Posted on 10 Comments

Featured Athlete: Lisa Klinkenberg


photo taken at 11:05:39 by

  • Name:

Lisa Klinkenberg – a.k.a., Dr. Evil, Trouble Twin #2, the Colonel…

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

After a short (but illustrious) career in marketing and public relations, and nearly a decade in the fitness industry teaching group ex classes and yoga, I earned a physical therapy degree last May and became a PTA. I’m currently working per diem treating the elderly and infirm for two different hospitals in the Boston area, but would like to eventually branch back into outpatient sports rehab. Perhaps treating OCR injuries…? 😉

  • Hobbies:

They are evolving quickly this year. I still like to read, but now they’re books about running. And running itself has finally made the list. Along with hiking (correction: rucking), stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, snowshoeing…  For the first winter since, well probably ever, I’d rather be outside than in. I love how this team has propelled me into new adventures! Next on the list: acroyoga, or maybe pole dancing!

  • Age:

39 – that was a scary number for me until I started racing. Now I’m actually looking forward to turning 40 so I will be on the young end of my competitive age group!

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

The Spartan Sprint in Amesbury, 2012 …(*cue dramatic music here*)… Standing at the start line was a mixture of terror and adrenaline — even if I had never left that spot it still felt like one of the bravest things I’ve ever done. But when the smoke bombs flew, I started to run anyway, and I never looked back. I was hooked from the first muddy trench (even though I might have hesitated before jumping into it), and that thrill kept me going when the course began to challenge me both physically and mentally. I realized my fear of heights extended to rope climbs and cargo nets, my upper body strength left a lot to be desired, my expectations of –and frustration with– myself were going to be another obstacle to overcome, and penalty burpees suck (I did 120, and hundreds more later that day as a volunteer at the spear throw). Still, I might have hesitated again before jumping over the fire at the top of the last hill because I just didn’t want it to be over with quite yet. Receiving that medal was a triumph — and an infusion of self-confidence and determination. As promised, I absolutely knew at the finish line: those gladiators had better be prepared to do more than just tap me on the ass with the pugil the next time I crossed it. AROO!!!

Most memorable moment: collapsing onto the turf so spent that it took four firefighters to remove my muddy shoes (well, OK, just one — the other three were in it for the photo op).

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

Realizing I had come a long way, baby, by the time I met my next Spartan Race (Fenway). The experience had changed me. I was stronger in every way, and the voices of doubt had been silenced. I climbed without hesitation, made it over the tall walls without a boost, and finally –FINALLY– beat the traverse wall (rang that bell so hard I almost knocked it off)!!! Oh, and the gladiators? Braced themselves when they saw me coming. >;}

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

It is, without question, the experience and the people. I love the comraderie, the competition, the mud… *joy!* It’s like getting to have a whole ‘nother childhood — laughing, and playing, and getting dirty with the coolest friends I could ever hope to have! I have never felt happier, healthier, or more alive, and it only gets better with every OCR — and every team event. Seriously f’in love you guys!! <3 NE Spahtens <3

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

Self-discipline is my downfall, and being a single mother gets crazy, so I rely on routines. It’s one of the reasons I’m so grateful for events like Harvard Stadium — every Monday, on the calendar, done. I can say no to other conflicts. And I try to schedule all my training that way: Tuesdays/Thursdays are strength days; Wednesday/Fridays, cardio/core; and weekends I try to mix it up and get outside (with kids or without). Diet is still the piece I’m trying to make fit into the puzzle. I know it’s dulling my edge, so I’m trying to learn more (thank you, Beth Jones!) and experiment. Right now, I’m in the process of giving up wheat completely (except for the occasional burger roll, because that’s just a moral imperative) — I’ll let you know how it goes…

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

I was never athletic. In fact, it wasn’t until my body literally fell apart during the birth of my daughter (not a story for the faint of heart) that I embraced the concept of regular exercise. I joined a gym on doctor’s orders in 2003, found group fitness to be love at first sweat, and a whole new me was born (pun intended). I was in the best shape of my life, so it surprised me that taking and teaching classes just wasn’t enough for OCR. I had to train. I started running (ugh) and incorporating functional strength activities (thank you, Spartan Race WOD) several times a week. It redefined fitness for me, and it really has become a lifestyle. Shoveling snow in a ruck is fun!

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

Immediately I think of my father, who passed away from malignant melanoma when he was just 36 years old. It’s his DNA that makes me love the mud and the woods, and I know this would have been an incredible bonding experience for us. On a happier note, I will be doing a second lap at Amesbury this August with my twin teenage boys (they are yet unconvinced). And I can’t wait to run an OCR with my brother! Seven years in the Army and two deployments have made him a BAMF — but I might still be able to beat him… 😉

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

I am a strength/conditioning and base running coach for a team of blind baseball players – the Boston Renegades. They are another amazing group of people who inspire me greatly, and I’m looking forward to accompanying them to the NBBA World Series this year!

  • What are your goals? Next race, next season … what’s in your future?:
This is the year of the “big races” for me — a Super, a Beast (Trifecta!), a half marathon, some travel… And my calendar is full — 25? 27? *joy again!* So my goal, really, is to go sliding into December sideways and on fire, marveling at what an amazing year it has been (monkey bars, you’re going down!), and already planning an even better one for next year (Trouble Twins World Tour 2014!). That is, if I survived GORUCK Challenge in March…

10 thoughts on “Featured Athlete: Lisa Klinkenberg

  1. You are my hero!

  2. Love it all! It was nice to meet you at The Hurricane Heat at Citi Field! My see you before the Beast but if not I'll see you there!

    1. AROO!!!

  3. So happy to know you. So happy…

    1. Likewise, my friend.

  4. such a great interview – Your Dad is so proud of you.

    1. Thank you, Marlene :')

  5. Awesome. I especially love that photo. Priceless!

  6. Trouble Twins World Tour 2014 FTW!

    1. Totally happening.

Leave a Reply