self love gifts for the 12 days of Christmas – day 9

In case you are just joining me, I am giving myself 12 free gifts of self love this Holiday season! You should too! We can all benefit from more love this Holiday season! Day 12 was writing a letter to yourself! Day 11 was dreams! Day 10 was encouragement!

On the 9th day of Christmas, my true self gave to me:

Time!In this fast paced world, it is time to slow down a bit and enjoy some time! Put down your phone, close your laptop, step away from social media and do something that warms your heart. Take time for YOU! Read your favorite book, go for a walk, cook your favorite meal, watch your favorite movie, sit in silence and stare at a wall, look through photo albums, put a puzzle together, do whatever it is that you find enjoyable and warms your heart!

self love gifts for the 12 days of Christmas – day 10

In case you are just joining me, I am giving myself 12 free gifts of self love this Holiday season! You should too! We can all benefit from more love this Holiday season! Day 12 was writing a letter to yourself! Day 11 was dreams!

On the 10th day of Christmas, my true self gave to me:

Encouragement! It is ok to be proud of yourself and encourage yourself. Write down at least 4 positive affirmations that encourage you to be the best version of yourself! Being the “best version of you” doesn’t mean you have to do and be the best at everything; that will just lead to more stress. Instead, think about what the “best version of you” really means to you and who you want to be down to your core. This is about the best “you” not what you think others want you to be. Be authentic. Be genuine. Be real. Be YOU!

self love gifts for the 12 days of Christmas – day 11

In case you missed yesterday’s post, I am giving myself 12 free gifts of self love this Holiday season! You should too! We can all benefit from more love this Holiday season! Day 12 was writing a letter to yourself!

On the 11th day of Christmas, my true self gave to me:

Dreams! We all have dreams! If you want to be happy right down to the core of your being, you should dream! Dream BIG! Chase your dreams! Sit down and take some time today to dream. Dream BIG! Maybe even design a plan to start working to achieve those dreams. As you chase your dreams, you will often accomplish more than you ever thought possible! It’s time to turn the impossible into possible! Dreams can come true!

self love gifts for the 12 days of Christmas – day 12

There is so much joy during the Holiday season, but for some, there is also a lot of stress and depression. We can ALL benefit from more joy + less stress and depression this Holiday season, so I thought it would be good for each of us to give ourselves love over the next 12 days. These self love ideas are free, so let’s share some love with ourselves over the next 12 days.

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true self gave to me:

Write a letter to yourself. Think about those things that you are critical of yourself for and twist them into a positive. Thank yourself for all of the amazing things your body and mind do for you on a daily basis. Give yourself LOTS of self love! Lift yourself up! If you were writing this to your best friend, a person who inspires you, or a family member in need of self love, what are some of the things you would say to them? Now, say them to yourself. You deserve the self love, so don’t hold back! Lift yourself up!

What’s Up?! – May 2016

Wahoo!! I made it to the end of the school year and am looking forward to having my summer off!! This is what I’ve been up to throughout the month of May:

Focus: Mental Gains

#courageovercomfort has gotten me through some really tough workouts this month, but self confidence and believing more in myself has definitely helped with this also! Some of these tough workouts wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t start believing in myself more. I had a great 10K run off of a 56 mile bike where I saw negative splits (where I ran down into the 7 minutes for the last few splits…gains), I had a long 15 mile run the next day with an average pace of 8:30/mile (I was hoping to run a 9:00/mile pace…gains), I put up fantastic times at the Market to Market Relay and Hickory Grove Duathlon…gains (see below). None of this would have happened without gaining self confidence and believing in myself.

Finish: School Year

The students had their last day of school on Friday, May 27. I have two additional days as professional development days on today and tomorrow, but then I will be free to do whatever I want for the whole summer. I’m definitely looking forward to this!

