Amy Dannwolf is a competitor, race director, business owner, and wife of a successful local professional triathlete who just finished 2nd Overall at the Boulder 70.3 race on Sunday. Needless to say, she has her hands in a bit of everything. We sat down with Amy to talk about her upcoming Littlefoot Triathlon, her industry related business and the story behind her husband pipping Lance Armstrong at the line earlier this year.
First things first, as most of our audience are triathletes, could you tell give us some information on the Littlefoot Triathlon coming up on September 8th? What do you like about this event and what prompted the date change?
Littlefoot is a sprint triathlon held in Bear Creek Lake Park, in my opinion one of the most scenic parks on the Front Range. The race is held entirely within the park, which is unusual for a triathlon. I've been a part of this event since I first raced it in 2008; it was the 3rd triathlon I ever did and my first sprint. In 2009 I volunteered at the race and in 2010 I took over as race director. Until this year the race was held in mid-May, making it the first open water event of the year in Colorado. The water has always been brutally cold for the race, but in 2011, it snowed the night before. I was camping out at the race site in the back of a Budget Truck, temperatures were in the 30s overnight, and I knew then I had to fight to get the date changed so the race would have a future. There's only so many people who want to swim in 50 degree water. Fortunately, though it took a lot of persistence, Bear Creek Lake Park was receptive of my idea to move it to early September.
On your blog, you share some of the struggles you've faced since you quit racing professionally. What is your take on how racing impacts the body, both endurance and shorter distances? And what kind of racing does your future hold?
I loved racing triathlon, but I always walked a fine line of being healthy or being injured so I had a hard time getting in consistent, quality training. Part of it was that I came from a short distance racing background (I ran the 800m for Boston University), and I just wasn't used to the training volume required to be a competitive pro triathlete. I ended up with a knee injury in 2010 that derailed my season. I tried a few times to come back to it, but the knee injury would always eventually return. It's hard to commit fully to something when in the back of your mind you know that sooner or later your hardwork will be rendered useless because you'll be sidelined. Fortunately, my knees are completely fine when I just stick with running, which is what I enjoy most. Now, I'm involved with a new track club that's starting up, the Denver Track Club, and I'm getting back to my roots as an 800m runner. The training fits in better with the busy life Jordan and I have and I'm looking forward to setting some fresh PR's at the shorter distances before I get too old and start to lose my speed. Maybe once my speed disintegrates I'll come back to the swim-bike-run.
We have many couples who both participate in triathlon and your husband, Jordan, has had an stellar year. In what ways do you support him, and do you have any tips for those who want to do the same for their partner? Secondly, what kind of response did you guys receive when Jordan passed Lance Armstrong in the finishing chute at Texas 70.3 earlier this year?
Supporting Jordan has become much easier since I've stepped back from racing triathlon. A big part of supporting a triathlete spouse is taking care of the obvious things: being involved with his training, asking daily how his workouts went, making sure he's sleeping and recovering well, and that we're eating healthy meals. An even bigger part that is probably more often over-looked, and something that I think we're really doing well at this year, is taking care of the mental side of training and racing at the elite level. It's important for both of us to have a sunny outlook daily and to not stress over insignificant things. Minimizing Jordan's stress level leading up to a race is very important. Stress is certainly contagious, and since Jordan and I spend so much time together, if I'm relaxed and positive the week before his race, he'll likely feel the same. My personal mantra is be relentlessly positive, and I think that notion is working well for us this year.
Jordan out-kicking Lance at Texas 70.3 in April was funny -- if it had been any other athlete, no one would have noticed or cared. The attention Jordan received from it has been a blessing and a curse. On one hand, he earned a few more fans (and some haters, but that's not necessarily a bad thing), on the other it's a shame that the biggest thing he's known for is outsprinting Lance and not for his 5150 wins and swift bike and run splits at every race he enters.
You've got your hands in event management, blogging, retail, and racing. Do you find yourself liking one of those roles more than another? If so, why?
eCommerce is definitely where most of my attention is, since Powder7 is my primary job and the one that pays the bills. Jordan and I have grown the business from our garage in 2007 to today, where we have a 4,000 square foot warehouse and office space and a full-time staff of 5. I love business development, and that's one of the main reasons I purchased Littlefoot and Riptide Multisports in 2010. I think it's a company with great potential that I will work to steadily build over time.
I love directing events and find that to be the most satisfying job. Organizing and paying close attention to all of the details of event production suits me very well. Beyond that, I love interacting with the athletes. Each year I meet people who sign up for Littlefoot for whom it acts as a catalyst for a major change towards a healthier lifestyle. Sometimes it helps them meet a weight loss goal, or gives them added motivation to quit an addiction. I love that because it makes me feel like in a small way I'm helping to make a difference in their lives. I enjoy writing, so I use the Riptide blog as a way to share information with beginners and highlight local athletes.
My own athletic pursuits have taken a backseat since I stopped racing pro in 2010. Now my focus is doing all I can do help Jordan become the best athlete he can.
Name on place you like to train/exercise that might be considered "off the grid"? We are all about alerting people to great places.
Powder7 is right across Highway 93 from the new trailhead they built for North Table Mountain. My favorite long run is to run a loop around the mesa; for shorter runs I like to run up on the top. There's rarely anyone up there, so it's usually just me, deer, rabbits, and a few snakes. I like to end a busy week with a Friday evening run up there, watching the sun set behind the mountains. It's perfect.