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Meet the Athlete

Meet the Athlete: Emma

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About 3 years ago, I was introduced to Emma Huebner through her mother and sister. Little did I know that we would become such close friends and training partners. I enjoyed reviewing her interview responses (below), as there are always little tidbits that don’t come out in everyday conversation–even with the close friends that you seem to talk about everything with–like the little thoughts that go through our heads when things get tough, or the pet peeves we have on the race course. It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you this go-getter medical student-athlete-writer; yet another local “super woman”.

Current place of residence: Splitting time between Ventura, CA (home) and Omaha, NE (school)
Hometown/place of birth: I was born in Boulder, CO, but my family moved to Ventura when I was a baby.
Day job/occupation: Second year medical student at UNMC College of Medicine
Dream job: ER doc volunteering at Everest Base Camp Medical Clinic
Favorite sports or hobbies: Running, skiing, surfing, hiking, writing

Best event: Marathon
Favorite type of running shoes: Brooks Pure Cadence
Dream training camp location: Tahoe
Dream race: Any race with awesome views and some dirt

When/how/why did you start endurance sports? After being sidelined for multiple seasons of track and cross country due to stress fractures, I decided to try a different distance. Longer and slower turned out to be a much better fit for me.
Favorite accomplishment in sport: Beating my dad’s old “record” time running up Mount Sanitas in Boulder, CO [disclaimer: neither of us hold any actual records] Most memorable race moment: Finishing my first marathon and seeing my parents and sister waiting with open arms at the end. It takes a lot of love to hug someone who is that sweaty.
Hardest workout you’ve ever completed: A trail run I did in Aspen, CO last month. I inflicted the pain entirely on myself. The views were worth it though.

Current goals: Finish medical school in one piece and run some more marathons
Why do you want to accomplish these goals? As much as the nerd in me loves school, running is a much needed stress outlet. It is easier to squeeze miles into my daily schedule when I have a training goal, so my plan for next year is to sign up for a few races. Hopefully those goals will make my daily jaunts more motivating, especially during the cold winter months. As far as finishing medical school – I have wanted to be a doctor since age five, so it has been a long-time dream of mine, and I am finally making it happen! It isn’t easy, but blood and guts are fun. Patients are pretty fun too; it is humbling to learn how much each patient I encounter – whether they are 5 or 95 – can teach me about life in general. People are so smart.

Emma (far right) at the 2017 Clif Mountains 2 Beach Marathon, on her way to a 3:18 Marathon PR

Best athletic encouragement you’ve ever been given: 90% of your performance is psychological.
Words of wisdom to someone considering training for their first marathon: Long runs are the most important element of training for a marathon. No matter how “fit” you are, you have to train your body to withstand running for hours on end. Don’t run your long runs too fast! Save the speed for shorter runs and for race day itself.
Something you’ve learned about yourself through endurance sport: I can always go a little bit farther than I think I can.
Who inspires you and why? My friend Brittany. She is one of the most generous people I have ever met. She gives her all in racing, in training, and in day-to-day life with her friends and loved ones. She’s definitely a keeper.

Pre-race ritual or superstition: I haven’t nailed down the perfect routine yet. What I learned from my last race: don’t eat pesto the night before.
Pre-race pump up jams: I usually don’t like listening to music right before I race – I have enough adrenaline going as it is. I do remember Uptown Funk playing at the start of the San Francisco marathon last year though, and that was pretty fun.
Post-race treat: ICE CREAM

What is the first thing and last thing you do each day? First: drink a glass of water, then a cup of coffee. Last: get through a few pages of whatever book I am reading. Currently it is Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.

Training/racing “secrets”/tips: Don’t rely on your watch too much. I try to do the majority of my runs watch-less. It is so much more enjoyable, and I find that it is easier to go the pace my body wants me to go that day.
Racing pet peeve: “Keep it up” is one of the worst things you can yell at a runner while they are racing. What, does it look like I’m just about to fall over and give up? I must say, though, I do appreciate the sentiment.
What motivates you to keep training and competing? That feeling when you are in peak shape and it feels like you are floating instead of running.
What motivates you when it’s tough to start/complete a workout/race? Usually I remind myself that no matter how painful it is, it is better than studying histology.
What does “Fuel” mean to you? Delicious food that powers my muscles to perform the way that I want them to. As a poor medical student, fuel also takes the form of any and all free food. I love free food.
Any favorite recipes to share? I just posted my favorite vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe on my blog – <https://emmahuebner.wixsite.com/emmaretigan/single-post/2017/06/20/Storied-Lives>
What does being “Fit” mean to you? Venturing outside and getting your blood pumping at least once a day, whether it is for 20 minutes or 2 hours.

