With the start of the New Year, so many people set New Year’s Resolutions. I prefer to set intentions instead of resolutions. I feel like resolutions set me up for failure the moment I “fall off the train,” whereas intentions make me more mindful + allow for success by not being so finite.
Only about 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions keep them throughout the year, which might be why I view resolutions as negative.
Last year I adopted the phrase “courage over comfort” part of the way through 2017 and it served me very well. It fits in all areas of my life…personal, relationships, work, sport, financial, etc. When I’m more mindful of being courageous, growth happens. Change happens. When growth and change happen, I feel empowered.
Why change a good thing?! I’ve decided to keep this ball rolling! My intention for 2018:
How is it already 2018?! It seems like not too long ago I was sitting here writing about my intensions for 2017 (I’ll have my 2018 intentions later this week) and now the year has come and gone! Here is a snapshot of what December had in store for me.
This month had a lot of ups and a few downs. I was sick for a few days this month, which derailed my training a bit, but I bounced back strong and ready to end the month putting in the work to earn the “bat cap” by taking on a swim challenge. I will have a post on this in the next week or two. Because of this challenge, there was a LOT more swimming than biking or running during December.
Swim: 53,700 yards
Bike: 79.6 miles
Run: 33.8 miles
IronWomen Podcast interviewed Jen Annett about her most recent bike course record at Ironman Arizona. She biked the 112 miles in 4 hours & 38 minutes…SMOKIN’ FAST! She is an athlete that is managing epilepsy (where she has grand mal seizures) with her training and racing.
Emily Esfahani Smith’s TedTalk “There’s more to life than being happy” is profound! She talks about “having meaning in life — serving something beyond yourself and developing the best within you — gives you something to hold onto.” She refers to 4 pillars : belonging, purpose, transcendence, and storytelling.
PUZZLES! I love putting puzzles together! They are so addicting! 😉
Spending time with family is the best part of the holiday season (well, that and getting two weeks off from work)!!
Winter! We have had snow + some seriously ridiculously cold temperatures in the last 2 weeks. The real temperatures of -22 to -25*F with windchill temperatures as low as -45*F. That hasn’t stopped us from bundling up and getting outside. Fresh air and movement are so good for the body!
Looking forward to:
Change! 2017 has been truly AMAZING, but there is one major area of my life I’m hoping to see some drastic changes come to fruition in the coming months. I’m not ready to give much insight into this yet, but as soon as I know more about the coming change, I’ll be sharing the news with you as well! HINT: It does NOT involve expanding our perfect little family! 😉
How was your month of December?! What are you looking forward to in 2018?!
I love looking back and thinking about all of the amazing things that I’ve accomplished and all of the challenges I’ve overcome! I’ve reflected for the last 4 years and want to keep this trend going! You can look back at my previous posts if you’d like: Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, the Best of 2015, and the Best of 2016. Now its time to reminisce my faves from 2017! 🙂
Best race experience?
Ironman Mont Tremblant! This was by far one of the best experiences of the year! I was blessed with a near perfect day + a PR on the day. I was so incredibly lucky to combine my race experience with an extended vacation with family + friends, which made for a really fun time!
I have been waiting to have a good run during an Ironman race for 6 years and this year, it finally happened at Ironman Mont Tremblant! I FINALLY pulled off a sub 5 hour marathon (and I know it could have been even faster without some visits to the kybo). I felt good, I felt strong, I was happy, I smiled the whole run, I really enjoyed myself, I spread coeur with others, and gave “hi-fives” to those who looked like they could use one. This run was a HUGE confidence builder for future races!
Sometimes the best rides aren’t the ones where we have the most fun, but where we learn the most. Yes, I had some seriously fun rides this summer…some solo rides, some with the Iron Hippie, some at the Track Cat Fitness Training Camp, and some on the Ironman Lake Placid + Ironman Mont Tremblant bike courses. For me, the ride that stands out the most this year is the one I learned the most from…my first solo century ride. It was a VERY tough day for me! Physically the wind BEAT. ME. UP! Mentally, I had to overcome a case of the “I can’t do this,” a case of the “I’m not strong enough,” a case of the “I’m not fast enough,” and a case of the “I’m not fueled enough” to finish. In this process, I learned so much about who I am and what I can do when staring adversity in the face!
Swimming in Mirror Lake was probably one of the best experiences of the summer! It was so much fun to swim with an underwater guide wire! All lakes should be closed to motorized vehicles and have have an underwater guide wire available for swimmers!
Best training weekend?
The Track Cat Fitness Training Camp in Stowe, Vermont at the end of July was CHALLENGING + SO. MUCH. FUN! I climbed Smuggler’s Notch. I climbed App Gap. I ran trails. I swam. In addition to all of the fun, there was community, riding, running, swimming, eating, learning, and growing as an athlete.
