Monday, July 14, 2014

Triple Threat Profile: Sandy Altman - Ohio

Despite only recently discovering triathlon, Sandy Altman (Ohio) easily has the most impressive "adventure resume" on our national team. She's not your regular triathlon newbie either, as she is known to strike fear in the hearts of her local age group. Sandy has her sights set on USAT Nationals and a step up in distance this year, and we're thrilled to have her on our team!

What’s your background and how did you get into triathlon?

I have always been involved in sports, both organized team and individual (ie. scuba diving, spelunking, kayaking/canoeing, mountaineering, rock and ice climbing, and backpacking). I would work out and run to stay in shape, and when I turned 51, I decided to start entering running races. To add more toys to the mix and variety, I transitioned into triathlons. I fell in love with the training compared to just running. I am always up for more adventure.

How would you sum up last year, your first season as a triathlete, and what was the highlight/lowlight?

April 2013 was my first sprint tri, and I have only done Sprint and Olympic distance since then. The highlight was getting involved with my local team, making new friends in the sport and placing 1st/2nd in my AG (not hard when you're in my AG :) ). The low was not getting to the start line for my 1st half Ironman. I have a fear with start lines.

How has your season gone so far this year, and what are remaining goals for this year and beyond?

This season plans changed with the accepting of a work assignment out of town since spring. I slacked off on doing as many races in exchange for spending that time with family on weekends. I am still planning on competing at Nationals in the Olympic distance and doing my first 70.3 and full marathon yet this year. I have my sights set on a full Ironman for 2015 in the 55-59 AG.

Even though you're relatively new to triathlon, from what I gather you've always been very active. Can you tell us about your mountain climbing, scuba diving, and other adventures?

I co-owned an outdoor adventure brick and mortar store and ran trips and taught classes in scuba diving, spelunking, kayaking/canoeing, mountaineering, rock and ice climbing, and backpacking. This involved scuba diving around the world as an instructor in caves, shipwrecks, and under ice. I enjoyed making it almost to the summit of Mt Rainier, have climbed frozen waterfalls in NY, MI, and IL, and traversed into caves, belly crawled spelunking with my son in Southern IN. I have learned to set pro for rock climbing and top roped and bouldered mostly in IN, MI and KY.

What do you do for your day job, and what hobbies do you have outside of work and triathlon?

I have been a physical therapist for 32 years now. Hobbies? Don't find time for hobbies lately but I use to love ballroom dancing. Nowadays, I fill my free time with loving up my Grandchildren and Golden Retriever.

Speaking with your PT hat on, what are 1-2 pieces of advice you'd give to triathletes?

I would say add strength to training and pay attention to nigs and nags as they can develop into more serious conditions quickly.

On a selfish note, any advice for someone dealing with 
sciatic nerve issues?

Sciatic nerve pain - I would recommend seeking out an MDT trained PT. A radicular symptom of pain down a leg from the back should have a particular technique from a mechanical approach.

Rank the 3 disciplines from your personal strength to weakness. What is some gear you use for each?

I am lacking in all 3 areas for speed, but my greatest strength would be running, then bike, and lastly swimming if we are talking time. I prefer Altra running shoes because of the wide toe box and zero heel to toe rise. I train via power meter on the bike and prefer the wider googles by Aqua Sphere because of the aging thinner skin around my eyes. (editor's note: ha!)

Tell us about your family, and is your golden retriever a dependable running partner?

I am married, a mother, and a grandmother of a 3 mo and 9 mo old. My Golden Retriever is 7 now and becomes lame if he does much more than 7 miles, but running with him off leash on trails is 100% pure joy for both of us.

You represent Ohio on our national team, yet race in multiple states... can you give us a sense of triathlon in Ohio vs. your neighbors or is it pretty much the same in each?

I have only done a couple of running races outside of IN/OH so far as I can remember - the mind is the first to go...:). The biggest difference in racing in other areas is the elevation change, both hills and actual elevation level, as it is flat as a pancake in Northwest Ohio.

Editor's note: when she's not scuba diving under ice, belly crawling through caves, or winning her age group at triathlons, some have speculated that Sandy also occasionally competes in Big Air skateboarding competitions under the pseudonym "Tom Scharr."

Triple Threat Triathlon - National Team interview archives:

1 comment:

  1. Northwest Ohio? Ha! I did my undergrad at BGSU. Love your family pictures!