Pick one:
Long swim or long run? Long run
Open water or pool? If the water is at least above 65°, open water. If not, pool. I am a wimp.
Trail or track? Trail
Snot rocket, sleeve, or tissue? Rocket
Solo or group training? Small group
Chocolate or cheese? Chocolate
Watch on your left wrist or right? Left
Morning or evening workout? Morning
Hat or visor? Hat
Swim cap or no cap? Cap
Cheerios or Wheaties? Cheerios
Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? Coffee
Crocs or Birkenstocks? Birks for days

Any other fun facts about you? I have broken a total of 10 bones (not including toes). Klutz much?

Meet the Athlete: Lori

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When I think of friend and fellow athlete Lori Sharp, I picture one of my favorite childhood princesses, Ariel (The Little Mermaid). Both have beautiful red hair, a knack for singing, and can move through the water with grace and pure joy. I also envision an authentically happy and confident woman who is always ready to embrace a challenge. Lori is a powerful influence in our local endurance athlete community. She spreads positivity and encouragement during training sessions, in her work environments, and even in the midst of grueling competition. This interview offers a small glimpse of her athletic background and motivation. You can find out more about Lori’s latest adventures here.

Current town of residence: Oxnard CA

Hometown/place of birth: Richmond Virginia
Day job: I’m a sales associate at Mile 26 and REI, and I also teach backpacking/hiking/outdoor fitness classes at REI.
Dream job: Getting paid to travel
Favorite sports or hobbies: Running, Biking, and Olympic Weightlifting. I also enjoy traveling and backpacking

How did you become an endurance athlete?
Ironically, when Josh (husband) and I lived in Hawaii we just happened to be in Kona the day of the Ironman World Champs. We were on Ali’i drive getting shaved Ice and stumbled upon the bike/run transition. We were just in shock . What is going on?! These people are doing what?! It was awesome. I think I sat there for an hour not realizing what we were actually watching. Silly right?

Little by little we’ve transitioned to from strict runners to triathletes. My first sprint triathlon was at an all women’s event while we were living in North Carolina. The swim was in a pool and afterwards I hopped on my huge mountain bike . When we moved to Oxnard from Los Angeles a friend gave us the name of a local triathlete, Adam. Josh teamed up with him pretty quickly. He introduced us to local duathlons, a track group, and swim class. Being around all these amazing athletes helps me enjoy the sport so much.

Favorite endurance athletic accomplishment: Augusta Ironman 70.3 . Having just moved from Hawaii, we were flying solo at our first 70.3 in Augusta,GA. We had no family with us and knew NO ONE at the event. I even second-guessed myself being there. I’m a runner, not a triathlete! Josh and I had a running group and small triathlon group we trained with in Hawaii but did most of our training with each other. When his wave was about to start lining up I had a small panic attack. He gave me my pre-race kiss and he was gone; I was ALONE, and I would be for the next 6+ hours. I finished well before all the time cutoffs and had a real fun time!  I had completed the longest and biggest race of my life (at that time) by my own strength. I was hooked and knew I wanted to keep doing triathlons.

Hardest endurance event you’ve ever completed: I think the Crossfit Open 17.1 workout this year was one of the hardest. It was a 20-minute long workout combining dumbbell snatches and burpees. You had a 35 lb dumbbell that you snatched over your head a certain amount of times, and then  you had to jump on and over a 20 inch box in between doing burpees. The dumbells started with a set of 10, then 20, 30, 40, ending with 50. In between each set you had to do 15 burpees. I had a minute and fifteen seconds before time was up with 15 box over burpees left. I was exhausted but I wanted that time. So I sprinted through the box jumps and burpees and I finished with 1 second left. I was hurting and almost blacked out but I ended up being the #1 female in my gym for that workout–couldn’t have been happier.

Most memorable endurance training and/or race moment: Even though it just happened, I don’t think I’ll ever forget this weekend (Mountains to Beach Marathon, 5/29/17). I’ve never felt as good as I did during miles 15-18. I was just waiting for my race to go south, the slow down, the race leg cramps–and it never did. I mean, I hit the “omg I just want to walk” moment around mile 22, but I knew what I had on the line. You won’t have to run another marathon until Boston if you just make it through these next 4 miles, I told myself. That was enough motivation for me. I flew down Sanjon Rd looking at my watch and almost crying. If just kept my pace I was going to finish more than 5 minutes under my qualifying time. Before the race I was just hoping to get a qualifying time. Instead, I did better than I thought possible.