Firsts: Market to Market Relay Iowa and Hickory Grove Duathlon

Market to Market Relay: This was my first relay that I’ve ever participated in and boy was it SUPER fun!! I was really nervous going into it about what the day would be like, if I would enjoy myself, and how well my legs would hold up. I think being an Ironman athlete helped me both mentally and physically today as I ran 3 different times throughout the day. We woke up at 4 am, met the rest of Team #KissOurAsphalt at the middle school at 5:15 for a departure to Jefferson where we would start our 75 mile running relay to Des Moines, and our first runner started running at 7:15 am. I was the third runner, so I had some time before I started running. My first leg was 5.4 miles at an average pace of 7:56/mile. I didn’t feel too taxed with this leg, but boy could I smell and see the smoke that had drifted down from a Minnesota wildfire. My throat was very scratchy, but all I could think was “I hope everyone up north is safe!” as I ran. My second leg was 5.1 miles at an average pace of 8:07/mile. I didn’t smell the smoke as bad on this leg, but we were farther south…I don’t know if that matters or not. I did slow my pace a bit on this leg for just a short time to run with a friend for about 0.3 miles that I caught up to on the trail. It was good to chat with a friendly face, even if it meant running a bit slower than I had been! I was the final runner for our team, which meant running about 3.7 miles and then meeting my team for the last 0.3 miles as we crossed the finish line. I was nervous about this leg because everyone kept telling me how tired and sore my legs would be and that they wouldn’t want to cooperate. I was pleasantly surprised…as a triathlete, I am used to running on tired legs. It felt just like running off the bike after a long/tough workout. My last run totaled 3.95 miles at an average pace of 8:18/mile. This part of the run I was VERY familiar with (having run this part of the trail during MANY other local races) and I usually break down mentally in this area. Thankfully I had a pep talk with myself before I started this leg and I didn’t break down too badly today! Overall, I ran 14.42 miles at an average pace of 8:07/mile. Since I thought I would be running closer to 9:00 miles, I was SUPER happy with my performance on the day!

#courageovercomfort definitely helped me push past some mental barriers today! We arrived back home at about 8 pm, unloaded the car, showered, relaxed for a bit, and then hit the pillow by 9 pm. It was a really long day, but super fun!! Overall, our team finished in 10:26:45 with an average pace of 8:20/mile over the 75.1 miles. We had a LOT of fun and were VERY happy with our overall time and pace!

IMG_0854

IMG_0866

Hickory Grove Duathlon: This was my first duathlon I’ve ever participated in and it was SO MUCH FUN!!

In training I have done some run/bike/run training, but had never raced in this format before. Since it was a 0.9 mile run/15.5 mile bike/3.1 mile run, I wanted to go hard and see what I could do. I am pretty pleased with my performance! I raced to 1st in my age group, 2nd overall female, and finished 11th overall. You can find the full race recap here.

#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon
#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon

Finding Faster:

As you know, I have been working on my swim. Thanks to the recommendation of my Coeur Teammate Erin, I purchased the Finis Forearm Fulcrums and have just started to use them. I am hoping these help me find my catch again…sooner rather than later 😉

IMG_1595

Fun Reads:

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins kept me reading. I really wanted to know who “did it.” I was so captivated that I read the whole book in less than a week. I couldn’t put it down!! “Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?”

IMG_1483

Elite Minds: Creating the Competitive Advantage by Stan Beecham is a must read for those people trying to change their mindset to develop a world-class mind in business or sport. “Most people don’t reach their full potential because of their body, training, or physical talent. It is their mind that is the deterrent. They may or may not consider how their thoughts and beliefs are actually hindering performance. “Elite Minds” gives insight into the process of developing a world-class mind in both business and sport, where the principles of performance are the same, despite the activity. With “Elite Minds,” Dr. Stan Beecham will: Explain that what you believe is the most important thing in the world to you; Show you how fear is keeping you from reaching your goals; Teach you that there is no such thing as individual performance; Demonstrate how successful people value their time more, making them more efficient; Take you through the minds of the elite, who have reached their full potential by tapping into their consciousness and answering the question: Who Am I?”

Stop Using Qualifiers: How to Own Your Strengths by Carrie Cheadle really got me thinking about how I discount my strengths by adding qualifiers to them. She stresses how important it is to be confident (not cocky) when owning your strengths and not undersell them. Own your strengths, be proud of them, and don’t over shadow them by always setting the bar higher and higher. Accept your strengths and successes as being “enough.”

Stop Saying Just! by Janine Kaye, a Witsup.com contributor, had me really thinking about downplaying our accomplishments no matter how big or small by putting the word “just” in front of it. I just ran a 5K. I just raced the bike leg of the triathlon for my team. I just swam in open water for only 20 minutes. We are awesome and we should own it! “Don’t belittle your achievement or success.”

