2017 Racing Season

Mother Nature (errr…Global Warming) has blessed us with BEAUTIFUL weather this “winter”…weather we typically see in April and May here in Central Iowa. This beautiful weather + back rehabilitation got me thinking about my 2017 racing season. I have had WAY MORE downtime than is typical for me during this rehab process, so…I had plenty of time to plan for my 2017 racing season and register for some races. Thanks to this downtime, my 2017 racing season is taking shape! I have registered for the following races:

  1. Drake 1/2 Marathon (4/29/17)
  2. Hickory Grove Sprint Triathlon (5/21/17)
  3. Liberty Tri 70.3 (6/10/17)
  4. Okoboji Triathlon (7/15/17)
  5. Ironman Mont Tremblant (8/20/17)

I am super pumped about these races! This schedule will provide me with some opportunities to test my race day plan for long distances, but also give me some opportunities to go hard, fast, and have fun at some shorter distances!

I have also registered for a 3 day training camp in Vermont on July 27-30 with Track Cat Fitness! This training camp is 3 weeks before Ironman Mont Tremblant, so we will be extending our vacation to 4 weeks! We will be heading to the New England States before going to Mont Tremblant, Canada…visiting new places, training in new places, and having even more fun!

How is your 2017 season shaping up?

Why?

I often get asked, “Why?” And this weekend was no different! I spoke with the community about “My journey from inactive to a 4xIronman Athlete” and was asked LOTS of questions…really good questions!

I'm honored to be invited to share my Ironman journey with members of the community.

I’m honored to be invited to share my Ironman journey with members of the community.

Questions that often come to the surface when people learn that I race Ironman events are…Why do you spend so much time training? Why do you race Ironman? Why do you like it so much? Why do you push yourself so hard? Why do you strive to become better? Why? Why? Why?

I have multiple answers, but the ones at the top of the list:

  1. Because I can!
  2. To have FUN! As a child, I would swim, ride my bike, and run to have fun and play with friends. When I train for and race triathlons, I have so much fun! Sure it can be hard at times, but it always puts a HUGE smile on my face when I overcome those hard times!
  3. I learn more about myself with every workout + race
  4. To find myself and continue to build my self confidence…something I didn’t have much of before starting my endurance sport journey.
  5. To live my best life and be the best version of myself!
  6. Because I LOVE it! Triathlon lights my fire!

“The value in it is what you learn about yourself. In this sort of situation all kinds of qualities come out – things that you may not have seen in yourself before.” ~Steve Prefontaine

Why do you do the things you love?

26 weeks ’til #IMMT: setback + motivation

I had a setback this week that was quite literally a pain in the back! I carried laundry up the stairs and managed to tweak my back in such a way that I am undergoing treatment + active release therapy from Dr. Chris Feil at Team Chiropractic and Rehabilitation. Really?! Laundry?! Yep…I don’t even have a good story to go with this injury! Thankfully Dr. Chris thinks I should be close to 100% by the end of this week. I really hope he’s right! I have goals to achieve and dreams to chase! While this is killing me, I WILL heal before I jump back into training and risk re-injury. This is yet another lesson in patience! Thanks to Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness for keeping me mentally sane, adjusting my training plan, nad keeping me focused on doing what I can through this injury process!

Swim: 3800 yards

My first swim to test the back was Thursday after work. I swam 1500 yards (with about 500 being pull) and I found that my back was nagging through most of the swim. Sunday’s swim went much better! 2300 yards with very few niggles in my back 🙂

First swim to test the back

First swim to test the back

Swim #2 this week was SO much better than #1!

Swim #2 this week was SO much better than #1!

Bike: 41 miles

Wednesday I rode easy for 45 minutes with a nagging back. It was still pretty sore. Friday I rode 1 hour trying to stay mostly in z2. This felt much better than Wednesday, but I still had some issues with my back that started about 40 minutes into the ride. Sunday I rode for 90 minutes trying to keep in z2 for a full 60 minutes without having my back tighten up and I am so happy that I was able to achieve this! While my back is still not 100%, I have definitely made progress this week and am getting closer and closer to 100% every day!

First easy ride...smiling because I'm back in the saddle (even with a little pain)!

