Our Coaches


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Nici Dunn

Organizer - Head Coach

Hi, my name is Nici Dunn. This will be my second year with USA FIT Temecula and I am positive we will make it even better 🙂

I was born and grew up in Germany. I met my husband Dave when he was stationed there with the Army. I moved to the United States in 1992 and became a U.S. citizen in 2003. We have two boys, 18 and 16 years old, and two dogs Sam and Leo.

I started running in spring of 2009. My younger son, then 9 years old decided one day he wanted to run a 5K. I wanted to make it happen for him so I signed us up for a 5K in June that year. It wasn’t easy training for it, but we ran the 5K and the atmosphere of the event got us both hooked on more running. With that always nagging word “never” in my mind, I signed up for my first Half Marathon, which I ran a year later. Since then I have ran a number of 5Ks, 10Ks, 15Ks, over 50 Half Marathons (I stopped counting at 50), 10 Marathons, and two 50Ks. Last November I qualified to run the Boston Marathon in 2017. I love running events. Some would ask, why would you pay money to run, when you can do it for free!? Well truthfully, I love medals 🙂 But even more I love the atmosphere at running events, hundreds, sometimes thousands of happy people, getting up early and out to run for miles and miles, people of all shapes and sizes, faster, slower, walking, skipping, somehow getting to the finish line. I also enjoy group runs with friends, I still love running with my son, who inspired me the most to be a runner, and with my favorite running buddy, my dog Sam. I have met the most amazing people in my life because of running.

What are some things you want to achieve as a coach?
I want to help people reach their goal in a friendly group atmosphere. Most of all I want everyone to have fun while reaching that goal.

What would you say to someone who wants to start running but says “I can’t run” or “I hate running?”
I have actually said that myself, more then once. We say that because it’s hard to get started. I would say, give it a try for a while and you will see how fun and rewarding running can be. Most of all it will change your life!

What other running goals do you have?
I want to be able to run until I die.

How did you hear about USA FIT?
From my amazing running group Mom’s Run This Town.

Who is your running inspiration?
Many of my running friends. I am amazed by their determination to reach different goals, it could be a PR, a sub 2, to qualify for Boston, running their first race, they won’t give up until they succeed.

What’s your favorite kind of music to listen to when you run?
I run to the music of nature.

What is your favorite indulgence after a long run?
A Veggie or Turkey burger and sweet potato fries and a good IPA.

What are you doing when you’re not running?
I like hiking or walking with my dog. Also cooking, gardening or reading.

What is one odd fact about you?
I met my husband on a blind date in Germany, except he wasn’t my blind date 🙂

What/Who are you most proud of?
My children. Their intelligence amazes me every day.

Nici.Dunn@aol.com

Raymond Lota

Organizer - Head Coach

Ray never saw himself as a runner or imagined competing in marathons. His motivation came when his doctor told him he had high blood pressure, pre-diabetes and had to lose weight. At the time, he ran no further than 5K. Since 2011, he has completed eight marathons, nineteen half marathons, two 200-mile-ish Ragnar Relay’s, and aspires to qualify for the prestigious Boston Marathon. Ray no longer has any health conditions and claims to be as fit as his high school years. He has inspired and motivated others in so many ways. Ray is considered a Double Agent for qualifying for membership in both the Half  Fanatics and Marathon Maniacs, both national running organizations. Ray was a participant of USA FIT Temecula in 2012. He returns for his third year as a coach to share his experience and lead you to reach your potential.

What are some things you want to achieve as a coach?
I want to help and motivate as many members as I can achieve their personal goals of completing their first half marathon, full marathon, or improve upon their fitness or time.

What would you say to someone who wants to start running but says “I can’t run” or “I hate running?”
I hate running too!  My first 4-5 miles are my hardest.  Ease in to it.  It’s okay to walk.  And if you can’t hold a conversation, you are running too fast.

 What other running goals do you have?
I would like to qualify for the Boston Marathon and complete an ultra marathon.

How did you hear about USA FIT?
Brian Harned recruited me to join his first season as an organizer in 2012.

Who is your running inspiration?
The determination and commitment of each member to their own goal inspires me.

