As 10-year-olds, most of us spent our days watching iCarly and playing Webkinz; but junior Delaney Kottke had another hobby in mind.
A triathlon is a race that consists of 300 yards of swimming, 8 miles of biking and 2 miles of running. At just 10 years old, Kottke started training to race in triathlons. “My dad was a triathlete in Minnesota at Lifetime Fitness. So when Omaha opened a Lifetime Fitness and had the same program, he decided that I should also race in triathlons,” Kottke said.
Prior to her first race, she was not sure what a triathlon consisted of. Kottke grew up a swimmer, but had never considered herself much of a biker or a runner. Fortunately, all she needed was one race, and she was hooked. “I loved the atmosphere and the nonstop adrenaline you experience,” Kottke said.
This newly found love for triathlons required an extreme amount of training. “Luckily, I swim competitively for Marian and for my club; so when I train for races, I focus on running and biking. I mostly run 3-5 miles and bike 8-10 miles with my dad a few times in the weeks leading up to race season,” Kottke said. Race season begins in June and finishes in August.
Before races, Kottke eats a light breakfast, such as a protein shake or eggs, and sits down to try to reserve her energy. She tries to avoid talking to people in order to stay in the zone while reviewing the track for the upcoming race.
Once the race begins, Kottke focuses mainly on her legs. “I try to have fun during the race, but my mind thinks of the worst possible situations that could occur. I always imagine things like my legs giving out, me falling off my bike, or my shoes becoming untied.”
The most difficult part when it comes to racing for Delaney is the running portion. “After swimming and biking, my legs turn into jelly. While I have the advantage at the swimming portion, since I’m a competitive swimmer, most of the other girls have the edge with running.”
Despite these challenges, Kottke continues to race. “The feeling I get when I rush out of the water and hop onto my bike is addicting. I absolutely love the competitiveness of the entire race.”
Delaney has won five races, and has finished a total of 11 races. “Winning is pretty cool. When I began racing as a 10 year old, I never thought I would actually win a race. It feels really accomplishing and like all the training and hard work has paid off.”
Kottke would love to start a triathlon club through Hy-Vee Iron Kids in order to get more kids, and Marian girls, involved in triathlons. “I strongly recommend anyone to do it. It’s a great opportunity; and while it may be scary at first it is so worth it.”