Multiview 10: Susan Middlebrooks

27 Mar

Susan is my former roommate’s older sister. He is as family as family can get without any blood ties and Susan is too. I’ve always admired Susan’s “get up and go” approach to everything. She always seems to be eager to tackle a challenge while at the same time totally honest about who she is and where she’s at. She’s also sort of constantly happy–and not in a false or annoying way–even maybe when things aren’t so peachy. Just look at that picture of her up there on her bike! In the middle of a race: all smiles. NOBODY smiles in their race pix. Except for Susan. Susan does.

Whenever Susan and I hang out, we tend to do two things: 1) exercise and 2) eat. She was responsible for me running my first 5K: the Country’s Midnight Express in 2006. Not surprisingly, there was a BBQ sandwich waiting for us at the finish line of that one. Susan was also responsible for my first trip to the Bulloch House Restaurant and my first experience with monkey buns. If you care about these sorts of things, you can read about both experiences in my essay 2005: A Southern Food Odyssey. As a thank you to Susan for all the amazing firsts, I took her to her first Bikram class. You can read about that experience below. Here is Susan’s story:

Name: Susan Middlebrooks
Hometown: Chickamauga, Georgia
Current Town: Pine Mountain, Georgia
Sport(s) of Choice: Running, Triathlon, and others!
Longest Distance Covered and on what (feet/bike/skis/snowshoes/etc…): I have run two marathons. The longest bike rides I have completed have been 50-milers.
Occupation: Coordinator of the Burwell Program, a school for children with severe emotional and behavioral disorders (Thus my need for frequent exercise…..)

Gimme a brief history of Susan in sports. Have you always been athletic?

I have not always been athletic and to this day I do not have good eye-hand coordination. In school I was often last to be picked for the team. At the same time, I have always been active. I enjoy the outdoors and would often be outside running around, playing in the woods, etc.

You’ve been running and racing for a really long time and recently started doing triathlons. What made you decide to add swimming and biking to your sports repertoire?

I started participating in sprint triathlons three years ago. It was something I considered for about four years before taking the plunge. The biggest thing holding me back was that I did not own a road bike. I ended up having a foot issue that required two months of no running, so I bought a bike as retail therapy! After I started riding with a group it seemed like the time was right to try tri. I am absolutely enjoying myself and I think diversifying is a good idea as I get older (I will be 40 in June). The hardest things about transitioning to multisport have been figuring out how to fit in the different elements of training and building an efficient swim stroke.

Describe a typical training day both in the on and off season.

For me each day is pretty different. A typical week on season includes about 7 hours of training – three swims, two runs, one or two outdoor rides, and maybe a class like the Plyometric class at our gym or an adult jazz class at the local dance studio. In the off-season I only swim two days and ride outside several times a month rather than weekly. I also focus more on strength training in the off-season and do a 15-mile road race and sometimes a half-marathon in the fall.

What do you normally eat?

I enjoy cooking and try to eat at home most nights. I also carry all of my food with me to work each day. I love fruits and veggies and try to eat locally and in-season as much as possible. At the same time, I have a sweet tooth and no foods are “forbidden.” Let’s just say I am much more regimented with the exercise routine than with the diet! I do try to maintain a balance of about 80 % healthy and 20 % not so healthy. This helps me keep my weight fairly stable.

How do you maintain balance between your training life your and life-life? Do you ever feel like you have to sacrifice one for the other?

I actually met my husband at a road race and he is totally understanding about the necessity of exercise to my mental and physical health. We do not have children, so that makes scheduling a bit easier. Thankfully most of my good friends are also training partners, so the exercise life and social life blend well. One of the reasons I am not currently interested in training for another marathon or an ironman is because I am not willing to commit eight or more hours a week to training.

What are your goals? Either short or long term?

Long term my goal is to exercise for the rest of my life if at all possible! Right now I am working on my swim in hopes of completing my first Olympic distance triathlon in May. I am currently signed up for a sprint triathlon the last weekend in March and will use that as a warm-up race. On April 14th I will be running a 10-k and 5k back-to-back, so doing long runs accordingly to be ready for that. I am also doing my first “mud run” on April 28th, but I am not doing anything specific to train for that – it is going to totally be about having fun with my girlfriends!

Can you recall a particularly challenging moment in training or racing?

Thankfully I have had very few injuries, but as we all know these setbacks are highly frustrating. This is one of the great reasons to diversify exercise and be willing to try new things. If I had not had a foot issue that sidelined me from running I might have never entered a triathlon. My motto is “do what you can do” when injury strikes.

Any interesting/funny/inspiring stories you want to share from training or racing?

Umm, does me fainting in that Bikram class count?!

Yes. Particularly because it was my fault.


3 Responses to “Multiview 10: Susan Middlebrooks”


  1. A Classic Day (Nautical South Beach Triathlon: 4/1/12) « mymultipersonality - April 2, 2012

    […] used Susan Middlebrook’s mantra on the last f*cking mile and it fell in time perfectly with my cadence. There was a brief […]

  2. Page not found « mymultipersonality - April 29, 2012

    […] Multiview 10: Susan Middlebrooks […]

  3. 13.1 Miles of Amazing « mymultipersonality - April 29, 2012

    […] been looking forward to this mile for no other reason than I knew I’d get to use Susan’s mantra. “It’s the last fucking mile,” fit the rhythm of this pace like a glove and kept […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: