142nd FW Airmen completes 5th Ironman Triathlon
By Tech. Sgt. Steph Sawyer, 142nd Fighter Wing
/ Published October 21, 2019
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Senior Master Sgt. Bobbi Kennedy is used to working outside the average person's comfort zone.
The Medical Group superintendent, assigned to 142nd Fighter Wing, Oregon Air National Guard, recently completed her fifth Ironman Triathlon in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In one day, she swam 2.4 miles, biked 116 miles and ran a full, 26.2-mile marathon.
Over the past 12 years, Kennedy has trained for and participated in five Ironman Triathlons. But before she started training in 2007, Kennedy was a heavy smoker and out of shape. When a friend mentioned participating in an Ironman, Kennedy knew it would require a complete lifestyle overhaul and intense physical training. She quit smoking, improved her diet and began training.
"Once I got out of my bad habits, I really wanted to take care of my body," says Kennedy.
To prepare for an Ironman, Kennedy increases the spin classes she leads from one to 1.5 hours. After class, her students often join her for a short run, but she gets the most training time in on the weekends.
On Saturday, she typically bikes six hours. Sundays she runs, gradually increasing her distance as she gets closer to the event. Overall, she exercises an average of 15 hours per week.
One of the toughest things about training, she says, is getting swim time in. Her regimen includes 3 a.m. swim sessions.
The most challenging aspect of training and competing in an Ironman, Kennedy says, is not the physical stress on the body, but maintaining a positive mental state and demonstrating discipline and resilience.
"When it gets hard," says Kennedy, "know that the human body is amazing."
Kennedy's first full Ironman Triathlon was in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, in honor of her dying father-in-law, whose dream was to complete an Ironman.
As a Guard Soldier in a leadership position, Kennedy sets the example by demonstrating dedication to physical well-being, fortitude and resiliency.
"We give a lot here," says Kennedy, "and for me, [completing the Ironman] has helped with my ability to lead."
Kennedy says she wants to see others lead healthy lives, but that doesn't necessarily mean rigorous training or running marathons and triathlons.
"It doesn't matter if you do an Ironman," says Kennedy. "It doesn't matter that you do halves or run a marathon or a 5K, but it matters that you take care of yourself, and that looks different for everybody, and that's OK."