Submitted by Kevin Grogan –
If you follow the road-running scene around the Orlando area, you have heard of Natasha Yaremczuk. Without a doubt, she is the winningest women’s road runner in the last ten years in the area. Marathon, half marathon, 10k or 5k, you name it; she wins every event she enters in these parts! The former professional triathlete has very strong ties to South Lake, calling Clermont and Montverde her home for the past fifteen years. It is always a pleasure catching up with these elite athletes like Yaremczuk when we have an opportunity to compete with at the parkruns or see at the local winery.
Tablet: Tell us a bit about your athletic background growing up, then into pro triathlon, and now as an elite runner.
Yaremczuk: I swam competitively with the Brantford Aquatic Club for 11 years as a kid and through high school. When I was 15, I did my first Triathlon on Canada Day in Scarborough, Ontario. It was a sprint and pool swim. Little did I know, I qualified for the Junior B World Championship’ team, where I would travel to Cancun, Mexico the following November! I proudly represented Canada, my dad in tow as my chaperone.
My Triathlon career took off from there, and soon I found myself traveling all over the world racing World Cups, improving my national and World ranking. Triathlon debuted in the Olympics and I got my ranking to the top 10 in the world and narrowly missed Athens.
Shifting gears and goals to long course racing and Ironman, I moved to Clermont FL, where the NTC became my base. Unfortunately, the first few years were difficult, resulting from a bad car accident, with injuries that followed and a lot of rehab. It was a very difficult time for me, with a solid two seasons ‘sitting on the bench’. At this time, I refocused on school for Nursing and then Massage, while still training and rehabbing. The transition from triathlon to running began with some local run races in Central Florida. I always wanted to try ‘just’ a Marathon, so this made me chase after races. I raced my last Triathlon World Championship in 2012, my dad, and mom in tow! It was special. I’m still running the Marathon, which is very much a paradox to my Life…!
Tablet: Describe your typical day with training /working / coaching?
Yaremczuk: I usually run every morning. This season has seen me try something new – Pilates to work on stabilization. I have practiced yoga for about 15 years and try to combine the two of these for rehab and injury prevention. When I have time, I love to swim and when things are going smooth, I like to get to the pool a few times a week. The water is so good. Coaching is fun! I love working with kids especially. It’s always a challenge to help others achieve their goals, and when you do, it’s truly great!! After all, I feel like I have a Degree in Triathlon!
Tablet: Do you still swim & bike to help your run training? If not what activities do you enjoy to strengthen your run?
Yaremczuk: Yes, as mentioned, Pilates / yoga …and since I was young, I’ve always loved the pool. I’m looking forward to a trip this summer to hike the Appalachian. I don’t ride at the moment. I couldn’t cope with the traffic and, at this point, I don’t want to jeopardize my running. But at some point, I would love to get on my cross bike. I miss riding.
Tablet: You can be found on the Montverde pool deck coaching the swimmers at the academy during swim season. Coming from a professional athletic background, do you feel like it helps coaching & relating to your swimmers?
Yaremczuk: For sure, even though it’s a school setting, the standards are set very high! I think being a Pro in the past has helped tremendously. I have carried this mentality over to my run career, even though I compete at a lower level.
Yaremczuk: My mom is my #1 fan, best friend, and she’s been along for the ride, up and down mountains and over hurdles, through disappointments, and at the finish line of some of my best performances. I’m so lucky and grateful for her and I can’t imagine her not being there! There have been times when I don’t want to race when she’s not there. She’s a very competitive woman, strong and an amazing role model as a mom. I can only aspire to be like her one day!
Tablet: Adam Baskin, your significant other, is a very accomplished bicycle racer & the very best bike fitter in the area. Tell us a little bit how the two of you complement each other in training & life.
Yaremczuk: Yes, thank you ! We do complement each other and I’m sure this is what brought us together. We do understand each other’s sports and goals and routines for racing and training. Even though we don’t do the same sport, our lives are very parallel in our sport schedule. In life, we travel well together when we go places. We also like a lot of the same things that aren’t sport related.
Tablet: Your competitors see you on the start list & know they are pretty much running for 2nd place. Do you feel like you have to work even harder now in your run training to be at the top of your game each race? Or maybe training smarter?
Yaremczuk: Yes, it’s definitely a challenge getting, dare I say older! And hopefully wiser. I think the trick, as I’m trying hard to learn, is to rest more. More attention needs to be paid to the little things: rest, rehab, nutrition, hydration, sleep, & massage. Naturally, when I was younger, I recovered super quick, now I need to do all the little things to maximize on my recovery, so I can get up and go hard again!
Tablet: What one piece of advice would you give a new runner looking to do their first 5k?
Yaremczuk: Go for it! Running can be a life-long sport. It has given me so many amazing opportunities to learn about myself, become a better person, help others and meet new people; I have some exciting projects in the making that running has given me the path to pursue! What could be more perfect?
Tablet: Anything else you would like to add?
Yaremczuk: Run Baby Run!!!