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by Greta Van Meeteren

May 3, 2010

One thing led to another

Kristin Marentette is a married, stay-at-home mom with two kids, ages two and three. She has an MBA and used to work in business development and marketing. "Life is pretty busy trying to keep up with the kids. It's amazing how much energy they have. I never envisioned leaving the work force full time, but I'm really happy to be able to spend this time with the kids. I'll go back to work in a couple of years once they enter kindergarten or first grade," says Marentette. Swimming is a hobby for Marentette. She started swimming in a summer league as an eight and under. She swam on the high school team and then joined the synchronized swim team at Penn. In college, she also swam with a Masters group. Afterward, she lost track of the pool for 10+ years. "There were several years where I pretended to be a runner. I even finished a marathon—albeit very, very slowly. I'm not a fluid or efficient runner, so I never enjoyed it much. It always felt like a struggle," she says. 

After the marathon, it seemed like the right time to start a family. But that didn't happen and, three years and 20 extra pounds later, she found herself wanting to regroup physically and mentally. She recalled that she always felt really good swimming so she decided it was time to get back in the water. Marentette joined a Masters group and says: "those first few practices were very rough. I couldn't even come close to finishing the 500 warm up. Everyone was really supportive, though, and I got back into swim shape before too long."

Marentette swam with that group for five months. Then she and her husband adopted their son and promptly discovered that they were expecting. Their kids are nine months apart and will be in the same grade at school. With one baby at home and another on the way, Marentette decided to stay home full time. At that point, the Masters practices didn't work as well with her schedule so she started to swim on her own a few days a week.

Over the last few years, Marentette has gone from swimming two to three days a week to five to six. She swims approximately 2,400 meters during a workout. During the week she takes the kids to the gym every afternoon. It works out really well–the kids get a chance to get out of the house and play in another environment and she gets to exercise. "My favorite event is probably the IM. I like the variety, although my breaststroke is ridiculously slow. My best stroke is the butterfly. Last week, I qualified for the USMS Short Course Nationals in the 50 fly and the 100 fly," she says.

Last year Marentette rejoined USMS after checking out the website and finding the One Hour Swim. That was the first time she had heard of a distance race that could be done in a pool and thought it would be motivating to train for a race. She completed 4,210 yards. Shortly after joining USMS, she got an email from the Minnesota masters about an upcoming swim meet. It was local and only $10, so Marentette thought, "why not?" She had fun at that meet, entered two more this year and is looking forward to swimming in more meets in the future. Six months ago, she never would have contemplated swimming more than a 50 fly. So it's been great for her to have the meets as motivation to step up her workouts.

"I really miss swimming with a Masters group. Now that the kids are a little ‘older,’ I hope to find a practice that I can work into my family's schedule sometime soon," says Marentette.

"I like how easy it is to track mileage with GTD. And I find it motivating. It's like a ‘mini-reward’ at the end of the day to enter in a workout. I hope to end the year at 400 miles. A little each day certainly can add up," she says.

Marentette likes puzzles with numbers, like Sudoku or Kakuro. She volunteers with the kids' preschool PTO and will be the treasurer next year. She enjoys cooking and entered her first baking competition last year. "Nothing came of it, but it was fun to create something that I thought tasted good. I'm looking forward to more experimenting in the kitchen."

She also loves to travel and is looking forward to an upcoming trip to Hawaii. There are outrigger canoe races in front of the condo where she will be staying. She uses their finish line buoys as guides and swims out and back next to them to get her workouts in.

Marentette's favorite swim story came last year when she found out that the pool she works out in is 25 meters long. She had assumed it was 25 yards. She was instantly 10% faster. “That was a happy dance day.”


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