A look at 2020

2020 is filling up fast and I’m super excited to toe the line at some new + repeat race events, experience some big training weekends with others, and have so much fun as I swim/bike/run + #celebrate EVERYTHING in 2020!

Here is what my 2020 schedule looks like so far:

  1. InCydeman Triathlon – January 19
  2. PBR 1/2 Marathon – February 1
  3. Coeur Camp in California – March 12-16
  4. Drake 1/2 Marathon – April 19
  5. Des Moines Women’s 1/2 Marathon – May 3
  6. Tri Clear Lake – May 30
  7. IRONMAN Des Moines 70.3 – June 21
  8. Madison Training Weekend – July 3-5
  9. Okoboji Triathlon – July 18
  10. IRONMAN Ohio 70.3 – July 26
  11. Okoboji Point to Point Swim – August 1
  12. IRONMAN Mont Tremblant – August 23
  13. Hillbilly Hike 1/2 Marathon – November 7

I have some BIG goals for some of these races, which I’ll share with you in another post (or multiple posts). Ultimately, I plan to #CELEBRATE the highs and lows, the peaks and valleys, the successes and challenges of my journey to each finish line + life! Throughout 2020, I will be focusing on having more fun, more joy, more action, more play, more dancing, more laughter and #CELEBRATE every part of each chapter that I write this year!

The chapters at the end of 2020 have some gaps in it that I know will fill in, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what I’ll fill them in with. We’ll see what I can find to add to the months of September, October, November, and December as the year progresses.

Cheers to a fun 2020!! What does 2020 have in store for you?!

The Best of 2019

I love looking back and thinking about all of the amazing things that I’ve accomplished and all of the challenges I’ve overcome! 2019 was full of opportunities to #explore, challenges to overcome, accomplishments to enjoy, and SO MUCH FUN!! I’ve reflected for the last 6 years and now it’s time to reflect on 2019! You can look back at my previous posts if you’d like: the Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, the Best of 2015, the Best of 2016, the Best of 2017, and the Best of 2018. Now its time to reminisce my faves from 2019! 🙂

Best race experience?

Bluff Creek Triathlon where I competed with my girl, Traci, and had an absolute blast! We started the swim together. I waited for her in T1 and then followed her on the bike (don’t worry…I followed the drafting rules and rode far enough back). We had a mechanical issue on the bike, but we made it back to T2 and headed out on the run. Despite the mechanical, Traci had a PR! It was so much fun to cheer her on and encourage her every stroke and step of the way!

“Smile for the camera, Traci!”
Photo Credit: Dave Mable

Best run?

St. Paddy’s Day 1/2 Marathon in March was SO. MUCH. FUN! Not only was I prepared for it physically and mentally, but I was able to race it and come within 3 minutes of a 1/2 marathon PR. Oh…and did I mention that I walked away with not 1, but 2 medals for that race?!

Double medal race day at the St. Paddy’s 1/2 Marathon where I got 2nd place in my age group!

Best bike?

Riding with my fave from Iowa to Minnesota and back to Iowa! I absolutely love this route and the company! Any chance I get, I ride this route from Home Home!

Riding with my fave on one of my favorite routes brings me pure joy! I am in Minnesota and he is in Iowa in this picture.

Best swim?

Swimming in Mirror Lake for IRONMAN Lake Placid was my best IM swim to date! Swimming with the underwater cable to sight off of created an exceptional swim experience and allowed me to set an IRONMAN swim PR!! I was super pumped about it too!!

That’s a swim PR! Photo credit: FinisherPix

Best finish line?

IRONMAN Lake Placid! This was a very special finish line! It wasn’t planned for the Iron Hippie and I to finish together, but half way through the bike portion of this race, I made it my mission to catch him and finish with him. It was a long marathon, but we made it to the finish line TOGETHER!

Grateful for this finish line with my Fave by my side! Photo credit: FinisherPix

Best training weekend?

Getting to train in Lake Placid with my fave before IRONMAN Lake Placid! We swam in Mirror Lake multiple times, rode one loop of the bike course, ran a good portion of one loop of the run course, and experienced Lake Placid! OH. SO. MUCH. FUN!!

Swimming in my favorite place makes my heart happy!
So grateful to ride the Ironman Lake Placid bike course with my fave!
Wrapping up my last “long” run in Lake Placid on the Ironman Lake Placid run course. So beautiful!!

Best training compass?

