Ironman Wisconsin: Gratitude for My Tribe

I have so much to be grateful for!! I am beyond grateful that my body is healthy and allows me to push it to limits I would have never thought possible 5 years ago, but I can’t do it alone!! People often think of Ironman racing as an individual sport, but there are SO many people who have helped me on my journey and I couldn’t do it without their support!!

Family and Friends…

I am so blessed to have the most amazing and supportive family! Dad made the trip to Madison to cheer us on since he was in the area for work earlier in the week. He has kayaked beside me while I swim (both in training and swim racing), keeping me safe and on track. My sister and twin nieces cheered me on at the finish line of the Okoboji Triathlon earlier this year as well. Mom has had many tasty meals ready for us to consume after workouts and has cheered me on to 2 Ironman finish lines over the years. My sole sister has joined me on bike rides and runs throughout my training and has encouraged and motivated me to do and be my best! Our girlfriends Sue and Michele are amazing! I’m so grateful for their support and encouragement of us and our crazy lifestyle! My Coeur Sports Teammies have been inspiring and motivating me virtually for 2 years now. I was super lucky to have a few of them out on the course cheering me on (and many others on) in person…so much fun to see them all over the course! My family and friends are always inquiring about how my training is going and what race I am doing next. I am a lucky girl to have their support!!

Thanks to Dad and Tom for being our kayak support for the 3.5 mile Okoboji open water swim event!

Thanks to Dad and Tom for being our kayak support for the 3.5 mile Okoboji open water swim event!

#solesister + #bikelove = #perfectworld

#solesister + #bikelove = #perfectworld

My Sponsors…

Coeur Sports is hands down the best women’s SBR (swim/bike/run) brand on the market!! They have created #stylishspeed that keeps my girly bits happy…even while covering 140.6 miles. #noangrykitty here!! As a Coeur Sports ambassador, I get the privilege of being a part of an AMAZING team of women who are supportive, inspirational and genuinely full of #heartandcourage! I am so lucky to get the opportunity to enCOEURage more women in endurance sport, experience the ups and downs they encounter while on their journey and witness their joy when they reach new finish lines!! Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!

I am forever grateful for Kyle and the Kyle’s Bikes crew, who have kept Mojo happy throughout training and on race day! You are always there for me when I frantically call or text, so thank you for talking me off a ledge and immediately getting Mojo fixed up when she has a mechanical issue!! Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!

So glad two of my favorite worlds have collided! :)

So glad two of my favorite worlds have collided…Kyle’s Bikes and Coeur Sports!🙂

Sound Probiotics has been keeping me healthy and on track for almost 2 years. Before taking Sound Probiotics, I would end up sick during the taper and often times once or twice during training…especially since I teach middle schoolers and am always surrounded by germs. Thanks to Sound Probiotics for my #happygut, enhanced immunity and better recovery throughout my training and racing experience!! After all, #winningtakesguts!

Karma Kombucha has been a daily staple in my diet since it’s birth…5 years now! They help keep my gut happy and healthy everyday! Drinking my booch before starting the marathon during Ironman Wisconsin definitely helped set me up for a great run!

So grateful to Karma Kombucha and Sound Probiotics for keeping me healthy while I train hard and start a new school year!

So grateful to Karma Kombucha and Sound Probiotics for keeping me healthy while I train hard and race harder!

One of the many perks of being a Coeur Sports ambassador is getting support from other amazing companies as well. Roka SportsSmith Optics and Base Performance are three of the companies that have helped make my training and race experience so awesome!! Ironman Wisconsin was a wetsuit legal swim, so I donned my Maverick Elite wetsuit and my X1 goggles!! The Roka wetsuit works with my body instead of against it, making each swim stroke feel easy!! I absolutely LOVE the Roka goggles!! If you haven’t tried them, you definitely should…they are the BEST!! This year I tried the Smith Optics PivLock Arena sunnies and ABSOLUTELY love them!! What a game changer on the bike and run!! Speaking of game changer…Base Salt has definitely helped me better prevent hyponatremia (which I’ve experienced during 2 of my 5 Ironman races). Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU to you all!!

