Athlete Profile: Sarah Kluender
I did my first ever Triathlon in 2008. Somehow, I made it through, but it was HORRIBLE. I laid on the couch wondering “Why did I ever want to do that.” I also recall saying something like, “I’ll never do that again.” I swam the whole way with my head out of the water, was successful riding my bike, and then likely walked almost the entire run portion, but I finished.
After an auto accident that same winter, I put on a bit of weight. When my neck hurt, I would eat. If my neck hurt, I would rest rather than be active. I was out of shape and overweight with little to no energy. I sort of worked at getting “healthy” or “skinny” over a few years. Then in 2011, we went on a family rafting vacation where I could barely keep up and was ready to crash at the end of the day at our cabin. Something had to change. I was not living a healthy lifestyle. I had gotten to almost 200lb, had no energy, and felt bad about myself.
During the winter, a friend stirred up the idea of running in me so I began running and trained for my first half marathon. I had always hated running. Each time I started running in the past, something would hurt in the first 1 mile and I would stop. This time, it just clicked so I trained for and ran the 2012 Kentucky Derby Half Marathon. From there I resumed running triathlons. I trained for the sprint distance triathlon and for a few years, continued running, riding bike, and swam with my head out of the water. Over time I joined 2 different groups that significantly impacted my fitness by giving me a group to train with, and then, increasing my interest to long distance or endurance triathlon. I have grown to love triathlon and the variety it offers with running, biking, and swimming.
In time, I started doing longer rides and completed the RAIN Ride – Ride Across Indiana in 2013 & 2015 – 160 miles across Indiana in 1 day. I continued doing sprint distance triathlon and in 2014, I did my first practice 70.3 triathlon sponsored by the Southern Indiana Triathlon Team. This is a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run. It was challenging, but I found this to be a great way to train in 3 sports and stay active and fit doing something I loved. I continued triathlon at various distances including sprint, Olympic, and 70.3. I have also grown to love running and the mental and physical release it gives me from stress, and even new inspirational ideas for my counseling business. Last season I completed 2 full marathons to eliminate a mental piece I have about signing up for a full iron man triathlon which is another long-term goal. I like the option to train in 3 different sports and the variety of intensity that the various distances offer.
Along the way, I discovered that fueling my body well increased my energy levels and fitness performance along with allowing me to lose about 20 lb. I have slips for periods of time and what that shows me it that I prefer how I look and feel when I eat whole real foods from raw or that which I prepare rather than eating out or prepackaged processed foods. Another thing — I also know from my professional training and personal experience that the brain and body function better with quality nutrition. I am increasing my longevity and my long-term quality of life by fueling my body with the nutrients that it requires to sustain through long training sessions and races. Obviously, I have not mastered it all yet, but I know I am working in the right direction with both my fitness and nutrition efforts. I also added some core & strength training to my regimen and hope to see some results from this soon. I think we all can challenge ourselves to engage in new endeavors and push ourselves farther than we imagined. It is also important to recognize we all started somewhere and can set goals to work up to the level to meet the next challenge. I am excited to see what 2017 has in store!