Myself! At different times in 2019 I was in the deepest valleys and on top of the highest mountains…I had some really high highs and some really low lows! Listening to my heart and allowing it to guide me in 2019 opened the door to so much more fun, joy, and “get to” experiences! I can’t wait to see where I take myself in 2020!

“Follow your heart. Life is too short to be sidetracked by the things everyone else wants you to do.” ~Unknown
My heart speaks swim/bike/run! It brings me calm, it brings me joy, it builds self confidence, it often teaches me something new, it breeds discipline, it connects me with others, it forces me to be more courageous, it allows me the freedom to mess up & still end up ok, it provides me an outlet, it makes me stronger – physically and mentally, it fills me with gratitude, and SO much more! What does your heart say?! Do you listen?!

Best moment out of my comfort zone?

The Underpants Run at IRONMAN Lake Placid! This was so much fun, but I was way out of my comfort zone! Who runs in a swimsuit (or underpants) down main street exposing their flaws for all of the world to see?! Apparently a lot of crazy people!!

Having fun running down Main Street Lake Placid

Best enCOEURaging moment?

The inaugural Ames Triathlon! It has been many years in the making, but we FINALLY got the approval for the Ames Triathlon in March of 2019 and within a few months were able to pull off the best race we could have asked for! If you want to experience this race for yourself in 2020, head to Ames in June. We look forward to seeing YOU on June 28!

We had a great day at the Ames Triathlon and couldn’t have done it without all of you…the athletes, volunteers, spectators, other race directors, sponsors, partners, medical support, photographers…YOU!!

Best nutritional find?

Orange Mud double barrel pack for carrying my hydration + nutrition is the best way I’ve found to carry enough nutrition on long runs without having to really plan my route to make sure I get enough hydration on those hot days. I was worried that it might chafe me in various places, but alas…15 miles with ZERO chafing!

Intention: Gratitude
15 miles for my Friday happy hour in 30+ mph winds. Some of my gratitude thoughts while running:
*I’m grateful for a strong body + mind.
*I’m grateful for warm temps + sunshine.
*I’m grateful for completely new running routes.
*I’m grateful for a job that I love.
*I’m grateful for Halloween decorations to keep me entertained.
*I’m grateful to have my long run done before the rain shows up this weekend.
*I’m grateful for the beautiful fall colors.
*I’m grateful for this Orange Mud pack to hold all my hydration + nutrition and so much more!

Best new gear?

Coeur Sports running shorts and tights. The pockets in both of these are AMAZING! I can hold SO much in each of them. They are even flexible enough for me to carry a water bottle in the pocket if I want. They don’t move or chafe no matter how wet you get. These are a MUST HAVE!!

Intention: I get to
It isn’t always easy. Mother Nature threw down some 38-40*F temps, rain, and winds (hello IMLou 2018 weather). She likes to think that she holds the power, BUT SHE’S WRONG! I hold the power when I keep the mental chatter positive!

Best recovery tool?

Our Sleep Number bed! This has made a world of difference! I sleep so much better and I wake up without back pain. If you aren’t getting good quality sleep, you are compromising your health. I highly recommend the Sleep Number bed. It is definitely worth the investment!

Basil loves our new bed too!!

Best time saver?

The Roomba! I can do one of at least a 1000 other possible things while the Roomba vacuums the house. The dogs aren’t too keen on it when it appears to be chasing them around the house, but they are adjusting to it and try to stay out of its way while it does its thing!

Basil is checking out the Roomba. Each day she gets less and less afraid of it.

Best supportive role?

Heading to IRONMAN Louisville to cheer athletes on instead of racing myself. This was a REALLY TOUGH decision, but it was the right one. The weekend was full of laughter, fun, and friends! It was EXACTLY what I needed to help me figure out what I want from this sport and where I want to go with it in the future!

Ironman Louisville from a new perspective. What a fun day! Congrats Rob on your amazing race!

Best way to stay healthy?

Change careers! My mental stress has dropped SUBSTANTIALLY and I am no longer exposed to all of the germs from middle schoolers. Sure I am still exposed to germs at Iowa State University, but I’m not confined to a classroom and I’m not around the students much. Changing careers has been one of the best decisions for my overall health that I could have ever made!

So grateful to be starting my new gig in Physics Hall on ISU campus!!

Best piece of racing advice you received?

Have fun! I’ve heard this from so many different people, that I can’t pinpoint just one individual to give credit to. If we can’t have fun racing, then why are we doing it?!

Most inspirational athlete?

