This world is full of people pushing themselves, unlearning harmful beliefs and behaviors, following their curiosity, and just trying to do their part to love life and leave the world better than they found it. If they can do it, so can you, so can we. Because we’re all in this together, and we’re tougher than we think.
In this week’s Outsider Interview, we’d like to introduce you to Anna.
Would you rather be able to fly or breathe underwater?
As much as I love the ocean, I think I’d rather be able to fly, because sharks… and I love just the thought of being able to travel at a moment’s notice.
It’s your birthday and you get to have anything for dinner you want. What are we eating?
Steak! Seriously, nothing beats a beautifully marbled medium rare ribeye.
Where did you grow up? And where are you now?
I was born and raised in Richardson, TX. I’ve lived in Lafayette, LA since 2010 with my two kids, my 13 year old daughter and 9 year old son, but we’re in the process of relocating to Boulder, CO at the end of June.
We know that you’re super into Obstacle Course Racing (OCR). How did you find your way into it?
My parents never really pushed me to participate in any sports growing up, even though I was such a tomboy. Instead I was a marching band kid until I got into competitive ballroom dancing my senior year, you know, like before Dancing with the Stars became super popular. When I was pregnant with my daughter I had gained almost 80 lbs, so I started dieting and exercising with workout DVD’s and ended up losing almost all the baby weight. Then, after I had my son, I was so busy in nursing school and a full time job that I didn’t feel like I had time to workout.
So about 5 years ago, I decided to start running as a “cheap” alternative to joining a gym or working out with a trainer. I signed myself up for a local 10K as a goal race for me to train for. When that goal was accomplished, I started looking for the next 5K or 10K race and that’s when Google made me stumble on Spartan races and Warrior Dash. I ended up doing a Warrior Dash with a few friends and I thought it was fun, but the Spartan races really appealed to me because they looked a lot more challenging and competitive. They had a race outside of Austin that I decided I wanted to train for, but life and stuff happened and I wasn’t able to actually sign up for it until 2016. My training changed and I started to incorporate a lot more cross-training days instead of just strictly running, which is one of the things I love about OCR. That first Spartan race in Austin also introduced me to the OCR community and I was just so impressed with the way complete strangers were willing to help me out on course and just the overall sense of camaraderie even though we were all running the ‘competitive’ heat. I completed my Spartan trifecta the next year and then got into the longer events of endurance OCRs and ultramarathons.
It’s just been amazing to me to reflect on where I started, and compare it to now as I continue to push past my own expectations. And I love the versatility OCR gives me to race and be competitive or run as a group with a bunch of friends. But endurance is definitely my jam. I like playing the long game because it becomes so mental as much as it is physical. I remember a few years back, watching coverage of World’s Toughest Mudder, Tough Mudder’s annual 24 hour obstacle course race event, and thinking to myself how amazing those athletes were, but I would never do anything that crazy. But, of course, I did it in 2018, and hopefully, I’ll get to do it again this year 🙂
Which races are you doing this year?
I did my first 100K trail race in February this year in Alexandria, LA. I got a nagging injury at that race, but rehabbed enough to do Tough Mudder in College Station, TX this past May and nabbed 2nd place. June brought Conquer The Gauntlet in Dallas, where I finished 3rd among the females for the multi-lap Continuum event; the goal was to complete as many laps of the 4 mile obstacle course within the allotted time frame, and I finished 3 laps and about 70 obstacles. Looking ahead, I’ve got a 10 hour ultra trail race in New Orleans coming up for July; the Grit Games OCR down in Houston in August; Toughest Mudder Dallas in September, a 12 hour overnight multi-lap version of their regular Tough Mudder course; Ragnar Trail Relay in San Antonio for October, and then hopefully closing out the year with another crack at finishing 50 miles at World’s Toughest Mudder in Atlanta this November.
When you’re preparing for the season, you have an OCR coach and training plan. But when you’re working out with Outsiders, are you a Minimalist/Generalist/Enthusiast?
I think it just depends on the day or what equipment I’ve got readily available to me. I’d say I’m more of a Generalist with Enthusiast tendencies 🙂
What’s your typical workout environment?
Mostly at home or at the local high school track. I’ve been to the gym a handful of times, but if I’ve got the option available, I love to be outside (no pun intended lol).
What’s been your best workout gear investment?
It definitely has to be my Brute Force sandbags. I got the sandbag and the kettlebells so I can easily adjust my weight if needed and the odd object training adds in the extra challenge. I’ve also thrown it around a fair amount of times so it’s taken its fair share of beatings without showing any severe signs of wear and tear.
If we took a look at your workout playlist, what songs would we find?
Anything from Metallica, to Ruff Ryders, to Taylor Swift, and even some songs off the Greatest Showman soundtrack. If I’m feeling a song, I add it to the playlist and just put that sucker on shuffle.
What’s your workout routine like?
Most of the time I like to get it done early on, first thing in the morning before everyone else wakes up. There’s also a few running groups that meet up every week that I also like to attend to get in some miles and catch up with some friends. But unless I’m tapering for a race, I’m working out 5-6 days a week.
Which movements make your body smile? And which ones do you wish you could banish from the program forever?
I hate burpees. And I love burpees.
If you could workout with anyone, who would you choose?
I think I’d most enjoy working out with Amelia Boone. I’ve been a fangirl of hers ever since I fell into this sport, but also because she seems like the type to not take herself too seriously, so I think it would be intense, but you’re having too much fun to notice.
What’s your biggest obstacle to consistently working out? And how do you overcome it?
Definitely just making the time for it, and getting enough rest. It’s a constant juggling act to balance family and work, and find the time to train, hence getting it done before anyone else is awake for the day.
We believe fitness is about what we can do with our bodies. What do you want to do with your fitness?
I’d like to see what I can train my body to do, whether it’s run 50 miles or complete an unbroken set of muscle ups. But more than anything, I just enjoy feeling healthier, aside from the muscle soreness, and hopefully passing that lifestyle on to my kids.
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
It has to be reframing my way of thinking and dealing with setbacks. I used to make a lot of excuses when things didn’t quite go as expected or worse, sat and moped. While I still encounter disappointments, I try to approach them as opportunities for takeaways instead. It’s forced me to think more positively, but also made me think of creative solutions to my problems.
What have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc.)?
I’ve become better at spending less time on social media. It can be such a good resource, but in the same token, it can also cause a lot of unnecessary drama. I find you can get caught up in comparing yourself to someone else’s highlight reel and forget about the grind and struggle that goes unposted.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
Just breathe in and out. Sometimes things are so hectic that just taking a moment to pause and breathe makes such a difference. And if that doesn’t help, well, that’s why I have my pups 🙂
If you could re-experience a book/movie/tv-show/song/album for the first time, what would it be?
I’d go back to high school and re-experience my first concert. It was a John Mayer concert and I had an opportunity to meet him, but I didn’t.
We’re all weird. What’s one unusual habit or thing you do?
It irks me to not track an activity on my Garmin. I’ve become obsessed with metrics and tracking progress that it’s a little annoying to go for a little 5K run and not see my pace or my heart rate.
What made you go Outside the Box?
I liked the idea of being able to get in strength training on my schedule, instead of trying to fit in a class at a certain time.
Get to know this community a little bit better by reading through some of our Outsider Interviews. We’re a wolf pack. A band of misfits. Peas in a pod. And we stay gold.