Running with my four-legged fur baby!

Coach Kelly requested a post on running with your favorite fur babies, so this one’s for you Coach!

Some of my favorite runs are with my favorite girl! It fills my heart to see her so happy and have so much fun! The world is her playground!

Running with my favorite girl along the lake!

Before running with Basil, we went on MANY walks to teach her commands that we wanted her to know before actually running with us. We did some of these walks on leash, and others off leash. Teaching her to follow commands both on leash and off leash were important to us for her safety, because we want to let her off leash to run when it is safe. Sure, she isn’t always perfect and sometimes forgets her listening ears, but she’s right where we want her approximately 95% of the time. Here are some commands your dog should know before he/she runs with you:

  1. When coming up to an intersection, I give Basil the command for the direction I intend to go: left, right or forward (straight sounds too much like right). She knows these commands well and instantly goes in the direction given.
  2. We do a fair amount of running on the streets against the flow of traffic, so it is important for Basil to heel when a vehicle is coming toward us. We have trained her to run on our left when she is heeling so that she is not in harms way of oncoming traffic.
  3. When we are running and there is something that Basil finds appealing (another runner going in the opposite direction, a child, a rabbit, a squirrel), I tell her to “leave it.” When given this command, she typically leaves whatever it is that has appealed to her. This is a command we frequently use in the house as well when we drop human food and don’t want her to snatch it up.
  4. Since we often run on the street, it is important for her to know “up” and “off” when we have to get “up” on the curb, or back “off” the curb and onto the street.
  5. When we come up on a busy intersection, I tell Basil to “stop” and “wait” until it is safe for us to cross the busy intersection. Sometimes I have her sit to wait until it is safe for us to cross. This allows me to focus on watching the passing traffic instead of needing to watch Basil. Once it is clear for us to cross the road, I tell Basil to “cross” so she knows it is safe to cross the street.
  6. There are some places where we run that I let Basil off leash letting her run free. We have a few parks, golf courses (in the winter), gravel roads and trails where Basil can run off leash. When she is running free, I have such a #happyheart watching her. Pure joy! But this also means that she needs to know when to “come back” to me when called. Sure she chases after squirrels, rabbits, and the occasional deer…she’s a Labrador, but she always “comes back” grinning from ear to ear!
Running through the golf course with Basil and her friend, Stella!

Through routine, consistency, and LOTS of treats (which are really just dog food kibbles), Basil is one of the best running partners ever!

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Racing with #heartandcourage to become #trackcatstrong in 2018

I have been so blessed + honored to be a part of the Coeur Sports ambassador team for the last 3 years! I am humbled + honored to have this AMAZING company and these empowering ladies by my side for 2018! This sisterhood of women are so strong, supportive, inspirational, #hardcoeur, uplifting, encouraging, kind, and are full of #heartandcourage!

With my 2017 racing season in the rearview mirror, I am looking forward to my 2018 racing season! I have a few races that I’ve already signed up for, a few more I’m planning to sign up for, and then there’s my late season schedule…I’m still debating on that, so that will just have to be a surprise! 😉 I am really excited to continue working with Coach Kelly at Track Cat Fitness to help me get stronger + faster in 2018! #trackcatstrong here I come!

My tentative race plan for 2018 includes:

Drake 1/2 Marathon – April 22, 2018 (already registered for)

Hickory Grove Triathlon – May 20, 2018

Ironman Wisconsin 70.3 – June 10, 2018 (already registered for)

Okoboji Triathlon – July 14, 2018

Ironman Ohio 70.3 – July 29, 2018 (already registered for)

Okoboji 3.5 mile Swim – August 4, 2018

I have some BIG dreams that I am chasing, so I am hopeful that these races (with a few others scattered throughout the year) set me up for an even more amazing 2019 racing season! Look out 2018…I’m comin’ for ya!

2017 Season Review

If I had to sum up my 2017 season in one word, it would be FANTABULOUS! Sure it was full of ups and downs, but overall, it was SO. MUCH. FUN! Here are some of the ups and downs of my 2017 season:

