURRENT WORKOUT PLAN

Katie’s current training schedule varies because she likes to change it up. She currently works out about five to six days a week, but takes her rest days VERY seriously :). Her active days vary between OCR Bootcamp classes, long runs, Thai Kickboxing, HIIT, and a mix of cardio kickboxing and bootcamps. Katie is 5’7 and her lowest weight was 105 pounds, her highest weight was 185 pounds, and now she is a healthy 135 pounds.

Katie’s 2016 goals consist of completing five Spartan Race Trifectas, to earn a Spartan Coin to compete in Spartan World Championships, as well as compete in OCRWC (she recently placed 3rd at the Bermuda Triple Challenge which earned her a spot). She is also going back to school for her MBA. Katie has also earned a 2016 sponsorship with Honey Stinger brand.

Katie Transform 2

You can follow Katie on Facebook and Instagram!

OCR Transformations- Colin Menzies

ORM presents the series of stories on OCR Transformations. Runners and athletes whose mind body, and spirit have been altered through obstacle racing.

Colin grew up in a tiny village of about 500 people in a remote part of New Zealand. His house was nestled at the base of the hills and was surrounded by bush. On the hilltops where it plateaued out, the ground was all swampland. Colin and his friends would spend every hour they could hiking through the shrub, into the hills and onto the swampland to collect sphagnum moss (which was used to put in flower arrangements in the mid 1970’s). Each of them would take two coal bags at a time and fill them. Then they would carry them back down to the shed at Colin’s home where they would then clean the moss. The round trip was probably about 5-6km and each filled bag of wet moss weighed about 30kg. At seven years old, that was almost their entire body weight.

From the age of four, Colin played Rugby every weekend. He spent most of his youth as a very active kid which resulted in him being pretty slim while growing up. Colin has a ton of great memories spending time sleeping out in the bush, out on riverbanks, tubing down rivers, and doing fun community events. In school, Colin’s focus was to be either a geologist or an astronomer.

When Colin was 12, his parents split and he moved to the city. The city was the complete opposite of what he had known his life thus far. Suddenly, there were three people living in a tiny one-bedroom apartment surrounded by more apartments and lots of concrete. Without the close support of the community, Colin withdrew from life and really hid within himself. Colin’s grades started to drop at school and he was finding it difficult to make friends. Also, without sports to keep him motivated and involved…he started to drift.

When Colin was thirteen he had enough of city living and he wanted to go to the home he had known for years. Colin hopped on his bike and started pedaling. He remembers that there was a mountain range that divided the South Island of New Zealand and the city where he was from was on the other side. All Colin knew was that he needed to reach his home. After about three hours of cycling and realizing that the mountains kept getting taller and taller…he finally stopped and turned back around. Colin remembers this day as the day he became a quitter. On this day, he started giving up on overcoming obstacles in order to reach his goals.

Colin 1

OUT OF SIGHT

At the age of 23, Colin got on a plane and ended even farther from his goal of getting back home. Now half way around the world, he would find work through manual labor while traveling. At the end of each week he would relax by getting drunk and needless to say his health and fitness deteriorated over the next ten years.

In 2005, Colin moved back to New Zealand and after a mental decline…he was hospitalized for three weeks with severe stress and anxiety. “Is this me? How long am I going to be here staring at a wall?” thought Colin. One day, Colin left the hospital…better, but on prescription medication which he would continue to be on for the next decade. He enrolled in classes to help deal with anxiety and stress such as yoga, nature walks, etc… in an attempt to enjoy his life more. Colin struggled through the next seven years in a daze.

Taking medication every day for ten years took a toll on his body. He gained 30kg and at 5’10, being 100kg was hard for Colin (he was used to being 70kg soaking wet). Most of his weight gain occurred within the first two years and it felt impossible to make a change.

Colin 2

NO MORE

In 2009, Colin moved from New Zealand to Australia and he was lucky enough to live opposite of one of the most famous beaches—Bondi Beach. Unfortunately, there were days when Colin could barely muster up the energy for a swim. Side effects of his mood enhancers and thyroid medication caused him to live in a “zombie” state of mind. Even getting through the day was a constant battle for Colin.

In 2012, Colin had enough of the chemical therapy. He told his wife, “I’m going to be off this stuff within two years”. His wife was concerned for him to remove the medication from his program, but after overcoming his stress and anxiety trough programs and meditation…he knew that now was the time to transform him physically.