Current competition goals: Qualifying for the 2018 Boston Marathon and finishing my first full Ironman.

Why do you want to accomplish these goals? The Ironman is another “unicorn” for me–a mythical race that seems just outside my reach or comprehension. As I keep catching my unicorns, I can’t help but relish in the fact that I can ACTUALLY BE an athlete. I still have a hard time seeing myself as one. Having the resume of Boston Marathon and an Ironman will help solidify that. Plus, I love racing, I’m sure you didn’t know that. 😉

Competition mantra: Courage to Start, Strength to Endure, Resolve to Finish

Pre-race ritual or superstition: I like to paint my nails the color of the race. It’s just something girly and fun I enjoy.

Training tips: If you’re attempting a new race distance or event, make it a fun one or do it with friends.

Training/racing pet peeve: Racers who only care about themselves. They move your stuff, cut you off, take 2 and 3 cups of water in a row at an aid station, etc.

Post-race treats: Pizza, chocolate frosted cake/cupcakes, and doughnuts.

Ideal training “camp” location: ANYWHERE warm. I do better in heat than in cold.

“Pump up” jam of choice: I start every race with the song “Geronimo“. It’s a fun song and it’s one of those iconic things you say when you jump into water. Like “here I go!”. I think of that as I run past the beginning of every race start line.

What motivates you to keep training and competing? Being born with multiple birth defects, the ambition set for me was just to be healthy, not “anything you want”. So, I held myself back thinking “I’m too small, too weak, too fragile, too slow”. I have problems with my own abilities. That’s why I keep racing. I want to prove to others and mostly myself that I’m a strong athlete. Every time I cross that finish line or get through a rough workout, I feel like a champion. Also, everyone I train with. I have some amazing athlete friends and I love hearing about their achievements and motivational stories.

What motivates you to keep going when it gets tough? Music is a big passion of mine. When I get frustrated I start singing either out loud or in my head (especially during triathlons when I don’t have music).

Something you’ve learned about yourself through endurance athletics: Regardless of my past, current condition, and perceived mindset, I can make myself into the best version of me if I just try.

Best athletic encouragement you’ve ever been given: Pain is only temporary, while the feeling of an achievement lasts a lifetime.

Athlete hero (and why): Chrissie Wellington. She set the stage for women in the triathlon world while being extremely humble and down to earth . I love that, like me, she’s a clumsy, self-proclaimed Muppet. *Insert image of Kermit the frog flailing his arms every where while running*

Words of wisdom to aspiring endurance athletes:

Some days will be easy, some days will be hard, and some day you’ll just want to quit. Just remember, you are creating the best version of yourself. Celebrate the good days and be gentle to yourself on the bad. Creation takes passion, patience, and perseverance.

What does “Fuel” mean to you? Whole, non-processed, colorful, and healthy food.

What does being “Fit” mean to you? Being able to achieve your athletic goals in a healthy manner.

Pick one:
Swim, bike, or run? Run
Open water or pool? Hawaiian ocean bays; in California? POOL
Trail or track? Trail
Solo or group training? Group
Chocolate or cheese? Chocolate
Watch on your left wrist or right? Left
Morning or evening workout? Morning
Hat, visor or headband? Visor
Swim cap or no cap? Swim cap; my hair gets tangled in my mouth without one
Cheerios or Wheaties? Honey Nut Cheerios
Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? Coffee
Crocs or Birkenstocks? OOFOS 😉

If you could swap out one triathlon discipline (swim/bike/run) for another (anything!), what would you swap out and what would you add in its place, and why? Umm…how about Horse Ride/Run/Horse Ride.. that would be amazing!

Any other fun facts about you: It wasn’t until 2011 that I started running, or participated in any regular athletic activity. It’s been a long, hard road but I’m finally learning to love it. Everyone I workout with is amazing and a great inspiration.

Thanks, Lori!

Meet the Athlete: Dean

By | Fitness, Fuel, Meet the Athlete, Triathlon | One Comment

If at first Dean Hansen seems a bit intimidating, wait a few seconds for the punchline and characteristic smile. Even at 6 a.m. swim practices, I can count on Dean to respond with a sarcastic or witty comment. He is mentally tough in workouts and never misses an opportunity to encourage his lane mates. Thanks for taking the time to share some of your background with your ADoor-ing fans, Dean!

