The Dirt in Your Skirt Athlete Profile series is back for the summer. Last summer we looked at athletes outside of the obstacle course racing world, and this summer we focus on those within the growing sport. The first in our profile series is Corinne Kohlen, we first met each other under interesting conditions in 2011 at World’s Toughest Mudder, since then she has made her name in the world of Spartan Race and Tough Mudder and more recently in Alpha Warrior. This self proclaimed obstacle specialist can be found all over the country and world finding challenge after challenge.
This 31 year old is a Cali girl through and through, going to San Luis Obispo High School then onto Cal Poly for her undergraduate and Cal Poly for her graduate degree in Nutrition. She is a Dietitian by day but spends as much time as she can training for her next race. This year she picked up some sponsors who help support her in her endeavors joining the Spartan Race Pro Team, VPX Nutrition XTreme Team, and is supported by Handful Sports Bras. Corinne sat down and talked to us a little more about herself.
How did you get involved in your sport?
A friend of mine told me about Tough Mudder and we decided to try it together. It was a blast and I was instantly hooked.
Yes – but not a “traditional” athlete. I was into hiking, backpacking, surfing, and rockclimbing when I was younger. I’m not coordinated to do anything like baseball or basketball.
What are some of your athletic achievements?
I have podium’d at multiple Spartan Races and been top 10 at many more. I completed 4 laps at Worlds Toughest Mudder for the last two years. I recently ran a marathon carrying a 30lb ruck filled with dog food and raising over $1000 for the local humane society.
What are your goals for the upcoming season?
To run 100 miles, to attempt the Death Race, to finish Hunter Gatherer Survival run
Who is/are your inspiration?
I am inspired a lot by many of the friends I have met through racing. There are way too many to name and I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out but you are incredible and you know who you are. I am also very inspired by Chris Reedy who completed his first Spartan race this weekend.
My proudest moment was “lasting” for 24 hours in Fuego y Agua. I’d like to say finishing but technically it was a DNF. I am proud of it because although I knew it was going to be a DNF I kept pushing forward and ended up being one of two females to cover the distance of the entire race.
What is your most proud moment in life?
Repairing the relationship between my mother and I. After my father died we had a huge falling out and didn’t speak for the better part of a year. It took a lot of growing up, compromise, and communication to repair things but she is my best friend now.
How do you overcome a bad race or training day?
I do get bummed when I have a bad race but I don’t let it eat me up too badly. I used to be competitive at rock-climbing and get really upset and cry when I didn’t perform well. I have learned that life is too short to be so hard on yourself so I usually try to shrug off a bad race and train harder for the next one.
Rockclimbing 2x week. Trail running 2-3x week. Daily Elliptical and isometrics. Weekly playground exercises. Yoga a few times a month.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in OCR?
Do not be scared! Have fun! Relax! Enjoy the experience, enjoy the challenge, and just get out there.
What is your favorite pre-race and post-race food?
Pre-race: Bread with melted cheese and half a banana. Post Race: ideally I like to have something with protein but it’s not always available. My post race foods usually include banana, string cheese, VPX recovery drinks & protein bars.
When not training and competing what do you do with your down time?
I like to garden, work on my house and in the yard, and play with my dogs. I’m almost always busy with a project and just repainted my entire house.
What is your favorite quote to motivate you?
“life is short” It’s so simple but so true. Life is too short to be lazy, to not take chances, to not apply yourself.
The best advice a coach ever gave me was to stop comparing myself to others. With obstacle racing I have really taken this to heart and if I know I gave 100% effort I am happy with whatever outcome I get.
If you could share some advice to the next generation of athletes, what would it be?
Take chances. Don’t be afraid to put “life” on hold to pursue your athletic dreams. If you have an opportunity for something extraordinary DO NOT PASS it up. You will never regret the things you did try but you may regret the things you didn’t try.
Corinne also writes a blog with fellow Spartan Pro Team members Ang Reynolds and Andi Hardy called Barbed Wire 4 Breakfast. You can follow them on their site as well of Corinne’s Facebook page – Corinne Kohlen Obstacle Specialist.