By Kim Collings
1. Beast Profiles
3. Joe’s Corner
4. Looking Ahead
1. Beast Profiles
Articles and interviews dedicated to reporting on the amazing people and stories of Your Beast Team!
She helps everyone, cheers everyone on, makes us all smile, and wiggles her way right on through the course! It’s Christina Horton!
What was your first OCR race and what made you decide to try it?
I was in a facebook group with Jaycee Eckhart focused on body positivity. She invited a few of us to do the Montana 2014 Sprint with her. I was trying to recover from an eating disorder at the time, but stay healthy. I said there was no way I could ever do something like that. She and another friend thought I could and they dared me to try. They DARED ME! I’m apparently a 12 year old, because I caved and signed up. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done. It was a founder’s race and I was hooked. In 2015 Jaycee joined the newly founded Beasts, and invited me in. I met a few before I did the Montana Beast and, did the Spartan workout where I met a few more. These crazy people could, so could I!
How has OCR helped you overcome challenges?
Signing up for the Montana Sprint helped me learn that strong is better than skinny and overcome an eating disorder. I fractured my spine in April of 2014 and wanted to get back to racing and feeling that invincible feeling as I crossed the finish line. I had motivation to heal and get better so I could have that life I glimpsed back.
What do you love most about the OCR Community?
That there is room to celebrate everyone. From the fast and amazing Pro Team who fly through courses to the slow and steady that finish with smiles on their faces and teamwork pushing them on. I am just as much of a finisher as someone that laps me.
Who inspires you?
Wow. So many people! Everyone getting out there for the first time who looks at that wall thinking they can’t climb it, but gets over it! Overcoming those obstacles and believing in themselves.
What is your favorite OCR memory?
Meeting friends on course and making people happy on course is what drives me. At the 2017 Sacramento Super, my last race of the year, I was walking and dancing down a little hill when I hear a gal yell behind me ‘Hey Spartan with the blue Nathan pack! Were you in Hawaii?’ I’m the only one in my group with a blue Nathan pack, I turn around and shout ‘I WAS!’ This gal I don’t recognize comes up to me and starts telling me that on the horrible mud mountain after mile 6 during the Hawaii beast a few months ago I was just ahead of her. With the music and the dancing and the joking I was doing with everyone around us it kept her from walking off the mountain. It was single track for what felt like forever, pulling ourselves up the mountain by trees and slipping in that mud. But we were having fun and she wanted to keep following us and have fun too. My silliness and desire to have a good time kept someone in that race! That was the best compliment I think I’ve ever gotten.
Tell us something about yourself that few people know, whether OCR related or not.
I am a raging dork and didn’t have a lot of friends growing up. Being loud and crazy (obnoxious) is me at my most essential since I’m done trying to be anyone else just to be liked. The fact that people tolerate and even like me shocks me every day. I don’t know how to react sometimes because it’s still so foreign to me. So if I ever seem ungrateful of a compliment it’s just me getting used to it, and trying to believe you!
What are your goals for 2018?
I turned 40 this year and I want to complete a 5x trifecta including trifecta weekend in Kimberly BC. I want to be better every year, and keep having fun and inspiring others. I want to make more friends on course who I get to race with and convince they can do this too!
2. Beast Nutrition
Egg Fun Facts:
- Chef hats traditionally have pleats equal to the number of ways that you can cook an egg.
- Harriet, a hen from the United Kingdom, laid the world’s largest egg in 2010. Her astonishing egg measured 9.1 inches in diameter.
- It takes a hen between 24 and 26 hours to develop an egg. Once she lays an egg, the development of a new egg normally starts within 30 minutes.
- Chickens don’t produce one egg at a time. Instead, producing hens normally have several eggs in various stages of development.
- Eggshell colors have nothing to do with flavor or nutritional value of the egg. Brown, white and even blue and green egg shells are simply indicative of the breed of hen.
- The hen’s diet determines the color of the yolk. Some producers feed natural supplements like marigold petals so that their hens lay eggs with brighter yolks.
- There are several reasons why we eat chicken eggs instead of duck or turkey eggs. Chickens lay more eggs, they need less nesting space and they don’t have the strong mothering instincts of turkeys and ducks, which makes egg collection easier.
- White eggs are more popular among commercial producers because chickens that lay white eggs tend to be smaller than their brown egg-laying cousins, therefore needing less food to produce the same number of eggs.
- Most of today’s egg-laying hens are White Leghorns (white eggs) or Rhode Island Reds and Barred Plymouth Rocks (brown eggs).
- Not all chickens create eggs equally. Some breeds lay eggs almost every day. Other breeds lay eggs every other day or once to twice per week.