What’s your favorite kind of music to listen to when you run?
I do not listen to music when I run.  The silence is my own “control, alt, delete.”

What is your favorite indulgence after a long run?
In-and-Out, #2 Animal Style with an ice tea.

What are you doing when you’re not running?
Working a day job, spending time with family/friends, traveling, watching USC football, gardening, and growing a photo booth empire.

What is one odd fact about you?
While traveling abroad, I’ve been mistaken for Tiger Woods several times and asked for a photo and autograph.

What/Who are you most proud of?
I am most proud of earning the keys to the City of Norwalk and Cerritos, and having the American flag soar over the Nations Capitol in my honor for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. My dad bragged to everyone I was going to be an Eagle Scout before he passed so I couldn’t let him down.

raymondlota@yahoo.com
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Rebecca Miller

Head Coach -

Hi, my name is Rebecca Miller and I am overjoyed to be a part of USA FIT this season.  I ran track and cross-country when I was younger but somewhere along the way I quit running.  It wasn’t until after I married my husband that I picked it back up again.  He started running marathons and ultra marathons and the more I watched him and others complete races the more I wanted to complete one too.  I will admit that while I wanted to run it was difficult, I was overweight and had breathing issues so every step was a struggle.  However the more races I watched him run the more it inspired me and eventually I got towhere I could run farther and farther until I was ready to enter a race myself.   I completed my first half marathon in 2007 and my first full Marathon in 2010 and I have been committed to running ever since

What are some things you want to achieve as a coach?
My goal is to be motivational to everyone on the team. Staying fit is a constant challenge for me but I have embraced the challenge and I hope to motivate others to embrace the challenge as well.

What would you say to someone who wants to start running but says, “I can’t run” or “I hate running?”
Anyone can run you may start out doing more walking then running but with time and effort you will be running

What other running goals do you have?
I would like to complete a 50-mile Ultra marathon.

How did you hear about USA FIT?
A good friend referred me.

Who is your running inspiration?
I have two, my husband who is an amazing runner and who got me back into running and my Father who was my Track and Cross Country coach growing up. He was not a runner himself but he was a great coach and I hope that I can be as good as he was.

What’s your favorite kind of music to listen to when you run?
I actually don’t listen to music when I run. I used to listen to a mixture of current hits and country but now I run with friends and we prefer to talk and enjoy each other’s company.

What is your favorite indulgence after a long run?
Frozen Yogurt

What are you doing when you’re not running?
I enjoy mountain bike riding, cycling, and spending time with my family.

What is one odd fact about you?
I am a total homebody. I have to be outgoing in my work, so when I am off I tend to want to spend alone time with my family.

What/Who are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my husband. He is a United States Marine who will be retiring next year after 30 years of service. I look up to all of our military and admire everyone who unselfishly gives of himself or herself to protect this nation and our freedom. I am honored to be married to him and to have been apart of his service.

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Jess Skillingstad

Head Coach -

My name is Jessica Skillingstad, but everyone knows me as “Jess” I have been running for thirteen years now. You could say I was a late starter to the running game. It was back in Honolulu, HI in 1998 when I found my LOVE of running! Until then had never, ever in my life ran on purpose. I ran to chase my kids. That pretty much was the extent of my running. I was overweight at a whopping 216 lbs. and just walking up the stairs took all I had. Me a runner? NEVER!
It was until my husband signed us both up for the FORD ISLAND 5K race. I knew I had to start training and so I did. I know I had to make some lifestyle changes as well and after changing my diet and adding exercise into my life I was able to drop 90 lbs. Even after dropping the excess weight I still needed to be smart with my training – again I had never, ever run before. I added some walk/run interval training and without knowing it I implemented fartleks into my training – sprinting from mailbox to mailbox and walking in between to recover. That is just what I need to complete my very first 5K race. I ran the whole thing and the rest is history! Since then I have completed numerous races including four marathons, many half marathons and my all-time favorite Ragnar relays. I am also a fitness fanatic! I love spreading my knowledge of all things fitness to others. Making fitness FUN and contagious!

