Monday, December 23, 2013

Triple Threat Team Profile: Kristen Lodge

We are thrilled to welcome Arizona's Kristen Lodge as the latest addition to the Triple Threat team. I figured there was no better way to get to know her than to showcase her on the blog... thanks for the time, Kristen!

What’s your background, and how did you get into triathlon?

I have been an athlete all my life. I played softball and tennis growing up. In high school I played basketball and softball. It was only after high school that I started swimming, biking, and running in various degrees with no consistency and I never raced. I remember swimming laps in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire YMCA pool and thinking about triathlons. The problem was I never followed through with anything back then. When I was 34 I moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Everyone was a runner or cyclist. Steamboat had a running series and I started running all the races; even winning 3rd place for the most points one year, mostly because I ran many of them to get points. I started meeting triathletes and the next thing I knew, I was one.

How would you sum up your 2013 season? What was the highlight/lowlight?

2013 was a fun year racing. I finished my first 50K trail run in March. In May, I raced the Triple T in Portsmouth, Ohio, a weekend of four triathlons: one super sprint, two Olympic distance tris, and a half Ironman distance. The Triple T was the highlight of my season and I met amazing Ironman athletes who use this race as prep for the racing season. Ironman Wisconsin was my A race and while I didn’t finish with the time I wanted, I know everything I did wrong in my training. I don’t want to repeat that, ever.

Have you planned out any races yet for 2014, or still in the works?

Now that it is approaching the new year, I've finally planned my 2014 season. In January, the Colossal Duathlon at Colossal Cave Mountain Park (Tucson). In February, 24 Hours at the Old Pueblo (Tucson) mountain bike race. In March, the Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon in Oro Valley. In May, Ironman 70.3 St. George. I am still considering Silverman 70.3 in October and the Tucson Triathlon series (3 races over the year all sprint distances at the UofA). 

As you alluded to in your team profile, the triathlon scene is fierce in Colorado… was it intimidating to pick up triathlon [racing] there or did you find it welcoming? 

Note I lived in Steamboat but would race in Boulder. It is completely terrifying to race in Boulder as a newbie. I remember seeing Craig Alexander win Boulder 70.3 the first year I did a half Ironman in 2005 or 2006 (the pros started a few hours after the amateurs). Despite the competition there are so many nice triathletes that help you if you need a wetsuit zip or have questions about the course.

What’s the triathlon scene like in your current home of Arizona? What’s training like through the summer as well as “winter”? 

Tucson has a vibrant triathlon scene. Cyclists ride all over town, year round in very colorful kits. Earlier this year I was passed by Hillary Biscay on the Rillito River Path and she was so friendly (star struck!). The University of Arizona organizes a sprint triathlon series with three races during the year. Chris Lieto has the course record: 50:42 from March 2007. There is a USAT duathlon in the fall in Oro Valley and a triathlon south of Tucson at Patagonia Lake in November. This is my second winter training in Tucson and it is nice to sleep in on the weekends and start rides at 9 or 10 when it is about 45 or 50 degrees (and NO SNOW on the ground). I try to ride my bike at lunch time when temperatures reach 70 or higher. I swim at the local YMCA in the outdoor pool all year long. I have a great tan on the back of my legs and back. In the summer I wake up at 5am to bike and run while it’s cool and by 8 pm I am ready for bed.

What motivates you to swim, bike, and run?

I am a goal oriented person. I like having a plan and checking off each completed run, bike or swim, then logging time/miles on I love the feeling of accomplishment after training and finishing a race. I love all the possibilities of going longer and getting faster. Both would be nice (LOL). I have met the most interesting people through triathlon - from Steamboat Springs, to Winter Park, Colorado, to Tucson, Arizona. I love the camaraderie and inspiration I receive from the athletic community regardless of event type.

What were your Ironman experiences like at IM Coeur d’Alene & Wisconsin? 

IM Coeur d’Alene was the best, first Ironman experience I could have hoped for. I was living in Granby, Colorado at 8,000 feet while training. I trained in snow, wind, and cold and it prepared me really well for my first race. Going down to 2,100 feet to race felt amazing. I wrote about this experience in my book, Continental Quotient in the chapter, How I Got This Way. Driving home from that race I knew this was the lifestyle I want to live every day and I knew I would do another Ironman. I thought about how I knew I was never going to be a Top 10 age grouper and I might not ever qualify for Kona, but I love the life of swimming, biking, and running and the people who join me along the way. Ironman Wisconsin was a great experience because I met my friend Mark in Madison, and we raced it together. Sharing the Ironman weekend with Mark (who I met at the Coeur d’Alene Ironman on race morning and stayed friends with over the years) was so fun and we helped each other get rid of the nervous energy before the big day. I love destination racing because you get to see a part of the country you might not have a reason to see. I had never been to Wisconsin and racing Ironman was a great way to see the capitol and surrounding areas. Ironman Wisconsin has a tough bike course; I should’ve raced that one after training in the Colorado mountains.

What do you enjoy most about triathlon?

I love that my clothes fit better. I love the people I meet when looking for training partners. Most importantly, signing up for races and traveling to them takes me out of my comfort zone and allows a venue where I can push myself to reach goals.

What was the inspiration for your book, and can you tell us a bit about it?

My book, Continental Quotient, was written about all the mountain towns I lived in from 1999 to today. Even though Tucson is a big city, it is surrounded by mountains and sometimes feels like a small, mountain town. After I finished writing the essays, I realized I was celebrating adventure, friends, family, and landscape. The people in the stories formed the backbone of the book and the book became a call out to the world to take each adventure as it comes. I realized that each time I moved to a new place I was taking a risk and in each place I found a new part of myself. Ironman is like this; it is one big adventure and your true self comes out in the end. And, the stories…. the stories are so fun to tell over and over again.

What advice would you give to those new to the sport?

Start with a sprint triathlon. Train for three months and see how you like that distance. Consistency in training is the key as a new triathlete, and as a seasoned athlete. I’ve seen people race their first sprint and hate it because they felt terrible the entire time. When you train with consistency you feel good racing and want to race more. The best way to love the sport is to put in the time: swim, bike and run. Be careful – it’s addictive!

Learn more about Kristen on her website, and check out Continental Quotient on Amazon.

Related post: TTT Profile: Jackie "Big Rig" Muterspaugh

1 comment:

  1. Very inspiring! I'm actually aspiring to be a proswimmer and reading this blog encourages me to strive hard to reach my dream. I'm doing any necessary maintenance for our pool with Phoenix Pool Service and preserving a healthy diet for my current training program to go as planned. If things go well, hopefully I can compete for an amateur swimming contest this summer.