Athlete of the Month, October 2012 – Julia Purrington
Athlete of the Month
Can you tell us a little bit about your sports background? I started swimming at age 5 on the local YWCA swim team and swam competitively through high school and my first year of college. I started mountain biking in college ‚Äì I took an actual mountain biking PE class and then started road biking and running when I was 30.
What was your motivation to get started in triathlon? At 30, after having two kids, I felt that I had lost some of my identity as an athlete and was called a ‚Äúchubby mom‚Äù so I bought a road bike and used my first triathlon as motivation to ride the bike and lose weight. I immediately became addicted.
When and where was your first race? 2006 Treasure Island in San Francisco.
What do you do for work? I am a triathlon coach, but was primarily a structural engineer until 2009, when I was forced to retire because of my bike accident. I am now a sales representative for Scott Sports and I love working in the sporting goods industry.
What services have you used at D3 to help you with reaching your goals? I have been a D3 coached athlete since 2008 and have been a D3 coach since 2010. I have gone on training camp weeks with Mike and travelled to races with other D3 athletes and coaches.
Have you done any races that you‚Äôd traveled for? Yes!! I‚Äôve done many travel races including ITU Triathlon Worlds in Hamburg, Germany, Escape from Alcatraz, Lake Havasu, Cranberry County, IM Lake Placid, and most recently ITU Duathlon age group worlds in Nancy, France. I love using racing as an excuse to travel and meet new people. Read my trip recap for a more full recaps of my race experience.
Best Triathlon moment? In 2009 I was training for the ITU World Tri championships in Gold Coast Australia. My flight was booked, hotels set, training on track and I was ready for a great race. At the time I was the top ranked female in the Rocky Mountain Region in my age group and was hoping for a podium finish at the race. It was likely out of my reach, but it was my goal. While training a few weeks before the race, I was hit by a car on my bike and spent 6 weeks in the hospital with a mild brain injury and severe leg injuries. I won‚Äôt go through the laundry list of what was broken, but I spent the next 8 weeks in a wheelchair and the next two years having a total of 8 knee surgeries. In Sept of 2011 I was given clearance to run and in April of 2012 I raced my first duathlon ever and my first Multisport race in 3 years. This was most certainly one of my favorite moments and it meant the world to me to get back to racing. At that race I qualified to become part of Team USA again this time for duathlon. Now, crossing any finish line means the world to me. Just making it to the start line again is a gift that I now appreciate more than ever. I think my favorite experience has been being part of team USA again with my trip to Nancy. The entire experience was special and it completed a circle for me that I have worked towards for a long time. I‚Äôve written an entire trip report if you want to read more on what Team USA meant for me.
What is your favorite race and why? Escape from Alcatraz is the funnest course that I have experienced by far. Boat ride to the start, swim in SF bay towards the Golden Gate Bridge, bike on the hills and streets of San Francisco with hardly a straight or flat section and then run‚Ä¶ On the grass, on the pavement, on a narrow dirt trail, on the sand, up the stairs‚Ä¶ FUN!!! All around a great race!
What are your long term goals in triathlon? Right now my goal is primarily to keep enjoying the sport, but I would be lying if I said that was my only goal. I would really like to have USAT All American status in both triathlon and duathlon this year. If not, that will certainly be a goal for next year. I would also love to expand my goals to include winter triathlon and maybe keep exploring from there!
If you could spend one day training with anyone, who would it be? I have so many people that I really love training with, I can‚Äôt pick just one. I know that isn‚Äôt the intent of this question, but I love training mostly because of the people I get to train with all of the time. I love that I have so many people to train with. I guess if I had to pick a stranger to train with it would be Chrissy Wellington just to meet her and thank her for supporting me through a tough time, even though she didn‚Äôt know it.
What‚Äôs in your race future? I‚Äôm still not sure! I will keep doing standard triathlons and duathlons for sure and may add some sprints. After the many knee surgeries, I am not sure going for a half or full ironman would be wise, but I do get the itch to run a marathon every now and again.
What‚Äôs your favorite workout? My favorite workouts are typically track workouts-running. They push, they hurt, you go fast, but they are over quickly. On the bike, I love hilly, long rides with friends. Squaw pass, Kerr Gulch, high grade road‚Ä¶ Or any ride with Alex my 11 year old son.
What your least favorite workout? Straight 5k swimming in a pool‚Ä¶ I am at the pool enough because I was a swimmer for so long. I just don‚Äôt enjoy it as much anymore.
Tell us something interesting about you! I love having pink or purple streaks in my hair.