I am a former fat kid turned triathlete (You can see my “journey” in this photo set:http://www.flickr.com/photos/letsgetdecadent/sets/72157604056149320/) . I run, bike, swim and weight train. I compete in triathlons of all distances from sprints to half ironman spring to summer and fall to winter I compete in long distance runs at various distances ranging from full to 1/2 marathons. My ultimate goal is to always stay active and to one day compete in a full Ironman triathlon.

 

Why and how did you start swimming?

Ironically enough, I did not start swimming until I was 30! I am shy of 33 now, so obviously I haven’t been swimming long at all but now actively swim about 12,000-15,000 meters a week. The drive to learn how to swim was sparked by my interest in triathlons. Starting in my early twenties, I had been an active long-distance runner and cyclist who had competed in several half and full marathons and long distance rides. To couple my love for both running and cycling, I had done a few duathlons and the only thing that was preventing me from pursuing triathlons was the swim portion of the race. Truth be told, beyond doggie paddling, I did not know how to swim. Eventually I grew sick of using the fact that I didn’t know how to swim as a roadblock, because as someone who lost 130lbs on her own if anyone knows that there really isn’t anything you can’t do when you put some elbow grease into it, it’s me.

When I first started swim lessons I could not even swim a single length of a 25 yard pool. Yes, really. But I kept at it and eventually I improved. Less than 3 years later, I have gone on to compete in half ironman triathlons, swim both ironman distance (2.4 miles) and 5K open-water swims and actively train with a US masters swim group. It’s hard to imagine NOT swimming at this point in my life.

 

What is your favorite swimming gear?

As far as electronics/gadgets go, my favorite ‘toy” is my X1 headphone system (http://www.x-1.com/store/swimming.html) – they really help pass the time on those long solo endurance swims in the pool. In terms of training gear, I love my TYR mentor paddles (http://www.tyr.com/shop/mentor-hand-paddles.html). Many people I swim with hate pulls, but I LOVE them!

 

How do you think that Instabeat might change the way you swim?

Though I am still fairly new to swimming, as a runner and cyclist I know a great deal about monitoring progress and increasing performance by tracking certain markers such as your heart rate and power (watts). I have a Garmin 910xt which I use when I run and when I swim and although it is a great sports watch and gps device, in terms of swimming all I am able to ascertain from it is my average pace and SWOLF score. While these are two very important measurements I know that similar to running, heart rate is an important measure to track during the duration of the activity. Instabeat’s ability to track my HR as I am swimming and break down the HR zones I am in WHILE I am swimming all while displaying it to me WHILE I swim is a huge reason why I believe this will help me improve.

 

What was your most memorable sports competition and why?

In regards to swimming, my most memorable sports competition was the 2.4 mile swim I did in a bay along the New Jersey shore last summer. It was my first time swimming that distance in the open water as well as my first time swimming in salt water and with a wet suit. I was very nervous going in but within a few minutes I had settled in nicely and was actually disappointed when the swim came to an end. In  regards to other sports, last January I competed in Ragnar Key West, where teams of runners incrementally take turns running the 200 miles from Miami to Key West. Both myself and 11 other runners on my team finished in about 27 hours and it was an amazing journey! Not many people can say they ran through Everglades, but I can!

 

Do you find it useful to log your training? What is your favorite platform and why?

Admittedly, I am a serial fitness logger. I use and have used DailyMile.com for almost 5 years and religiously log every bout of exercise I do day in and out: http://www.dailymile.com/people/kristenrf DailyMile was the first log I started using and it is hands down my favorite because it is basically facebook for athletes, but with metrics and dashboards. It’s the perfect mix for chatty, data geeks like me. The amount of friendships and encouragement that has come about because of my use of DM has been absolutely outstanding.  I also use Strava, Endonmondo, Garmin Connect, USMS Flog and Training Peaks (for my coach.)

Kristen 2

Kristen 3

 

Kristen 1

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