Kathy Calabretta

Age Group: 65 – 70
Ludington, Michigan

Why do you do triathlons?
My first triathlon was in Sandy Hook, New Jersey in 2007. I had been a strong runner and enjoyed entering local 5K races and did fairly well, especially within my age group. In the Fall of 2006 I had developed a very large abdominal mass (size of a football) that was luckily benign but left me with a long recovery time before getting back into running. A fellow teacher suggested I swim as part of my recovery and challenged me to join her in the Danskin triathlon at Sandy Hook. I had been a good recreational biker, could swim – somewhat – but figured I had about 6 months in which to train and get into shape. As it turned out I had an awful swim, actually stopped at one point, and was helped out of the water by the Danskin spokesperson Sally Edwards. I did managed to place first in age group 1:25:45 (good run)

And I was hooked… I felt good afterwards, met wonderful people, had fun, and I won! So…. I looked for more races

When was your first triathlon?

What have you learned from your previous races?
To taper and pay attention to recovery time. Especially at my age. I think I trained too hard too close to the Nationals last year and my swimming was dreadful. I had raced the weekend before and felt good but then followed a coach’s advise and did a brick on the Tues. before the race and ran harder than I think I should have. I also biked longer than intended the day before the race as I explored the course and played around with my gears on the hill. Too much too close. I also learned that swimming is the area I have to stay on top of. Even if it’s only for 15 min. Once the season is in full swing I have to get into the water every other day. This was a real challenge on our trip to Canada for the World’s but I did it and it paid off. Wow, that was an adventure – just to be a part of it was amazing. I have also learned to not take myself too seriously and to remember that all my training takes time and money away from family. It’s a balance that I always try to remember. I could not do this without my husband’s support and my adult children (ages 28, 30 and 32) think it’s way cool.

What are your short and long-term racing & training goals?

To start, I am trying to be more conscientious about my eating habits, recovery, and nutrition. I read a lot, but don’t always follow the advice. I know that there is room for improvement here and , in turn, hope this will impact my other goals.
I want to improve my swim technique and time. (I’m always playing catch up). This is what brought me to Tri Swim Coach.

I want to develop more power on the bike. Maybe learn how to do a flying mount without falling over?

I want to hold on to my run times (this is where I win). It’s getting harder every year.

The big GOAL: I want to win the Nationals. (lofty goal) and to move up in the World’s (ok winning would be the best but 2nd is good too). And then there is Mexico in 2016.

Most importantly though, and really a long term goal, is to hold my times to what I achieved last year and the year before and to stay injury free. At my age, that is the ultimate goal. Heck, I can eventually win the Nationals if I last longer than anyone else.

Lastly, to be part of a training group. Ludington is not in the middle of the triathlon support area. I have a couple of friends who I swim open water with but virtually everything else is solo. Clubs are 100 mi to the North or 100 mi to the South.

Do you have a strong background in any of the 3 events (swim, bike, run)?

My strength is in the run. I began running in my mid 30’s to help keep in shape, started running in local races and found I would usually win. I eventually joined a running club in about 2010 . New Jersey had a huge USATF presence and I could race and train with friends every weekend. I was encouraged to try longer distances so the club could earn more points for state championships but I found that when I tried the longer distances my sprints suffered. I also didn’t enjoy the longer distances and found I started having a variety of issues. This is ultimately why I have always stayed with the sprint.

How would you describe the experience of your training with Tri Swim Coach?
This is fun. As I said, I enjoy the group and the sharing. I enjoy Tri Swim Coach’s webinar, video’s, descriptions and the interactions. Your challenges are fun too.

Your favorite post-race meal?
My favorite post race meal is very rare steak and beets.

What races have you done so far?
My Most Memorable are:
In 2008 I raced in the Bassman (N.J.), New Jersey State Tri, and the Ludington Lighthouse Sprint distance,. The Danskin closed out very rapidly and I was not able to enter.

In 2009 I raced in the Pequannock Sprint (N.J.), in the 27th Annual Neptune Sandman Tri . (Virginia Beach, Va.), in the 2nd Annual Hightsown Tri (N.J.), in the New Jersey State Tri, and the Philadelphia Women’s Sprint.

In 2010 I was able to race in the Danskin NY Metro Tri, in the Pantanella’s Buckman Sprint Tri (N.J.), in the Ludington Lighthouse Sprint and in the Inter-Rockin Sprint.

In 2011 I was again in the Danskin NY Metro Tri, Girls Best Friend Tri, (Mi), the Petosky Tri (Mi.) and the Ludington Lighthouse Sprint Tri.

In 2012 I raced in the Barefoot Triathlon (MI.), A Girls Best Friend Triathlon (Mi.), Ludington Triathlon, Lumberman (Mi.), Inter-Rockin Tri. (Mi.), Bear Lake Triathlon (Mi.), Motor City Triathlon (Mi.), Grand Rapids Triathlon (Mi.) and the Starkermann Challenge (Mi.)

In 2013 I raced in the Ludington Lighthouse Triathlon, Lumberman Triathlon (Mi.), Inter-Rockin Triathlon (Mi), the Ludington Triathlon (Mi.) – 2nd overall, Motor City Triathlon (Mi.) and the Grand Rapids Triathlon (Mi.). I also raced in the USAT National Championship (2nd place) and qualified for team USA in Edmonton 2014,

In 2014 I raced in the ITU World Triathlon in Chicago, 1st in age group, Grand Rapids Triathlon, Milllennium Triathlon, USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee , 4th place, and the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Edmonton, 3rd place. I again qualified for team USA for the ITU World’s in Chicago.

When I began racing with the Danskin in 2007 I discovered that this is a lot of fun and I won. In fact, I won all the local tri’s – the good news. The bad news was that, other than the Danskin, which was huge, there were only a few competitors in my age group and sometimes I was the only one. I always gauge my success by overall time and how I compare with a previous race. In 2013 Ludington had two different triathlons. I actually took 2nd female overall (beaten by a 17 yr. old) and have to admit that will probably never happen again, but it should felt good..

Have you planned your 2015 triathlon race season?

June 27 Lumberman in Cadillac, Mi.
July 12 Inter-Rockin in Interlochen. Mi.
July 18 Tri del Sol in Middleville, Mi.
August 1, Millennium Tri in Grand Rapids, Mi.
August 9, National Age Group Championships in Milwaukee, Wis.
August 23 Ludington, Lighthouse in Ludington, Mi.
Sept. 12, Rhodes Reeds Lake, Grand Rapids, Mi.
Sept 19 UTI World Age Group Championships in Chicago , Ill.