Growing Up

I was raised in Zionsville, Indiana, the youngest of 3 girls, and divided my time between swimming, soccer, gymnastics and of course some learning thrown in there. I started swimming and playing soccer at age 4, and I was constantly saying to my parents “I can do it MYSELF.” I was stubborn and extremely active. By age 10, I started putting all of my free time into swimming, which took me through my high school years and on to University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. I swam all 4 years there, studied Kinesiology, and had an awesome college experience. I focused on the 1650, 500 free, 200 fly and 400 IM. While my improvements in the pool seemed to plateau about my Junior year, I still loved the sport and once I finished Senior year, I was left thinking “What now?”

Olympic Dreams…Or Not

I started doing triathlons the summer after finishing swimming, all local events, and discovered what fun they were. I said that I would ‘not take it seriously’, but when I was given a chance to move to Colorado Springs in 2003 and train at the Olympic Training Center, I could not pass it up. I moved to the mountains (which was my ultimate goal!) and trained there through 2005. I had a few big success’, winning Pan American Championships in 2002 and qualifying for the World Championship Team in 2002 as well. I had no idea what I was doing and I am not quite sure how I did these two things, I think in large part due to being young, naive and simply doing what I was told. In 2004, I was starting to realize that my heart was not with the Olympic format racing; I just did not enjoy the drafting and the feeling that your race all depended upon tactics and external factors. I have always liked to do my own thing, be given my own space, and accomplish my goals individually. This seemed to show, and in 2005, a bike crash (resulting in a double compound fracture of my left arm, and then 3 surgeries in 8 months) seemed a good transition point in my life and my career.

Colorado to Texas & Going Longer

My husband Derick and I moved to Austin, TX in 2006, much to (yet again) my resistance, as he was headed to UT for Grad School. I was honestly a bit sick to my stomach moving to Texas from living in Manitou Springs, CO; but we have been beyond pleasantly surprised with this AMAZING town. I began dabbling in the longer racing, while also doing some online coaching on the side. I tackled my first marathon in 2008, my second marathon in 2009, and finally an Ironman in 2010 (Coeur d’Alene). I love the 70.3 racing but I’ve also taken to the full Ironman distance the past few years. I’ve been fortunate to accumulate 10 wins at the half ironman distance, as well as finally nabbing my first Ironman victory in 2014, winning Ironman Texas in my ‘hometown state’ with an 8:54.  2015 found us feeling restless, missing the mountains; and in 2016, we made the move back to Colorado Springs.

What’s next?

So here we are, back in Colorado where we met, and where my triathlon career really took root. It’s been an awesome journey and every day I’m grateful I still have the passion and ability to still compete. I’ve taken it year by year, there have been many ups and downs, and suffice to say I feel my progress has been gradual but steady. However, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I have learned the value of patience and though I have thought I should throw in the towel many times, I have continued to plug away, always believing that ‘I had better in me’. It has been a fun journey.

A few bits of advice I can give; enjoy the process and try not to get caught up in the results of day to day.

Take your time as you move through the distances. Learn from each experience. Be patient in the quest to get faster. Be consistent, and appreciate the process.

Let the disappointments raise you up and make you stronger. View your weakness’ as an opportunity to improve.

Help others out along the way; we all once were beginners.

Appreciate the ability to get out and do it.  Rather than think you ‘have’ to do it, realize you get to do it.

When people ask me how long I will continue as a professional, I reply, “As long as I am enjoying it and still see myself improving.”

The training is a part of who I am, what I do and what I enjoy; the competition against myself and others is what drives me. We can thank our competitors who propel us to be better, but ultimately, the challenge to be better is always within oneself.

Thanks for stopping by, and hope to see you on the journey,

Kelly