Going into her fifth Ironman World Championship in October of 2012, Lindsay Wohlers, M.S. ’09, Ph.D. ’12, knew exactly what she’d be up against: a “boxing match” in the Pacific Ocean of swimmers punching, kicking and hitting; hours of cycling that would send shooting pains through her hip and back; and a run through Hawaiian lava fields where the temperature hits a punishing 110 degrees. She’s competed around the world in nine of the grueling Ironman triathlons, earning a ranking among the elite. And Wohlers rose to the top while earning her masters and doctorate degrees in kinesiology at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.
Currently a research associate at the Locomotor Performance Lab at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, Lindsay studies the factors that influence energy expenditure during walking and running. The research, which is sponsored by the Department of Defense, will help the Army optimize calorie intake and load carriage of soldiers.
Lindsay’s life in research and sport has been a balancing act. While at Maryland, Wohlers worked in the Molecular Systems lab of Associate Professor Espen Spangenburg, studying the link between hormonal changes associated with menopause, hysterectomy and some breast cancer treatments and women’s risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. While working on her doctoral research, Lindsay trained about 22 hours each week, often sneaking in a run, ride or swim as lab experiments were running.
Lindsay has kept up the pace, and began racing professionally in 2013. “It definitely becomes an addiction,” Wohlers says. “I love applying what I've learned through my education and testing my physiological limits as an Ironman triathlete.”
Published July 2013