Breakthroughs without expectations

In the last couple of weeks, I have tapped into #SunnyMcGritty‘s energy. She has helped me have some breakthrough sessions! Ten days ago, I had a bike workout with a HUGE breakthrough! After a good warm-up, I was to ride 1 minute @120% FTP with 30 seconds @10% FTP and continue this until failure. I had done this workout a few times before, but always with expectations (“I want to get to 20 intervals before I reach failure,” or “I want to get to 25 intervals before I reach failure”). These expectations actually limited me. Once I achieved my expectation, I gave myself “permission” to back down and wouldn’t continue to really push to see just how far I could REALLY go. Thursday’s ride was different. I stayed present with each minute and focused only on that minute. Because I stayed present with each minute, after about 5 intervals, I lost track of how many intervals I had completed. This was probably the best thing that could have ever happened! From this point on I had no idea of how many intervals I had completed, so my only expectation was to give my best for the minute I was in. I didn’t give myself permission to back down…Sunny McGritty wouldn’t give herself permission to back down, so I wasn’t going to either! When I got to the 1 hour planned duration for this ride and was still doing intervals, I knew that I had surpassed previous stats for this ride. I hadn’t reached failure yet! I stayed present with each minute and pushed until my legs wouldn’t push any more. Breakthrough!

Head down giving it everything I have in this minute!

My 2nd breakthrough session was a week ago. After a 9+ mile run, I went to the pool to swim. I had zero expectations…after all, I was swimming after a long run. I had 5×100 as part of my main set with 2 minutes rest between each 100 to see just how far I could push myself. For comparison, my fastest 100 time ever is 1:31 and I’d only seen that once! On Saturday, my first 100 was 1:33. I was super happy with this since I knew I was swimming tired. My second 100 was 1:31 and so was my third! Boom! I was swimming as fast as my fastest 100 time AFTER my 9+ mile run! My fourth and fifth 100 times were 1:32. Hello breakthrough!

Soaring after a breakthrough swim session!

Sunny McGritty has helped me really fight to new levels and truly not back down. Sunny wouldn’t give herself permission to back down, so when I tap into Sunny’s personality, I don’t give myself permission to back down either!


Sunny McGritty

Some of you have noticed “#SunnyMcGritty” added to some of my insta/FB/twitter posts and have asked, “Who is Sunny McGritty?!” Sunny is a character that I made up to impersonate in training during tough sessions and on race day…she is my alter ego. If Clark Kent had Superman as his alter ego, why can’t I have an alter ego?!

Sunny is a long-distance triathlete who is not graceful or pretty, but she is a strong muppet FULL of grit, determination, and perseverance. She thrives in tough conditions, is fierce, and will out-suffer anyone to overcome adversity + challenges in her path. She gets knocked down 9 times, but stands up 10! She embraces courage over comfort, always believes in herself, and when discomfort strikes asks, “Is that all you’ve got?! How bad do you want it?!” She always has a smile on her face, gives out high-fives, and always encourages others!

Sunny McGritty

So where did this idea of creating an alter ego come from?! The Brave Athlete Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion by Simon Marshall, PhD and Lesley Paterson is FULL of amazing “tools to overcome negative patterns of thinking and feeling so you can be faster + happier in sport and life.” This is definitely a MUST READ for everyone! I highly recommend you make up your own alter ego to help you push though challenges you face in life or sport! Sunny McGritty has helped me become a better athlete and person! What can an alter ego do for you?!

Do you have an alter ego?! If so, who is your character?! What qualities does your character have?! If not, what qualities would your character have if you were to create an alter ego?! 


“Success isn’t always about ‘Greatness’, it’s about consistency. Consistent, hard work gains success. Greatness will come…Success isn’t overnight. It’s when everyday you get a little better than the day before. It all adds up.” ~Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

We all have workouts that “didn’t go as planned,” but there are still key lessons learned in each of them. I believe it is actually a good thing to have workouts “not go as planned,” because most races rarely go as planned. It is good to know how to overcome adversity and problem solve as challenges arise. The key is to not let the workout spiral into self doubt or judgement and contaminate future workouts. One workout won’t make or break your racing experience. Consistency in training is what is critical to achieve success on race day. Not only should we, as athletes, be consistent in our daily/weekly/monthly physical training, but also in our mental training.

