Essential Sports Nutrition


Athlete Spotlight: Katja Reed Lackey - Art teacher conquering fears and chasing goals - always with a smile.

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NameKatja Reed Lackey


City/State: Dover, Delaware

Primary sport: Triathlon

How many years in the sport: 6 years, my first Tri was June 2011, almost 6 years

What Trimarni services have you used: RETUL, training plan, coaching


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Describe your athletic background and how you discovered your current sport?

I was an active child and continued being active as I got older, playing 3 varsity sports in HS and I was on the ski team. I played volleyball in college for 2 years. After college and in my early married years, I was not very active. After the birth of my twins I needed an outlet and to get my body back in shape. Running was the logical release. I built from 5ks to marathons, all the while I was fascinated with Ironman Triathlon. I just loved the idea of a multi-sport event. I rode my bike and biked a 50 miler and loved the idea of long rides. I signed up to swim at the local Y and soon all the basics led me to my first race....a sprint Triathlon. I was hooked!! I volunteered for Eagleman 70.3 and was impressed with the distance and the dedication - the distance scared me but I needed that goal!

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What keeps you training and racing in your current sport?

I am inspired by the variety of multi-sport. I need the constant change of sport and focus. There is so much to learn about each discipline and I love to learn what my body can do at the race venue, based on the race distance There is a lot of growing through the sport. All the variables keep me motivated. Plus the age groupers running with the pros is so thrilling.
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What do you do for work?
I am an art teacher that is hired in the schools to work with children with disabilities. The children range from 2-15 yrs and are afflicted with lots of disabilities. I am also working with adults with Alzheimer's and dementia.

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How does your work life affect training and how do you balance work and training?I am inspired by my students and how they deal with severe physical and psychological disabilities. I am also reminded that I GET to swim and bike and run! The release of exercise feels so good when I hit my workouts before I hit the classroom. I travel to many schools and I need the stamina - triathlon training provides that for me.

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Any tips/tricks as to how to balance work and training?
I am early riser! I set my alarm for 4:44 =am and usual start my first workout at about 5:30am. I do like to have at least one workout in the week to meet a friend. That friend keeps me accountable and keeps the workout fun!! Fun in life is balance!

Do you have kids?Yes! I have twins! A boy and a girl, both in college.

How does having kids affect your training? How do you balance it all?
My children have always motivated me to be a better person. I try to lead by example . My step into Ironman was purposely organized and planned so that I had a goal while my twins headed off to college so that I could handle the "empty nest" feeling. I am so grateful for the goal and the joy of crossing the finish line and surviving the 140.6 mile distance...and my kids freshman year of college! That big goal brought me back to myself!

What tips and tricks do you have for other athletes who struggle to balance training with family? 

My kids have gone open water swimming with me (or paddling the SUP), they have been on bikes while I ran and did core work with me. These are the moments that give me the fuel for the long solo training or racing day.

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How do you balance your training with your partner? Any tips or tricks for keeping your partner happy while you train to reach your personal goals?
My husband is wonderful! We are celebrating our 28th year together! He supports me and encourages me to do triathlon. He and I will run 1/2 marathon events together and he will bike with me during my longer workouts when I ride in my easier zones. He is a pilot and he is gone 3-4 days a week so I make those days long, if possible as
I like to train harder and longer when he is away. If I need to complete a long day of training with him in town, I will get up early and knock out 50% while he sleeps and then when he wakes up, he may join me for the rest.
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Do you have a recent race result, notable performance or lesson
learned that you'd like to share?
I raced the Watermans Tri in Oct as a late season race (thanks to the push from coach Marni) She reminded me that I had fitness and confidence from completing my Ironman in August (IM Mont Tremblant). She gave me a lot of confidence going into that race and I raced really well and was first in my AG and I PR'd! I would not have raced at all because I thought my season was complete after the big Ironman distance, but she was right. I had the fitness, confidence and race mentality to do well. Triathlon is a true metaphor for so many lessons learned about yourself that help you grow throughout life!
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What are your top tips for athletes, as it relates to staying happy, healthy and performing well?
  1. Remind yourself of the "why." 
  2. Smile and be joyful.
  3. Power nap. 
  4. Trust the plan (following a plan works). 
  5. Have a mantra that is simple so that you can repeat it over and over on race day. 
  6. As my body ages I do more stretching and yoga than ever before. 
  7. Thank your body!
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How would you define athletic success as it relates to your personal journey?
My athletic success is crossing the finish line of my first 140.6 with a smile on my face and healthy body (October 2014) That Ironman journey gave me the belief that I can plan, train and succeed in a long distance triathlon. Goal setting and overcoming obstacles is the life lesson you gleam. I also saw, this year, that I do have fears but I can push through them and I can win on the other side of the fear! And that fact is so AWESOME- overcoming my fears and chasing my goals keeps me smiling and looking for more multi-sport events! I'm so grateful for triathlon!

What's your favorite post-race meal, drink or food?
Ice cold " Blue Moon" beer in a frosted mug!

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What key races do you have planned in 2017?
Rockhall triathlon, MD International tri, Trimarni Camp, and Ironman Atlantic City 70.3

What are your athletic goals for the next 5 years?
I want to stay fit and healthy in my 50s so I plan to continue to race in triathlons. This sport is fun and challenging. I also want to knock some time off of my 70.3 and olympic distance events over the next few years, and race in a few different locations.

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Anything else? 
I recommend getting a coach, attending a tri camp and joining a team! The inspiration and motivation is huge when you feel part of a group. Attending the Trimarni triathlon camp was also a game changer for me. It was very intense (took me out of my comfort zone) but it gave me time and supreme focus on the sport. You also bond with other triathletes/teammates and coaches. I grew so much in all three disciplines and that confidence was essential prior to my big race in Mont Tremblant. 

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You can follow Katja on social media: 

Instagram and Twitter @