Kirsten McCay Smith’s birthday challenge

From the Greeley Tribune


Kirsten McCay-Smith creates birthday challenge workouts to coincide with her age, this year she ran, biked and swam for four hours and forty-four minutes.
She planned it that way, making sure to finish with the bike so she had more control over the time.
McCay-Smith said she’s in better shape now than she was in her 20s.
“You can’t use age as an excuse anymore,” McCay-Smith said. “As I get older, I hope it shows age is just a number.”
This past year, she did 43 100s in the pool to celebrate.

“I always try to beat my record.”— Kirsten McCay-Smith

McCay-Smith loves to create difficult challenges and meet those goals.
She got her degree in exercise and sports science and spent 15 years as a personal trainer and fitness instructor. She’d spend time coming up with challenges for people to keep the workouts lively and different, but so many people just weren’t excited about it.
She got burned out but found a new niche in online coaching. It allows people who are excited about fitness to come to her. For the most part, she offers online coaching to athletes ranging from students to adult enthusiasts.
She coached swimming at Windsor Middle School for eight years before she moved. When she moved back to Johnstown, she started coaching the Severance Middle School swim team.
McCay-Smith shares most of her fitness challenges on social media and her blog. She knows most people won’t go to the same lengths she does, but she hopes to inspire others to challenge themselves.
“I want other people to get ideas from what I do,” McCay-Smith said.
She has friends who will do 20 100s in the pool if she does 100, she said.
Sometimes people are motivated by the social factor, and they’ll get to the gym at 5 a.m. to be with friends and work out, McCay-Smith said.
For her, though, challenges push her forward.
“I always try to beat my record,” McCay-Smith said. And she usually does.
McCay-Smith and her friends will challenge themselves to go a week without sugar, another week drinking more water or another week with no artificial flavors. She also likes what she calls a streak challenge, like running or working out without missing a day.
She also hopes to run a marathon in every state. So far, she’s run 62 marathons in 31 states.
McCay-Smith also loves to talk food and nutrition.
She’s a vegan. People always ask her where she gets her protein. She’ll tell them she never has to go out of her way to get what she needs if she’s eating a balanced meal.
Ever since she’s given up dairy, she recovers faster too, she said.
She’s not yet sure what her next birthday workout will be. Turning 45 sounds like a big deal, so she wants to push herself. For now, it depends on where in the week it falls. Whatever it is, she hopes she’s able to inspire others to join the fun.

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