Issue 21
August 2019

By Kim Collings


1. Beast Profiles

2. Seven Pillars

3. Nutrition

4. Looking Ahead

1. Beast Profiles

Articles and interviews dedicated to reporting on the amazing people and stories of Your Beast Team!

Meet Virginia Nickelson! OCR Enthusiast and Endurance Beast!!

What was your first OCR race and what made you decide to try it?

I had actually been playing women’s ice hockey and got really tired of the drama when one of the guys in my office did Tough mudder and after seeing his pictures I decided it would be fun to try it. I then signed up for Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder Spartan HH and Super all spanning about a 3 month time frame. My first race was Warrior Dash in 2015 and I remember during the run I felt more out of shape than I ever had in my life and the obstacles scared me and excited me all at the same time.

How has OCR helped you overcome challenges?

I see things very differently now for sure. I think now when I see a challenge be it at work, home or with the next event I sign up for I no longer see it as something so overwhelming. I have learned to break challenges down into parts and go step by step through things instead of looking at them as one massive hurdle to overcome.

What do you love most about the OCR Community? 

The sense of community. Since starting GORUCK events I have found this crazy community very similar to the OCR community. They are focused on giving back to the community they are in, supporting the military and including anyone and everyone in becoming more active. Just like when I started OCR this group of GRTs (GORUCK TOUGH) wierdos have welcomed me with open arms and pushed me farther than I ever thought possible.

Who inspires you?

A lot of people. My kids. Alvin (12) shows me that labels are just that and nothing more. Elliot (9) constantly reminds me that she is watching everything I do. I see her hard work in gymnastics and I am inspired to stick to my goals to be a good role model for her. Madilyn (6) inspires me to always have fun and make friends where ever I go.

The other GRTs that I do events with me are also a big source of inspiration during events. I have met so many people that are constantly striving to better themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. I have watched these people during events face down doubt, pain and their own mental demons to come out on top. 

Also my coaches inspire me to keep pushing each week. They see potential in me and each week challenge me to lift heavier than I thought possibly, push harder and learn to recover better and manage my nutrition better each week.

What is your favorite OCR memory?

Favorite OCR memory this year right now is the Kimberly Beast. I was on course with Carolyn and Justin and basically playing tag with them for the entire 14 miles of mountain climbs. Then when I finished and saw my time I had beat my previous year’s time by 3 full hours!

Favorite GORUCK memory is finishing the D-Day HTL June 2. At that point I had been putting in 15-18 hours of training a week and went in not really sure if I could even pull this off. When I finished the first event (Heavy 20 hours and 44 miles), I was amazed I had made it that far and felt fairly good. The finishing the Tough (10 hours and 20 miles) was a relief to only have one more event to go and I had made it through a very dark and exhausting event. Finally; having my coach who had been working with me constantly for just over 6 months to get ready for all of this do the final event (light 5 hours and 8 miles)  with me at the end then get my bolts it was all surreal. I remember being called up with the other 7 guys by Cadre Dustin and Darrell and having them tell the light class that we had been with them for 40+ hours and gone through everything they could throw at us was the best feeling.

Tell us something about yourself that few people know, whether OCR related or not.

I have (and sometimes still do) struggle with being called an athlete by anyone. Even when my coaches call me an athlete I just laugh a little because I still at times don’t think the term fits me.  I tend to think of myself as a weekend warrior despite training between 15 and 18 hours a week for the next HTL in September. I’m a mom, engineer, Girl Scout troop leader but the idea of calling myself an athlete at all has been a stretch. It wasn’t until I completed the HTL that I was finally ok with being called an athlete at all. Now I am learning that I can embrace being called that after all the work I’ve put into getting stronger and building my endurance.

What are your goals for 2019?

Earn my HTL bolts for a second time in 4 months. This is by far the biggest goal and the one I am the most focused on.

GORUCK 50 mile star course. Finish faster than last year and maintain a better mindset through the entire event.

