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!!
IRONMAN Louisville was last Sunday and earlier in the year, I had committed to racing it. With the roller coaster ride of life this year, I decided after IRONMAN Lake Placid that I would not be racing Louisville this year. In the last few weeks, I have been second guessing my decision…torn between knowing what is best for me in this moment and leaning into my heart’s desire to race. It was probably a good idea that we didn’t take our bikes to Louisville.
We decided to go to Louisville and experience IRONMAN from a completely new perspective (to us). This would be the first race day that were not participating or volunteering rather spectating and cheering on the athletes who were racing. We got to spend the weekend enjoying the company of friends, meeting new friends, and experiencing Louisville completely differently than we did last year. This weekend was exactly what I needed. It brought me insight, perspective, clarity, peace, joy, fun, and more laughter than I can remember experiencing in one weekend…possibly ever.
With the cancelled swim, we made it to the watch a bit of the time trial bike start before heading out to LaGrange where we set up a party on hill as the athletes enter town. We cheered and spectated there for nearly 4 hours before heading back to Louisville to cheer and spectate on the run course.
This is what my weekend in Louisville looked like:
Louisville (and friends) thanks for all of the memories and laughter!
September was a roller coaster ride. I struggled with wanting to crawl back into my comfort zone vs. continuing my quest to being true to myself. In that quest, I have learned a lot about what I don’t want more than what I do want. As I continue on this quest, I know I will eventually find answers and as long as I stay true to myself, I will have no regrets.
Training has been so enjoyable lately. I still find myself occasionally fighting off the negative demons, but those times are getting fewer and fewer and I’m so grateful for that! This month had me riding OUTSIDE WITH MY FAVE for 4 rides ranging from 40 to 70 miles EACH. I can’t remember the last time we rode so many miles together over multiple rides in one month! My heart is so happy!
Swim: 10,450 yards (5.94 miles)
Bike: 306 miles
Run: 53.3 miles
Strength: 10 minutes of core daily + some yoga ❤
Meditation: 3 minutes daily since January 1
Monthly Totals: 34 hours & 27 minutes
Explore is my focus word in 2019 and I’m happy to be incorporating it into all areas of my life…including following my inner compass. We all have that inner voice that talks to us. Sometimes we listen to it and sometimes we ignore it. Thinking back to those times when I listened to my inner compass, the outcome was almost always amazing and often better than I thought it would be. When I didn’t listen to my inner compass, the outcome was often negative and I regretted my decision to ignore it. In recent weeks, I decided to follow my inner compass and regain control of my life. My training. My physical health. My mental health. Reigniting the fire in my soul. This month I’ve been doing what I want. If I feel like riding bikes, I ride. If I feel like running, I run. If I feel like swimming, I swim. If I feel like doing yoga, I do yoga. If I feel like sitting on the couch and turning into a couch potato…well, I tried not to do too much of that this month, but there was some of it. The freedom to #doitmyway has been a breath of fresh air and one I am SO grateful for! I have been following my inner compass and setting intentions before my workouts centered around play, fun, gratitude, joy, fierce, ease, sunshine, truth, light, appreciation, and being present. What a game changer to reawaken my passion, fire, and soul.
With my new job, I am able to listen to lots of podcasts as I set up and tear down labs. I am finding that I really enjoy this, so if you have any suggestions, please send them my way!
Rich Roll has a lot of great guests on his show. Recently he brought David Epstein onto the show and it was AMAZING!! “You don’t change your identity overnight. You have to start with these little keyhole experiments until something that you think that was just an interest becomes a real passion or a vocation.” ~David Epstein
He brought on Catra Corbett in 2018, but I finally listened to it and WOW!! This woman runs crazy distances…200+ mile races and a 425 mile trail run. After getting arrested for peddling crystal meth, she was scared straight in a jail cell when she hit rock bottom. She left behind meth addiction, disordered eating, and sexual and emotional abuse. Sobriety saved her, but running gave her a completely new life. “Getting out is the first step. You don’t have to become a runner. Just get out and see what the world has to offer.” ~Catra Corbett
Kelsey Abbott brought Cody Byrns on her Find Your Awesome podcast. His life experiences have him living the fullest life possible. “I cannot change what happened to me, but I can change what I do today and make the most of what I do today.” ~Cody Byrns
Ironwomen Podcast has so many amazing women on!
–Outside the Comfort Zone with Emily Cocks and Susan Lacke is a great listen! Emily gives her podium picks at Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France and Susan talks about her experiences that fueled her new book Running Outside the Comfort Zone.