January was “hit or miss” for me in terms of consistency and it was a bit frustrating. Instead of focusing on the past, I am putting my energy into the future and working to rebuild my consistency (both physically and mentally) in February.

Physically: I am prioritizing my workouts and seeing lots of green in Training Peaks again. This is a great feeling! Consistency is key! Consistency is helping me get a little better + stronger everyday!

Seeing green again!

Mentally: I am setting an intention before each key workout. I am mentally trying to stay focused throughout the workout. As soon as I notice my mental energy wavering during a workout, I immediately reset my mind. I pull from the following mantras depending on what I need for that workout:

  • Focus!
  • Kecia, how bad do you want it?!
  • I am strong!
  • I am tough!
  • Courage over comfort!

I am so grateful to be seeing green again and successfully rebuilding consistency in my training! Each day I am getting a little better + stronger than the day before and it IS all adding up!

Staying Healthy with Sound Probiotics + Giveaway!

It is cold and flu season here in the Midwest and it is in FULL force! We have had students out of school anywhere from 3 days to almost 2 weeks with illness. Thanks to extra sleep, healthy eating, and boosting the body’s immune system with Karma Kombucha and Sound Probiotics I have stayed healthy so far this season. I started taking Sound Probiotics in March of 2015 and have noticed I have been sick MUCH LESS frequently!

As endurance athletes, we stress our bodies during hard/long workouts, which makes us more susceptible to illness and fatigue; as a middle school teacher, I am engulfed in germs on a daily basis. Combine these two factors and I am the perfect breading ground for bad bacteria and viruses.

“When the microbiome is out of balance, it can decrease energy levels, injure metabolism, and give rise to a host of other long-term health problems. It’s like a rain forest that’s been clear-cut: prone to mudslides and unable to shelter the plants, animals, birds, and insects that once thrived there. Some of the nation’s top scientists go so far as to say that unhealthy microbiomes lie at the heart of the most prevalent health issues today, like heart disease, obesity, asthma, and even cancer.” ~Joseph Hooper

Since taking Sound Probiotics daily for almost 3 years, I have been sidelined from my training due to illness only a few times. Probiotics not only benefit our immune systems, but they promote good gut health by improving nutrient production and absorption. They can also positively impact our mood and mental health.

I have been SO impressed with the state of my health while taking Sound Probiotics, that I want to share a bottle with my readers. Please comment below with why you would be a good candidate for Sound Probiotics. One lucky person will be drawn at random on February 14. This candidate will receive one bottle with a one month supply of Sound Probiotics to jump start your gut and immune health!!

I am an ambassador for Sound Probiotics, but these are my own opinions and experiences. Thanks to Sound Probiotics for contributing one bottle of Sound Probiotics for the giveaway and providing all of my readers with a 10% discount by using the code PUSHMYLIMITS at checkout!

What’s Up?! – January 2018

How is the first month of 2018 already in the rearview mirror?! It seems like the start of the new year was just yesterday! Here is a look at what the month had in store for me:


This month my training was hit or miss thanks to an illness shortly after the start of the year and most recently the inability to turn my head. Thankfully I am back to feeling 100% and am ready to regain consistency in February! I did establish a racing schedule for 2018 that I am SUPER PUMPED about! I’ve let myself fully recover from my 2017 racing season and am SO ready to start rebuilding the engine for a stronger + fun filled 2018!

Celebrating the end of the #batcapchallenge on January 1!
First power test of 2018! Grateful for a healthy body! I’m ready to work hard and rebuild my fitness + surpass 2017!
So grateful to run with my fave + get some fresh air before the freezing temps return!