First easy ride…smiling because I’m back in the saddle (even with a little pain)!

Trying to stay in z2 without back pain

Trying to stay in z2 without back pain

Yes! Ended the week with a 90 minute ride with 1 full hour solidly in z2!

Yes! Ended the week with a 90 minute ride with 1 full hour solidly in z2!

Run: Zero, Zilch, Nada

Thanks to my recent pain in the back, I did no running last week. 😦

Strength Training: 

The only strength training I did was what Dr. Chris recommended, which wasn’t much, but it was something.

Weekly Totals: 4 hours + 35 minutes

Weekly Positives:

I had some special deliveries this week from some amazing companies that I LOVE! I heart my Coeur Sports gear and my Breakthrough Nutrition! If you want to try Stacy Sims sports nutrition, please use WELOVESNBS to enjoy 10% off Breakthrough Nutrition!

New Coeur Sports gear!

New Coeur Sports gear! Super happy heart!

Breakthrough Nutrition...serious love!

Breakthrough Nutrition…serious love!

Getting better slowly with the help of Dr. Chris Feil at Team Chiropractic and Rehabilitation.

Getting back on track with the help from Dr. Chris Feil...getting better every day = #progress!

Getting back on track with the help from Dr. Chris Feil…getting better every day = #progress!

I’m honored to be invited to share my Ironman journey with our community. It was so much fun to talk triathlon, inspire others, and be inspired by others at Mary Greeley Medical Center’s Motivational Morning on Saturday morning! Thanks to Coeur Sports, Sound Probiotics, and SBR Sports, Inc. for supplying some goodies to hand out to the participants!

I'm honored to be invited to share my Ironman journey with members of the community.

Talking triathlon

Goodies!

Goodies!

More Goodies!

More Goodies!

Quote of the Week:

“Your “job” as a serious athlete right now and my job as coach is for you to get healthy.” Coach Kelly…Thanks for the reminder Coach! 😉

How was your week? What positives made your week better?

27 weeks ’til #IMMT: jumping back in

After needing some recovery time due to illness, this week was about jumping back into a routine and training.

Swim: 400 yards

I made it back to the pool for the first time in almost 3 weeks this week! I was nervous about plunging back into the water. While I was making progress in the pool, I felt that my form still needed LOTS of work. How bad will this be after such a long swim hiatus? Thursday’s swim went better than expected, which set me up mentally for success on Saturday, where I set a new 100 yard PR time in the pool of 1:32/100 yards! This is a 6 second improvement on my 100 yard PR time! BOOM!

First swim in almost 3 weeks...I still have it!

First swim in almost 3 weeks…I still have it!

New 100 yard PR!

New 100 yard PR!

Bike: 48.9 miles

I had two rides this week. Wednesday’s ride was more challenging that it should have been because I’m an IDIOT! I forgot to shift my bike into the small ring in the front…BRAIN FART! Sunday’s ride went much better! I spent a lot of time in Z2/3, but then got to do some 10 second bursts into Z5 during the last 45 minutes of the ride.

Spin ups!

Spin ups!

Every second counts when you go down the rabbit hole! "Alice: How long is forever? White Rabbit: Sometimes just one second!" ~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Every second counts when you go down the rabbit hole! “Alice: How long is forever? White Rabbit: Sometimes just one second!” ~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Run: 9.72 miles

On Monday I had a test run to see how I was feeling after being sick for a week. Thankfully I felt GREAT! This meat Friday morning I was blessed to GET to run with the Iron Hippie! It was such a PERFECT way to start our day! We ran, we chatted, we had laughed, we soaked in some fresh air, and we turned blue. Tee hee!!

Easy morning run for the first time in over a week!

Easy morning run for the first time in over a week!

Running when it is cold out can sometimes turn you blue!

Running when it is cold out can sometimes turn you blue!

Strength Training: 1 hour & 55 minutes + 10 minutes of core work everyday

I had some good strength sessions this week giving me LOTS of variety in my training!

It takes a lot of strength, determination, grit, resilience, perseverance, and self confidence when you have big dreams! Chase your dreams peeps!

