Busy Mom of 3 turns Pro
LifeSport Athlete Jennifer Kenney Tells Us Her Secret
Meet LifeSport Athlete Jennifer Kenney, Elite Age Grouper, World Championship Qualifier, and Recent Pro Card Qualifier
Tell us a little about yourself and a typical day for you.
I am 40 years young. I live in Cary, NC with the loves of my life, my husband Eddie and our 3 children. My other love is the sport of triathlon. I am addicted! Some people call me crazy. In fact, if I had a nickel for every time someone called me “crazy” when they hear about my triathlon journey, I’d be able to quit my job and train full time. Oh yeah, I should have said I have a full time job too.
While some call it crazy, I call it disciplined. A day in my so called “crazy” life includes a 4:30am wake up call; rising when the rest of the house (and town for that matter) is still dark and quiet. This is my favorite part of the day and best time to train. It takes discipline; The discipline to decide between what I want now, and what I want the most. After my morning adventure, I begin work from my home office as a Speech Language Pathologist, providing telemedicine & therapy to clients all over the country. Flexibility in my career allows me to be a connected mom and spouse. Typically, the day wraps up not unlike so many others, full of homework with the kids, family dinner, kids’ sports and carpooling everywhere, and of course ice cream. Lots of ice cream!
How did you become interested in triathlon?
I grew up a competitive swimmer. Practically living in a pool, I always thought “land” sports weren’t for me. I was like a fish out of water. But after college, I needed a new challenge. Running was the obvious next step. I finished a few marathons, achieving goals I had set for myself.
I became a triathlete 2 short years ago. I remember the exact moment I made my decision to tri. I was having a casual conversation with an experienced triathlete who said to me, “You should totally do an Ironman.” I had a nervous laugh, because I knew in my heart I totally should. And guess what? I totally did! I finished my first 140.6 at Ironman Florida in 2015 as a self-coached athlete. My love for triathlon had been growing, but that day I fell more deeply in love with both the sport and the competition.
When I began my Ironman training, I was naive. I knew how to swim and run, and of course I could ride a bike, but I didn’t know all three activities fit together in a competitive challenge like no other. My training plan was built by reading books, talking with other triathletes, and learning from my mistakes. I specifically remember crossing the finish line at a 70.3 in NC, and telling Eddie, “I’m never doing this again.”
How did you meet Coach Chuck Kemeny?
Call it fate or call it being in the right place at the right time, but being introduced to my now Coach, Chuck Kemeny was the moment my future in the sport of Triathlon changed forever. I attended an Ironman Florida training camp led by Chuck in preparation for my first 140.6. During a panel discussion on race nutrition, Chuck singled me out when I confidently spoke up about my self-developed plan. I quickly realized I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. After camp, and on his own time, Chuck and I customized my nutrition plan for the upcoming race. During the marathon portion, Chuck passed me high 5’s, encouragement and reached out to congratulate me when I finished. I remember thinking, “If I ever get a coach, I want it to be Chuck.”
How have you progressed as an athlete since you began training with Coach Chuck?
After Ironman Florida and many conversations about my triathlon goals, Chuck agreed to take me on as one of his athletes. We began working together in December 2015. After 7 months, I have completely evolved as an athlete. I’m training and challenging myself in ways that I never thought I was capable. At age 40, I’m consistently performing at a higher level than during the heart of my collegiate career. I am living proof that age is just a number.
During my time as a LifeSport athlete, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about my nutritional needs, optimize race planning, push effort levels, and importantly proper recovery. Together, Chuck and I concentrated on adding “power” to my bike. The smart planning and hard work paid off when I dropped nearly one hour off my bike split as compared to a 70.3 just a year and a half earlier.
What is your "A" race for 2016?
On October 1st of this year, I will race Ironman Maryland. I have my goals and I am motivated to meet them through the support of my family and Coach Kemeny. Without fail, my husband will give me a hug and say, “Race like a champion
today”. At that point, I know it’s time to go to work.
Whatever comes my way, I will embrace it. One of my favorite race day mantras is a quote from Meredith Kessler, “Learn to see the beauty in uncertainty. Take that uncertainty to find motivation.”
I didn’t come this far, to only come this far. Can’t wait to see what happens next….
Additional Information about her performances from 2016:
Jennifer recently placed 3rd overall amateur at Eagleman 70.3 which qualified her for a professional triathlete license and qualified for the 70.3 World Championships. Her other 2016 races finishes include placing first female overall at the Beaverdam Olympic triathlon and the Cary Duathlon.
LifeSport coach Chuck Kemeny is a USAT certified triathlon coach and USA Swim coach. Coach Chuck is the world record holder for the Ultraman race and former professional triathlete. He has also had multiple athletes qualify for, and compete in, the World Championships for Olympic, 70.3, Ironman, and Ultraman distances. Contact Coach Chuck to share your goals, race faster, or master the Ironman distance.