The Fitness Fanatic: Susan Kitchen

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The Fitness Fanatic
Photo by Briana Brough

Susan was born in Winston-Salem; she moved to Chapel Hill in 1990 to get her master’s in public health from UNC. She’s been a registered dietitian since 1992 and a sports certified dietitian and U.S.A. Triathlon coach for swimming, biking and running for the past two years. She lives in The Oaks with her husband, Jim, son, Kenan, 15, and daughter, Karsen, 11.

“Since the day I learned to walk, I’ve been on the move. I was born with a body that needs and wants to be in motion. Although I was an avid tennis player growing up, my adult relationship with endurance sports began when a friend asked me to join her in the Disney Marathon in 1998. Eight years and 25 marathons later, I decided to try my hand at a triathlon. This October, in Kona, Hawaii, marked my fifth full Ironman. Training makes me feel alive, healthy and joyful. Through training, I’ve made lifelong friends. The experiences we share can’t be replicated over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

You learn a lot about yourself during century rides and long runs week in and week out. You learn that you can do what you think you can’t and how to overcome weaknesses. I’ve learned to be patient with my body and not to rush the miles but let them come to me. I’ve learned not to worry about things that are out of my control (like the weather!) and that, by shifting my perspective, any situation can be a positive one.

For example, this weekend, I had a six-hour ride and 30-minute run (a “brick” in triathlete speak). It was rainy, the roads were a mess, I was tired — there were a hundred reasons to complain. But complaining about something that you have the privilege to do won’t get you very far in life. I chose to see the bright side — at least I wouldn’t get sunburned! There’s so much to learn along the journey to the finish line, and even when times get tough, I’ve learned to remember it will pass, and to be grateful for the people and experiences that bring me through every time. It’s taken me years to get to this point, but I wouldn’t trade those years for the world.” CHM

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Amanda MacLaren

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