My name is Andi Zoglman and I am part of the #ctgfamily. I am your not so typical forty year old, home-schooling, hard-working mom of six. After years of fertility issues, my husband and I were finally able to conceive. To us, each of our kids are a miracle and we cherish every minute with them; even the minutes that make us want to scream! We own a small farm outside of Wichita, Kansas, where we grow most of our own food and raise our children with the values of our grandparents.
Life in Kansas is good, however, after having my children, I slowly became over weight, out of shape, and miserable. The responsibilities and hectic nature of home life had left me desperate to find something I could call my own. I needed an outlet, a release, to find myself, but I felt like I had no where to turn. By 2013, my son and daughter had been diagnosed terminal illnesses. My son was deteriorating at an alarming rate and I was devastated and felt utterly helpless. My weight spiraled out of control and I would soon top 260 pounds. I found myself in extremely poor health and worse spirits. At that moment, I realized I needed to take care of myself if I was going to take care of them.
November 5, 2013 was my day one. I began walking, eating a non-processed food diet, and making better choices. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, my life and the lives of my family members were forever changed on that day. As I began to see the effects of my lifestyle change, I was introduced to the world of obstacle course racing (OCR). At first, I was afraid, no, I was petrified, but I decided to take a leap of faith and sign up for my first race in 2014, the Hard Charge. I certainly didn’t look or feel like an athlete. Like so many others, I assumed at my weight and size, people would shake their heads and laugh when they saw me, but I put my fears aside and showed up, and I haven’t looked back since. 2015 was my first full OCR season. My highlights are not about making the podium or being ‘elite’, they are about the experiences and people I have come to love.
After losing 75 pounds, dropping my cholesterol by 55 points, and much training, I ran my first Conquer The Gauntlet in Kansas City. Of all the races I have done, this stands out as the most epic event and my greatest accomplishment. The rains were flooding, the river crossings were raging, and the obstacles were challenging. I vividly remember standing at the Start Wall, losing my nerve and thinking of turning back. A stranger nudged me and asked, “are we going to get you over that wall?” “I tried, but I couldn’t,” I replied. “Most of us need help, I’ll be glad to give you a knee,” he said. That set the tone for the day. The race was the toughest and most rewarding thing I have done to date. The feeling of crossing the Finish Line is the highest high I have ever felt. I earned that medal! I Conquered The Gauntlet!
I ended my 2015 season in what will remain one of the greatest moments of my life. My father has stage four cancer and was in the process of undergoing chemotherapy. One of his bucket list items was to run a Spartan Race. A friend and I traveled halfway across the country to make his dream a reality. I will never forget the look on his face when we crossed the Finish Line. That memory will live forever in my heart, long after my father leaves this earth. These weren’t just races I was running, this was my life changing before my eyes.
After transforming my life starting in 2013, I found a home in the OCR community. I have since joined MAOCR (Mid-America Obstacle Course Racers) and am now helping people win their own personal battles to find themselves and take control of their health. I have learned that a happy, healthy mom is a much better mom. I have learned that if you ever need to find faith in humanity, the place to see it is on a muddy obstacle course. Remember that fear of rejection? What I found was the complete opposite, I discovered a place that had room for everyone- every color, every size, every walk of life. While some are faster and stronger than others, and we are all there for our own reasons, we unite on the course to conquer our fears and help each other succeed. The kindness I see from strangers on the course is overwhelming. I have found my release, something I could call my own, my OCR family.
Without taking a single pill, shake, or other gimmick, I have regained my health and so much more. Through our healthy, active lifestyle, we have found out that our children were misdiagnosed! The same healthy lifestyle that saved me, became the thing that saved my children also. Within a matter of weeks, my son went from a wheel chair to walking unassisted in a matter of weeks. He is now a healthy, growing boy who loves OCR!
Within the last six months, we have purchased an additional ten acres of land and have build an obstacle course of our own! We bring small groups and individuals out for training sessions and to help people who are just starting out in OCR gain experience in a private setting. This has been very successful for women in their 30’s and 40’s who are new to OCR, but want to start training and participating in events. I have many women who have sought me out for help to get started with better food choices and to get involved with OCR. I found out quickly that not being the typical athlete puts many people at ease. It is easy to relate to someone who has had the same struggles as you and the fact that I’ve conquered my demons gives them hope to do the same. I know their fear of finding the confidence to step out of my comfort zone and be vulnerable to a new surrounding. I am currently training seven individuals who will have their OCR debut at Conquer the Gauntlet in my hometown of Wichita! I realized if I can do it, ANY ONE CAN! Since then, I have been on a mission to help others join this community and change their lives.
I now run a Facebook page dedicated to educating others on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and exposing the hidden dangers in the food we eat and the chemicals we ingest. My passion is seeing people’s lives changed by my efforts. We also have a family YouTube channel and my son hosts a channel where he posts GoPro videos of our races.
OCR has changed the path of our family tree. We are the #ctgfamily and we’d love for you to join us.
Do you have a story about how OCR has helped you overcome something? If so, we'd love to hear firstname.lastname@example.org