My Triathlon Peeps…

I am one of the luckiest ladies around! I have a slew of support, inspiration, and motivation from my triathlon people…both in person and virtually! Thank you to all of the people who called, texted, emailed, Facebook messaged me, tweeted me, commented on my blog posts, commented on my Instagram pictures and tracked my progress both while training and on race day! You all ROCK!!

Nick has been keeping my body well recovered through massage for almost 3 years. He knows all of my problem areas and knows just what to do to keep my body (and ultimately my mind) happy and healthy! Thank you Nick for restoring the damage I do as I swim/bike/run my way to countless finish lines! Vitality Massage is definitely where recovery is at!!

The Iron Hippie…

My fave has been by my side for millions of swim strokes and the countless views as we’ve covered thousands and thousands of miles on two wheels and pounding the pavement. You are my #1 cheerleader and have supported me on this crazy journey of life and the even crazier journey of triathlon. I love you and am forever grateful for your love and support. What crazy journey should we take on next?!?!?!?

Countless laps next to my fave!

Countless laps next to my fave!

Many miles on two wheels with my fave!

Thousands of miles on two wheels with my fave!

Pounding the pavement for hundreds of miles with my fave!

Pounding the pavement for hundreds of miles with my fave!

Ironman Wisconsin 2016 Race Report

Wow! Just Wow! This pretty much sums up my race! It was exactly 5 years after my first Ironman race, which also happened to be 9/11 and at Wisconsin. The tribute to those first responders and military personnel who have sacrificed their lives and continue to risk their lives is always special at Ironman Wisconsin on 9/11. This year was no different, but the weather surely was…it was PR weather and that is just what I had on this course, by over 40 minutes! Here’s how my day unfolded…

Swim // 1:23:10

I made my way into the water with plenty of time to float in my wetsuit, listen to the sounds of race morning, and enjoy the sunrise over Lake Monona. While the National Anthem was being sung, a fire boat was spraying water in salute to the 9/11 victims +  first responders and military personnel…both past and present.

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Let’s go swim! Photo Credit: Doree Harding

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Swimmers lined up to swim, the fire boat sprayed water, and the sun rose over Lake Monona…It must be Ironman Wisconsin race morning! Photo Credit: Sue Fink

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Those aren’t seagulls in the water…This is the Ironman Wisconsin swim start! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

When the canon went off, the most brutal swim I’ve ever participated in ensued. There was a lot of contact, there was some very unsportsmanlike conduct from participants, and many athletes who struggled to hold a straight line on the swim course. I got kicked so hard in the goggles at one point, that I was convinced I would have a black eye…I didn’t even know I was on anyone’s feet when I got hit. I saw many familiar sites while swimming that warm my heart…Monona Terrace, the condo we stay in 2 blocks from the Terrace, The Capitol Building, John Nolan Drive…so much love. As I rounded the first turn buoy, I could clearly hear lots of athletes “moo” as they rounded the corner. For those new to IMWI, this is a tradition. I was hoping the contact would subside after the first turn buoy, but it didn’t. It was present throughout the entire swim. As I eventually came into the swim finish, I was super happy to be leaving the rugby game behind me!

Swim Gear: Roka Sports Maverick Elite Wetsuit, Roka Sports X1 goggles in light vermilion, Coeur Sports triathlon shorts and top

Swim Nutrition: Motts fruit chews and water 40 minutes before the race start

T1 // 10:32

I quickly had my wetsuit down to my butt and two AMAZING volunteers pulled it off the rest of the way. Having done this race twice before, I knew to keep my heart rate low as I ran up the helix and into transition. It was SO AWESOME to see my tribe cheering for me as I ran up the helix and into transition…Doree at wetsuit stripping, Dad, our girlfriends Sue and Michele, fellow Coeur Sports Ambassadors Erin, Kendra, and Megan, and Nick (Erin’s man)…so much love!! After quickly putting on my triathlon aero top, socks, bike shoes, helmet, and sunnies, and kissing our girlfriend Kari on the cheek, I was out the door and through transition to spend the next few hours with Mojo!

