Hello & Welcome!! I'm Kecia…a wife, a mother of 2 black labradors, an 8th grade science teacher, a triathlete, a yogi, a lover of fitness and outdoor adventures. Come with me on my journey as I push my limits and cross new finish lines!!
Sunday I pushed my body to its limits. I started the day with a TOUGH session on Zwift. The main set was 10x(2:30 at threshold [180 watts] + 0:30 above threshold [240 watts]). While this ride was TOUGH, I was TOUGHER! I nailed each of the intervals, building strength, confidence, stamina, resilience, and SO MUCH MORE. I was carrying a lot of increased fatigue in my legs from the previous 19 days of the HardCoeur Coaching Cycling Challenge + 4 week FTP Booster on Zwift, so this workout only further fatigued my legs in preparation for the InCydeMan Triathlon Sunday afternoon (scheduled to start about 2 hours after completing this ride).
Why show up to tri on fatigued legs? I wanted to see what I was truly capable of. I’ve always toed the start line of races fairly well rested. I wanted to see just how far I could push myself out of that comfort zone and into the growth zone. What am I truly capable of? How deep can I really dig? How far can I really push myself while fatigued? Can I still achieve my goals for each distance while fatigued? I wanted to build stamina, strength, grit, resilience, confidence, and truly push my limits!!
Swim: 500 yard swim
Last year I had a swim time of 8:05. I haven’t been swimming as much (or as hard) heading into this triathlon this year and I knew I was carrying a lot of fatigue going into this race, so I didn’t want to be too overzealous. I set a swim goal for myself of 8:10 for this year. I could definitely feel the fatigue once I started swimming, but I didn’t let myself use it as an excuse. Instead I reminded myself to have a long, strong stroke and to #celebrate what my body was doing. #playinmyownlane
Swim time = 8:33 (1:43/100 yards)
Bike: 8 miles
Last year I had a bike time of 25:55. I’ve been cycling A LOT this month (I had 25 hours of saddle time in the bank in the first 19 days of January…with a lot of work at or above threshold) and because of all of this cycling, I figured my legs would be tired and I’d have a slower cycling time this year. I decided to set a goal of 25:00, knowing that this was probably a bit overzealous. The women had to set the resistance on our spin bikes to 11 (the men had to set their resistance to 13). I really wanted to have more resistance. I am not a fan of high cadence riding. I’d much rather push hard with lower cadence than spin my legs so fast that I become air born as I fly off the saddle. I was quickly reminded why I despise spin bikes…the saddles are SO. FREAKING. UNCOMFORTABLE! The spin bike is definitely NOT my tri bike on so many different levels! I reminded myself multiple times to #celebrate that I GET to do this and enjoy the challenge!
Bike time = 21:32 (22.3 mph average speed)
Run: 2 miles
Last year I had a run time of 16:03. Knowing I would be running on trashed legs, I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I was going to dig deep to give it my best! My goal was 16:00, knowing that this was likely overzealous, but I wanted to really go for it. I settled in behind a lady that was running exactly what my goal was and tried to stick with her as long as I could. At 1 mile, my timer told me that my time was 7:56. I was right where I wanted to be, but I could feel myself slowing no matter how mentally focused and strong I was, the fatigue in my legs was winning. I continued to dig deep all the way to the end. I did lose time in that 2nd mile, but I didn’t lose focus and I stayed with this lady until the last lap. #celebrate that I GET to do this! Run like Basil…happy, strong, and full of joy!
Run time = 16:13 (8:07/mile average pace)
My overall goal time was 49:10. I crushed this on fatigued legs with an overall finish time of 46:18, which was enough to land me on the podium with a silver medal. What a great start to 2020!! What did I learn?! I am much stronger than I think. I can dig deeper than I thought possible. I am more resilient than I imagined. Challenges build stamina and make us stronger. If I keep pushing myself to new limits, I will make my dreams come true! Don’t settle for mediocre when you can be exceptional!
Have you raced on shredded legs? If so, what did you gain from this experience? If not, why not?
2020 is filling up fast and I’m super excited to toe the line at some new + repeat race events, experience some big training weekends with others, and have so much fun as I swim/bike/run + #celebrate EVERYTHING in 2020!
