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Get to know North Vancouver area triathlete Kim McMullen

Get to know North Vancouver area triathlete Kim McMullen
Courtesy: Kim McMullen

NORTH VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A Q&A with North Vancouver area triathlete Kim McMullen.

Name: Kim McMullen
Age: 52
Sport: Triathlon
Sports participated in: High school basketball, volleyball, softball, track & field and table tennis. University volleyball.
Post-University: Running races (5km to marathon distances), mountain bike and road bike racing, triathlon/Xterra and off-road triathlons.
Years in current sport: Triathlon/duathlon – 22 years; Running (racing) – 27 years

What are your personal goals within your sport?
Kim McMullen: My current goal is to continue competing as long as I can. I saw an 82-year-old man – the oldest ever finisher at that time – complete Ironman Hawaii the year I competed. I thought, “Now that is truly inspiring!” I always strive to improve my performance every time I race and make the podium in my age group as an amateur athlete. I had the goal of racing in the Hawaii Ironman World Championship, and in 2005 I did my first Ironman Canada, where I qualified to compete in Hawaii. It was a dream come true! The following year I attended the most well-known long course duathlon event, Powerman Zoffingen, and finished top 10 female overall, including pros. It was a gruelling race and a great accomplishment.

Courtesy: Kim McMullen

I’ve also represented Canada at the amateur world championships in triathlon long course (3rd place age group) and Olympic distance (7th place age group) and in duathlon (2nd place age group). I was the first overall female in the Canadian duathlon championship and at the World Masters Olympic distance triathlon at the age of 48. I also made the podium (1st place age group) at the Squamish off-road triathlon, and I even revisited my mountain bike racing days by doing the Test of Metal race and placed 2nd in my age group. In addition, I recently raced in a couple of cycling Gran Fondos: Levi’s in California and The Tour of Victoria.

What is the biggest challenge in your sport, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
McMullen: Time is the biggest challenge! Working full time and juggling the training schedule for half or full Ironman events is difficult. I would sometimes get up and run a marathon before work – it was like having two full-time jobs! But the more I trained, the more energy I seemed to have. Since having my children, I decided that the time required to race long-distance triathlons competitively would be too much to balance with family and work. I initially returned to sprint distance – the shortest triathlon event – and then settled into Olympic distance events where I’ve had more success than I ever expected. My husband is also a competitive amateur triathlete, so it takes a lot of planning, dedication and sacrifice to make it all work. I grew up watching my father run marathons, which sparked my desire to compete and I hope that we’ve also inspired our children.

Courtesy: Kim McMullen

What was the best advice you were ever given?
McMullen: To be passionate about the things I love to do and always strive for excellence, but make it fun!

Do you have a saying or motto that you like to live by?
McMullen:

  • “Excellence is the gradual result of striving to do better” – Patrick James Riley, NBA player and coach
  • “You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them” Michael Jordan
  • You get what you work for, not what you wish for.

What do you love about your sport?
McMullen: The high level of fitness and the whole-body strength it requires – also, the variety of disciplines in one sport.

Did you run/race in university?
McMullen: I played volleyball in university and only ran to keep in shape for sport. I didn’t start running to race until a few years after graduating. My sister and I decided we needed an athletic goal after university sports, so we decided to do a marathon, and so the training began!

Where did you go to school/where do you work?
McMullen: I went to high school in Nova Scotia, Musquodoboit Rural High, did one year of university at UPEI and then got my degree in Physiotherapy at Dalhousie University. I work in North Vancouver now, at my home-based physiotherapy practice.

What do you like to do outside of your sport?
McMullen: I like to mountain bike, ski, snowshoe, paddleboard, kayak and go camping with my family. We also like to travel and see other parts of BC, Canada and the world.

How would you describe your personality?
McMullen: Energetic, adventurous, determined, competitive and hard-working.

What is your favourite snack food?
McMullen: Nuts, dried fruit, toast with peanut butter, smoothies.

What is your favourite song or music artist you listen to before a race?
McMullen: A few artists and songs help get me pumped up: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor (of course), Queen, AC/DC, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

What is the best piece of advice you received from a coach/mentor?
McMullen: I had a few amazing coaches in high school who instilled the “never give up” philosophy in me. My junior high basketball coach was a believer in detail and perfecting fundamentals. While I was training for Ironman, my triathlon coach was a Russian swimmer and pro triathlete at the time. His advice was to train longer and harder than the race so that the race would feel easy – at least that’s what I think he said! His workouts were crazy hard!

Courtesy: Kim McMullen

Describe a mistake you made while competing and how you overcame it.
McMullen: I trained a little too hard between Ironman Canada and Hawaii – they were only two months apart. I had to dig deep and do a lot of self-talk in Hawaii. The bike was very windy the whole way, and it was hot and humid. I felt discouraged and very tired, so mentally, I broke it down into 26-mile repeats. I focussed only on running from water stop to water stop, which was placed at every mile. It worked and I ran a 3-hour, 30 min marathon. So fast that my boyfriend – who is now my husband – missed me at the finish line!

Anything else you’d like to share?
McMullen: Triathlon is a fabulous sport and the level of fitness that you can achieve will make you want to train even harder. When you finish a race, there is an amazing adrenaline rush and sense of accomplishment. Give it a try if you haven’t already!

This is an unedited user writing submission. The views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Best Version Media or its employees.

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