To complete an Ironman triathlon, you must swim 2.4 miles, hop on your bike, ride 112 miles, and then run a marathon (26.2 miles). To top it off, if you don’t finish in 17 hours, you’re disqualified. It is not for the faint of heart.
An intense training regime is necessary to teach your body to perform at its highest level. The most important training however happens between your ears, building the mental toughness needed to overcome such a monumental challenge.
Kim reached out to our request, “Where have your Tread Labs insoles taken you?” She suffered from the intense discomfort of plantar fasciitis and needed pain relief to enable her to continue the training and racing that had become such a big part of her life. Here is a look into her passion for triathlon.
She started just before her 40th birthday. Feeling that she had untapped capabilities, Kim entered a sprint level triathlon (1/4 mile swim, 10 mile bike, and a 5K (3.1 mile) run and loved it. She worked her way to longer distances, completing her first Ironman length tri in November of 2015. She was hooked.
It would be more appropriate to ask how her life fits into tris. Kim is immersed in training, racing, volunteering at events and traveling to faraway places to compete. She has made strong friendships with other racers; sufferfests like the Ironman tend to be bonding experiences. This camaraderie adds to the enjoyment of training, traveling and racing.
She is an avid member of the Boca Raton Triathletes, a group of 400+ athletes who share a passion for training and competing. The club is open to athletes of all ages, members range in age from 18 to 74, there are some hard body senior citizens involved to be sure. Kim is the Charity Events coordinator, a role that adds yet another dimension to her tri experience.
Kim is also a member of the Base Performance Team. Owner, Matt Miller saved her first Ironman race in 2015 when Kim was having painful leg cramps during the run. He gave her a sample of Base Electrolyte Salt and the encouragement she needed to finish the race before the cutoff time. She has been using Base Salt ever since in all her training and races.
Kim believes that training is all about incremental improvement and breaking big challenges down into more manageable tasks. No one gets off the couch and runs a marathon, much less an Ironman. You compete in smaller events, gradually increasing your training and your race distances. If you’re passionate about your sport and truly love the outcomes, you advance. The real work is the training. Mental toughness is as important as physical strength and endurance. Race day is the reward for your hard work.
Swimming is Kim’s favorite. She likes the technicality of the sport, the way that subtle corrections in technique can reap big rewards in racing. She has competed in several 5K swim races as well.
Kim is a Senior Systems Engineer and owns a technology consulting firm, Coral Technical Consultants. Perhaps Kim’s engineer mindset helps her manage the complexities of her training, nutrition, schedules and travel. Even though her work hours can be long and unpredictable (her current client has locations to be supported in every time zone in the world), she is able to fit training into her life. You’ll often find her on her indoor bike or in the pool at odd hours. Training takes time no matter how flexible your schedule is.
After Kim graduated from college, she was driving home to Peoria, Illinois from job interviews in Chicago. She hit a patch of black ice and woke up in the hospital a week later with her C-2 vertebrae broken in 3 places and 15 staples in her head. She was literally a hair’s breathe away from total paralysis; she had broken the same part of her neck that had ended Christopher Reeve’s career. Miraculously, she recovered without surgery and was thankful to regain her health. Miles into a race, when she digs deep for endurance, she thinks back to her accident, thankful to be in the present moment, pain or no pain.
There are months where the training tapers. Kim usually plans an off-season window. During those times, she’ll concentrate on hot yoga, strength training and her other passions of scuba diving and snow skiing. Once started on a path of expanding your physical limits, it’s hard to back off completely. Friends are always training, racing, or planning their next adventure. Kim is steeped in the culture of triathlon and it tends to permeate her life.
Kim has a great coach, Richard Wygand, a former professional triathlete who coordinates her training schedule, nutrition (she has a very sensitive stomach) and race strategies. Her coach is an inspiration to Kim in many ways. Rich’s son Luke was born with a rare muscle disease, nemaline myopathy. To heighten awareness and support other families with special needs kids, Rich has started the goLukeWyland Foundation.
Depends on how you measure success. By her own admission, Kim is not “crazy fast”. To her credit, she has completed every race that she has entered, not something that many competitors can say. Of the 60+ races that she has entered, 4 have been Ironman distance. She breaks down her races the way she breaks down her training. Splitting longer events into manageable pieces, focusing on completing each small piece before addressing the next.
Kim is currently signed up for 2 Ironmans – Cork, Ireland in June 2019 and Panama City Beach, Florida in November 2019. As she looks to her 50th birthday in 2020, she thinks about challenges other than triathlon. Always having been afraid of heights, she is considering rock climbing or maybe mountaineering. Stretching the mind and body into a new dimension is very appealing.
Kim came to Tread Labs to solve a long-standing Plantar Fasciitis injury. She considered custom orthotics but had friends who had not found success with them. She now wears Tread Labs insoles in her cycling and running shoes, both for training and on race day. She also wears them in her everyday shoes. She tells us that the insoles have made a huge difference in her comfort and her performance. We’re glad to help. We think Kimberly is awesome.
Mark has always believed exceptional footwear can change lives. He's been in the footwear industry for over 30 years, working with podiatrists, pedorthists, foot care experts, and footwear makers. Mark started Chaco sandals in 1989 and developed a game-changing sport sandal that delivered comfort and durability. After Chaco sold in 2009, Mark ultimately started Tread Labs to continue transforming people's footwear so they can walk better, feel better, live better.
by Mark Paigen 6 min readRead More
by Mark Paigen 6 min read