Member of the Month: Tamara Berg

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We have a ton of cool folks climbing, spinning, lifting, and CrossFitting at every one of our gyms, each with their unique stories and perspectives on life. Our Member of the Month feature is a chance to get to know some of those folks, and serves as a reminder of how vibrant our community really is. This month, Jason Bove interviews marathoner, meteorologist, and CrossFitter Tamara Berg from Sacramento Pipeworks.

What is your favorite thing about Sacramento Pipeworks, and how did you come to find us?

The friends I have here are my favorite thing. Pipeworks is more than just a gym to me; it’s where I go to work out, release the stress of the day, and bond. A friend brought me into Pipeworks to enjoy some rock climbing on a Sunday afternoon. Through that friend, I made another one—her name is Marissa and she’s a CrossFit coach. Once Pipeworks started a CrossFit program, I left my gym and came to Pipeworks specifically for CrossFit.

Staying fit seems to be very important to you, and CrossFit is included quite regularly in your fitness regimen. Can you tell us how these intense workouts help you stay fit and healthy?

CrossFit is challenging and it’s meant to be. I enjoy going to CrossFit and how the coach has a game plan detailed for you. I usually go to the gym after work and feel mentally drained; CrossFit classes take the thinking out of your workout. You show up, put in the effort, and perform. After a few workouts, you become addicted. That’s what I love about it.

Do you have other favorite activities that you pursue in your free time?

Yes, I love running. I have completed 11 marathons and one ultramarathon (50K). I also love to snowboard, hike, kayak, and participate in the occasional triathlon.

You’re also a television personality that many folks in Northern California know from KCRA. How do you feel that your work life mirrors your personal life?

As a meteorologist, every day is different. I love the rush of my job and I love being busy in my personal life. I look at my day at work like running a marathon. We produce a four-and-a-half-hour newscast Monday through Friday. When we start the show, you have to stay on top of things and keep the momentum going. It’s the same rush you would get from running a marathon.

What made you embark on the meteorologist career path? Did you know early in life what you were going to be when you grew up?

Growing up in Ohio, we had some of the most active and destructive weather throughout the year. My favorite part of my daily routine was watching the local news; I started every school day with it. I remember the local meteorologist showing all of the snow and announcing a snow day from school. I remember thinking how cool it would be to be able to announce that. So, here I am, also a meteorologist.

Some people say that weather forecasting is one job where you sometimes get paid to be wrong, and nobody can blame you. Do you feel that this is a true statement? Why or why not?

I don’t think that’s entirely true. Yes, we do get it wrong sometimes, but we also get it right a lot of times. Those times we get it right tend to fall by the wayside for many viewers. Predicting weather is like looking into a crystal ball sometimes; Mother Nature can be unpredictable. We also have a lot of topography in California and many microclimates. This puts even more stress into assembling an accurate forecast. We do the best we can with the data that we have. Trust me, forecasting technology has come a very long way and I do see forecasts becoming better and better.

Does any one particular event that you have reported on stand out in your mind as life-changing and/or unique?

There are many, but something I will never, ever forget is the tsunami that swept across the shores of Santa Cruz back in March of 2011. It was unheard of for the Central Coast. I was set to fill in for the Chief Meteorologist that day. I ended up going into the office at 9am and I don’t think I left the station until close to midnight. We took viewers through the timing, the impact, and the damage. Taking viewers through a tsunami was life-changing. When we started to see the pictures roll in, you knew property was damaged and some of that coastline would never be the same.

Have you ever screwed up on live TV, and if so, how did you make the most of the situation?

Yes, of course, it happens—it is live TV after all. The one that I will most likely be buried with happened about four years ago. I was at a toy drive at CalExpo. Every year we partner up with California Highway Patrol to collect toys. I was reporting live all morning and challenged an officer to a bike race on a children’s bike. He accepted the challenge and we thought it would be fun to show on live TV.

I was leading as I was biking around the last leg of the track, so I stood up on the bike to gain more speed and secure a win. As I went to stand off the seat, my boot heel slid across the plastic pedal. I rolled off the bike and onto the pavement—all on live TV! Of course, I didn’t win that race. I sat on the ground for a few minutes in shock and a bit of pain. In an effort to show viewers I was okay, I gimped to the finish line, showed off some scrapes, and shook my competition’s hand. My cameraman said he thought I was seriously injured; maybe my ego was, but thankfully I wasn’t.

Hailing from Cleveland, OH, what aspects of California brought you out west to discover a new life in Sacramento?

Family. My brothers had moved from Ohio to the East Bay shortly after college. I came out to visit when I was in college and fell in love with Northern California. I especially love the rotation of seasons here in Sacramento and the access to snow when I have the urge to snowboard.

If you had the opportunity to hang out with a personal hero of yours for one night, who would that hero be, and where would you choose to take them?

I have always loved Barbara Walters. I would choose her. She has fought through adversity in her career and interviewed some of the most well-known people in history. I’d hang out with her in New York City. I would love for her to show me how she started in the business and talk about her famous interviews over the years.