A chat with Dede Griesbauer

Dede Griesbauer finished 7th at the 2007 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii and is eager to move up a few spots in 2008. We were able to find out more about racing, training and interests of this New England resident.

ST: Dede, why don’t you tell us about you 2007 season and what you consider the highlight of the year? Or should we just think it is the top ten in Hawaii?

Dede: 2007 was a very good season. Finishing in the top 10 in Hawaii and as the top American was amazing, so yes, I’d have to say that was "the" highlight, but there were several other bright spots, too. Ironman Brazil was a good race for me as I was able to put a solid marathon (by Dede run standards) on the end of it for the first time, and that felt great. I got visit with my Stanford Swimming pals on a trip to the Bay Area when I raced Vineman in July. Then, racing "locally" at Timberman in August was a blast because we had lots of fellow Team Psychos out on the course and on the sidelines cheering…and heckling just a little!!

ST: What is on schedule for you in 2008?

Dede: I'll start my race season at the California 70.3 – it's always an interesting go there as it's usually the first time we New Englanders get to bike in fewer than 18 layers of clothes!! I am also planning to head back to Ironman Brazil in May. After that – gosh, there are so many great 70.3 races on the calendar, it's hard to choose! I'll be back in Kona, and then head to Clearwater after that.

ST: You are a very fast swimmer, do you still work hard on your swimming?

Dede: That's nice of you to say….I wish I were as fast as I used to be!! Let’s just say I don't spend a lot of time looking at old swim logs. It's depressing to think back on what I used to be able to do in the pool! Something about those 8 years I was out of the water; getting my MBA and then sitting on a trading desk. Still, 19 years of competitive swim fitness is lurking in there somewhere!!

On the one hand, I could probably get away with swimming less than I do, and while I probably train in the pool less than some, I don't think I skimp on swim training. I enjoy swim training so it's not a chore for me and since I have those swimming roots, I still feel more fit when I am swim fit.

ST: Can you describe a mid season training week?

Dede: Typical mid season is the same as early season is the same as late season is the same as off season. I do whatever Karen Smyers tells me to!! She's an awesome coach and training partner.

ST: Do you consider yourself disciplined in terms of training and nutrition?

Dede: I am extremely disciplined in terms of my training. I love to train, though, so it doesn't take much to get me out the door, ….so does that even count as discipline?? For as good as I am about training, I am not so good about nutrition. I don’t eat poorly in terms of eating bad foods, I'm just a picky eater. I am horrible about planning my meals so on busy days where I am on the go constantly, I am not always very good about making sure I am eating the way I should be.

I am starting work next week with a new nutrition consultant, so we'll see how that goes. It's an area in need of great improvement.

ST: What is your favorite race and why?

Dede: I haven't been around the sport that long and there are still so many great races on my "to do" list. That said, I think it'd be hard to top Kona for me. The Big Island is a really special place for us. We spent our honeymoon on the Big Island before I even knew what triathlon was!! We’ve made some wonderful friends there and it's a real treat to get to go back again and again. We appreciate that and don't take it for granted.

ST: Can you share with us what is going on with you in terms of sponsorships?

Dede: My sponsors are great. I know every athlete probably says that, but I really feel it's true. I am with Saucony again this year for shoes and apparel. I got to spend a day with them recently and it was tremendous. I never realized the process of making apparel and footwear was so complex. The amount of time these great people spend thinking about zippers, and seams, color combinations….. it’s just remarkable.

Also, I'll be back on a Guru Crono this year. I love my Guru and they are a great team to be a part of.

Oval Concepts is a new sponsor for me this year. There aren't many people more passionate about the sport and their products as Morgan Nicol.

I am working with Infinit Nutrition this year which has been great. My energy levels are great and I haven't suffered any of the GI problems that plagued me in the past on the run.

Reynolds is another new sponsor. I had the distinct privilege of riding their new SDVs in Kona this year.

I am continuing my relationships with Team Psycho, Fuel Belt, Compu Trainer, Ergomo, and Fast Splits Multi Sport,….all such wonderful supporters; I couldn't do it without 'em!! And of course, my husband, Dave….he's my biggest sponsor!!

My manager Lee Zohlman has some other prospective partnerships in the works, but I can't disclose them just yet!!

ST: Can you tell us how you arrived at your bike fit?

Dede: My original fit was done by Ian Buchanan at Fit Werx in Waitsfield, Vermont. To be honest, I've been so comfortable I haven't seen cause to tweak it much since then. I am heading down to TT Bike Fit in Rhode Island to visit with Lisbeth and Todd Kenyon this week to see if they have any suggestions on improving it, so that will be interesting.

ST: How do you typically spend the off-season?

Dede: Last year, I was quite productive and painted our entire house. This year, I've been a bit more of a slacker. I took some down time around the holidays – spent time with friends and family. I didn't tackle any big projects this year – just took Riley (our yellow lab) on a few more extra long walks and trips to the dog park, so she got way more fit during my off season!

ST: Do you follow any other sports?

Dede: I still follow the swimming world a bit and I am super excited to watch the Olympics this summer. My husband loves golf, so I get stuck watching a lot of it on TV. I rather find it soothing to nap to. Nothing quite like the comforting voice of Nick Faldo saying "As he lines up this put, it’ll play just slightly left to right. He needs this for birdie". Sigh. Sweet snoozing. Then some obnoxious fan yells "Get in the hole" as soon as the put is tapped…waking me from my peaceful slumber!!

And of course living in Boston, we're Patriots and Sox fans as well.

ST: What sports did you take part when you grew up?

Dede: A lot of people assume because of the level of my swimming that I was "just a swimmer" growing up. True, elite swimming requires a total commitment as the training demands are so huge. That said, I was fortunate because while I've always been a swimmer, my coaches and parents always let me make room for other stuff too. I played basketball, sailed, played tennis (poorly), rowed crew. When I was really young, my parents tried to get me to take up golf. The golf club where I was to take lessons required that the ladies wear skirts on the golf course. I was such a little tomboy, I refused to wear the skirt. It's usually about mile 12 on the run of most Ironman races I start to wonder why the heck I couldn't have just shut up and put on the dang skirt!!!

ST: What is your favorite and least favorite food?

Dede: My favorite by far….Hobbes blueberry coffee cake. To die for. Least favorite? It’s a long list. I'm a picky eater.

ST: What about music, what do you like?

Dede: I like lots of different stuff. Though I have to admit, I have more than just a little cheesy 80's music in my iPod! When I'm on the CompuTrainer in the winter time blaring bad 80's music, Dave has to come in and remind me that we DO have neighbors!

ST: What is the last book you read?

Dede: "Into the Wild" – I am excited to see the movie too.

ST: Where do you think you'll be in 5 years?

Dede: We're taking this a step at a time. So long as I am still loving it and continuing to improve, sure I'll be kicking around in 5 years. If not – I'll be back putting my Wharton MBA to use somewhere. ….though my husband has threatened to turn me into a golfer…so maybe the LPGA Tour!!

ST: Is there anything else we should know about you?

Dede: I've been working with my strength coach Eric Cressey for about a year now and everyone assumes it’s to that I’ll be a stronger triathlete. True…but secretly I just want to learn to do a pull up. I've never been able to do even a single one – and since college when my coach Richard Quick used to make us do tons of them, my teammates would be on all sides up, down, up, down…and I'd just hang there. It bugs me.