Ran my way to 3rd on a hilly 10K course with a finish time of 50:32…only 1:41 off my PR (on the same course)!
So giddy! 16 watt improvement in my FTP test today means I’m over the 200 watt threshold! I never imagined I would see this day! So grateful for Coach Kelly to push me WAY out of my comfort zone and help me get stronger this season!
Not quite the race I was hoping for, but I pushed as hard as I could all the way through! Grateful the rain held off until after I finished! Another Drake 1/2 is in the books!
First long solo ride on Saturday! HUGE confidence builder!
“This is HUGE! Congrats. A back to back 4 hour ride is a great prep session for the Ironman build up. I’m so happy it went well and glad you do not back down in the face of adversity. You’ve evolved a lot as an athlete this year. I’m proud of you today. Good work.” ~Coach Kelly
The heat index was 97F with sustained winds of 22-25 mph and gusts up to 35 mph. It was a rough day! Not what we’ve trained for, but we each set a new PR since we did a new distance…
So giddy with today’s split run! 2×7 miles at sub 8:30 minute/mile pace left a HUGE smile on my face for run #2 today as I crushed my goal!!
So happy + #grateful to finally put together a pretty solid long run despite the full sun, warm temps, + high dew point. Mother Nature put up a fight, but I won Wednesday!
I’m in a big build…today (Friday) adversity had me sitting on the side of the road in tears with 10 miles to go. I had lots of thoughts and choices while sitting under the tree. I chose to get back on Mojo and continue to chase my dreams! As Coach Kelly says, “it is supposed to feel like that and that this is what it takes. :)” First solo century is in the books!
So much fun to meet my Coeur Sports teammate Saturday and cheer her on to 1st place AG as she raced in Iowa last weekend!
Turning social media friends into real friends is so much fun!
Pure joy comes when you learn new skills! Congratulations to Maggie! She stared fear in the face and won! So proud of you Maggie!
2nd place AG at the Okoboji Triathlon!
Loved meeting Coach Kelly + spending time with her and other amazing athletes at the Vermont Training Camp put on by Track Cat Fitness!
Climbing my way up App Gap in Vermont at the Track Cat Training Camp…That. Was. HARD!
Last long run before #IMMT in Stowe, Vermont…now it is time to taper and soak up all this training!
Swimming in Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY
This lady is AMAZING! Meeting my Coeur Sports Teammate, Amy Farrell!
Let’s get this party started! #IMMT
So much coeur on this #IMMT course! #bikelove
Love you Ericka! Thanks for the run photo at #IMMT!
CyMan Sprint Triathlon…running my way to the finish!
Running the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon with these two crazy kids was so much fun!

Thanks to Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness for helping me become #trackcatstrong this year both mentally and physically! I’m super excited to see what is in store for us in 2018!

Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Saturday we ran the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon from Indianola to Carlisle. We drove down to Carlisle, picked up our race bib and t-shirt, then loaded onto a bus that would shuttle us to Indianola where we would start the race. Thankfully, the bus stayed at the race start so we could hang out on the bus to keep warm as it was perfect weather to run, but too cool, damp, and breezy to hang around outside waiting to start.

Trying to stay warm before the start of the race!

I had some decisions to make on race morning in terms of how I was going to run. Was I going to race? Take it easy? Try for consistent pacing? After a full week of teaching + parent teacher conferences, I came down with a sore throat Friday. I loaded up on all of the vitamin C, Sound Probiotics, lysine, fluids, and healthy foods I could find. I really wanted to stave off whatever was taking residence in my body. On race morning, I felt good and ready to race, but decided it would be better for me to run with the Iron Hippie and our friend, Robin. She is diabetic and her blood sugar was higher than it should have been, so I took it upon myself to be on #bloodsugarpatrol for the rest of the morning.

We started off with what felt like an easy pace checking in occasionally with Robin to see where her blood sugar levels were at. By about mile 4, her blood sugar levels were still high, but had dropped over 100 units and were trending downward, which was excellent news! At this point, I still felt good and really strong, but I took in nutrition to stay proactive instead of potentially having to be reactive later in the race.

Getting closer to the finish with every step! If you look VERY closely, you can see Robin’s pink shirt and shoes behind the Iron Hippie!

By the 10K point of the run, Robin’s blood sugar eventually flatlined in a safe range, so she took in some nutrition. We saw what appeared to be a “petting zoo” at a farm along the trail. Shortly after this, we were “cheered” on by some cows along the side of the trail. By about mile 8 our pace started to slow a bit, I took in more nutrition, and we kept pushing on! The miles kept ticking by and went by faster than I anticipated.

Running along between miles 7 and 8 with the Iron Hippie.

By mile 10, I was starting to feel it. I’m sure the bug that had taken up residence in my body wasn’t helping, but I know the other part was the distance…this was the farthest I’d run since Ironman Mont Tremblant. This is where mind over matter really kicked in. We pushed on, all of the way to the finish line and all 3 of us crossed together. Thankfully Robin’s blood sugar was on point at the finish line!

Running the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon with these two crazy kids was so much fun!

We finished in 2:05:40, which was a long way off from a PR, but it was well worth the fun with friends! This is a race that I can see us doing year after year and maybe one year setting a PR!

Who wants to be a hillbilly?!?!

What’s Up?! – October 2017

October has come and gone and I’m so ready for November! Here’s a snapshot of what I’ve been up to:

Training:

My training this month was a bit hit or miss. I did get some good training sessions in and am very grateful to Coach Hansen for taking some time to help me work on my swim stroke.

All you need is love…and a good run!
Early Friday morning brick! 45 minute run + 45 minute bike + 45 minute run!
Swim stroke refinement thanks to Coach Hansen!
Running with girlfriends is always fun…even when Mother Nature has decided that winter would show up a few months early!

