Alumni Spotlight - Keri Claiborne Boyle '91
Keri Claiborne Boyle is a 1991 graduate of Lexington Christian Academy. She is a nationally ranked triathlete and has competed in 3 Ironman races (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run), including a top ten finish at Ironman Arizona. She is also a USA Triathlon certified coach and Road Runner's Club of America certified coach. Along with racing, Keri is the voice behind the blog “The Tri-ing Life” where she writes about the realities of endurance training and racing while balancing her three kids and everyday life.
What was your experience like at LCA?
My family had moved a lot when I was younger, so prior to coming to LCA I’d been in a new school every other year. But when we moved back to this area, we knew it was going to be permanent. My parents quickly threw us into public school which wasn’t bad but it was too big. My parents then decided to send my older brother and me to LCA. I came here kicking and screaming because I didn’t want to go to another new school but a lot of big things happened for me here.
I got involved in music with James Bergin and the LCA New Life Singers. I appreciated being involved in a smaller, more intimate environment where a teacher could pull you aside and say, “Wow, you can sing.” I don’t think that happens at a bigger school. And that happened across the board at LCA. I met Coach Campbell and she encouraged me to play sports. Everywhere I went there was someone in authority that was a mentor and encouraging me—drama, music, sports, academics. What makes LCA unique is that it was always very clear that our teachers were our authority but there was also a friendship there too.
My experience here was wonderful—I came kicking and screaming and left crying because I didn’t want to leave.
How did your experience at LCA shape where you went to college and beyond?
I went to the University of Rochester so I could continue playing field hockey and lacrosse. I became interested in the school because a girl a few years ahead of me at LCA had gone there and played field hockey so she introduced me to the coach and the team.
I got my masters at Northwestern in Business Communication. I worked in consulting until I had my first baby and then I did freelance writing.
How did you get into racing?
When I had my first baby and left the corporate world, I decided that maybe I wanted to be an athlete on a different level than I’d been before. I’d always been a runner which led me to get into triathlons. After I competed for many years, I decided to get more serious and train with a coach. I eventually became a nationally ranked triathlete and got into Ironman racing. I trained anywhere between 15 and 22 hours a week. Most of it was done in my basement while my kids would nap. I love doing all three aspects of a triathlon and training for each at the same time. At times it is crazy because you need to get three different workouts in per sport per week to really train well, I like mixing it up. For a while I was just marathon running and I was getting very beat up physically. When you’re training for a triathlon you’re actually not running as much because you need to be training for the other two sports which are low impact.
For the past few years I’ve done 3-4 half-Ironman races a season to train for a full Ironman. Eventually I was getting faster and faster and getting on the podium more. I became nationally ranked and went to a couple of national championships.
Why did you decide to start a blog?
I love writing and in my job in the consulting world I was primarily a writer. We would come up with large communication plans for companies that were going through some sort of change. I found when I began racing that it was just switching from the topic of HR to a topic that I’m very passionate about. It was a very natural transition for me.
I started my blog, The Tri-ing Life, about a year ago. I knew at one point racing was not going to last forever and that eventually I was going to want to get back into the workforce. The blog has allowed me to contact magazines and reach out to different companies and stay relevant.
What do your kids think of you as an athlete?
They’re really supportive! I have two girls and a boy and I find that it’s really important for me to show my daughters what a strong female looks like—that they see someone taking care of their body, that it’s not about being skinny but about being fit and doing something you're passionate about. It’s about showing them that girls can be warriors and fierce. And honestly, I like that they’re seeing that I’m doing something for me and that you can have balance. They always know that they’re the priority.
What motivates you to do all these things and find a balance?
I feel very grateful that I am able to stay home with my kids but I knew early on that I would need to do something simultaneously. I’m thankful that I’ve found something I’m passionate about doing that I can also write about. My husband is a good athlete but he’s not into the endurance races, which is good because I think a family can only handle one of those people. You need to switch off someone cheering and holding the kids while the other does their thing.
What’s in your future?
Well, I think I am retiring from Ironman racing. I went to Ironman Lake Placid this July and I think that is my last Ironman distance race. I will still do marathons and other races though. I’ll always be an athlete.