"Live a good life, and in the end, it's not the years in the life, it's the life in the years."

Full tilt: Always more, bigger, better for athletic dad and family

By Steve Tidd

Dr. Doug Milner is a tech-savvy dentist, who is always looking for ways to provide better care for his patients. His dental practice, Fibonacci Smile, employs 12 people, and is a bustling center of activity that anchors the ground floor of the Waterworks Building at the foot of Fifth Street.

The industrious nature of Doug’s practice is what most people see, but Doug applies that same level of industriousness to whatever he does. He puts the same amount of effort for instance, into his community involvement with the River Academy, the Festival of Trees, and Grace City Church.

He has been described as a “very busy guy,” “well-rounded” and “a perfectionist.” That drive to succeed shows in all of his endeavors.

His family is a primary focus, and with a family of four girls and one son, he and his wife Tami are plenty busy with all of the activities they are involved in. But even with a busy practice and large family, Doug still finds time for athletic pursuits, and like the rest of his interests, he goes at them full tilt.

From Doug’s perspective, a run is never just going out jogging, and a ski outing is never just the opportunity to get outside and go skiing. There is always more, bigger and better.

You are more likely to find him backcountry skiing fresh powder than downhill skiing on groomed runs. Or why simply go for a mountain bike ride out your back door when you can load your truck with bikes and have an adventure at Ancient Lakes? (An outing that ended with Doug putting stitches in somebody’s knee.)

So it only made sense to Doug, after helping his daughter Abbi on her support crew doing triathlons for a couple of years, that he should challenge himself to a race composed of swimming, biking and running.

What he learned was that he was not just challenging himself, but that he and Abbi were pushing each other in competitions.

“My dad really pushes me in the bike” said Abbi. “I can swim faster than him so I get out of the water first, but I know that he is back there and gaining on me in the bike.”

Shortly after Doug committed to training and racing triathlons, Doug’s daughter Amanda jumped into the mix. What they discovered is that they all liked the idea of hanging out, training together, and making lifestyle changes that would help them perform better.

The three of them became a consortium of triathlon buffs, discussing things like how to do quick repairs on their bikes, what gearing works best and who can beat who to the top of a hill.

That in turn led to discussions of how diet fuels your body for better performance, as well as how other variables, like sleep and rest days, play into the output of an athlete.

To fine-tune their preparation, they contacted former professional mountain biker Jason Jablonski at SET Coaching for help on workout and nutrition plans. Jason works with a number of burgeoning local athletes, and he was able to put together a program for the Milners that would provide them with optimal physique and endurance. Soon all three racers became serious triathlon contenders.

As Doug had so often demonstrated in his approach to life, where more is better, and you can always go farther and faster, Abbi and Amanda took his drive to heart. Both earned spots to the National Triathlon Championships in Milwaukee in 2015, followed by a return to the national competition in Omaha in 2016.

Abbi also qualified for the 2015 Worlds held in Chicago, where she finished 14th, and for the 2016 Worlds in Cozumel, Mexico. Among a group of 50 of the fittest athletes on the planet, she finished 11th in her age group.

Part of the reason for their success has to do with having Doug in their corner.  Like all the things that Doug undertakes, he is “all in,” and that includes helping his daughters achieve their goals.

“My dad is my biggest supporter,” said Abbi.

Together they have already reached some lofty goals, but the encore to their past performances will take place next summer.  All three of them have qualified for the National Triathlon Championships in Omaha on Aug. 12.   

Steve Tidd is a CPA who operates Tidd Tax & Accounting LLC with his wife Tina. He is an avid runner, biker, skate skier and former Ridge To River Ironman.

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