Kim Schwabenbauer retires in style

A stellar runner-up finish at Ironman Mont-Tremblant less than a year after becoming a mom was just the finish Kim Schwabenbauer needed to wrap up her pro career.

| September 6, 2017 | PERSONALITY

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

Hers was one of the most joyful finishes we've seen in triathlon. Kim Schwabenbauer made it a one-two finish for new moms at Ironman Mont-Tremblant last month in finishing second to Rachel Joyce. In our post race interview we learned that it would also be her last race as a pro - this fall she'll be teaching full time at Clarion University. Here's what she had to say after her big day: So what is the key to making a podium at an Ironman these days – having a baby?

Kim Schwabenbauer: Maybe it doesn’t hurt! I think its fantastic that two people up here (on the podium) have had a recent child. It means that women can come back and have a really solid effort. I think its actually good for your body to take a year off.

Can you tell us a bit about your race?

I did not have the best swim (she was 16-minutes behind swim leader Lauren Brandon) and so I definitely thought on the bike "I have a lot of work to do." I just said to myself “nail all of your numbers – don’t worry about where you are …” The girls just kept coming back, which gave me some motivation. It was fun. I enjoy this course and the people in the town are just so supportive. I felt like I had so much support out there – so many cheers from fellow competitors and the crowd.

On the run did you think you might be able to catch Rachel (Joyce)?

I thought a couple of times it might be possible, but I had done the math and realized that unless she really slowed down it wasn’t going to happen. She’s a world class athlete – she’s not going to let anything really get to her and she’s going to put everything in. I can’t believe she has done three Ironmans in the past 10 weeks. It just goes to show you that anything is possible.

Schwabenbauer on the run course at Ironman Mont-Tremblant.

Schwabenbauer on the run course at Ironman Mont-Tremblant.

Photo >Kevin Mackinnon

It’s been less than a year since you became a mom. Was there anything that was more of challenge in your comeback to racing than you anticipated?

I think just the scheduling of trying to figure out when you are going to work out and allowing yourself not to feel guilty about it when you are away. For Rachel it’s her full time profession – for me it’s not necessarily my full time profession, but I do spend a lot of time doing it and it is hard to be away. I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be to leave my daughter, Emma, for training. I think it’s a good time to do it, though, because she’s young and won’t remember. And I needed to see for myself if I could do it. There was no other way to know if I could do it. I think this is going to be my last race, so I’m thankful to end on such a high note.

You usually don’t want to make that sort of decision right after a race …

You usually don’t, but I could feel pretty strongly out there that I have some big things coming up in terms of my profession and I am ready to do other things. It has been a fantastic run and I had to see if I could come back. You know what, I can come back and be with the best women in the world – that’s all I needed to know.

So what do you do?

I’m a nutrition professor and a coach. I do triathlon coaching and sports nutrition counseling and I teach nutrition at Clarion University in Pennsylvania. I’m teaching full-time this fall.

If it is your last pro race, it’s nice to go out on such a high.

You know, as I was coming down that chute I thought “This is what it’s all about – knowing that you gave your best and that all these people are here." It was such a fun, amazing experience and I thought, this is it, this is why we do it. For the love, for the joy, for the passion, for the people, the relationships. I have done it all. I would have loved to have held a banner in my career, but I’ll take this.