Best training compass?
Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness has provided me with structure, focus, guidance, feedback, support, accountability, motivation + so much more! She has paved the yellow brick road for me this year and I am forever grateful! Standing beside me, believing in me, educating me, and helping me to become a better, #trackcatstrong athlete every day!
Best enCOEURaging moment?
Thanks to the support of Coeur Sports, Ignite Yoga, and Team Chiropractic for helping me provide a recovery clinic for women! The community! The learning! The practice! The enCOEURaging! The supporting! The love!
Best recovery secret?
Wearing my CEP recovery tights as part of my work attire after a tough morning workout. Hello style + recovery! The best of both worlds!
Best tapering adventure?
Having my sister, brother-in-law, and 3 nieces vacation with us in Mont Tremblant for a few days was so much fun! We don’t get to see each other nearly enough (since they live in California and we live in Iowa), so this was a special treat!
Best new piece of gear?
This was SUPER easy! We had some REALLY HOT + HUMID summer days this year, which forced me out of my comfort zone as I became a part of the #sportsbrasquad! I absolutely love the Coeur Sports sports bras! Not only are they super cute, functional, and comfortable, but they also have a hidden pocket that is perfect for carrying keys, nutrition, or ice!
Best way to stay healthy?
This was also SUPER easy…Sound Probiotics has been keeping me healthy since March 2015! As endurance athletes, we put ourselves at risk for a dysfunctional immune system because of the intensity and duration of our workouts. When stress (life, work, or otherwise), inadequate sleep, poor diet choices, cold weather, alcohol or travel are thrown into the mix, our immune system is even further suppressed. How has Sound Probiotics helped me? Sound Probiotics helps in nutrient production and absorption, helps fend off viruses, promotes the production of cytokines and mucin, and limits bad bacteria in the gut. I have experienced less fatigue and fewer sick days, which as a middle school teacher who is an endurance athlete speaks volumes! This has provided me with the opportunity for more training and better performance. I would highly recommend all endurance athletes use Sound Probiotics to stay healthy!!
Best piece of racing advice you received?
Hello race morning! Time to drink my Karma Kombucha, eat my muesli, and get inspired to do and be my best as I embark on the race ahead:
“Be calm; focus on what you are going to do. Don’t get distracted, don’t get overwhelmed, take it all as it comes. You are ready for this; you’ve prepared for years. This is it, your time to shine. Go forth with all your powers. Go forth with everything in you. Make it work.” ~Lynne Cox, “Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer”
Most inspirational athlete?
There are so many that I can’t pick just one! My Coeur Sports sisters inspire me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! I’ve also been SUPER inspired this year by friends who finished their first Ironman. By friends who attempted their first Ironman, but didn’t meet cutoffs. By people who fight disease and keep training + racing. By people who challenge themselves and try something new. By people I haven’t met yet and people I see everyday! There are far to many people who inspire me to pick just one!
Best support crew?
Hands down…Dad and my Aunt Linda! These two helped us load our car with ALL. THE. GEAR. from our 4 week vacation the day before our race. They were up EARLY on race morning to help us get to transition. They were patient with the process of all of the race morning shenanigans. They were in all of the right places at all of the right times during the race. They helped us get our gear after the race. They cheered, photographed, and spread love to us and other athletes throughout a REALLY long day! There are not enough hugs and kisses for each of you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Love you both so much!
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Courage over comfort, believe, fun!!
Tell me about your 2017 year!! What are your “bests” from 2017?!
November was full of ups and downs, but I’m choosing to remember the positives, so here they are!
I finally had a successful month of training…I met my November challenge! 10 minutes of core strength every day for the entire month + an entire month of seeing green in Training Peaks! Bonus…NO eating out + NO alcohol for the month of November = Boo-yay!
Swim: 31,400 yards (17.84 miles)
Bike: 188 miles
Run: 75.9 miles
The Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon…I ran with Tim and Robin. So much fun to run strong and with friends on a course that could definitely result in a PR some day when I’m not coming off of Ironman season!
Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow is an interview with Susan Lacke about her book, which is a tribute to the friendship she had with Carlos. He was not only her mentor, but also her colleague, role model, friend, and a continuous fighter. “Even when you’re scared, you do the thing. You show up, face your fears, and you keep going.”
Dr. Grace Liu: How to Build a Warrior Gut, Common and Solvable Gut Issues in Athletes, and More is an interview full of loads of valuable information! I’m so happy to hear amazing things about Sound Probiotics from Dr. Grace Liu in this interview! I am a HUGE proponent of Sound Probiotics! As a middle school teacher + endurance athlete, I am constantly exposed to germs and my body is under varying forms of stress. Taking Sound Probiotics daily for over 2 years now has drastically decreased the illnesses I’ve had! I feel better + stronger + more energetic with Sound Probiotics in my corner! #soundathlete
Time to Start Planning Your 2018 Season with Lost in Transition is a great podcast reminding you to reflect on 2017 to better plan for 2018! It is important to have a healthy mix of outcome + process goals when planning for future seasons. When planning your season, you should consider the course terrain, travel, cost, community, time of year, etc.
