This month I interviewed one of our fabulous Chicago area Race Guards team members, Heather Poffenbarger. Heather is an athletic trainer and brings to the Race Guards team the skill and training that comes from treating a variety of injuries daily. She also has an optimistic outlook and positive energy that is contagious.
Q. How did you first become interested in Race Guards and how long have you been a member?
A. I first became interested in Race Guards after I saw their booth at a race expo in Chicago. I have always wanted to get involved on a different level within the running community and this was the perfect opportunity to help. I have been a member since 2015.
Q. What do you do for your career and how does it impact being a Race Guards member?
A: I am a certified athletic trainer. I work in preventing and caring for athletic injuries. I see many athletes each day throughout the school year that have minor to severe/season ending injuries. Each athlete comes with their own set of craziness/attitude/why me moments and this often spills into other aspects of life. I am able to utilize my professional skills while working as a Race Guards team member to help those who are needing assistance and encourage them to stay calm and keep moving forward.
Q. What is the most recent event you participated in and what is your favorite?
A. Esprit De She Triathlon in Naperville, IL. I have enjoyed all the races I have participated in as a Race Guards team member and can’t pick a favorite…yet :)
Q. What is your most memorable experience as a Race Guards member?
A. I have worked the Boston Qualifier races in Geneva, IL. It is exciting to witness the runners who qualify for Boston. How can you not be inspired to give it your all after their hard work and determination with each loop that they complete.
Q. Can you give an example of someone that you helped at an event and how it impacted you?
A. I worked a triathlon last year and had an athlete collapse right near the finish. After we completed the event, a fellow Race Guards team member and I stopped by medical to make sure she was okay. Luckily she was responsive and being taken care of by the medical staff. It is in that moment that I realized my importance and how amazing it is to be a part of something that has such a large positive influence in the running community.
Q. What is your funniest Race Guards moment?
A. During the Rock-n-Roll Chicago Half Marathon my friend (fellow Race Guards team member Holly Lindroth) and I kept smelling the Perform spray, only to realize that she was hitting it with her elbow. Not once, but several times throughout the race. At least her elbow felt good for a while.
Q. What is your favorite post race pig-out food?
A. Fountain pop…I crave sugar!
Q. What is your fitness background and have you had any physical challenges or injuries along the way?
A. I played soccer my entire childhood and into some of my adult life and was a dancer for a local studio at home. I now mostly run and once in a while enter a sprint triathlon. I do teach yoga (vinyasa and aerial) now and continue to practice as often as I teach. As I get older, I have finally learned to listen to my body in hope avoid any injuries that would decrease my fitness levels. Once in a while I do get slowed down by nagging injuries but continue to keep moving and taking it one day at a time.
Q. How would you sum up your philosophy of life in one sentence?
A. The only time you should ever look back, is to see how far you’ve come. — Unknown
Thank you, Heather, for your dedication to being an outstanding Race Guards team member!!