I had the chance recently to talk triathlon with the Tri Club's Elizabeth Daubner. Elizabeth qualified for the Hawaiian Ironman by winning the women's 45-49 age group at California 70.3 with a blistering quick time of 5:02:29. Please join me as we get to know this wonderfully sweet lady!
Craig: A lot of TCSD people think of you as "the sweet lady" because you provide the desserts at the Aquathlons. How did you get that job and what are some of the dishes you've spoiled us with over the years?
Elizabeth: The desserts... Can you say Jim McCann? When I asked how I could help out TSCD what does he come up with... cakes! He says how about baking some cakes for the Aquathlon. Cakes for 200, sure, who cares if I don’t bake! Fine time to start! So there it began, but Jim was never one to just let things be. He upped the challenge each month. He‘d say DeeDee and I had this great chocolate covered fruit. Do you think you could do that? Or, I’ve always wanted banana splits at the beach... Over the years it has ranged from pumpkin pie to apple crisp a la mode. It’s been really fun.
Craig: What was your athletic background prior to triathlon?
Elizabeth: In high school I played basketball and volleyball. I have terrible eye-hand coordination. My primary strength was running around and getting in the way of the other team’s players; somewhat useful in basketball, but I’m not sure how much of an asset I was to the volleyball team. My childhood trophy case is filled with awards for most inspirational and most improved. Translation, always the worst but quite cheerful! (I must note that I was expelled from high school for drinking beer before basketball practice. I haven’t picked up a basketball since... but excuse me, could you please pass me that Sierra Nevada!)
Craig: How did you get introduced to triathlon?
Elizabeth: My husband Pat was anxious to get me into something that would completely wear me out. I’m, should we say, a little fidgety. My children were getting older and needing me less, and I guess my extra energy was a bit unfocused and apparently slightly grating. Oh dear!
Pat had raced triathlon before we met. As we have been married 22 years his racing was during triathlon’s infancy. His stories sounded horrible; long distance racing with terrible equipment and little or no support. It seemed to be all about cramping, vomiting, bonking and passing out... really fun stuff!
Somehow he sugar coated all those stories (should we call it rebranding) and with the help of my great friend a fellow triathlete Kathleen Rafaat persuaded me to sign up for Solana Beach.
Craig: How did that 1st race go for you?
Elizabeth: First Race: Age 39, Solana Beach Sprint Triathlon 2003. What can I say.. raced on my 1985 Dave Scott Centurion. With Dave Scott’s name on my bike I really don’t know why I didn’t win! Maybe it was the stop at the potties during the swim to bike transition. Or the stopping to chat during the bike to run transition. Really there are so many fun ways to waste time in transition. Anyway, the race was not a celebration of speed (sorry Dave) but it was pretty fun; I definitely caught the triathlon bug! By the way, I still have trouble with transitions. This year at Ford 70.3 I spent nearly 6 minutes trying to figure out what to wear. Fashion!!!!
Craig: What Ironman distance races have you done?
Elizabeth: I’ve done Silverman Full twice. 2005 12:50:20, 2006 12:32:42 The first year I was really careful about pacing on the bike.. zone one for 1 hour.. zone 2 for ... bike split 7:01. 2006 I decided really push the pace, zone 3 to 4 the whole ride ... 40 mile an hour winds... bike split 7:08. Oh well!
Craig: What has been your favorite race of all time?
Elizabeth: Silverman is my favorite race. They offer both a full and a half. At 4 years old it is a race that is still in a grass roots stage. It is like a fabulous iron distance club race. The race director Frank Lowery is charming and chatty and somehow everywhere. And if he’s not there then it is his wife and young children, his father, or his sisters. The sense of a family putting on this race trickles down to the racers and fosters a rare sense of camaraderie among participants. And to get through this race you’ll need that camaraderie. The bike is 9,727 feet of climbing. The run is 1,560 feet and while the swim should be flat when the winds blow the waves make you feel like that’s a climb too. We’ve had rain, hail, and 40 mile an hour winds. But the whole thing is an amazing adventure and I’ve yet to meet anyone who has done the race that isn’t passionate about it. No one gives up; those that don’t finish are back the next year to give it another shot!
