Ambassador: Sheila Cotter

Age Group: 55-59

Sports Bio
I grew up in northern New Mexico in an active family – hiking, whitewater rafting and skiing. I started running my second year in college and the last two years walked on to the track team at UC Davis as a distance runner. For the next several years, I was injured on and off but still loved to run. I started whitewater kayaking and even played on a women’s ice hockey team while in Boston in the 80’s. In 1999 I did my first triathlon – trying to protect my legs with the addition of swimming and cycling, and to date have completed 48 triathlons from sprint distance to half ironman. In 2013, I ventured into orienteering races (off-trail running with a map and compass) and XTERRA off-road triathlon (three days after buying my first mountain bike.) My legs have responded well to the multisport training and I still love to run!

Highlights from last season
Triathlon/Duathlon
• South Bay Sprint Duathlon – AG1
• California Sprint Triathlon – AG1
• Triathlon at Pacific Grove Sprint – AG1 and broke my own age group course record
• USAT Age Group National Sprint Triathlon Championship – AG17/67 and qualified for ITU Age Group World Championship for 2015
• ITU Age Group World Sprint Triathlon Championship – Edmonton Canada – AG34
• Wildflower Mountain Bike Sprint Triathlon – AG1
• Completed 3 XTERRA races, qualified for 2014 XTERRA World Championships and 2015 ITU Age Group Off-Road Triathlon World Championships and was named XTERRA Regional Champion for my Age Group.

Running
• Oakland Running Festival 5K – AG2
• Walnut Run 5K – AG1
• Diablo Trail Adventure 10K – AG1
• Brazen Quarry Turkey 10K – AG1
• Attained national age group ranking in Orienteering, racing in 11 orienteering events

Favorite race experience
2013 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon- The swim is my weakest sport in triathlon and I was so afraid of this swim that I challenged myself to do it. I swam in the bay nine times in January and February often followed by a run or ride on the course. On the day of the race, the wind came from the west and created “the worst swim conditions in the memory of the race.” It was scary and challenging both physically and mentally. When I exited the swim I was so happy – I finished the race with a celebratory feeling. Along the way I rode with friends on the bike, talked to volunteers, and took pictures for athletes from all over the world. Sometimes events are just for the experience!

Worst race experience
My first duathlon was the San Jose Metro Triathlon when they cancelled the swim. I had no idea about the pacing so I ran the first mile too fast. Then, on the bike, I tried to stay in sight of an athlete I know (who is faster than me) so I was pushing really hard. Of course, I blew up on the run. It’s a bad day when people are walking past you and asking if you are ok.

One unique thing about you or your life
In the 80’s I did research on robotic control algorithms.

Best training/racing advice ever received
“Don’t race anyone else’s race – just race in a way so that you will be proud of yourself at the finish.” – from a veteran Team USA athlete at ITU Age Group World Championships

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