Madison athlete Lindsey Cook runs along Main Street on Saturday as part of her regular exercise routine. Cook has been a part of several high-endurance competitions including marathons and triathlons, and was a guide for Tina Ament, a blind athlete and friend from Washington, D.C., in the Revolution3 Triathlon at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie)
Madison athlete Lindsey Cook runs along Main Street on Saturday as part of her regular exercise routine. Cook has been a part of several high-endurance competitions including marathons and triathlons, and was a guide for Tina Ament, a blind athlete and friend from Washington, D.C., in the Revolution3 Triathlon at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie)
Lindsey Cook has made a career helping people make healthy choices. She has handled policy on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and she currently works as the director of wellness and marketing at Rivertown Chiropractic and Wellness Center in downtown Madison.

But in her personal time, she also reaches out to those who are afflicted with adversities aside from nutrition and health issues.

Cook, a 2001 graduate of Madison Consolidated High School, serves as a running guide for a visually impaired woman in Washington, D.C., and has helped with runs for individuals with autism.

"It was something that I was drawn to, something that I wanted to do and thought I should do," said Cook, who completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Indiana University.

Cook has been involved in endurance sports since she was 7, starting with competitive swimming.

Her running mate, Tina Ament, is an assistant prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice living in Washington, D.C. In addition to her degrees from Yale and Stanford universities, Ament also has several marathons, triathlons and min-triathlons under her belt.

"I feel honored to be a part of what she does," Cook said. "It's just inspiring to see her overcome sensory adversity in an already very challenging sport. She just has an attitude of, 'Let's find out a way to go and do it.'"

Ament and Cook met in the nation's capital a few years ago when Cook was working for a health policy organization but was looking to branch out into individual wellness.

"It was a great job, but it wasn't my calling," she said. "I'm much more micro than macro."

Through a friend, she found Ament, a serious athlete who was in need of a guide for upcoming competitions. At that time, Ament had competed in a number triathlons and was a longtime participant in the Boston Marathon.

The two took their first run around the Washington Mall and began training together shortly after. They first competed in the G.W. Parkway Classic, a 10-mile race in Washington, D.C.

"She endearingly calls me her guide dog," Cook joked.

So far, the two have teamed up for a mini-Ironman Triathlon in Cedar Point, Ohio. But they plan to tackle a full Ironman Triathlon in Louisville next year in August. An official Ironman Triathlon includes swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles and running 26.2 miles.

The logistics of their races are quite specific, especially for triathlons. As a guide, Cook is connected to Ament by a bungee cord during the swimming and running portions of the event.

During the cycling portion, Ament uses a custom tandem bicycle. This calls for the highest level of communication and difficulty, given the number of turns and gear changes. It also takes practice to connect to the pedals, which are clip-ons much like traditional road bikes.

Since Cook moved back to Madison about 18 months ago, she coordinates training schedules with Ament to make sure they are both on the same level for the competition. And for the most part, their times are consistent with one another.

"I train for what her goals are, and they're usually exactly in line with what mine would be, too," she said. "That's why we're such good partners."

Cook said her time with Ament allows her to help fulfill someone's "passion."

And in her current job, her tasks are not so different. At Rivertown Chiropractic and Wellness Center, Cook also serves as a personal trainer and she coordinates the program Eight Weeks to Wellness. Next year, she will also become the director of the Ribberfest 5K.

Cook said she wants to expand her outreach in the community and schools to encourage Madison residents to achieve and maintain a healthy living style.

"Health begins at the individual level," she said.