I have some BIG goals for some of these races, which I’ll share with you in another post (or multiple posts). Ultimately, I plan to #CELEBRATE the highs and lows, the peaks and valleys, the successes and challenges of my journey to each finish line + life! Throughout 2020, I will be focusing on having more fun, more joy, more action, more play, more dancing, more laughter and #CELEBRATE every part of each chapter that I write this year!
The chapters at the end of 2020 have some gaps in it that I know will fill in, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what I’ll fill them in with. We’ll see what I can find to add to the months of September, October, November, and December as the year progresses.
Cheers to a fun 2020!! What does 2020 have in store for you?!
2019 was a pretty great year focused around #explore and I explored in SO MANY WAYS!! I explored in my personal life, explored in training, explored in racing, explored with a new career, and I have begun to explore with stepping out of the box as I move into 2020!! This was the perfect word to guide me in 2019!!
With the start of the New Year, so many people set New Year’s Resolutions. As I’ve said in previous posts, I prefer to set intentions instead of resolutions. I feel like resolutions set me up for failure the moment my train gets derailed, whereas intentions make me more mindful + allow for success by not being so finite.
Only about 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions keep them throughout the year, which might be why I view resolutions as negative and personally don’t make them. In the last couple of weeks, I have had so many words and phrases speak to me, so I “tried them on” to see which one(s) really fit. Which one(s) sang to my heart?! Which one(s) fueled my passion?! Which one(s) will motivate me the most to do and be my best self in 2020?! I swam with them, biked with them, ran with them, listened to them at home, listened to them at work, rolled them around, listened to them while recovering from minor injury, sat still with them in chaos, rested in silence with them, and would just BE with them.
The conversation started with “unstoppable.” Unstoppable in sport, at work, at home, in life. I LOVE how this speaks to me, but I do find it a bit negative since the middle of it has the word “stop,” so I knew this one wasn’t quite right. Next up “win.” This came up as I was trying to “win the day” by not dwelling in the past or focusing on the future, but staying present in the moment. While it spoke to me in that moment, it also wasn’t the right fit either. “Stay in your own lane” I decided is a better mantra for 2020 rather than an action word to guide me, so the search continued. “Believe” came next. This has been my word in the past and will always guide me as it is tattooed on my forearm. I wanted something new for 2020. I had some other words speak to me at different times throughout training, life, work, resting, recovery, chaos…”courage,” “play,” “grow,” “fun,” “achieve,” and “create” were just a few. While these all spoke to me at different times, none of them spoke to me in ALL aspects of my life, so I kept searching. For the longest time, I thought my word was going to be “live.” In 2020 I want to “live my best life,” “live my truth,” “live my passion,” “live what’s in my heart,” and remind myself that “this is living” whether faced with challenges or when I’m thriving in life! This word was SO close to feeling just right, but something small was still missing. When I least expected it, I realized my word for 2020 was staring me in the face the whole time. I don’t just want to “live” in 2020. I want to “celebrate” the growth I’ve made and the growth that is yet to come. I want to “celebrate” the challenges I’ve overcome and the ones I’ve yet to face. I want to “celebrate” the victories along the way…small and large. I want to “celebrate” all of the little things and the big things. I want to have more fun, more joy, more action, more play, more dancing, more laughter, and “celebrate” more in 2020. I want to “celebrate” every aspect of living! Are you sensing the theme?! Yep…You guessed it! My intention for 2020:
December tested my patience. I messed up my back on December 2 and was unable to do much for most of the month. Patience to step back and not do what I want and what my brain needs this time of year. Patience to ease back into training once I was cleared to do so. Patience going without a car for a week. Patience getting my Wahoo Kickr set up with Zwift so I could start 2020 off with a bang. Patience…patience…PATIENCE!!! Thanks to the help and support from Dr. Chris Feil with Team Chiropractic and Rehabilitation of Ames and Nick Morton with Vitality Massage, I was back to feeling myself by the end of the month and I’m ready to start 2020 strong and healthy.
