Interview with an Ironman competitor

Elizabeth is both a triathlon fan and competitor.

She blogs about news and trends in the Ironman universe with the kind of authority that comes from firsthand experience.

Elizabeth, aka triathlonobsession, at Haiku, Maui, in March

You know that baby triathlon I’ve been blathering about lately? Turns out the very same day I drag my sorry self through that escapade, Elizabeth — known in the blogosphere as triathlon obsession — will be embarking on the Ironman 70.3 Florida.

That’s a 1.2 mile swim, a 56-mile bike race and a 13.1 mile run.

Did I mention that this Long Island resident whips up her own kale, turmeric and blueberry recovery drinks? That she’s had her photo taken with current Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington? Or that she’s written a novel?

In the real world, Elizabeth shouldn’t give me the time of day. I mean, I don’t even know enough about triathlons to ask her intelligent questions for this interview. Yet there she was dropping by my blog the other day, offering encouragement on my sidestroke strategy.

Naturally, I wanted to know what it’s like to be her. Here’s what she had to say:

Q. Who are you? Where do you live and what do you do when you’re not running triathlons?

A.  I’m 42 and live on the Eastern End of Long Island. Triathlon is a great part of a busy life that includes spending time with my husband, friends and Portugese Water Dog Lucy (who is afraid of the water) along with editing my recently finished novel Red Beans & Murder. I have a passion for traveling to exotic places.  Oh and work too– among other things!

Q. What’s your novel about?

A. It’s a thriller set in New Orleans—a young lawyer named Abby takes on a rape case and gets caught up in a scandal.   My hope (if I can get through this edit!) is to try the regular publishing route first and if that fails then I’ll go self publish.

Q. Has there ever been a time in your life when you haven’t been fit, or at least trim?

A. I’m probably at my fittest since starting triathlon, but am very fortunate to have a good metabolism along with always wanting to run around doing something (running, rock climbing, skiing, surfing, etc.).

Q. How do you measure your contentment with your body — number on scale, fit of jeans, or some personal performance barometer?

A. Looking at a scale can drive a girl crazy!  I go by how my clothes fit and how I feel on a run.  I have asthma and the fitter I am, the better I feel.

Q. What’s your favorite triathlon, in terms of the race itself, and favorite in terms of personal performance?

A. I love the Montauk Sprint Triathlon in the Fall — it’s the last local race of the season and I always feel very fast.  Last year I ran my fastest 5k ever (triathlon or stand alone) and got 3rd in my age group, which was brilliant especially since I dedicated the race to a dear friend who was going through a hard time and thought of her every time I wanted to slow down. Also, the views in Montauk are spectacular.

Q. What was your experience using the sidestroke in your first triathlon, and was that a one-time deal?

A. In my first tri I was completely on my own and didn’t know what the heck I was doing.  I swam 3 times in a friend’s pool before the big day and thought I was prepared since I can splash around in the ocean and am not scared of the water.  However, my free style stroke was terrible and I was too nervous so I just started side stroking.

I can’t tell you how happy I was to have made it to shore alive–I felt like I’d won right there.  After that, I started swimming with a master’s group and have steadily improved since.  My husband would say it’s my strength now, but I still think it’s my run.

Q. What do you eat for breakfast?

A.  Depends on what I have time for—I love a smoothie (as you might have guessed from my blog) or plain goat milk yogurt with hemp, dried cherries and flax.  Chia pudding is a once a week ritual.   Sometimes I’ll have waffles with fresh fruit (no syrup) or blueberry gluten free pancakes.

Q. Favorite race fuel?

A. I like First Endurance products, both Ultragen Cappuccino and EFS grape or fruit punch, as well as their gel.

Q. Do you like to cook? If so, what are your specialties?

A. I love to cook!  I seem to always cook vegetarian meals even though I consider myself an omnivore.  Leafy greens are a specialty—I’ve gotten the timing right so they don’t taste bitter. In the winter I make a yummy Butternut Squash soup with coconut milk. I like to be flexible so I go with what’s fresh and what I have time to do.

Q. Favorite meal at your favorite restaurant?

A. That’s a hard one!  At Roy’s Restaurant in Hawaii I had the most amazing Kona Kampachi fish that I still salivate over when thinking about it because it was prepared so perfectly and the fish itself was mild but with a savory sauce.  I love when food is plated to perfection—so you can have the complete sensory experience.

Q. How would that differ from your “Death Row Meal” — what you’d order if it were last meal in this lifetime?

 A. Part of me would love to tell you I’d like a beautiful 5 course meal that had every element and flavor component but really, if I had my druthers I’d have any meal my mom would have cooked — pot roast, mashed potatoes and peas would be probably make me feel cozy and loved.

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5 Responses to Interview with an Ironman competitor

  1. I’m so flattered Tanya–thank you for taking the time to interview me. I’ll be thinking of you and your race (and side stroke!) when I’m sweating it out on that run in Florida! You are an inspiration with all you’ve accomplished. 🙂 Elizabeth

  2. Reba says:

    Great to hear from such a wonderful person as Elizabeth. So much valuable stuff and she is a woman to be reckoned with! Congrats Elizabeth on all your accomplishments.

  3. Reblogged this on Triathlon Obsession and commented:
    Learn a little bit about the writer of Triathlon Obsession from this interview by Tanya from 90in9.

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