Swim: 8500 yards
Bike: 127 miles
Run: 24.8 miles
Totals: 20 hours & 53 minutes


We were so blessed to have our twin nieces (and my sister) come stay with us for a weekend early in January so we could attend their swim meet. The twins convinced the Iron Hippie to make a cake from scratch when they came to visit us. The recipe used was one the twins found on the internet and was a bit dry…it needs some love! We also got to spend some time back home home with family for the Okoboji Winter Games.

The twins are ready for their swim meet!
The cake is done!
Date night! #balance
Me and my fave listening to Damon Dotson!
Snowshoeing adventures with my fam!
Lunch with the twins at their school!
Putting puzzles together with the twins!
Winter wonderland with Dad + my fave!
Catching up with my “baby brother” at home home!


My Weight Has Nothing to Do with How Good a Runner I Am by Allie Kieffer is a MUST READ! Wow! Body image plagues society! As an endurance athlete not on the skinny side, I often feel that I should lose weight to perform better…not because I think I am overweight, but because I see + hear what society says about being “skinnier.” I am STRONG! Stronger now than I have ever been…my swim times are dropping, my FTP on the bike is climbing, and my run times have gotten faster during the marathon of my Ironman races. If I were to lose weight, I may perform better, but I may also lose this strength. That is not a risk I am willing to take. It is time for society to change! The negative body image stereotyping MUST go, we need to focus on nutrient dense foods (count the colors not calories people), and we need to be grateful for what our bodies do for us! “As women, we shared more similarities than differences: We are all perseverant, powerful, confident, and healthy. And, dare I say it, strong.” #strongisthenewskinny

2017: A Year of Rediscovering Joy where Amelia shares how she rediscovered joy as she overcame injury. “True joy and true gratitude does not come from the victory – it comes from the pursuit of the achievement.”

The Champion Mindset: An athlete’s Guide to Mental Toughness by Joanna Zeiger is a great read! To race at your best, you have to not only train the body, but also the mind. Zeiger takes you through her “own personal journey from a struggling novice swimmer to Olympian and World Champion.”

Listening to:

The Find Your Awesome Podcast with Olympian Samantha Livingston…WOW!!! I SO connected to what Samantha and Kelsey discussed in this podcast!!! I have SO many perfectionist tendencies that I am trying to shed and leave behind. “Perfection is driven by the fear of what people will think.” I will continue to work to shed these perfectionist tendencies. I don’t want to live in fear of what other people think or what I think that they think!

The Find Your Awesome Podcast with Professional Triathlete Amber Ferreira is a must listen to! Kelsey Abbott interviews Amber and learns more about Amber’s “pro career to date, her love of racing up mountains, her mindset, resiliency and heart. We dig into her current project—recovering from stage 3 adrenal fatigue. Amber Ferreira is a professional triathlete, a physical therapist and a multisport coach. She’s the 2014 Ironman Lake Placid Champion and the two-time US National Snowshoe champion. She’s also a heart-driven, spunky human who loves to dream big and loves to laugh.”

Pumped For:

My 2018 race schedule! I am SO excited to be racing Ironman Wisconsin 70.3, Ironman Ohio 70.3, and Ironman Louisville as my long distance races this year! The Ironman has become my lifestyle! I love the Ironman distance! I love the feels that come with training + racing ALL. DAY. LONG! I love the excitement crossing the Ironman finish line brings so many people! I love the challenges that each new Ironman journey + race brings! I LOVE IRONMAN!

Grateful For:

-My body allowing me to push it to new levels, but also accepting the recovery I give it to perform stronger + better in the future.

-A snow day + a few days with 2 hour delays to start this month at school. I’m not a fan of having to make up the snow days, but it is always nice to have a break from school from time to time. Oh…and the 2 hour delays we don’t have to make up! 🙂

-The most supportive husband ever! I’m so grateful the Iron Hippie is willing to support me on my #IMLou journey! This will be the first Ironman race I participate in with him as sherpa + spectator extraordinaire!

-Dr. Chris Feil with Team Chiropractic for helping me overcome my “whiplash” symptoms from the car accident I was NEVER in. We have no idea how it happened!

