AME Athlete Highlight

June 20, 2022

Meet Doreen!

Doreen began training for multi-sport events in 2018. In 2019, she completed her first multi-sport event by jumping off a ferry and completing the sprint distance aquabike at Escape the Cape Triathlon and Open Water Swim. Following this event, she had plans to take bigger leaps and increase her distance by completing the Olympic aquabike the following year. Fast forward through the pandemic and cancelled races and she decided the time was right to race again in 2022.

Doreen began her coaching in March of this year. After 15 weeks of swim, bike and strength training while working on her training and racing nutrition, she was ready to take on the Oly! However, as sometimes happens, God had other plans. Two days prior to Escape the Cape 2022, Doreen broke her foot. I could hardly believe it when she reached out to tell me the news. She was devastated. The heartbreak that occurs with injury when you have prepared heavily for an event and are no longer able to participate is heavy and indescribable. However, Doreen showed up big on race day.

Doreen’s husband was also racing in Escape this year. He had the run portion of a relay team with a group of friends. After receiving a scooter from an AME teammate, Kait French, Doreen showed up on race day using the scooter to move herself around. She was unable to put any pressure on her foot, so she propped the knee of her hurt leg on the scooter and maneuvered around the race site to support and encourage her husband and friends racing. Doreen has an infectious, optimistic personality and a beautiful, beaming smile. Her whole face lights up with happiness when she smiles. Even with her hurt leg and inability to participate, she wore her beaming, beautiful smile the whole day through. Doreen has true character and class and is full of hope.

After only 15 weeks of training, Doreen improved her swim pace threshold by 10 seconds per 100 yards. For anyone who knows swimming, even a few shaved seconds over 100 yards is an incredible improvement. Doreen also worked hard over this time to improve her flip turns, building greater confidence and enjoyment in the water. She is eager for the Olympic Aquabike in 2023 and will now be even more prepared than she was for 2022’s event.

We are THRILLED Doreen chose AME to share in her journey!

Q & A

What got you into triathlon and endurance events?

I started exercising when I was 12 years old because I was overweight.  This helped me keep the weight off and I felt stronger and more confident with myself.  Since then, exercise has become part of my life. I’ve always enjoyed swimming, biking, and strength, along with dancing, and some running.  

I hadn’t been part of any endurance events until I started jogging with my husband in the early 2000’s.  I entered a few 5Ks and enjoyed the feeling of competition and the rush of adrenaline!    However, because of the simple fact that I am not a runner and a few injuries, I realized running races were not for me.  So I continued to strength train, ride my bike and swim.  

Then in 2018 I heard about the Escape the Cape Aquabike race and I was definitely interested in signing up!  I joined the local pool and trained all winter and spring.  In the 2019 Sprint Aquabike I placed 2nd in my age group and 5th in the women’s group.  This motivated me to sign-up for the 2020 Olympic Aquabike.

What about triathlon and endurance sport brings you the most joy?

Along with the excitement of competing and getting that adrenaline rush, when I train for endurance sports I feel like I am capable of accomplishing something significant.   Even though I’m almost 60, I want to continue getting stronger and healthier so that I can continue to do the activities I love!

What has been the most valuable takeaway from your training?

The most valuable thing I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter your age, your size, or your limits, you can do anything you put your mind to!  

What’s your biggest piece of advice for those experiencing an injury and not able to train or race?

Unfortunately, I broke my foot two days before the 2022 Escape the Cape.  This truly upset me especially after training harder than ever!  However, I am not going to let this stop me; I have suffered illness and injuries in the past and I know that I will heal and return even stronger!

Pick your pain, a longer than expected recovery delaying your return to training from your broken foot or repeated nightmares you forget to bring your bike to Escape 2023 and must forfeit the event?

The worse pain for me would be that my foot would take longer to heal.  If I forgot my bike, that would not stop me from training and I could enter other races.

What is one thing you want people to know about you?

I would like people to know that I am the kind of person who follows through on whatever I put my mind to.  I will retire after 30 years of teaching this December   This is something I am very proud of because it wasn’t easy for me to achieve this goal.  I dropped out of my sophomore year in high school at the age of fifteen because I was pregnant.  I had no family support.  When my daughter was eight years old, I went back to school for my GED and then went on to college and graduated with honors!  

The reason I want people to know this is because I have encountered many children in my career who were/are growing up in similar family situations as I did.  I believe anyone can overcome challenges with a lot of self-motivation and determination to achieve anything!

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