Swim: 3.98 miles
Bike: 79.9 miles
Run: 61.4 miles

Work:

I’m not sugar coating things…this school year has been tough. This has been the most stressful year of teaching I’ve had in my 14 years. I’m grateful that the first quarter is behind us! Only 3 more to go!

Trying to multitask by grading and riding my bike at the same time! 70+ hours of grading, on top of teaching, in just over a week was so exhausting!

Family:

We went home and saw family at the beginning of October. It was so nice to get to spend time with family, get snuggles, and get some lake lovin’!

You’re never too old to sit on your mama’s lap!
One of my nieces is making me a bracelet.
One of my nieces is snuggling with Basil.
Watching Iowa State beat Oklahoma!
The dogs love swimming in the lake!
Snuggles with 3 of my most favorite ladies!
Dreaming of warmer days and lots of swimming (by both of us)!

Reading:

Just not now…really struck home with me! I have had a lot of the “just not now” moments this month and am reminding myself that these moments won’t last. Thankfully!

Lauren Parker Update: Resilience Personified…Wow, just wow! Lauren was in a bicycle accident just weeks before she was to race Ironman Australia, which caused her to break her back, leaving her with a 1% chance of ever walking again. She is full of determination, drive, and commitment!

Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe by Becky Wade…Becky was the recipient of the Watson Fellowship in 2012. After a successful college running career, she packed four pairs of running shoes and took off on a one year journey to learn from diverse running communities around the world.

Listening to:

IronWomen Podcasts…I have listened to so many of these amazing + inspirational podcasts lately that I can’t pick just one! You should do as I have and listen to them all!

Find Your Awesome Podcasts…I have listened to most of these and am very grateful to Kelsey for the inspiration + awesomeness!

What to do after triathlon season ends by Lost in Transition…I love that they refer to the “off season” as the “out season.” Just because we aren’t racing, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be training. The “out season” refers to being out of the racing season, but still training. Lana talks about things we can do in the out season to prepare us for the coming season.

Organizing:

A recovery clinic for women! Thanks so much to Ignite Yoga, Coeur Sports, and Dr. Chris Feil with Team Chiropractic for co-sponsoring this amazing event of education, practice, and community!

Planning for:

Some winter challenges + the 2018 season! I’m SO excited for a few challenges I have in November, a swim challenge I am going to do in December and my race plan in 2018!

How was your month of October?! What are you looking forward to?!

Benchmarks established!

I recently had time trials during the swim, on the bike, and at the track while running to establish benchmarks for this next segment of training. It is clear that the “flexible season” (as coach likes to call it) has done its job! I am rested, recovered from IMMT, and ready to get back to consistent training so that I can eventually surpass my peak fitness levels from this year as I prepare for a fun + exciting 2018 season!

Swim time trial day!
Bike power challenge!
Run time trial at the track!

I’m so ready for new challenges and very excited for what’s to come in 2018!

What’s Up?! – September 2017

I can’t believe summer is in the review mirror! Where has time gone?!?!?! Here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been up to in September!

Racing:

The CyMan Sprint Triathlon was hard! I was definitely not fully recovered post Ironman Mont Tremblant and I definitely felt it! Thankfully I still put together a decent race and HAD FUN doing it!

Listening to:

My Coeur Sports teammate…Amy Farrell on running a marathon during Ironman training. Thanks to Brad Brown with the Kona Edge for this interview!

Amy Dixon is a blind triathlete who has taken on the challenge of Xterra triathlon racing! Holy inspirational! Thanks Kelsey Abbott for helping Amy share her story!

Feeling:

Stressed and overwhelmed. Work is a struggle right now. I’m grateful to work with some amazing people and have the support of an amazing husband to help get me through. I am strong. I will overcome this obstacle. It may be time for change. For now…one day at a time.

Returning to:

Normal life. After a month of vacation, we finally returned home to see our girls, return to work, and return to reality. Daily walks with our girls make us all happy!

Helping + Volunteering:

I’m so lucky to have ladies who ask me for help! I got to teach a friend (doing her first Ironman next Sunday) how to change her tire. It is so much fun to help others!

I was also lucky to get to be one of the Captains for the Women’s change at Ironman Wisconsin this year! It is always so fun to get to work with amazing volunteers + support athletes to help them achieve their dreams on race day!

Combatting:

Post Ironman Blues! I know I’ve posted about the reality of the post Ironman blues, but I am finally combatting them and back to a more normal routine that includes working out on a regular basis!

Working on my swim efficiency!
Children of the corn 😉 This bike was definitely my favorite workout of the month!
Running with my faves on a beautiful morning!

Overcoming Fears:

Yes…I am still working on overcoming my fear of heights. I didn’t make it to the top of the wall during this climbing session. Between lack of recovery post Ironman + my fear ruling the roost, I made it 3/4 of the way up the wall most of the times I climbed. I think it’s time to go climb again and make it to the top of the wall!

How was your month of September?! What was your favorite part of the month?!