Auburn preschool owner to compete on the ‘Titan Games’

By: Nick Pecoraro
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Can you smell what Nichole Root is cookin?

Former WWE Superstar and Hollywood mega action star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson certainly could when the 39-year-old Auburn resident auditioned to be a participant on his new show on NBC called “The Titan Games”.

Root, who owns Lolli Totts, a private preschool and childcare center in Auburn, impressed Johnson and the show’s producers enough that she got the call to be a contestant on the show back in July.

The Titan Games is a competition testing physical fitness, endurance, strength and mental focus through it all. Think American Gladiators meets Broken Skull Ranch meets the mother of all Spartan races. The intensity could make Hercules himself keel over in exhaustion.

“It’s so incredibly big, larger than life,” says Root of the competition. “Insane obstacles, not things you’d do every day. I’ve done boot camps and crossfit. No particular sport gives you an advantage.”

Though she’d been an athlete growing up, Root says she got away from fitness while she was raising her two daughters, one of whom is 19 years old at Cal Poly and the other is 17 at Placer High.

Root says she got back into the gym around four years ago and began training for elite obstacle course races. She even includes some daily workouts within her daycare routine with the preschoolers at Lolli Totts.

“They love it,” says Root, who’s owned Lolli Totts for 19 years. “We have them focus on being outdoors and keeping them active. We start with morning aerobics and then go outside on the obstacle courses… They love that they don’t get in trouble for jumping in mud puddles and being loud.”

The average human being might get exhausted just listening to Root describe her daily routine. The day begins around 4 a.m. at 1 Lifestyle Fitness in Auburn, where she trains until just before the children begin to arrive at Lolli Totts around 5:30 a.m. The kids then get involved with the outdoor activities before naptime, where Root then circles the block jogging while the kids snooze. Finally, once the last of the children are picked up around 5:30 p.m., it’s off to Rocklin CrossFit for some more training.

Even after a daily routine like that, Root doesn’t think of herself as a full-time athlete.

“I am a mom, my kids come first,” she says. “It’s not like I’ve been an athlete my whole life. I’m the girl next door, the soccer mom. I’m no more special than anyone else.”

The Titan Games premiered last week and airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. on NBC.