The great thing about interviewing Epic Runners is that sometimes we learn about races we didn’t even know about! Our newest Featured Epic Runner, Reiley G., has what is known as #BeastMode – he’s a regular at Spartan Race, Tough Mudder and through this feature, introduced us to the Budshido Race (although it’s only in Virginia…boooooo). Reiley is the perfect example of how Epic Running can change your life in a positive (albeit beastly) way. Check out his inspiring story!
How did you get into running?
I am originally from San Francisco but we moved here in about the 4th grade; I’d always thought I had asthma, and we thought
it was because of the difference in climate change from California city life to the rural Virginia area. When I was 18 I decided to try and enlist in the army and they told me I was overweight. I took weight training 101 where we had to run a mile a day at John Tyler Community College along with my other classes in my Police Science Criminal Justice degree. I started to diet and lose weight and realized I didn’t have asthma, I was simply overweight and not physically fit to exercise.
Tell us about the first race you ever ran.
The first race I ever ran was surely an epic one. I ran the Warrior Dash in 2012 at the Berkeley Plantations in Charles City, VA. (By this time I had made maximum weight and was still losing) I told my recruiter, ”Hey, I’m doing this awesome mud run and it has this weird waiver and it says they are not liable for snake bites or breaking my leg or burning and all this other stuff,” and he just said, ”Be careful, you can be sued for getting hurt. You’re government property now.”
When I arrived at the race, I was alone and started talking to a random person (Editor’s Note: The Epic Running Community is very welcoming) and as it turned out, the woman I reached out to was an officer in the Army. She was doing it for fun, and I was doing it for the Saint Jude Research Hospital and to represent for the Army. Nonetheless it was my first taste of mud and obstacle racing!
What struggles have you encountered during your training?
One of the main struggles was when I was taking weight training 101. I started to get serious about losing weight and running and I had gained shin splints – luckily, I noticed quickly that my legs were starting to swell, so I started icing my legs and running less, and started to do bicycling on off days to offset the muscle.
Another struggle which I had before I left for basic (and still have to this day) is Hallux Rigidus which is basically arthritis in the big toe, which causes the toe to swell. I offset that by running only 4 days a week instead of 6 , and using gel inserts to absorb some of the shock.
My ultimate goal is to run the Vermont Ultra Beast Spartan Race Championship – a Spartan Race full marathon. The regular beast is 13+ miles. The reason I want to run the ”ultra beast” is because I like running, but I find that regular runs are very bland, so I often have to listen to my music to get through it, like it’s a workout, whereas in a mud run I am having fun running 13+ miles in mud having fun with other people and encountering physical and mental challenges. The point – I am signed up for a marathon, which will be boring, but a mud run Spartan Race marathon will be an epic 26 miles packed with mud and obstacles! (Editor’s Note: Damn.)
What makes you excited about doing epic runs?
For one, I like to meet new people. Running races has introduced me to many people and I am thankful for their friendship and I have gained many friends and connections, as well as training advice! I also enjoy doing fun stuff like swimming in mud pools, or climbing a wall, or getting shocked by 10,000 volts, or crawling under barbed wire; you don’t typically get to do that kind of stuff in your everyday life, unless of course you’re just plain epic!
What other fitness activities do you do outside of running, and why?
My most favorite would have to be ice skating. It’s awesome to be able to skate on frozen ice, in Virginia near Richmond where I live we don’t get snow very often and when we do its just flurries so its like a snow day almost but still being able to burn calories and have an exhilarating time! I also enjoy incline skating because it’s still a cardiovascular workout and its just plain fun to roll on wheels and kind of glide on the ground at an angle.
What advice would you give to someone who is nervous about starting running or signing up for their first race?
I would have to say just one thing: Get out of your comfort zone and do it, whether it’s for weight loss or just to try something new. If you don’t attempt it then you won’t know what you could be missing out on, if I had never done Warrior Dash, I would have never realized my passion for obstacle racing and running; it was just weight loss for me but it has become my favorite hobby between school and work! If you don’t like it you don’t have to do it anymore, but at least give it a shot, you may find that you enjoy it, and it’s more than just exercise, it may have a cause that means something dear to you like Saint Jude’s Warrior Dash or the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer races and other organizations like that!
Any epic runs scheduled for 2014?
Yes! In fact I have quite a few, this is the just the beginning for the year!
- Spartan Race Carolina Sprint (3.9 mi)
- Spartan Race Carolina Beast (15 mi)
- Spartan Race Virginia Super (9 mi)
- Monument Ave 10K (it’s a tradition in Richmond, VA)
- Richmond Running Club Sweetheart 8K (Valentine’s Day sort of run with my college running club)
- Bushido Race (an epic samurai warrior obstacle race! )
- Henricus Daibus 10K (a historic native American/civil war site mud run)
- Tough Mudder VA Half Marathon Mud Run
and as previously mentioned;
- Instant Classic Trail Marathon at Pocahontas State Park
as well as whatever other miscellaneous runs my college has planned for the semester.
I would like to do the Vermont Ultra Beast Marathon. If I get invited, I would travel to Vermont. It’s kind of a big thing…you have to earn your entry!
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