Dallas Ultra, Beast and Sprint. These will be my last OCRs for the year and I am going back to Dallas to try to beat my Ultra time of 11 hours from last year.

2. Seven Pillars

Endurance Strength   Athleticism   Recovery Nutrition   Mind  Code

Photo credit: Virginia Nickelson, Spartan Race, GoRuck

We work hard to improve our physical selves which is important in racing and a healthy life. I wanted to also focus on other aspects that can help us be well rounded in our racing and personal lives. Each month I’d like to choose a topic from the Spartan Seven Pillars above and then offer a challenge to you. You have an entire month to work on it. Research shows that lasting changes often occur when you take things slow and do one step at a time.

This month we are going to look at Athleticism. Strength and endurance create a solid fitness base and athleticism further solidifies our fitness with mobility, stability, perfect practice, balance, and more complex patterns. Spartan SGX says:

• “Athleticism is the mind and body’s ability to react to stimuli in an efficient manner. The athlete has the ability to move through full range of motion, has body control and a kinesthetic awareness of body position through a wide range of activities

• Movement is a skill. Takes practice to master.

• Skill based movements that require balance, flexibility, and coordination.

• Move well, then move fast and well.”

Following are a few examples of how you can incorporate Athleticism:

Agility Drills
-Agility ladders
-Side to side drills
-Plyometric jumps
-Shuttle runs

Balance Drills
-One leg shoulder press
-Lateral lunge to balance
-Step up to one leg balance
-Side plank with leg lifts

Coordinated movements
-Multi directional forms of running, skipping, jumping
-Mirror games (mirroring each others movements
-Jump in place with 180 or 360 turns while in flight
-Balance exercises on a low balance beam
-Cross step over running

-Ankle mobility: Standing plantar-dorsiflexion
-Hip mobility: Walking hip openers
-Spine stability: Lumbar bird dog
-Spine mobility: Supine rotational reaches
-Scapular stability: Suspension shoulder packing

Mental Athleticism – readiness to adapt to change
-Cross train: biking, swimming, rock climbing, parkour
-Train in a different location/environment (outside if it’s hot or cold, etc.)
-Periodization: Change your workouts throughout the year (monthly or quarterly) to optimize rest, preparing for A races
-Change your workout to prevent muscle adaptation staleness (hard to make gains when doing the same movements week in and week out)
-If you have known weaknesses work on them (it’s easy to ignore them if they seem small)


Choose one item, or one item from each section if possible, and work on it over the next month. Slow changes and additions to your routine are best.

Try a little extra stretching or mobility work (supple leopard is a great youtube site for mobility). As you become more flexible/mobile, you may find you lose an ache, pain, or tightness that has been bothering you.

A new form of cross training will not only help you be a more well rounded athlete, but you might find yourself having a lot of fun. Trying something new or changing up your routine keeps things fresh and prevents mental burnout, while incorporating muscles in a new way.

3. Beast Nutrition


Image result for maca

Maca Fun Facts A-Z

1Andes. Maca only grows at high altitudes: from 2000 to 4000 metres. It originates from the Andes.

Black. The flavour and properties of maca vary according to its colour, which ranges from creamy yellow, to pink, red, purple and black. The latter, whose taste has a bitter-sweet note, is considered to be the most energizing, as well as being conducive to a good night’s sleep; it also reduces pain and is particularly recommended for men.

Coffee. Owing to its energizing, restorative and reinvigorating properties, it has become trendy in some areas of Los Angeles to use it as a coffee substitute.

Dressing. One way of consuming maca in powder form is to use it as an ingredient in salad dressings. It may also be added to juices and smoothies.

Ecuador. Even though most of the production comes from Peru, this plant is also to be found in Ecuador and Bolivia.

Fertility. Maca, especially the yellow and red varieties, is adopted to stimulate fertility.

Guess. What type of maca is best for me? Identify it with the “Maca finder” , an online tool provided by a manufacturer.

