Athlete Profile: Kimber Mattox
Kimber Mattox, a 26 year old from Bend, Oregon has quickly made herself known in the obstacle racing world after the Warrior Dash World Championships in 2014. She soon was recruited for the Atlas Race Pro Team and has been finding a home in obstacle racing. She is a professional athlete as well as a Track & Cross Country Coach and College Physiology Instructor. Her sponsors include; Atlas Race, Nike, Runa, EnduroPacks, Wonderfully Raw, Elliptigo, Cooperative Performance & Rehabilitation. Learn a little more about Mattox.
How did you get involved in your sport?
I started running track in college and have been running competitively ever since. Trail racing has provided a fun, new challenge. But obstacle racing was inspired by my friend Julia Webb. After hearing about it, I wanted to see what obstacle racing was all about. I’m becoming more involved in obstacle racing with the support of Atlas Race.
Were you always an athlete?
Yes, I’ve been an athlete since I was little. I started soccer in kindergarten and played soccer, basketball, and volleyball growing up. Through high school I played soccer and basketball and dabbled in cross country. In college I gradually transitioned from a soccer player into a full time runner. Although the goals and focus will change, I hope to be an athlete my whole life.
What are some of your athletic achievements?
Warrior Dash World Champion, Xterra Trail Run World Champion, USATF National Championships Finals Qualifier (Steeplechase), NCAA All-American in Track & Field, Oregon State Champion Soccer and Cross Country in high school
What are your goals for the upcoming season?
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable and improve on my weaknesses. I hope to become the best steeplechase, trail, and obstacle racer I can be by pushing myself outside my comfort zone to improve on my weaknesses.
Who is/are your inspiration?
I have a lot of incredible people in my life, including my teammates, coach, and family. These hard working, genuine, well-rounded people inspire me to be a better person every day.
What is your most proud moment in sport?
Winning the Warrior Dash World Championship. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but also the most rewarding. It’s a wonderful feeling to hit the start line with a bunch of strong, hard working women, push your body to a new limit, and to have your hard work pay off. That race gave me the confidence and motivation to continue overcoming new challenges and introduced me to a great community of people.
What is your most proud moment in life?
I don’t think I can pick a single moment. I’m proud of my family, team, and professional life as an athlete, coach, and teacher, so I’m happy with and proud of everything that has led to where I am today.
How do you overcome a bad race or training day?
Even when you think you’re doing everything right, you’ll have a bad day every once in awhile. I lean on my teammates, coach, friends and family to get me through these days. Whether it’s words of encouragement, a running partner, an unexpected love note, or tough love, the people in my life always seem to know how to support me in the way that I need. A wise friend once told me, you shouldn’t treat others the way you want to be treated, treat them the way they want to be treated. Everyone needs a little something different.
What is your training routine like?
I’m lucky to have a great team to train with. We meet for practice about 5 mornings each week for a track, trail, or hill workout, easy run, or strength & conditioning. A few days a week I do a short run, aqua jog, or yoga in the afternoon. Up to this point, my training has focused on optimizing my running, but I hope to put more time and energy into the strength and technique side of obstacle course racing this year.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your sport?
Just go for it! For all the obstacle and trail races I’ve done, I had no idea what to expect. Pick something you want to try, train for it, and get excited when race day comes around. You will surprise yourself! And find a supportive community that will bring energy to what you’re doing. It’s amazing what you can do when other people believe in you and are counting on you.
What is your favorite pre-race and post-race food?
Pre-race I usually have a banana, protein bar of some sort, Runa Clean Energy Drink, and hydrate with EnduroPacks electrolyte-infused water. Immediately post-race I usually refuel with a protein bar and fruit and rehydrate with more EnduroPacks electrolyte infused water. Then I like to enjoy some of my favorite snacks like Wonderfully Raw Snip Chips and Brussel Bytes, fresh fruits and veggies, and some of my homemade kombucha. I like to fuel my body with healthy, natural food as much as possible.
When not training and competing what do you do with your down time?
I don’t have a lot of down time, but luckily for me I love everything that fills my time. I help coach track and cross country and teach physiology classes at the University of Oregon. When I do have time, I like to spend time with my family, experiment in the kitchen, learn about anything health and fitness related, and dance.
What is your favorite quote to motivate you?
I am healthier and more motivated when I’m happy, so I love the saying, “When you love what you have, you have everything you need. Forget the day’s troubles, remember the day’s blessings. Happiness is not a destination, it’s a way of life.”
What is the best advice a coach ever gave you?
I’ve had some really good coaches who have all given me great advice, but this actually came from a teammate. About halfway through a race he told me, “Know it’s going to hurt.” That may sound negative, but expecting races and hard workouts to hurt has helped me be mentally tough and know that just because it hurts, doesn’t mean I can’t do it.
If you could share some advice to the next generation of athletes, what would it be?
Have fun, do what you love, dream big, and don’t let other people’s expectations guide your journey. Follow your own compass.
What is/are the races you are most looking forward to this year?
I’m excited to hit the track this Spring through the US National Championship in June and hit my steeplechase Olympic Trials qualifying mark. For trail and obstacle season I’m excited for US Mountain Running Championships, US Trail Half Marathon Championships, Xterra Trail Run Worlds, all the Atlas Races and the Warrior Dash World Championship.
Any additional information you would like to share:
Thank you to my family, friends, teammates, coach, and sponsors for supporting my journey. I’m always inspired by everyone else’s journeys and adventures, so please connect with me so I can follow along with your adventures and be inspired by. I’ve started a blog and would love to know what all of you want to read about or discuss on my blog.