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Fitness an integral part of the McDonalds’ lifestyle

Phil Sandoval

Having three athletes in one family is a rarity. And when all three are involved in different sports, like the McDonald family of Glenwood Springs, it would be easy to assume that the combination of events and training would led to a chaotic existence.

The McDonalds will not let that happen.

Although Kae McDonald says, “it can be hectic,” when it comes to balancing participating in area triathlons, her husband Ken’s cycling, swimming, and weight training schedule, and daughter Emily’s Sopris Barracuda swim meets, they make it work.

The entire family lessens the strain of having to choose among each other with a little self-sacrifice.

All three, “try to train every day,” Ken said. But, both parents defer to Emily’s swim schedule in the summer.

Even though Ken and Kae cut back their schedules in the summer, both still find time to participate in their respective events.

Recently Kae ran at the Desert Sun Half-Marathon in Grand Junction and she is currently training for the annual Glenwood Triathlon later this year. She gets up at 4:30 a.m. on weekdays to train before going to work and runs 30-35 miles and swims 3-5 miles each week, along with some cycling.

Ken, who said he was a “middle-of-the pack guy,” as a competitive cyclist, opts for year-round training goals.

His goals are to ride 3,000 miles and do some swimming this year, while continuing to hit the weights.

The parent’s training regimen doesn’t stop them from attending Emily’s swim meets.

Ken and Kae are at most of Emily’s Barracuda meets together.

“The swim meets are a positive thing. It’s a time for the family to be together,” Ken said.

Emily also often gets the chance to watch her parents in action, as well. She was on hand to watch Kae participate in the Desert Sun Half-Marathon.

“It was a great rush” to see her mom run, Emily said.

And the younger McDonald also participated in a “Ride The Rockies,” bike race with her dad a few years ago.

This weekend the family’s focus will be on Emily.

The eighth grader-to-be at Glenwood Springs Middle School has qualified for nine events in the girls’ 13-14 year-old division at the Colorado State Long Course Championships at the Lincoln Park pool in Grand Junction.

Prior to the four-day meet, which starts this morning and runs through Sunday, McDonald earned six individual and two relay event gold medals at the West Slope Championship meet.

Emily said her recent success had yet to sink in “because I’m always going to another meet.”

“We’re really impressed that Emily has made the commitment to swimming,” Kae said. “It was her desire to continue with it and we’re proud of her.”

Kae did admit to being nervous when it comes watching Emily swim.

“I get as nervous as (Emily) does, because she wants to do well,” Kae said.

Emily’s training includes daily morning swims throughout the Barracuda’s summer season.

Once the season concludes, however, Emily’s training becomes more cerebral.

“Emily needs to focus on academics,” said Kae. “In the winter, school is more important for us.”

But that shift in priorities doesn’t keep Emily totally away from the athletic realm. She’s also a member of the GSMS girls’ volleyball and track teams.


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