Colin 3

Things fell apart once again for Colin in 2013. After embarking on a failed business venture, his emotional and financial health was tested. This test of his strength helped guide Colin down the path he needed to follow all along. He went back to school and studied to be a Personal Trainer.

A week after graduating, Colin was looking for PT work in the local magazines. The first ad he saw read “blah blah blah…please send a photo as I don’t want to be trained by anyone fatter than me”. At this point, Colin knew he wasn’t going to get any clients without making a change. This is the point when Colin decided to be his own client.

Colin 4

COMMITTING TO THE CHANGE

When he began his fitness journey, Colin weighed a little over 90kg and had 23.5% body fat and he could barely run 400 meters. Almost a year later, he dropped about 12kg and felt much better about his overall physical and mental health. Another wrench was thrown into his plans when they had to leave Australia and go to North America. His Visa didn’t allow him to find proper work so he had to find another avenue to keep himself busy. With some research, Colin found Obstacle Racing.

Mud Mulisha was hosting a series of three races in his area at the time…so he signed up for all three. As added motivation, Colin signed up for the elite races with the simple hope of finishing. Before he knew it, he was throwing himself under logs and through mud! Within 100 meters he was hooked. This was the first time that Colin had participated in a sport as an individual and he managed to cross the finish line in 4th place!

Colin 5

UNLOCKED POTENTIAL

Colin’s new renewed sense of achievement allowed him to unlock his internal ability to train for his next race. He focused on motivation and how the top athletes trained for the sport. Within a few weeks, Colin had completely changed his training routine.

The second part of the race series ended up being cancelled due to a forest fire, so this gave Colin plenty of extra time to train in between his next event. He bought ropes, built climbing walls, made sand pits for hand strengthen, anything he could build he did it.

Through the physical challenges that obstacle racing brought…Colin realized that it was also helping overcome all of the stress, anxiety, and childhood memories he had been fighting so hard against for years. Obstacle racing truly taught him how to overcome life’s obstacles and how to grow from challenges presented to him.

Colin was seeing life in a new way. Rope climbing was now his way to climb out of the physical numbness he was left with after years of medication. The barbed wire crawl taught him that sometimes you have to crawl through your pain to get to your goal.

For the next race, Colin wanted to be standing on the podium. The race was fast and he wasn’t prepared for the adrenaline rush and nearly drowned at the take-off across the water obstacle at the starting point. He also wore the wrong shoes that day which made it nearly impossible to run in. While running through the woods…Colin kept stumbling on tree roots, slipped on all of the mud, and couldn’t get a grip on his breathing. He just kept reminding himself to have fun and everything will fall into place.

Colin 6

On that day, Colin crossed the finish line in 3rd place. The warm welcome at the finish line reminded Colin that he did not have to go out of his way to get recognized in life. Obstacle racing taught Colin that enjoying life was enough and that the people on the OCR community just enjoy seeing people do what they love!

Colin had another mental transformation at the Spartan Beast in Sun Peaks 2015. He went there to qualify for the OCR World Championships, but a string of nerves overtook him at the starting line. He remembers seeing the mountain that they were meant to run and he hid away in the back of the elite starting wave just in case he decided to chicken out at the last minute. He remembers that everyone took off at the start while he was still fidgeting with GPS and by the time he walked across the start line…the rest of the pack was out of sight. All Colin could do at this point was run and run hard and that is exactly what he did…finishing third in his age group.

Colin 7

With the support of his family, Colin has been able to turn his health around in eighteen months. He has committed himself to proper training and has made it his full responsibility to be mentally and physically fit for his family. All of his hard work and transformation helped him build a joint business, The Fitness Doctor and Warrior Fitness. Colin wants people to realize that setting physical goals and reaching them can also help you find your peace of mind. “OCR is an awesome way to be active, test your-self, and have fun”, says Colin.

Colin 9

CURRENT TRAINING PLAN

Colin is currently preparing for this year’s OCR World Championships. He has already registered for both short and long courses in the elite masters heats with a six day a week training plan. When Colin first landed in New Zealand again in 2005 he weighed 160 pounds (73kg). Within two years of taking his medication, Colin reached nearly 220 pounds (100kg). In July of 2014, after graduating as a personal trainer, he was able to get down to about 198 pounds and by the time of his first OCR in 2015 he weighed in at 174 pounds (79kg). Currently, Colin weighs in at 163 pounds (74kg) with about a 14% body fat index. Most importantly…his mental health has been renewed through his transformation process.

