And then there was mud. As I started my graduate studies, I allowed my curiosity to get the best of me, and enrolled in a few aerial classes at the Phoenix Dance Studio; before I knew it, I was suddenly able to complete pull-ups. With the confidence that inspired, I signed up for my first Tough Mudder in 2014, as a means of celebrating the completion of my thesis and MEd at the University of Virginia. One of the Track & Field athletes I was working with at the time asked if she could join me, and off we went to conquer ten miles of obstacles as my classmates slept off their hangovers. Over the next year, I would complete a total of 16 Tough Mudders, earn my Spartan Trifecta, be one of eleven official finishers at the Wintergreen HH12HR, and compete at my first “endur-OCR” event, World’s Toughest Mudder.
After WTM, I realized that this “OCR Thing” was more than just a weekend hobby for me, and it was time I allowed myself to succumb to the passion. 2016 became a year of experimentation with both my nutrition and training, attempting to identify weaknesses and subsequently hone them into strengths. March brought BFX24, BattleFrog’s take on a 24-hour OCR, and it proved to be a fantastic testing ground, as I was able to complete 55 miles without a single hitch nutritionally. Much of the summer was spent focusing on strength and technique, and as the latter half of the season approached, the work became evident as I found myself on the podium twice, both times at events requiring mandatory obstacle completion, which served to sweeten the achievement. In October, as a first-timer at OCRWC, I set a humble goal of “finishing each race with my band” (i.e., 100% obstacle completion,) and left Canada with all four intact. An unforeseen result of my nutritional and physical preparation was my ability to return to training shortly after WTM, when the same race a year prior left me sidelined for nearly three months. As 2017 develops, although with a substantially less populated race calendar, I am eager to see the progress unfold as the inaugural USOCR Championship, my second OCRWC, and my third WTM approach later this year.
Why NOW? As a healthcare professional, I have always felt compelled to set an example by demonstrating both capability of and culpability for my health and well-being. One of the most overlooked and underestimated aspects of performance and recovery is nutrition, something which I myself did not take seriously until early last year. Since about 12 years old, various eating disorders had left me with skewed attitudes towards food, and all of the knowledge I gleaned throughout my studies at Penn State and the University of Virginia just couldn’t quite push me over the edge. When I was diagnosed with Celiac in 2013, it drastically altered my approach to nutrition, and gave my previous preoccupation with calories a new target. It wasn’t until the conclusion of my race season in 2015 that I began to fully understand the impact of proper fueling on my performance (and finally started to eat BEFORE racing!
After trying numerous protein powders, I stumbled across NOW® Sports Natural Unflavored Whey Protein, and was relieved to find a gluten-free, easy-to-digest protein that didn’t leave me feeling “whey-ed” down (sorry, I couldn’t resist!) or gassy, especially pre-race. I quickly swapped my small tub for a 10 lb bag, and it’s been a staple of my nutritional regimen ever since, especially when I’m flying around the country for events. Further exploring their product line, I added the multivitamins, opting for the prenatal to insure optimal iron levels; I even treat my Great Dane to the joint supplements! In addition to a wide array of quality natural products, it’s always heartwarming to support a family-owned company, and one of which I am quite proud to be an ambassador!
Sole Female Finisher at Spartan HH12HR-011
14th in division at World’s Toughest Mudder (45mi)
6th Place Female at BattleFrog BFX24 (55mi)
2nd Place Female at Bonefrog Atlanta Tier 1 Elite
2nd Place Female at Terrain Race Las Vegas
4th in division at OCRWC Short Course
9th in division at World’s Toughest Mudder (50mi)
6th Place Female at Jacksonville Spartan Super
4th Place Female at Jacksonville Spartan Sprint
Quick Protein Cheesecake
¼ cup Cream Cheese or Tofutti
4 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Milk
Mix/Blend thoroughly in a bowl, transfer to serving container and refrigerate for two hours.
1 cup NOW Real Food® Organic Rolled Oats, ground to a flour
3 Scoops NOW® Sports Vanilla Whey Protein
6 Tbsp NOW Real Food® Ground Flaxseed Meal
1½ tsp Baking Powder
3 Egg Whites
¾ cup Cold Brew Coffee
1½ tsp Vanilla Extract
In a medium bowl, combine oat flour, flaxseed, and baking powder. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until frothy, then fold in coffee and vanilla extract. Add flour blend, stir until combined, and let sit for about five minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, drop batter onto surface. Cook 5-6min/side or until golden brown. Serve with cacao nibs, cottage cheese, etc. as desired.