Issue 29
April 2020

By Kim Collings


1. Beast Profiles

2. Nutrition

3. Looking Ahead

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

Meet Melisa Joyal!

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

My first was Rugged Maniac Vancouver 2016. My friend signed me up for Mudderella and I was nervous about doing 8km with obstacles. I was still recovering from breaking my hip/pelvis/hip and was limited in running to 8km or less so wasn’t sure if I would be in good enough shape. I decided to try Rugged Maniac for practice since it was shorter. I ended up in the top 20 for women and also realized that I loved it. It was perfect for me. I have ADHD and get bored with running or doing one activity for long. OCR allows me to run then do something different for a bit.

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How has OCR helped you overcome challenges?

I have learned to push forward even when I am uncomfortable. I would often just stop when bored or if I was sore and not really push to do better in anything physical. With OCR, I have finished things when I would have just given up such injuring my ankle part way into a Hurricane Heat or Spartan World Championships in Tahoe when I was starting to develop hypothermia (I cramped but warmed as I moved down the mountain. It also gives me purpose in life and something to do outside of my work (I definitely work too much).

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What do you love most about the OCR Community?

I am in it for the team and friends. I Was going through a challenging time when I discovered OCR. I was able to meet new people and developed some of my closest friendships. I have always loved being part of a team but I am also very competitive and have always been into individual sports (gymnastics as a child, running, downhill mountain biking). OCR is a perfect way to still be part of a group and a team but let my competitive side out.

Who inspires you?

Everyone around me does. I try to do better than the next person on the course. I know that sounds seriously competitive, but I like watching others and trying to keep up because it pushes me to attempt things that I wouldn’t do or was afraid of pushing. I know most people would list a pro, but I feel like those people are naturally a little better. For me, it is the regular person out there pushing themselves that motivate me. Like my friends Troy Geisbrecht and Richard Boulton who got involved later in life and have health concerns but still are out on course.

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What is your favorite OCR memory?

I have a lot!! Most are around meeting the people who are my closest friends, like meeting my “race wife” Genevieve at Tough Mudder Whistler 2018. I also have found it funny meeting people for a second or third time in unexpected places. In NORAM 2018 I met a couple that was staying in a small B&B where I was staying. We chatted and enjoyed a beer together. A year later, the same couple was staying in a small B&B where I was for Montreal Trifecta weekend. Then 2 months later, we reconnected in Ontario trifecta weekend. It isn’t a specific memory, but it is that type of thing that often stands out.

Also, a funny side story is I went to OCRWC in 2017 for the first time (as a Journeyman). I stayed in a house with a group of people brought together by Allison Tai, who was my coach at the time. The night after the 15k, most of us sat around playing Cards Against Humanity. Alison hadn’t played before so I had brought it with me. That game can get nuts. Another guy in our group hadn’t played before. He was incredibly funny. I was introduced to him as Yancy, a guy from the U.S. I later found out that he is Yancy Culp, coach to a lot of the pros and really quite well-known. There were other pros in the house too. I had only been in OCR for less than a year at that point so had no idea who anyone was. TO me, they were just all people there to race, and we had a fun night enjoying a glass of wine and playing a silly game.

What is your favorite and least favorite obstacles?

I love Olympus. Probably because I can usually do it but it is still challenging. The changes have made it more interesting.

I always hated Twister, but I think I have figured it out now and was consistent in the last couple of races.

In general, I hate anything to do with cold water. I have a bit of a phobia. I also dislike spear throw (I don’t feel like it is a real obstacle and is just there to make people do burpees).

What length of race do you like best?

Anything 8-12K is my favorite. Long enough to not have to sprint and to have more obstacles but without me fading. I am working on my endurance and taking on more endurance events this year, but it is something I struggle with. If I am going to do well, it would be in a 5k distance.

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

The first thing most people don’t know is I have a husband. LOL. I travel with my race wife Genevieve and my training partner Richard most of the time (we have been all over Canada and the U.S. together over the past 1.5 years. My husband makes an appearance here and there and is actually better than me in short races despite not training much and not running at all outside of the races (he has knee issues). He really does exist.

Most people know that I cope with a lot of chronic injuries and chronic pain. Many from a mountain biking injury in 2013 -the back and hip thing- and some from OCR and multiple previous shoulder injuries. While it is part of my story, I don’t really think of it as a big thing anymore. But my husband does think I am nuts for all of the races and crazy things I do even when feeling sore. The biggest thing not many people know is that I am afraid of a lot of things, some of it because of my injuries. My friends think I am strong and tough but my fears can hold me back a little. I took up ninja to work on my fears and it does help a little. I have learned to better control my landings and breathe through the cold (fear of falling/landing from a height and cold water). I did the swim at Tahoe on the Sunday even though it was below freezing and others were skipping it. But I was so scared I was crying the whole time and the volunteers had to talk me through it.

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What are your goals for 2020?

I am now in an older age group this year. My goal is to do at least as well as last year and hopefully at least a podium or 2. Mostly, I want to participate in more local events and build my endurance. My goal is to do WTM and make 40 miles for my 40th birthday. I also want to finish an ultra but I am pretty nervous about that. My husband says it is a bad idea, so I likely will do it just to spite him.

Photo credit: Melisa Joyal, Spartan Race

2. Beast Nutrition



Ginger Fun Facts:

  • Ginger is actually a rhizome, not a root. A rhizome is an underground stem.
  • The ginger plant is an herb.
  • Ginger is a part of the Zingiberaceae family, which also includes turmeric and cardamom.
  • Ginger is native to southeastern Asia.
  • You can grow ginger from rhizomes found at grocery stores.
  • Mature ginger rhizomes, ones most commonly sold in grocery stores, are harvested after 10-12 months.
  • Ginger is popularly grown in warmer regions and the tropics.
  • Ginger can be cultivated all year round.
  • However the best time to plant them is at the end winter and early spring.
  • A ginger plant can grow up to 4 ft. tall.

    Ginger has MANY health benefits, some including ant-inflammatory properties, blood sugar regulation, and gastrointestinal relief.

Photo & Article Credit:


Ginger Tea

ginger tea ingredients
  1. Thinly slice your fresh ginger. You don’t need to peel it first, but do rinse it and scrub off any visible dirt. Plan on about using about a one-inch piece of ginger per cup of tea.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the ginger with fresh water (use one cup of water per serving).
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.
  4. Simmer for five minutes (or up to 10 minutes, if you want extra-strong tea). I usually think it’s pungent enough at five minutes.
  5. Pour the tea through a fine sieve to catch all of the ginger. If desired, serve your tea with a thin round of lemon or orange for some complementary acidity. You might also appreciate a light drizzle of honey or maple syrup, which will temper the fiery ginger flavor.

Photo Credit:


3. Looking Ahead

The Beast Report: April 2020
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