I can’t believe summer is in the review mirror! Where has time gone?!?!?! Here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been up to in September!
The CyMan Sprint Triathlon was hard! I was definitely not fully recovered post Ironman Mont Tremblant and I definitely felt it! Thankfully I still put together a decent race and HAD FUN doing it!
My Coeur Sports teammate…Amy Farrell on running a marathon during Ironman training. Thanks to Brad Brown with the Kona Edge for this interview!
Amy Dixon is a blind triathlete who has taken on the challenge of Xterra triathlon racing! Holy inspirational! Thanks Kelsey Abbott for helping Amy share her story!
Stressed and overwhelmed. Work is a struggle right now. I’m grateful to work with some amazing people and have the support of an amazing husband to help get me through. I am strong. I will overcome this obstacle. It may be time for change. For now…one day at a time.
Normal life. After a month of vacation, we finally returned home to see our girls, return to work, and return to reality. Daily walks with our girls make us all happy!
Helping + Volunteering:
I’m so lucky to have ladies who ask me for help! I got to teach a friend (doing her first Ironman next Sunday) how to change her tire. It is so much fun to help others!
I was also lucky to get to be one of the Captains for the Women’s change at Ironman Wisconsin this year! It is always so fun to get to work with amazing volunteers + support athletes to help them achieve their dreams on race day!
Post Ironman Blues! I know I’ve posted about the reality of the post Ironman blues, but I am finally combatting them and back to a more normal routine that includes working out on a regular basis!
Yes…I am still working on overcoming my fear of heights. I didn’t make it to the top of the wall during this climbing session. Between lack of recovery post Ironman + my fear ruling the roost, I made it 3/4 of the way up the wall most of the times I climbed. I think it’s time to go climb again and make it to the top of the wall!
How was your month of September?! What was your favorite part of the month?!
Ladies and Gentlemen…I am finding myself again and seeing in green! I love to see green in Training Peaks! It gives me a sense of accomplishment, it gives me consistency, it gives me a stress release, it gives me joy! It means I am finding my rhythm again! I am making my heart happy, and I am less of a bear to be around. Just ask the Iron Hippie…or maybe don’t 😉
It feels good to be combatting the post Ironman blues! How do you combat the post Ironman blues?!
Five weeks post Ironman Mont Tremblant, I tackled the CyMan Sprint Triathlon. There is a HUGE difference in pain level between Ironman racing and Sprint Triathlon racing! The sprint hurt…a LOT! Way more than Ironman!
We arrived early, set up transition, and then waited for over 2 hours for the start of the sprint race.
Since the race was in small town Iowa, one of my colleagues (who is also a dear friend) came to cheer us on. It was so nice to have her spectating! She was in all of the right places! 🙂
Swim: 16:45 for 750 yards
This was the most DISGUSTING water I’ve EVER swam in! It was so thick and dark that I couldn’t see anything. The water was wetsuit legal, but only by a few degrees, so I opted to swim in my Roka Viper Elite Swim Skin which was the prefect decision for this water.
We started with a floating start. There was no real place to “start” so all of the ladies in the water were chatting (as we waited for the air horn to go off) about moving closer and closer to the first turn buoy and see just when the announcers called us back, but no one was brave enough to lead the way. 😉 There were very few ladies, so I had zero physical contact in the water. I got in a groove and just kept swimming. My swim time was slower than I’d hoped for, but I also think the swim distance may have been longer than the advertised 750 yards.
I quickly transitioned to the bike. Mojo and I were off before I knew it!
Bike: 46:51 for 12 miles (my Garmin said 13.9 miles for actual distance)
Uh Oh! My legs decided to not show up for the party right from the beginning. This was going to be a challenge, but thankfully it would be a short challenge! I had made the decision to go as hard as I could and hold on for as long as I could. Since my legs weren’t having it, going hard wasn’t as hard as I’d hoped. The plus side…my Coeur Sports one pice racing suit was SO comfortable! Smooth as butter + #noangrykitty = WIN!
As the temperatures climbed, I drank my NBS hydration, thanked all of the volunteers, pushed past people, and just kept riding as hard as I could!
T2: 52 seconds
I quickly changed into my run shoes and was out on the run.
Run: 29:13 for a 5K run
Yep! The legs decided they weren’t showing up for the run either. It was already close to 90*F heat index when I started the run, and I just couldn’t get the legs to turn over like I wanted. I kept running and doing what I could to keep moving forward, but my legs were in full on protest mode! At about 1.5 miles into the run, I saw a friend in passing who should have been in front of me, so I asked him how it was going only to learn he had been stung by a bee and had to sit in the ditch on the bike waiting for an epipen (the one triathlon he didn’t carry his own with him). Grateful he was ok!