I am currently reading Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. As an educator and endurance athlete, I am always trying to gain insight on how to intrinsically motivate individuals. “Pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” Among Grit’s most valuable insights:

*Why any effort you make ultimately counts twice toward your goal
*How grit can be learned, regardless of I.Q. or circumstances
*How lifelong interest is triggered
*How much of optimal practice is suffering and how much ecstasy
*Which is better for your child—a warm embrace or high standards
*The magic of the Hard Thing Rule

Winningly personal, insightful, and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that—not talent or luck—makes all the difference.”

How was your month of May? Have you tried anything new lately? If so, what was your overall impression of this new endeavor? What new reads have you enjoyed lately?

What’s Up?! – April 2016

It is hard to believe that we only have 4 more weeks of school before summer break! Where has the time gone?! April has been a whirlwind, but here is what I’ve been up to:

Training:

Hello Spring!! I’ve missed you!! I’m so glad you’ve shown up so I can FINALLY get outside for more of my workouts!! Although today, the weather has turned back to cold, rainy, and gloomy for the weekend. As a matter of fact, the predicted weather for tomorrow morning’s Drake 1/2 Marathon race is 44F with 25 mph winds and 95% chance of rain. Oh…what to wear?! I have had some good training weeks (here and here) and lots of fun in the process!! We recently did a century ride. Why?! Because we could…no other reason. It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t on the calendar, it just kind of happened. It definitely wasn’t our fastest century ride, but the first century ride of 2016 is in the books!

IMG_0348

Running has been going well. Little by little, I have been seeing improvements in my run times off of the bike. I am hoping this continues.

DCIM100GOPROG0030986.

Training hasn’t been all peaches and cream. I have been getting some swim coaching, and it has been challenging. Tough. Uncomfortable. I am hoping that one day soon the uncomfortable becomes comfortable, but until then, I will keep working hard and hope that one day (hopefully soon) I will have a swim stroke as beautiful and efficient as Michael Phelps.

Swim Analysis
Where is my catch?!
DCIM100GOPROG0051473.
Playing in the pool…trying to keep things fun!

Reading:

Elite Minds: Creating the Competitive Advantage by Stan Beecham is a really easy read that gives insight into the process of developing a world-class mind in business and sport. I’m learning how fear is holding me back, what I can do to overcome this fear, and that I can’t do it on my own. I consider myself to be a very independent person and often try to achieve success on my own. I’m learning that I can’t achieve success without the help and support of others. It is good to ask for and receive help! It is not a sign of weakness. It is time for me to change my mindset! Success is also important on overcoming my fears. It is time to figure out why those fears exist and overcome those fears aside to achieve dreams and success!

Inspired By:

Brene Brown is a researcher + storyteller who studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. I’ve been taking her Living Brave Semester coursework since January. I can’t even begin to share how much I’ve learned, how much I’ve grown, and how sad I am going to be when this class is over. If you haven’t been exposed to Brene’s work, I highly recommend you watch this Ted Talk or read this article.

Courage

Loving:

All of the fun new Coeur Sports designs in the triathlon and cycling gear! Hello #stylishspeed and #noangrykitty in amazing and fun designs!!

IMG_9862
Crew Design
DCIM100GOPROG0021232.
Mixed Tape Design
DCIM100GOPROG0051685.
Hapuna Design

Looking Forward To:

With only 4 more weeks of school, I am definitely looking forward to summer break. Being a school teacher doesn’t have many perks, but the summer off is a definite perk that I look forward to every year!

What new reads do you recommend? What are you loving right now? What are you looking forward to?

Bounce like Tigger

Two weeks ago, resistance got me thinking about bouncing back. Sure, we all encounter resistance and adversity from time to time, but what really matters is how we bounce back from those difficult situations. Tigger is one of my favorite fictional characters. Why? It’s easy! How can you not love everything he stands for and all that he is?!

Tigger

“Bouncing is what Tiggers do best!” ~Tigger

He is energetic, happy, and outgoing. He has a strong love for life and loves to have fun. He is competitive in a friendly manner and loves for his friends to challenge him. He is selfless and optimistic. He has complete confidence in himself and always bounces back from adversity. Tigger is not afraid of failure.

