Tuesday, May 26, 2009


A multisport practitioner since 2005, 35-year-old St. Paul resident Tracie Kent has amassed an impressive resume. While she has yet to receive an MMA nomination, her name comes up annually at Selection Committee meetings, usually in reference to the Duathlete of the Year and Most Improved categories.

Tracie is part of a select group of athletes who breathe down the necks of the national and world level athletes of our region. Marlo McGaver, Cathy Yndestad, Julie Hull and Marnie Walth win races with regularity and folks like Tracie tenaciously push them to fast times. The girls in front can't relax because girls like Tracie are nipping at their heels.

Tracie, you've been on the podium five times and are a perennial top 5-10 finisher. How important is it to you to catch the girls in front of you?

"I honestly have to say that I am trying to get away from having those kind of competitive goals. I try not to focus on race placings. I would like to keep improving my times, though..." 

Tracie became quiet. A moment later she finished her thought. "My goal for 2009 is to stay healthy, race in some longer distance events and enjoy what I'm doing." 

Spoken like an emotionally healthy person. Certainly her near-catastrophic bike crash in 2006 played a role in the formation of  her mature perspective. 

"I was a brush away  from paralysis. It made me realize how fortunate I am just to be able to participate in events. I want to truly embrace the training and racing and not worry about results."

Okay, Trace, you are an unapologetic coffee snob. What's with that?

"Coffee is my lifeline. Without it, I wouldn't be able to get up in the morning, which means I wouldn't be able to able to get to the pool by 5 am. And not just any coffee will do. I am a huge fan of the strong, dark stuff--Italian style. My favorite coffee shop is Espresso Royale."

After another thoughtful moment, Tracie continued: "coffee relaxes me in the evening and helps me unwind. To me, a perfect evening would include good conversation, a good book and good coffee."

Okay, what's with this Woody Woodpecker fetish?

"As a child my brother and I would structure our summer vacation days around making sure that we never missed the Woody Woodpecker Show. Also, Chilly Willy was on the program and he has to be the cutest cartoon character ever."

Chilly Willy?

"To this day hearing a Woody Woodpecker laugh stops me in my tracks. It brings back great memories."

(Photos by Erik Hull)