I'm SO happy to be out of that rugby game! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

I’m SO happy to be out of that rugby game! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

My Coeur Sports Tribe! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

My Coeur Sports Tribe! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

Bike // 7:28:31

The first few miles of the bike course at Ironman Wisconsin are always crowded…lots of turning, some rolling hills, and tons of spectators. I felt great as I left Madison and headed out on the stem toward Verona. I felt strong for the first loop of the bike course, but also knew I should conserve a bit as the IMWI is challenging and it can bite you on the run if you push too hard early on during the bike. I decided to ride slightly under my goal watts into Mt. Horeb and pick it up from there. I was very grateful for all of the spectators on the long climb into Mt. Horeb!! They were cheering and partying as we climbed into town!! Leaving town meant riding on Ribbon Road (Witte Road)…weeeeee!! I love this road!! So much fun!! After descending Garfoot, the course changed a bit from the well known Ironman Wisconsin loop because of road construction. This meant we missed a REALLY rough stretch of road, but we encountered a new challenge…Barlow hill. Thankfully we had climbed this in training and I knew what I was getting into. With the top of the hill tapping out at ~21% grade, I wasn’t sure if I would walk the hill because of the potential for falling off my bike due to other athletes walking/going slowly up the hill, or ride nice and STEADY up the hill to the top while trying not to let my power output get too high. With my Coeur Sports tribe hanging out on the hill and cheering us on, as well as lots of other spectators, I knew I would make it to the top sitting in my saddle and riding nice and SLOW to the top!

Kendra cheering on athletes on Barlow Hill! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

Kendra cheering on athletes on Barlow Hill! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

Riding up Barlow Hill with the cheers of Thing 1, Thing 2, and my Coeur Sports Tribe. Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

Riding up Barlow Hill with the cheers of Thing 1, Thing 2, and my Coeur Sports Tribe. Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

Shortly after Barlow, I dropped my chain on Mineral Point Road. I quickly fixed it and continued my ride through Pine Bluff and back into Verona. I was lucky to high five Dad before stopping for my bike special needs at about mile 60 and making my way back into Mt. Horeb with some headwinds fighting me a bit. This was when I stopped to regroup and refill my bike nutrition bottles for the rest of the bike ride. Next up…Ribbon Road (Witte Road)…weeee…down, up, down, up, down, up!! The second loop was different from the first…thankfully we didn’t have to relive Barlow Hill on this loop. Aside from lots of athletes screaming too quickly down hills and crashing (many getting hauled off into ambulances), the second bike loop was uneventful…well, except for getting passed by the Iron Hippie at mile 87. This is a HUGE feat for me…two years ago he passed me at mile 35 and in 2011 he passed me at mile 58. I was super pumped to have held him off this long!! He is a much stronger climber than I and with over 6000 feet of climbing, this course is ideal for hims strengths!! Returning to Verona for the second time felt so good…it was time to return to Madison with a tailwind. WAHOO!! Climbing the helix back into transition is one of the best feelings…it is time to run!! Oh wait a minute…hello bike PR on this course…you are a welcome sight!

Bike Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, top, and aero top, Specialized Transition Bike (Mojo), Specialized S-Works Evade Helmet, Smith Optics PivLock Arena Sunnies, Specialized bike shoes

Bike Nutrition: Osmo Hydration (3 bottles with 210 calories per bottle), Chex only from Chex mix, Motts fruit Chews, water

T2 // 6:06

The volunteers in Madison are AMAZING!! Have I mentioned this already?! After hearing Dad cheer me on and handing Mojo over to a volunteer, I ran into transition to grab my run bag and then was blessed to get to hug our girlfriend Michele (she was directing men and women to different changing rooms) as I ran into T2. My blessings didn’t end here, our girlfriend Sue helped me quickly strip off my aero top, switch my socks and shoes, drink my Karma Kombucha Ginger Orange, and sent me out the door to run.

