Running in her youth helped paved the way for this Lady Vol. Growing up as a farm girl our next interviewee harnessed her running abilities and took the triathlon world by storm. Ladies and Gentlemen please welcome Amanda Lovato.
KK: Where did you grow up?
AGL: I grew up in a small, rural town called Charlotte Hall in St. Mary's County, Maryland.
KK: What kind of athletics did you participate in as a youth?
AGL: My mother and father were professional horsemen. My father was a horse trainer and jockey. My mother went to the Olympic trials in 1968 for equestrian. Horses were in our blood. My sister and I were very competitive with each other. We reveled in beating one another. (I'm not sure that our relationship was entirely healthy.) But competing with my sister each and every single day drove us to be better athletes. We went to horse shows during the summer, we fox hunted during the fall, and we raced our ponies in the winter and spring. My running career did not start until I was 14. However, I did run with my father starting at the early age of four when I jogged alongside him, as he was trying to lose weight for races.
KK: How did you get involved with running?
AGL: With a bit of encouragement from one of my middle school teachers, I found cross country and track in the ninth grade (the beginning of high school).
KK: What is your academic background?
AGL: I began my college career at Old Dominion University, where I think I majored in just about anything and everything that involved sports. I ran there on a cross country and track scholarship. Two years later I transferred to the University of Tennessee, where I was the captain of our cross country and track teams. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Parks and Recreation in 1995.
KK: When did you get started doing multisport?
AGL: I started in 1997.
KK: How did you get involved with triathlon?
AGL: After college I took a two year break from all sports. I was a "broken athlete". I never wanted to train for anything ever again. One day, I finally took a real, hard look at myself in the mirror. I could not stomach the person looking back at me. I did not recognize myself. I had gained about 35-plus pounds in two years. It was that moment that I decided that I needed to make a change. The next day, I enrolled at Meadowbrook Aquatics and signed up with Coach Troy Jacobson. I had made the commitment to finish a triathlon!
KK: Did you get into triathlon wanting to race pro?
AGL: I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would ever be a professional triathlete. I got into triathlon for a lifestyle change.
KK: When did you meet Michael?
AGL: Michael and I met 10 years ago at the 1999 Age Group Worlds in Montreal, Canada. Sparks flew and we made a pact to see each other every 3 weeks despite me living in Maryland and Michael living in Austin, Texas. We dated two years before we decided to move to be together. After visiting a few different cities, we decided on Boulder.
KK: Do you and Michael use the same coach?
AGL: Yes, Michael and I both use Cliff English for coaching. Michael and I have both had amazing 2009 seasons so far this year. Cliff has been the main reason for this. I cannot say enough kind things about Cliff. He has done a lot for us as people and athletes. He is hands on, listens to our needs and his workouts are amazing.
KK: When did you decide to turn pro?
AGL: In 2002 I was Age Grouper of the Year for Triathlon and Duathlon. In 2003, Michael encouraged me to become a "professional". It was extremely daunting and a bit scary. My first couple of races were a little shaky as I didn't have a lot of confidence. I couldn't believe I was racing against women like Heather Fuhr, Lisa Bentley, and Natasha Badman! These women had been my "triathlon heroes". It was awesome and nerve wracking all at the same time!
KK: What is a typical training week for you?
AGL: For a Half Ironman my longest ride will be about 4 hours and my longest run will be 2 hours. I ride around 4 times a week. Leading into an Ironman I will increase my riding to 5-6 days a week and run 4-5 days a week. The intensity varies from workout to workout.
KK: How many races do you average per year?
AGL: As few as 7, sometimes up to 12 races.
KK: How does your body handle a season of 11-12 races?
AGL: My body is really sturdy. I am lucky because I haven't been injured since I was 19 years old when I went from running 15 miles a week in High School to 60 miles a week in college. I can handle the long training and the intense training; I take extreme care of my body. I get a massage every week, I take ice baths, I eat extremely well, and I do weight training. My only weakness would be my lack of stretching. I just don't like it...it is a bit boring.
KK: What is your ultimate goal as a pro?
AGL: It's hard to say, I have had a great career so far. I've had some success. I've had some tough luck. I would like to go back to Hawaii. However, I have a lot of problems with Ironman races in the past three years. I have had some issues with my nutrition and taking down foods while racing. I didn't know what was going on and I was resistant to seeing a doctor. Last year I finally gave in and I found out I have a hernia and acid reflux disease. The doctors have put me on some medication and it has helped me and I am able to eat again. Nutrition is a big part of racing in an Ironman and not being able to consume food ended up hurting my races and me.
KK: Who sponsors you?
AGL: Trakkers, Splish, Scott, FSA, Boulder Running Company, Blueseventy, Race Day Wheels, First Endurance, Inside Out Sports and Oakley Sunglasses.
KK: What is your race schedule for 2009?
AGL: 3M Half Marathon, Desert Duathlon, IM California 70.3, IM St. Croix 70.3, The Columbia Triathlon, REV3 Half Triathlon, IM Coeur d'Alene and IM Steelhead 70.3.