What’s Up?! – November 2016

November did not go as planned, but I guess that’s part of life. Right?! There were more struggles this month than I would like to admit, but there were some great things that did come from this month as well!! I’m choosing to focus on the positive and not the negative in this post!!

Training

Training this month has been VERY limited, which makes me VERY sad and adds to the my stress level, but it is the reality of our chaotic and stressful life this month. I haven’t had Mojo (my trusty steed…aka bike) this month since she has undergone extensive surgery (so much so that she had to be shipped back to Specialized so they could fix her). I’m grateful they were able to fix her and I was able to get her back in perfect working order just in time to start the month of December off right! I’ve REALLY missed her!! There’s nothing quite like #bikelove😉 So without Mojo, I have gotten  in a few good swims, a couple of runs, a few strength sessions, and one date with my mat, but nothing like I’d hoped for this month. That’s ok though…it is the offseason right?! I’m sure my body will bounce back quickly!

Washing away the negativity of the month.

Washing away the negativity of the month.

Running with friends and THIS. BEAUTIFUL. SUNRISE!

Running with friends and THIS. BEAUTIFUL. SUNRISE!

Running with my sole sister and Basil makes the world a better place!

Running with my #solesister and Basil makes the world a better place!

Hot yoga...a date with my mat is always better with friends!!

Hot yoga…a date with my mat is always better with friends!!

Starting Thanksgiving with friends and morning miles!

Starting Thanksgiving with friends and morning miles!

Yay!! Mojo is home after surgery!! Now it is time to get to work!!

Yay!! Mojo is home after surgery!! Now it is time to get to work!!

Planning for

2017!! I’ve recently hired Kelly Hadiaris with Track Cat Fitness as my coach and am super excited to see where we go together in 2017!! It is so nice to see workouts in Training Peaks that I didn’t generate!🙂 I’ve spent time reflecting on my 2016 racing season and am in the process of working on my S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2017. Be on the lookout for those in the coming weeks!

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Pumped about

I’m so excited to be part of the Coeur Sports Ambassador Team again for 2017!! I ABSOLUTELY love these women!! They are inspirational, motivational, enCOEURaging, supportive and full of #heartandcourage🙂

I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2016 Ambassador Team...Such a #hardcoeur group of women that I'm overjoyed to be a part of!!

I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2017 Ambassador Team…Such a #hardcoeur group of women that I’m overjoyed to be a part of!!

Thankful for

Family!!

We are Godparents! Baptism for the twins.

We are Godparents! Baptism for the twins.

Ice skating with our nieces!

Ice skating with our nieces!

Time with the nieces!

Time with the nieces!

Thankful for this tribe!

Thankful for this tribe!

4 generations of #strongwomen

4 generations of #strongwomen

Jumping on trampolines is a much tougher workout than I thought it would be!

Jumping on trampolines is a much tougher workout than I thought it would be!

Encouraging

My nieces!! They have joined the swim team and had their first swim meet. It was SO MUCH FUN to go cheer them on and support them as they start their journey with endurance sport! I’m hopeful we get them to do a triathlon this summer🙂

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Who’s ready to swim?!

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So proud of these two!!

How was your month of November? What were your highlights? Who’s ready for December?!

Challenges Make Us Stronger

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” ~Henry Ford

Just when I was ready to start getting back into a regular training routine at the end of October, I was struck down with bronchitis…I was frustrated, but quickly came to realize that this was my body’s way of telling me that it needed more recovery time. So…recovery is what it got.

Then I was healthy and was ready to exercise again when it was time for a very full week of teaching all day and parent teacher conferences all evening for 3 full days. We also had additional challenges at home…our dear friends trusted us to watch their baby girls (a 12 year old mixed breed dog and a 16 month old golden retriever) while they were in DC for a week. On the last night we had the girls (which also happened to be the last evening of parent teacher conferences), we had to take Stella (the golden) to the vet ER for an emergency tracheotomy. She had an infected salivary gland that swelled her entire tongue and throat so she couldn’t breathe. The next week the Iron Hippie got sick and we had to travel home for our twin nieces baptisms and first swim meet. Then my family came to visit for Thanksgiving (Wednesday-Sunday). On top of all of this, the Iron Hippie may be changing jobs (not necessarily by choice). We’ll know more on this in a couple of weeks.

Needless to say, we have had a few challenges thrown our way during the month of November and I’m ready to put these challenges (and month) behind us and move forward into a stronger season. While challenges make us stronger, I’m thankful that the month of November is almost over, I’ve been healthy, and I see workouts in Training Peaks from Coach Kelly. I’m SO excited to get back on the training train again!!