–Race with Purpose with Nicole Valentine was heart warming! Nicole’s mission is to create change. “Nicole shares her passion for inspiring women in sport, finding purpose beyond the finish line, and showing others how to use fear as an opportunity for growth.”
–Into the Deep End with Julie Moss was so inspiring. This woman was the one who put Ironman racing on the map in 1982 as she crawled across the finish line in Kona. “You have the opportunity to be a Wonder Woman for your own life and you better take it!” ~Julie Moss
–Small Bites, Big Goals with Selah Schneiter is SO INSPIRING! She is a 10-year old who is the youngest person to have ever climbed “The Nose” of El Capitan. “How do you eat an elephant? Small bites. Some things are hard and that’s just reality” ~Selah Schnieter
Michael Gervais has brought some amazing people on his Finding Mastery podcast:
–Katie Zaferes is the #1 triathlete in the world after recently winning the ITU World Triathlon Series. She is a 2016 Olympian and has her sights set on qualifying for the 2o20 Olympic Games. “Mastery is unattainable, but trying to master it is everything.” ~Katie Zaferes
–Meb Keflezighi is the only runner to win the Boston Marathon, the New York City Marathon, and an Olympic medal. He is SO inspirational! “Quitting is not my best.” ~Meb Keflezighi
–Javier Gomez is a professional triathlete who has raced and won at so many different distances. While he is currently in peak training for the Ironman World Championship that will take place in Kona, Hawaii on October 13, he is so humble and grounded. “Enjoy life; it is the most important. Enjoy what you do all of the time.” ~Javier Gomez
–Bethany Hamilton is a professional surfer who has survived a shark attack. At the age of 13, she was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark who took her left arm from her. One month after the attack, Bethany returned to the water and within two years she had won her first national title. “Mastery is more about loving what you’re doing, rather than nailing it perfectly or being the best of the best.” ~Bethany Hamilton
“Stop Saying Your Fine: The No-BS Guide to Getting What You Want” by Mel Robbins was the kick in the pants that I needed to remind myself that life is too short. It is time to stop waiting for my life to change and create the change that I want. “There will always be setbacks, so you must learn how to deal with them. When you hit an obstacle, you shouldn’t be questioning yourself, you should just be figuring out the alternatives. You should be like water. Water doesn’t consider its flow. If something gets in the way, it just moves around the obstacle. You need to adopt the same mentality.” ~Mel Robbins
“Courage is found in unlikely places.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien
I recently mentioned to my counselor that I felt I had been doing Ironman for all of the wrong reasons and that I was feeling pressure (some self-inflicted and some unintentionally inflicted on me by others), which made my training feel like a job instead of a hobby. I want to do Ironman if it is centered around joy, fun, and gratitude. She asked, “What are the positive things that Ironman has given you?” Here is the list I came up with:
It gives me something I can control. I can’t control what happened to me as a kid, but I can control my training and racing.
It has helped me in this healing process from my past.
It allows me the freedom to mess up and it can still end up ok…a metaphor for life.
It has given me self confidence, self worth, self discipline, drive, belief in myself, and physical and mental strength I didn’t know were within me.
It has taught me resilience. I am a rubber ball and bounce back stronger and better than before.
It has helped me manage my weight.
It has helped me be more courageous in all areas of my life…including helping me open up to others about my past.
It has taught me to survive and fight for me and those I care about.
It has taught me I can do anything I put my mind to. Ironman teaches me something during every journey to every start line and on every race day. I learn things about myself. Things I didn’t know before.
It fills me with gratitude and positivity.
Ironman isn’t something you do; it is something you become. It will change you. Ironman (like life) is full of struggles and challenges; not simply on race day, but throughout the entire journey as you prepare to get to the start line. These struggles and challenges don’t define me…they mold me into a better person. Ironman allows me to find the beauty, joy, and gratitude in the tough moments.
I was reminded by my counselor to listen to my heart. Even when my heart and brain do not speak the same language, I need to listen to my heart. It knows best. My heart has been speaking to me and telling me it is time to regain control of my life, so I’ve listened.
I believe my best athletic days are in front of me, not behind me!
People have often asked why I do this crazy sport and I can honestly say that it has been a great way to emotionally deal with life. It has taught me SO much about who I am and who I want to be, but that is for another post coming soon.
