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Athlete Spotlight: Aaron and Christina

Note from Coach Vicki | I am always amazed when both partners in a relationship decide to complete in an Ironman distance event in the same year. I wonder, who is cleaning the house? Who is taking care of the animals? Who is making dinner at the end of a long training day? Christina and Aaron are managing to do just that—each training for Ironman races two weeks apart from one another.

These two embrace every part of life and their attitudes exemplify that!

Be sure to cheer Aaron on as he competes at St. George this year, and Christina 2 weeks later at Tulsa.

Name | Aaron Dommeyer and Christina Lettelier

Tell us about your family/career.

AARON: I live in Hudson, WI with Christina and our two Australian cattle dogs, Willow and Meeko. They’re both under two years old and have an endless amount of energy! We plan on turning them into trail running doggos in the near future. I work at IPS Cranes as their warehouse manager and it’s been a great company to work for.

CHRISTINA: I live in Hudson with Aaron and our 2 crazy cattle dogs. Most of my family lives further East in WI. I am a licensed Realtor in MN and WI and also hold a BFA in Interior Design. I help people find homes and have the skills to help them renovate them to make it a reflection of themselves.

What is your personal favorite sport/activity?

AARON: Running! Wouldn’t it be great if triathlons shortened the bike and extended the run? I’d be okay with it. Both Christina and I have goals of completing ultra marathons, so there is sure to be plenty of running in our future.

CHRISTINA: My favorite thing in the whole world is trail running! We live close to Willow River State park and that’s where I like to spend my free time (when I have it). The pups like it too!

Outside of training with Tri Fitness, what are some of your favorite hobbies?

AARON: Since I know my coach is reading this… I have no hobbies other than training! Even though I’m joking, sometimes it feels like this is true, especially as the training days get longer leading up to race day. While training and racing is definitely my favorite hobby, I also enjoy spending time at our family’s cabin fishing and kayaking, playing darts, and game nights with friends.

CHRISTINA: When I’m not exploring new trails or at the Willow, I like to work with our cattle monsters and draw/paint or work on renovation projects.

What is your favorite motivational quote?

AARON: I don’t really have a favorite motivational quote, so I Googled one. “Let your legs do the running, your mind do the pacing, and your heart do the pushing.” Very inspiring. So motivational. Much deep.

CHRISTINA: “The first mile is always a liar, never trust it.” I don’t know who it is by, but I think it applies to both training as well as life in general. Things are always rough in the beginning.

Favorite gear for summer/winter/racing.

AARON: I recently bought a Garmin Tacx Neo 2T smart trainer and I wish I had bought it sooner! Biking is my least favorite discipline at the moment, but I’ve made good strides at getting stronger lately; a lot of which I attribute to the trainer not letting me take it easy during workouts! I’m big on listening to music while I train. A lot of people are surprised when I tell them that most triathlons do not allow music at any time during the race—even the run. As someone that always runs with music during training, I thought that I would hate racing without it, but that isn’t the case. There’s so much going on during the race and my mind is always thinking about what I should be doing next for hydration or nutrition that it’s not too bad. However, there was one olympic distance triathlon I did this past summer that did allow music on the run and it was the greatest thing. I do feel it gives me a little extra boost! That being said, I love my Garmin Fenix that I can download music to and use my Jabra Elite Sport wireless earbuds with. For swim sessions I use H2O Audio waterproof headphones, which has a waterproof housing for an iPod shuffle. I am a member of Team Zoot and highly recommend their clothing and gear; everything is excellent quality and has held up exceptionally well during training and races.

CHRISTINA: I’m a pretty big shoe nerd, so probably my On Could X’s or Vibrams for trail running. I like to feel the trail and feel agile and sturdy on more technical terrain. If my feet aren’t comfortable, I’m not happy. I also like my Nathan brand quickshot water bottle. Anything light that allows me to just focus on the trail views! For tri training and road racing, my headlamp is a must because we always seem to be getting to the run portion after dark! Especially when training over the winter for spring races. Fun fact: I have no favorite winter gear other than anything that keeps me warm like my buff because running in the winter is NOT my cup of tea. I HATE being cold.

What keeps you going when you really don’t want to go?

