Athlete of the Month, September 2017 – Kristine Reinhardt
Athlete of the Month
I can say with certainty, once you read this athlete story you’ll believe you can do more. More of everything and anything. We are proud to recognize Kristine Reinhardt as the D3 Athlete of the Month.
In the words of Coach Alison, “Kristine Reinhardt did an AWESOME job at the Boulder 70.3. In fact, she was 26 minutes faster than her aggressive goal time and Kristine worked her tail off to make it happen.” She and Kristine have been working hard to dial in a good balance between effective training and life because in addition to her family with five children Kristine has a demanding job as the Executive Vice President and Managing Broker at Cushman and Wakefield in Denver where 350+ employees count on her. All combined, this makes for training challenges, but, as you’ll read in her story – Kristine has desire – Kristine has discipline – and Kristine has determination. As the top fundraiser for the Ironman Foundation, that energy is going to help her tow the line at the Ironman World Championships in a few short weeks.
Kristine kindly shared some important background information that will help you get to know her better. So before you read her answers to the 5 questions that are focused on her journey to Kona, enjoy getting to know what makes her STRONG!
- Age: 52
- Family: Husband, Russ and 5 kids ranging in age from 10-29. (4 boys and the oldest is a girl)
- Bragging Rights: My only daughter is a Doctor of PT working at Craig Hospital! My son, Matt, is a firefighter who spends most of his time as a first responder helping others. My sons, Travis and Taylor, train with me and run the races with me – pushing me all the way.
- Specialty: I can play a two+ hour game of Monopoly while running on a treadmill! Also, helping with homework while spinning.
- Life challenges that did not take me out: Spinal Meningitis and Skin Cancer.
- Did You Know? Every single time (and I mean every time) I ride a bike outdoors, I work on making turns without getting off my bike. Due to meningitis, I lost my balance. At the beginning of the year, I couldn’t make a short turn without getting off the bike. I can turn corners that aren’t sharp, but very, very slowly. I am close to being able to turn left (like I will have to do in Kona at the half-way turn) without getting off my bike. I have learned the hard way that to try and force the turn only means eating cement!
- What Made This Possible? MY HUSBAND, without a doubt! He makes me workout and entertains our youngest, Grayson. He handles all the meals, family business and is my #1 motivator. He is there for me no matter what it is. When I had surgery removing skin cancer, he was there making jokes and taking pictures. He never sees the negative – NEVER! I will cross the line in Kona – and fall into his arms!
Now enjoy her Q&A as she shares her journey to earning a spot in the 2017 Ironman World Championships.
When and how did you get the triathlon bug?
I did not grow up swimming, biking or running. In fact, I played ball sports. In my 40s, I joined a Masters Crew Team and fell in love with the sport. However, in 2007 while traveling to compete I got spinal meningitis and my life changed. I feel extremely blessed to have survived the whole ordeal. I was never able to return to rowing because I had lost the ability to balance. I spent one season trying to just row without racing and found myself in the water more than the boat! With the encouragement of some friends, I did a few sprint triathlons. In 2013, while attending a wedding, I somehow got involved in a bet with my husband and a good friend. The bet, to sign-up for the first Ironman in Boulder. That was all it took. I trained hard and thought “I got this.” As it turned out, I was the second to last place finisher with 66 seconds to spare!
You are racing the 2017 IM World Championships through your affiliation with the Ironman Foundation. What inspired you to get involved with them and how did the Kona slot come about?
One of the ways I thought I would motivate myself to do well at Ironman Boulder 2014 was to race for a cause. I picked an organization very close to my heart, Craig Hospital (one of the top brain and spinal cord injury hospitals in the world). After getting the “bug” I couldn’t stop. In 2015 I raced Ironman Cabo and I did it for Craig Hospital. In 2016, I wanted to make a bigger difference and found the Ironman Foundation. It was the right goal for me. I decided to race Ironman Arizona under the IM Foundation flag in 2016. I really didn’t have the goal of IM World Championships, just finishing IM Arizona and making a difference was important to me.
In October of 2016, my business partner of 27 years had a brain aneurysm. I was in Mexico training (for one day) with my family. I immediately flew home to handle everything at the office and take care of all my employees. It became a reality that I had to pass on IM Arizona and focus on work and all the employees. However, my business partner gave me $500 and set goals for me to get $2,500 from him if I reached the goals. Very quickly, raising money for a cause I believed in so much (IMF) became my focus. In December, I was notified that I was one of two people trying to go to Kona. Well, that was all I needed to hear. The first week of January I was notified that I was the top fundraiser in all of the US for the IMF and I was going to Kona!
You know why I race under the IMF flag? Anything is possible. IMF never said, are you the best athlete out there? They have never judged me, just supported me. They allow me to be a “back of the pack athlete” and Race for More – for all the people out there that cannot. In reality, though, people can do more than they think!
Coach Alison is helping you prepare for Kona. What is a workout that you have especially appreciated or found challenging that she designed for you?
I’m not an expert, like Alison. I do believe, though, she had to change her training style for me. Within a few weeks of us working together, I had a meltdown. She had sent an email with my weekly training schedule and I didn’t get any of it. I was confused and stressed and thought I couldn’t do this. As soon as Alison got wind of my breakdown, she made major changes and walked me through everything. I look back at this now and I laugh. I may have oversold Alison on my knowledge!
Alison quickly found out, I hate the cold! She has actually had to push me off the indoor trainer to outside. I have cursed the long bike rides because I haven’t had the confidence I could do it. At the end of the day, Alison is great at tough love while also trying to relate! I believe in her so much that I realize I have to have her in Kona with me!
What are you most excited to experience in the Ironman World Championships?
For months now, I constantly go through the whole race in my mind. I have watched every IM World Championship video since 2009 multiple times. I take in the hills, the weather, the whole scene. I am most excited to get it done. That sounds funny, but there is no guarantee that I am going to finish. I go through the numbers daily. I am going to finish somewhere between 16.5 and 17 hours. All I care about is finishing. I am not going to take in the fish, the sights or the people – I am going to take each section at a time and get it done! Goal setting is important to you. Clearly, you make things happen. What nugget of advice can you share with other athletes about goal setting? I have spent the last 29 years setting goals and building my career. I have over 350 employees that count on me daily. I have spent hundreds of hours a year mentoring the youth and encouraging every employee to set goals. It took me some time to realize how important it is to set goals on the physical side as well. In October of 2016, when my business partner went down (and passed away in April of this year), my goals changed. I remembered him telling me frequently, it is okay to change your goals. I decided that racing in Kona was that goal. My goal was to raise $100,000. In October, I had to change that to a lower amount. I wasn’t out there trying to get the corporate sponsorships, I wanted to reach the everyday athlete or person. I became the number one fundraiser with over 350 contributors.
I will share something with you. I finished IM Boulder in 2014 with 66 seconds to spare. I have taken on other IM distance races and have not finished. I have missed bike cutoffs and run cutoffs. I have raced three 70.3 IM races and finished them all. My goal since January of 2017 has been to figure out how to get through a full IM successfully. I got through 127 miles for IM Boulder and missed a cut-off by two minutes. I felt like crying, I felt like quitting, I felt like giving up – but I didn’t. I had my husband and Alison reminding me of all the positive wins. I know how they both felt and how shocked they were that I didn’t get it done. Perhaps that is what I needed heading into Kona. I cannot take anything for granted. I have to only focus on my race and my goals. When I cross the line, I will have achieved a lifelong dream.