We've gotten a lot of great feedback on our "Awesome Athletes in OCR" series. Obstacle Course Racing has such a great community and we've felt that it's important to give non-professional racers a voice to tell about their experience with OCR.
Without further ado, Michelle Wall!
What is your favorite obstacle at any event? If you can't decide on one, list one of your favorites:
One of my favorites at the Spartan races is Olympus. I love that it is tough and a challenge but still manageable as long as you stay focused!
How many Obstacle Course Races have you run in the last 2 years?
I’d say 7 or 8
What is your fitness background?
I’ve always been pretty active. I played competitive tennis growing up and then NCAA Division 1 Tennis in college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
How long have you been training for OCR?
I did my first Spartan race in December 2016 at Castaic/LA. The trainers at the gym I had recently switched over to were avid/Elite Spartan racers... Las2Winz, Margarita and Natalia Guzman. They organized to try and get (and won!) biggest team for that event! I instantly fell in love with the sport!
Do you participate in OCRs for fun or do you run AG/Elite?
I run Age Group. I am definitely too competitive, so once I get in there and in that environment it’s hard for me to hold back and just run “for fun.”
How have you stayed motivated to keep training during lock-down/race cancellations?
I’ve always been a very self motivated person. I really just love training and working out so it hasn’t really been an issue for me. It’s my ME time! I have also really loved incorporating different workouts from my gym OC Fit Las2Winz and also from all my Spartan and social media friends! It has been fun to share workouts and get different ideas! So I always have a huge variety to choose from which keeps me motivated!
What is your overall motivation to train for OCR and working out in general?
For one, I love the competition. The competition of a race or even the competition of me against me in a tough AMRAP workout! Second, and more importantly, I know that fitness and working out in general is a critical part of everyone’s life in order to stay healthy and be the best possible version of you!
What are some of your go to exercises and workouts when you don't have access to equipment?
Definitely burpees It’s an awesome full body exercise... especially when you do 100 of them in a row. Another one that is extremely beneficial for OCR in particular that I love to do are Pull Ups. I also will do an AMRAP of say a bunch of Bodyweight exercises combined like, squats, jump squats, lunges, jumping lunges, push ups and burpees. Throw those all together (or a combination of a few of them), maybe 10 reps each for 20 minutes, and you don’t need equipment to get your Heart Rate up and get a great workout in!
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What is one obstacle that you have gotten tripped on on several times?
Just like most people I think...that darn Spear! I have been working on it though, and my percentage of making it is slowly increasing, but it’s definitely “tripped me up” on several occasions
What type of course would you say is your specialty? Mountains, Stadiums, Flat, Long, Short, etc.
I consider myself to be a middle distance runner, so the Super is my favorite distance. I don’t have the speed to be a fast sprinter, or the speed (yet) to repetitively go up and down those mountains quickly for a Beast. But I am working on both of those!
Which OCR athlete would you MOST like to beat at an OCR, and why?
Is there any athlete in OCR that you look up to and take inspiration from? If so, who?
Wow there are so many! All the Spartan elite and age group women are amazing and an inspiration to me! During this lock-down I have really been inspired by Spartan Pro Team member Kelly Sullivan. She has participated in both HYROX home competitions that I also did and I have enjoyed trying to chase her! She is such a well rounded, honest and down to earth person aside from being an amazing athlete! She has definitely been an inspiration to me during these times!
Would you still run races if they stopped giving out medals at the finish line?
Yes if course!
Would you rather run an OCR on a nice, sunny, cool day in perfect conditions on "sound" terrain OR a muddy course on a rainy, hot day with wet obstacles and "harsh" terrain?
Well can I mix and match those? I’m a California girl so I love my sunny days. And I definitely enjoy some harsh terrain. But after slipping off the last ball of a rig once and breaking my wrist I can’t say that I look forward to wet obstacles anymore
What's your favorite thing about Obstacle Course Racing? If you can't choose one thing, list a few of your top things.
I love the competition and the race day excitement! I love the challenge and the push during a race to do your best! And I absolutely LOVE the community! I love seeing all my Spartan friends at the races and also keeping in contact with them all over the world through social media!
If you had never found out about OCRs, what sport do you think you'd be training for, if any?
Hmmm that’s a good question. I used to mountain bike a lot and I really enjoyed it so maybe I would be doing more of that?
What is your post-race footwear choice? Flip flops, shoes, or rain boots?
Haha well after a cold morning race, it would be my warm Ugg boots. But typically I switch to some other (clean) tennis shoes.
If you could run an OCR ANYWHERE in the world, where would it be?
I would definitely choose the Spartan Trifecta World Championship in Greece! Such an amazing venue with all that history. And everyone that I have talked to about it, or have heard talk about it, has said is absolutely amazing!
What is the number one exercise or workout you think has helped you the most to train for OCR's (besides running)?
Grip work, including Pull ups and dead hangs! So many grip intensive obstacles, including pulling up combined with gripping. So these exercises are essential for sure!
What is the best tip you could give someone who is about to do their first OCR?
Get your training in and then just have fun! It’s such a great sport and community! You’ll love it!
Finally, what is the race that you have missed doing the most in 2020?
Well I signed up for my first Ultra this year and now that is not happening. So while I’m bummed about not being able to do it, it will just give me a little more time to train and prepare myself for that monster of a race!
Huge Thank you to Michelle for sharing her OCR experience. If you'd like to follow Michelle on Instagram and have another great OCR personality in your feed, her handle is:
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