AARON: There are a few things that come to mind here. Probably the biggest thing that keeps me going is the feeling I get crossing the finish line after having a great race. I’ve had my share of races in the past that I didn’t properly train for that I end up finishing but being in some pain while doing so. To this day, nothing has compared to how I felt during and after finishing my first 140.6, Ironman Wisconsin in 2019. That was my first time using a coach (Vicki) and it made all the difference. I went into that race knowing I had put in the time and the work necessary, and I think the smile on my face after finishing said it all. It was only a couple weeks later that I was registered for my next Ironman race. Striving to achieve that feeling definitely kicks my butt into gear on the days I want to skip a workout. It also helps having a great training partner that helps hold you accountable for getting workouts done! Lastly, I remind myself how much I’ve financially invested in this whole endeavor! That never fails to get me off the couch.

CHRISTINA: Gains so I can one day beat Aaron in a race—preferably trail.

What got you started with training/racing?

AARON: In the fall of 2018 I went with my best friend to watch his dad race at Ironman Wisconsin and it was my first time watching an Ironman take place. Having ran marathons before, it didn’t take long for the race day atmosphere there to make me want to start running again. However, there was something even more electrifying about this whole Ironman thing that made me think it would be pretty cool to do one of these things someday. Fast forward a couple weeks and my friend and I were having a couple beers around the bonfire and he said we should sign up for Ironman Wisconsin the next year. I agreed to it not really knowing if he’s going to be thinking the same thing in the morning, but sure enough he was. Not too long after that I met with Vicki and we came up with a game plan to get me across the finish line. And that’s it. It’s not something that was a goal of mine growing up, and admittedly not something I had put much thought into before signing up. More so just did it on a whim. To this day I think it was one of the best decisions I’ve made because of the passion I now have for the sport, and because it ultimately led me to meeting Christina!

CHRISTINA: In 2015 I set a goal to run a half marathon. It didn’t go super well because I didn’t fuel and finished with super sore everything. After that, I decided to focus more on training and nutrition and ran my first full marathon in 2019 after taking a position as manager of the Running Room in Woodbury. I fully emersed myself in the running community and never looked back. When I met Aaron, I told him I’d get into triathlon if he did ultra-running, but I have definitely fallen in love with both swimming and biking. We have yet to set an ultra-race goal. I would prefer it be a trail ultra.

When you tell your friends/family about beginning your journey what was their reaction?

AARON: I feel like I got mostly neutral reactions. There weren’t many friends and family I told that knew exactly what an Ironman entailed, so it wasn’t until I explained that I got more of a response. From there it was a lot of “that sounds awful” or “isn’t there a shorter one?” but mostly I think not knowing what to say since it wasn’t something I had ever talked about before.

CHRISTINA: Most people are just surprised at how long a full Ironman race is. Most think I am insane for liking running just for fun. They also laugh at me because I say “I only have a __mi run later” which gets longer and longer as the training season goes by which makes me sound increasingly more insane to them. After a full marathon and training for long distance triathlons, a half and even a full marathon doesn’t seem all that bad!

How long have you been training/racing?

AARON: I ran my first marathon at 17 and continued to run marathons and shorter distance races off and on into my mid-20s. Then I was kind of stuck in a rut until I started triathlon training the fall of 2018 and have no plans of stopping again!

CHRISTINA: Not that long actually! I didn’t think I was really going to get into racing back when I did my first half marathon in 2015. I signed up for Twin Cities in 2019 and that’s when I really caught the bug. Before that and meeting Aaron, I really just ran for fun on trails.

Were you involved in other competitive sports prior to your adult years? (ie- athletic background)

AARON: I played soccer, basketball, and baseball growing up, and was in cross-country for a year in high school.

CHRISTINA: I ran track all through middle school and high school. I mostly did 100/200m sprints and 300m hurdles, so switching from sprinting to long distance was a bit of work as I always wanted to go fast! Sprint work on tracks close to home are fun for me since I have a sprint background.

Best tip for a newbie?

AARON: Trust your training. That’s something I heard my Dad say to me as I passed by him cheering me on during my first Ironman. When the race started, I knew I had put in the time and the miles necessary to cross the finish line. However, as the day goes on and fatigue starts to set in it can be easy to question how much you have left in the tank. During the race, just think back to all of the long days you put in during training. This is just another one of those days you’ve already completed, just with a much sweeter ending!

CHRISTINA: Just have fun and don’t worry about being fast right away. That comes with time and practice. If you truly want to succeed, take your time building a base slowly to prevent injury and prevent burnout. Sometimes when I’m in the peak of training I need to remind myself of this. As it gets closer to race time, I freak out that my gains aren’t bigger and I forget to take my easy days honestly easy and just enjoy the ride.