Colin Transformation

Follow Colin on Facebook!

OCR Transformations- Brooke Van Paris

ORM presents the series of stories on OCR Transformations. Runners and athletes whose mind body, and spirit have been altered through obstacle racing.

Six years ago, in October of 2009, Brooke’s life changed forever. She was attending Indiana University as a sophomore and double majoring in Accounting and Finance through the Kelley School of Business on a full ride Scholarship. Before college, Brooke had been a gymnast for ten years and even participated in club gymnastics at IU.

BLINK OF AN EYE

On October 29th, 2009…Brooke was leaving class in her car when she crossed through an intersection and was hit head on by another vehicle. In a split second her world was changed. Her SUV did two 360-degree circles, her windows shattered, all four tires blew out, the airbags blasted out, and the engine of her vehicle came through the car and landed into her lap. When Brooke opened her eyes she was in complete and utter shock. She remembers smoke everywhere in her car and she couldn’t stop screaming uncontrollably. As she tried to get out of her car she realized that her pedals had wrapped themselves around her feet. The only way she could escape was by sliding her feet from her shoes to try and get out as fast as she could.

brooke's car

As Brooke ran from her car, students that were near the intersection grabbed her and held her as she screamed and cried in devastation. She tried to gather her thoughts and had a stranger call her parents in the meantime. Within that time Brooke realized something was very very wrong….both of her hands were crushed.

The next morning Brooke was scheduled for surgery with an orthopedic surgeon in the Indiana area. She had X-Rays taken which confirmed that both of her hands were severely broken. She immediately had surgery and for the next eight weeks Brooke was confined to full casts that ran from her fingertips to her elbows on both arms. Over the next two years, Brooke endured numerous surgeries to correct the destruction of her hands. She had four surgeries over a two year span (one every six months) to try and correct the damage. The surgeries consisted of plates, internal pins, external pins, screws, physical therapy, and multiple casts.

broken hands

“You may wonder what it would be like to have no use of either hand. Well let me show you…take both hands, tie them behind your back, and proceed to live your life” – Brooke Van Paris.

PERSPECTIVE

Without her hands, it was clear to Brooke that she had previously taken life for granted. She couldn’t go to the bathroom alone, shower alone, brush her teeth alone, touch her own face, eat without assistance, dress herself, open a door without help, use a computer or phone alone, or even pet her own dog. She was completely helpless and it tore down her spirit. At this time, Brooke was a 19 year old independent, intelligent, all-star athlete who now had to ask for help with almost everything she wanted to do.

“It was easy to get down on myself and down on life, but I had to stay strong”- Brooke Van Paris.

During this time, her parents were her biggest supporters. They would come down to the University two to three days a week each and would help her with anything they could. They would share talks about life, strength, and about God and his plans for her. Brooke had made the decision that she was going to be a fighter and get through this. She wasn’t going to pity herself and she was going to stay in school and finish the way she planned. Her dad would always tell her to believe in her dreams, focus on her education, and that education is something that could never be taken from her…so she did just that.

With the help of her support group and her amazing professors, Brooke finished school after four and a half years and with a 3.67 GPA. She maintained a full-time student status the entire time after her accident and graduated with a degree in Management from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Brooke was a fighter and she achieved a huge victory by not allowing her accident get in her way of her dreams. She firmly believes that everything happens for a reason and that God had a much bigger plan for her life. Through a “never give up” attitude, she was able to use positivity to help her see the light at the end of the tunnel. Brooke’s accident taught her to be humble and show compassion. She has learned to live every day like it is her last and to value the people in her life.

“Life is just too short to be anything but happy!” – Brooke Van Paris

SECOND CHANCE

After her accident, Brooke’s muscles had atrophied and were almost non-existent. Everything she had previously worked for was gone and she was now 22 years old and her goal of playing team sports were very limited. Over her healing period, Brooke gained weight because she was unable to be active like she was used to and she would use food as a way to comfort herself. Brooke had become overweight, un-athletic, and basically living in a body that wasn’t hers.

brooke before

Last year, Brooke was invited to do her first obstacle course race called Morgan’s Mud Gauntlet. It was a small three mile local race with obstacles, trails, and water. She figured she would try it out and little did she know that her life was going to change yet again. When she finished the race she was absolutely exhausted. Before that day, she couldn’t run to save her life and the obstacles seemed challenging, but she was hooked!

brooke 3

When she got home (covered in OCR kisses) she hopped online and signed up for as many events as she could find. This included OCR events, trail runs, road races, and anything else she could find! Not to mention the fact that before race day she couldn’t even run a single mile without stopping. In the last year, Brooke has done 48 races (22 OCR events) and she qualified for OCRWC at eight of them. In October of this past year, she competed at OCRWC in both the individual and team events (ranking high in each of them). With determination, healthy eating, proper training, racing, and focus…Brooke was able to lose 40 pounds in just a year.

