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Featured Athlete: Dawn Miles

Dawn Ward

  • Name:

Dawn Miles

  • What is your day job, and do you have other hobbies?:

I write and administer grants and contracts for a non-profit organization.. I am a trainer and a presenter on early childhood topics, and a CPR/First Aid Instructor for the American Heart Association.

My hobbies are helping other people reach their fitness potential and traveling for rock concerts. I love the energy at concerts, the music, and all the good friends I’ve made along the way.

  • Age:


  • When did you start obstacle course racing? Tell us about your first race.:

I have had an interest in obstacle course racing for a year. It looks like crazy fun and I had the biggest admiration for those who did it. I decided last year that it was going to be the next step in my fitness journey. I am doing my first actual races this year. I am working up to the ultimate race this fall by doing a Color Me Rad 5K in Chattanooga on 3/30 and a Warrior Dash on 4/27. I plan to fill my schedule in with a couple more, but the thing I wake up and go to sleep thinking about is tackling the Spartan Beast on 9/21 in Vermont.

  • What was your biggest accomplishment at an obstacle course race? What made it your biggest accomplishment (overcame a fear, injury, disability etc?):

(See above…)

  • What attracts you to obstacle course races? Why do you keep coming back?:

I love the comradery,  the brute force, the dedication, and the mud! I also admit that I love the look on people’s faces when I tell them what I am training to do. They think I have lost my mind….Maybe I have, but the thought of finishing these races drives me. The challenge forces me to step out of my comfort zone and push farther than I ever have before.

  • What are your training and/or diet routines? Do you have other athletic pursuits?:

(I am gonna answer below…..Think it ties in.)

  • Were you always athletic? If not, what athletic changes have you made to keep up the obstacle course race lifestyle?:

Three years ago, I was 90 pounds heavier. I was 5’2″ and 211 pounds. I remember taking my son to a hiking trail for something different to do one day. When we arrived, I thought to myself, “What if I get lost and can’t make it out?” I was terrified. I came head to head with myself….I was unhealthy and worse than that, afraid to do every day things that others would do without a second thought.

I lost my first 30 pounds by walking and modifying my diet. Soon I was ready for more, so I ordered P90X. It was tough but I stuck to it. I lost most of my weight and built up my strength. After that I did P90X2, and then toned with Insanity. I lost 90 pounds in 23 months by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

It was while I was doing Insanity that I became interested in obstacle course racing. I saw one of my fitness friends was training for the Warrior Dash and the Tough Mudder. I researched them, then spent a solid 5 minutes thinking he was crazy! Then I got a huge smile on my face and thought, “I want that to be me!” It’s been my drive every since.

I am currently doing Cross Fit five days a week and running trails on the weekend. I know that I must increase my upper body strength and my endurance to be successful in this sport. I eat clean the majority of the time, stay away from alcohol and overly processed food, and eat for fuel.

  • Who, alive or dead, would you invite to run an obstacle course race with you?:

Although the Spartan is my ultimate goal, I am really looking forward to the Warrior Dash with my 15 year old son this April. He is the best training partner I could ask for. He’s very encouraging. We push one another and look out for one another at the same time. He and I are going to run the Warrior Dash together in April and I can’t wait for us to cross that finish line together.

  • Tell us a fun fact about yourself that we may not know!:

People who know me well know that I play my life fairly safe. I have never went out on a limb to do anything that makes me nervous or uncomfortable. I don’t particular care for heights, jumping over things, or running down hills. For me, this is just as much mental as physical. I am becoming more willing to take risks through my training and finding that my fears are subsiding. When I complete the Beast, I am pretty sure I am going to feel invincible!

  • What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?:

(I have covered this…)

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