After having crossed 7 Ironman finish lines, I thought I’d try to shed some light on the stages that the athlete (and often the people who live with the athlete) experience. These are what I believe to be the stages of Ironman training:
Base Fun: Everything is all rainbows and unicorns! After all, I just signed up for an Ironman and I am going to do epic sh!t! I haven’t started “officially” training yet, so I have free time and energy to be fun and do things! Who wants to go to a show or play games/cards at the brewery?! I am training, but nothing serious yet!
Build Phase: We’re having fun now! My volume is increasing, so I’m finding that I turn into a pumpkin at 7 pm most nights. Who wants to come swim/ride/run with me?! Love me a good recovery week with reduced training so I can catch up with family and friends!
Peak Training: Who has time to see anyone unless they are swimming/biking/running with me?! I work 40 hours a week, workout 16-20+ hours a week, and am still trying to maintain a happy/healthy relationship at home. Oh…and if you come to visit our house, you will likely see chamois butter in place of lotion in the bathroom, tires and spare tubes hanging from the hall tree, Body Glide and Skin Slick on the dining room table where it can be easily accessed, the Roomba vacuuming (who has time to vacuum?!), and ALL. THE. TECH. CLOTHES. Hanging on drying racks around the house (who has time to fold them and put them away?! Just pull them off and wear them so they can be washed again in a few days). This is also where I live in a constant state of hangry. Thankfully before peak training begins, we stock our freezer with food that simply needs to be heated up so we don’t have to spend much time preparing and cooking food.
Taper Crazies: Where is my race belt?! Where is my favorite race temporary tattoos?! Where is my extra Skin Slick?! Where is my swim skin?! Where are those new goggles I purchased last week?! Trying to organize and pack for race day while still working 40 hours a week and exercising 10-14 hours a week to maintain the fitness gained without over doing it is a fine line. My race plan says I should go for X power output for the bike, but I was thinking Y might be better. Stop overthinking and roll with it!
Race Week Whirlwind: Stalking and obsessing over the weather has become normal. Making sure I have packed EVERYTHING (including the kitchen sink) for ANY possible race day weather. Should I put this in my transition bag?! How easy should my shake out run be?! Oh…I forgot to order more bike nutrition. How quickly can I have this shipped to me?!
Post Race High: I am an Ironman (insert happy dance and HUGE grin). I did epic sh!t!
Ironman Blues: Now what?! I have all of this spare time on my hands and I don’t know what to do with myself. What races should I sign up for?! Maybe I’ll sign up for another Ironman. 😉
For those that live the Ironman lifestyle, or live with someone who does, what stages do you go through? Anything you would add?!
Saturday the plan was to ride for 60-80 miles with the Iron Hippie, but with rain on the radar to the west, we decided to wait and ride on Sunday with the potential for better weather. So, Basil and I went out for a run instead of the bike ride. The Iron Hippie asked me how long we would be gone, to which I responded, “I don’t know, but I’ll keep you posted of our progress.” When we set out for our run, my only goals were to enjoy the run, have fun, and do some soul searching. So here are my random running thoughts from Saturday:
I’m going to start by running 3 miles and see how I feel and then evaluate my next move.
I have really missed running with no agenda (no targets to hit, no distance to run, no time goal, no pressure, etc.)!
I REALLY DO love to run!
This run is filling me with joy!
Look at this dog…she LOVES to run!! She’s so happy!! She makes me happy!!
Oh, rain…guess we are going to get a little wet.
Basil is SO focused when we run. She doesn’t get distracted by other runners, other dogs, other smells…oh wait…there is a squirrel. So much for that focus! That is one of the two things (rabbits are the other) that can distract her during a run.
Oh, the rain stopped. Guess we aren’t going to get that wet after all.
That was a fun and easy feeling 3 miles. Let’s go down into the park and run on the trail around the lake.
I like having races to train for. I know I’m signed up for the Ironman Des Moines 70.3, but that is SO far away. I think I might sign up for the Hillbilly Hike in early November to have a goal on the calendar.
I love not focusing on results but rather on the joy running (+ biking + swimming + yoga) brings me.
This is so much fun!
When I get to do it my way, I really enjoy the process.
Those yellow flowers are beautiful!
Look how calm the lake is.
I haven’t looked at my Garmin one time and it has been so refreshing.
I definitely don’t want my life to revolve around my training schedule.
This feels so good!
Oh, more rain…maybe we’ll get more wet than last time.
“Thanks for running with me Basil!”
That hill didn’t even really hurt like I thought it would.
Uh oh…I think that was thunder. “Basil, it’s ok” (she HATES thunder).
I can’t stop smiling.
Doing it my way is the best way.
I like the flexibility of self coaching. I’m able to change things around and go run instead of ride today. It is so refreshing.
