Spotlight on: Leslie DiMichele Miller

At Ironman France, one of my teammates/fellow coach on TeamHPB/training partner/bff, Leslie DiMichele Miller, broke through the ranks, nailing a 3:05 run (fastest of the day!) finishing 4th, just 30 seconds behind Leanda Cave. As a fellow TeamHPB-er, Leslie and I definitely understand each other and lean on each other throughout the season. I have learned a lot from Leslie in training with her and so I asked if she’d be willing to answer a few questions I thought everyone else might be interested in. Lucky for you, she was!

Hey Leslie! Thanks for turning down all the other interviews and giving me the exclusive after your amazing day in France. First things first – what should we call you? Leslie DiMichele? Leslie DiMichele Miller? Leslie Miller? It looks like you changed names you race under in 2015. Was this a trick to enter the pro ranks incognito?
No problem Alyssa! My phone has been ringing off the hook since my 4th place in France, but since you’re the most important person in my life, I’ve set aside everything for you. So, about the name change, I got married in 2014 and planned on changing my name officially to Leslie Miller. But one thing led to another and I didn’t actually change my name and then I lost my marriage certificate so now I’m stuck in last name purgatory, is it DiMichele or is it Miller? I’m trying to move forward with Miller but since none of my official documents say Miller, I have to throw in DiMichele here and there so I don’t get kicked out of the races. I think it’s safe to say people should get used to both since answering these interview questions is actually cutting into the time I had set aside to get a new marriage certificate and change my name.

Oh yeah, you’re married. Nate Dogg does Ironman too — do you guys train together? How does that work?
We used to train together until he started working with Hillary and now he actually has to work hard on the bike and run. We occasionally swim together but that has led to a lot of fighting…he likes to give up if he’s losing. So you know what I mean. Now we just try to meet for dinners every night.

You’ve been training under Hillary Biscay, the Smashfest Queen herself, for a few years now. She’s known for her smashfests and crazy volume training sessions. Are you doing a high volume program too?
No, I’m not doing a high volume program, although Hillary has increased my volume so slowly over the past 3 years, I might be doing high volume and don’t even know. But I don’t do a lot of crazy volume training sessions mainly because I work full time and recovering from a session like that would be counterproductive. It’s much more efficient for her to crush my spirit in a manageable 90 minute session or something like that.
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I used to think I was late to the technology party….then I met you. Can you share some insight to when you started using things like garmins and power, and how you use them today?
Ha! It’s true, I don’t like a lot of information on my workouts. One of my rules about triathlon is enjoying the majority of the things I’m doing in training and racing. The idea of having a great enjoyable run only to look at my Garmin and realize I was running slow, ick! I didn’t like it. But I finally invested in power in 2014 and then I actually got a Garmin watch in March, woohoo!! I will admit power is absolutely necessary for trainer workouts and I spend a lot of my time on the trainer. I don’t like racing with power, but I’m getting used to it although much to Hillary’s annoyance my power meter usually malfunctions on race day. I’m still not so sure about the Garmin, I do like knowing how far I’m running, but i definitely don’t like going out for a trail run and have the thing tell my I’m running 11 min/miles, that’s just cruel.

You and I have gone on many training adventures over the past few years with Hillary. Which was the one you’d recommend to someone who is looking to plan their own training adventure?
Blue Ridge Parkway! I think you’ll agree that was the only trip that was executed seamlessly. I would recommend training for that…somebody in the group thought she could get fit ON the trip……

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If you remember, the last race before France was Wildflower (long course). It was here that I beat you for the first time in several years. Is it safe to say that I helped light a fire under you for that last month of training, and deserve about 30% of the credit for that 3:05?
I think you deserve most of the credit. I still have nightmares watching your ass pull away from me into the distance. The better question is, are you excited that you’re going to run a 3:05 marathon? As people probably remember we ARE marathon twins and we did run the same at Wildflower!

Okay, but seriously. That 3:05 was amazing. As we downloaded about the race, one of the things we discussed was how one of the factors that have lead us to be successful in this sport is having a personality type that suits hard, repetitive work, day after day….for years. I believe you said “who does this shit day in and day out? And the progress is at a snail’s pace?” This is in reference to the fact that for your breakthrough in France, you have been working with laser focus for 4 years, for this one breakthrough to happen. But the gains on a daily basis are small, often too small to really take note of. What would you say to someone in the shoes you were in 4 years ago?
For me, I always look for progress in training sessions and races even if its minuscule. Obviously I’d love progress like France in every race, but a lot of the time I’m reflecting on a race and my only progress is “I stayed positive for the entire bike” or “I raced the entire run.” Last year at Timberman I flatted at Mile 20 of the bike and sat on the side of the road for almost an hour waiting for a new tire, I pulled myself together and finished, so at that race “at least I pulled it together and finished.” I think most people tend to focus on the negative parts of races and I try really hard to forget the negatives, I honestly think that’s what’s allowed me to stay focused for so long. I would tell people that if you’re going to spend all your time training and racing triathlon, you need to enjoy most of the experience otherwise it’s just not going to last very long.

Alright, well, I think that’s enough of our secrets to give  away in one blog post. Thanks Leslie!! Hope to not have to race you soon!! 🙂 BYE!

Published by Alyssa Godesky

Alyssa Godesky is a professional triathlete & coach.

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