Brooke Medals

“I had earned my body, my happiness, and my life back!” – Brooke Van Paris

BEAST MODE BARBIE

Obstacle course racing helped Brooke meet so many amazing people that have helped her growth from novice to elite. Some of her biggest supporters (other than her family) are the Crazy Mudder Muckers, Kevin Jones in particular. She joined this OCR family of racers after the Ohio Spartan Beast and they have always supported her! They share workout tips and meal ideas through social media as well as meet up at races to share experiences. Being a part of this group has made Brooke feel like she has an OCR family that shows each other love and support on and off the course. They have even given her nicknames such as: BVP and Beast Mode Barbie.

brooke competes

The last year has been a crazy ride for Brooke and she continues to love every minute of it. The world of OCR has taught her to wear her OCR kisses and medals proudly. Even though she raced nearly every weekend for nine months, it helped Brooke find her passion and love for life again. She wants to inspire people with the story of her journey and to motivate anyone she can as a reminder that they are not alone.

Brooke uses a quote by Babe Ruth to describe her journey, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up”. She plans on running mainly elite heats this coming year, but she will always remember her journey and the struggle she has emerged from.

IMG_5991

“No matter where I end up placing, I know that as long as I try my best and never give up, I will never be beaten.” – Brooke Van Paris

CURRENT WORKOUT PLAN

Brooke currently goes to the gym five days a week and includes weightlifting, plyometrics, grip strength training, and cardio into her routine. She prefers to get out of the gym as much as possible and enjoys riding her bike, running trails, running the stairs at the War Memorial downtown Indiana, and she also runs the canal. Brooke also loves rock climbing and doing obstacle training with the Indy OCR meet up group.

In October 2014, Brooke weighed 170 pounds. She now weighs 145 pounds which consists of a 40 pound fat loss and 15 pounds of muscle gain.

Brooke Transformation 2

Follow Brooke on Facebook and Instagram!

OCR Transformations- Trisha Spuck

ORM presents the series of stories on OCR Transformations. Runners and athletes whose mind body, and spirit have been altered through obstacle racing.

Trisha was never athletic or “sporty” while growing up. She was considered the “princess” of the group and couldn’t stand getting dirty or sweaty. Her senior year of high school was spent dancing, but she had some pretty major knee issues which caused Trisha to make a very important decision at an early age. At the age of 17, Trisha had to make the decision to give up dancing. Trisha’s life became very sedentary. She couldn’t run due to her knee problems and she decided that being super skinny was the alternative.

RECONSTRUCTION OR DESTRUCTION?

Once she went to college she found her freedom which consisted of going out every night and eating poorly. During this time, Trisha’s weight was like a rollercoaster ride. She would even purposely not eat just so she could be skinny. Trisha realized she was unhealthy, “looking back at pictures from that time period I cringed thinking ‘what was I doing to myself?’”. She was on the verge of an eating disorder. Trisha was in and out of the doctor’s office getting tested for various diseases that could have affected her lack of weight gain. This started to take a toll on her self-esteem and she never thought highly of herself which caused her to question her worth.

During college Trisha had three knee surgeries on her left knee for a misaligned knee cap. She had to have two scopes and one reconstructive surgery to help realign her knee cap. She currently suffers from tendinitis in her joints and moderate arthritis in her left knee.

College was also a tough time for Trisha’s relationship status. She was in and out of bad relationships during and after college which put another damper on her self-esteem. The verbal and mental abuse she went through was extensive and caused her to feel like she was never enough.

Trisha

NEW OUTLOOK

In February of 2013, Trisha’s Nana passed away from respiratory arrest. This event made a large impact on how she viewed life. When Trisha went into the hospital to visit her, she immediately threw away the pack of cigarettes she had bought the day before. She was very close to her Nana and her passing was devastating on her family. From this, Trisha developed a new outlook on life and her health. She signed up for her first run which was a Down and Dirty obstacle race event. She had no idea what to expect after she signed up for the 10k version and she was severely under trained and not prepared at all for what was to come.

