Coach Spotlight: Mikki Osterloo

Yep, you guessed it…it’s time for another Coach Spotlight!  I know you must be as pumped as I am to learn more about our next Coach, because each has her own unique story to tell.  Our coaches make Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching special and what it is today, and I am so excited to introduce you to Coach Mikki Osterloo.

 

Coach Mikki grew up in Elkhart, Indiana, playing soccer throughout her youth.  Her father was a half marathoner and Mikki became no stranger to the race circuit.  Inspired by her Dad, Mikki ran her first 10k at 8 years old and never looked back.  She played D1 soccer in college and always remained (and will be) a runner.

Currently, Coach Mikki lives in Nederland, Colorado, and is a geologist specializing in understanding surface compositions and geologic processes of rocky bodies in our solar system, including Earth.  Yeah, I’m thinking it too – WOW!  But still Mikki has time to coach, so we sat down with her to learn a little more herself and coaching practices.

FUN FACTS ABOUT COACH MIKKI

Sonja and Mikki

Sonja and Mikki

  • Mikki couldn’t live without coffee.
  • She has two pups – Loki and Beira, and a kitty – Penn.  All three of her fur babies are adopted from shelters.  While Loki can be a bit obsessive/compulsive and Beira just a tad wild, Penn is easily the ruler of the house.  While Penn may be old, he is still incredibly active.  Loki and Beira bow down to him...aka are terrified of him.
  • Mikki enjoys many outdoor activities.  She telemarks and cross-country skis, as well as snowshoes, hikes and climbs.  She loves spending times in the mountains and wilderness.
  • If she could only use three words to describe herself she would choose: Determined.  Hardworking.  Level-headed.
  • Although she doesn’t believe in heroes necessarily, Mikki has role models for the various aspects of her life.  She draws inspiration from many woman scientists, mathematicians, and civil rights leaders.  Dr. Lisa Pratt, Dr. Vicky Hamilton and Dr. Deanne Rogers inspired her science career.  Her biggest role model in life is friend, coach and mentor, Sonja Wieck.  She demonstrates fortitude, determination, strength, creativity, wisdom, and vision.

---

Q&A with Mikki

 

On Your Coaching Style:

So tell me, what is your coaching philosophy?
I am highly analytical, thorough and I’m a planner.  I like to bring all aspects of training (data), life (time available, stresses, finances), and goals together for a big picture view.  I believe nothing is in steady state and all of these aspects of our lives change over time.

I don’t believe in a single formula working for everyone so I work closely with athletes to develop a formula working for the individual, given the variables in their lives.  I’m a firm believer in health first and maintaining the fun in training and racing.  With these two aspects along with consistency and the right formula, I believe anything is possible.

What do you hope your athletes learn from you?
I hope they learn to integrate training into their lives better.  Training stress and life stress cannot be decoupled…as much as we would like it to be!  For longevity and overall health, as well as meeting our goals with the least setbacks, developing a plan fitting seamlessly into our lives is KEY. 

I hope my athletes learn to listen to their bodies so they can learn how to take easy days EASY and how to work HARDon hard days.

Turning the question back on you, what do you hope to learn from your athletes?
I hope to learn more about what motivates different athletes.  I have gained a huge amount of inspiration from the people I work with.  I hope to work with different types of athletes to further my knowledge on what works and what doesn’t in terms of training styles. 

I’m definitely a life-long learner and coming from a science background I can bring objectivity to the table.  I take ideas as hypotheses and gather data to support or refute them.  But I’m always open to reevaluation and testing new ideas.

What is your favorite part about being a coach?
I love seeing athletes improve and get faster, stronger, and more confident in their training/races (and maybe seeing this spill over into their lives outside triathlon).  It is so rewarding to help someone achieve his or her goals.

We all face obstacles in our training cycles.  How do you help your athletes overcome obstacles, whether physical or mental?
I am a problem solver.  I may not have the answers at my fingertips, but I know how to research, integrate and synthesize data and findings, and how to develop a strategy to move forward.  Sometimes this looks like encouraging an athlete to get into a physical therapist for an injury, and sometimes it looks like helping an athlete navigate training and prep.

I like to help athletes work through setbacks by encouraging them to look at the bigger picture goal, and to realize consistency and health are the most important aspects of moving training forward. Every step we take in training needs to support the bigger picture goal.

 

MORE ABOUT MIKKI

Okay, so tell us a little more about yourself and your training.

How did you discover your love for triathlons?
I approached Sonja years ago as a runner.  I wanted to qualify for Boston and tackle some ultra running events (Leadville 100 - I still have my eye on you!).  After working with her for about a year, I decided I wanted to do an Ironman.  I had been a bike commuter for many years and grew up swimming in rivers and lakes in Indiana.  So I (potentially naively) figured I could handle a full Ironman with Sonja’s guidance.

If you had to choose, which leg of the triathlon is your favorite?
The run.  I feel like I was born to run.  I may not be the fastest or the most efficient, but I love running.  It’s freedom and peace.  It’s joy.

What does your training look like when prepping for a big race?
Each Ironman build has been vastly different depending on my work/life stresses and obligations.  Within the last year or so my training volume has decreased significantly.  A typical workday right now looks something like this:

  • 4:45 AM – alarm goes off and I’m up running or on the bike trainer
  • Swim every other day at lunch masters (every day would be ideal but sometimes I have meetings)
  • Optional evening workout

The weekends are typically dedicated to coaching and training.  I used to get two big days in on Saturday and Sunday, but within the last year its evolved to one bigger day and maybe another ½ day of training so I can catch up on work and coaching.

Alright – so what is one of the craziest things that happened to you in a race?
I don’t think anything too crazy has happened to me in a race.  I lost one of my elbow pads on my aero bars at IMTX last year at mile 5 (probably a combination of wind and being saturated from rain the previous night).  Needless to say, my left elbow was quite sore and bruised after riding on the metal bar for the last 107 miles.

What inspires you?
The mountains have been my inspiration from the first time I saw them.  They are my home.  Through the hardest times and the best times they are always there for me, bringing me peace and inspiration.

---

And that’s a wrap!  Coach Mikki certainly knows how to guide and problem-solve for her athletes with her focused plans on the individual.  Our RTTC family is so lucky to have Coach Mikki, and if you’d like to learn more about working with Mikki or any of our other awesome coaches, visit www.risingtidetri.com/enrolltraining for more information.