There are so many that I can’t pick just one! Everyone is on their own, unique journey and I am inspired by them all. 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 friends who did their first triathlon this year. By people who have survived an accident and are still training + racing. By people who fight disease and keep training + racing. By people who challenge themselves and try something new. By people who don’t follow conventional training methods and SMASH their goals out of the park! By people I haven’t met yet and people I see everyday! There are far too many people who inspire me to pick just one!

Best support crew?

Hands down…Dad, Aunt Linda, Cousin Neal, and a dear friend Carol! These four pushed me through during some VERY dark times at Ironman Lake Placid. They were up EARLY on race morning. They cheered, photographed, and spread their love to me and so many 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 all so much! I couldn’t have gotten to this finish line without your unwavering encouragement and support!!

Our race day support crew! Love you Dad, Aunt Linda, and Cousin Neal! Photo credit: Neal Fedora
Grateful for Carol! Love her to pieces!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

Explore, strong, courage, brave, fun!!

Tell me about your 2019 year!! What are your “bests” from 2019?!

Slip slidin’ away at the Hillbilly Hike 1/2 Marathon

Saturday morning I ran the Hillbilly Hike 1/2 Marathon. Going into this race, I wasn’t sure if I was going to race it, or run with my friend. I decided to let my legs tell me how to run on race morning.

The 1/2 marathon is a point to point race. The race provides you with the option to take the shuttle bus (aka school bus) from the finish line to the start line. Thankfully the Iron Hippie said he would drive us to the start since he wasn’t racing. It was nice to be in the warm car right up until the race start since the wind chill temps were right at 20*F. We exited the car right before the national anthem, lined up at the start, and waited for the start (which was someone yelling “GO!” without any means of projecting their voice).

Ready to run this 1/2 marathon! Photo credit: my fave
Robin and I are ready to do this thang!! Photo credit: Robin (selfie)

I had decided that my intention for this race was going to be gratitude…after all, this was the first of November and there is SO much to be thankful for! The first mile was on the roads in Indianola and wasn’t bad, but once we got on the paved trail that goes from Indianola to Carlisle we quickly noticed that the footing wasn’t good. Cue Paul Simon “Slip Slidin’ Away”…

So grateful that my fave brought our girls out to cheer us on at the Hillbilly Hike 1/2 marathon! Sorry Basil, no dogs allowed at this race. Photo credit: my fave

The trail was completely frost covered with patches of ice (thank you Mother Nature for the rain on Friday that froze over night). I was feeling good and my legs were ready to GO, so I decided to see what they had in them and kept my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t fall on the slick running surfaces.

Running with Robin just past mile 1 as we entered the trail! You can see the frost on the pavement. Photo credit: my fave

Shortly after mile 2, I decided to start running on the shoulder of the trail (which had turned into an uneven rocky surface) because I noticed I was really changing my gait on the slick trail surface. I figured the uneven rocky shoulder would be better for traction. And it was, buuuutttttt it definitely drained the energy tank and now my gait had changed for a completely different reason. I decided to pop back up on the trail when I could (if I noticed short sections where it appeared to have less frost on the trail).

Just past mile 6…you can still see the frost on the pavement. Photo credit: my fave

For the next 9 miles, I was like a rabbit hopping on and off the trail depending on the surface. It was frustrating, but I kept my intention in mind and reminded myself that I GET TO DO THIS!! There are so many things to be grateful for! I’m grateful the sun is shining. I’m grateful that my fave and the girls are cheering me on. I GET TO DO THIS! I’m grateful Basil isn’t running with me to reduce my risk of falling. I’m grateful that I haven’t fallen. I GET TO DO THIS! I’m grateful for the volunteers out here (freezing) handing out water to us. I’m grateful for the small patches of frost-free surfaces. I GET TO DO THIS! I’m grateful for less wind than I thought there was supposed to be. I’m grateful that my body is strong. I GET TO DO THIS!

SO SLICK, but still smilin’! Photo credit: Kathy Shupe King
Focusing on the beautiful fall foliage and not the slick surfaces. Photo credit: Kathy Shupe King
That sun needs to rise a bit higher to melt this frost. Look at those fall colors! Beautiful! Photo credit: Kathy Shupe King

The surfaces were REALLY slick between miles 6.8 and 8.2 where we had an out and back section (in the pictures above). When we went around the turn around cone, I literally came to a stop to avoid falling. It was SO SLICK!! They had volunteers at this location telling people it was slick and taking pics…I wonder how many people went *slip slidin’ away* around this cone?!

