Jill Kuhn is an Ironman Triathlete, Ultrarunner, and Team ROAD iD Ambassador. As a mom of four boys, Jill balances her own goals with raising kids who love running and cycling just as much as she does. Yup, she’s a badass.
We sat down with her recently to find out how she does it.
Hi, Jill! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am first a wife and a mom to four very active boys. I am also a runner and a triathlete. I am an Ironman and I have completed 3 ultramarathon races. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2014. Since then, I have also been diagnosed with other multiple autoimmune diseases. It wasn't until after my diagnosis that I accomplished so many of the athletic feats I had only dreamed of. Between managing my busy family life and my disease, I find time the to train and compete— doing what I love.
In addition to being an inspiring athlete, you’re also a mom of four boys. Are they athletic like their mom?
My boys are also very active. My older two are in cross country and track and field. My younger two are in Taekwando. All four of my boys are runners and triathletes. Our family spends the majority of our time being active outdoors.
I am very fortunate that my boys share my passion for running and triathlon. They have all been a part of my training for every race I have ever done. We take turns supporting and cheering for each other!
What made you decide to use ROAD iD for your whole family?
Our family was first introduced to ROAD iD when our oldest was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy. He began wearing one. Then we bought them for all of our boys when we were going to Disney World for the first time— the boys were ages 9, 7, 4, and 3. In between that time, I had been in a really bad bike accident. I laid on the side of the road for awhile before I was able to get in touch with my husband. I decided then and there I needed to be wearing a ROAD iD as well.
Like my boys who suffer from food allergies, I also use my ROAD iD as a medical alert bracelet identifying myself as asthmatic and having rheumatoid arthritis.
How do you foster an active lifestyle with the whole family? How did you teach your kids the value of staying safe while being active?
I learned very early that children will follow your example, not your advice. Since my boys could walk they would run. Before they were 6 months old we had them in the pool taking swim lessons. And they grew up going from riding in a bike trailer as babies to riding their own bikes. They participated in my training by swimming, biking, and running right along side me. We go on family bike rides, runs, hikes, you name it. They went from being spectators at my races to competing in their own races. It just seemed like a natural progression for all of us because we were all just doing what we love and continue to do so.
Each step of the way, safety has always been our number one priority. We as parents always try our best to lead by example. I always wear my ROAD iD. No one in our family gets on a bike or scooter without a helmet. They even wore a helmet on their tricycles and Big Wheels. These things, such as our ROAD iDs, are just a natural part of our training kits.
Transitioning the family into school-mode can be a bit of a challenge, especially after months of late bedtimes. Any tips for fellow parents out there?
Ok my biggest piece of advice is just what I do with my training. Make your kiddos a part of the process. Starting in kindergarten, my boys all make their own lunches for school. Right when they come in the door they pack their lunches and fill their water bottles for the next day (with some supervision at first, and then some double checks after bed lol). They do their homework right away. Then we are usually off to sports activities. When we get home, part of the bedtime routine includes laying out their clothes for the next day. If you think about it, these are thing we do as athletes as well—meal prep, lay out our gear and clothing ahead of time. It helps us to be better organized and helps to minimize the chaos in the morning! And it just leads to a better day/race!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I'm not going to pretend I have the perfect life and it's easy. Believe me, I have four very active boys, it is definitely not easy. But like anything, discipline and planning go a long way in making it easier. Have your kiddos be a part of the process. It not only makes things simpler, but it helps them learn to be responsible and to do their part.
Follow Jill on Instagram @ironwillironjill.
She's one of the most inspiring IG accounts in the game. You’ll find posts full of wisdom, training tips, real talk, and a whole lotta motivation.
Interested in becoming a Team ROAD iD Ambassador? Click here and let us know!