Real Runner: Dorette
Here we take a moment to talk to Coach Dorette from Trifiniti about her own athletic endeavors, her coaching, health, and Skora.
skorarunning.com: Thanks for taking the time to let SKORA interview you Dorette! I noticed your facebook page, and you seem like a very busy person! Can you explain a bit about your schooling, job, and athletics?
Dorette: Yes, my Facebook page certainly say’s a lot about my passions, education, career, and endurance training.
I am really committed to eating a whole-food, plant based diet that heals and improves my physical and mental stamina. Eating for wellness has always played a theme in my life. At an early age, my mother discovered my behavior reacted negatively to artificial flavors, colors, and foods that contained sugars (commonly found in kids breakfast cereals and snacks). So, my mom eliminated the artificial colors and flavors from my diet and significantly reduced the processed foods. I grew up on granola and raw trail mix, not chocolate chunk-frosted cookies (but of course, I wanted what I could not have). When she changed my diet, I became more calm, focused, and intentional – she said it was like night and day. That was the first time foods was used to heal and balance my body. In my thirty’s, I wanted to become a Registered Dietitian, so I went back to school. I currently have a little over one year left in my program. My goal is to provide to nutritional plans and resources to foods that heal the body and benefit the mental and physical performance. My mom was onto something, but of course, when you are raised by a German mother who was brought up on a farm and understood what real, unprocessed, organic food really was, it was inevitable that her wisdom be passed onto me.
Professionally, I am an endurance coach with our company Trifiniti Endurance and train runners, swimmers, and triathletes. Coaching is much more than writing a training plan for someone. It’s about building relationships, building confidence, and building strength such that the seasoned or new athlete creates balance between family, career, and their endurance performance endeavors; it’s about helping athletes overcome mental and physical barriers. I love coaching – because I witness an athlete’s growth and success – the pay off for me is priceless.
Although, I have competed in triathlon for twelve years (including Ironman and Ultraman), running is my real sport. As a young girl, I used running as a way to channel my energy. In fact, I had so much pent up energy as a kid that I would sneak out my bedroom window at night and run – I just needed to run! As an adult, I still need to run, or bike, or swim. But no sport can replace what I experience while running on the trails – I relish that out-of-body experience as my mind can lets go and the legs keep moving. I recently hung up my time trial bike and am focusing on building back my run base for a few more 50K and 50 mile ultras. As soon as I graduate, the next big event I plan to complete is the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii.
If you read between the pages on my Facebook page, you’ll also find that I have a husband, Duane, whom I get to train with and a dog, who prefers to sleep on the couch while we run (no kidding). We call her Anni, the recovery dog. See, it’s about creating balance, and both my husband and dog balance me completely.
skorarunning.com: What do you think it is about running that calls so strongly to you? Do you have a route or running spot that is special?
Dorette: Ooh, good question. Stumped me – I have to think about this.
The call to be a runner or to run swings between two states. 1) Running is a gift I give to myself. As a business owner, coach, and student of Dietetics, so many responsibilities and duties vie for my time. When I run, the time becomes all about me – it’s Dorette Time, my gift of time to spend on me and I become a better friend to myself for spending time with myself. 2) The ability to run, and keep running, just because you can, intrigues me. Maybe it’s a primal quest – that running at one point served as our only way to get from point A to point B in order to relocate and explore, be messengers, to hunt…or be hunted. When I run short or run long, I feel as if I am transported to a different place and time. I appreciate being able to rely on my body to transport me from one point to the other with out being the hunter or the hunted.
We live just 1.3 miles from multiple trailheads leading up to Mt. Tamalpias (which is 2,572 ft. high). My favorite route is lined with trees and lakes and begins its ascent from the Marin Stables. Here, I stop before and after my run to befriend the horses and riders. There are two 10K loops which I will run once or twice a week, then I add in a long 2.5-3+ hour run from either the north side of the mountain or meet up with friend on the southeastern side, in Mill Valley. We are spoiled with so many choices.
skorarunning.com: What are some of your most fond memories from endurance training and racing ? It sounds like you’ve done so much that it may be difficult to narrow it down!
