Training’s a Beach – Deanna Sodoma

After taking home two bronze medals in the marathon and the 10.000 meters from the Paralympics in Atlanta DeAnna Sodoma isn’t taking much time off to rest or reflect on her achievements, Training is a routine as brushing my teeth,” she says, which includes lifting free weights, race cycling, swimming and interval training. Just because the Paralympics are over doesn’t mean that her training has stopped.

DeAnna hasn’t slowed down. She will continue her routine of competing in about 20 races a year, all over the world and has her sights set on becoming the first woman to finish the Ironman Triathlon.

To prepare herself for this rigorous training and competition schedule Sodoma follows what she describes as a 40-30-30 diet 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat.

“It’s an eating lifestyle.” she says. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room in the regimen for a beer and some good food which isn’t hard to find around her home in Carlsbad, California where she is working on finishing her degree in Criminal Justice. Somewhere in her schedule she also finds the time to publish a quarterly newsletter about wheelchair racing.

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In between the writing and the college classes her focus and work returns to the road and the gym. Though she loves to train, it isn’t always “Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night my shoulders are throbbing,” she says. “In my sport, you have to do it all – sprint, 5K, 10K and marathons. And you have to adjust your training accordingly.” To keep this constant training interesting she makes sure to take time out to discover new routes.

Sodoma qualified for the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team in Barcelona and has set several world records since then at the 1993, 1994 and 1995 Carlsbad 5.000-meter race and the 1991 Stoke-Mandeville Games.

She is considered to be one of the fastest women’s wheelchair racers in the world. She has won numerous first place awards including the 1994 Columbus Marathon, the 1995 Boulder 10K, the 1995 Cleveland and Detroit Marathons. She placed second, with her best time of one hour and 42 minutes, at the 1995 Boston Marathon and won a bronze at the 1995 World Championship. In addition. she has also placed first at the Honolulu Marathon four times.

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The achievements are numerous but they don’t seem surprising once you talk to DeAnna. She has been a competitor and athlete all of her life. Growing up she raced bicycles and it was only three months after her first wheelchair race that she placed first in the women’s division 10K at the Goodwill Games. Today, in addition to wheelchair racing she enjoys swimming, snow skiing, jet skiing and parasailing. As her training regime proves, she has few fears and isn’t one to give up or give in.

She’s still a fan of bicycle racing but isn’t shy about comparisons to what she’s doing now. “I know none of them can do what I’m doing. I challenge them to go out and do 20 miles in a chair. I know I’d win.” The next Paralympics is in the year 2000 in Sydney Australia. When we talked to DeAnna she wasn’t sure yet if it would be in her plans. She has too many races to think about before then, not to mention finishing her college degree and starting her career as a juvenile probation officer.

However, if there’s a wheelchair race it would be as hard to imagine her missing it as it would be to imagine her not being trained and in shape for it anyway.

By Mark Gray

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