The Hippo


May 27, 2020








Amber Cullen

Five favorites

Favorite book: This is bad, but I have not picked up a book in six months. I read The Hunger Games six months ago. I would say that’s probably my favorite book to date. 
Favorite movie: The Indiana Jones series. I watched that over and over as a little kid. 
Favorite type of music:   [DJ] Nazzy and WJYY 105.5. I listen to it all winter long when I’m on my bike trainer. 
Favorite food: Jalapeno peppers.
Favorite thing about NH: The outdoor activities, for sure.

Iron woman
Concord’s Amber Ferreira heads to Kona for triathlon


Did you always love racing?

Yes, I ran for as long as I can remember. My mom told me over and over how when I was 7 or 8 that I would plead and plead to run to and from soccer practice. I was like a really, really hyperactive kid. ... I ran all through high school and at Northeastern while I went to school for physical therapy. I started off as a runner and I ran Division 1 at Northeastern. It was awesome but I got a little burnt out, so after I graduated I was still active, but I thought maybe I would take up some biking. I was always a swimmer too. … I did my first Ironman in 2009 and a year later earned my pro license. I totally dedicated myself to it and it was a quick sprint to pro. 
How did you qualify for Kona and what was it like to make it?
I actually qualified as an age grouper back in 2010, as an amatuer, and when I turned pro there’s a whole different qualification system. There’s a point system. From 2011 until now I was just outside of that bracket. I got second on Mount Tremblant a couple weeks after my Lake Placid win. It was absolutely necessary for me to do that race because it was the cutoff for Kona. …  I had just two options. One was just enjoy the win of Placid or really hurry up and try to recover and race in three weeks, and I chose that one. It felt amazing. I booked my ticket to Kona and I’ll be there for two and a half weeks. I’m excited to go and hug some sea turtles. 
What’s your most memorable race? Why?
This year when I won the Ironman at Lake Placid. My whole family was there and [my husband] Danny Ferreira was there, and I had tons of local support. It was one of those perfect races because I was mentally strong enough. It’s actually really stressful to be leading the race, so I was dealing with that, and I put together a really successful swim-bike-run.
What is stressful about leading?
It’s difficult because it’s really nerve-wracking. In some bigger Ironmans there is TV coverage and motor media by you the whole time. When you are the leader you have that extra stimulation, and in a way you get really really attached to the win. You’re in a nine-hour race, fighting these low points and all you’re thinking is you wanna win. You have to be strong 100 percent of the time.  
Have you ever felt you weren’t physically capable of accomplishing a goal? 
There is always sort of that mental side of things, and I think that’s what keeps me the athlete I am. I love to work hard and I’m totally devoted to this, training hour after hour and week after week. You really do have to have that positive outlook. When I first started triathlons,  I would look at the Ironman athletes and say, how could they possibly do it? My strength is just to smile, and I love what I’m doing. I’m in it for the journey and adventure of it. That’s what got me where I am. 
On your days off, how do you relax?
I don’t do a lot of taking days off, except for after the season ends. After Kona I will take a solid 14 days off. Someone asked me what I do for fun and I said, ‘Well, I like to swim, bike and run.’ She was like, ‘No, that doesn’t count.’ I like outdoor activities, so if I do take a day off I’ll hike in the White Mountains or maybe go to the beach. I’m not a sitting around type of person, but during my two weeks off after Kona I will probably get massages and take lots of naps here and there. 
What does your husband think about your lifestyle?
He has done a few Ironmans, but he’s more of a marathon runner. He just did his seventh in the year. I probably owe 99.9 percent of this to him because he’s given me support in every way you can imagine. ... And he’s coming to Kona, so he’s psyched about that. — Rebecca Fishow 
As seen in the September 18, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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