Shortly before mile 2, I saw Rachel and was so happy to be that much closer to done! Now to get back around the lake and to the finish line!
This was not the performance I had hoped for, but any day I *get* to swim/bike/run is a great day! I’m grateful this was a short distance event so I didn’t have to feel *off* all day long! Apparently my body needed a bit more time to recover from Ironman Mont Tremblant before trying to go hard at the sprint distance!
The post Ironman blues are REAL and they are awful! I had a big goal on the horizon…one that I put lots of time, energy, focus, passion, heart, and courage into. I achieved that goal. I crossed the finish line of Ironman Mont Tremblant and I did so setting a shiny new PR! It is natural to feel a loss…to feel depressed with that goal no longer on the horizon and nothing to take its place.
Sure it didn’t help that post Ironman Mont Tremblant we IMMEDIATELY drove 1200+ miles home and then I started back to work IMMEDIATELY with kids. It doesn’t help that this year has been and will continue to be a bit of a challenge in comparison to previous years, but the let down that comes with crossing the finish line of an Ironman is real. Yes, I rode cloud nine for about a week…who wouldn’t…I had a great race day and a PR on top of it! But then the blues set in and the last 9 months of focus went down the drain…I don’t have that big goal on the horizon staring me in the face forcing me to workout. I know it sounds crazy, especially since I truly LOVE swim/bike/run, but post Ironman the body needs a break…both physically and mentally. So…I listen and give my body the rest it needs. With that rest comes some depression…the post Ironman blues.
The last 5 weeks have gone by pretty quickly and I can’t believe I have swam a few times, ran ran a few times, and biked a few times…nothing consistent, nothing routine. Last Saturday, I finally felt like I was finding myself again…I let the water wash away the post Ironman blues and reconnected with Mojo! It felt amazing to be moving again! It wasn’t easy, but it was good to be moving again!
Not only did I complete 2 workouts on Saturday, I also completed 3 workouts on Sunday! A run with my two faves, a trainer ride with some intensity, and a short strength training session.
Then this last week, I was sidelined with unexpected craziness with work. Sure, I got in a few workouts. Not at all what I was hoping for, but some people and things are WAY more important that completing a workout.
I’ve overcome the post Ironman blues 4 times before. How? I’m not really sure. Signing up for future races has helped in the past, but I typically sign up for those races later in the year when I’m actually ready to train again. Sure I’ve signed up for a race or two for next year, but they are so far away that I don’t feel the need to be training for them just yet. So…for now, I just put one foot in front of the other and take it one day at a time. I know the post Ironman blues will subside yet again…with time!
Have you experienced the post Ironman blues? If so, how did you combat them?
I’ve been asked why I put forth so much time + effort to volunteer at races when I’m not a participant. That is such an easy answer…I do it because I LOVE IT! I LOVE supporting other, I LOVE the energy that surrounds race day, and I LOVE seeing the joy radiate from the athletes when they achieve something they once thought was impossible. I LOVE watching them cross that finish line and all the emotions that come with it!
Last weekend, I volunteered to be the captain of the women’s change area at Ironman Wisconsin and a few myths came about throughout the day that I want to take a few minutes to dispel.
“I didn’t know that the volunteers moved all of our gear. I thought paid Ironman employees did all of this and that it was just magically done when we finished the race.” As an athlete, our race fees do not pay for all the moving around of our gear, directing of traffic (yes some officers get paid for this, but the volunteers on course don’t), and handing out water + food on the course; even the staff in the medical tent are volunteers.
“I thought our race fees went to paying for people to work the even like you.” I am not paid. The captains of different areas are also volunteers. We are not paid for the time we spend emailing all of our volunteers, coordinating all of our volunteers, running the area we are volunteering in, and making all of the decisions we have to make throughout the day (no matter how difficult they may be to keep athletes safe)…but I wouldn’t change it for the all the money in the world!
“If you don’t get paid, do you at least get a free entry into a race?” The captains of different areas are not given a free entry into a future event. We are given a free shirt, cap, and lanyard…nothing more. We do this because we LOVE supporting others, LOVE the race day atmosphere, and LOVE seeing the smiles on so many faces when we get to help athletes throughout the day.
