If you’re active in the Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) community then you probably know the names “Air Force” Ken Corigliano and Rachel Corvington. Each of them has their own records, podium wins, and fitness stories. What makes their stories special is that OCR is the reason they first met, first fell in love, got married, and are now expecting their first child. This OCR power couple balances life, fitness, and love on a day to day basis. In this week’s MudTitan Spotlight blog I present to you a trio Mr. and Mrs. Corigliano + 1.
|Ken & Rachel Corigliano|
Photo Credit: Etched Moments in Time
(KDub - AKA Muddy Warrior Chick) Tell me a little bit about Rachel and Ken. How old are you and what do you and Ken do when you’re not conquering the world in OCR’s and Triathlons?
(RC - Rachel Corigliano) I am 35 and Ken is 36. I am an elementary school teacher and Ken is in the Air Force.
(KDub) What was the first Obstacle Course Race each of you had ever participated in?
(RC) My first OCR was Muddy Buddy back in 2007. This OCR was much different from other OCR's. It was a bike/run, partner race. The bikers started off and left their bikes at a checkpoint before doing an obstacle and then starting the run. The runners then started 2 minutes behind, ran to
|Rachel on far left taking 2nd place|
female at MudTitan 5.
(KC – Ken “Air Force Ken” Corigliano) I've been doing mud runs since I could walk. My parents owned a mud racing property when I was little. They would put on a run before the trucks went out in the mud to race!
(KDub) When and where did the two of you first meet?
(RC) We met at Savage Race Florida in Spring 2013. We both won first place!
(KDub) Ken, what did you think of Rachel when you first met her?
|Ken in middle taking 1st place at|
(KC) I thought her performance was way better than what I would have thought. After 200+ races it can get pretty easy to just look at someone, watch how they warm up, and tell (with relative accuracy) how well athletically they will perform. She was a surprise, which meant she had a lot of mental strength. I first thought wow, I could really do wonders with her if I could coach her. I also thought she had an amazing smile.
(KDub) Rachel, what were your first thoughts of Ken after you met?
(RC) My first thought was, "Wow! This Air Force Ken guy is a great athlete!" He crushed the competition and made the obstacles look so easy. I then saw him going back to hype up the other racers, dancing around, and having fun with everyone. I thought he'd be a great person to hang around with.
(KDub) Think back to when you were first dating, when did you decide to begin doing workouts together and how did they go?
(RC) Actually, that's how he got me to come visit him in St. Pete. I lived in Altamonte Springs, 2 hours away. He said he wanted to train me, and told me all about the cool workout things he had built in his yard. We went on our first run together the day after our first date. I was trying so hard to keep
|Ken's proposal to Rachel was at the same|
place they met for the first time, Little Everglades
Ranch in Dade City, FL!
(KC) Rachel is right, but our run was ridiculous. I followed her out to Morris Bridge Road in Tampa. This route was one of my favorite runs while growing up. Now that I'm remembering, this it's been interesting, all the things we've done together have been intensely sentimental. Another one of our first workouts was in Bradenton where I grew up. I brought her to the house I grew up in, and the neighbor was still there and was out in his yard! I hadn't seen him in decades. That is when I started realizing she could be in my life forever. Anyway, I don't care what Rachel says about the first run, I was keeping up with her!
(KDub) What advice would you have for couples who want to start their fitness journey together?
(RC) I think it's so important that couples are on the same page about fitness. It makes things so much easier when both of you share that love of fitness and being healthy. At the same time you both have to do what works for you. If you're both on the same level, it's a little easier. It can become frustrating if one person is better or faster. Most days, we train on our own, each doing things that we enjoy and working at our own pace. But it's always nice to go for runs or bike rides or swims together. It's a little extra quality time that we get to spend together.
(KC) She has a good point, but I really want to zero in on one place, when she says the same level, that really is mentally. Our biggest disparity at this moment is swimming. When she goes I will take a parachute with me to stay with her or do drills. Not ever have we had an issue where one of us didn't want to stay with the other (running, swimming, biking, climbing, kayaking, yoga, or weight room) and do their own workout. We always make it work for us. She will alternate with me in weights. In fact, she actually can lift more than me in a few workouts and I'll adjust my workout accordingly. I'll take the mountain bike while she has the time trial bike. I'll tell you another thing too that I think is important. I used to be pretty nuts about my workouts, where I needed to hit every single benchmark and get in every workout exactly as planned and they were 12-18 months in duration. I see triathletes live like that and it's not good for the family. They and their family experience way too much anxiety and that will destroy workout gains and affect performance. I find that I'm a better athlete with her. Sometimes we'll just drop each other off somewhere and we'll run, bike or swim home. Or we'll make a workout of doing house and yard work. Since that makes me triply happy (I'm getting stuff done at home, getting a workout and being with my honey) I sleep and recover so much better. Just something to think about.
(KDub) Rachel is there any specific training or workout you won’t do with Ken or something he does that you absolutely hate?
(RC) I will do just about anything. Ken loves open water swimming in the ocean. I'm still getting over the mental block of my fear of sharks, so open water is not my favorite. I love lifting weights! And I love CrossFit! Ken wouldn't be caught dead doing a CrossFit WOD.
