Pre-Kona Chat with AG World Champion, Lisbeth Kenyon
Three time defending Age Group World Champion, Lisbeth Kenyon, is gearing up for Kona after a phenomenal showing earlier this season at the Norseman Extreme Triathlon. While her season may have looked slightly different from years past, we are confident Lisbeth will continue her strong showing in Kona...
How was your prep leading up to Kona this year adding Norseman in?
After Norseman, I took a break from the typical tri training; however, I upped strength work and maintained fitness. My summer was insanely busy at work, plus with kids out of school something had to go to maintain my sanity. My coach was probably getting a bit nervous in regards to my motivation level but 4 1/2 weeks before Kona I got the fire in my belly big time. I work well under pressure so I have had a super block of training. I feel great.
Being a 3x defending World Champion, do you have a different mindset heading into this race?
I can't control anything except myself so I feel relaxed. I have learned what the unique conditions of this race feel like. I will focus on hydration, electrolytes, and keeping my head and stomach in check. I have never had a perfect go at the 4th discipline (nutrition) in hot conditions so it means I will start more conservatively and try to do a better job building throughout.
What is your most important tip for a first timer heading to Kona?
I think it is important to race in a way that you have a good experience to look back on and sometimes that attitude means you have the race of your life. I feel you probably don't have the luxury to take big risks the first time you race in extreme conditions if you haven't trained in them. A specific tip I have during the cross winds coming back down from Hawi is don't stop pedaling. That sections scares the heck out of me even on the lightest of wind years, but know that is doesn't last long. Keep pedaling.
What is the hardest part of balancing being a mom of 3 and an athlete?
The easiest part is there is zero time to procrastinate. Another great part is there is little time to mull over past workouts nor be overly engaged in the social media surrounding the sport. The hardest part at this stage is focusing my race specific training for longer than a month or so leading up to an important race. My strategy has been to maintain a strong and balanced body so that when the hard stuff and added training volume start I can step it up abruptly without chance of injury and then follow that with a steep taper.
What is your favorite post race activity in Kona?
First thing that comes to mind is definitely the Lava Java Cinnamon Pull Apart. I transport quite a few of those home to RI when we leave. After the race we always meet folks at Lulu's for fish tacos and beer. Another tradition is driving out to a secret body surfing beach the following day where we have to climb down some lava rocks which is a dilemma for a sore body. And just soaking up being in paradise one more day.
What makes Rhode Island such an unexpected triathlon hot bed?
The raw New England climate nor the flatish landscape certainly isn't conducive to a triathlon hot bed but what we have going for us are a lot of big triathlon teams including our FuelBelt Race Team that have a lot of locals who race long distance. We also have a friendly biker group that welcome aerobars as long as you stay off them. There is so much opportunity to train with different groups depending on what you need your session to be like. We also have plenty of ocean - between the VASA and open water I pretty much don't see a pool from May-October.
Best of luck, Lisbeth!