Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down

‘Don’t slow down before you get to the finish line,” women’s triathlon trainer KC Carlberg tells her students. After being diagnosed with cancer, she’s following that excellent advice

Yu Shing Ting
Friday - February 22, 2008
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KC Carlberg
KC Carlberg is the race director for the March 2 Straub/Kapiolani 10K at Kapiolani Park

Triathlon trainer and women’s health advocate Kristin “KC” Carlberg makes a living from telling women to not give up. Now, she’s practicing what she preaches as she fights for her life with ovarian cancer.

“When I found out (that I had cancer), it’s scary, but I think the more you know and the more you understand about it, you can take control of the situation,” says Carlberg, 44.“I don’t know if I’m going to live or die, none of us knows. But it’s my experience in doing races that you just don’t give up.

“You don’t slow down. I always tell my gals don’t slow down before you get to that finish line. You want to cross that finish line knowing that you did all you could do. So, I’m not about to give up on my life without knowing I did all that I could.”


Carlberg, who has undergone surgery and has just started an aggressive schedule of chemotherapy, considered herself to be in good health before being diagnosed last November. Now she’s even more dedicated to continuing her work with women across the state and in raising awareness of the “silent killer” ovarian cancer.

On Sunday, March 2, she will again serve as race director for the Straub/Kapiolani Women’s 10K at Kapiolani Park (see page 20 for details).

Carlberg puts Jessie Mowry through her paces
Carlberg puts Jessie Mowry through her paces

“The purpose of the event is to promote women’s health and fitness,“says Carlberg.“And to support programs like the Kapiolani Children’s Miracle Network.”

Born and raised in Southern California, Carlberg lived in Holland for three-and-a-half years before moving to Hawaii in 1990, working at a Girl Scouts summer camp on the North Shore.

When the summer ended, she was hired as a special ed teacher for the Department of Education, and it was there that she discovered a need for an all-women’s training group on Oahu. So in 1996 she created Try Fitness, a training company offering oneon-one and group training programs for women.


“It grew out of a desire to create an environment for women to workout and focus on themselves,” says Carlberg, who entered her first triathlon in 1989 and has since completed more than 100 swimming, cycling and running events. “Through talking to the other (women) teachers at the DOE, I realized that there’s no place for them to go and focus on themselves. Women are often-times the person who has to take care of the family, and they typically put themselves on the back burner.

“I truly believe that exercising, being healthy and active, and being fit impacts your entire life. It gives you confidence and self -esteem and it empowers you.

“The benefits of an all women’s group is that we can relate to each other. We all know what having a bad day is, what it feels like when you’re starting your menstrual cycle or when you’re going through a break-up or divorce. We know the compromises and sac-

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