It takes a lot of strength, determination, grit, resilience, perseverance, and self confidence when you have big dreams! Chase your dreams peeps!

Weekly Positives:

I was finally feeling like myself again and ready to get back into my routine + workouts! HUGE POSITIVE + UPLIFTING

Friday was full of positives! One of my 8th grade students gave me the gift of this amazing paper clip!

As an 8th grade science teacher, I was blessed to have a student give this to me as a gift on Friday!

As an 8th grade science teacher, I was blessed to have a student give this to me as a gift on Friday!

I had a much needed massage on Friday. When I went to pay, I was so blessed to only have to pay $5 for my massage because of the kindness + generosity of our dear neighbor + friend. She had purchased a gift card for my massage and left it with my massage therapist for the next time I had a massage. I’m so blessed, lucky, happy, and grateful to be surrounded by such amazing people!

A much needed massage!

A much needed massage!

My dark chocolate spoke to me! This was the perfect message + reminder to enjoy life, have fun, and love the nice weather we’ve been experiencing!

My chocolate knew it was almost 60 degrees outside!

My chocolate knew it was almost 60 degrees outside!

Saturday I got to share my passion…EXERCISE…with my massage therapist! He wanted some exercises to do with his new TRX strap, so I jumped on this opportunity! I LOVE sharing my passion with others 🙂

So many amazing things to be grateful for everyday! Somedays we may have to look a little harder for the positives, but they are there, so I challenge you to find at LEAST ONE everyday!

Weekly Totals: 8 hours & 38 minutes

Quote of the Week:

“You cannot always wait for the perfect time, sometimes you must dare to jump.” ~Unknown

How was your week? What positive things did you experience?

28 weeks ’til #IMMT: a lesson in patience

Patience is not one of my strengths. Every once in a while I get slapped in the face with a reminder that I need to work on having more of this virtue. Last week was one of those weeks. At the end of the previous week, I was sick. This carried over and I missed the first two days of work last week as well. I’m feeling MUCH better, but am still not quite 100%. When I’m told I can’t do something, that’s when I REALLY want to do it! Last week my body was telling me I couldn’t work out, and I REALLY didn’t want to listen to it. My mind was in a completely different place (especially toward the end of the week). I had no choice but to concede…especially if I want to be healthy enough to get back to pushing my limits while training! Last week was definitely a lesson in patience!

Swim: Zero

Bike: 29.2 miles

I was finally feeling well enough that Coach Kelly told me to try an EASY (zone 1) 45 minute ride on Friday or Saturday. Due to some scheduling conflicts on Friday, I waited until Saturday morning. It was SUPER easy, but also very boring! Mentally I really wanted to push it, but knew that I needed to take it easy to ensure I didn’t have any setbacks. After a successful ride, I was told I could ride on Sunday for 90 minutes in zone 2. Yay! I can go a little bit harder!

Zone 1 ride = SMILES

Zone 1 ride = SMILES

Zone 2 ride for me while the Iron Hippie gutted out some intervals

Zone 2 ride for me while the Iron Hippie gutted out some intervals

Run: Zilch

Strength Training: 45 minutes + 10 minutes of core 3 days this week

I had some good variety in strength training late in the week to test my body and how it was recovering.

Weekly Totals: 3 hours

Quote of the Week:

“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.” ~Saadi

What’s Up?! – January 2017

CRAZY to think that the first month of 2017 is already over! Where does time go?! I must say I am a bit happier to have longer daylight hours, so if that means saying “goodbye” to January, I’m ok that time has flown by!

Training:

My training had a few bumps this month as I was sick…twice. The most recent bout lasting longer than I had hoped. Despite these bumps, I have had some successful training sessions, including a FTP challenge on the bike, where my threshold power increased by 13 watts! I’m so grateful to see my fitness bouncing back after taking a few months off during the off season! I have also seen my 200 yard swim time trial times increase by 2 seconds. While this may not seem like much, if I can carry this over to long distance swimming, I should see huge improvements on my swim time for Ironman Mont Tremblant in August! My run time trial also went better than expected! I dropped my average time over a 5K from 8:08/mile to 7:42/mile. I not only achieved my goal, but also my secret goal on this time trial! BOOM!