Approaching the cone to turn around with black ice and frosty surfaces. Photo credit: David Pullara

By mile 11, the sun had gotten high enough that most of frost had melted and the surfaces were much better for running. The only slick spots now were in the shadows. By this point, I had spent most of my energy battling those slick surfaces and uneven shoulders in the first 11 miles of the race, so this is where the mental focus was most necessary. I reminded myself to hold on and give it all I had left in the tank.

I’m so grateful for a strong body + mind so I can do what I love! Photo credit: Terry Kruse

As I approached the finish line, I gave one last shout out of gratitude to my strong body + mind for allowing me to do what I love!

I was very happy with my paces throughout this run as the pavement was frost + ice covered for the first 11 miles, which made running with my normal gait impossible. I ran on the uneven shoulder for the majority of the first 10 miles, which also did a number on my pacing for the later miles.
Another Hillbilly Hike 1/2 marathon is in the books! Photo credit: my fave
So grateful this girl loves to do running adventures with me! Photo credit: my fave
These two were SO happy to see me when I was done running!! Basil was hoping I’d take her for a few extra miles. Sorry girl…not today. Photo credit: my fave
What a goofy, but fun medal!!

I’ll definitely be back to do this race again! It is super F-L-A-T! I’m hoping next year we won’t be *slip slidin’ away* and we’ll have perfect fall running conditions!

Racing with patience

We take a break from the Ironman Lake Placid training for a 1/2 marathon race report…

Saturday was my 7th time running the Drake 1/2 marathon. It is typically cold and rainy, which only adds to the “fun” of the nearly 2000 feet of climbing across the 13.1 miles. This year was different, VERY different!! We had sun, little wind, and perfect running conditions!! IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!!

Before the race, I met up with two of my Coeur sisters. Hugs were the perfect way to start the day!! ❤️

Pre race hugs with my Coeur sisters!!
Coeur sisters and our amazing cheer squad!!

I lined up before the 2:00 pacer and behind the 1:45 pacer. I was hoping to finish around 1:50. Coach Kelly gave me the following race strategy, “Miles 1-4 settle in to the right effort. Miles 5-8 is about patience. Miles 9-10 is about extreme mental toughness. Miles 11-13 final chance to RUN hard! Last 0.1 celebrate!”

Trying to smile through the grit.

During the first 3 miles, I was trying to hold back and not push too hard because I knew that miles 3.5-7 are generally all uphill. I continually reminded myself to be patient through about mile 8. “Be patient. Be patient. Be patient.”

Be patient. Keep your focus. Be patient.

The hills. GAH!! They are relentless. At mile 9, I knew I had another decent size hill to climb, so I put my head down and climbed my way to the top. Stay mentally strong!

Just keep climbing!!

It was at the top of the hill at mile 9, that a spectator said, “No more hills to climb!” I mumbled under my breath, “Yeah right! I know better.” One of the other participants heard me and asked if we were really done with hills…nope…not even close. There are lots of rollers during the last 4 miles of the race.

Just put one foot in front of the other…

At about mile 11 a friend passed me and I was determined to keep her in my view for the last 2 miles. It was a challenge, but she was a good carrot to have. Run hard!!

Keep the focus and finish STRONG!! Last 0.1 mile sprint…errr… celebrate!!

Official finish time: 1:53:13 (8:39 min/mile average pace), 13 of 66 F40-44, 100 of 606 women, and 405 of 1292 overall

Overall, I am happy with my performance for this day. Sure I wish my finish time would have been faster, but I feel I did a much better job of executing this race than my 1/2 marathon a few weeks ago. I was able to generally negative split this run, keep my mental focus, and not walk up the hills (I struggled with that last year). I am pleased with the outcome and my fitness level.

Photo bomb!!
3 cheers for 3 Drake 1/2 marathon finishers!!
Celebrating by riding the Drake Bulldog!!

Let the Ironman Lake Placid training continue…

Oh Lucky Day!

Saturday I ran the St. Paddy’s 1/2 marathon with the goal of averaging an 8:30 min/mile pace over the course of 13.1 miles. When I hit mile 1, I noticed I was running a bit faster than planned, but I was feeling good and decided to go with it. Sure, I was working hard, but my goal for this year is to #explore and see what I can do, so that is exactly what I did. I knew the later part of the race would be more challenging with fatigue and that gradual climb back to the Capitol building, so I was going to ride the good feeling wave as long as I could. I didn’t negative split my run, but I am very happy with how I performed! This has me super excited for what 2019 has in store for me as I continue to #explore!

