Member Monday: Ellie Thermansen


WHY DO YOU RACE? WHAT STARTED YOUR LOVE FOR ENDURANCE SPORTS?

I played competitive club and high school soccer until college. The plan was to play collegiately but a week before I started I realized that I was totally uninterested and burned out. I joined the women's crew to stay involved with a team sport but to do something new after eleven years of full-time soccer. I started distance running while living in NYC after graduation at the suggestion of a co-worker, and we ran the Chicago marathon together in 2007. I kept running and transitioned to trail running and trail endurance events after moving to Michigan and fell in love with the experience of spending all day in the woods. I continued to run and race endurance trail events in MI and after moving to MN until a tendon injury a week before the Superior 50k last year effectively ended distance running for me. My husband is a cyclist and he encouraged me to get on a bike as soon as I was able, and after I finished grieving the end of running for me, I realized that cycling was enormously fun and fulfilling for me as well.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO TRAIN AT KINGFIELD ENDURANCE?

I rode and trained mostly by myself last fall and after spending way too many hours alone in the basement riding on the trainer this winter I was bored and had clearly plateaued in my training. I thought I might be interested in road racing and in meeting other female cyclists so I did some Strava/googling/internet stalking related to the women's race scene in Minneapolis, and found Kingfield that way. It was incredibly lucky! I had done absolutely no strength training since rowing in college and was thrilled to find an opportunity get back into it with the guidance and support of knowledgable coaches.

WHAT KEEPS YOU COMING  BACK TO KINGFIELD ENDURANCE?

Community, knowledge, and experience. There are so many extremely talented and committed athletes who train at Kingfield and I love hearing about everyone's adventures and victories, whether large or small. There is a great energy in the gym during every workout, and without exception every person there is genuinely excited and glad to support and encourage one another.

The variety of workouts is also really important to me. Left to my own devices I would still just be riding the same four loops over and over on my bike but each session has Kingfield has been brand new. It keeps training interesting, which is huge for me in terms of maintaining motivation.

I joined the women's race team in April and am coming to the end of my first competitive road cycling season and it has been an incredible couple of months of pushing myself, trying new things, traveling, and opening up new friendships.

HOW HAS CROSSFIT TRAINING IMPACTED YOUR ENDURANCE SPORTS PERFORMANCE? 

The effect was immediate and dramatic. Within weeks I was seeing tremendous changes in both power and endurance abilities while on my bike. The improvements in core and overall strength also have been critical in giving me better control of my body on my bike, which is huge from a safety standpoint during races or at higher speed.

DO YOU HAVE A MOTTO? “Be joyful.”

I am prone to obsessing and being overly critical of my own performance, which historically has sent me into mental spirals when things are going perfectly during races or training. It seems overly simplistic but when I notice myself starting to panic or use negative self-talk it brings me out of it. Racing is challenging, but it should also be fun! I am so fortunate for the ability and opportunity to challenge myself with a healthy body and that’s absolutely something to celebrate.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WORKOUT OR MOVEMENT?

“Favorite” is a generous term….but I could barely do a set of single knees-on-the-ground pushups in March and so they’re the most effective way for me to see how my strength has improved over the past few months, so that’s satisfying!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOD? If it's a carb I'm probably eating it right now.

WHAT IS YOUR POWER SONG? Bluegrass for trail running, any early 90s Smashing Pumpkins or Nirvana on the trainer.