2015 was Trisha’s year for change! She had finally decided to put herself first. This meant moving out on her own and leaving a relationship so she could better herself and make herself happy again. She experienced a lot of struggles while trying to get back on her feet. Having the support of her parents and friends meant a lot and really helped to push her through. She had previously lost most of her friends from being kept isolated from them in all forms of communication. However, seeing that she could be happy on her own really helped push Trisha forward. She became focused on herself and really kicked her training into high gear.

Trisha 2

FINDING HER HAPPY

Up until September 2015, Trisha still didn’t believe that she could do anything on her own. She signed up for the Chicago Half Marathon with her company and for the first time she was ready to do an event without her past. The first three miles she ran with her co-worker until her co-worker had to stop. Trisha spent the next ten miles with just her music and her thoughts which really allowed her to clear her mind. Crossing the finish line was an emotional rush for her and she nearly broke down, but realized that she was more than capable of doing things on her own. From that point on, Trisha would never let anyone come between her and her training…or her happiness!

After her first few events, Trisha realized that she did have a few areas of opportunity when it came to her training. She never really paid much attention to her upper body and was actually slightly embarrassed by her lack of upper body strength. Her first Spartan Race is what helped push her to change her training. After this event she realized she wanted to become physically stronger no matter what it took. Strength training is where Trisha’s focus has been over the past year.

Trisha 3

HUNKER DOWN

The one event that was most memorable for Trisha was the Spartan Race Fenway 2015. In previous events, Trisha would previously rely on her legs to get her through an event. For instance, during the Hercules Hoist she would rely on her leg strength and walk backwards as the bag would go to the top. This time Trisha was going to hunker down and use her arms the way it was meant to be completed! She was successful and for the first time felt amazing to have upper body strength. Just a year ago it was tough for Trisha to even bench press the bar and now she bench her body weight!

Trisha contributes her success to those who didn’t believe in her. Anytime she started to doubt herself she would let the voices play in her head. Hearing someone tell her that “you’ll never be able to do that on your own” or “you’re not good enough” is what pushes her forward and helps drive her to succeed. Trisha knows she can do it on her own and that she is more than good enough!

Trisha 4

CURRENT WORKOUT PLAN

She really doesn’t have a particular regiment with her training. She goes to the gym and listens to her body on what she wants to do for that day. She tries to powerlift once a week and do a straight cardio day once a week as well. She spends about 5-6 days a week in the gym.

Her previous stats are from October 21st, 2014:

Weight: 145.2 lbs
Arms: 10 in
Chest: 34 in
Thighs: 21 in
Waist: 34 ½ in

Her current stats are from October 31st, 2015:

Weight: 134.8 lbs
Arms: 10 ¾ in
Chest: 34 ¼ in
Thighs: 20 in
Waist: 32 in

Trisha 5

Follow Trisha on Facebook!

OCR Transformations- Allison Dacus

ORM presents the series of stories on OCR Transformations. Runners and athletes whose mind body, and spirit have been altered through obstacle racing.

Over the past year I have asked people to share their stories to the OCR community, their friends, and even perfect strangers. I have asked them to share some “embarrassing” moments in their lives, dig deep in their past, and bring to light their transformations so all of you could read about them. Overall, the feedback of the OCR Transformations series has been very positive and readers seem to really enjoy it.

Asking people to be transparent isn’t always an easy task. I have heard those I’ve written about say things like… “wow, that’s really embarrassing to read” or “this is so amazing it brought me to tears” or even “I’m not where I want to be, I don’t think I am ready to share my story”. The truth is, we have all come from something we weren’t necessarily proud of. That’s the point of this series though, to put the good, bad, and the ugly all out on the table to help inspire others that are going through the same things in their lives. No, we won’t always relate to the person’s story 100% of the time and that’s fine. But maybe, just maybe…you will be able to pull out a tiny bit of the inspiration and motivation that each story offers and it will cause you to find something in yourself you didn’t know existed.

Everyone has been on a different journey and it isn’t easy to put all your cards on the table. You feel venerable, embarrassed, and ashamed even…but then you realize that it is all in the past and your journey isn’t over. That is why I have decided that there is no better time than now for me to share my own story. This is my thank you to all of you who have been so willing to be my “subjects” throughout the year to make this series a success.