Remember to thank a volunteer when you are racing. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to do what you love (or it would cost so much more)!
Wow! What a month! What a truly AMAZING month! It filled my coeur (heart) with pure love, joy, and happiness!
Ironman Mont Tremblant was so much fun! A great venue, a great day, beautiful weather, patience, and following my coeur lead me to a near perfect race execution and a shiny new PR. You can experience my day via my race report.
Due to racing Ironman Mont Tremblant, there wasn’t much training done in August. The little training we did do was in beautiful places…Lake Placid, NY and Mont Tremblant, Quebec!
Swim: 12.5 miles
Bike: 260 miles
Run: 51 miles
Family + spending the majority of August on vacation (we left July 25 and didn’t return home until August 22) = #happyheart
Rejuvenated! Spending a month on vacation was a great way to see new places, refill my heart, and prepare for the coming school year.
The Voice of Ironman Mike Reilly is an incredible podcast! It is so amazing to hear about Ironman from his perspective. The finish lines, the atmosphere, the energy!
Own Your Awesome Podcast with Amy Dixon is so inspirational! Amy lost her sight, but gained so much more as a result. Amy is a blind triathlete who recently became the first women to complete an Xterra triathlon. She is a paratriathlete who will be competing at Worlds in Rotterdam in September and has her heart set on on the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. She is a motivational speaker and when you listen to her, you will know why!
Work…yes, the dreaded 4 letter word for a teacher at the end of summer vacation! I am very grateful to have such a good job with summers off to enjoy time with family and friends! The beginning of the year is so exhausting, but I will be back into a consistent routine soon enough!
Looking forward to:
The changing seasons…I love summer, but I also love the beautiful fall colors and adventures with my fave and our girls in the snow! I’m looking forward to the opportunities that fall and winter bless us with (remind me of this in February when I’m ready for it to be summer again)! I am also looking forward to returning to a consistent routine. It has been fun to have a break from this routine, but I am definitely ready to have routine and normalcy (for us) back in our lives!
How was your month of August? What were your August highlights? What are you looking forward to?
“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do – this is what it’s all about.” ~PattiSue Plummer, US Olympian
Grab your favorite beverage, kick up your feet, and enjoy what is a really long race report! 🙂
The alarm went off at 3 am, but I was already laying awake. I didn’t sleep well at all, which was a first for me, but thankfully it didn’t seem to impact my day. After eating my pre-race breakfast of muesli + peanut butter + Pure Clean Beet Powder + frozen mixed berries with a Karma Kombucha, I donned my Coeur Sports race kit and prepared for the day by reading my pre-race quote from Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox before heading to the race start.
We arrived at parking lot #2 by 4:30 am, which made it easy to find a place to park that would be convenient for after the race to get all of our gear loaded up. We walked to the transition area, dropped off our bike and run special needs bags, and waited until 5 am for body marking and the transition area to open. After body marking, I had bike support fill my tires, lubed up the chain (it had rained on Saturday after Mojo was racked for the night and I wanted to make sure my chain was greased back up), filled my water bottle, put my bike bottles on my bike, got my Garmin on my bike and started, saw Erika and gave her a pre-race hug, put my salty balls in my T1 bag, and hit the kybo up one more time before heading to the swim start.
At the swim start, I got into my Roka wetsuit, ate part of a granola bar and two Pure Clean Beet’ums, drank down some water, dropped off my morning clothes bag, got another hug from Erika, and made my way to the water for the swim warm-up. As I was exiting the water from the swim warm-up, a lady came up to me and gave me a hug and we shared good luck wishes to each other. I have no idea who this lady was because we were both wearing wetsuits, swim caps, and goggles, but I am grateful for the pre-race hug, so thank you to whomever you were! It was this point that I decided it didn’t matter what the day brought me, I was going to race with Coeur (French for heart) for the entire day! I am going to share my coeur, but also fill my coeur up throughout the entire day!
After the Canada National Anthem and fly over, the fireworks went off and the male pros were off, followed by the female pros and then the age group athletes.
