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Get to Know a TN Athlete: Lisa Ohge

Lisa Ohge has been a member of TN Multisports for the past three seasons. Year after year, she has proven that hard work and patience does pay off. Under the guidance of coach Teresa Nelson, Lisa was able to once again establish a PR at this year’s Ironman Canada. Congrats Lisa!

Lisa is all smiles on the run at Ironman Canada 2011

TN: First off Lisa, congratulations on another impressive IM finish.

Lisa: Thank You!

TN: How many Ironman’s have you done, and what events?

Lisa: IM Coeur d’Alene: 2007. IM Canada: 2009. IM Canada: 2011

TN: How would you compare 2011 conditions to your last race in Canada in 2009?

Lisa: I think conditions were similar in that it was really hot both years. Maybe there were fewer headwinds this year coming in to town on the final stretch of the bike, but other than that I would say conditions were similar. Did I mention that it was freakin’ HOT, though? Because it was.

TN: I noticed that you were wearing an aero helmet. Did your head ever get hot?

Lisa: Actually, I really don’t think my head got any hotter than it would if I had been wearing a regular helmet, which surprised me. It was more difficult to get water dumped inside the helmet because I had to aim for the little vents in the front, but it was doable and worth it!

TN: Were you affected by the water outage on the bike course?

Lisa: No, thank goodness! They still had cold water at the top of Yellow Lake when I got there.

TN: What did you do differently this year training?

Lisa: Well, besides having an awesome coach who planned all my workouts, you mean? 🙂 Seriously, this year I had a structured training plan and I was consistent, consistent, consistent. I was surprised that volume-wise, I didn’t necessarily add on that much overall volume this year (although there were a few weeks I did). It was mostly that I had a plan structured just for me, I stuck to it and didn’t question what everyone else was doing, I was honest in my feedback to my coach so she could help me reach my goal, and I just “stayed the course,” so to speak.

There was a lot of faith involved – I did not concern myself with workouts other people were doing and I trusted MY PLAN. That is the beauty of coaching after all, that it is tailored to my strengths and weaknesses. I also made sure that I surrounded myself with people who were supportive of my goals, boosted me when I needed boosting, but had their own goals and plans, too. Mutual support and non-competitive training (I said TRAINING, not racing) is key for me.

TN: You did CDA in 2007. Which course do you prefer and why?

Lisa: There is no question that I very much prefer Canada! I don’t love climbing short, steep hills and I DO love being down in my aero bars. CDA is beautiful, but it requires lots of short, steep climbs and navigating turns, making it difficult to be in aero position for very long. I will gladly grind my way up Richter or Yellow Lake any day, just to fly down those awesome descents and then tuck into aero position and get focused on the flats.

TN: What was your most enjoyable part of the entire journey? And why?

Lisa: Well, besides dryland of course, as cliché as this may be, the most enjoyable part of the journey, hands-down, is race day (not the getting up at 4 am part, though, that would be a lie). Specifically, it is coming into town at mile 24-ish on the run, starting to hear the crowd and feeling the weight of the day start to lift. The excruciating pain my body suddenly disappearing, how I can miraculously run an 8:20 again after slogging through a marathon with 12:00+ min/miles.

Even now, answering this question, I am choked up thinking about how overwhelmingly fortunate I feel at this point during a race, how my priorities are suddenly in line with a greater purpose, how it feels to have made it this far on this day, and reflecting on every last little thing, big and small, that other people have done to help get me to that point. There is nothing in the world like the clarity of purpose and the overwhelming gratitude I feel at this point in the race, and it makes every last workout, early morning, long weekend ride, and sacrifice entirely worth it. It keeps me coming back for more.

TN: Will you be racing in 2012?

Lisa: Heck yes…but not an IM. I’m on an every-other-year schedule for the big ones. Believe me, I WILL be back, though, in 2013!

TN: In closing, if you could change one thing race day, what would it have been?

Lisa: Wow, this could really turn into so many “if only’s” in terms of maybe not having stopped to run EVERY hill, or maybe not panicking in the water, or maybe…. But in reality, the only thing I would really change is how I feel in the wee hours of the morning leading up to the race. I would like to “stop and smell the roses” a little bit more. Have the presence of mind to appreciate and be excited for what is to come, and spend less time worrying about all the things that could go wrong or whether I am strong enough, etc.

I can get so worried that I forget basic things (like my PowerBar drink or chamois cream, for example…I’m just sayin’). These things occur not due to lack of planning, but because I can get consumed with worry, causing my brain to literally shut off. I would change that if I could because in the end, it all works out and the day unfolds in front of me and whatever happens, I just roll with the punches anyway, so what is the use of worrying?

One Response to Get to Know a TN Athlete: Lisa Ohge

  1. Elizabeth November 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    Wahooooo! What a great race recap! Can’t wait to train with you, and cheer you on in 2013! Love your advice about trusting in your plan! SUPERSTAR!