IMG_6611

We all have room for growth and can learn a lot from some of our favorite fictional characters. I can definitely benefit from being more like Tigger! I’m choosing to be purposeful and embrace all of these wonderful characteristics that Tigger exudes in my daily life…at home, in training, at work, in life. Thankfully I was able to bounce back beautifully last week and I’m still bouncing 🙂

How can you be more like Tigger in your life? Who is your favorite fictional character? Why?

A Day in the Life: Mundane Monday

I’ve decided to do a “Day in the Life” post for each day of the week, but am doing one day each week for 7 weeks. Who has the time to sit down and write up all 7 days in one week?! Not me!!

Monday’s are pretty consistent for me with the following schedule:

4 am alarm clock…quickly change, brush teeth, and head for the gym

4:30 am…1 hour strength training session at the gym

IMG_0030

5:30 am…head home to potty and feed the dogs, shower, blend up a smoothie, and start a load of laundry

6:30 am…arrive at school to update my Believe Training Journal, write my gratitudes in my SparkNotebook, prepare for my day with students, and lesson plan for the rest of the week. I also made some copies of a conduction worksheet for the students this morning.

8:00 am…The bell rings for the start of my day with students. We have 15 minutes of homeroom to start the day, followed by 9 class periods. Six of these are teaching science. Today’s lesson was on thermal energy and heat transfer through conduction. One period is my prep and today I had 2 study hall periods as well. Teaching 8th graders makes every day and class period different. They sure keep me on my toes!!

3:15 pm…The bell rings to dismiss students for the day. At this point, I leave school right away and go to city hall to meet a personal training client.

3:30 pm…I train Ms. Julia

4:30 pm…I head home, quickly change clothes, and throw the clothes from the washer into the dryer…this week we had a kink thrown in our routine. Our street has been torn up and we have to park a block away and walk through our neighbor’s yard to get to and from our house. Hello extra commute time (although only a few extra minutes)!

IMG_0159

4:50 pm…Time for a 75 minute recovery ride. This is when the Iron Hippie and I chat about our day, our week, any scheduling conflicts we may encounter for the week, etc.

DCIM100GOPROG0021751.

6:05 pm…Eat dinner (today was left over breakfast for dinner), shower, do dishes, finish laundry, and prepare for tomorrow by laying out my work and workout clothes and packing my lunch.

7:30 pm…Lay in bed snuggling with my girls, while a read for 20-30 minutes. Today I read Elite Minds: Creating the Competitive Advantage by Stan Beecham. I’m loving this book and highly recommend it!

8:00 pm…Lights out!!

What does a mundane Monday look like for you? How do you fit everything into your Monday?

How stress impacts my life

During the month of March and the first week of April, I was under a lot of stress. Stress I had the ability to control, but didn’t. Stress I was putting on myself consciously and unconsciously. I knew I was experiencing lots of highs and lows, but didn’t connect the dots and realize why until last weekend when I was completing my Living Brave Semester coursework. Through reflection and guidance in my coursework, I have learned a lot about how stress impacts my body, life, and training.

My Body:

Stress causes my body to be EXHAUSTED. All I want to do is sleep! I mean like 10-12 hours a night…sleep! This makes sense. Mentally, I am focused elsewhere and either consciously or unconsciously deplete myself of all energy as a result.

IMG_9161
Sleep, sleep, sleep…

My Life:

Stress causes my life to be in a state of chaos. My train gets derailed and I don’t know how to get it back on track. With complete lack of energy, I turn into the Cookie Monster and eat monster cookies, peanut butter cookies, sugar cookies, cookies, Cookies, COOKIES! A quick sugar fix gives me a short boost of energy, but when it wears off, my energy levels plummet lower than they were originally. It just becomes a vicious cycle. With the roller coaster of energy, comes a roller coaster ride of emotions as well. This doesn’t bode well to maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse when your emotions are all over the place.

cookie monster

My Training:

Stress causes my training to fall apart. I miss more workouts than I complete. Because I am so tired all the time, all I want to do is sleep. When my alarm clock goes off in the morning and I have the choice of getting up and working out, or sleeping for another 2 hours. When I am stressed, I often choose the later, knowing it is NOT helping me achieve my goals and dreams…SIGH…I lack all motivation to even plant my feet on the floor and pretend like I might get up and workout in the morning. I lack determination, willpower, and drive. I get frustrated with the Iron Hippie, because he “lets” me go back to bed. What am I thinking…IT IS NOT HIS FAULT!!

