Sunday, March 25, 2012

Member Spotlight: Lori McKellar

by Janice Biederman

Tell me about yourself-where you grew up, where you went to school, siblings, what you do for work, etc.

I grew up in Wickford, RI, which is on Narragansett Bay. I have an older brother who was my best friend growing up, and we’re still close. I did my undergrad at URI and earned my MBA at Bentley. I’m the Director of Product Marketing for enterprise content management and governance solutions for EMC Corp’s Information Intelligence division. My work group is headquartered in the bay area of California so I travel a fair amount for work.

What, if any, sports were you into any as a child?

I was into gymnastics, horseback riding, tennis and volleyball.

No swimming?

I took swim lessons as a child but had a really bad experience: in order to teach me to put my face in, the instructor held my head under water. Needless to say, that did not foster any enthusiasm for swimming!! [Lori is actually a very good swimmer, despite her frightening start.]

Did you have any athletic role models growing up?

My dad was definitely into sports. In fact, he still bikes 25 miles a day even though he’s in his 80s. He’s a former career Marine and he taught me discipline and integrity in all things. My mom and brother were both swimmers. We also biked as a family. My professional sports hero, without a doubt, hands down, is Andre Agassi! Phenomenal player, hard worker, always a professional, passionate, never backs down, humble and generously gives back to others. I love Agassi!!!

How did you get into triathlons?

In 2004, I found that I was a bonafide workaholic, working crazy hours and traveling regularly. I had let all my hobbies go and had gained weight. I hired a coach and a nutritionist and was hell bent on getting fit despite work demands. I lost 62 pounds in 9 months and decided that I was pretty bored with the elliptical and a little running. I told my coach, Dan Fitzgerald [former BTT member and nicknamed “HB” by Lori which stands for heartless bastard], that I wanted to do a triathlon. I did two sprints in 2005 and then did my first half ironman a year later. HB told me to do some BTT open water swims at Walden where I got left in the dust by the speedies, met Larry Cassese (a former BTT member), and the rest is history. Most recently, I had a motor vehicle accident (L4,5 injury and pelvic dislocation). Because I couldn’t bike or run after the accident, I turned to swimming and managed a full rotator cuff tear. But, I’m on my way back….

Do you have a favorite race or race memory/story?

Not really a race memory, but a few years ago I went to a weekend seminar at Krapalu Yoga Center in western Mass, called Fit Soul, Fit Body. The featured speaker was Mark Allen. After the morning session, we broke for lunch and Mark walked up to my table and had lunch with me. A conversation ensued and we ended up talking about my injuries and where my head was at as a result, and he said that I should undergo a spiritual healing [Mark Allen is well known for his forays into the spiritual work with Brad Secunda, a native-American spiritual healer]. The afternoon session involved a talk about spiritual healing and a demonstration. So guess who got called up to be the demonstrator? So, in front of this large pretty diverse group of attendees (everything from Kona-type triathletes to crunchy-granola Birkenstockers), I had Brandt Secunda chanting and shaking feathers over me while Mark Allen, complete with bangle-adorned hat and closed eyes, was beating a drum for me. While I was fine with Brandt doing his thing (after all, how many people can say that have had an authentic Indian Healing), all I could think of when I looked at Mark was, don’t laugh!! That image of Mark Allen is forever frozen in my mind.

You seem to have a black belt in cooking (I went to the SGR you hosted last year-wow!!). Where does that interest come from?

[Laughs] My parents were big entertainers. Every summer they hosted a huge barbeque for everyone they knew, and they were always having people over for dinner so I think I inherited the interest from them.

So, what are you 2012 goals?

I’m focusing on getting my fitness back. I’ve been taking swim lessons - no dunking this time - and doing three-times-per-week cycling sessions. I am planning to do 3 long charity rides. I am also planning to do a few races, but haven’t decided which ones as of yet.

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