Swim: 1:24:16 (average pace of 2:11/100 meters)
We lined up by the 1:15-1:20 pace sign for the swim and were soon moving into separate corrals waiting for the beep every 5 seconds to send the next group of swimmers into the water. This was the cleanest swim start I’ve ever experienced! As I entered the water, a calm came over me like I’ve never experienced before and I set out at comfortable pace. I felt solid and strong. The water temperature of 66*F was perfect…I much prefer the colder water! I had very little contact with other swimmers until buoy #6 when I swam up on a guy who couldn’t hold a straight line for nothing. He was definitely a faster swimmer than I was, but because he was zig-zagging back and forth all over the course, he swam a lot farther than he needed to. Every time I tried to pass him, I would get cut off by him again. This continued for about 3 more buoys before I finally passed him. The rest of the swim was pretty uneventful as I had very little contact with other swimmers. I had a slower swim than I’d hoped for, but also didn’t leave everything in the water. I was trying to pace myself well for the long bike + run ahead. So much coeur during the swim!
There is a rather long run (300 meters) from the swim exit to transition. When I got to the transition area, I grabbed my T1 bag and quickly made my way into the women’s change tent. I was shocked at the lack of volunteers in the change tent to help the athletes. I am very self sufficient and don’t change, but for those ladies who do a full change and need help getting a dry sports bra on a wet body, they would have had to get help from other female athletes. I quickly put on my socks, bike shoes, and helmet. I loaded my pockets and put on my arm coolers and sunglasses as I ran to my bike.
Bike: 7:05:08 (average speed of 15.81 mph)
As I left transition on my bike, I saw Dad and my Aunt Linda cheering me on! I quickly mounted Mojo after the mount line and set off on the bike. Coach Kelly instructed me to dial it back and go out conservatively for the first 56 miles. I was feeling good and really wanted to hammer, but I knew I had a long day in the saddle, so I sat back and tried to keep my watts near the 130 mark. I consumed 2 salty ball every 30 minutes on the bike and NBS hydration every 20 minutes while sipping water the rest of the ride, which is exactly what I’d done in training and it worked beautifully.
This course is essentially 2 x 2 different out and back sections. The first out and back is from the village on Montee Ryan to 117 out to Labelle, back on 117 to St. Jovite, from St. Jovite back on 117 to Montee Ryan and back to the village. There is a “no passing zone” on Montee Ryan in each direction (away from the village and toward the village). The second out and back is 10K out and 10K back on Chemin Duplessis. There is another “no passing zone” on one of the big descents on this section as we return to the village. If an athlete passes another athlete in any of these “zones,” the athlete doing the passing is automatically disqualified and removed from the course. There is plenty of climbing on this course, but in my opinion, this is much easier than Ironman Wisconsin’s bike course.
I felt great during the first 56 miles as I consumed my nutrition according to plan and held back my power so I could open it up during the next 56 miles (or so I thought). My only two goals were to keep my power at 130 watts or less and not get lapped by the professional triathletes racing. I had to remind another athlete of the “no passing zone” leaving the village on Montee Ryan as we were headed to 117, since he attempted to start passing me, but backed off when I reminding him of the no passing zone. I also wanted to go faster in this section, but there was an athlete in front of me that I had to stay behind on the descent to avoid a DQ. As I made my way out to Labelle, I was in awe of the beautiful scenery around me. Sure there were hills to climb, but there were also some amazing descents to enjoy. As I made my way to St. Jovite, I just soaked it all in…the beauty, the spectators out cheering, and the feelings of pure joy that I was getting to ride my bicycle! I was also super pumped to have achieved both of my goals for the first 56 miles!
Each of these out and back sections is done twice. So during the second 56 miles I was ready to cruise, but Mother Nature had increased the winds a bit. I stopped at the first aid station to refill my NBS hydration bottles before fighting some headwinds on the way out to Labelle. Thankfully it was only about 12 miles of fighting the headwind while climbing to Labelle…riding in Iowa means a LOT of windy training rides, so I was ready for this! Mentally I got into a bit of a negative funk as I was struggling physically…not just with the headwinds while climbing, but I felt a bit depleted nutritionally despite nailing my nutrition plan to this point. Once I turned around in Labelle, the tail wind was a blessing and I stopped at the aid station just outside of Labelle to eat a banana and use the kybo…I just can’t make myself pee on the bike while riding. I felt good and strong as I made my way to St. Jovite and was rejuvenated by the crowds and the fact that I was heading back to the village for the final push on the bike course. The 10K out on Chemin Duplessis was tough, but I settled into my easiest gear and steadily climbed my way to the turn around. I was so happy to have ridden the whole course (there were some people who walked their bikes up some of the steeper hills) while staying in my saddle (I never climbed out of the saddle…wahoo). I kept my power and heart rate in check, which would hopefully benefit me on the run! Lots of coeur on the bike!
