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Racing Together

Are we looking at the next triathlon power couple?

Eight months ago, husband and wife athletes Travis and Julie K decided to train for an Ironman 70.3. At the time, they had completed their first Olympic distance triathlon and wanted to train for something bigger. Having trained on their own for their previous triathlons, they knew for a 70.3, they would need help not only to train properly, but to stay healthy as well. Through mutual friends, they became part of the E11even squad.

Training for a 70.3 as an individual is hard enough, but what’s it like for two rookies to train and live together for their first? Do you workout together; apart? Do you get jealous of the other’s progress? Is there competitiveness and what’s the big day like?

In the beginning of their training, they were building strength and endurance. Many of these workouts were done together and planned their days around when get together to work out. This was not an uncommon practice for them.

As training progressed, it became more difficult to sync up for workouts as each of their skills and fitness levels were different. Different, but both with the same end goal: be ready for Raleigh 70.3. Some days it would be difficult watching each other go separate ways for workouts. The funny thing is it made them enjoy the times they got to work out together even more. Coach Jenni kept them ‘in check’ as well. Seeing unexpected results on bike workout from Travis, she questioned it and found out he was holding back to keep Julie company. That would not happen again! Jenni reminded them of the end goal. Even though they are training together, the race is individual, so as hard as it was, they needed to train together but as individuals.

So after months of training, it was ‘go time’ and they headed to Raleigh, North Carolina for the race. The days before the race they worked out together, just like they did not that long ago. It was a nice way to keep the nerves at bay, because they support each other and knew what to say to help the other feel better.

But they also knew that on race day, they were on their own. In every race they’d done, they would cross paths on the bike and the run. They’d know that the other was ok, and give them encouragement. But this race was different. Bigger. Ironman. Travis would be about ¾ of the way in my swim before Julie would hit the water. The bike was one way, so no crossing paths. It would be on the run, a double loop, that would provide them the only chance to see one another, to know that they were both ok.

Race day arrived, they did their final set ups in transition, kissed each other and wished each other good luck, and off they went to their respective swim start waves. Travis said about halfway through his swim, Julie entered his thoughts; “had she started yet; how was she doing?” Before too long, he was out of the water and heading to transition where he ran by Julie’s transition area to see if her bike was still there. He spotted her bike and gear, sighed, and headed to his transition area.

As Travis raced he kept wondering where Julie was. Hoping she was on the bike. Hoping she had no issues in the swim or transition. As he got further along, he wondered where on the ride she was. He was so used to her being behind or in front of him, and it was a little sad to be out there alone.

When he got to T-2 and started the run, he hoped that he would get to the first turn quick enough to see everyone behind him. Maybe Julie was right behind him? Just before the turn away from the main loop and head around to start the second lap, he saw her. There she was! Travis said his heart skipped a beat and almost started crying; she had made it through the swim and the bike. She was going to make it!

Travis would finish first and then patiently waited at the finish for Julie to cross. Hugging her and telling her how proud he was of her they’d finish their first 70.3 together!

As days passed, Travis reflected on the experience with these thoughts: “It’s strange, but it feels emotionally that you race twice when your loved one is in the race with you.”

So are we looking at the next O’Donnell/Carfrae or Team Wurtele? Only time will tell, but we can’t wait to hear about their next adventure!

Travis and Julie are currently looking for their next 70.3 for 2017. In the meantime time they will continue to race local sprint and Olympic races together in Iowa.

If you want to follow Travis’s triathlon career, you can read his blog at

If you want to learn more about E11even athletes, check out our website at and our facebook page:

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