Quick intro: Brandy Norris is one of our awesome group fitness instructors at Spring Hill Fitness. She and her “Mudaholics” teammates have been competing in obstacle course races, so we wanted to get the scoop on what it’s all about!
SHF: Brandy, congrats on completing the Savage race in Georgia this year! For those of us who aren’t familiar with it, can you tell us what the course involves?
BN: The Savage Race, like many obstacle course races, is 6+ miles with at least 25 obstacles to overcome. The obstacles involve climbing over walls, carrying heavy objects, crawling under barbed wire, along with other obstacles that test your upper body strength, like monkey bars over water and rigs.
SHF: How long have you been running obstacle courses? What first got you interested in them?
BN: My first obstacle course race was in 2013. So I have been running OCRs for 3 years. Wow, it does not seem like I have been doing them that long. My first obstacle race was a 5k race called Hero Rush, and several girls from this gym were interested in running it, so we made a team and went for it! After I ran that one, I loved it and went to search for more races like that.
SHF: What is the toughest obstacle you’ve faced, and which was the most fun?
BN: I think for each of our team members on the Mudaholics there is something that is more tough for them than others. Like some struggle with the running portion of it, some have to overcome the obstacle of fear of heights. As for me, I feel like the toughest obstacle for me are the rigs. The rigs in OCRs are basically structures with rings, bars, ropes, and you will transfer from the rings to the bars to the ropes or vice versa. It really challenges your strength, grip, and timing. That is one of the obstacles that is toughest for me.
SHF: Some of the obstacles at these courses sound grueling and intense! What motivates you to keep competing in these types of events?
BN: First of all, we have a team (Mudaholics), and the team is so encouraging and motivating and we push each other and encourage each other to do better. The teamwork that is involves in our runs is truly amazing. When one is down on themselves there is someone on the team that won’t let you stay down. We are always talking about what race we will do next. The camaraderie is what our team is all about.
Second, for me, it is something that challenges me. Seeing what is involved in these races gives me something to work toward and to overcome goals that you have made for yourself. I don’t truly overcome all the obstacles on these races every time, but it sure is something to work for the next time you race and face that obstacle again. You have to have goals and things that are making your better physically and mentally. These races have made me stronger mentally as well.
SHF: Do you want to give a shout out to your team members who ran the Savage with you?
BN: There were 13 of us that did the Savage race this time: Liz Taylor, Kalee Madorin, Brooke Perez, Bri Silovsky, Tiffany Register, Mike Skaggs, Beth Campi, David Moore, Handel Arango, Christina Lunn, Christina Gerrartos, Christy Meyers, and myself. What an amazing time we had. We stayed overnight, and all 13 of us went to dinner and shared our routines on race day and our fears and exciting, anxious thoughts about the upcoming race. The team that did the Savage was so strong, and seeing everyone overcoming the anxiousness and fears was truly awesome. There were people with injuries and respiratory issues, things that could have held them back, but not a single person on the team let anything hold them back. What an amazing group of strong individuals, Mudaholics!
SHF: How did you guys prepare/train for the race?
BN: We prepare for OCRs by trail running and endurance training. A lot of our training involves pull-ups, push-ups, burpees shoulder press, farmer’s walk, hanging from the bar to help with grip strength, etc. Our team tries to find a time once a week to get together to work through a circuit training to help with endurance, speed and strength.
SHF: If someone reading this wants to get involved in obstacle course races, what’s the best way for them to do that? Are there easier courses out there that a beginner can do?
BN: Basically, what I would say to someone would be to find an OCR and sign up for it. Just sign up and commit. And start training for that race! There are smaller ones to start with like the Warrior Dash, in which the distance is a little shorter and less obstacles! However, feel free to sign up for a bigger one and dive on in!! You will become completely addicted. It is so fun and exciting to see someone do their first race and feel so strong and accomplished. You are always welcome to join our team! We are currently working on our OCR schedule for 2017.
SHF: Which course is up next for you?
BN: The next course we have will be at the end of this month on October 29 in South Carolina, and I think I can speak for all of us on the Mudaholics team that this will be the toughest one yet. On October 29, we will be doing the Spartan Beast. Spartan Beast is a 15 mile race with 30+ obstacles. We will have to have hydration packs and head lamps because with our start time it will cause us to be running into the night.
SHF: Wow, that sounds really tough! Thank you for taking the time for the interview. It’s a great thing to witness the Mudaholics’ enthusiasm and support for one another inside and outside of the gym. We’re proud of you guys for setting an example of what it means to be fit and to set challenging goals and get after them. Best of luck for the Spartan Beast!