Striving for progress, not perfection in the pool this week with a 2 second increase in my 200 yard time trial! :)

Striving for progress, not perfection in the pool this week with a 2 second increase in my 200 yard time trial! 🙂

Crushing my FTP challenge = HUGE smiles!

Crushing my FTP challenge = HUGE smiles!

So giddy since I crushed my 5K time trial secret goal!

So giddy since I crushed my 5K time trial secret goal!

Swim Totals: 12.3 miles
Bike Totals: 218 miles
Run Totals: 51.8 miles

Reading:

I have read two amazing blog posts by Carrie Cheadle. The first is on ways to get more grit…who doesn’t want more grit in their life?! The second is on gratitude. We should all be incredibly grateful everyday. Looking for the things to be grateful for everyday can give you a completely different mindset and attitude about every part of your day!

Roar by Stacy Sims is a serious GAME CHANGER for active women! Stacy is BRILLIANT! This is a MUST READ! Not is it full of helpful information on nutrition, strength training, and how each impact your training and racing, but it is also packed full of information on how your cycle impacts training, racing, and your everyday life. I’m so grateful to one of my Coeur Sports Teammies for putting this book in my hands!

img_7065

Running Man: A Memoir by Charlie Engle sucks you into his life. After a decade-long addiction to crack-cocaine and alcohol, Charlie hit rock bottom and was nearly killed during a 6 day binge. He turned his life around with the help of running. He started with marathons and when they weren’t long enough, he began to take on ultramarathons and adventure races in some very unforgiving locations around the globe. Running even helped him not just survive, but thrive in a federal prison because of an unjust conviction. Charlie Engle takes you on a few crazy adventures throughout his gripping, emotional, and inspiring life journey!!

img_7165

Listening to:

David Goggins Podcast…WOW!! Can you say inspiring?! He is probably the toughest athlete on the planet and full of great insights on mindset and why knowing your purpose will get you farther than motivation. I highly recommend this podcast. Prepare yourself to learn more about the fighter mindset and how it can take you anywhere! Note: he has no filter and there is some swearing throughout this podcast.

Kerri Walsh Jennings Podcast…Hello!! She has competed in the last 5 Olympic games, earning 4 medals (3 gold and 1 bronze) in beach volleyball. She is so “rad!” She shares her take on mindset and the importance of effective communication both in sport and relationships. She is super inspiring and so full of energy + passion! “I don’t want to be better than you or her or him – I want to be better than I am right now.” ~Kerri Walsh Jennings

Scared for:

The future of all people of the United States of America! I am deeply saddened by the departure of President Obama and the First Lady as well as the current state that our country is in. I believe that the basic value of not discriminating on the basis of religion and nationality is foundational to the fabric of American democracy. Most of our ancestors were immigrants. I believe diversity is not a weakness, but rather a strength that we should embrace. We the people are creating a serious dividing line between us, and I’m scared that history will repeat itself. I’m choosing to focus on all of the positives I can find during these dark days…some days I have to really look hard, but there are always positives!! “We the people” have to stay united!!

#Fearless check-in:

This is my intention for 2017 is to become more fearless! So…how have I been doing with this? Quite well I believe! In my personal life, I have not had a drop of alcohol all month = WIN! I am working on facing those things that truly scare me, but this has required me to take baby steps because some of these things have a REALLY TIGHT hold on me. I am also really working on not letting others opinions of me bother me, but this is also more challenging since it has a TIGHT hold on me as well. At work, I have openly admitted to students a couple of times (just this month) that I don’t have all of the answers. And. It. Feels. GREAT! Being an introvert, the human connection piece is something I still struggle with, but I am going to continue to work on this. Thanks to Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness, I have been pushing myself WAY outside of my comfort zone while training and finding I am capable of so much more than I think I am. And. It. Feels. AMAZING! As for racing, I haven’t had a chance to race in January, so I haven’t been able to truly go HARD and find out what I’m capable of on race day. As you can see, this is definitely a work in progress, and I’m happy to say that in the first month I’ve already made some progress!

How was your first month of 2017? What were your January highlights?

