It was that first Hulk moment that sold her.

You know the one: every muscle fibre is hollering cease and desist; every brain neuron is convinced you’re done. But a few heartbeats later and you might as well be wearing tiny purple shorts. Because some combination of will, grit, stubbornness, adrenaline, and bad-assery combine at the just the right time to push you to complete what your mind and body are convinced is impossible.

That moment happened at Vanessa’s first Spartan Race on a twenty foot rope climb over a mud pit. Of course the last obstacle required the most strength at a time when she had the least remaining. But it was either climb the rope or suffer through thirty burpees. She got halfway up, and her brain and body both agreed to wave the white flag and retreat. And then she let go……of what was blocking the path in pursuit of her goal: the doubt that she was capable of ringing that bell, and the hollering in her brain telling her to quit halfway.

Vanessa ended up achieving top female at that Spartan Sprint in the Open division. But it wasn’t her success that sold her on obstacle racing. It was the Hulk moment – the spontaneous appearance of strength when it would have been way easier to accept defeat.

Since that first race, Vanessa has adapted her workouts and summer schedule to fit in a few obstacle races every season. Interestingly, the thought of running multiple kilometres several days a week makes her adrenaline flow about as fast as dial up internet. In fact, her life’s running success culminated in elementary school at the Edmonton Journal Games. Vanessa was a solid bottom-half-of-her-team. But she was cool nonetheless, because it meant an annual trip to the Butterdome.

Fast forward to today, and she runs because she loves OCRs and the combination of strength, endurance, and agility that is needed to get from start to muddy finish. She’s also a keener, so the thought of doing ALL those things in one sport gets her fired up like her favorite front row seat at, well, anywhere. And she’s a healthy habits advocate, so fruit or veggies first are a must before treats for her kids.

Kids – yes she has kids. Their three boys are the reason she laughs, cries, learns, yells, teaches, accepts, challenges, and strives more than anything on this earth. Health and wellness are a fundamental part of their family, with a side of pizza and cold drinks on bombshell summer days.

Professionally she’s a communications consultant. Personally, she’s a nature loving, lake going, downhill skiing, rural Alberta girl. Vanessa is also highly competitive, which pushes her in a way that was once perfectly explained by a former rowing coach: always make the next stroke better than the last…and if you do that, you can’t help but improve.

Follow her on Instagram @nessa.pearl as she continues to motivate and impress!