While Coach Kamden had always played sports and intramurals growing up, she became an avid athlete in college, and begun her athletic journey through running. Her first race was the Tufts 10k for women in 1995, and she ran the Boston Marathon -bandit- in 1996. In one year she went from running a mile to a marathon. It was then she became hooked. If you are runner, you know what feeling she’s talking about.
Kamden continued to run 10ks until she left for the Peace Corps in the Philippines. Running was a challenge with so many stray dogs and the difficult terrain of her village. Despite two dog bites and numerous close calls in the mountains, she continued to do one of the things that always brought her Zen: running.
After returning to the U.S. in the summer of 2000, Kamden moved to Washington D.C. to pursue two graduate degrees. She joined local running clubs, and ran many local races including 10ks and 10 milers. She still felt the itch to keep “going the distance”. After graduate school she entered the world of public health, and started traveling to Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Kamden joined local Hash House Harrier running clubs, and always found a way to keep running.
In 2004, a high school friend asked Kamden to train for the Long Island Marathon with her mainly so they could run in our home town and have their families see what they spent so much of their time doing. She suffered the “big five” injuries in running: Achilles tendonitis, chondromalacia(runner’s knee), iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome, plantar fasciitis, and shin splints. She started working with a massage therapist; unfortunately six weeks before the race her fate was set: Kamden suffered a grade three concussion and was out of the race. Devastated and out of work for two months, she slowly started recovering and going to physical therapy to rebuild weakened muscles. The summer of 2006 never felt so bleak.
It was that summer that she decided there were still five months left until the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM), and as an Army Brat, what a dream it would be to do this race. She signed up, and started to “train smart”. She joined another running club with Elite athletes who were mostly training for MCM. She was up to a base of 10 miles a week again, slow and steady. She put together her training plan, and by October, she was ready to run what became her first sub four hour marathon.
The New Year brought more unfortunate surprises. Kamden suffered sciatica pain for several years and lower back discomfort, but figured they were normal tweaks in running. Little did she know she was about to suffer a herniated L4-L5 disc in January 2007. Again devastated, bedridden and using a walker, she questioned her running career at 30 years old. Physical therapy helped get her back into basic running shape, but she knew that she had to do more. Her therapist suggested core exercises to strengthen her lower back. It was then she realized how important a holistic approach to training was.
As Kamden became stronger again, she spent the summer racing 5ks, 10ks, 10-milers, but was hesitant to go the distance. The winter of 2007 she was introduced to the beauty of triathlons. Kamden was not a swimmer nor a biker. She was a runner. She knew if she wanted to continue her athletic career for the long-term, she would have to diversify. Kamden joined a local U.S. Masters Swimming Team, and swam, ran and rode her hybrid bike throughout early 2008. She signed up for her first triathlon, Iron Girl Sprint, in Columbia, Maryland. Her first open water swim in her Iron Girl Sprint was backstroke, she forgot her nutrition in transition, her legs felt like lead on the run, but she finished. Despite amateur mistakes, she knew she was hooked.
In her second year of triathlon training, she signed up for her second Ragnar Relay, 196 miles, 12 people, 24 hours, from Cumberland, MD to Washington DC. To prepare for the three legs she had to finish, hill repeats were in order. Then she felt the third injury coming on, a torn labrum (cartilage that protects the hip socket). Kamden went to her orthopedist and after x-rays and an MRI the prognosis was a Femoroacetabular impingement. The injury was structural, and she made a tough decision to undergo arthroscopic hip surgery to repair the cartilage and the bone in her hip socket. December 2009 was rough as she was out of training for a while. However, through physical therapy and engaging discussions with the therapists, she realized how much she loved to train and help others train to be stronger and reach their goals as well.
After four months of hard core rehabilitation, Kamden did her first Triathlon post-surgery, a Sprint, in May 2010. To her surprise, with a focus on core stabilization, biking and swimming, she placed third in her age group – her first podium. She knew there was more to it than just the three sports and decided to pursue a personal training certification for the strength and prehabilitation component. She was a personal trainer in Virginia for the duration of 2010, and continued to build her strength over the season, limiting long-distance races until 2011, to make sure the hip had time to heal properly.
Kamden moved to Pittsburgh in August 2010 to pursue her Doctoral degree. She continued as a personal trainer during her first year of studies at the JCC, and then found that her true passion was a combination of experiential learning, training herself and others, and coaching. She became a certified USAT Level I coach in 2011, and started KaMOTION. She moved in 2014 to NC from Pittsburgh, where she served as the Lead Training Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Triathlon Club.
Coach Kam has participated in two Ragnar Relays, numerous Sprint, Olympic, Half and Full distance triathlons, including Ironman Louisville (2011) and Ironman Wisconsin (2013). She competed in Age Group Nationals, short-course, in Wisconsin (2013). She is a cyclist and competed in cycling Road Races in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, along with Time Trials and Criterium races. She qualified for the International Triathlon Union (ITU) Long-Course World Championships held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in September 2015, and represented Team USA at ITU Long-Course Worlds in September 2016 in the same location, finishing a strong 7th in her AG.
Coach Kam received a Masters of Public Health in Health Promotion and a Masters of Arts in International Development. She also has a PhD in Social and Behavioral Health Sciences. She is the President and owner of Insight Health, a small women owned consulting firm. She believes in giving back to a community that has given her so much over the years in becoming an athlete, a triathlete, and a well-balanced citizen in her community.