What do the letters O-C-R mean to you? Yeah everyone would typically say “Obstacle Course Racing” because that’s the correct answer but deep down, deep inside of you what do those letters Together stand for? And don’t just say the first thing that comes to mind really Dig Deep. You run with your Heart, you run with your Mind and some how your legs magically follow, THIS IS OCR.
We don’t just get up and decide to sign up for a race, something inside of you initiated this desire, this curiosity. Some may have experienced life changing instances, emotional times, the lowest of the low but during these dark times or maybe even the good times this inner fire that is brewing in us all, Prevailed. What do those letters mean to you? OCR is bigger than just three simple letters combined together, OCR is a Passion,OCR is a Family, OCR is what drives us to be better individuals. OCR taught me something that no classroom could... this “Inner Fire of Confidence”, this isn't something you can study this is something you must feel deep inside.
OCR isn’t just a race it’s a community of individuals who strive every day to make sure they live their life to the fullest. Or if not for themselves then for a loved one, for a friend, or for a fellow stranger. Life is an extraordinary privilege and this community of athletes whether it’s your first race or your hundredth will do what ever it takes for there lives to exemplify this privilege every day No matter what. If it’s out training or at the start line of a race we will do what ever it takes to see that finish line, that Glory that we all strive for. OCR is Love, you’re not just out there running with strangers once your at that start line you immediately gain a family. It not only brings out the inner beast in yourself but also others, OCR instills this new found confidence in people who at one time didn’t think they could and all of a sudden like a new found cure they are liberated from this malignant mental block. OCR instills that inner fire in people.
Us OCR athletes don’t know how to quit, we just keep going no matter what, no matter what Obstacles we face, pain will always be temporary, OCR is about overcoming the tears, the blood, the pain from your muscles screaming for you to stop but something inside of you keeps you alive, keeps you moving forward. OCR helps motivate us to rise early in the morning and sweat, sweat out our frustrations, our inner goals to be the best we can be. We are designed to be great, we are designed to break through mental barriers and rise to the top because we know as an OCR community that Limits do not exist.
OCR “Obstacle CourseRacing” liberated me from the dark, unleashed this inner passion that was dwelling in me all along, Some people ask me why I do the things I do, why I run for so long, train so hard,why I eat the way I do. Some people think I’m to young and that I’m just hurting my body for the future by doing so much. I do it because I can, I do it because life is to short, I do it because the human body is capable of extraordinary things, I don't believe in limits. But unless you go out there,unless you're at the start line feeling those nerves, running next to fellow athletes, running side by side with people who share that same passion as you,unless you have been in the middle of a race where your body is screaming for you to stop begging for you to quit, to sit down but you find that inner strength that mental toughness and you keep going, finding every bit of energy you have to sprint to the finish line. If you have never experienced that, then any words I have to offer will never be good enough, you have to want it, you have to want itSO bad, and once you reach that desire, that inner passion, you will at that moment understand. OCR changed my life and I Promise it will change yours to. What does O-C-Rmean to you?
