photo: Darlene Prois
Hometown: Baxter, MN
Single mom with three sons, ages 3, 5 and 7
When did you start competing?
This is going to be my third season. Before 2006, I didn't even know there were inline races. I found about them from my fiance, Jim O'Hearn. We met skating on the Paul Bunyon Trail in Brainerd. I noticed his skates were different than mine and I asked him what they were, and he said, "racing skates." After that, I just went to Scheels in St. Cloud and bought some K2 Radicals, which I thought were pretty fast.
Then I went to the Hoyt Lake Half Marathon and got second; then to the Hayward Marathon and got first.
After that, I went to the Saint Paul Marathon and skated with the pro women, including Jessica Smith [25-time world champion], and I only finished 19 seconds back. I felt pretty good about that.
Were you an athlete before you started racing?
Not really. I had children young, so I didn't have time. But I was always one of the fastest runners in school. I was in track in seventh grade and went to state. But I didn't stick with it. I think I was more interested in boys.
As a little girl, I used to go everywhere in my plastic Barbie skates, and when I was 12, I used to rollerblade into town all the time. It was 11 miles one way, so 22 miles round-trip.
How do you train?
I'm trying to work on my technique these days. Over the winter, I worked on a slideboard, and I think it really helped. I'm learning more about how to use the fall [the transfer of weight from one skate to the other] for power. Instead of using more of a running motion and toe-pushing, I'm trying to go side to side. Up until now, I've mostly used my power. But I know I have a lot more to work on.
You've become something of a celebrity in the skate world. What do you make of that?
It seems like everyone knows me when I show up at a race. I had someone in Texas ask me to sign a picture of me, and I've had people ask me to sign their calendars. It's pretty neat.
I really enjoy going to the races and meeting all these skaters who come from all over the country. It's a great experience.
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