HELLO…IT’S ME

I grew up in what was once a small town right outside of Hilton Head Island (these days you can hardly recognize it) called Bluffton, SC. We used to have one lane going on and off the Island and the only McDonalds in town was on the South end of the island, which was a good thirty-minute drive from my house. Kids played freely in the neighborhoods, we rode our bikes (without supervision) to the convenience store, and everyone looked out for one another. Oh and we didn’t have outlet malls!

Sports were one of the only activities we had to keep us busy. Most of us would play every sport the town rec offered until we were old enough to play in Middle School and High School. Softball, baseball, and football were the largest sports in the area. Clearly I wasn’t going to make the football team and I was a definite Tomboy, so cheerleading was out of the picture…softball it was!

Allison Volleyball

I was pretty kick ass at softball up until High School. I was on all of the All-Star teams, always team captain, and very well rounded on the field. However, since Bluffton didn’t have their own High School we had to go to Hilton Head High which was made up of rich kids whose parents could afford lessons and club ball throughout the summer…and thus, my dreams of being a star athlete were quickly crushed. I was good enough to make the JV volleyball and softball teams for my Freshmen and Sophomore year, but once I turned 16 I was off into the workforce!

My parents got divorced when I was eleven. I remember when my friends would talk about their parents getting a divorce and they cried and were sad, but that was honestly the best day of my life. My dad moved down the road within about a mile of my mom’s house…it was the perfect distance so I could escape when things got too tough.

“Hello, my name is Allison and my mother is an alcoholic.”

IN THE BARBIE WORLD

I did my best to understand the situation I was living in, but at 12 years old there really isn’t much to grasp. I began being very hard on myself. I strived for perfection with grades and sports just to make her happy. As a teen, my mom convinced me I was manic-depressive because of my mood swings…when really my mood swings were caused from her (but I believed her and I believed there was something wrong with me).

During my most venerable years as a teen I lived in a reality were I was becoming self-conscious and I had no idea why. Maybe it was the “get that makeup shit off your face”, or the “what do you mean you got a B on that, you could do better”, or maybe just the fact that I literally had to tip-toe around my own home any time after 5:00 p.m. and the entire weekend. No wonder I developed control issues!

As soon as I could get a job, I jumped all over it! I started working every chance I had just to stay out of the house. Senior year Bluffton opened a High School and we were all shipped back over the bridge to finish out our last year (talk about a major uprooting). I kept my grades up, but I did everything I could to just get away from it all. I signed up for work-study so I could leave school at noon as long as I had a job to go to. I had three jobs at one time at age 17.

I still felt like something was always missing. I hated the person I saw in the mirror. I would get frustrated with life and hit myself as “punishment”, I would lose my temper very easily, I would cry…a lot. Until one day, I found a new way to control all of my emotions. I started inserting my finger into the back of my throat until my gag reflux would take over. It started out as pure curiosity just to see what was “purging” all about. Then, I realized…I felt free, I felt like I had control over my own body, and I had found my new escape from reality.

Prom

On top of the bulimia, I bought myself a gym membership and went to the gym every chance I had. I was only 130 pounds to start with, but you can’t tell a teenage girl anything about weight and have her actually listen. When I went shopping for my prom dress, my size 3 fit perfect…until I just stopped eating all together unless I was about to pass out. By the time prom came around, I had quickly become a frail 119 pound version of myself. It still amazes me that my mom didn’t wonder why we had to pin my dress so much. That night was the first night the boys in my school noticed me…I actually got told I was pretty (no wonder teenage girls have poor body perceptions…just a thought).

Fast forward to College when I moved away and came to Aiken, SC. Living on my own allowed me to actually breathe for the first time! I slowly….slowly….stopped hating myself all the time and I was able to find a healthier approach to my diet and not feel the need to purge anymore.

WE GOTTA START MAKING CHANGES

My weight loss journey has been all over the place! There are two significant times I can think of that attribute to my actual “life change” decision to become healthy and stop treating every other week like a new diet fad.

The first scenario was about four years ago. I had already begun my running journey and become pretty lean, but then I bought another ticket to the lazy train and let all my hard work slip away. I was at a point in my life when I started hanging out with a group of friends that all we did was go out and drink, work, and go out again. I had become a mess and was trying to fit in for all the wrong reasons. Reality set in when I took a trip to Scotland that same year. A majority of the trip was spent hiking and walking around castles which were pretty epic. Except one day we went for a hike that kept going up and up with no end in sight. I was struggling so bad to get up this mountain… I couldn’t breathe, I had to stop multiple times, and I literally wanted to turn around and walk back down. After we made it to the top and enjoyed the view for a few moments, the people I was with cracked a joke (meaningless to them, but a dagger in the heart to me) and said, “I thought you would have been able to run up this thing! Maybe too much Haggis on your trip”.

