Dirt in Your Skirt Profile Series – Shenoa Creer
Shenoa Creer can be found on the road almost every weekend traveling to trail races, ultra marathons, and OCRs. This 38-year old former Biomedical Research Scientist spent 10+ years doing BSL-3 work cultivating highly contagious high-titer virus and years doing stem cell transplantation research has shifted gears and now spends time in the running and OCR world. Learn a little more about Shenoa and what she is up to this season and beyond.
How did you get involved in your sport?
Interestingly, obstacle course racing wasn’t even on my radar and admit I didn’t even know it existed! Some of my guy buddies had gotten into it and kept telling me to try a race. They thought I would love it and that it was a perfect fit for me. I finally gave into their relentless prodding and signed up for a race which I absolutely LOVED and was hooked from that moment forth. (p.s. – They were right….I’ll give them credit!)
Were you always an athlete?
Hmmmm, an “athlete”… using the word athlete to describe myself feels a little strange. I’m not sure I’d consider myself an “athlete” in the way I personally define an athlete, but I’ve heard others use that word in the same sentence with my name. I grew up being very involved in sports and I’ve always been a very active person in general. So, if being very focused on my “fitness-endeavors” is being an “athlete” then I guess the answer is yes, but it’s been in the last two years that I really zeroed in fanatically on obstacle course and distance races. Just keeping it real – haha!
What are some of your athletic achievements?
Back in high school, I enjoyed successes as a teammate on my volleyball and track team, competing in state championship games every year. More recently, I’ve enjoyed placing well, including many wins, at a number of obstacle course races and have some good distance road races under my belt now too. I’m a big fan of variety and have been fortunate to experience an assortment of races in a fairly short amount of time. I love trying it all!
What are your goals for the upcoming season?
To just keep moving and giving it my best! I’ve got some tougher races on the calendar I mentioned before which include Spartan UltraBeast, WTM, Survival Run in 2015, and a couple marathons…..so, I’ll be focused on increasing my endurance and putting in the needed mileage. It’s also an important goal in my life to continue to love and enjoy these challenges. It’s been incredibly fulfilling and rewarding thus far which is a key part of the journey as well.
Who is/are your inspiration?
I find great inspiration in the simplest of things. To be honest, I find that even having the ability to do these races is such a gift that it’s really been all the inspiration I need. When I race, it’s always in my mind that I’m racing for those who can’t. I always feel a sense of wonderment of what our bodies are capable of and it seems that the truest honor is using the gifts we are given. In my case, I’ve been blessed with a decent pair of running legs and have the heart, lungs, and desire to put it to good use. I’m inspired to live fully, push my body to its extreme limit and never take it a single second of it for granted.
What is your most proud moment in sport?
Tackling four tough races in a short time span – no question! I wasn’t sure what my legs could do for me but they held up! Last fall, within a 7 week spread, I raced the VT UltraBeast, then the following weekend ran the North Face 50K Endurance Challenge in Atlanta, sprinkled with some local OCR races in between, then tackled the Atlanta Marathon (hilly course! yikes!) followed by the Spartan Beast in South Carolina. For me, that was an ambitious undertaking but I did it, survived, and my legs did great.
What is your most proud moment in life?
During college, I juggled three jobs to pay for school while getting my degree and it was tough. I missed out on the “fun” college experience so when graduation day came, the sense of accomplishment and personal victory was incredible.
How do you overcome a bad race or training day?
I try to take it all in stride and although I am my own worst critic, I just remind myself that I’m human and it isn’t even practical, nor realistic, to perform at 100% each and every day. So, staying positive in my mindset usually balances it all at and keeps a healthy perspective intact. Areas of weakness give me more to focus on and strengthen, which pushes me.
What is your training routine like?
It’s probably so different than most “athletes” it makes me chuckle. I’m a home-based workout kind of gal. I have 4 weimaraners, and they are a very high-energy breed of dog and require a lot of exercise and time outdoors to tire them out. So, between juggling them and logging a fair amount of running miles that’s a huge chunk of my “training.” I don’t go to a gym or do Crossfit or anything. I lift weights at home, have a climbing rope I practice with, run down the street with my dogs (my poor neighbors must be so tired of seeing me go by!) and usually have an OCR or road race every weekend on my calendar.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your sport?
For me, it was all about finding my own way and pace with it. I did it in a very calculated, step-by-step fashion that has worked for me and kept me injury-free. I started with shorter distance races, then moved to longer distances, all the while working on building my upper body strength. Also, I would tell them to have fun first and foremost, because it is hugely motivating to enjoy what you are doing!
What is your favorite pre-race and post-race food?
I nosh on a Hammer bar and a banana (nothing exciting there!) before a race and fully admit that I whip my car into the closest McDonald’s drive-thru after almost every race and order a fish sandwich. I rarely eat garbage fast food, but there is something about the tartar sauce on a fish sandwich after a race that is just heavenly to me. My order: “Extra tartar sauce please, thank you!”
When not training and competing what do you do with your down time?
Daytrip! I love a good weekend exploring venture. Nothing makes me happier than hopping in the convertible and heading to some new city or town, big or small, it doesn’t matter. I just love getting out and experiencing the world around me. I can pack a picnic at the speed of light!
What is your favorite quote to motivate you?
“I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.” ~ William Ernest Henley
What is the best advice a coach ever gave you?
Back in high school I was the only girl on my track team (yes, the ONLY girl). I remember my coach referencing my solo representation as a benefit. He said, “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” That really stuck with me, and I’ve found it to be a very true statement in life and in racing.
If you could share some advice to the next generation of athletes, what would it be?
I would give them the same advice as above – that “if it were easy, everyone would do it.” There is great reward in pushing yourself, on both the good days and the tough days. The joy of crossing the finish line and sense of accomplishment that goes with it is unparalleled. It is worth every ounce of sweat.
What is/are the races you are most looking forward to this year?
The remainder of this year is exciting indeed and I can’t wait to reunite with the ski slopes of Killington and give it my best at Lake Las Vegas for World’s Toughest Mudder!