We are pleased to introduce Alison Miller, the D3 Multisport February Athlete of the Month! Alison is racing her first Ironman this year, and her coach says that she's persevered through bitter-cold temperatures yet all the while staying focused and consistent (which as we know is key to race success). That determination deserves recognition!
You've decided to race an Ironman this year, what inspired you to take the step?
I always need to have a goal in front of me. I did my first few tri's during the 2013 summer and fell in love. So much fun. So why not start big?
Why did you pick Ironman Coeur d'Alene?
I wanted this to be a family vacation as well, so I picked Coeur d'Alene because it's a beautiful spot for everyone to gather. I'm not a fan of flat races, either, and I had heard the hills at CDA were challenging.
Describe your Michigan winters, and how you've been able to stay so focused training through those days?
The last winter that compares to this year was 1978 when we had incredible blizzards. This year has been relentless. The snow, wind, and ice will not stop. Many of my runs have been early morning before work, and temps are typically 10 to 15 below zero with (and sometimes without) wind chill factored in. I love the snow and the challenge, so I'm thankful for that. Also, one or two sessions on the treadmill reminds me that running in sub-zero is the better alternative for me.
Please tell us about your work and/or family.
I am married to Danny Patterson , my best friend. I have three daughters , 22, 25, and 30. Danny has two sons , 28 and 29. We have the greatest kids on the planet!
How are you balancing your training with the rest of your life?
Like everyone, trying to fit a hobby into "life" is a big deal and takes a lot of work. I spend quite a bit of time looking at my calendar and juggling what needs to be done.
Please describe some of your work with the Special Olympics and how that helps you as a triathlete.
I am the luckiest person on earth to work for Special Olympics Michigan. I am the major/planned giving director which means I'm looking for folks who would like to support our programs. I just returned from a week in Traverse City where over 900 amazing special athletes competed in the 2014 Winter Games. They participated in snowshoeing, skiing, ice skating, and lots of other activities. To see the smiles on the faces of the athletes says it all. I could not ask for a more rewarding place to be and spend my time. As an athlete myself, I know how sport contributes to my quality of life. I'm thankful to be able to contribute to helping those with intellectual disabilities feel and celebrate the same sense of accomplishment by being active and participating in sport.
Who is your coach at D3 and how has your coach helped you with your goals?
Brad Seng. He keeps me focused and although I feel I should be doing more, I'm amazed at how strong I feel by cutting back and following his instructions. On my own, I workout until I drop or until my body won't move any more.
If you could write a workout for your coach, what would you include in that workout and why?
Brad is awesome. I appreciate everything he does for me. I'd just love to have him come to Michigan and run through some of these drifts with me. He's a Michigander, though, so he's tough and wouldn't be phased at all by the weather.
Share a favorite race moment.
I've run 25 marathons and ultras and they are all special. But after I did my first Olympic distance tri, I cried like a baby because it was so challenging and so very different than anything I had ever done before. This is a great sport. I can't wait for the challenge of an Iron(wo)man.
If you could ask anyone to join you during a training session, who would it be, and which discipline would you ask them to join you on?
I just love running and being on my bike. To me it's very social and where I find the most joy. I'm thrilled when I can convince friends and family to be with me on any workout.