Run // 5:25:52

My run started off great! I felt good, strong, relaxed, and ready to rock this course! I love this run course and was so pumped to get to cheer my Coeur Sports teammie on to 3rd place pro female as I was approaching mile 2. Way to go Katie…so proud of you!! As I entered Camp Randall shortly before mile 3, the Iron Hippie was leaving, so I knew I was only about 0.25 miles behind him. Could I catch him?! I have before! He also noticed I wasn’t far behind him and we both stepped on the gas…apparently his gas was a bit more than mine, because I didn’t catch him. Other than walking through the aid stations, I kept cruising to Observatory Hill, where I had intentionally planned to walk. I chatted with a few other athletes as we climbed to the top and then I started running again down the other side. I ran up State Street receiving lots of love from people I didn’t even know, and headed back out toward Lake Mendota. The Base Performance tent that was along the lake shore trail was loud and amazing!! So full of energy and kept me going strong!! At about mile 10, I was headed back toward the finish area (only to have to go back out for loop 2). This is when my stomach decided to start cramping up. I wished I had more Karma Kombucha Ginger Orange to help settle my stomach, but I had to settle for Coca-Cola and orange slices to break up the mess. I gave Dad a quick hug on State Street, saw Erin and Nick by the Capitol, headed into the finish shoot, only to turn around a cone and head back out for loop #2.

Running strong! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

Running strong! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

I stopped briefly at my run special needs bag long enough to wipe my face off with a wet rag and then keep moving. Ahhh…it feels so good to wipe the salt and sweat from my face at the halfway point of the marathon!! It wasn’t nearly as fast as the first few miles, but I was still moving forward…running when I could and walking when I had to. Finally by about mile 17 my stomach started to come around and I finally felt like I could run a bit more than I had been the last 7 miles. That is the good part about Ironman…when things go bad, they will eventually turn around and become good again at some point….even if it happens when you cross the finish line. As I came back toward the Capitol for the last time, I knew my goal of breaking 14 hours was not going to happen, but I also knew I would PR this course and not just by a little bit!

Run Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, top, visor, and race belt, Brooks Pure Flow shoes

Run Nutrition: grapes, orange slices, Coca-Cola, chicken broth, water, Base Salt

Overall Finish // 14:34:11

Seeing Dad, our girlfriends Sue and Michele, and my college friend Chris at the finish line was priceless! I blew them all kisses and was in tears as I crossed the finish line of Ironman #4. Hello Ironman Wisconsin PR by 41:45🙂 Being caught by a good friend (thank you Doug) at the finish line, who escorted me through the finish area and made sure I found my family and friends made my day complete!

Blowing kisses to my tribe at the finish line! Photo Credit: Michele Dziaba

Blowing kisses to my tribe at the finish line! Photo Credit: Michele Dziaba

 

Ironman Wisconsin Pre Race Weekend

Ironman Wisconsin race weekend is here!

Thursday:

We arrived in Madison mid afternoon, checked into Ironman, went to the athlete meeting, checked into our condo guest suite, and unloaded All. The. Gear. Once we were settled in our condo and our girlfriends arrived, we went out to dinner at Salvatore’s Tomato Pies and had the most AMAZING pizza ever…Fig and Bacon with balsamic red wine reduction, Vegetarian with beet pesto, and El Mapache Loco…Delish!! We stopped by the grocery store on our way back to the condo.

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Madison bound!

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All checked in!

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The finish line is getting set!

Friday:

We woke up and swam with our girlfriends in Lake Monona. The water was a little warmer than I’d hoped for, but was still wetsuit legal. We did a short 10 minute shake out run before meeting our friend Kristen to help her with Ironman registration…Sunday is her first full Ironman…Go Kristen GO!! We got lunch at Ian’s pizza, cleaned up, loaded our gear bags and spent the afternoon relaxing. We made an amazing dinner with our girlfriends…fresh Alaskan fish, green beans from our CSA, salad from our CSA, and quinoa. It was the perfect relaxing evening!

