As they say, "Still waters run deep". She's a mom, a wife, and one of the nicest individuals you'll ever meet, but when she puts on her game face, she's all business and she's willing to dig very deep indeed.
Today, we're chatting with Coeur Athlete and Kona Qualifier Kristin Schwieger.
Coeur: First, congratulations on punching your ticket to Kona! You qualified at Ironman Texas on a pretty tough day. Tell us a little about that race and when did you know you had qualified for Hawaii?
Kristin: Thank you so much! I am so excited to be going back to Kona this year. Texas was a tough and interesting day for me. Everything was going great until special needs misplaced my bag and I had to go to Plan B for the rest of the race. Not having my Osmo made my stomach turn and I couldn't keep anything down. I started the run completely depleted. I don't remember too much of the run, but my hubby and friends telling me to just move forward and I'd hopefully qualify. After a long stay in medical, with mild renal failure, I ended up in 5th place. I wasn't sure there would be that may spots. At the awards banquet, Hailey was convinced there would be an extra spot in my AG. I could've believe it. I was so excited to get the opportunity to go back to the island and hopefully show what I know I am capable of!
Coeur: Texas is in May, which is a reasonably long period before Kona. How have you been preparing and what has your training been like since you qualified?
Kristin: Well, it took me a while to feel "right" after Texas. I definitely emptied the tank physically and mentally. I had a slow rebuild back, but have been hitting some strong training blocks this summer. I have only raced once since Texas and it felt great to get back out there and test myself. I am also doing Augusta 70.3 two weeks before Kona as a little tune-up. Looking forward to seeing where my fitness is before the taper!
Coeur: We’ve found that while endurance sports are generally thought of as solitary endeavors, in reality, there’s usually a support system built up around the athlete. Sometimes, it’s training partners, sometimes it is family. Who do you have in your corner helping you prepare for Kona?
Kristin: I have a wonderful support system here in Florida. Some of my training partners are some of my closest friends, so we have fun while we work hard. My husband is incredibly supportive as well. I think he is just as excited to get back to the big island as I am. Being a mom of two busy and active girls, a full time job, wife and training, it definitely takes a village to get through all IM training and prep.
Coeur: Have you done anything special to prepare for the heat and humidity in Kona, or is living in Florida enough?
Kristin: I believe I have been training on the surface of the sun this summer. This has been the most humid and hot summer I can remember. August and September tend to be the worst months here, so definitely feel adapted. I plan to do a few sauna sessions as I believe they help, but just being outside here is pretty intense! I hope this heat will have me ready this year!
Coeur: Of course Kona is the big show in long course triathlon and everyone who is anyone seems to be on the Big Island. We've heard that some athletes like to experience as much of the race as they can and spend a lot of time on Alii and at the expo. Others make a point of staying away from the action so that they don't get distracted. Do you think you’ll fall into one camp or another?
Kristin: My first time at Kona I definitely took it all in, checked out the expo, ran down Alii, you name it. Last time, I kept more to myself and just stayed away from the show. But this year is the first time I am going to Kona as part of a team and I am so excited for that. I've never done the UP run and hoping to help Coeur represent this year. I think being a part of Coeur is what makes me so excited this year to experience everything a little differently.
Coeur: Quite a few of us will be out cheering on the course in Kona, so we have to ask. Do you ever hear what people yell to you on the bike and the run or are you concentrating so much on your body that you don't notice? Also, if you do notice, what is the best thing for someone to say to you during the race?
Kristin: Yes! That is my absolute favorite part. I thrive on it and definitely hear everything. I usually look to my husband to update me on how I am fairing in the race and just reminders to take in nutrition and definitely to just keep moving! My support it was has gotten me to the finish line in each of my races.
Coeur: We think that the finish of Ironman Hawaii is one of the most magical places in all of sport. What do you think you'll be feeling when you make the turn on to Alii?
Kristin: There is no better feeling than that final turn on Alii. It is unbelievably magical. I have always been a little emotional on Alii because everything you have prepped for in the last year is all coming to a close. When I have tough days training, I always try and visualize that finish line and remind myself that this is why I love the sport so much. Nothing compares and I can't wait to see it again in a month!
Coeur: Well, thank you so much for chatting with us! We’ll see you soon in Kona!
Kristin: Thank you!! I am so excited to see you all on the island and so proud to represent Coeur!