Triathlon Training

Yu Shing Ting
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Friday - July 30, 2005
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Linda Kawana and the author look forward
to finishing Na Wahine Triathlon with the
help of KC Carlberg

A few years ago I completed my first triathlon, something I never thought I could do.

I don’t remember my finishing time, but I’ll never forget that feeling of crossing the finish line. It can get quite emotional, especially for a newbie. As friends, race officials and spectators cheer you in, you can’t help but smile.

The event was Na Wahine Sprint Triathlon, an allwomen’s race consisting of a 500 meter swim, 20K bike ride and 5K (3.1 mile) run. My goal is to one day complete the Tinman Triathlon, a race that’s about twice the distance of the Na Wahine.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Linda Kawana told me about how she’s always wanted to do a triathlon, but thinks that she can’t mainly because of the swim segment. “I’m gonna drown!” she says. “When we go to the beach I am usually making sand castles or just floating around with ‘floaties’ and not swimming laps.”

Kawana, 47, volunteers at many of the local running events, including past Na Wahine Sprint Triathlons. Well, this year she’s looking forward to the event as a participant. You see, I’ve convinced her that she can do it. Ironically, even after completing one myself, I’m just as scared as she is. I love the ocean, and I enjoy surfing. But I’m not a good swimmer.

So, we decided that if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it right and seek help. Enter personal trainer KC Carlberg of Try Fitness and Na Wahine race director.

“Anyone can do a triathlon,” says Carlberg. “Because it is an individual sport, people compete at their own level, whether you are an experienced triathlete or beginner. This allows people to feel comfortable with where they are at, they can walk or run, ride a mountain bike or a road bike.”

Linda and I started our training with Try Fitness this week, with eight weeks before the big race Sept. 18 at Kapiolani Park. Not only is completing a triathlon a notable accomplishment, but the training involved can help to improve cardiovascular fitness along with strength and stamina, and contribute to an i m p r ove d quality of life, physically and emotionally. (And hopefully, help me to lose a f e w pounds!) “I am pleased that Linda is willing to challenge herself,” says Carlberg . “She is a great volunteer and has seen how exciting a race can be. She has seen the struggle, but also the sweet smiles of success. She can do it. It is time for her to give something to herself, and this is a great opportunity for her to realize how important she is and how much a triathlon can change her life.

“Besides, most women are afraid of the swim. With some extra swim lessons and consistent practicing I believe she will be fine. I have been coaching for over 10 years and have seen non-swimmers be very successful and complete the event.”

According to Carlberg, the most common excuse she gets from people on why they don’t do triathlons is that they don’t have the time. I’m sure Linda and I can relate.

Linda Kawana, KC Carlberg and
the author — out for a run

Linda is a wife, mother of four and works full time as an account clerk at Mililani High School. She also lives in Mililani, which means extra time needed to commute to the three times a week Try Fitness training sessions in Waikiki.

But she doesn’t mind the drive. “I don’t think I would be motivated to do the Na Wahine without the support and knowledge of the Try Fitness training group,” she explains.

As for me, I’m just always busy. But Carlberg believes there’s usually more to this overused excuse.

“Time is an issue for everyone and usually what is underlying in this excuse is fear,” she says. “They feel they wouldn’t be good enough or just couldn’t do or see themselves do a triathlon. I always say, ‘You can find the time in your schedule and you can do it.’

“What most of us just need is someone to believe in us and support us in our goals and dreams. You may have to get up a little earlier to do your training or negotiate with your family and friends to help you in your goals. For example, your husband might support you by taking care of the house and kids on the days you train. There is always a way to do the things we really want.”

Carlberg started Try Fitness nine years ago, offering oneon- one training, small group training, group training for general fitness as well as for cycling, running and triathlon. She also puts on several racing events each year, including Na Wahine Sprint Triathlon, the Off-Road 8K Challenge at Kualoa Ranch, and the all new Try Fitness Girls Biathlon.

“The business grew out of a desire to help women not only get fitter, but help them learn how to take care of their health and thereby increase the quality of their lives,” says Carlberg. “I started the business in an effort to share my passion with other women. To help them to see, feel and understand what being healthy can do for them.”

It’s not too late to start your training for Na Wahine Sprint Triathlon. Linda and I agree, if we can do this, you can too. For more information, visit

“My goal is to be a finisher,” says Kawana. “It won’t matter how long it takes, I just want to do it.”

Stay tuned for a mid-season update in August and, of course, the finish line in September.

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