Swim: 12,400 yards (7.05 miles)
Bike: 91 miles
Run: 14.2 miles
Strength: 10 minutes of core daily (except for 4 days in early December when my back was a hot mess) + some strength training + more yoga ❤
Meditation: 3 minutes daily since January 1
Monthly Totals: 21 hours & 49 minutes
Swim: 286,818 yards (162.96 miles)
Bike: 2785 miles
Run: 835 miles
511 hours & 27 minutes
Explore was my focus word in 2019 and I’m happy that I incorporated it into all areas of my life throughout the year. In December, I planned for 2020 and #explore was at the focus of this planning! I’m SUPER EXCITED about what’s on my 2020 schedule and will be sharing that with you soon! I also started to #explore functional power training with Chris Chapman at Movewell Iowa. We are working on getting all of my muscles to properly fire like they are supposed to while doing different motions. This takes work, but the work will be worth it as it should help prevent injuries and keep me healthy and active!
Beyond Grit: Ten Powerful Practices to Gain the High-Performance Edge by Cindra Kamphoff has practical tools and actions to help you improve your mindset and become the high-performer you want to be. “Kamphoff shares the tools and strategies she’s taught executives, entrepreneurs, NFL ProBowl athletes, Olympians, college athletes, and championship teams. Based on almost twenty years of research and consulting with the world’s best, she provides a practical, inspiring, and easy-to-use guide to radically accelerating your performance and improving your happiness.
In this book, Kamphoff teaches you how to develop Ten Practices of the World’s Best:
1. The world’s best are gritty.
2. The world’s best are clear on their purpose.
3. The world’s best become a master of their thoughts.
4. The world’s best know themselves to master yourself.
5. The world’s best dominate the controllables.
6. The world’s best own the moment.
7. The world’s best choose empowering emotions.
8. The world’s best own who they are.
9. The world’s best live and let go.
10. The world’s best choose their courage zone.
You’ll also discover 52 life-altering strategies that you can put in your High Performance Toolbox to develop these practices and change your daily life. Each chapter describes one strategy and ends with a powerful affirmation to help you develop the High Performance Mindset. A widely respected keynote speaker, trainer, and coach, Kamphoff possesses an inspiring style that combines high energy with strategies that work. Her proven system can transform the performance of anyone who wants to up their game, regardless of their field. Whether you re seeking to own your dream business, triple your income, be the best you can be in your sport, or merely achieve a higher level of personal satisfaction, Beyond Grit shows you how. Inspiring and practical, Kamphoff will show you how to ”own your why,” develop your grit, take control of your future, discover your purpose, thrive under pressure, and be your best more often.”
Chasing Kona: From Back of the Pack Smoker to Racing the Ironman World Championships in Kona by Rob Cummins was a fun, quick read. “Sitting watching TV with a cigarette in one hand, a black coffee in the other and nursing a crushing hangover I switched channels until I found sports. There was some sort of bike race on and I half watched while lighting another cigarette off the butt of my last one for a minute before switching channels again. Just as I hit the button on the remote the commentator mentioned something about the athletes swimming before and running afterwards as well as racing the bike. I thought he said something about the run being a marathon but that couldn’t be right.This sparked my interest and I switched back, but he was talking about something else so I waited for him to get around to describing exactly what this race was. I didn’t have long to wait as he said they first did a 2.5 mile swim, then 112 miles on the bike all topped of with running a marathon. I was stunned. I didn’t think that would be physically possible and as I lit another cigarette I wondered how many days did they have to do it. I guessed it would have to be three days. Swim the first day, bike the second and run the third but it still sounded like a crazy thing to do. Then he said that they did it all in the one day, one after another without stopping. I was completely incredulous. And hooked. I remained glued to the TV and learned that these bronzed, muscular Greek God looking athletes weren’t all professionals either. There was an amateur or “age group” race as well Although I could hardly tell the difference between the pros and amateurs. They all looked unbelievably fit. As I sat there mesmerized I swore to myself that I’d race there someday. I’d stop smoking and drinking and somehow do “The Ironman” At the time I had no idea what that meant or how I would do it and after a while as things have a way of doing I got busy with life and I forgot all about The Ironman and Hawaii. I forgot until several years later when I had actually given up smoking and had taken up triathlon. It had taken me two years and sixteen races of swimming breast stroke before I learned to swim properly. I never once looked even remotely like Kona material but I wanted to have a go at doing an Ironman. It took another three years before I plucked up the courage and lined up for my first one in Nice, France. I finished in the last quarter of the field, hours behind the athletes racing for those precious Kona slots. Nothing I had done up to then had given any indication that I should have had a reason to believe I had a chance at qualifying, but three years later when I asked Aisling, my wife if she thought it was possible she immediately said yes and then she added let’s do it. Aisling’s belief in me started us on a journey that led to me treading water on the most iconic start line in triathlon, waiting for the cannon to fire at the start of the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. This is how we overcame all of the odds and discovered what it would take to get to the Ironman World Championships. This is our Kona story.”
