There are three words to describe Carina Marx: pretty, modest and pleasant. But throw some obstacles, mud and challenges at this pretty girl and she instantly transforms into a real Warrior girl. Carina has been consistently ranked as one of South Africa’s top performing Obstacle Course Race (OCR) athletes since she started competing in the sport. Carina shared the life lessons she has learned through OCR with PhysEQFiT:
By Carina Marx
OCR Elite Athlete
OCR, Obstacle Course Racing, has been a booming sport in the USA and Europe for the last decade. In fact more competitors crossed the OCR finish line last year in the USA than marathon and half marathon competitors combined! We are going on to the 4th year of OCR’s in South Africa and its growing in its popularity by the day drawing thousands of competitors at each event and series of events such as The Warrior, The Impi Challenge, The Grind, The Beast and Battle Rush races. OCR mainly consists of trail running and obstacles. The obstacles themselves can consist of climbing nets, crawling through mud, jumping into water from high platforms, tyre flipping and intricate rope climbs to name but a few. They are based on what the navy seals use to train on.
Before you say, “Oh no! I would never be able to do that! “, I would like to invite you to come and experience the fun and camaraderie at one of the events. It is not only a physical challenge for yourself, but it will also challenge you mentally. It will return the self-belief and confidence you lost along the way in the relatively mundane existence we follow daily. You are guaranteed to walk away with a new spark for life after an OCR race. I guess that is what made me so addicted to this sport.
There were a few life lessons I have learned through OCR. The first was a reminder to live again. My first event was that of Rookie race (Rookie race, is a category in the Jeep Warrior race with the shortest distance) with some of my work colleagues. I ended up smiling from ear to ear with a certain sense of achievement. This was a good way to start and I got hooked. For once I felt alive again!
Another major life lesson was to believe in myself. I struggled with a very low self-esteem and hardly had any confidence in myself throughout life. OCR changed that for me. These days I can overcome obstacles that I could only dream of. It became visible in my daily life and I came to realize that very little is impossible.
OCR has taught me what a healthy and sustainable lifestyle can be. You cannot afford to starve yourself when you train for this type of sport. I still managed to lose 10 kilograms in 18 months, albeit in a healthy way. All the running in my training is a big contribution to weight loss, but I changed my way of eating too. My sports nutritionist, Karlien Duvenhage, is the best. She taught me how to enjoy a balanced diet and still having energy for my 2 to 3 training sessions a day and to lose weight gradually. Lesson learnt: Stop beating yourself up for cheating now and then. It is okay, but don’t overdo it! That is the key!
After being involved in Obstacle Racing for 3 years, I have learnt to always strive going forward. The only time you look back is to remind yourself how far you have come. Once again it is a great metaphor to describe how I live my life. I believe in growing and moving in a positive direction. Use the failures as learning curves, so you don’t repeat your mistakes.
The last, but most important life lesson I have learnt from OCR was that I had to face my weaknesses and accept myself for who I am. That was probably the hardest thing to do. But since I started facing it I decided to make the best of what God has given me. I had no excuses. I had all my limbs and great health, what was there to stop me? Absolutely nothing! Initially I was too heavy and far from being a runner, but I had a dream to compete alongside the top Black ops Elite ladies (Black ops Elite, is the category for experienced athletes who have to complete all the obstacles unassisted over the longest distance) and today I am living that dream!
Often you are your own biggest obstacle, because ultimately you make your own choices in life. So be careful and make wise decisions. You might be missing out on life and a lot of the pleasures it has to offer. Live with no regrets!