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Anna Solomon is an All World Athlete triathlete/duathlete and elite Obstacle Course Racer from Washington State. She has qualified for National Championships for both triathlon and duathlon since she entered the sport, as well as Spartan Race and OCR World Championships since entering the OCR elite circuit. With a 90% rate of age group podiums and a chance at Duathlon World Championships in 2017, Anna is a rising new kid in the multisport scene.
When she's not training she really loves to find obscure places to practice yoga, veganize recipes, and chase her dog on trails. Read more about her below and be sure to follow her on Insta/FB/Twitter for some awesome pics, inspo, and adventures.
Instagram - @plant_powered_anna
1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Germany and on the west coast. My mom works for the military so we moved a lot! My college was my 14th school attended, haha! If you want a set list it looks like: Alaska, Washington, Germany, So California, Germany, Nor California, Washington. PHEW!
2. Did you play sports when you were a kid?
I did Tae Kwon Do as a child/teen but that was it. I feared disappointing a team, so sports seemed scary. I was always outside playing, though! I fell out of trees and got poison oak a LOT as a kid.
3. When did you move to Washington state? What do you love most about training in your home state?
I just moved back this year! But have lived here two other times, to include college. I think my favorite thing about Washington is the different terrains. We have mountains, rain forest, desert, beach, you name it! There's no such thing as getting bored outdoors here.
4. How did you get into triathlons/duathlons? When was your first race?
When I moved to Florida back in 2013, I lost my mountains. Everything was so... flat. I knew that meant changing my outdoor activities and found a great group of cyclists to play with. In Florida multisport is wildly popular, so it was an easy way to stay active outdoors and make a bunch of friends. I don't think I would have found tri/du had I stayed in Washington. I'm so grateful to Florida for that, although less grateful for that humidity!
5. You also do obstacle course racing ("OCR"). When did you start doing OCR?
I had been wanting to try an OCR for a long time, but couldn't convince any friends to do one until 2014. I got a group of girls to do the "Dirty Girl Mud Run". It was so dang fun and I was instantly hooked! Then it became about any I could find nearby.
6. What type of OCR do you do? Do you belong to a team?
I'm open to trying any, but mostly stick to Spartan Race. I like that Spartan Race really utilizes the different terrains more than most OCR series' do. I also helped coordinate a local Mud Run in Florida for two years through a nonprofit I was working at at the time. I joined a competitive OCR team HEXT in 2015 which is based out of Canada, but we're slowly adding more Americans!
7. Do you train differently for triathlons than you do for OCR?
WAY WAY differently! In fact, it's a struggle to balance both to be honest. Running is about the only thing the two have in common. This year has felt like I've been constantly playing catch up with one training plan or the other. Between the two, I spend about 25 hours per week training. Can we say, "Bring on the off season!!"?
8. What's your morning ritual like? Coffee drinker?
I'm a huge coffee drinker! I always drink coffee and "Ultimate Daily Greens "(by North Coast Naturals) right in the morning to jump start my energy because my German Shepard expects a trip to the park immediately. We hit the park and light trails to wake the legs up. Then I can play on the playground (OCR training = monkey bars) before the rest of the world is awake. It's always done half awake, but by the time I'm back at the house I'm alive and kicking!
9. Do you have a favorite food?
All? Can that be my answer?
I would say if you were to bring me something to make me love you it would be Thai yellow or panang curry. I'm a sucker for curry. It's warm, simple ingredients, and filling without being heavy on the bod.
10. We noticed your Instagram name is @plant_powered_anna - are you vegetarian, vegan, etc.? At what age did you make the change and why?
I've been vegan for about 5 years. I took an environmental studies class in college and realised that was the best way to reduce my carbon footprint. The next morning I woke up and was done, "cold turkey" if you will. It was scary at first because people were really negative, but the longer I was plant-based the better I felt, the faster I recovered, the deeper I slept. Now I can't imagine harming another being for my taste buds when there are so many alternatives; and it seems that the endurance community is quickly coming around to more plant-based lifestyles as well. The longer I'm vegan, the more it blows my mind that others aren't, especially athletes.
11. Do you have to add in special foods for sustenance while training?
During the season, I eat an entire avocado for breakfast. I mash it up on toast with hot sauce and lemon juice. It's high calorie and fat, so perfect for the long training days. Of course I have items I down specifically during training like Munk Pack, FIg Bars (Nature's Bakery), and Huma gels. I have a sensitive stomach so I have to be super careful about what foods I eat during activities.
12. Congratulations on qualifying for the Duathlon world championships! How does one qualify - a certain amount of races with qualifying times?
Thank you! It's pretty dang exciting to be part of Team USA! To qualify you have to qualify for, attend, and place top 18 AG at Duathlon National Championships (that was in Bend, Oregon this year). To qualify for Duathlon Age Group Championship there are a few paths but normally you have to place top 10% at a qualifying race. It's a whole lot of qualifying for things, and done completely on accident for me. I was just glad that Nationals was a quick drive away!
13. When and where will you compete in Worlds?
Worlds is August 17/18th 2017 in Penticton, Canada. It seems like so long away! That's good, though. I have a lot to fix on my run game off the bike.
14. You take some pretty amazing photos on social media (which we love to feature)! Are there tricks you can share for those looking to "up" their photo game?
Oh, gosh... Don't be afraid to look ridiculous? When I have to prop the camera up on a few rocks, I know people give me weird looks! I truly have no photography skills. I believe it's mostly luck and the fact that I love the outdoors.
15. What are some of your upcoming races and near and long term goals?
I have a few more Spartan Races in 2016 (Seattle, Norcal) and some road running races. Sadly, multisport is a shorter season in the Pacific Northwest! Looking to 2017, I have started ultra-marathon training. I truly think I'm mediocre at all three disciplines in triathlon, so it's time to make myself proficient at at least one! Focusing on running this off-season will set me up with a solid base for both OCR and Multisport next year, so I won't feel as overwhelmed with the training. I want to hit an age group podium in an Ironman/70.3 Ironman race between I bump to the next bracket, so that is probably my longest term fitness goal. Other than that, just consistently qualify for Duathlon/Triathlon nationals and OCR/Spartan Race Worlds Championships. I've qualified the past two years, so I can't break the cycle now!
16. Love the pictures of your pup - what's her name and how long have you had her?
Her name is Infinity, but I call her Fin, Fini, or Punk. She's been at my side for two years now. She was a coworker's of a friend and he didn't want her anymore so was just going to through her up on Craigslist. That's a terrible place to put pets, especially with so many fight rings in Florida. My buddy grabbed her and I lucked out. I can't imagine my adventures without her at my side anymore. We're hitting a trail after I finish this interview!