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman is a great read to make sure you and your partner are speaking each other’s language to really connect with each other. “Falling in love is easy. Staying in love—that’s the challenge. How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life? In the #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner—starting today. The 5 Love Languages is as practical as it is insightful. Updated to reflect the complexities of relationships today, this new edition reveals intrinsic truths and applies relevant, actionable wisdom in ways that work.”
Attitude of Gratitude:
How was your month of December?! What were you grateful for last month?! Are you ready for the start of 2020?!
I love looking back and thinking about all of the amazing things that I’ve accomplished and all of the challenges I’ve overcome! 2019 was full of opportunities to #explore, challenges to overcome, accomplishments to enjoy, and SO MUCH FUN!! I’ve reflected for the last 6 years and now it’s time to reflect on 2019! You can look back at my previous posts if you’d like: the Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, the Best of 2015, the Best of 2016, the Best of 2017, and the Best of 2018. Now its time to reminisce my faves from 2019! 🙂
Best race experience?
Bluff Creek Triathlon where I competed with my girl, Traci, and had an absolute blast! We started the swim together. I waited for her in T1 and then followed her on the bike (don’t worry…I followed the drafting rules and rode far enough back). We had a mechanical issue on the bike, but we made it back to T2 and headed out on the run. Despite the mechanical, Traci had a PR! It was so much fun to cheer her on and encourage her every stroke and step of the way!
St. Paddy’s Day 1/2 Marathon in March was SO. MUCH. FUN! Not only was I prepared for it physically and mentally, but I was able to race it and come within 3 minutes of a 1/2 marathon PR. Oh…and did I mention that I walked away with not 1, but 2 medals for that race?!
Riding with my fave from Iowa to Minnesota and back to Iowa! I absolutely love this route and the company! Any chance I get, I ride this route from Home Home!
Swimming in Mirror Lake for IRONMAN Lake Placid was my best IM swim to date! Swimming with the underwater cable to sight off of created an exceptional swim experience and allowed me to set an IRONMAN swim PR!! I was super pumped about it too!!
Best finish line?
IRONMAN Lake Placid! This was a very special finish line! It wasn’t planned for the Iron Hippie and I to finish together, but half way through the bike portion of this race, I made it my mission to catch him and finish with him. It was a long marathon, but we made it to the finish line TOGETHER!
Best training weekend?
Getting to train in Lake Placid with my fave before IRONMAN Lake Placid! We swam in Mirror Lake multiple times, rode one loop of the bike course, ran a good portion of one loop of the run course, and experienced Lake Placid! OH. SO. MUCH. FUN!!
Best training compass?
Myself! At different times in 2019 I was in the deepest valleys and on top of the highest mountains…I had some really high highs and some really low lows! Listening to my heart and allowing it to guide me in 2019 opened the door to so much more fun, joy, and “get to” experiences! I can’t wait to see where I take myself in 2020!
Best moment out of my comfort zone?
The Underpants Run at IRONMAN Lake Placid! This was so much fun, but I was way out of my comfort zone! Who runs in a swimsuit (or underpants) down main street exposing their flaws for all of the world to see?! Apparently a lot of crazy people!!
Best enCOEURaging moment?
The inaugural Ames Triathlon! It has been many years in the making, but we FINALLY got the approval for the Ames Triathlon in March of 2019 and within a few months were able to pull off the best race we could have asked for! If you want to experience this race for yourself in 2020, head to Ames in June. We look forward to seeing YOU on June 28!
Best nutritional find?
Orange Mud double barrel pack for carrying my hydration + nutrition is the best way I’ve found to carry enough nutrition on long runs without having to really plan my route to make sure I get enough hydration on those hot days. I was worried that it might chafe me in various places, but alas…15 miles with ZERO chafing!
Best new gear?
Coeur Sports running shorts and tights. The pockets in both of these are AMAZING! I can hold SO much in each of them. They are even flexible enough for me to carry a water bottle in the pocket if I want. They don’t move or chafe no matter how wet you get. These are a MUST HAVE!!