National #GetUpDay

February 1 is National #GetUpDay founded by U.S. Figure Skating to provide a platform for people around the country to celebrate Get Up stories and urge others to Get Up also. It is an opportunity to share inspiring stories of perseverance; when we’ve fallen, we pick ourselves back up and keep striving to achieve our goals and dreams.

Here’s my story of perseverance:

In January of 2004, my world was turned upside down when my ex-husband and I finalized our divorce. I was lost…technically I was lost long before the divorce, but didn’t realize it until the divorce was finalized. As I faced the “Y” in the road in front of me, I had choices as to which route I wanted to take my life and I had no idea which route to take. I was not an athlete. I was not passionate about anything. I was simply going through the motions of life. With no place to turn, I decided to sign up to run a 5K in October of 2004. It was SO HARD!! I felt so much pain throughout that run, but the pain I felt running made me temporarily forget the pain I was enduring in my everyday life.

After this 5K, I decided to sign up for a 20K training program in the spring of 2005. I met fun, inspiring, and amazing people. I finished my 20K race. I signed up for a fall marathon. I crossed the start line and then the finish line of the Chicago Marathon in October of 2005. I had finally found myself and my passion! I wanted more finish lines! I was hooked!

team-12-4

Meeting new friends, finding my passion, and figuring out my path in life through running!

Fast forward to July of 2006…I met the Iron Hippie at a group run. We would chat at group runs, became friends, and went on our first official date on New Year’s Eve in 2006. I continued to run marathons and had the dream of one day qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon. With the help of the Iron Hippie, I qualified for the Boston Marathon at the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in October of 2008! In April of 2010, I crossed the start line and finish line of my 9th marathon, the Boston Marathon, with a HUGE smile on my face! I had fulfilled my dream!

Hello Boston Marathon Finish Line! I'm so happy to meet you!

Hello Boston Marathon Finish Line! I’m so happy to meet you! (Yes, I took a camera with me and took pictures all along this iconic course to remember and celebrate my day!)

In July of 2010, the Iron Hippie and I were married. I had an even BIGGER smile on my face on our wedding day! We continued to train and run marathons, but I had also gotten into triathlon racing. I loved the variety both in training and racing!

img_4953

Fast forward to 2011 when I decided to try my first Ironman…I was in a lot of pain and discomfort on race day as it did not go as I had planned. I was so sick (with hyponatremia) that I don’t remember the last 8 hours of my race. I don’t remember crossing the finish line (though I know I did as I have pictures and video footage of my finish). I took a couple of years off from Ironman racing, but continued to do triathlons of varying distances.

The Iron Hippie and me after crossing the finish line of our first Ironman race at Ironman Wisconsin on September 11, 2011 :)

The Iron Hippie and me after crossing the finish line of our first Ironman race at Ironman Wisconsin on September 11, 2011 🙂

In 2013 I decided it was time to compete in another Ironman race in 2014. So, I signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2014. My only goal for this race…to finish + remember the ENTIRE race. I did just that! When I crossed that finish line, I was SO happy! I enjoyed + remembered my entire day! My passion for endurance sport was only magnified by this experience!

IMG_0145

Ironman Wisconsin 2014

Not only have I persevered through the roller coaster ride that is life, but I have also persevered through the difficult times that training and racing have bestowed on me. I’ve had bad training sessions. I’ve had bad races…even a DNF. I’ve been injured…resulting in a DNS. I’ve overcome mechanical issues. I’ve overcome physical obstacles. I’ve overcome mental barriers. Through each of these struggles, I’ve persevered.

This smile sums up my race day experience!!

This smile sums up my race day at Ironman Boulder 2015!!

Blowing kisses to my tribe at the finish line! Photo Credit: Michele Dziaba

Blowing kisses to my tribe at the finish line of Ironman Wisconsin 2016!

I continue to dream and chase what lights my fire. I have a dream…qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona. I will continue to work hard and persevere until I one day cross the start line and finish line of the Ironman World Championships in Kona!

I dream of seeing the Ironman World Championships finish line in Kona!

I dream of seeing the Ironman World Championships finish line in Kona!!

What’s your inspiring story of perseverance? How do you get back up when you fall?