Courts Plus was the host to a very unique birthday party and fitness challenge over the weekend. Courts Plus Member and triathlon participant Maria (Kai) MacNicol approached Courts Plus with her birthday idea earlier this year; would it be possible to do 40 miles for her 40th birthday at Courts Plus?
“This whole crazy idea came about when I was thinking of something to do to make turning 40 not quite so boring!” says Kai. “Since I'm doing base work for a half Ironman this year anyway I thought that, why not do 40 miles for my birthday?”
Her birthday challenge was divided into a 1 mile swim, 36 mile bike and 3 mile run. She put out the call to her fitness friends to see who might be willing to join her and 23 answered. Some participated in portions of the challenge, while some completed the whole 40 with Kai.
For eight years, on and off, Kai has participated in triathlons, with breaks in between to have three kids, now ages six, four and two. She returned to the sport last year, participating in Bigfoot Tri at Lake Geneva last year and the Transamerica Chicago Triathlon, her first Olympic distance. “This year I'm going to try and take it to the next level and do the Steelhead Half Ironman in August, and maybe Bigfoot again as an early trial race,” she says. With other races also scheduled for 2017, Kai is not interested in slowing down. “I'm thinking year 40 is going to be one sore year for my legs!” she says.
Triathlons are just as much a mental as a physical challenge for many athletes. “The best part of triathlon for me is when I get over my fear of open water swimming. It takes a few yards to get out of my head and focus on something…but that fear can be scary. After that I know I can muscle the rest!”
When she’s training, Kai regularly attends the Insanity classes at Courts Plus. “The intensity of the workout has truly helped with my cardio and endurance when I apply it to the three components of the tri.” She also tries to attend BodyPump at least twice a week to strength train.
Kai’s goal for her birthday challenge is “to have fun, motivate and be motivated by the amazing people that are going to be joining.” She truly appreciates the fitness community she has built. “I am fortunate to be surrounded by like-minded, hardworking, crazy friends and family!”
So after a big event, how does Kai unwind? “Good coffee,” she says. “After the 40 miles we will most certainly have coffee and for sure something a lot stronger to celebrate!”