We are so lucky to have a golf course nearby that closes for the winter. Basil thinks it is her own personal playground!
Looking forward to:
Winter break! The countdown is on! We are inside 20 days until we get a much needed break + time with family! I will also be completing an BSC swim challenge the last week in December, which I am super excited + nervous about! If nerves weren’t involved, it wouldn’t be a challenge right?!
Racing with #heartandcourage + these empowering and inspirational Coeur Sports sisters again in 2018!
How was your month of November?! What are you excited for?!
Near the end of October I talked with Coach Kelly about where I was and where I wanted to be. We decided that setting a challenge for the month of November would be a great way to get back on the right track. So an entire month of:
10 minutes of core daily
seeing green in Training Peaks for the entire month
no eating out
no alcohol consumption
It was beyond time to get back into my 10 minutes of daily core strength routine…plus I knew seeing green for a full month in Training Peaks would be just the kick in the shorts I needed to relieve stress, regain my confidence, and get that positivity train moving forward again! This was something that hadn’t happened since before Ironman Mont Tremblant…4 months to be exact! No eating out and no alcohol consumption would not only be better for us, but it would also save us money! Challenges make us stronger, so I’ve decided to set a challenge for myself each month for the rest of the school year to keep me motivated and on track.
I started out November with a bit of a head cold, so I was forced by Coach Kelly to skip the “optional” workouts to give myself a little extra rest. Thankfully my body responded beautifully to the extra sleep + TLC!
Monthly Totals: 51 hours & 7 minutes
Swim: 31,400 yards (17.84 miles)
Bike: 188 miles
Run: 75.9 miles
Strength Training: 13 hours & 5 minutes (this included my 10 minutes of core strength every day of the month)
Finding faster in the pool! I have dropped my CSS by 3 seconds (on the 100 yard distance)!
Getting stronger on the bike! Hello bike intervals…I’ve missed you! You make me work, but you also make me stronger!
Running at varying paces…a mix of track work + hilly runs for speed development and sloooow runs have been a theme this month!
Rebuilding my strength…full body and core has been amazing for my swimming, cycling, and running!
Eating home cooked meals has been better for me nutritionally and saved us money! 🙂
No alcohol has been better for my mental state, better for me nutritionally, and has saved us money! 🙂
I’ve overcome a lot of adversity this month in many areas of my life.
I’m focusing on the positives!
I am healthier and happier…I’m finding myself again! Healthy + Happy is key! 🙂
Successfully completing the November challenge will set me up perfectly for my December swim challenge at the end of the month…30K yards in 7 days?! Yep, I’m going for the BSC swim cap!! 🙂
As a triathlete, I’ve learned the importance of recovery…active recovery, massages, compression, yoga…it is all so important in keeping me healthy + active! I LOVE going to Ignite Yoga for hot yoga classes…the community, the practice, the instructors, the heat. Sometimes after 2-4 hours of swim/bike/run before yoga, my body needs a good stretch without the added heat. After sweating so much during swim/bike/run workouts, sweating buckets during yoga isn’t always the best idea.
I’m grateful to a blog friend, Amy, for turning me onto www.yogadownload.com so I can get a good stretch post workout at home without the additional heat to further dehydrate me.
Here are a few of my favorite yoga videos:
Yoga for Triathletes: Post-Training Practice is a 30 minute session that is perfect for after a swim, bike, or run. You get a great stretch in multiple ranges of motion to work on imbalances we develop while always moving forward.
Yoga for Athletes: Enhance your Performance is an hour long session that helps open tight areas that hinder performance, improve range of motion, and helps you recover faster. This is more of a workout than simply stretching, but is definitely doable after an hour swim, bike, or run workout.
Yoga for Athletes: IT Band and Hips is just over 50 minutes. Since IT band syndrome is a common injury for runners and cyclists, this session provides a lot of great stretches to open up the tight IT bands, hips, glutes, and hamstrings.
Daily Decompression is just over 20 minutes. It helps you decompress your spine, increase mobility, and relax your mind. This is a great, short session that can be done any time of day.
Currently I am incorporating yoga into my weekly routine once a week. I would love to figure out a way to add in one of the shorter sessions a 2nd time throughout each week, since I know how important recovery is to keep me healthy + active!
I’m sure there are MANY other great yoga sessions out there! Do you spend time on your mat at home? If so, what yoga resources do you use to guide your practice?