Lots of red in Training Peaks...
Lots of red in Training Peaks…

How do I overcome stress?

Thanks to Brene Brown’s Living Brave Semester, I have learned to focus on identifying what is REALLY causing the stress, how to let the stress go, refocus my conscious and unconscious mind elsewhere, and get myself off the merry-go-round that slowly and continuously seems to suck me into it’s center.

I first take a full body scan of where I’m at. Where is this stress coming from? What am I feeling? Why am I feeling this way? Have I created an ending to my story that is real, or something that may not be real?

Next I take 20 minutes on 4 consecutive days and write in my journal about the stress. I don’t sensor what I write…I just let the pen flow for 20 solid minutes (I even set a timer and put myself in an environment with no distractions). It is amazing what I learn when I don’t sensor my thoughts.

During the day when I start to notice my mind allowing some negativity to filter in around my stress, I remind myself to let it go and focus on the here and now. By refocusing my conscious mind, my unconscious mind follows.

Through this work, I’ve overcome the stress. My train is back on its tracks, and I’m ready to conquer the world…ok, maybe not the world, but definitely the last 6 weeks of the school year. Yep…hard to believe our summer break will be here in about 6 weeks 😉

How does stress impact your body, life, and training? How do you overcome stress?

What’s Up?! – March 2016

Oops!! Where did the month of March go?!?! This was supposed to have been posted yesterday, BUT life took hold. “What’s Up?!” is going to be my new spin on “Currently” to update you on what I’ve been up to for the month. “What’s Up?!” is a phrase I often hear in the middle school setting, so I feel it is the perfect way to keep you updated each month.

Celebrating:

My birthday! It was a very fun day full of friends…both new and old. Crazy to think this is my last trip around the sun in my 30s!!

Starting my day with my main squeeze and a new friend in the burbs of Chicago!
Starting my day with my main squeeze and a new friend in the burbs of Chicago!

Training:

I started March with an FTP test that I saw HUGE improvements on!! My normalized power was up 12 watts from peak Ironman Boulder training in 2015…I was grinning from ear to ear after this test!! Not only did I see improvements in the numbers, but also on my performance during the test…I believed in myself and didn’t make excuses. It was da bomb!!

FTP test results...My normalized power was 189 watts...this was 12 watts higher than peak Ironman Boulder training in 2015!!
FTP test results…My normalized power was 189 watts…this was 12 watts higher than peak Ironman Boulder training in 2015!!

After my FTP test, my training been a roller coaster ride. I started out the month on a high note, but week 2 found my training plummeting. Week 3 I was on Spring Break and had a very successful week of training, but last week followed it up with a week of more sleep. So far this week has been back on the upswing. I hope to ride this upswing for a while!

Recovery swim, but I had more fun playing with my new GoPro after my swim!!
Recovery swim, but I had more fun playing with my new GoPro after my swim!!
2 hours & 45 minutes in the saddle = LOTS of sweat!!
2 hours & 45 minutes in the saddle = LOTS of sweat!!
Family run off the bike!
Run off the bike with my two faves!

Learning:

I have been learning a lot about myself in the Living Brave Semester…my feelings, why I have them, how I react to them, giving myself permission to be human, and forgiving myself when I make mistakes. Teaching an old dog new tricks isn’t easy, but it will be worth it when these changes are no longer “new.”

change takes courage

Loving:

I finally received my SparkNotebook and L.O.V.E. LOVE IT!! I love how it provides me a place to keep track of my week (like a planner), set weekly goals, reflect on my previous week, set monthly goals, reflect on my monthly goals, answer guiding questions each week to help me be a better person/educator/athlete/etc. As someone who thrives on organization, the SparkNotebook has been the perfect tool to add to my life!!

IMG_8641

I got a GoPro for my birthday and I’m LOVING taking pictures from new angles and in the pool!! Now…I just need to get more creative with my shots 😉

Cadence work on Easter Sunday with my fave!
Cadence work on Easter Sunday with my fave!

Looking Forward To:

SPRING. SUNSHINE. WARMER TEMPERATURES. I am ready for Mother Nature to bless us with these; after all, the calendar does say spring now. 😉

How was the month of March for you? What are you looking forward to?