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Athlete Spotlight: Jim and Diane Barr

Note from Coach Vicki | Diane and Dr. Barr are a welcome sight at our 5:30am classes. They always have smiles on their faces and fun stories to share!

Dr. Barr has joined our classes in each location we have occupied, has trained for Ironman with us, and takes his fitness seriously. Even after hip surgery, he was back at class in record time! About 3 years ago, he convinced Diane to join in the fun!

Diane is like so many women, not considering herself an "athlete," and therefore thinking she might not fit in or is unable to keep up.

Thankfully, she was willing to go out of her comfort zone and gave our classes a try. Now she is coming consistently 3x/week, and we sure have seen the difference in her strength and fitness.

Diane and Jim are a pure joy to have in our community and we are thankful for the opportunity to improve their fitness levels!

Name | Jim and Diane Barr

Tell us about your family/career.

JIM: I have been a doctor of chiropractic for over 35 years, with certifications in sports and nutrition. I've been married to my beautiful wife for 38 years and have 5 amazing and successful children.

DIANE: Jim & I have been married for 38.5 years. We lived in the Twin Cities initially, then moved to rural WI to start his chiropractic career. During the 24 years that followed, our family expanded to 7 with the addition of five awesome kiddos! Career-wise, I spent several years in nursing management positions before shifting gears to full time mom and ground control manager. As the flock left the fold, we relocated back to MN. Jim bought a practice in White Bear Lake, and I dove back into a second wave of management positions focusing on the needs of older adults.

What is your personal favorite sport/activity?

JIM: My favorite sport to watch is ice hockey and my favorite activities are an assortment of triathlons, biking and running events, including my favorite, the Ironman!

DIANE: Hands down my favorite sport/activity would be motherhood, which takes oodles of energy and endurance! For many years I was head cheerleader to our 5 kids and the various sports and activities they pursued while supporting Jim in his athletic pursuits (hockey, Ironman, and marathon events). Personally speaking, I’ve never been big on organized sports, though I did run a few 5k’s and was in a golf league. A consistent workout schedule was never my strong suit, but at times successfully maintained a run/stretch routine and participated in structured workout classes. Favorite hobbies — I love to polka, journal/pray, cook\entertain, nature watch, camp, and spend time with family and friends.

What is your favorite motivational quote?

JIM: "Always try your best, no matter what you find yourself doing. With a little prayer, you’ll always find your way."

DIANE: I don’t necessarily have a quote, but am motivated to stay healthy and live a full life.

Favorite gear for summer/winter/racing.

JIM: I’m a fat tire bike enthusiast. Warm clothes, of course! Tri kits for the summer. I'm big on a variety of nutritional support. I need and use base salts for longer endurance events.

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

JIM: A training facility and/or great trainers and training partners — you Tri Fitness!

DIANE: As healthcare professionals, we know firsthand the detrimental impact of inactivity and the importance of strength training as we age. Things are a little different in your 60’s, so cutting corners when it comes to health and fitness won’t yield the payoff we desire in the long run. Telling myself that I am blessed to have working body parts that enable me to choose something good for my well being is motivating to me.

What got you started with training/racing?

JIM: Early morning swimming at a local high school in Wisconsin, then meeting 2 Ironman athletes! The rest is history…

DIANE: My husband — who by far has been an athlete extraordinaire!! They always say getting started is half the battle. When you see the payoff — more energy, moving better, increased strength, clarity of mind, sense of accomplishment, etc., you realize this is a successful recipe for a better and more disciplined life.

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

JIM: When I told my family I was going to enter the Ironman competition, I think they thought I was going through a midlife crisis.

DIANE: People think I’m nuts to attend workout sessions at 5:30am. For the most part, Jim and I attended together, which really helped me develop a set routine that continued even after his work schedule changed, so that I'm going solo. The comradery of the “5:30 squad” is extra icing on the cake. We yawn and moan together, tell stories, and share the love. Somehow I’ve managed to stay on course for 2+ years AND start my workday on time — that’s a win-win!

How long have you been training/racing?

JIM: I’ve played ice hockey for as long as I can remember and well into my middle 50s. I started running triathlons about 13 years ago after meeting a couple of Ironman athletes while I was swimming indoors. They convinced me that I should consider Ironman. I was practicing in Tomahawk, Wisconsin at the time. My training coach was a book, "Training Multisport Athletes" by Gale Bernhart. Let me assure you, a book pales in comparison to training with a coach and great partners. In 2008 I ran my first races — 5K, 10K, Grandma's Marathon, Tin Man-Wausau, and Ironman-Madison.

Best tip for a newbie?

JIM: “Failure is not an option.“ Don’t ever quit…

DIANE: Don’t compare — getting fit and active is achievable for everyone no matter what your starting point or end goal. We all have different abilities and health considerations; one size doesn’t fit all. In my book, any step that moves the needle in a positive direction is worth the effort and something to celebrate.

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

JIM: Pre-race: Rice cakes, bananas, almond butter; post-race: Surly furious (usually with Dan!). :-)

DIANE: I’m not training for an event, so my intake situation is less stringent, but I can say I truly look forward to the smell of home brewed coffee when I get home after a workout (thanks to a thoughtful husband and programmable coffeemaker!). I’m big on hydration and water is my drink of choice.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

JIM: My uncle, Joey, a very successful marathon runner, helped coach me for my first marathon.

What is your biggest struggle?

JIM: In March of 2020, I needed to have my right hip replaced (yes, right when covid hit) due to a hockey-related injury. I asked the surgeon if I could ever run again. His response, as he gets asked the same question quite often, was "It's your car, drive the way you want to." It's been hard. I bike a lot and have a short run going well. We'll see, as this year I plan on a few Tri's, maybe even a Half Ironman!

By the way, Tri fitness circuit class played a major role in my pre-surgical condition and my post-surgical recovery. All the doctors and nurses were amazed.

What is your pre-race routine?

JIM: My dinner before will usually consist of salmon, green beans with butter, salt and pepper, and risotto. Hydrate like crazy, and try to get to bed early and sleep.

Goals for upcoming year?

JIM: Get back into triathlon racing, sprint, Olympic, and possibly half Ironman.

If you have anything else you would like to add, please feel free!

JIM: If you’re considering getting into this type of thing, and of course you can, Tri Fitness has been an amazing place to train, meet people, and get the best athletic support from the most well-qualified trainers found anywhere!

DIANE: Kudos to trainers Vicki and Jack for their hard work and fortitude, especially during a pandemic and center relocation. We appreciate what you do for our benefit.

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