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Beautiful morning for a swim!

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Lake Monona is pretty clear!

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Flat Kecia is ready to ride!

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Flat Kecia is ready to run!

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All the gear is ready!

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All the gear is packed!

Saturday:

We woke up and took the bikes for a quick spin to make sure everything was in working order before the rain started to fall. We did a short swim (in the rain) and then relaxed for the rest of the morning before taking our bikes and gear to transition at 11 am. We followed this up with some lunch from Ian’s Pizza and then took a short nap before I was blessed to meet some of my Coeur Sports teammies who were in Madison to race and spectate. After dinner, it was time to put the feet up, and let the head hit the pillow.

Rainy morning swim

Rainy morning swim

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Mojo is ready to rest peacefully for the night!

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So much fun to meet these ladies in person! Photo credit: Nick Weiler

I’ve done the work! I’m ready! It’s time to rock Ironman Wisconsin!

Race Week!

Hello race week! You’ve come by so quickly! It seems that we signed up for Ironman Wisconsin just yesterday and now we are heading to Madison for race weekend!

Monday:

Since it was Labor Day, we got to sleep in, although sleeping in for us is only 6:30 am…After breakfast, we took the dogs for a walk, followed it up with 30 minutes of core, and then really started packing for Ironman Wisconsin weekend! At 10:30 am, we took a break and went for our last outdoor pool swim this year…it is so sad that the pool is now closed😦 After lunch, it was time for more packing of ALL. THE. GEAR!!! I love racing long, but man alive it requires a lot of gear! We were mostly done packing by about 2:30 pm, so I spent the rest of the afternoon writing sub plans for my upcoming absences from work, while watching NCIS reruns…feet up, dog snuggles, and relaxing while getting some work done. After dinner, I vacuumed, cleaned up and prepared for a 2 day work week! While vacuuming, the vacuum canister did fall over on my bare foot and I now have a rather large bruise on the top of it. I think it will be ok come race day, but lots of pampering of my foot until then!

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Tuesday:

We slept in, got ready for work, and had a full day of work. After work, it was time for a pre race massage! Nick takes such good care of us…THANK YOU NICK!! I picked up our CSA, and then the Iron Hippie and I went out for our pre race meal of all. The. Sushi. YUM!! After taking the dogs for a walk, it was bed time!

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Wednesday:

We slept in again this morning, got ready for work, and enjoyed the last day of work for the week. I could get used to 2 day work weeks and 5 day weekends…what is wrong with that?! After work, I met two clients for personal training and then continued packing for our big dance! Oh…and our Sound Probiotics arrived! Thanks for keeping our guts and immune systems happy and healthy!! #winningtakesguts🙂

Thursday:

Time to travel to Madison!

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2016 Totals to get me to Ironman Wisconsin: 17 days, 19 hours, 3 minutes & 49 seconds

Swim: 80.75 miles
Bike: 3232 miles
Run: 476 miles
Strength Training: 63 hours

Quote of the week:

“Good things come to those who work their asses off and never give up.”

 

Ironman Wisconsin 2016 Race Goals

Race day is only 5 days away, so it is time to lay my race goals out there.

Saturday I spent some time during the Ironman 70.3 World Championships to write out my “whys” and “goals” for race day. I also laid out my visualization plan, which I have been spending lots of time with over the last few days. Since I have raced Ironman Wisconsin twice before and have trained on the course numerous times, it is quite easy for me to visualize nearly every part of this course.

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And now for the whys…why am I racing:

  1. To have fun and relive the joys of my youth through swimming, biking, and running!
  2. To push myself and find my limits for this race on this day.
  3. To do my absolute best!!
  4. To race with courage over comfort and heart & courage!

My goals:

  1. Have fun!
  2. Smile!
  3. Break 14 hours…I will be working hard on race day for the following times to help me achieve this:
    • Swim = 1:15:00
    • T1 = 15 minutes
    • Bike = 7:30:00
    • T2 = 10 minutes
    • Run = 4:45:00
    • Total Finish Time = 13:55:00

You can track me at here on race day!