“Ummmm…….”

allison 1

When I got back to the states I realized two things: 1. It wasn’t the Haggis jackass, I had been gaining weight, so there! and 2. I needed to get myself back in shape and fast. So I made the most logical decision and cut out ALL THE MEAT! I also started a blog (for accountability reasons), started running every single day, and leaned my ass back up (went from 148 pounds down to 135 pounds).

WHO RUN THE WORLD

I did a great job of maintaining my “new” self and I even ran some great PR’s during half marathons and 5k events. My workouts consisted of running, spin class, running, light plyometric, oh and did I mention running yet? That was until March of 2014 when my life changed forever…

Allison Running

I had done a local mud run years ago and vowed that I would never do anything like that again! I HATED IT!!! That was until my boyfriend and his crazy ass friends somehow convinced me to run a Spartan Sprint in Charlotte, NC while it was 30 degrees out. I had NO clue… ZERO clue of what I was about to get myself in to. Fear, excitement, vomit, hypothermia, happiness, and satisfaction are just a few words that I can use to describe my experience (no I didn’t vomit or have hypothermia, but I was close to both). I can’t explain what happened that day, but something clicked in me and I needed more of the crack also known as OCR!

Spartan Team

My 2014 race year was a whirlwind of first experiences. I was able to meet the most amazing people from what is known as “the OCR community” and I even traveled to places I wouldn’t have before. I stopped writing my own blog and started working with this dude Matt B. Davis and Obstacle Racing Media (you made heard of him, he’s kind of famous ☺). Even earned some mental scars on Wintergreen Mountain during the Spartan Super (that took me seven hours…yes I said seven). Then the 2014 race season ended and life took over; which leads me to…

ISN’T IT IRONIC

The second scenario of my weight loss journey was when life took over and denial set in. A lot happened at the end of 2014—I bought a house and changed jobs all within 3 months. I knew I had started to let myself go a little especially after the Carolina Beast and Super that October. I’d find myself eating Zaxby’s or Checkers more and use the excuse “it’s fine, I’m active I can burn it off” (yeah if I were Michael Phelps training for the Olympics). Reality really set in this past February when I ran my first half marathon for the 2015 season. My time was incredibly slow (maybe due to lack of training and my new muffin top) and this was the first event that I developed an injury from. For weeks after, I had MAJOR foot pain so I went to the foot doctor thinking I may have fractured something. The doctor couldn’t find anything truly wrong other than, “maybe your shoes or weight gain can cause issues as well”.

“Weight gain…what weight gain sir? Sure I am a little fluffier, but it will be fine it will fall off!” – Denial.

Allison Then and Now

My clothes kept getting tighter and not in a cute way where it was politely tapping me on the shoulder saying, “excuse me ma’am, but I am about to make your life miserable”. It felt like I woke up one morning suffocating in my own body! I wanted to claw out of my own skin. I don’t recall ever looking at myself the way I did during this time. I was sad, I hated the person staring back at me in the mirror, I was confused, I was determined to NOT buy new clothes even though I couldn’t breathe in my dress pants at work, and I was in pure denial! In my mind I was doing everything right when it came to eating and my health. I was meal prepping, eating clean, and working out…or so I thought.

“None of it made sense…twenty pounds? How could I have gained TWENTY freaking pounds in a matter of three months? This can’t happen to me! I am healthy and I’m active, why do I feel like I have a load of bricks in my pocket? Something is wrong with me this isn’t right!” – Denial.

I scheduled a physical with my Physician and convinced him to run blood tests and all. I just knew something was wrong with me that caused my weight gain. All of my results came back nearly perfect (well all except for my weight at 158 pounds and a BMI above the range it should have been). I still wasn’t convinced that “I” was actually the problem. Shit got real one Friday night when I had to tell David our Friday date night was going to be at the ER. I had to leave work early in agony I couldn’t explain in my abdomen and lower back. After six hours and a few crazy tests later I was told I had a bad Kidney infection.

Fit Fam

I had to go back to my Physician for several follow-ups because I kept having Kidney issues or I would pull a muscle at the gym. I HAD IT! I was done getting injured, I was done getting sick, and I was done feeling like a sausage stuffed in casing…DONE!

