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Alexandra Walker: Elite Spartan Racing and Recovery

Alexandra WalkerObstacle course racing (OCR) is a rapidly-growing sport that requires running speed, endurance, strength, balance, flexibility and mental toughness. Competitors cover three or more miles, facing obstacles involving water, mud, flames, mountains, and barbed wire, requiring lifting, climbing, and crawling using body weight and added weight through weighted carries. We spoke to highly-ranked Elite Spartan Racer Alexandra Walker – who has completed in over 75 career races – about training, competing and recovering as an elite OCR athlete.

My Dad worked in the oil industry. I was born in Bogota, Columbia and started riding equestrian at four, as my family lived in Peru, Ecuador Venezuela and Bolivia. We moved to the States when I was 16.

I picked up running to lose baby weight, and got hooked on trail running.  But it was when I competed in my first Tough Mudder race in 2014 that I really fell in love with OCR.  Since then, I’ve raced in many obstacles course races, and worked hard to do well – and because of that I am an addict for the sport.  With the help of my trainer Yancy Culp and training at Power Park Fitness. I’ve managed some podium finishes – and even managed to finish the OCR World Championships in 2016.

I had high expectations for OCR World Championships 15k, but unfortunately I injured my knee two miles into the race. I was bombing down a mountain, slid and fell – and my knee had a large gash.  A paramedic looked at it – if she had treated me, I would be out of the race. I was just happy to finish. I was told I would need stitches but I wanted to race the next day in the OCR World Championship Team race. Some friends and I managed to just butterfly tape it shut. 

My training includes running 30 plus miles a week, as well as workouts designed by OCR Elite trainer Yancy Culp (www.yancycamp.com) – that he drops into a Google calendar every week. He designs training for me to fit whatever environment I’m in. My workouts include running, pull-ups, dead hangs, squats, bucket carries, and wall climbing to improve my grip strength. The most fun part of my training is playing on the obstacles at Power Park Fitness once a week. 

It was David Yarter at Power Park Fitness who introduced me to Play Again Now – and believe me, I was skeptical at first. I don’t like to take any medications unless I absolutely have to. But what I noticed after taking Play Again Now is that when I get up in the morning, I’m never stiff any more.  And on training days, I’m way less sore. I’m also a dental hygienist, and was having joint pain in my hands and wrists – that pain is gone now.

OCR athletes obviously put our bodies through a lot.  And there are four big reasons why Play Again Now is so right for us:
1. Play Again Now is natural, and OCR athletes love that.
2. It’s a simple product to take, just once a day is all you need.
3. It beats joint pain and muscle soreness – and we all want that help.
4. Recovery from competition and training is the key to keep racing for all of us.

In 2017, I have set my sights on the Spartan Race Championships at Tahoe, and the OCR World Championships in Canada again. But in the meantime, I train hard, I race locally – and I love to play on the obstacle course at Power Park Fitness and in my own back yard with my 9-year-old son. I need to keep improving my running speed to hit the next level, and Play Again Now will stay part of my joint and muscle recovery.

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