Craig: Was qualifying for Hawaii a goal of yours?
Elizabeth: No. I really like to race with Pat. For him heat is a killer so that pretty much ruled out Hawaii. That being said I’ve always carried a check with me to Ford, because while I didn’t choose to pursue Hawaii, I would never turn down the opportunity. I feel really lucky and excited to go.
Craig: A couple of years ago your husband Pat suffered a horrible bike crash. What happened and what would you like Tri Club members to know about this Daubner experience?
Elizabeth: Oh boy, talk about facing your mortality. Uggh! Pat was riding in Rancho Sante Fe on a beautiful little stretch of road (Artesian Road) that has a very steep hill followed by unmarked speed bumps. He was found about 10 feet from the first speed bump, semi conscious. His injuries include a shattered pelvis with several inches of displacement, broken collarbone, and a concussion. He had 6 hours of surgery to reconstruct the pelvis and pin the collarbone. I wish I had something positive to say about the experience. Well I guess I do, his doctors were wonderful. I am especially thankful to the pelvic traumatologist Dr. Jeffrey Smith. I wish I had words of wisdom to pass on. I don’t. There are too many accidents every year and I’m amazed at the courage of many of our fellow TCSDers in tackling the long painful recovery.
Craig: Let's lighten this up a little bit. What is a funny triathlon story you have been involved in?
Elizabeth: Is potty humor light... or dark. My first Ironman I had total intestinal meltdown. Silverman became ‘Tour de Porta Potty’. I visited every single bathroom on the 26 mile run. It was miserable but so ridiculous that it was sort of funny. I kept wishing I had stickers or toilet seals, ‘This potty has been personally inspected by your fellow racer Elizabeth Daubner’. I made it through that race, but now never race long distance with out a first aid kit which includes Imodium.
Craig: What would you suggest to women, in particular, who are thinking about doing their first triathlon?
Elizabeth: Women... go out there and have fun. Take the race part out of the equation completely. Triathlon is all about getting a great workout and hanging with bunch of fun people. Yes there are a few folks that are pushy and testy, but mostly it’s people that will gladly help you out... whether it be to scoot their bike over to make room for you at an overcrowded race bike rack, or help set up your transition area and zip up your wetsuit. Find a race and get registered! Committing to do the race is probably the hardest part! It is all fun after that!
Craig: Who will join you for the trip to Ironman Hawaii?
Elizabeth: Just Pat. My kids are mortified by our triathlon lifestyle and want nothing to do with it. Maybe if I didn’t insist on wearing that Aero helmet all the time...
Craig: Does anyone sponsor you?
Elizabeth: I am fortunate to have Moment Cycle Sport behind me. The shop owners Cory Osth and JT Lyons are fantastic people. They have the right blend of loving bikes and appreciating and really understanding the engineering of all the available cycling equipment. JT is infinitely patient in steering one to the right bike fit and bike to fill your cycling needs. I bought a Felt B2 at their shop last year. I love it! 3,500 miles later I can say that they certainly guided me to the right bike!
And while not a sponsor (but a club sponsor) I’d like to thank Gino Cinco of UCPT. He has helped me through countless injuries and got me to the race start every time!
Of course my biggest sponsor and number one fan is my hubby Pat. His support and encouragement make it all possible.
Craig: What are your triathlon goals beyond Kona?
Elizabeth: Beyond Kona... what? You mean I still have to keep exercising! Seriously, my triathlon goals.... Hmm, keep getting to the starting line and seek out some new triathlon adventures for Pat and I.
Craig: Elizabeth, you are the best! I knew you’d be an awesome interview. I waited far too long to do this with you. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your sense of humor. Good luck to you in Kona and beyond. The TCSD is lucky to have you and Pat on our team!