From Homeless to the Ironman World Championship
written by one of Kir’s BFFS…Tara Jacobsen

Today I checked Facebook to see if my friend Kirsten had won the Boulder Ironman in her age group so she could qualify for the World Championships of Ironman in Kona, Hawaii. She did, but that is only the end of the story… the part leading up to it is the cool part!

I have been meeting monthly with Kirsten for the last 8 years. Every month we talk about what we are hoping to accomplish in the coming year My goals have been things like “make $10K a month from affiliate sales” hers have been more like “qualify for Kona”.

For the first few years we met she said that over and over each month…”qualify for Kona, qualify for Kona”. When I asked what that was she said a race and since she does lots of races, I thought, okey dokie, must be a fancy race, but nothing special.

Well in 2013 she did qualify for Kona! She was 3rd in her age group in the Lake Tahoe Ironman and she went out in 2014 and had a not-so-great race experience. She swore she would never do that race again!

For a couple of years I didn’t have to hear, “qualify for Kona” monthly, but it was sort of sad… I missed hearing about her big dream.

Well last year that dream popped up again.

She explained that at 44 it would be hard to qualify for her age group because she would be racing in a really fast age group, but that in 2017 when she turned 45 she would be ready to make another run at qualifying.

Now you have to understand, I am a normal human who is a bit overweight and not all that athletic, so hanging around with tall, blond, skinny Kirsten would be overwhelming if she weren’t so darn humble about it all.

She spent years trying to become totally vegan and in 2015 went full on. Hanging out with her I started eating less and less meat until now I am a vegetarian and much more able to control my weight. Her constant encouragement and gentle reminders that whatever I did was good enough were amazing.

I have watched her do that with athletes, friends and even people from Facebook who follow her weird and crazy physical challenges (she does a treadmill marathon every Thanksgiving just for “fun”!)

So about that homeless thing…

This year Kirsten devoted every waking moment to training and making sure her body was prepared for the Boulder race. In the middle of all that her marriage of 21 years fell apart. After years of living separate lives, Kirsten and her husband finally split and she walked away with her car and the shirt on her back (her choice, her ex is a stand-up guy who just isn’t a great fit for her anymore).

So this Spring Kirsten has been functionally homeless. She has spent time at her sister’s which she does every year, spent a fair amount of time couch surfing and then there are the times that she has “car camped” with her two dogs for days at a time.

But before you feel too sorry for her, please know she had enough money to stay a hotel but for Kirsten getting a new faster swimsuit or a massage to help her aching muscles was more important than having a place to lay her head!

Friends and family all worried about her, but she was stoic in the face of a really weird life.

Back to business...

So the thing that makes me smile the most about Kirsten is how sure she was a few years ago that she was not a “professional athlete”.

Thousands of hours a year training, planning and working out didn’t seem to register on her that that qualified her for “pro” status!

Now Kirsten has sponsors who help her to pay for races and equipment. She has fans who have followed her and quietly sent money in “payment” for all the great positive energy and support that she puts out there on social media, in her Facebook groups and through her website.

And now she needs help even more! She has qualified but could use a hand with expenses for her TRIP TO KONA!

Anything that you could give would be appreciated and will all go toward supporting her dream of racing in the Kona Ironman World Championships!

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Kirsten McCay 
Windsor, CO