What is your favorite pre/post workout snack/drink?

AARON: Pre-workout drink: Bucked Up Woke AF (grape gainz), especially if I’m a little tired leading up to a workout.

Pre-workout snack: dates, PB&J

Post-workout drink: chocolate milk, Beyond Raw Precision BCAA (iced tea & lemonade)

Post-workout snack: all of the things!

CHRISTINA: Pre workout: Probably either pancakes or a good pb and j and coffee. I NEED coffee before my day begins or a good pre-workout like Bucked up before a long workout or a strength training session.

Post workout: A hearty meal that is NOT sweet! After a long day of gels and Gatorade, I definitely crave savory and salt. Wings are my absolute go to/guilty pleasure after a long day or race with maybe a beer/wine.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

AARON: My dad. He got me into running when I was younger, and if I didn’t have the running background I did, I don’t think I would’ve signed up for my first Ironman. Also knowing I have a lot of work to do to beat his fastest marathon time keeps me going!

CHRISTINA: Aaron, my boyfriend, and my brother who passed away in 2020. Aaron keeps me going, supports my goals, and the playful competition we have is fun, as we typically have the same races now each year. We have yet to go head-to-head at a marathon in which I currently hold a better time for, but I’m pretty sure he’s faster than me now that’s he’s been doing Ironman. When my brother passed away, it was very hard as we were very close. I think of him often and how he would support me and always believe in my crazy goals. Thinking of him keeps me going on some hard days because he wouldn’t want me to quit.

What is your biggest struggle?

AARON: Not getting enough sleep. It seems so easy. Just go to bed earlier, right? Juggling training with work, home renovation projects, social life, sleep, and all the other little things that come up can sometimes be a challenge. Getting to sleep when I want to (and when I really should be, considering the training load) never really seems to happen.

CHRISTINA: Balancing a busy career life, a full townhouse renovation, and two super hyper dogs with getting training in. Sometimes it feels more like work than fun because I don’t get much downtime. I can’t imagine not racing though. It’s a lifestyle that I love so much! The thought of taking a break for finishing our renovation kind of stresses me out because I’d always rather be running!

What is your pre-race routine?

AARON: I’m pretty meticulous about checking things off my race checklist while laying everything out the night before, and then going through everything another time. I never fall asleep as early as I’d like to the night before, as my mind is always racing (pun intended). While I normally hit the snooze button a few times when my alarm goes off for work, when my alarm goes off on race day morning it’s a different story. I’m up immediately and make some coffee and eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while starting to visualize the race. I mentally go through what my transitions will look like as well as my nutrition and hydration plan.

CHRISTINA: To be completely honest, I have never been good at having a set routine. I make sure I have everything and just get up, eat, and go! I plan by having my nutrition and hydration as well as gear out, and try to follow a timeline, but don’t stress too much if something isn’t perfect race morning. I’m sure it stresses Aaron out because he is meticulous in his race week ritual. It’s something I’d like to get better at, but I am typically swamped with work leading up to when we leave for our race destination.

Goals for upcoming year?

AARON: I am racing Ironman St. George in May! It should be a beautiful course and I’m hoping for no rain, as I’ve had rain for both my Ironman races and now that I think about it, a lot of my triathlons too. Christina and I will be running Ragnar Trail Wisconsin in September and plan on mixing in some shorter distance races throughout the summer and fall as well.

CHRISTINA: After almost 2 years of racing triathlons, I’d really like to focus on my ultra-running goal and explore trails again as well as strength train more. It’s been stressful while renovating, so it would be nice to get lost in some trails to relax and clear my head until after the renovation is over, and we can really hit training hard again with some lofty goals. I also want to run Twin Cities marathon again, and redeem myself at Willow River Trail challenge in which I DNF’d in 2019 due to running Twin Cities marathon for the first time just a week before. My knee gave out on mile 12 in, which I found out later was really close to the finish line, as it was short of a full half. At the time I thought I really had a trashed knee and didn’t want to chance it. Running is something I don’t think I could ever go more than a little while without. It is my stress release time, and I can’t wait to keep learning, training hard, and making gains. I have an ultimate goal of running Boston Marathon and making it to Kona. We have a long way to go, and I am glad I have all the support I do to make it happen.

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