Hormone. A hormone balancing root which relieves menstrual pain, among other things, and the symptoms associated with the menopause.

Inca. Maca has been consumed since the time of the Inca civilization and is still widely used as a food source – one of the few containing sugar – by the Andean people, the Quechua.

Junín. In central Peru, and especially in the Lake Junín area, it is fed to small children.

Knockout. So, you want to be a bombshell, not only beautiful but healthy inside and out? Add powdered maca to beauty creams and shampoo for splendid hair and skin!

Liquid. The cooking liquid of boiled maca is the basic ingredient of a refreshing drink for serving with vanilla and for mixing with milk or any other sweet liquid.

Mazamorra. A typical Peruvian sweet for breakfasts or snacks. It is made from a mixture of maca flour, corn starch or potato starch, to which cold water, sugar and/or vanilla is added to form a creamy consistency, before being enriched with evaporated milk.

Nightcap. Some people also use maca in alcoholic drinks, mixed with liquors or in cocktails – traditionally with whisked egg white, cloves and cinnamon.

Organic and fairPROMACA has been set up in Peru to guarantee fair trade and increase the social value of maca products

Powder. Despite the fact that maca is now commonly consumed all over the world in powder form – ground maca root – for thousands of years it was eaten in the Andes as an ordinary vegetable.

Qiaojia. A county in the Chinese province of Yunnan, whose mountains rise as high as 4,000 metres a.s.l. and where the maca production originating from Peru was implemented a few years ago.

Red. Red maca comes from red or purple roots. Its taste vaguely recalls that of malt. It is the variety richest in amino acids, which are essential to the cell regeneration processes of our organism.

Soy. The flavour of dark maca is associated with that of roasted soy beans.

Tea. Maca tea is easy to make especially in the morning. You can prepare it by simply adding some maca to your favourite tea, and blending, or mixing it with dry maca extract. You can also melt maca jelly inside tea.  

Uncooked. Maca root may be eaten cooked – either fresh or dried – in the form of flour for making galettes and biscuits, which is mixed with the flour of other grains. However, in order to preserve its properties and nutrients intact, it is advisable to eat it raw. Why not add raw maca powder to hummus or guacamole for example?

Vanilla. Maca has a particular taste of its own, varying between bitter and piquant, which may be concealed by mixing it with vanilla extract.

Watya. In Quechua, this term refers to a traditional “oven” consisting of a pyramid-shaped heap of rocks constructed over a fire so that they become red-hot. The oven is used to prepare the traditional “pachamancas” (from “pacha”, earth, to “manka”, pot), dishes of roast meat and tuber vegetables, as well as maca roots.

Xxx. Maca is considered to be a “natural viagra” thanks to its capacity to increase libido and improve sexual performance for both men and women.

Yellow. Yellow maca is the most economical version. Apart from being used as “viagra”, it is good for the mood if consumed regularly. It has a sharp taste.

Zinc. Of the various minerals contained in maca, zinc is the most important. It is recommended for male sexual disorders since it reduces prostate hypertrophy and inhibits the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone in DHT, a very strong androgen.

Photo Credit:


Maca Green Smoothie

I love changing up my “post workout” protein smoothie. This is one of my go to recipes. It tastes great, supplies protein and electrolytes, and it’s full of nutrients.

11.1 oz (one container) Kirkland organic coconut water (good source of potassium)
1/4 C Tart cherry juice (anti-inflammatory)
3 tsp Fresh Ginger
1/4 Lemon
1 tsp Spirulina Powder
1 tsp MACA powder
1 tsp Knox gelatin
2 tsp Natural Vitality (good source of magnesium)
1 1/2 C greens (kale, super greens, spinach, etc)
1/4 Avocado (about 80 grams)
2- 1″ slices Cucumber
1 serving protein powder
Pinch of Sea Salt

Blend, serve over ice in a shaker cup for transportation to the gym

Photo Credit: Kim Collings

4. Looking Ahead

The Beast Report: August 2019
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