We are proud to turn the spotlight on Dore Berens as our Athlete of the Month.  She is part of Team D3 through the Elite Development Team.  Coach Laura Marcoux has her master training plan dialed in, but on a weekly basis, she participates in the EDT workouts with Coach Mike and Coach Jim. Unanimously they all agreed that Dore deserves this recognition.  
Laura summarized in her nomination that she consistently shows up for Elite Team practices which makes for excellent team camaraderie and opportunities for her coaches to help her.  Laura also said that Dore hurt her shoulder two months out from IM Boulder when she got into taper time, but Dore conceded to the injury and committed herself to being positive and focused on controlling the controllables. When it came time to race, Dore followed her race plan, even the annoying parts that her coach made her add in about positive mental strategies. Then when Laura saw her at mile 23, the excitement began to build.  Coach Laura let Dore know that 4th place was 1:30 up on her (not knowing swim start times) and Dore fought her tail off in the last 3 miles of her first IM to finish within 10 seconds of that girl, and finished 4th which landed her on the podium for her first Ironman.  

With all that desire, determination and discipline it is a pleasure to recognize Dore Berens as our athlete of the month.  Learn how she stayed so focused in the Q&A below.

1.  Why is triathlon important to you?
Triathlon is important to me because it helps me stay sane believe it or not.  I love having a goal and accomplishing it as well as working each day towards it.  Having a team and coaches to do that with now is a huge bonus and I feel fortunate to have made so many new friends that I get to workout with and support as they support me. 
2.  Besides pursuing this passion, what/how else do you define yourself?  
Besides triathlon, I am driven by trying to live happily.  This has not always been a focus of mine so I am really working on making this an important part of my life as I get older (LOL).  Friends, family, and pets are super important to me. And anyone who has ridden with me knows I love goats…someday I will live somewhere where I can have them!  

3.  You set your sights on IM Boulder for your first Ironman.  Why?
I chose Boulder as my first IM because of monetary reasons – triathlon is expensive!!!  But I couldn’t have picked a better race.  I couldn’t believe all of the support I got from my team, coaches, co-workers, family, friends, masters team and people I know from the tri community as well as those I don’t and on and on!  Next time I just need to place someone closer to that last uphill to Eben G. Fine Park and I’ll be all set! 

4.  Describe your injury and how that was affecting/influencing your approach to the race?
I have been struggling off and on with my shoulder since I started seriously swimming, and it decided to come back pretty hard about a month before the race.  I saw docs and did PT but there was just no strength.  All I could think was how unfair it was that I had been working so hard and this happened (I tended to get a little “poor me” during the end of my training lol).  Thankfully, my coach, Laura, knows how I operate and was able to talk me off the ledge on several occasions.  She encouraged me to work on mental strategies and explained that if I am strong enough to keep going when others stop during the race, then that will allow me to “make up time” lost on the swim.  That really resonated with me and helped me out throughout the rest of training and the race.  It was funny actually because my shoulder was the least of my worries in the swim, but I did heavily rely on the same mental approaches for the difficulties I encountered using my shoulder strategies.  I did learn that you can “toss your cookies” during swim without being DQ’d after the fact so now I have that in my toolkit but hopefully, I won’t need it.  

5.  When you heard Coach Laura shout out your place in the race, what went through your mind/body?
When I saw Laura (which was twice, plus she joined me for a minute to update me on my race position), I was so excited to see her and I couldn’t believe what she was telling me!  I tried to dig deep and fight hard and although I was getting tired she lit a fire under my butt.  

6.  What was it like to be on the podium of an Ironman? 
Being on the podium of IM was crazy because I really had no idea how I would place, nor was I concerned.  But it did make me want to compete again and see if I can get a Kona slot, or at least take a huge chunk off of my time.  This was a foreign distance to me, but I feel like I could attack it next year with a better plan on my part (not my coach’s, she was right on).  

7.  What’s next for you?  
Next for me is to keep working, try and kick some butt this summer and then tackle IM Boulder next year with my team, coaches and family there. Oh, and I will try and be less dramatic, especially to my family who had to deal with crazy Dore near the end of training, but I think that is normal?! 

Coaching Like Dore has is

Right Here!