It is so exciting to see my first workouts from my new coach appear in Training Peaks!

It is so exciting to see my first workouts from my new coach appear in Training Peaks!

How do you handle challenges? Who’s looking forward to December?!

Dream Season

“The most powerful weapon on Earth is the human soul on fire.” ~Ferdinand Foch

The off season is the perfect time for dreaming! This is the time when I’m not exercising as much, so I have LOTS WAY TOO MUCH time to dream about what is to come! One thing is for sure…triathlon lights my fire! I’ve been dreaming of the coming year…2017 is the year I turn 40! The year I have my heart set on fun! The year I will push my limits to overcome challenges! The year I will push my limits to get closer to making my Kona qualifying dream come true! The year we go on another racecation! 40 is going to be my year! I’m excited to get this year started! It is time to start filling my barn with hay so that I can light a massive fire on race day!

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Ironman Mont Tremblant 2017…I’m coming for ya!

Dreaming is easy…how will I turn these dreams into reality? Believing in myself, my abilities, my training, and my new coach! Yes, that’s right! I’m super excited to have Kelly Hardiaris coaching me in 2017! With her expertise, guidance, support, and encouragement, I am hoping to have the best year ever! I’m ready to embark on this journey with Kelly and see where we can go together in 2017!

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I’m super pumped that I’ve been chosen to be part of the Coeur Sports Ambassador Team again in 2017!! I ABSOLUTELY love these ladies!! They are inspirational, motivational, enCOEURaging, supportive and full of #heartandcourage🙂

I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2016 Ambassador Team...Such a #hardcoeur group of women that I'm overjoyed to be a part of!!

Pumped to make the Coeur Sports 2017 Ambassador Team…Such a #hardcoeur group of ladies that I’m overjoyed to be a part of!!

Who’s excited for 2017?! What are you looking forward to in 2017?!

Interviewing Coaches

Despite my disappointment in the recent elections, I’m confident 2017 is going to be a great year! I turn 40 and I want to chase my dreams! So, I’ve decided to hire a coach to help me get closer to achieving my dreams! This means I’ve been interviewing coaches and I’ve learned a LOT in the process!

Before I share what I’ve learned, let’s back up this train just a bit…I had a coach from January of 2010 – May of 2014. I am forever grateful to her for getting me across the finish line of many races, including my first 70.3 and first Ironman, and for all of the knowledge and encouragement she bestowed on me in that time.

I decided to cut ties with her when I realized I was often injured and overtrained. Having to make the decision to pull out of a 70.3 race in June of 2014 due to injury about killed me was very hard on me mentally, but I knew this was the right decision if I was going to set myself up for success and get to the start line of my Ironman race in September.

I decided to self coach and see where I could take myself. I took myself from a 16:15:00 at Ironman Wisconsin 2011 to a 15:15:56 at Ironman Wisconsin 2014. In 2015 I put up a 14:04:37 at Ironman Boulder and this year I had a 14:34:11 at Ironman Wisconsin. I have seen improvements in my training and racing because of my passion, hard work, dedication, determination, and commitment to the sport. I feel like I have plateaued a bit, and have decided to seek the expertise, guidance, and support from a coach.

I had no idea I’d learn so much in the process of hiring a coach! Some of the best advise that I received via social media was to listen to the questions that the coaches ask me and make sure our communication styles match. If they have no questions, they probably aren’t super invested in their athletes and might not be the right coach for me. If they have questions, what kind of questions are they asking? What is their focus?

I am seeking a coach who is hands-on and minds-on. Someone who is passionate about coaching, but even more passionate about helping ME become a better athlete. Someone who has the education AND experience to help me train smart. Someone who is knowledgable, motivating, supportive, and not committed to so many athletes that they can’t provide me with the attention I am paying them for. Someone who will push me and isn’t afraid to use tough love when training me. Someone who communicates effectively, who is honest and trustworthy, but also listens to me and makes adjustments to my plan if life happens or problems arise. Someone who is not all business, but also likes to have fun. Someone who cares about and is invested in ME!

I wrote out a list of questions that each of the prospective coaches answered via email. This did help me narrow down my prospects. Some answers to these questions I received felt very formal and impersonal; I felt like the answers were what they thought I wanted to hear. Because of this, I decided to give some of them a call to get a better idea of how we would fit together as we develop an athlete/coach relationship. After all, that is what I’m seeking…a relationship.