I think I REALLY do want to do another Ironman centered around joy, fun, and happiness. No idea when, but someday.
Yep, that was thunder. “Basil we are almost home.”
It is ok to rely on exercise as a coping mechanism. I love exercise, so I’m ok with that.
It is good to stop being so hard on yourself. So you don’t do the workout that was planned. You can do that another day. So you don’t hit the targets you were aiming for. You can do that another day. You are a work in progress and there is nothing wrong with that!
I’m feeling so happy right now. I love endorphins!
Stay in the moment and give your best in this moment.
Oh look…there is the Iron Hippie. He came to pick us up. “Thank you! Basil hasn’t been a fan of the thunder.”
That was a great 9 miles for not being sure how long I’d be gone when I left the house!
I REALLY needed this run!
I am grateful for the time to think and process my thoughts while I swim/bike/run.
“The moment that I decided to be the author of my story rather than a character in it is the moment that my pain began to evolve into my power. To do this, I had to love myself enough to walk away from anything and everything that required me to be and play small.” ~Germaine Gaspard
We all have our own story and unique journey. Our stories are dynamic; new chapters are written as we acquire new knowledge and new experiences. I have said this thousands of times in the past, and I’m sure I’ll say it thousands more in the future: “You can not judge until you’ve walked in someone else’s shoes.” Our experiences mold and shape us into who we are and who we become. I have kept my story a secret from EVERYONE for 35+ years, which has been SO exhausting. Recently I started sharing my story with family and friends. This has created so much freedom + space in my life. Through this process, I have learned that I have been surviving life instead of living it. It is time to change this and start living my truth!
I am worth so much more than I have been giving myself. I have been going through the motions, feeling what I thought I SHOULD feel, doing what I thought I SHOULD do, being who I thought I SHOULD be, dreaming what I thought I SHOULD dream. I have numbed myself to knowing what I truly am feeling, what I truly do want, who I truly am, and what I truly dream for myself. With this newfound freedom + space, I have decided to choose me and be true to me.
I have stepped back to take some time to accept and embrace the opportunity to get closer to what I TRULY feel, what I really WANT to do, who I REALLY am, and what I DEFINITELY dream for myself. This process is uncomfortable. This process is hard. This process promotes fear. I find myself wanting to go back into my comfort zone, do what I’ve always done + numb all of the bad feelings (which are becoming fewer and fewer with time). I know I am not where I want to be in the future, so I will continue to push myself out of my comfort zone and strive to do + be true to myself. This process forces me to acknowledge my past, face my fears, and own my shit. While I can’t control the shit that has happened to me, I can control my attitude + my response to it + how I move forward in the future. It is time to pay attention to what really brings me joy and live my truth!
I am fearful about the future. I am afraid I won’t find pure joy in swim/bike/run (although I am getting closer to experiencing pure joy in swim/bike/run). I am afraid I will disappoint people who support and encourage me. I am afraid I will not get to do another Ironman focused around joy + fun. I am afraid I will fall back into my old habits because they are within my comfort zone. I am afraid that the next chapter in my story will be more of the same.
I know being fearful is a good thing. “Fear means I am doing something brave with my life and is an indicator that I am getting closer to my truth. It is time for me to lean into my courage instead of listening to my fear.” ~Mel Charbonneau
I am grateful to have amazing people surrounding me + inspiring me + helping me + supporting me + encouraging me in this very difficult process. The hardest step was the first one. With every subsequent step, it gets easier and easier. I may not be where I want to be, but I am getting closer with every forward step! I will continue to choose me and live my truth!
Are you living your truth?! Are you being true to what YOU TRULY feel, what YOU really WANT to do, who YOU REALLY are, and what YOU DEFINITELY dream for yourself?! Are you choosing YOU?!
August was an uncomfortable month. I’m changing things up. I don’t want to swim/bike/run because that is what I have known for so long and what I think I SHOULD do. I want it to be something that I really WANT to do. So I took a step back to dig deep within myself and search my soul to try to figure out what it is that truly makes me happy and lights my fire. It is a process. One that I struggle to be patient with, but I believe that time will give me the clarity that I need for how and where to move forward.
After Ironman Lake Placid at the end of July, I strived to find more balance. As a result, my training wasn’t top priority this month. I took some time to figure out what I TRULY WANT and where I WANT to go, but I have learned that I really do LOVE swim/bike/run and can’t imagine my life without them in it.