- When it comes to the number of eggs laid each year, Iowa leads the nation with more than 14.8 billion eggs produced annually. Ohio is the next state in line, producing 7.9 billion eggs each year.
- Eating raw eggs won’t help you build muscle. Only 51% of the proteins in raw eggs are digestible, while 91% of the proteins in cooked eggs are digestible.
- Can’t tell if that egg in the refrigerator is raw or hardboiled? Try spinning it! Raw eggs wobble as the liquid inside shifts, but hardboiled eggs spin smoothly.
- Because older eggs have larger air cells, they’re much easier to peel than fresh eggs.
- Cloudy egg whites mean that the eggs are extremely fresh, while clear egg whites are an indicator of older eggs. Cloudiness of raw white is due to the natural presence of carbon dioxide that has not had time to escape through the shell and is an indication of a very fresh egg. As an egg ages, the carbon dioxide escapes and the white becomes more transparent. Other colors in the egg white may be a sign of spoilage, so if it’s not cloudy-white or clear, don’t eat it!
Photo Credit: Christina Horton, Spartan Race
3. Joe’s Corner
Muscle Imbalances by Joe Loomis
Muscles have an equal and opposite counterpart. When one muscle contracts or gets shorter, an opposite muscle must relax or lengthen to get longer. The two muscles must work together to straighten and curl your arm. This is a very simplified version of the human body, but it is the basics of how body movement works. For every joint in the body, two muscles cause motion, and that means that both muscles need to be worked to maintain muscular balance. The problem is that many athletes work only the body in one direction and that causes a muscular imbalance. Muscular imbalances are often the causes of injuries in athletes, and I will talk about the most common areas of imbalance and associated injuries.
Hamstring and Quadricep Imbalances:
Runners tend to have a very well-developed hamstring and an underdeveloped quadricep. This can cause a multitude of injuries in the knee and/or the hip. This is caused because the quadricep fatigues at a much faster rate than the hamstring, causing the muscles to be less efficient at absorbing the impact from running. This imbalance can also cause the kneecap to track incorrectly and cause a lot of knee pain. The lesser known problems with hamstring and quadricep imbalances are hip pain and IT band pain.
The best way to ensure that these imbalances don’t happen or, if they have happened already, is to work the muscles that are underused. In prior write-ups, I talked about different exercises that can help, but some of the main ones are single-leg squats, seated leg extensions, lunges, and full body squats.
Forearm and Grip Imbalances:
This area might not cause a lot of OCR people problems, but may be problematic for people who are really pushing to be better on hanging obstacles, climbing obstacles, etc. This is caused by two muscles groups in the hands and forearms, ones that cause the fingers to curl in and the others that cause the fingers to extend out. Climbers have this issue as well, as the muscles that cause the fingers to curl become a lot stronger than the ones that extend. The other thing about grip imbalance is that working out while extending your fingers is difficult and not something that is done naturally. Most of the time this is called tendonitis in the forearm, wrist, and even hand pain.
The best way to fix the issue is to work the extension muscles. This can be done with a rubber band that resists your fingers from extending but can also be done with a bucket of sand or rice. Simply pushing your fist into the rice or sand and then opening the hand can work the extension muscles.
Chest, Back, Core Imbalances:
The reason this group has three groups of muscles is they are all very interconnected. The way people live these days cause this imbalance in nearly everyone. Sitting at a computer causes a lot of abs to contract to keep the legs bent, the back to stretch, and the chest to contract as the shoulders roll forward when sitting, and even when standing many people slouch slightly forward. All this causes several muscles to be imbalanced and can cause a lot of common problems like lower back pain, upper back pain, hip pain, and shoulder pain. The best way to show this is that people can do a lot of pushups and not a single pull-up.
In the end, it is important to not only work on the back and core muscles but also something as simple as maintaining correct posture. Correct posture while sitting and standing is a good start to correcting some imbalances. Other exercises are pull-ups, pulldowns, plank, crunches, yoga and stretching. This is a good place to start as these muscle groups are the most commonly imbalanced.
Right to Left Imbalance:
The final imbalance that a lot of people have is a right to left imbalance. This is mainly described when people say they lead with their strong side. This, unfortunately, will only encourage the imbalance. A right to left or vis versa imbalance can cause problems with overall spine health from neck pain down all the way to hip problems. To ensure that the imbalance is corrected is to start with the weak side and whatever amount of reps, weight, or fatigue level it experiences is matched by the stronger side.
Muscular imbalance can be a sticky situation because it often presents in pain in areas that don’t seem to be related to the problem. This is often the reason that some problems can even be misdiagnosed, even in the medical field. The best way to ensure that the body is in balance is by making sure that all training is done in two directions as best as possible.
4. Looking Ahead