So…what did I ask each of the prospective coaches? Via email, I asked the following questions:

  1. What is your coaching philosophy?
  2. What is your coaching resume/experience?
  3. Since you are not a local coach, how will you help me improve form and make recommendations for improvement?
  4. I am looking to maintain balance between life (work, family, social) and training. How will you help me achieve this?
  5. How will you help me get stronger & faster without risking injury/overtraining?
  6. How will you help me physically reach my goals/dreams? Mentally?
  7. How many athletes have you coached to a Kona qualification? What experience do you have in coaching athletes to Kona qualification or 70.3 Worlds qualification?
  8. I have struggled with hyponatremia/nutrition in some of my previous Ironman races. How will you help me overcome this for future races?
  9. Will you customize my workouts based on “feel,” data (power/heart rate), or both?
  10. What are your coaching packages and prices? What do your coaching packages provide me with?

Over the phone, we socialized a bit more (getting to know each other personally is also important to me) and I asked a few additional questions while trying to get to know each of my prospective coaches:

  1. After Ironman Boulder, I ended up in the med tent and the doctor who met with me suggested that I have a sweat test done because of how salty I was and because I was experiencing early signs of blacking out again (this happened at IMWI 2011). I haven’t been able to find a place that does a sweat test in the Midwest (including the University of Iowa, which is a medical university). How will you help me overcome this problem?
  2. My husband is looking to hire a coach as well (he is talking with a coach who is more local). We are two very different people. I am VERY much an introvert, he is an extrovert. I am very goal-oriented and typically race with a time goal in mind. He races to have fun. If we were both on the Biggest Loser, I would be motivated by Jillian, while he would be motivated by Bob. Our relationship probably works so well because we are so different. We have been training together and competing in the same races for nearly 7 years now. Are you willing to work with me so that we can have a couple of workouts each week that are the same type of workout (maybe a trainer ride on Monday that we could both do, knowing that the workout would be very different; doing our long ride together for safety; doing a run together each week) so we can still train together on occasion and spend time together?
  3. For safety and convenience, we try to do our long rides and maybe a 2nd longer ride outside each week (even in the summer). Are you willing to work with me to make this happen? I really do prefer riding the trainer for anything under 2 hours for safety and convenience.

It was so nice to get to talk with each of my prospective coaches to get to know them a bit better and place a voice with their face!! If you are thinking of hiring a coach to help you get closer to achieving your dreams, spend time to find the right coach for you!! What kind of coach do you want…someone who is “high touch” or someone who is more “hands off”? What kind of relationship do you want with your coach? What do you want from your coach? What do you want to pay for? Do you want a coach who is local that you can see in person, or is an online coach able to meet your needs?

I’m hoping to have my final decision made by the end of this week. Stay tuned to see who I go with for a coach in 2017!😉

Have you interviewed coaches? If so, how did you go about hiring him/her? What would you recommend for people looking to hire a coach?

What’s Up?! – October 2016

October wasn’t quite the month I was hoping for, but my body got the rest and recovery that it needed. Here are some of my highlights from October.

Family/Friend Time:

Mom came down and spent a weekend with us. It was fun to relax, eat good food, and visit Reiman Gardens while she was here.

Mom came to visit for a weekend! It was fun to spend quality time with her!

Mom came to visit for a weekend! It was fun to spend quality time with her!

I got to run with my sole sister at the Run for the Roses 5K, although that only lasted for the first mile since she was so much faster than me. She is so strong and speedy!

Run for the Roses is always better with friends!

Run for the Roses is always better with friends!

Chasing My Fave:

The Iron Hippie ran the Des Moines Marathon, so I took my bike down and chased him around the course! It was fun to cheer him on to another finish line!

The Iron Hippie getting close to the finish of the IMT Des Moines Marathon...I'm so proud of him only 5 weeks post Ironman Wisconsin

The Iron Hippie getting close to the finish of the IMT Des Moines Marathon…I’m so proud of him only 5 weeks post Ironman Wisconsin!

Reading, Reading, Reading:

Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown is a MUST READ! Wow! The obstacles these 9 men had to overcome to make it to the 1936 Berlin Olympics is not only inspiring, but also unthinkable! All of this happening as Hitler was starting his attempt to take over the world without the world knowing it. So many things that are hard to wrap my brain around, but the boys never gave up, fought for their spot on the US Olympic team, worked hard and overcame obstacles to chase their dreams!

