Thursday, September 14, 2017

Mud Titan's Featured Athlete - Joselito Rivera

Or goal, with the Titan Spotlight, is to introduce to you to the familiar people you may see at races.  Whether it’s ours, a national race series, or another local run, we want you to feel like family.  Many of the faces we interview may been seen at our races taking home overall awards, age group awards, or could just be a familiar face you see every time you go to an event.  I’ll be honest, when I first started racing I viewed many of the elite athletes as unapproachable, scary, and extremely
intimidating.  I was in awe of their athletic ability, and dedication.  On the contrary to this belief, I am here to tell you and show you, how likeable, friendly, and inspiring each one of them are.  This month’s Titan Spotlight goes to another very good friend of Titans Runs, Joselito Rivera.  Before I met Joselito (who prefers to be called “Joe”) I viewed him as one of those “intimidating,” elite athletes, at the races.  When I saw him podium practically every race, in the Masters Divisions (40+) no less, I was in awe.  After meeting him several years ago, I realized what a down to earth athlete, husband, father, and gentleman he really is.

Muddy Warrior Chick (K-DUB) - Let’s start with your name, where you are from, and what do you do when you aren’t conquering obstacle course races each weekend.

Joselito “Joe” Rivera (JD) - I am Joe Rivera and I’m 50 years old, getting ready to turn 51 next month and I am a Building Maintenance Mechanic for the United States Postal Service.

(K-DUB) - Has fitness and working out always been a part of your life, or did you recently commit to in the past few years?

(JD) - More or less it’s kind of been my entire life.  I started running cross country as a sophomore in high school, ran through high school, got out, started a family life, and then joined the military.  Although I didn’t play sports, per say, other than cross country and wrestling, my running continued
throughout my military career.  I really didn’t start running, to what I call competitively, until I moved to Florida back in 1998.  I then decided to sign up for my first official 5K run.

(K-DUB) Do you remember your first obstacle course race, and what was it?

(JD) - Oh yeah, that was back in 1995 in California.

(K-DUB) - What was the race called?

(JD) - I can’t remember the exact name of it, but the YMCA on the base, in Camp Pendleton, used to put on an event every year that was about 6 miles long.  I did that a couple times.  Another one I used to do all the time was at the Marine Corp station up in El Toro in California who would do a mud run type of event.  I started them off back in 1995-1997, before I moved to Florida.  Then, they weren’t really big on the East Coast until around 2010.

(K-DUB) - Do you remember your first race in the Florida region?

(JD) - Yes, that was the MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Mud Run.  The run was to fund raise for a charity and it was a team event.  I ran that a few years in a row and realized I was hooked to them.  Before you knew it I was running quite a few mud runs a year. 

(K-DUB) - Since then, do you have an estimate of how many obstacle course races you have done since 2010?  This can be a total estimate because I do see you at so many races.  I also see you up on the podium at many races which is its own accomplishment.

(JD) - If I were to guess, I could probably say between 200 to 250 obstacle course races.  That is just obstacle course races that doesn’t even account for regular runs.  I do a lot of road racing as well, so that just adds to the number.

(K-DUB) - Looking back in your racing career (obstacle course racing and road racing) did you ever have an “I wish I would have known then what I know now” moment?

(JD) - Yeah, actually I think a lot of my personal racing career, I really didn’t “peak” until I was much older.  My best year in road racing was around the age of 47.  Normally, runners “peak” in their late 20’s early 30’s.  I didn’t race those years which if I had invested time in continuing to race I probably would have been a much better athlete or I would had a lot more knowledge and experience when it came to racing.  I started signing up for races in 1998, but I didn’t really know how to run, or train for a run, until I began meeting some of the local running groups.  I learned a lot more once I began training with those groups.

(K-DUB) - Is there any type of training, you personally do, which helps yourself obtain the best results for obstacle course racing which you recommend others to begin with?

(JD) - I love training with other people, learning from them, and helping other people train themselves.  Training, as a team, is very rewarding.

(K-DUB) - Okay, now let’s do a scenario.  Let’s say you’re at Mud Titan about to take off in the Elite wave.  You look to your left, you look to your right, and you see your competitors…What are the items you have to have to make your race successful, and dominate the competitors?

(JD) - Normally, if I go to a new event and I don’t know what the terrain is I will bring about 2 and sometimes 3 pairs of shoes with me.  If it’s going to be sandy I will wear something like my Inov-8s with the thicker cleats, and make changes based on what I see.  I need to have a choice of shoes at a race just in case there is unforeseen terrain.  I also have gotten used to compression clothing.  I feel they assist me in maintaining a better feeling while racing.

(K-DUB) - What is your favorite after race food?

(JD) - Honestly, a nice cold beer.  Believe it or not, it feels so refreshing and gives me that little boost of carbohydrates I just exhausted.

(K-DUB) - - Do you have any suggestions for people doing obstacle course races, or even something as simple as their first 5K, what is the best advice you could give for new people?

(JD) - I would say if you are just getting started on the running thing to just start off gradually and work your way into it.  Sign up for a 5K and get a feeling for what it’s like to standing in a crowd of people and run alongside a large group of people.  Even if you’re not going to run it very fast, just get
the energy you will be absorbing from the other runners while the race is going on.  The other people and energy really make it an enjoyable experience.  Also, getting to know people at races and learning new tips from other runners will allow you to improve and hopefully one day become a competitive runner.

(K-DUB) - If you could have 1 superhero skill, what would it be?

(JD) - It’s funny you should ask because there is a big debate going on now through Facebook.  The debate has to do with what is an obstacle and what isn’t and I consider swimming an obstacle.  I would want to be someone like Aquaman so I would have no problem with the swimming part of a race.  I am a non-floater so swimming is always difficult for me during a race.  I like water obstacles, but I am not for swimming obstacles.

(K-DUB) -Is there anyone in racing that you look up to and you consider a role model?

(JD) - You know, you look up to people like Hobie Call, who we call the God Father of obstacle course racing.  He is just a great individual with great morals, who doesn’t even race on Sunday because of his values, and is someone you can admire.  I truly admire the people around me that drive to do better and I see their progress on Facebook as they work hard to get where they want to be.  I admire those people more than idolizing one specific person.

(K-DUB) - Is there anything else you want us to know about you?


(JD) - Just that I’m going to go as long as I can, and as hard as I can.  I do plan on toning it down a little bit.  This year has been crazy, I’ll probably end up with about 50 races this year between road races and obstacle course races.  I will be racing all the major events and championship events that I can sign up for and continue to support the local Florida events.  Those are usually my favorite with the whole Titan Runs Series and other local races whenever I can do them.

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