-Amanda Ricciardi (Manz)
January 18th 2014
After all the months of preparation the day finally came, It was Friday night at 10:30pm I laid in bed after getting all my things together for the big race. I just lay there staring off into space knowing in several hours I was going to get up and head to Lockport New York, to tackle my first ever UltraMarathon. Once morning came and my alarm went off I hurried to get ready, and as I walked out the door to the car I noticed it was snowing, my initial thoughts were “just my luck”, but no mater what I signed up for this race and nothing was going to stop me from seeing that finish line, I prepared myself for running in this weather and trusted my training and mind. Once we parked it had stopped snowing and I rushed over to the bib pick up because we were a little behind schedule from traffic due to storm, I anxiously pinned my Bib #18 to my shirt and beforeI knew it I was in a sea of people at the start line anxiously waiting for the10am start time. This course was a 12.5 mile loop out and back 4 times, with 3aide stations, 1 was a the start line, the 2nd one was at mile 7 (Gassport)and the third one was at the end of the 12.5 miles (Middleport). Instead of thinking of the big 50 milesI broke it down in the 12.5 loops to make it a little easier mentally for myself. The first 12.5 miles were pretty easy I kept a nice steady pace, I didn’t stop at Gassport at all becauseI was feeling good so I just kept on running and I was getting pretty hot and took off my thicker gloves and unzipped my jacket, once I arrived at Middleport at the 12.5 mile I grabbed some food, dropped off my thicker gloves, I spent a little less than 3 minuets at that aide station and left to start the 12.5 -25miles. I then ran to mile 15 ands lowed my pace it was really cold and windy so I put my face mask and goggles on, at this moment I regretted dropping off my thicker gloves because the wind was making it so much colder and my pace was slower so I started to get chilly. After that I ran/walked the rest of the way to Gassport where I stopped at the aide station for food and to fill my bladder I spent about 5ish minuets there I grabbed a oranges and a brown sugar pop-tart and it tasted amazing! Once I left I ran/walked my way to mile 25. Once I got to this aide station I was still feeling pretty good, however running the 12.5-25 it got really windy and cold I had to keep my hands in my pocket the whole time I was running because my gloves were to thin i really wish i didn't drop them off at mile 12.5, so I put on another layer of pants and another shirt grabbed some thicker gloves and off I was to finish the 3rd loop miles 25-37.5. At mile 27 I hit my first wall, my knees and legs just didn’t want to keep running so I slowed my pace and again ran/walked the whole way, the sun began to set and I could feel the outside temp was dropping fast so I tried to keep a steady pace so I wouldn’t get to cold. This was the most painful 10 miles for me of the whole race every time I tried to run my knees were just killing me so I decided to take it easy, I ended up running along side someone who kept my mind off the pain talking about numerous things.Once I finally arrived at Gassport I stopped in there to warm up/and fuel up. It hen left the nice warm tent and headed back out into the freezing cold, at this point I had to turn my headlamp on because it started to get dark. I was in a lot of pain but I knew I just had to keep on going, one foot in front of the other, at this point instead of thinking of the 12.5 mile loop I was taking it one mile at a time by looking at my Garmin. At some points I was forgetting to eat and drink and before during the first half of the race I was eating something every 35 min and constantly drinking. Half the time it was just so cold I didn’t want to take my gloves off to eat but I forced myself to because I needed the energy to finish this race. Once I saw the bridge in site to Middleport I started to run a little bit because I was so desperate to make it to that aide station, I was freezing, I was in a lot of pain and I just felt like the 3rd loop took forever. I walked in to the aide station at mile37.5 and immediately saw my boyfriend I went over and sat down, I was pretty out of it at this point, everything from the waste down was in pain but I knew at this point I only had 12.5 miles to go. I drank my electrolytes and ate some food and before I knew it I gained the strength, stood myself up and headed out the door for my last12.5 mile loop to mile 50. I was finally at my 4th lap, I was really happy but I still had a long way to go. I ran to mile 40 then again slowed my pace to a run/walk I hit another wall at this point, these last 10 miles felt like the longest 10 miles of my life, the wind was going right threw me, it was cold, it was pitch black, there was no one around me, just me out there, I really needed to dig down deep at this point and get the job done because it was pretty lonely out there the only light I had was from my headlamp and the full moon at my back. At mile 42 my camelbak line froze even with the insulated tube warmer, it froze and I couldn’t get any water, I tried blowing into it, I tried crushing it with my teeth and I also stuffed it in my jacket but nothing would work. I couldn’t eat because then I would get thirsty so I had to suck it up and just keep going. I knew the Gassport aide station was close by at mile 43ish so I just kept