June 25, 2014
By Alex Rothstein '15
To some people, an ideal Sunday might mean going to church, having a barbeque or enjoying the summer sun.
But Erin Ross' idea of an ideal Sunday might be a tad more strenuous than most folks.
Ross (Miller), a 2000 College of Saint Benedict graduate who works as an assistant athletic trainer at CSB, will participate in the Ironman Coeur d'Alene triathlon on Sunday, June 29, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
"I have always loved all three sports — swimming, biking and running — so why not put all three together?" Ross said.
The Ironman consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2-mile marathon run. The race starts at 7 a.m., and has a 17-hour time limit to complete the event.
When Ross was a sophomore at CSB, she competed in her first triathlon, the bike-relay portion (13.6 miles) of the Fruit at the Finish Triathlon. During her summers off, she participated in sprint races at home in Duluth, Minnesota, for fun.
However, she never took any of this too seriously until a few years ago.
"One day I overheard someone talking about the half Ironman and I thought, 'If they can do it, why can't I?' " Ross said. "And that fueled this passion with the ultimate goal always being the full Ironman."
Since then, Ross has participated in four half-Ironman races, but this will be her first full Ironman.
On her way back from a half-Ironman in Wisconsin last year, Ross signed up for the Coeur d'Alene full Ironman along with a friend.
Coeur d'Alene holds a special significance for Ross, which made picking this Ironman as her first full triathlon even more meaningful.
Ross's mother, Carolyn, passed away in December 2012 of ovarian cancer. When Ross was a child, her mother visited Coeur d'Alene and had always raved about its beauty.
"So I thought, we're going out there and we're doing this. It's supposed to be gorgeous," Ross said.
For eight months, Ross has thought about nothing except training for the Ironman. Now, the race is just a few days away.
"I know with my first attempt at this, I will be happy with just finishing," Ross said.
With the intense training out of the way, Ross is now focusing on keeping up her endurance, resting and staying healthy.
"If the race goes the way I want it, I have a feeling I will be so over the moon excited about that. I'll just want to go home and enjoy it," Ross said. "It's been eight months of this is all I've focused on. I'm ready to be able to focus on relaxing and enjoying the summer."