As a newcomer to the Obstacle races Elise made quite an impression in 2013. With 7 OCR appearances, she finished 1st in her sex category 4 times. She finished 1st five times in her age category. She also finished in the top 25 overall in 3 of her races with the highest being 8th. Her number speak for herself and has resulted in a large recognition in the industry.
Today, Elise is sponsored by Mud and Adventure. Following the Spartan Race Vermont Championship race Elise was kind enough to spare some time to answer a few questions for the community.
Gene – You showed up in the OCR community with a bang! 4 of your 6 Spartan Race events were on the podium; 3 of which were 1st. You also received a first place podium at the Superhero Scramble Charger in Plattekill. Has your life changed at all from when you starting racing to now?
Elise – The biggest change has been in the relationships I’ve formed. In the short time I’ve been racing, it has opened up a terrific community of racers to me, and I feel as if I’ve made some life long bonds with a lot of like-minded individuals.
G – At the Spartan Race’s VT Championship you were individually named as one of the spotlight racers of the elite wave. Can you describe the emotion of the day and race?
E – I was completely blindsided by being named as a spotlight athlete. After the initial shock, it was pure elation! For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had pre-race jitters. As you can imagine, the Beast was no different! For a solid 24 hours leading up to the race I had all the usual symptoms – nerves, adrenaline, fear, upset stomach … you name it. And it wasn’t that I was unprepared, I knew I had been training and was confident I would finish. I think it was the unknown: a new race, a new location, and new obstacles not to mention that I was competing against some of the best racers from around the world. That and the fact I’m a very competitive person with myself. I have high expectations for myself. I put in a lot of work and I want to see and feel the pay off.
G – With the 2013 Spartan Race point series wrapping up, what are you plans for the remainder of the calendar year and next?
E – I’m looking forward to competing in races outside of my region. With PA being my first race, I competed in all races in this area – PA, VA, NJ & VT so I am yet to do a stadium race or a race that isn’t held at a ski mountain for that matter. I’ve done a lot of climbing and am interested to see how I fare in a runner’s race. Unfortunately I can’t make South Carolina or Fenway, so it is looking like the Texas Beast or Tampa Super will be my next race(s).
G – You live in Vernon, NJ (home of the Spartan Race NJ Super). How do you balance your training and race schedule throughout the year?
E – I’m extremely fortunate to have easy access to such a great training environment. It’s just over a 2 mile run from my front door to the top of the mountain. Whether I want to do hill repeats, trails or long climbs, I have it all right in my back yard. It’s definitely played a crucial role in preparing me for each race. I am also an avid Crossfitter. With some time between now and my next race, I’ll look to maintain my endurance while concentrating on my strength training.
G – For those that don’t know you, what best describes you as a person? Competitor? Your love for soccer? The outdoors?
E – All of the above! It’s funny because I am actually super laid back until it comes to anything competitive. There’s nothing like the thrill of competition. I was a competitive snowboarder, track runner and soccer player growing up. I found a love for soccer at a young age and it quickly became an important part of my life. I’ve spent the better part of the past twenty years on the field, so I guess you can say I attribute a lot of who I am today to those experiences.
G – As a strong competitor while playing soccer at the University of Connecticut, were you able to take anything from that and apply it to the obstacle course races?
E – Of course! I learned so much about what it really takes to be a true competitor at UConn. Everyday you are competing against 29 other equally talented players in everything you do. Being pushed out of my comfort zone was an everyday occurrence. There was no ‘quitting’, so you just learned to deal with the pain. I came to a simple realization: The pain won’t kill me and it is going to go away soon after I stop. Since then, I’ve learned one of my real strengths was in this ability to ignore the physical pain and continue to push myself. While OCR is obviously very physically demanding, it is just as mentally
challenging. When your body is exhausted or you fail an obstacle (or worse the combination of both) it is so much easier to put your head down then it is to pick yourself back up and get after it. I truly believe that mental toughness is the difference between winning, finishing a race, or beating that previous PR.