City of Residence: Ventura
Place of birth: Whittier
Day job: I own a small construction business called A Door Co. (Custom Garage Doors)
Dream job: Orthopedic Surgeon
Favorite hobbies: Trail Running and Triathlon

How did you become an endurance athlete? I became an endurance athlete to improve my health after many years away from sports. I also needed to drop 50 pounds. Triathlon started when the friends I ran track workouts with kept bugging me to do a tri. After a year of verbal abuse and hearing “you are made for this sport,” I bought a bike and took swimming lessons. Sure glad I moved to tris.

Favorite endurance athletic accomplishment: The first time I qualified for Boston Marathon was my favorite. The last five miles of the race I knew I had it! It was a very emotional end to the race.

Hardest endurance race you’ve ever completed: My first marathon in L.A. in pouring rain and frigid temperatures.

Most memorable endurance race moment: It has to be my first I M 70.3 Santa Cruz last year. It was my first long tri. At 10 miles in on the bike another biker hit my bars and sent me over the curb into the gravel and poison oak on the side of the road. My bike and I were a mess! I got up after a bit of time straightened my bars, levers and brakes and got back to it.

Current training/competition goal: My goals for this year are to complete more tris and to get my feet healthy so I can run fast again. I have been battling plantar fasciitis for a very long time.

Training/competition mantra: When there is a hard workout or race I’m going to learn to suffer like faster athletes ahead of me.

Pre-race ritual: There will be flour tortillas eaten on the start line!
Training tips: Hard days need to be real hard and easy days go easy.
Training pet peeve: Training partners that flake out at the last minute.
Post-race/workout treat: Post race there needs to be a beer or two. Post hard workout or ride, a cold muscle milk!
Ideal training “camp” location: I would love to have a training camp at Hume Lake, CA. Beautiful area and high altitude.

What motivates you to keep training and competing? My motivation comes from within. The thought of not being able to give 100 percent at my next race. Also not getting out of shape again.

What motivates you to keep going when it gets tough? When I am suffering I try to look around at others in the event and realize that I am truly blessed to have the physical skills I have. There is always someone out there with less abilities than I have and they keep going. The para athletes have reason to complain, I don’t… they are an inspiration for sure.

Something you’ve learned about yourself through endurance athletics: I have learned that I can accomplish what seems to be an impossible goal if I put my mind and body through the training. I never thought I could swim a mile or more in the ocean and with training now I can, well… that is subjective! Thanks Britt!

Best athletic encouragement you’ve ever been given: “Suck it up” and put in the work. My wife Debbie always encourages me when I’m down. She always picks up my spirits when I’m going through “another” injury.

Athlete hero: Everyone that gets off the couch and puts in the work, without cheating.

Words of wisdom to aspiring endurance athletes: Get out there and have fun! We only have so many days on earth and that number is getting smaller everyday. You can accomplish your goals if you put in the work.

What does “Fuel” mean to you? Fuel is what gets me to my athletic goals. Junk in, junk out.

What does being “Fit” mean to you? Fit is being able to give 100 percent on race day and knowing that it will get me to my goals.

Pick one:
Swim, bike, or run? Run
Open water or pool? Open water
Trail or track? Trail
Solo or group training? Group
Chocolate or cheese? Cheese
Watch on your left wrist or right? Left
Morning or evening workout? Come on, we are triathletes–both!
Hat, visor or headband? Visor
Swim cap or no cap? Swim cap, to cover up the gray
Cheerios or Wheaties? Wheaties
Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate
Crocs or Birkenstocks? Birkenstocks

If you could swap out one triathlon discipline (swim/bike/run) for another (anything!), what would you swap out and what would you add in its place, and why? I love the swim, bike, run. Maybe bike, swim, bike. Being a broken down runner, less running would be beneficial.

Meet the Athlete: Rebecca

By | Meet the Athlete, Triathlon | No Comments

Have you missed reading about awesome athletes on this blog? I had been missing them too, so I recently interviewed a friend and local triathlete, Rebecca Aquino. I have the pleasure of coaching Rebecca at our Buenaventura Triathlon Squad swim practices. She is motivated, hard-working, and always brings a smile at 6 a.m. She has been improving steadily in the water due to her commitment to refining her technique and putting in the time week after week; she is setting herself up for an amazing triathlon season. Go Rebecca!