Swim: 8132 yards (4.62 miles)
Bike: 92.8 miles
Run: 28.8 miles
Strength: 10 minutes of core daily + various full body strength
Meditation: 3 minutes daily since January 1
Monthly Totals: 19 hours & 20 minutes
Explore is my focus word in 2019 and I’m happy to be incorporating it into all areas of my life…including recreating triathlon and sport as my happy place! With the uncertainty of where I want to go with sport, I have taken a break from coaching. Kelly, with Ever Racing, has been AMAZING for me! We developed a great coach/athlete relationship over the last couple of years. She has helped me get the strongest + fittest I have ever been. I am forever grateful for her knowledge, guidance, support, and commitment to me!
Because I am recreating triathlon and sport as my happy place, I invited a dear friend (and former colleague) to complete the Bluff Creek Triathlon with me. I wanted to do this race with the only goals of having fun + finishing with Traci! When you are committed to crossing the finish line with someone else and your only focus is to help them get to the finish line, it gives you new purpose, removes the pressure, and opens space for a LOT more fun!! I am so grateful she said “yes” to this adventure and so proud of her for her perseverance and fortitude!! Congratulations Traci on your 1st place podium finish in your division!!
With my new job, I am able to listen to lots of podcasts as I set up and tear down labs. I am finding that I really enjoy this, so if you have any suggestions, please send them my way!
Coeur Sports EarSplitz Podcast featured Kate Bevilaqua “Achieving the Difficult” is full of inspiration! Kate is the Ultraman World Champion. In case you are wondering, the Ultraman covers 320 miles on the Big Island of Hawaii. It includes 6.2 miles of swimming + 261.4 miles of biking + 52.4 miles of running over 3 days. WOW!!!
The TEDx Talk with Germaine Gaspard The Power of Using Your Pain to Fuel Your Success had me nodding my head A LOT!! “The moment that I decided to be the author of my story rather than a character in it is the moment that my pain began to evolve into my power. To do this, I had to love myself enough to walk away from anything and everything that required me to be and play small.” WOW!! YES!!
Share the Road: How Cities Can Keep Cyclists Safe is a great listen! We need to stop separating motorists from cyclists. We are all people trying to get from point A to point B. We all have people in our lives who love us and whom we love. Please remember that it isn’t just a bike out on the road, it is a person on a bike. #itcouldbeme
Kelsey Abbott brought Sarah Nannen on her Find Your Awesome podcast. “Sarah became a military widow and solo mom of four young children in 2014 when her husband died in an aviation accident. Her journey through grief opened her eyes to a renegade way of living life that goes beyond just surviving the ride. This idea now informs her work with people breaking through their limitations to live extraordinary lives.” Sarah has some amazing insights that don’t simply relate to loss and grief, but can relate to all areas of life. “Life is full of hard stuff. So, if we’re not going to have some pleasure along the way, then we’re missing the point.” ~Sarah Nannen
Ironwomen Podcast has so many amazing women on! Amanda Wendorff is a must listen to! Amanda addresses how she overcame many obstacles thrown her way in 2018 to get to the top step of the podium at Ironman Cork in 2019. Paula Findlay is such an inspiration as she talks about transitioning from ITU to 70.3 racing, overcoming injuries, and how she handles pressure. Believe in your best is full of great nuggets that any athlete can benefit from!
“A tribute to Bethany – Keep triathlon fun” by Marni Sumbal is a great reminder that we should keep fun in the sport of triathlon. “When you have fun and truly enjoy yourself, you are more capable of dealing with everything else in life and there’s purpose with your training and racing. We all know that life isn’t always fun. Life is tough. It’s often serious, sad and difficult. Triathlon is a beautiful escape from life. Triathlon shouldn’t be all serious and hard work. Sure, being dedicating and working hard makes you a better athlete but if you are overly serious, competitive and extreme, you probably aren’t having much fun.”
Ghost by Jason Reynolds is a quick, easy read and written at a level that is perfect for adolescent individuals. “Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.
Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.
Running. That’s all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?”
Coeur Sports had a blog post, We’re Outspoken about Inclusivity, that REALLY tugged at my heartstrings. I see so many people shy away from doing a triathlon because they fear the unknown and when they do finally show up on race day, there are other athletes who are rude and sometimes down right mean to them when they ask questions or try to interact with them. Why can’t we all be encouraging and inclusive?! There was a day when each one of us was a newbie in the sport. Do you remember your first triathlon?! Please, please, please be nice and help a fellow athlete out!!
Attitude of Gratitude:
How was your month of August?! What were you grateful for last month?! What things do you do to maintain balance in your life?!