ORM presents the series of stories on OCR Transformations. Runners and athletes whose mind body, and spirit have been altered through obstacle racing.
Savanna Moeller is a strong, beautiful young woman that was introduced to obstacle racing as a means to challenge her body, mind, and broken spirit. Her story wasn’t always a positive one. Savanna’s struggle with fitting in, eating disorders, and constant battle with herself left her facing a major fork in the road. From her battles she has emerged stronger than ever with a will to succeed and motivate others along the way.
Growing up, Savanna always seemed a little bigger than the rest of the kids she went to school with (which she realized at a very early age). In third grade, she was approached by a girl who said, “She couldn’t be friends with me because I was fat and she wasn’t allowed to be friends with fat girls”. After going home devastated, Savanna never talked to anyone about what she experienced.
She thought she’d be “fat” forever. The only way Savanna knew how to take control of her situation was to control her food intake. She would go days with only eating a small English muffin or pop tart, or even skipping meals all together. Although her weight started dropping quickly, so did her health. She would become sick and occasionally throw up. During her senior year of high school she tried to manage her weight by running, but because she wasn’t eating a balanced diet her weight continued to fluctuate. Savanna graduated high school weighing about 140 pounds at 5’5”.
THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL
After graduation, Savanna began college at Florida Atlantic University. She attended school there for three semesters during which she began to neglect her health all together. “I stopped running, I stopped eating well, and I just stopped caring”, she said. She would spend most of her nights partaking in destructive behavior such as eating fast food and drinking with friends. Any money she would make from her job she would spend on alcohol and then bills. School had become an after thought.
Her roommate had enough of her destructive behavior. Her roommate contacted her mom, who then reached out to Savanna’s dad about her condition and state of mind. Savanna’s school was then contacted and they held an intervention about her drinking and depression. However, these efforts were not enough to make Savanna changer her ways. Months passed and still no change. Finally, she woke up one day and decided it was time to take control. She packed up her belongings and hit the road back home.
THE KICK IN THE ASS
Fast forward to October 2012 where Savanna found herself wanting to do a Tough Mudder. Although she had never done any type of road race or obstacle race, she was determined to participate in one of the most difficult OCR events that November because her friends were. Savanna’s eating habits had not changed much. She was still eating poorly and chugging energy drinks multiple times a day. That same October and at the age of 19, a new obstacle came her way. Mitral Valve Regurgitation is what the doctors told her. Due to her heart condition she was advised by her doctor not to participate in any obstacle races and to start eating healthy. What motivated her most wasn’t necessarily her heart condition, but more so the fact she was told NO. She was told she couldn’t…so she DID!
In her process of wanting to eat better and train for the Tough Mudder in November 2013, she decided to do a “practice” event at a local OCR called the Mud Endeavor. She finished the race placing #639 overall. Feeling defeated and disappointed after walking most of the race and not being able to complete over half of the obstacles, she decided to work harder.
FIRST RACE IMPACT
Savanna tells everyone, “Mud Endeavor was what got me where I am today. Without that race in March 2013, I would not have started training as hard as I have”. Being forced outside her comfort zone and being forced to see how “out of shape” she was changed her life forever. She started running more, lifting weights, and managed a healthy nutrition program. She hasn’t missed a single Mud Endeavor race since.
Every race she has done has challenged her to become more than what she ever thought possible. In March 2014, Savanna started racing competitively which turned her from “semi-fit” to athlete. No more #639 overall for this girl…she’s not only placed top three in her age group multiple times, but has also WON her age group as well! When asked how she feels about her success she replies, “It’s still almost unreal”.
THE SUPPORT SYSTEM
A good support system is key to any successful venture. In the beginning, Savanna did not have the support system she needed to get through her battles. The more she grew, the more support she gained. Her best friend Jess told her that she was crazy for even attempting and OCR (until she tried one herself). Her dad slowly, but surely began to become one of her biggest supporters of her new hobby. In the begging he thought she was wasting her time and money to “play in the mud” (don’t they all ☺). Like the others, he quickly realized that this new lifestyle made her happier and healthier than ever before. Her biggest supporter of all is her boyfriend Jon. “He has supported me and inspired me to become more than I ever dreamed I could be”, says Savanna. She knew Jon was a keeper when their first dates consisted of a 5k and an OCR.
FROM THEN TO NOW
When asked how she stays on top of it all, she replied, “My workout schedule can vary due to my work schedule. I am a personal trainer now, so my schedule can be a little crazy. If I can’t make it to CrossFit, I do my own strength-training program. I never take a full day off. I take two active rest days a week and only 5 days of weight training”.
SAVANNA’S CURRENT WORKOUT SCHEDULE
CrossFit: 4 days a week (at least)
Running: 4 days a week (at least)
Her own gym workouts: 2-5 days a week
Her starting weight March 2013 was 170 pounds. Savanna currently weighs in at 120 pounds.