(KDub) You both made Savage Race headlines with the announcement of your pregnancy and I have to say congratulations! For those readers who don’t know, Ken made a beautiful video of his proposal to Rachel before they were married so I have to ask... Rachel when you told Ken you were pregnant did you do anything special to surprise him?
|Rachel and +1 placing 1st in Female Division at|
Hillsborough River Swamp Stomp
Ken placed 1st Overall
(RC) Oh yes! I found out right before his birthday, so I thought that would be the perfect time to tell him. Not only was it his birthday, it was his promotion day at work. He was being promoted to Major that morning. He had a huge celebration and ceremony at work. After the ceremony we came back to our house to celebrate his promotion and his birthday with his family. After all the gifts from his family were opened, I gave him a birthday gift. Then I said "wait there's one extra special one". There was a handmade card I wrote that said, "What's more awesome than celebrating your birthday?...You becoming Major! What's more amazing than you becoming Major?...You being a wonderful husband!...What's more incredible than you being a wonderful husband?...You being the best dad to our child." He didn't get it. He just though it was a nice card. Then he opened a little box. He kept the items inside where no one else could see them. He looked at me with a questioning look as if to say, "Really?" I shook my head yes. He looked at me again for confirmation, and again I shook my head yes. He still couldn't believe what he was seeing, so he asked again. By this time, the family was anxious to know what was in the box. He pulled out a pacifier that said "I love daddy" and a baby shirt that said "The playground is my training ground." I had bought that at the Spartan World Championships back in October 2015. We knew that someday we wanted to have kids, so I kept it hidden until the right time. The whole house shook when everyone started screaming and jumping up and down in excitement!
(KDub) Ken, when Rachel shared the news with you about her pregnancy how did you feel when she made the decision to continue competing in her races?
(KC) I loved it. I've spent 10 years learning how to be the best dad by learning about pregnancy, growth of the baby, growing up, being married and all kinds of stuff. I really thought it was absolutely imperative she continue doing what she loves (so she's happy) and stay fit so that can directly transfer to the baby. I also think personally that there is nothing more beautiful than a pregnant woman doing what she loves. I also think it is a beautiful thing to see an expectant mom doing fitness. With Rachel, it's both. I love everything about it.
(KDub) Rachel, you decided to begin a blog recently to share your experiences in being a pregnant athlete and soon to be mother what is that website and what should readers expect to find?
(RC) The website is Pregnant Athlete Blog. It's documenting what it's like to be a fit, competitive athlete and go through the incredible changes that happen during pregnancy. I share stories about training and adapting to my changing body and abilities, nutrition, racing while pregnant, and all the amazing, crazy, scary, wonderful things that I experience through these 9 months.
(KDub) What advice do either of you have for people who find mud runs and obstacle course races intriguing but are hesitant to sign up for one?
(RC) Do it! You won't regret it! Start with something small like a 5K mud run and go with a group of friends. It's always a great time!
(KC) Look, your greatest memories are not winning Warcraft or Words with Friends with your parents, or Life/Monopoly for us older folks. They are most likely ones where you are out with your family, friends, or awesome people in nature doing fun, funny and challenging things. These events have every dimension of what makes being alive so amazing. Mystery, challenge, success, helping others, nature, laughter and getting dirty! You'll love the experience.
(KDub) During your races is there anything you wouldn’t be able to run without? Whether it be an item, good luck charm or person?
(RC) I need food in the morning. I have to eat breakfast before a race, usually oatmeal or farina and a smoothie. The biggest thing which I can't run without is my mental game. If my head and heart are not in it, I don't do well.
(KC) I have to have deep motivation. I need to be there for a reason. Someone had to have helped me get there so winning or finishing is a shared success with as many people as possible. I have to win or finish knowing that those other racers wanted me to be there.
(KDub) What are both of your favorite Obstacle Course Races you have competed in?
(RC) Savage Race of course!
(KC) I really like the local races the best. The easy going attitude and the fact that everyone knows everyone else is just the best. Mud Titan, Hog Wild, Monster, and Picnic Island Adventure Race just to name a few. Savage and BattleFrog are fun too because we are close to their family. The organizers and owners of Savage have been part of our family for many years, in many ways, and we are so proud to see how they have become the finest race in the world.
(RC) I may not be competing, but I'll be there for the fun!
(KC) Oh yes and I am donating my patented rig to the finish line for the first use ever. So participants, be ready for something new!
As readers can see from the interview, Rachel and Ken radiate love when they are together and through their words. Anyone who has them as a part of their lives are truly blessed. They encourage each other, and build others up. They have fun with life and each other while conquering their fears and life’s obstacles. I challenge every couple to sign up for at least one obstacle course race together. Stick together through it, support each other, cheer each other on, help each other get through it and celebrate together at the end. MudTitan is the perfect OCR to build your relationship with and make a day “date” out of it!
To find out more about Rachel’s Blog and to follow her pregnancy, life, and thoughts please visit: https://pregnantathleteblog.wordpress.com/
Follow Rachel on Instagram!
Follow Rachel on Instagram!
Follow Air Force Ken on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/AirForceKen/?fref=ts
Follow Ken on Instagram!
Register for MudTitan TODAY at: http://mudtitanrun.com/