on going, it felt like an eternity that i was without water. My only goal at this point was to make it there so I could get water and warm up. Once I saw the tent in site I couldn’t have been happier, I ran to it, I was so desperate to get out of this cold and get some water. Once I walked in a volunteer came up to me right away asking if I needed help, he took my camelbak off and started to thaw out my line, which I was very thankful for. I ate so much food here probably the best tasting grill cheese I have ever had in my life!! I also walked in at the same time as the pepperoni pizza got delivered and boy was I thankful for that!I sat down and warmed up, I just had no energy and was getting to comfortable at this aide station. I forced my body up and out of that tent; I was at mile43 and knew I had 7 miles to go. So close but yet so far. As soon as I left the tent I got punched in the face with the cold air yet again even though I had my face mask, goggles and a hat on, the temperature and wind were unforgiving I was pretty miserable at this point but I just could not wait to get to that finish line, the last7 miles I continued to run/walk my boyfriend met up with me at this point which i was very thankful for it was nice having someone around. All I was thinking about was to keep moving forward I longed for that finish line and as I was approaching the last few miles that again seemed like it took forever. The last 2 miles of the race seemed like the longest miles of my life, it’s absolutely incredible how far you can push your body even at your lowest points. Once I hit that last bridge I knew I was about .8 miles away from glory, I wanted to take in this moment, I was about to become an ultramarathoner, the last stretch was amazing I don’t know where I got the energy but I started to run as fast as I could pain free I wasn’t even cold anymore, then I saw the lights to the finish line and it was the best feeling knowing that all my training, all that cold and pain was worth it for this one moment I just completed 50 miles!!!!!!! My goal was to finish in under 14 hours and I came in at 13:43:01, I was very happy with my time and had no regrets on my performanceI pushed myself as hard as I could out there and from here on out I can only get better. This race is very well organized the aide stations are the best aide stations I have ever seen at a race, they had so much food and the volunteers were more than happy to help you with any thing you needed! My name is Amanda, I’m 23 years old and today I became an UltraMarathoner.
-Amanda Ricciardi (Manz)
Lets jump back to 2009, I was the kind of girl who was in the shadows of the "popular out going folk" I never played any sports because if wasn't "mentally and physically perfect" at something then what was the point? i never wanted to let any one down. This unhealthy mentality stuck with me until 2009 rolled around, I was stopped dead in my tracks, paralyzed by a single moment, the day i heard my fathers footsteps rushing up the stairs to my room, "Theres been an accident" is all i heard from him. I rushed out of bed and found out a very close friend of my was in a tragic accident, 4 days later there was nothing the doctors could do to save him. He was only 17 years old with his whole life ahead of him, his aspirations, dreams for the future were taken away in a second. Several months after this day i decided to create a Personal Bucket list. Skydiving was on the list so in 2010 i jumped out of a plane at 14,000ft and it was such an incredible experience! The next thing on the list was to "Finish a Race" at this point i didn't know much about running i just knew that i wanted to cross the finish line to a race. I always envied people who wore bib numbers pinned to their shirts, and the cool racing gear, I wanted to finish a race i wanted to accomplish something awesome! So this is where i found Spartan Race, it was a 3 mile trail race with obstacles and mud! I finished that race with the biggest smile on my face, and feeling so accomplished, i had found my passion in life, i had found what drives me, what motivates me, my days of hiding in the shadows of people were suddenly gone, Spartan Race gave me the mindset that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, you just need to believe you can do it, tell yourself you are capable and the world is yours!, I then finished 5k, 10ks, Half Marathons, Marathons, Ultramarathons, 3-31 mile Spartan races, and a Spartan Ultrabeast. I always find myself searching for new, harder challenges, i love pushing myself and seeing how far i could push my body because when you're at your lowest point, when your body is telling you to quit, that's when you really need to dig deep and use that mental grit to finish the race step by painful step. I do what i do today because of that painful day back in 2009, i want my life to exemplify how precious life really is in his honor, i want to live life to the fullest and help others along the way and encouraging them and help them believe that anything is possible!
"If you think you're beaten, you are, if you like to win and you think you can't it's almost a fact you wont, success begins with a fellows will, it's all in the state of mind, You have to think high to rise, you've got to be sure of yourself before you can ever win the prize, life's battle doesn't always go to the stronger or faster man, but sooner or later the man who wins, is the man who things he can".