I finally made an appointment with my Physician in August to get to the bottom of it all. He gave me the reality check that literally everything that was happening to me was directly related to rapid weight gain (I mean I went from 138-140 pounds to 158 pounds in a matter of six months for goodness sakes, there has to be consequences DUH). On that day, the Sheriff (a.k.a my Doctor) laid down the law and set me up with a plan of action!

“Hi my name is Allison and I had caused my own weight gain. I ate healthy, but I ate a lot and I kept telling myself I was active even though my activity level went from 90 to literally nothing. I was responsible.”

THIS GIRL IS ON FIRE

That appointment forever changed my life. I knew I was going to walk in at my next appointment and I was going to show my Doc I was serious and I was determined to make a difference. I cut my portions literally in half and I limited my foods for the day, but I don’t have to count calories. I discovered what a typical day needed to look like for myself in terms of food and I kept at it. My secret weapon: I got my fat ass in the gym and started working out FOR REAL this time!

OCR Trans

My goals and drive to lose the weight and feel normal again really motivated me to find myself again. By mid-October I had reached my healthy weight at 140-142 pounds again and my BMI had gone back down to the “average” goal. The difference in my performance was incredible! I ran the Savage Race in Georgia late September and placed 11th in my age group for the open heat, 16th in my age group for the Atlanta Spartan Super in October, and 12th in my age group at the Carolina Spartan Sprint in November (my Sprint time in March 2015 put me at 87 in my age). Basically, I had been training with a twenty pound “weight vest” on so once I shed that weight I was able to unleash the beast that had been brewing inside of me.

I am still nowhere close to my full potential. To survive a race I still have to do a ton of penalties for monkey bars, rope climbs, and most upper arm obstacles…but I train to my weakness and still make decent time with 90+ burpees on the table. For the upcoming 2016 season I am concentrating on my weaknesses to build them into my strengths. We built an 8’ft wall so I can practice climbing on my own and we are in the process of building a monkey bar set using Olympic rings. Training for the actual obstacles has been the key to a better race day experience. I have a 40lb sand bag I run around my neighborhood with and I am definitely the girl in the corner of the gym sweating to death from 50+ burpees after every workout.

Allison and David

Becoming the person I am today hasn’t been easy. I truly believe that without the struggle, I wouldn’t be able to appreciate and hold on to the good I have in my life. We will always have ups and downs, but OCR has taught me how to adapt to the obstacles thrown in front of me. We are all capable of more than we ever thought possible…you just have to believe in yourself, stop saying “no”, and keep moving forward because there is a feeling of satisfaction waiting for you at the finish line (and so in life as well).

THANK YOU

I know without a doubt that I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today without David pushing me harder each and every event (I probably would have never even signed up for my first event). He kept telling me I could even when I kept yelling I couldn’t…hell the man has even built me a mini obstacle course in our back yard just because I want to get better. For all the times I needed a lift over a wall, or even a running push up a hill I couldn’t thank Monsi and Jeff enough for always being my positive inspiration (and for the occasional ass grabs to keep it interesting ☺). My dad who encourages me to keep chasing my dreams and reminds me that it is okay to be just a little crazy (I get it from him). Also, the constant encouragement from my friends and acquaintances on Social Media keeps me motivated each and every day to be a better version of myself!

CURRENT TRAINING PLAN

This may sound crazy, but I don’t have a “real” training plan. I have had to adapt so much lately to figure out what seems to work for MY body and it has reminded me that everyone’s body does something different. Here is what has seemed to work for me: I eat less fruits (1 banana and a handful of grapes a day), I start each day with oatmeal, for lunch I eat a tuna wrap (everyday, except on the weekends I switch it up with an alternative light option), I may have my grapes or a handful of chips with my wrap (I love chips ☺), and for dinner I make pretty clean meals (I just eat a smaller portion than before, living with a guy causes you to try and eat more). I have started to eat for fuel and not just because I am bored which has made the biggest difference. For my workouts: they are still all over the place because…that’s life. I made a commitment to myself to get at least 5 days of real activity in (whatever that looks like) and I have started using my lunch break for runs just to make sure I don’t find an excuse not to. I am currently working two jobs so finding time for the gym has been a struggle, but I am about to start a half marathon training schedule (I’ll keep you posted on how that goes). When I find a routine that works for me…you will be the first to know. Until then, just follow me on Instagram because each day looks different and I am figuring it out as I go!

Allison Transformation

Follow Allison on Instagram and Facebook!