Athlete Spotlight: Katya Karpitskaya


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Can you provide some background on Yekatarina Karpitskaya? 

I immigrated form former USSR in 1992 with my mom, dad, and brother. I am originally from Simferopol, Crimea. Back then it was part of Ukraine, but now it’s Russia, and I am ethnically Russian. I did a couple years of high school and then went on to do undergrad and medical school at Washington University in St. Louis.


My athletic background is mostly tennis, but I did not play in college and was mostly a bookworm. In medical school I was pretty heavily involved in fencing. I did my orthopaedic surgery residency at UCLA, and my military commitment brought me to Biloxi, MS, to Keesler Air Force Base. After serving four years in US Air Force, I separated and remained on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I am currently practicing general orthopaedics and sports medicine with Bienville Orthopaedic Specialists full time (including trauma call). I am married and have a 4 year old son and a two year old daughter.



How do balance IRONMAN and marathon training with career and family? What are your time management strategies?

I try my best to get my training done early in the morning and during lunch; if that doesn’t work I get it done when the kids go to bed. I have never skipped a workout in my plan, and that I credit to my close communication with my Coach, Mark Sortino, who makes my schedule flexible enough to accommodate my busy life.


How many races have you done?

Marathons-38, IM 6, 70.3 IM 5, Olympic tri 2, lots of sprints, hold a record for MS for 38 yo for 5k, and 10k, lots of 5k, a few 10k, 6 half marathons, 30k trail race, a 24 hour adventure race.


When did you start running/triathlon? What got you into the sport?

I started racing in July of 2005 with the encouragement of some of the PACU nurses where I worked during my residency. My first race was a 10K, and after that I was hooked. I was signed up for a marathon shortly after and ran my first one in the fall of that year qualifying for Boston with a sub 3:40.

In 2008 I was deployed to the Middle East and developed severe shin splints when training for the Florence Marathon. In order to keep my fitness up while recovering from my injury I started cross training, and when I returned state-side I bought a road bike.


In 2009 I signed up for Ironman Wisconsin, and trained for it using a program I got online. In preparation for the Ironman I figured I should do a few practice races. My first triathlon was Sunfish Sprint Triathlon in Meridian in 2010. After I finished IMWI sub-15 hours I was hopelessly hooked.


What are the toughest parts of making it all work?

The toughest are the 5-6 hour rides that we do leading up to the race day. I hate missing time with my family; I try to get them done on Fridays when kids are in day care, but if that doesn’t work I get up early and do it on the weekends. I am very fortunate to have a very supportive spouse!


What does the sport offer you? What are the rewards, what drives you?

It gives my time to be alone, time to think, time to be at peace. It also caters to my competitive nature, and allows me to push my body to the extremes. I want to find my limits, and push them further.

Katya had a mid-race spill but still finished the race and returned after
receiving treatment to stand on the podium!


To what do you attribute your consistency and success?

Key to my consistency and improvement is training with Coach Mark Sortino with MPI. We work closely together and he tailors my schedule to fit my time commitments. Also, I take my training very seriously and always get my workouts done, no matter how tired I am. I always give my 110%, whether during a race, or a 45 min easy run.


What are your goals for yourself with the sport this year?

To qualify for Kona.


What triathlon related things could we always find in your car?

I am very OCD and like to keep my gear organized, so if I am not training that day, the only triathlon -related items are a bike rack and a 26.2 and 140.6 stickers.


Do you have an off-season?

No, when I am not doing triathlons I run. I usually do two or three marathons, one or two halves, and a handful of 5k and 10ks.


How do you keep it fresh and not burn out?

I always give myself a goal during work outs-for example, keep cadence over 180 during a run; or try to get sub 40 sec 50 meter during a swim, or keep my power on the right and left as equal as possible during a ride. I never do workouts mindlessly, or just “get through it”. I love racing, in fact too much if you ask Coach Mark, so burn out there is not a problem.


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