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1 week ’til #IMWI: focus

The theme this week was focus…It took all I had to remain focused every day at work so that I wasn’t thinking about Ironman Wisconsin! This race is definitely occupying most of my mental energy😉

Monday:

We woke up early to ride and decided we would benefit from 2 extra hours of sleep, so we went back to bed. After the extra sleep, we got ready for our day and set off for a full day of work. After work was 30 minutes of core and an easy hour ride.

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Tuesday:

We woke up, got ready for work, and headed out the door. After a full day of work, we went to the pool for an easy swim. It was a beautiful evening for a swim!

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Wednesday:

We woke up early to do a short (30 minute) run before work. It was a great morning for a run! After a full day of work, we hopped on the trainer for a 90 minute trainer ride with 2×20 minutes in zone 3 to test ourselves for race day. I was also super pumped to have my new Coeur Sports gear show up in the mail…WAHOO!!

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Thursday:

Today was a rest day due to a crazy schedule. After a full day of work, I met with a personal training client before quickly eating dinner and heading back to school for “back to school night.” By the time I got home, I caught up with the Iron Hippie…we have big changes coming our way that we needed to discuss (more on this to come).

Friday:

Today was another rest day. This one wasn’t planned. I had an EXHAUSTING day at school. It was picture day, and all students get their pictures taken during science class, so I walked every class (6 of them) down to the auditorium for their pictures. I probably easily walked 2 miles within the building, but the management of students (most of which was 6th graders) was mentally taxing. I was supposed to swim after work, but my body said “eat and sleep,” so that is exactly what I did.

Saturday:

We woke up to swim for the last time on the 50 meter long course this summer. What a sad day! After our swim, we hopped on the trainer for an easy hour ride and followed this up with 30 minutes of core work. Basil thought I needed some “coaching” while I did my core work!! After eating lunch, we did dishes, laundry, grocery shopping (I really miss doing this during the week like I do all summer long), vacuumed the house, and then relaxed while watching the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!

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Sunday:

WOW!! Race day is only 1 week away!! How did it get here so quick?!?!?! We woke up to do our last brick before race day. After cleaning up and eating, it was time to get our bikes cleaned and race tires on. Unfortunately while cleaning Mojo, the wind blew my bike and the stand over. This caused my derailleur to shift into my wheel, so we had to make an unexpected trip to Kyle’s Bikes. Kyle was out of the shop today, but I am grateful that Anthony was able to fix my bike up and send us on our way! After finishing with both bikes, it was time to eat dinner, clean up the garage, and get ready for bed.

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Weekly Totals: 9 hours & 25 minutes

Swim: 4577 yards
Bike: 70.6 miles
Run: 10.3 miles
Strength Training: 1 hour

Quote of the Week:

“The sky is not my limit…I am.” ~T.F. Hodge

What’s Up?! – August 2016

August has been full of all kinds of fun, chaos, and tapering!

Fun:

The month of August started with the Okoboji 3.5 mile swim. I was so lucky to have Dad kayak next to me while I just kept swimming! Later in the month, the twins came for a visit. We spent the day at the aquatic center and then got ice cream before they left for home.

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Chaos:

I started school on August 19 and the students started on the 24th. This meant I spent a lot of time running errands to stock up on all kinds of supplies before the school year started, I made hundreds of zucchini muffins, and I loaded the freezer with homemade food that just needs to be reheated. I also spent time in my classroom getting ready for the new year, while finishing up our training load for Ironman Wisconsin.

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Tapering:

We began to taper for Ironman Wisconsin, which was good and bad. I always forget that school starting and tapering for Ironman Wisconsin go well together on paper, but in reality I really want to be training more at the start of the school year when the stress level rises. With the taper comes more time to spend with my fave and start packing for Ironman Wisconsin…neither of which release the stress that comes with the start of the school year like intense training does…sorry honey!

Date night!

Date night!

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How was your month of August? What were your highlights for the month?