What are some things you want to achieve as a coach?
I want to show my support to all the members by motivating them to reach their running and fitness goals! I would LOVE to help inspire members to reach beyond what they thought was possible!

What would you say to someone who wants to start running but says “I can’t run” or “I hate running?”
YES you CAN! Everyone starts somewhere. Having a positive attitude and not placing so much pressure on yourself! Just get out and MOVE. Find your HAPPY Pace!

What other running goals do you have?
I completed one of my goals for 2016 last weekend with completing my very first Ultra Marathon 50K race. I want to continue to step out of my comfort zone and set new and exciting goals for myself. Definitely, more trail races! I am hooked!

How did you hear about USA FIT?
From one of the greatest and smartest runners I know Nici Dunn.

Who is your running inspiration?
All women! Strong, capable and determined women of all ages! Girl Power!

What’s your favorite kind of music to listen to when you run?
I do not listen to music. The sound of my breathing, the birds chirping, the wind blowing that is all the music I need!

What is your favorite indulgence after a long run?
French Fries!

What are you doing when you’re not running?
I am the co-owner and a fitness coach at KAIA FIT TEMECULA a women’s only fitness gym. Most days I am coaching three to five classes daily.

What/Who are you most proud of?
I am proud of all my children. They keep me feeling young and ALIVE!

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Dee Willis

Head Coach -

Hello my name is Dee Willis. I’m excited to be coming back to USA FIT Temecula as part of the coaching team and helping others achieve their running goals.

Like a lot of people, I was not a runner or very athletic growing up. I joined Team in Training in my 30s to honor my dad who passed away and I completed three Half Marathons and one Full Marathon as a walker. I never thought I’d do one again much less as a runner…..then as I was approaching 41 I discovered I had a passion for running! In that 1st year I trained alone and completed one 10-mile Mud Run, five Half Marathons and became an official Half Fanatic. The following year, I was introduced to trail running…let’s just say I found my heart and joy on the trails. However, I knew I needed support and coaching to go beyond 13 miles or to attempt a trail race. While searching for an organized training program, I found my old Team in Training Coach Brian was now with USA FIT and I signed up. Since being part of USA FIT I’ve been able to complete two 10-mile races, ten Half Marathons, one Full Trail Marathon, one 50k Race, one Ragnar Relay, two 100 mile challenges (running a 100miles in a month) and attempted my first actual 100 mile Ultra Race (although I DNF, it was an amazing experience and one I will attempt again). The coaches and other USA Fit members have provided me with the support and knowledge needed to achieve my goals and why I look forward to returning each season.

What are some things you want to achieve as a coach?
I hope to be able to encourage and assist our teammates in achieving their running and fitness goals.

What would you say to someone who wants to start running but says “I can’t run” or “I hate running?”
I would say you CAN DO it!!   We all have to start from where we are today and USA FIT has designed a program that teaches you how to achieve your running goals in a heathy safe manner and you will LOVE running at the end of our program. Or at least you will have met some great people, had lots of encouragement and completed your first Half or Full Marathon J

What other running goals do you have?
I would like to complete a 100-mile Ultra Marathon and do the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim.

How did you hear about USA FIT?
Brian Harned recruited me to join in 2012.

Who is your running inspiration?
I’m inspired by anyone who is out there pushing themselves to achieve their goals. But if I had to choose just one, it would be Dale Miller (Coach Rebecca’s husband). Dale is an amazing mentor and friend who has taught me so much about ultra running, turning any obstacle into training/growth experience and happily shared many miles with me even though I was so much slower.

What’s your favorite kind of music to listen to when you run?
I listen to a rage of music as well as military cadence.

What is your favorite indulgence after a long run?
In-and-Out, #2 with pickles and mustard with a chocolate shake….I know but after 13miles I think I can have the indulgence.

What are you doing when you’re not running?
I have an office job, spend time with friends, enjoying the local wineries and microbreweries, and currently working on my certification to become a Life Coach.

What is one odd fact about you?
My birth name is Denale and it means the High One.

What/Who are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of the person I’ve become and hope that I can inspire others to achieve their goals and dreams.