Athlete-mom interview: Kelli Montgomery

Meet Kelli Montgomery from Wallingford, Connecticut who I met thanks to off-road Xterra racing. She is tons of fun and I always loved hanging out with her when on the Xterra tour. Kelli has over 18 years of pro and age-group triathlon racing experience. She is a two-time Ironman Hawaii qualifier and finisher. She is also the 2014 Xterra World Champion (40-44 age group) and 2016 USAT off-road national champion (1st overall amateur and 1st in her age group). Kelli is a multisport coach and you can learn more about her qualifications and coaching services on her website: www.coachkelli.com
Kelli also works part time for the Wallingford Parks and Recreation as a Health and Fitness Supervisor (she organizes a kids triathlon, cross country running series, and fitness classes), along with helping coach the Nutmeg Youth Triathlon Team. Read on to learn how Kelli trains, competes and balances it all….
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1. What was you life as athletically (or otherwise) and how has it evolved before and between each of your children and and as they’ve grown?
I have 2 sons Benjamin Gyulay (11 years old) and Nolan Gyulay (8 years old) who are soon to be 12 and 9 in September!  When I had my first child I was taking a break from triathlon after racing elite and having some injuries and health issues. In between having my two sons I did race a little bit.  Then after both children where born as of September of 2007 it was slow build up to getting back to racing more consistently in 2010.  I would say the biggest change has been managing my time efficiently and staying organized. Before kids if I started a ride 15 minutes late it was no big deal; now I need make a soccer game so if I don’t start on time then my workout gets shortened. Certainly being more flexible now that I have children and not sweating the one workout missed here or there or if something doesn’t go quite right.  In the big picture realizing I’m pretty consistent and slight change doesn’t really make a difference.
2. Did you “train” during your pregnancies? How has your training/racing evolved/changed since becoming a mother?
I did do some training/exercise during both of my pregnancies. The first pregnancy I was really motivated to stay in shape and the second I did a lot less with having another child and another on the way.  With both I felt like I had lost some fitness and had some post pregnancy weight to lose. I’m more selective on what and how many races that I do knowing that its time away from the family.  I try to work in camping trips with the kids with local races so we can spend time together.
3. What motivated (or continues to inspires you) to get training and racing? And/or has this evolved through different stages with your kids ages?
I’ve enjoyed the challenge of taking up off-road triathlon and really learning how to ride a mountain bike in last 3+ years. Facing my fears of riding tough obstacles or scary descents gives me sense of accomplishment.  I keep seeing improvements in my riding and trail running so that is exciting and helps keep the motivation. I believe the biggest motivator for me is that I am having fun training and racing.  I’m working hard and being consistent in training but I make sure to keep it fun and not be too serious-be like a kid.  What has evolved since the kids is balancing my training and racing with their schedule. As their schedule changes with school, activities, etc I rework what days I do certain training on so it fits into the schedule. As they are getting older there are more sports activities, homework, and sleepovers to work around.  It just takes some planning and scheduling to make it all work for everyone.  I also have good support system with my husband and friends that helps tremendously.
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4. What are your current training/racing ambitions for 2016?
I’d like to continue to improve my skills as mountain biker-riding tougher obstacles and going faster!  I’m shooting for a win in 40-44 age-group at Xterra Worlds in Maui and top 3 amateur overall, but most of all improving over last years performance there and giving it 110% on race day!
5. How do you balance family/work demands and interests with your athletic goals? 
Keeping the balance is a constant process that keeps changing as my kids get older.  I take the time to think about how to achieve that and change things when I find the balance gets out of whack. Its certainly a challenge!
6. Any tips or advice you would have for other moms with goals of getting back in shape and/or continuing to train/compete with children?
Don’t rush and put pressure on yourself to get right back to training and racing after having children. For the first year after childbirth I didn’t put pressure on myself to get right back to training and racing. With both I didn’t take much time off from work so I was juggling being new mom and working and that was enough of challenge. I made an effort to get some type of exercise in each day but if it didn’t happen I didn’t beat myself up over it. Babies are so unpredictable that first year with their schedule so a lot time the intended plan got changed and staying flexible helped.
If you can find other moms to train with during or after pregnancy for support it really helps since they can relate to your experiences.  I was lucky my friend Sandie and I both had our kids within a month of each other each time. So we worked out together during our pregnancies and then provided each other motivation to train afterwards.  It was good training time to provide support to each other too.
8. Anything else you would like to add?
Make sure you keep it fun! Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and set big goals, you can make it happen!
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