If you had the opportunity to see our “Real Athletes” campaign last January, then you probably remember Stacey Kiefer (read her bio). This summer, Stacey displayed her incredible athletic abilities when she not only completed, but WON the Danskin triathlon in Pleasant Prairie, WI on August 22, 2010. We caught up with Stacey to congratulate her on her accomplishment and to hear about her training, the race itself, and what’s in store for her next!
Here’s what our favorite tri-athlete had to say:
Q: How long was your training for Danskin?
I train all year round for triathlons, but vary the intensities and amounts of time depending on the time of year. A typical summer week (the height of tri season), I train every day for a total of 11 to 13 hours a week.
Q: What type of training plan did you follow?
I have 2 coaches who are local, Jay & Willie LaBonne. They formerly owned a gym, but now focus their efforts on training just a handful of athletes. My coaches provide a plan and workouts that I complete each week.
Q: What was your goal going into Danskin?
My goal is always to be as close to the top (ie WIN!), as possible. Traditionally, the Danskin race, like most of the single distance women’s’ races, is very hard because the field is not broken up into different distances, like sprint, international, etc. Everyone is out there competing in the same event, and women of all categories (amateur, elite, pro) and distance specialties (Sprint, Olympic, Ironman) show up to race.
Q: Do you have a favorite pre-race meal?
Hmm…I don’t have a single thing that I must have before racing, but I usually enjoy pasta the night before and a bowl of cereal, a banana, a glass of FRS, and a GU (energy gel pack) the morning of a race.
Q: Is the swim still your strongest leg? How do you rate yourself in the bike and run?
Swimming is definitely my strength…and the part I enjoy the most! In the swim and run I am usually near the top of the field, but I sometimes have issues with alternating between having a good bike, but a not so great run or a not so great bike, but a good run. It’s really hard to get all 3 disciplines perfected.
Q: At what point in the race did you feel like the win was yours?
Because I raced in the Elite wave for this race, I could see that I was ahead of everyone out of the swim. My goal was to just ride and run as hard as I could to hold the lead. I knew the girl who was in second place was a really fast runner, so in order to stay ahead of her I needed to make sure that I had a decent lead off the bike. Fast runners can really make for an exciting race as they creep up on the not so speedy. I have to say, it was fun to be out ahead and keep the lead. I felt like a little rabbit being chased, but the spectators cheering were so motivating!
Q: Who came out to cheer to you on?
Several friends who I race with came to watch the race as well as a few relatives. Unfortunately, my husband was home babysitting our two children, so he couldn’t come…but normally he would.
Q: How have you dealt with training in the Wisconsin heat and humidity this summer?
I do most of my training between the hours of 4:30am and 6:15am so heat and humidity are usually not much of an issue. I did have a few weekend workout sessions that were pretty scorching, but I just made sure to take in plenty of fluids and usually took a cold bath after working out. I think the hottest race this year was the Chicago Triathlon Aug 29. By 11am it was in the 90s…and that was at the lake!
Q: What does winning this race mean to you?
Winning Danskin was definitely a cherry on the top of a sundae. It proved to me that all of the time and effort put into training all year round was worth it. Not just winning, but feeling really good the whole race made me feel like I finally taught my body and mind that I can really race hard and succeed.
Q: How does the Danskin victory rate with other “wins” in your swimming career?
Winning triathlons is much different than swimming wins. Triathlons are much longer than most swim events and draw many more competitors. Instead of racing against maybe 40 people in your age group (like swim events), you’re racing again hundreds…and thousands if you’re shooting for an overall award (in triathlon). Also, triathlon success requires training in swimming, biking, running, along with lifting weights and stretching. There is so much time that can be spent trying to cover all of the training for tris. I think the best part of winning triathlons is responding with the answer, “yes” when my daughter asks me if I won…and seeing her excited and proud reaction…and then her request to have the first place medal!
Q: How do you juggle work, family and training? Any tips for other workout moms out there?
Juggle…that’s the perfect word! Actually, my husband and I live very scheduled lives. Because my husband also trains (but for Ironman distance races), we follow an agreed-upon schedule in which we alternate who can leave the house (or go outside to run/ride) and who needs to stay home and workout in the basement, where we have bikes on trainers and a treadmill. My husband and I also work and drive to work together, so we often take the turns running or riding to or from work, while the other drops off/picks up the kids. Advice I would give to other workout moms is to get yourself on a schedule and stick with it. I’ve been on a workout schedule for years, knowing what I will do each day. It’s gotten to the point where it’s hard for me to take a day off now because I am addicted to working out!
Q: What’s next for you?
Now that my tri race season is over, I plan on enjoying a little down time with my family and then moving right into trail running season and Masters Swim season. Hopefully I’ll squeeze a little vacation in too one of these days! A little fall camping trip would be fun.
Stacey, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule for this interview with us. It was so great to catch up with you and hear about the details of your victory! You have a huge fan base here at Jockey®. Good luck with your trail running and Masters swim season. Be sure to keep us in the loop. GO Stacey!