Welcome to my story, my dream and my life!
My name is Kyra Meulenberg, addicted to numbers and a passioned triathlete! And the Ironman Age Group World Champion 2021 25-29!
I am on a mission to become the best triathlete I can and to inspire others to follow their dreams even when they seem impossible.
And don't forget to follow my adventures!
How my triathlon addiction got real!
For those who don't know me, I am a 28 year old Dutch triathlete. I grew up in Geleen, a small city in the southern part of the Netherlands. Currently I am living in Utrecht and working full time at an insurance company. From my childhood onwards, I have always been into sports. I started doing Judo at age 4 and got into gymnastics at age 12.
I started with triathlon four years ago without any previous experience besides running. I used to be a runner without a coach or a plan. I had found out that the longer the distance, the better my results were. From the first triathlon race onwards, I knew that I love this sport and I want to achieve the highest level possible. My progress since has been a steep upward curve (according to my coach, Lionel Wille from Ferrum Endurance, who has coached me from the very beginning) and that has driven me to put a lot of effort in becoming a faster and better athlete. Last year I was the overall winner of Ironman 70.3 Maastricht and I came in second at Ironman 70.3 Duisburg. I also completed my first Ironman in 2021 and I was on track for a 3h8min marathon but at 38 kilometers of the marathon I became very dizzy and had to throw up. A volunteer and spectator got me into an ambulance and my coach (who was very near that spot by chance) had to convince them that I was still able to finish. Eventually they allowed me to continue having lost about 15 minutes in the process. In the end I finished my marathon in 3h 27min. Still a good run for a first Ironman, but I know I can do better. Everything fell into place in St. George and I was able to run a 3h 25min marathon with 450 meters of elevation in the burning sun. Being able to keep up the pace during these tough conditions is very promising for the rest of this season.
One month after St. George, I finished the Ironman European Championships Hamburg in 9h 43min and 26 seconds. As my body was not fully recovered, I was happy with this new personal best on a full distance triathlon. The rest of my year, my race schedule is packed as I want to get more race experience, but also because of schedule changes and postponements of races.
Next up are some local races in the Netherlands, followed by Ironman 70.3 Maastricht, Ironman 70.3 Duisburg, Ironman World Championships 2022 and the Ironman 70.3 World Championships (qualified, but provisionally because of Kona). I am aiming for the overall win in both Maastricht and Duisburg. I want to defend my Age Group World Championship in Kona, which would be amazing. Becoming the Ironman Age Group World Champion two times in one year would be something really special!
After winning my Age Group in St. George last month, I knew for sure that I want to figure out how far I can get in this sport with the ambition to become a competitive pro triathlete. To take that step to the next level, I know that I have to work on a number of things. First and foremost I must continue to develop my swimming. In most races I have lost too much time during the swim, despite good results at the finish line. I try to get better through a lot of swimming hours, both in training groups and individually. Together with my coach we have set up a plan comprising of current training and additional personal coaching from a licensed swim trainer, I could take the next step to work improve my technique. My stamina while swimming is strong, but my pace is not yet there where I want it to be.
My power at the bike is developing fast as I only started cycling four years I go. I can sustain high power outputs for long periods of time, especially indoors. If I look at data from several pro triathletes, my output is not far off and I should be able to keep up. However, I still lose too much time and speed due to my cycling position. I cannot convert my power into speed effectively enough (yet). With my current bike we have done a bike fit several times. The position on my bike is the maximum that can be achieved, but certainly not yet optimal. That is why I am looking for material support for this better position. In addition, there are the logical technical developments that could bring me more speed such as a disc wheel, disc brakes etcetera.
My strongest discipline is the run. My full and half marathons are among the best in the age groups. My decline during the run is minimal which ensures that I can win back the lost time from the swimming during my marathon. In Mallorca as well as in St. George and Maastricht I owe my final position to the strong run. This is a valuable asset during every race. To bring my performance to a higher level, technique training in swimming and material support in cycling are the first steps that could effectively bring me a lot of benefits in the short term. In addition, I am working hard to develop myself in the field of communication and marketing as this is an important aspect to become a professional athlete. This is however a huge step out of my comfort zone. Besides my ambitions and discipline, I strive to be a valuable asset to sponsors as well. I am currently looking for more partnerships and I highly prefer companies that promote vitality and a healthy lifestyle in general. It is very important to me that my sponsors share the same values as I do as I want to achieve and maintain a strong long-term relationship.
Currently I am still working fulltime and therefore building more collaborations is very important. I highly value my professional career and I aim to keep a job in finance besides my triathlon career. This has several reasons. The first is that I just like the work and the mental challenge there and I think that focusing solely on sports would not yield the optimal result for me personally. Training helps me to focus during the work day and to relax after a busy day at the office. In addition, I want to combine sports and work at a high level to inspire others. I want to show that a healthy lifestyle is also possible with a demanding job and a career in sports. I am currently looking into several options to achieve more balance between my job and my 20-to-25-hour training weeks. Ultimately to compete at the professional level, I would prefer reducing my work hours to have more time to focus on training, nutrition and rest.
I am currently 28 years old and I do not want to rush into things as there is still time to be competitive at long distance triathlons. In 2022 I became the Ironman World Champion 2021 AG 25-29, 7th during the Ironman World Championship 2022 and 24th during the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
For 2023 however, I am aiming at several overall wins in the age group categories and hopefully be ready for the elites the year after. I keep working hard every day to achieve these goals.
Interested in more; follow me on my road to become a professional triathlete.