Fittest Real Athletes – Kathleen Calkins

Kathleen Calkins     Photo: photograph by Jake Chessum

Calkins is the kind of amateur who can make pros seem oversponsored. At this past October's Ironman World Championship, she won her 30–34-year-old age group—the most competitive amateur category—in 9:55, beating 27 international pros in the process. She schedules her training around a full-time job as a pharmaceutical rep and the demands of juggling life with her husband and three-year-old son.

"I get up early and get at least one workout at 4:30 A.M., before my son is up. When I can, I try to squeeze in swim workouts on my lunch hours or ride my trainer when he's napping. But the biggest thing is that I take my son with me on my runs in a BOB stroller. He loves it, and it motivates me to keep going. Being able to multitask is huge. I don't dilly-dally around. I've heard a lot of excuses, but there are so many options for people to get out and do things, even when you have little kids. If you're willing, there are definitely ways to make it work." KEY TIP: "Commit to an event, whether it's a 5K or a marathon. It doesn't have to be extreme. It's all about having fun, and feeling good about yourself. But you need a plan or it's not going to happen."

Paisley Tunic ($70) by Tommy Hilfiger; Shorts ($132) by Joe's Jeans; Haiku Sandals ($100) by OluKai; bracelets, her own

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