-Nick Morton with Vitality Massage for keeping me on the train moving forward thanks to my biweekly massages!

Coach Kelly’s flexibility this month as life threw me a couple of curve balls!

-Being a SBR Sports Inc Ambassador for 2018! I absolutely LOVE the TRISWIM, TRISLIDE and SKINSLICK products to remove chlorine and keep me chafe + blister free during training, racing, and snowshoeing! These products are a dream!

How was your month of January?! What are you pumped up about?! What are you grateful for?!

2018 Race Schedule

“Don’t put your life on hold to watch someone else live their dream. Today is the day to resolve to live your dream.” ~Unknown

Until a few weeks ago, I felt like I was putting my life on “hold” waiting for those changes I hinted at earlier to actually happen (hint: they still haven’t happened). I had hit the “hold” button back in September and was listening to elevator music. It wasn’t very good music either! I came to realize I wasn’t being true to myself. I wasn’t following my heart. I wasn’t allowing myself to experience joy and fun at a level that lights my fire. I decided to hang up on the elevator music and take control of my future. With the help of Coach Kelly + support from the Iron Hippie, I am following my heart and have put together a 2018 race schedule that I am SUPER EXCITED about!!

Friendly Son’s 10K – March 25, 2018

Drake 1/2 Marathon – April 22, 2018

Kansas City Triathlon: Olympic Distance – May 13, 2018

Ironman Wisconsin 70.3 – June 10, 2018

Okoboji Triathlon – July 21, 2018

Ironman Ohio 70.3 – July 29, 2018

Okoboji Point to Point Swim – August 4, 2018

Ironman Louisville – October 14, 2018

I have some BIG goals for this year and am really looking forward to working hard to achieve them!! I wish there was a smiley face emoji with an INCREDIBLY large grin…that could accurately express how pumped I am about 2018!!

Ironman Louisville I’m coming for ya!

After Ironman Wisconsin 2011 (my first Ironman), I decided I would NEVER do another Ironman. That was one of the HARDEST things I’d ever done and I wanted to let it rest. I was certain I was one and done! These thoughts lasted about 2 years and then I decided I wanted to have a happier Ironman finish (not necessarily a faster finish time, but finishing in a better physical + medical state). So, in 2013 I signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2014. I had so much FUN + finished HEALTHY! This is when I realized that Ironman could be a lifestyle for me. I have come to learn that I am better suited to long distance racing. I love testing my body physically + mentally and for me, there is a spiritual component to training and racing. It is one of those things that you have to “experience for yourself.”

Since Ironman Wisconsin 2014 (swim, bike, run race reports), I have raced Ironman Boulder 2015 (race report), Ironman Wisconsin 2016 (race report) and Ironman Mont Tremblant 2017 (race report). After Ironman Mont Tremblant, I thought I wanted to take a break from Ironman training + racing in 2018. I was WRONG! I thought I wanted to focus on getting faster at the shorter distances, including the 70.3 distance. And I do! I am excited to work on this goal in 2018! I want to get substantially faster at the 70.3 distance, but as I’ve sat with this idea for the last 5 months, I’ve come to realize that the Ironman lifestyle + race really makes me happy! I want to be true to myself + follow my heart + dream big + have fun in 2018! For me, that includes an Ironman in 2018! I find so much joy in the pursuit of the Ironman finish line!

So…after lots of thought, conversations with the Iron Hippie and Coach Kelly, I’ve followed my heart and signed up for Ironman Louisville in 2018!


There are many people that put Ironman on their “bucket list” and when they cross the finish line, they never do another one. In my opinion, they are missing out. Each finish line is a different journey with different lessons learned. The body and mind get challenged in new and different ways each time. The Ironman lifestyle allows you to experience so much more with each and every Ironman experience. I want to ride this wave and enjoy the Ironman lifestyle as long as my body + mind allow me to!

With that…cheers to another journey to an Ironman finish line with more chasing dreams + following my heart + having FUN in 2018!