Athlete Stories: Adriana Vermut

From flamenco dancer to forever athlete, this mother of four has rediscovered her love for training and athletic adventures.

I was born in Caracas, Venezuela. Like almost everybody else, my athletic journey started in P.E. class with kickball, 300 meter and long jump in track and field, and aerobics (my friends and I loved doing aerobics marathons in the early 90s!). I was also a serious flamenco dancer for 13 years, as part of a performing company, and a teacher. 

When I moved to Italy at 17 years old, I stopped dancing, so I was always looking for something physical to engage with: kayaking, climbing, swimming, orienteering (yes, I lived in Europe), and running. When I went to college in the United States, I joined the cycling team (road and MTB). There I met my husband Aaron at the cycling club, and that’s what connected us—and still connects us to this day.

After college, I cycled across the U.S.A. with the American Lung Association, and then I started running and doing marathons. When I moved to San Francisco I learned to ski at Lake Tahoe, and I started training for triathlons, which is when I dipped my toe in the Bay and started open-water swimming.

Then between 2006 and 2014, I mothered four kids, and opened three restaurants and one bar in Napa Valley and San Francisco. Every time I opened a new location, I was pregnant or with a newborn. Life was simply nuts. At that point my athletic endeavors dropped down the priority list. My purposeful and intense training took a pause, and because of it, as I continued to engage in fun things, injuries ensued (knee surgeries on both legs, right thumb tear).

I realize now, as I think of it, that even though I still had a fit baseline, I wasn’t really connecting my movements with the intentionality athletic endeavors deserve.

In 2020 I sold the last restaurant, and with the kids a little older, life became a little easier, and I have been able to dedicate more time to my athleticism. Even still, with four kids, it was a challenge to schedule the time to train and commit to a structured program all on my own.

I started training with Samsara in April 2021 to get ready to climb the Grand Teton in Wyoming. When I signed up I thought it was just an endurance training plan. I did three months of Basecamp, and I was well prepared to summit the Grand.

It was not until I met Z in person during a one-week Athlete Team summit that I started to understand Samsara’s approach to training and the philosophy behind it. At its core, I understand it as linking your mind to your body’s natural ability to move. Having been a dancer for 13 years, I immediately connected with this idea—first I felt it, and then I realized what was different about my training.

So now I am back. I run, hike, swim, cycle, and ski—and I train on the Athlete Team.

Backcountry skiing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on the 25 Short loop. With the "forever training plan" I am able to go out when I want, however hard, and stay injury-free.

For decades I had trained for specific events: marathons, triathlons, open-water crossings, triathlons, crit bike races, etc. Now, instead of stepping from one event to the next, I have shifted to a long-term view of training, a “forever training plan”. I want to be at my best, to do whatever I want to do, whenever I want, and not get injured. Events are still a part of my life, but only milestones in the growth and learning process, and not the single motivator for training.

The Samsara method has clarified why I like to engage in athletic events—movement, the outdoors, covering long distances; and the personal challenge, not only physically but also pushing my mind to overcome fear by training and calculating risks.

For me, athletics have also been a way to find community, maintain discipline and structure, and express my love for movement and the outdoors. The other athletes on the team also love the things I value. It seems like everyone is trying to get better for their next adventure in a methodical and thoughtful way. It’s inspiring to see people chasing their challenges in different sports modalities. Even more so, it is humbling to see how other accomplished athletes share their own vulnerabilities with the group to understand and improve upon them.

Ultimately, how I approach all of these athletic adventures is a metaphor on how I think about life. When challenges or crises come, I just think of the big things I have done and I know that everything will be okay, one step, one stroke, or one glide at a time.

 

 

Adriana Vermut lives in San Francisco with her husband Aaron, who is also a Samsara athlete, their four kids (ages 8 to 15), and two chocolate labs. She has been on the Athlete Team since the spring season of 2021.

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