I quickly handed Mojo over to an amazing volunteer who returned her to her spot and removed my helmet on my way to the change tent. I also unzipped my speed top as I knew I wanted to run in the tri top I was wearing under my speed top. I grabbed my T2 bag, stripped my top, changed my socks and shoes, grabbed my nutrition visor, and race belt. I put my race belt and visor on while exiting T2. I made my way to the kybo to pee one more time before starting the run.
Run: 4:51:26 (average pace of 11:07 min/mile)
I felt so strong at the beginning of my run, but having run countless stand alone marathons and 4 marathons at the end of Ironman races, I knew it may not last, so I decided to ride this wave for as long as I could while keeping my pace in check. I broke the marathon into ~8 x 5K segments. I started off easy as I made my way through the first 5K of the run, which is rolling hills. I was so pumped to see one of my Coeur Sports teammates, cheering me on during this section of the run! Thanks for the love Ericka!
Once I hit the bike path, I knew I had just over a 5K to the turn around. We had done some training runs on this section of the course, so I knew it would be flat and very quiet with few spectators…mostly other athletes + the sounds of our own footfalls. I was still feeling good, so I just kept ticking away the kilometers (everything is in kilometers in Canada). I was taking in water at every aid station, bananas and oranges at nearly every aid station, and my Motts fruit chews every 30 minutes. At mile 4, I HAD to visit the kybo…well, this was a first! I’ve never had this problem during a race before! After a quick stop, I was back to running and spreading all the coeur I could on the course…I hope this lifted others up as much as it lifts me up to spread the love! On my way to the turn around, I saw another Coeur Sports Teammate, Erika, and the Iron Hippie, both running strong! I made it to the turn around, knocking out just over another 5K and was still feeling strong, which I was super stoked about. The only walking I had done to this point was through the aid stations to eat and drink and up the big hills. I decided at this point that I would continue to run (with the exceptions of the aid stations and the bigger hills) at least through the half marathon and re-evaluate how I was feeling. I had never had an IM marathon feel this good, so I just rode the wave and went with it! At about mile 8, I needed to visit the kybo again…ugh! Feeling much lighter, I was still running strong! 😉 Onward…to the end of the bike path and through the rolling hills back to the village! It was so much fun to see Dad and Aunt Linda in the village (as well as all of the other spectators) and know that I was still feeling strong and ready to rock the second half of the marathon!
With 4 of my 5Ks behind me, it was time to buckle down! The new goal…make it through the next 2 x 5K distances while still running and feeling strong and then re-evaluate. I continued to knock of the kilometers, spread coeur, see Erika and the Iron Hippie on the run, and made my way to the 19 mile point before needing to visit the kybo again…this time I had to wait a bit for an open one, but I knew I COULD NOT make it to the next one without a mess down my legs, so I waited just a few minutes. After lots of relief, I was back to running strong! I was starting to feel the fatigue, but with just over 6 miles this is where I knew I needed to kick in the mental game, stay focused, continue to run as long as I could, spread more coeur, and enjoy the ride to the finish line! As I made my way to mile 24, I could hear Mike Reilly bringing people home to the Ironman Mont Tremblant finish line and I was so excited to hear him call me across that finish line!
Overall: 13:36:44 = 43 of 86 F40-44, 237 of 461 Females, and 1169 of 1816 Overall
It was a beautiful day for racing in Mont Tremblant! The weather was near perfect…a high of 77*F on race day with winds picking up later in the day. This is the first Ironman race that I feel like I executed it the way it should be executed! I finally nailed my nutrition (despite the kybo visits), I was mentally and physically strong, and I had a PR on the distance by almost 30 minutes! I set myself up for a run that I was FINALLY able to actually run and It. Felt. Amazing! Moving up 514 places on the run was a dream! I left some of my coeur on that course, but I took so much more with me! For this, I am very grateful!
I am SO grateful to my tribe for helping me get to the finish line! My parents, Aunt Linda, my sisters and their families, my friends and family, Jeff & Deb, Nick with Vitality Massage (my massage therapist), Melanie with Massotherapie Sportive (my massage therapist in Mont Tremblant), Chris with Team Chiropractic (my ART Chiropractor), Kyle at Kyle’s Bikes, Coeur Sports + my Coeur teammates, Sound Probiotics, Roka Sports, and Newton Running. A special thanks to Coach Kelly at Track Cat Fitness for setting me up for success, making me #trackcatstrong, and helping me achieve a new PR. To my fave, my #1…the Iron Hippie…you are my rock and I’m so grateful that we are on this crazy journey together! Thank you!