Dorette: Hands down, it was the double marathon on day three at Ultraman Canada – a 3-day endurance event that consists of a 10K swim and 90-mile ride on day 1, 170 mile bike on day 2, and a 52.4 mile run on day 3. As you can see from the photo, my crew were up to fun and games to keep a smile on my face, my spirits high, and keep me running. This was the first double marathon I had run.
The foundation to a successful finish was having such an energetic crew, recovering, pacing, and nutrition. I felt completely prepared mentally and physically going into Ultraman, but by the end of day 2, following the 170-mile bike, I stood in the shower trying to squat to pick up the bar of soap that had dropped on the floor and asked myself, “What was I thinking? How am I going to run a double marathon tomorrow when I can barely stand” My legs felt like they were melting. I was in my room alone, crying while my crew was out to dinner. Perfect timing – my friend Lori came by to help work the kinks out of my legs and gave me a good pep talk. When I woke up, my legs felt ready to run.
There were many high point and low points, but what amazed me was that after hitting a wall around mile 42, I was determined to change my pace and attitude. The last two to three mile stretch, I brought my pace down to 8 minute miles. Even my husband who was pacing me had a hard time keeping pace at that point. I felt so proud to finish and to finish strong. It was a joyous occasion for all!
skorarunning.com: Great photo! Reminds me of El Diablo from la Tour chasing the riders!
Since Skora is a new company, not a lot of people have been able to put serious mileage in our shoes yet. Over the past 5 years there has been an explosion in shoe and running form discussion. As an ultra distance athlete, what are your thoughts on SKORA shoes, shoes in general, and running form?
Dorette: I consider myself pretty lucky in that I began running in Skora just six months after a running related injury. Since I could only run two miles pain free, I took advantage of this low volume base and implemented a new pair of Skora running shoes that would allow me to become more aware of how I used my body/form in space while running. Meanwhile, my strength and flexibility also needed fine-tuning. Time and patience were on my side –the two key elements that increase one’s success in taking a new approach to running in a light-weight shoe, such as Skora (on a side note, adaption will also be influenced by one’s present running biomechanics as well as one’s size and weight).
The adaptation scheme I used to train into my new Skora’s began with running a few 400’s and fartleks on a soft surface, such as a track or trail. Over time, the duration and type of terrain (trails to roads, or soft pack to rock/technical) was conservatively increased until I was running thirty to sixty minutes again (in Skora) 3-4 day’s a week. As a run coach, this is the prescription I would give any runner – take a conservative approach to adapting into a minimalist shoe. But I find most athletes either simply don’t know how to make the transition into an ultra-light weight minimalist run shoe or don’t allow themselves the patience or time it takes to make that transition.
I’ve tried a few “minimal” run shoes along the way using this adaptation approach, but my foot never felt supported enough in the arch, forefoot, or even heel. The design of Skora shoes provides a great deal of support to the foot with a minimal amount of cushioning. The foot feels molded and supported around the arch and along the heel. The benefit is that the runner builds a stronger relationship to their body, that is the awareness to how the body moves through space – proprioception. Muscles that were previously passively used become more active, such as one’s core strength. I see many runners relaxing their torso into their lumbar region as if it’s “just along for the ride.” But to stay upright and off the heels, the upper body needs to remain engaged, lifted, with a slight lean as if falling forward – like how a toddler runs. Changing how the body is used may initially increase one’s exertion while running, but over time the body adapts to the exertion and even form…just as it does when building the miles – adaptation.
skorarunning.com: Thanks for taking the time to tell our readers more about yourself Dorette! If anyone has any questions for you concerning your coaching or Vega (I noticed your an ambassador), how would they best reach you?
Dorette: Thank you! It’s been my pleasure. I have been a Vega Ambassador for two years and have coached runners and triathletes for nearly ten years. To learn more about coaching or Vega, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website, www.trifiniti.com. Vega has a fantastic social website dedicated to connecting all types of athletes and athlete enthusiasts (from hockey players to massage therapists) – its’ dedicated to people who thrive off plant based diets, vegan or not. Check out the vega community at www.myvega.com