Athlete of the Month, May 2015 - Katie O'Brien

Cyclist standing in front of a sign in the snow
January 27, 2017

D3 Staff



Our athlete of the month is solid, she's a rock-star! She's been averaging 16-17 hours a week of Ironman training without missing even 1 scheduled day for weeks and weeks as well as working a full-time job. She couldn't run more than 20 minutes one day a week when she first started, and quickly she progressed to running 4x a week with her long run being 1:15hr! It's a pleasure to introduce you to Katie O'Brien, our May athlete of the Month.

Enjoy her Q&A here:

1. What IM are you signed up to do? Is it a first, or one of many? Describe the reason you have chosen this race.

I'm signed up for my first IM on Aug 2, 2015 Boulder! I saw friends do it last year and it inspired me to think about it, and later it came naturally to want to do it.

2. What is the most important goal/objective you hope to achieve at/through this race?

My most important goal in the race is to finish it within (if not before) all cut off times, and to actually see if I can run the entire marathon.

3. What is a workout that you have just loved (or shuddered at the thought of) doing that your D3 coach has given you

The work out I loved the most was running 1 min up NCAR then having a recovery on the downhill. I did this before work one day and the sun was coming up. I felt like I worked hard, and I love that feeling!

The workouts that I hate the most are speed training for swimming. I get scared I'm going to explode and I get really hot too. I hate that. I can't cool off in the water. The breathing is really hard and I feel like I can't catch my breath and don't know what to do. I'm hoping to get better at this. I think it improves a lot of my swim very slowly.

4. What inspires you to dedicate so much time to training and to keep after it?

My mom, I sense she really wanted me to do this.

5. Do you have advice you can share with others who are trying to balance training with full-time jobs and other commitments?

Work is the easy part of the day for me, as well as my rest period even though I have a physical job. I tell myself a lot Just breath and relax. This is the easy part.

6. Please share a favorite race memory. Any distance, any race, any year something that just stands out in your mind

When I completed my first open water swim in a sprint tri! Five days prior to this I didn't know how to swim other than dog paddle. My friend spent an hour a day for 5 days with me, and I still couldn't swim a length of the pool. But, that following Saturday I was able to swim 750 meters in open water and I couldn't believe it.

7. Describe your favorite hard workout (or race) recovery strategy.

My favorite hard workout recovery is a walk after a hard run.

8. If you could invite anybody to join you for a training session who would you invite and what would you talk about?

My Dad maybe. I never got to know him. My parents divorced when I was 7 and my father never really did anything to be a father, but from what I’ve heard he was quite and athletic. I would ask him what was it about golf he loved so much and how did he get through really hard things in his life.

9. Best bit of advice (or observation) you would like to share with other triathletes.

Go into the eye of the hurricane and there you will find everything you need.

10. What is something about yourself we should know (that I’ve not asked).

I'm a letter carrier (mailman) in Boulder, CO. My job is all physical, and I can't believe I have been able to train and do my job for as long as I have so far. I personally cannot wait til this training ends. The good news is that I will probably have a normal day of exercise while doing the IM (14-15 hours), just at a more intense rate.

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