My first couple introductions with Chikorita were brief and non-telling and then she gave me her “fun fact”.
Chikorita: Funny fact, first national in Tae Kwon Do, I podiumed. First rowing race, I podiumed. First obstacle race, I podiumed. First 10k, I podiumed.
She had my attention. It’s not like she didn’t already have it, but I was and am seriously impressed with that, “fun fact”, as she calls it. She’s beyond good. Here is what I really like about her. She is open, confident, and the best part… she really knows who she is as a person. So many of us spend much of our lives trying to figure it out, but she is one of those who knows and is very comfortable with who she is. If I were her, I would be too.
WOR: What is your real name?
Chikorita: My real name is Alex Roudayna. In the Spartan I’m known as Chikorita De Lego, I am an introverted, obsessive, perfectionist, little sociopath.
WOR: Growing up what sports were you involved in and have you always enjoyed running?
Chikorita: I have always been into sports and wanted to be a professional athlete. Tae Kwon Do training included running; I wasn’t fast and I hated it. On “Aqui Nadie se Rinde Race” I didn’t discover I was a great runner, but I knew I had potential. I don’t know how to describe the feeling, but it was a mixture of hope, excitement, and hunger. From that moment on I just knew I had to do something with it. This was my first race, a 10k, and I got 1st place.
WOR: Why do you now love running?
Chikorita: It’s the only moment in which my mind stops. All of the overload of information disappears and I manage to focus on one thing, or at least it’s a break from my normal freakiness.
I consider myself a special kind of freak because I need to be doing something all of the time. I am a certified hypnotherapist, currently finishing my bachelor’s degree in psychology, studying graphology, and just received my certification in sports nutrition. Once I finish my bachelor’s degree in psychology I will study criminal justice.
WOR: What are some of the challenges you experience as an athlete?
Chikorita: I have suffered from anorexia and bulimia since I was 11, so racing, tapering, and being fit add extra stress to it. I know as an athlete one must eat to perform (and get ripped), but there is still that voice inside my head that comes out, usually after a bad race, that haunts me. When I perform well, no monster inside my head. When I struggle… BAM! The monster comes back.
My worst results in an OCR were both in Temecula. I have competed in both the Spartan Race and Atlas Race there and I got 10th place both times. This sucked and killed me mentally. It made me question whether I was made for this or not. In the end, I thought to myself, if I weren’t made for it why am I training so hard for it? I didn’t know where else I would focus all of my energy, all this passion, and all this desire I have to succeed. I kept moving forward.
I also have Moitz with me. She is always there to push me to go forward and pick me up every time I fall. She is the light in my darkness and I am the madness in her sanity.
WOR: First, please allow me to ask about your eating disorders. Eleven is such a young age to experience such a difficult challenge. Who helped you cope or overcome bulimia and anorexia?
Chikorita: My mom. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for her. I had to maintain a specific weight to keep competing in Tae Kwon Do, so that didn’t help at all, but she became my ally. She never judged me, she just kept me safe while I was figuring things out. Moitz now helps me with my eating. She knows I will feel a lot better if I eat healthy foods instead of junk, so she makes sure there is always something healthy for me to eat wherever we go.
Staying fit also really helped me overcome my eating disorders, because instead of worrying about being a specific weight, I worry about performance (running faster, being stronger).
WOR: Tell us about Moitz, your girlfriend. What does she think about you racing?
Chikorita: She believes I am not normal and she finds it incredible that I can be so dedicated and when I want to achieve something I will do anything and everything to achieve it.
When I’m feeling down, she makes me train and she helps me stick to my diet, forces me to take rest days. She tells me I can when I feel like I can’t.
Moitz drives me to races, signs me up for races, and takes care of all my race preparations, such as clothes and stuff. She talks to people for me when I feel uncomfortable….she actually does everything.
WOR: What was the origin of the tattoos?
Chikorita: We have two tattoos together. One says, “eternal love”, which was our way of celebrating our two year anniversary. The second one I came up with was the phrase, “The light in your darkness”(mine), “The madness in your sanity”(hers). She lightens up my world when everything seems dark, and I bring the wild side into hers; racing, training intensely, going up mountains, and traveling together to races.
WOR: It seems like racing has become your life and she has really helped you to embrace this lifestyle. You are so fortunate for that and to have that support. Despite the challenges you experience as an athlete, what do you think are some of your greatest strengths are as an athlete?
Chikorita: I can recover quite fast from hard training and back-to-back races. I might not be the fastest nor the strongest yet, but I will get there. I have so much hunger…it’s like morphine, the endorphins running through my veins. I am addicted…addicted to training, addicted to progress, addicted to race day, addicted to improvement, addicted to success.
I am not your ordinary athlete, or runner, or Spartan, or exercise enthusiast. I am insane. A freak. Running obstacle course races is what makes me have a bit of reality in my twisted freakin’ little world. I am just trapped in a brain full of obsession, desires, and ambitions. I believe that is what will allow me to make a difference to achieve what I want. It is all about converting your negatives into positives.
WOR: Who inspires you within the OCR community?
Chikorita: In the OCR world a few people. Rose Wetzel is fast as hell, so there is the inspiration to run harder. She is Wonder Woman and I will become Flash! April has that “game on” mode. She starts totally focused and gets into the game. I’ve put it into practice and it actually does help. TyAnn will always come back stronger if she does “bad” in one race (like getting 3rd or 4th) Bam! She will crush you in the next race. She teaches me to never give up.
WOR: Why do you choose to travel to the United States to race?
Chikorita: OCR in Mexico is sadly not what they are in the U.S., that’s one of the reasons I try to go over there and compete against the best because although they might kick my ass, I have to race against the best to become the best. In Mexico, only Spartan Race has an elite heat. Some races are starting to do the same, but they just aren’t the same. We have big cash prizes, but we lack the competitive environment and seriousness the U.S. athletes have.
It was a couple of weeks after this interview that I was able to meet Chikorita face to face in the U.S. at the Utah Spartan beast race. We had skyped and chatted on Facebook, but that still isn’t the same as meeting someone in person. Before the race, we briefly met and she was so bright and happy. I was captivated due to the race only being a few minutes from the start time. She and Moitz were nothing but smiles and very friendly. After the start of the race, I waited patiently for her to cross the finish line constantly looking at the clock knowing the approximate time she should finish if everything was going well. Never did I expect the emotional intensity she would express running across the finish line in the first place.
Many people finish, out of breath, high fives, taking pictures, and drinking their protein shake, but this was different. It really meant so much to her. Coated in mud she embraced Moitz and they just held each other. It wasn’t just another day at a Spartan Race, it means something very special to her to have that win.