1:51:44 Official Finish time (8:32 min/mile average pace)

2nd place out of 20 in F40-44
25th place out of 50 Females
89th place out of 341 total finishers

Let’s get this party started!
2 blocks into the race…
2 blocks into the race…
Coming into the finish
That grimace coming into the finish says it all!
Not my best finisher photo, but you win some and lose some. 😉
I finished strong
So grateful to have my fave supporting me and cheering me on!!
Double medal race day at the St. Paddy’s 1/2 Marathon where I got 2nd place in my age group!

What’s Up?! – November 2017

November was full of ups and downs, but I’m choosing to remember the positives, so here they are!

Training:

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!

Getting stronger as I #findfaster in the water!
So much #bikelove on my longest ride since #IMMT
So grateful for these amazing people in my life + morning miles! #friendsgiving

Swim: 31,400 yards (17.84 miles)
Bike: 188 miles
Run: 75.9 miles

“Racing”:

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!

Running the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon with these two crazy kids was so much fun!

Listening to:

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.

Dog walks:

We are so lucky to have a golf course nearby that closes for the winter. Basil thinks it is her own personal playground!

Basil having fun on our evening dog walk!

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?!

Excited for:

Racing with #heartandcourage + these empowering and inspirational Coeur Sports sisters again in 2018!

So humble + honored to have this AMAZING company and these empowering women by my side in 2018!

How was your month of November?! What are you excited for?!

2017 Season Review

If I had to sum up my 2017 season in one word, it would be FANTABULOUS! Sure it was full of ups and downs, but overall, it was SO. MUCH. FUN! Here are some of the ups and downs of my 2017 season:

Ran my way to 3rd on a hilly 10K course with a finish time of 50:32…only 1:41 off my PR (on the same course)!
So giddy! 16 watt improvement in my FTP test today means I’m over the 200 watt threshold! I never imagined I would see this day! So grateful for Coach Kelly to push me WAY out of my comfort zone and help me get stronger this season!
Not quite the race I was hoping for, but I pushed as hard as I could all the way through! Grateful the rain held off until after I finished! Another Drake 1/2 is in the books!
First long solo ride on Saturday! HUGE confidence builder!
“This is HUGE! Congrats. A back to back 4 hour ride is a great prep session for the Ironman build up. I’m so happy it went well and glad you do not back down in the face of adversity. You’ve evolved a lot as an athlete this year. I’m proud of you today. Good work.” ~Coach Kelly
The heat index was 97F with sustained winds of 22-25 mph and gusts up to 35 mph. It was a rough day! Not what we’ve trained for, but we each set a new PR since we did a new distance…
So giddy with today’s split run! 2×7 miles at sub 8:30 minute/mile pace left a HUGE smile on my face for run #2 today as I crushed my goal!!
So happy + #grateful to finally put together a pretty solid long run despite the full sun, warm temps, + high dew point. Mother Nature put up a fight, but I won Wednesday!
I’m in a big build…today (Friday) adversity had me sitting on the side of the road in tears with 10 miles to go. I had lots of thoughts and choices while sitting under the tree. I chose to get back on Mojo and continue to chase my dreams! As Coach Kelly says, “it is supposed to feel like that and that this is what it takes. :)” First solo century is in the books!
So much fun to meet my Coeur Sports teammate Saturday and cheer her on to 1st place AG as she raced in Iowa last weekend!
Turning social media friends into real friends is so much fun!
Pure joy comes when you learn new skills! Congratulations to Maggie! She stared fear in the face and won! So proud of you Maggie!
2nd place AG at the Okoboji Triathlon!
Loved meeting Coach Kelly + spending time with her and other amazing athletes at the Vermont Training Camp put on by Track Cat Fitness!
Climbing my way up App Gap in Vermont at the Track Cat Training Camp…That. Was. HARD!
Last long run before #IMMT in Stowe, Vermont…now it is time to taper and soak up all this training!
Swimming in Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY
This lady is AMAZING! Meeting my Coeur Sports Teammate, Amy Farrell!
Let’s get this party started! #IMMT
So much coeur on this #IMMT course! #bikelove
Love you Ericka! Thanks for the run photo at #IMMT!
CyMan Sprint Triathlon…running my way to the finish!
Running the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon with these two crazy kids was so much fun!

Thanks to Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness for helping me become #trackcatstrong this year both mentally and physically! I’m super excited to see what is in store for us in 2018!