Tri Marni’s recent blog post really hit home with me! As I’ve been dreaming of qualifying for Kona and working hard to achieve these dreams, her words reminded me to never give up! “Every athlete has a great performance inside him/herself but it takes time and patience to get the best out of yourself. And even if you think you achieved your “best race ever”, there’s probably another better race in you that you will experience down the road – so long as you don’t give up. Stay dedicated. Keep developing yourself as an athlete. If you believe you have what it takes, chase your dreams, fall in love with the process and have a lot of fun along the way.” I definitely plan to continue to “chase my dreams, fall in love with the process and have a lot of fun along the way” this coming year! #dreambelieveachieve

Carrie Cheadle’s recent blog post also really hit home with me! Because I have that lingering dream of qualifying for Kona, her words encourage me to take risks. “Give yourself permission to make wrong decisions. If you never risk making mistakes you’ll never perform to your potential. Trust. Believe. Jump!”

Being Inspired:

My Coeur Sports Teammies have been inspiring me for the last 2 years! Watching them chase their dreams as they conquered Kona, Louisville, Maryland, and North Carolina lit my fire even more to chase my dreams and turn them into reality! 2017…I’m comin’ for ya!

These ladies not only inspire me, but encourage me and light my fire! <3

These ladies not only inspire and encourage me, but also light my fire! Time to chase my dreams so I can one day be in this photo too! Photo credit: Jay Prasuhn

How was your month of October? What were your highlights for October?

Recovery Post IMWI

It has been 6 weeks since Ironman Wisconsin!! During these 6 weeks, I have been giving my body some much needed TLC and recovery. I have done VERY little in the way of exercise…4 bike rides, 3 runs, 1 swim, and 2 strength training sessions to be exact.

Run for the Roses fun!

Run for the Roses fun!

Taking the plunge back into the pool nearly 6 weeks post IMWI!

Taking the plunge back into the pool nearly 6 weeks post IMWI!

#bikelove in my fall playground!

#bikelove in my fall playground!

I have had a couple of massages to help loosen up the body and get it ready for another Ironman beating and also taken some salt baths to relax and help me recover.

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I was hoping to get some hot yoga in and a few swims during this time, but other things have managed to take precedence over these two outings. We’ve spent a lot of time with friends and family during these 6 weeks.

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Mom came to visit for a weekend and we got to spend quality time together!

I’ve meet with some personal training clients, managed to get some appointments taken care (haircut, dogs to the vet, Mojo into the shop to get a shifter cable fixed, etc.), had dinner get togethers with friends, and have managed to chew up all of the “free time” I thought I would have. It always amazes me how I can spend 20 hours a week training (on top of a 40+ hour a week job), but when I have down time to “relax,” my time always gets filled with miscellaneous things!

I’ve cheered my fave and many friends onto more 1/2 marathon and marathon finish lines…

The Iron Hippie getting close to the finish of the IMT Des Moines Marathon...I'm so proud of him only 5 weeks post Ironman Wisconsin

The Iron Hippie getting close to the finish of the IMT Des Moines Marathon…I’m so proud of him only 5 weeks post Ironman Wisconsin

We have made lots of yummy food and enjoyed our down time. My mind is definitely ready to start working out on a more regular basis again, and I think my body is ready as well! I’m looking forward to starting a swim focused block this week! I’m planning to follow it up with a bike focused block to round out my off season.

What does your post BIG race look like for recovery? If you do Ironman races, how long do you take off before you ease back into training again?

Kaizen

Kaizen is Japanese for “continuous improvement.”

In my last post, I checked in with my 2016 intentions and it got me thinking about my life journey; my entire life journey is on a road with twists and turns, climbs and descents. I am on a life journey of continuous improvement, but aren’t we all?! I am always reflecting on past decisions and performances, reflecting on who I am, and focusing on how I can do and be a better person! That is always what I strive to do and be…the best version of myself!

For continuous improvement to occur, deliberate practice needs to be the name of the game. The quality of my practice is just as important as the quantity of my practice and this relates to all aspects of my life. Deliberate practice is the combination of setting well-defined and specific goals, finding and maintaining focus, providing thorough and reflective feedback, and learning to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. For me, discomfort is the hardest part of deliberate practice, especially when I’m working on improving a part of my life that isn’t on center stage. Change is hard, but it is so worth it when all of the pieces fall together and the uncomfortable becomes more comfortable.

So how does continuous improvement happen?! Small changes…I have to remember it isn’t about perfect. Instead, it is about effort. When I put effort in, change happens; the uncomfortable starts to become comfortable. This is when I know I’m making progress; what was once challenging is now easy and what is now challenging will become easy someday with effort and deliberate practice!

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How do you use deliberate practice in your everyday life? Do you strive for perfection or Kaizen?