Best recovery tool?
Our Sleep Number bed! This has made a world of difference! I sleep so much better and I wake up without back pain. If you aren’t getting good quality sleep, you are compromising your health. I highly recommend the Sleep Number bed. It is definitely worth the investment!
Best time saver?
The Roomba! I can do one of at least a 1000 other possible things while the Roomba vacuums the house. The dogs aren’t too keen on it when it appears to be chasing them around the house, but they are adjusting to it and try to stay out of its way while it does its thing!
Best supportive role?
Heading to IRONMAN Louisville to cheer athletes on instead of racing myself. This was a REALLY TOUGH decision, but it was the right one. The weekend was full of laughter, fun, and friends! It was EXACTLY what I needed to help me figure out what I want from this sport and where I want to go with it in the future!
Best way to stay healthy?
Change careers! My mental stress has dropped SUBSTANTIALLY and I am no longer exposed to all of the germs from middle schoolers. Sure I am still exposed to germs at Iowa State University, but I’m not confined to a classroom and I’m not around the students much. Changing careers has been one of the best decisions for my overall health that I could have ever made!
Best piece of racing advice you received?
Have fun! I’ve heard this from so many different people, that I can’t pinpoint just one individual to give credit to. If we can’t have fun racing, then why are we doing it?!
Most inspirational athlete?
There are so many that I can’t pick just one! Everyone is on their own, unique journey and I am inspired by them all. My Coeur Sports sisters inspire me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! I’ve also been SUPER inspired this year by friends who finished their first IRONMAN. By friends who attempted their first IRONMAN, but didn’t meet cutoffs. By friends who did their first triathlon this year. By people who have survived an accident and are still training + racing. By people who fight disease and keep training + racing. By people who challenge themselves and try something new. By people who don’t follow conventional training methods and SMASH their goals out of the park! By people I haven’t met yet and people I see everyday! There are far too many people who inspire me to pick just one!
Best support crew?
Hands down…Dad, Aunt Linda, Cousin Neal, and a dear friend Carol! These four pushed me through during some VERY dark times at Ironman Lake Placid. They were up EARLY on race morning. They cheered, photographed, and spread their love to me and so many other athletes throughout a REALLY long day! There are not enough hugs and kisses for each of you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Love you all so much! I couldn’t have gotten to this finish line without your unwavering encouragement and support!!
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Explore, strong, courage, brave, fun!!
Tell me about your 2019 year!! What are your “bests” from 2019?!
“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” ~Joyce Meyer
Patience is not one of my strengths. As a matter of fact, if you ask my husband or my mother, they would likely tell you it is one of my greatest weaknesses. Every once in a while, the Universe tests my patience. At the beginning of the month (December 2 to be exact), I managed to sprain my back. Hello patience…we meet again. This time of year is NOT the time to test my patience, but apparently what I think doesn’t matter. This is the time of year when our bodies naturally go into hibernation and I need my daily dose of exercise! Hello hibernation mode…less daylight, more eating, more sleeping, less motivation, holiday stress. Throw a sprained back (+ being without a car for a week…long story, but all good) into this mix and hibernation mode has been full steam ahead for far too long. I’ve been trying to keep a good attitude…I really have, but when patience is your kryptonite, it can be SO CHALLENGING to keep a good attitude! I know there are far worse things in life than not being able to exercise the way I want, when I want and I know that this will pass, but I JUST WANT TO EXERCISE MY WAY. My patience has been tested long enough!
I am finally able to swim, bike, and do yoga, but no running just yet…cue the song “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” with a little change of the lyrics.
All I want for Christmas is to go for a run
to go for a run
just to go for a run
Gee, if I could only go for a run,
Then I could wish you, “Merry Christmas”
Ok, I’m not quite that grumpy, but I am more than ready to be outside enjoying the fresh air with my faves and racking up all the miles. The weather has been ideal for outdoor winter running here in central Iowa…no snow, no ice, above average temperatures…and here I am unable to run. It’s time for the Universe to stop testing my patience and let me get back to filling my heart with all things swim/bike/run and without limitations!
Unfortunately, I am certain that I’ll get another lesson in patience from the Universe again at some point in the future, but I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure this lesson doesn’t happen for a very long time to come! For now…fingers crossed that I can start running again after seeing Dr. Chris Feil later this morning.