Going all out to go all in.
Bia field tester Kelly Delgado knows the drill. 2 months ago, this rock star mother of 5 completed her first full Ironman (Florida). Coming to our Kickstarter campaign by way of Bia-love shared by Swim Bike Mom, Kelly did her homework, decided we were about to revolutionize the GPS watch industry, and signed on to be one of our early field testers. Not shy about her opinions and beliefs, Kelly doesn’t hesitate to challenge others in a debate or shy away from calling words of encouragement to those she meets in a race. She’s goal-oriented (Kona some day), content (loves what she’s doing), busy (5 energetic kids), and blessed with a husband who works hard so she can stay home and take care of their children and who still supports all of her “sometimes crazy” athletic endeavors.
“At the end of the day, I am racing against myself.”
Following her memorable Ironman experience of 2012, Kelly plans to spend 2013 drawing her teenage daughters into triathlon, fine tuning her own athletic training and efficiency, and participating in a number of races at various distances, all with an eye toward another full Ironman, perhaps Couer d’Alene or Cozumel, in 2014. Of course, she’s eager to have Bia along for the ride. She looks forward to field testing our watch during training, specifically in the ocean and under foggy California coastal conditions, and she can’t wait to try it out in an actual race.
In Her Own Words
What’s your athletic history? What brought you to your sport?
I started running Cross Country and Track in high school at the age of 14, and have been addicted ever since. I was the number 2 runner at Antelope Valley College, and then I won a partial scholarship to Cal State San Bernardino and ran there for two years while pursuing my Criminal Justice degree. After college when ‘real life’ took over, my athletic endeavors were put to the wayside. I still exercised regularly and found my stress outlet in running, but I did not compete again until after I was married and my children started school.
My first return to racing was the American Martyrs School 5K in Manhattan Beach, CA. I went into it thinking that I would just take it easy and have fun, which I did for about the first mile but then the competitive bug bit and in a big way. I took off and ended up finishing first in my age group. From there, my good friend who is a triathlete, somehow talked me into doing my very first triathlon with her in 2011. I was not a good swimmer, and in fact, was terrified of water in my face and I had not been on a bicycle in many years. But, the athlete in me likes a challenge. Terrified and excited at the same time, I signed up for The Oschner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans with a mere 4 months to learn to swim and bike. It was quite the learning experience and despite the swim portion being cancelled that year (a disappointment after all of the work I put in), I finished and have been hooked on triathlon ever since.
In what ways do you fit, defy, or break the mold of the “Female Athlete”?
I think I am a combination of the “typical” female athlete as well as a bit of a mold-breaker in other areas. I am constantly trying to balance being a good wife and mother, with training as efficiently as I can. Like many other female athletes, I am driven, determined, and sometimes very lonely during training sessions. I am a stay-at-home mom of 5 kids dealing with 3 different schools, so time is very precious.
I break the mold of the typical “female athlete” in a different way. I am fanatical about food and its part in health and athletic performance. We follow the Paleo diet, so I make sure that we have a constant supply of fresh grass-fed beef and wild-caught fish and fresh fruits and veggies from our own urban garden. I make our own butter, chicken-foot broth, bone broth, sauerkraut, and some fun adult things like wine, beer, Limoncello, and Grand Marnier –not so great for you, but hey, a mom needs a break once in awhile! I’ve found that the better I eat, the better I feel and perform as an athlete.
What personal transformation has most influenced you?
I think the most transformative experiences come from pain. That is where learning and growth comes from; there is no growth without first feeling the pain. Like any other person, I am not unfamiliar with that. My personal transformations are a collection of all of my experiences and growth so far. The key is to acknowledge the pain, test the limit, and eventually, push through it. That is where true transformation takes place. A quote that I meditate upon on occasion: “Change will come when the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change.”
What was your biggest athletic accomplishment of 2012?
By far, my biggest accomplishment of 2012 was finishing Ironman Florida, November 3, 2012. Before that I had competed in (in order) Ironman 70.3 New Orleans, Ironman 70.3 San Juan, Barb’s Race 70.3, and the Nautica Malibu International Distance. It was a huge deal for me since it was my first full Ironman and my fifth race ever. My goal was simply to finish, which I did in 16 hours and 15 minutes. I wanted to quit so many times. I hurt. I was hungry for real food. I was mentally and physically exhausted. My brain kept trying to bargain with me to stop and just quit. I have never been a quitter, but I honestly considered it several times. I had pretty bad stomach cramping, but I just kept pushing through. I had to keep moving, and so I did. I was not the fastest in Florida, but I did it and I was so proud of myself that I bawled like a baby crossing that finish line.
There were a number of things that helped me to the finish. I am grateful for Island Boost, which was the only thing that was palatable and that I was able to digest near the end. I am grateful for LA Tri Club’s Ocean 101 class and the amazing coaches they have for helping me get over my fear of the surf and swimming en masse. I am grateful for Adrian Valdivieso from LA Tri Club, because he provided me with a fantastic training plan that I tried to follow as best I could, even if he had me cursing most of the time. But at the end of the day, I owe my successful completion of that race to three people:
1. My amazing husband, Jerry, and the unconditional love and support that he has given me throughout my journey. I love you, baby!
2. My unbelievable swim coach, Mallory Mead, without whom I would still be terrified of the water.
3. My good friend, Leslie Jordan, who got me into triathlon in the first place and pushed me to continue the race when I was begging her to let me quit.
For each of them, I am eternally thankful and truly blessed.
What’s your best piece advice for a busy person contemplating a new athletic goal?
If you can, join a group of people. It makes training that much easier and makes you keep an appointment. Also, stick to a training plan as much as possible, with a lot of variety so that you don’t get burned out. If you are going solo, fit in sessions (no matter if it is only 30-45 minutes!) whenever you can- early morning, lunch breaks, early evening before dinner. Make the time and stick to it, otherwise there will always be an excuse to skip it.