Current town of residence: Ventura
Hometown/place of birth: San Diego
Day job: Office Manager–PT & Sports Rehab
Dream job: Travel Writer, Marine Biologist
Favorite sports or hobbies: Trail running, hiking, playing guitar.

When/how/why did you become a triathlete?: My boyfriend Greg did his first triathlon in 2014 (Dina La Vigna), and I watched the whole event in total awe. I did not know how to swim, so I never thought that triathlon would be on my radar. He ended up doing Nautica Malibu later that season and needed a training partner, so it was something new and fun to try together. Swim dates at the pool became a regular thing!

Favorite triathlon accomplishment(s): My first half Ironman in Santa Cruz, 2015.

Hardest race and/or workout you’ve ever completed: Training on Mulholland Highway with my cycling group last summer, trail races with Greg and his brother Ben (they pick all the hard races).

Most memorable training and/or race moment(s): Swimming with a pack at the Carpinteria Sprint Tri last fall instead of hanging back and swimming solo per usual. It was the first race that I felt confident in the swim.

Current 2017 training/competition goal: PR in Oceanside in a few weeks (!) and get stronger and faster overall.

Why do you want to accomplish this goal?: Always want to learn and improve. I’ve gone from “Can I do a triathlon?” to “Can I race a triathlon?” I also hope to build some fitness towards an Ironman (possibly 2018).

How do you plan to go about accomplishing it: Consistent and quality swim/bike/running, incorporating strength training, focusing on all the little things (sleep, nutrition, PT exercises, etc).

Training/competition mantra: “Strong and steady”

Pre-race ritual or superstition: Lucky race socks.

Training “secrets”/tips: Let your “easy” workout days stay easy. Practice your race day nutrition.

Training pet peeve: I’ve only encountered this while training in Orange County, but having someone draft behind you and never take a turn at the front. Not cool.

Post-race/workout treat: McConnell’s Ice Cream. My current favorite combination is olive oil and salted almonds + salted caramel chip.

Ideal training “camp” location: San Luis Obispo, CA. We did a weekend of riding + family time + wine tasting and it was perfect! Forever grateful for family that let us bring the bikes when we come to visit.

Who/what motivates you to keep training and competing? It makes me a better person. I can concentrate more and perform at a higher level at work, sleep better, and I’m overall happier if I’m outdoors doing something that I love.

Who/what motivates you to keep going when it gets tough? My SOAS Racing Teammates near and far, Adobo Velo cyclists who push me through challenging climbs and routes that ultimately have made me a better cyclist, and of course, Greg (he will let me draft on his wheel when I am tired).

Something you’ve learned about yourself through triathlons: Anything is possible, and that I’m capable of more than I had ever imagined. I went from not knowing how to swim, never riding a road bike, and being an injured runner, to a triathlete.

Best athletic encouragement you’ve ever been given: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”

Athlete hero: Gwen Jorgensen, Rinny, Beth Gerdes McKenzie

Words of wisdom to aspiring endurance athletes: There is so much information out there–reach out and ask someone. I credit people like past physical therapy patients in my office, teammates, and Dr. Romeo Dimaano for sharing their knowledge with me throughout the years.

What does “Fuel” mean to you?: Eating to train/race/compete! Originally my relationship with food was training/racing in order to eat, which turned out to be very restricting and unhealthy despite running PR races many years ago. Now, I’m happy to say that I have a better mindset on food as fuel.

What does being “Fit” mean to you?: Getting to the start line and knowing that you’ve done the work…and it’s time to have fun!

Pick one:
Swim, bike, or run? Bike
Open water or pool? Open water
Trail or track? Trail
Solo or group training? Group
Chocolate or cheese? Chocolate
Watch on your left wrist or right? Right
Morning or evening workout? Morning
Hat, visor or headband? Hat
Swim cap or no cap? Swim cap
Cheerios or Wheaties? Cheerios
Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate? Coffee!
Crocs or Birkenstocks? Birks all the way

If you could swap out one triathlon discipline (swim/bike/run) for another (anything!), what would you swap out and what would you add in its place, and why? Honestly, I’d probably throw in a wine tasting for T3 😉

Any other fun facts about you: Studied biology and music in college. Played guitar in a mariachi ensemble. Learned how to swim in 2014.

Rebecca, after conquering the Bandit Run