Friday evening I felt like Basil when she see’s a squirrel while we are running. *Squirrel!! What do I do?! Squirrel!! Which way do I go?! Squirrel!! Too many options!! Squirrel!! Which one should I choose?! Squirrel!! *
I had to decide what to do on Saturday morning. Do I:
Run the PBR 1/2 marathon that I was already signed up for (which was a free entry) in Perry (which is a 1 hour drive each way).
Sleep in and do whatever I want when I wake up.
Run with friends at home for fun.
Run the Rosy Cheeks 5K in Story City (which is a 15 minute drive each way + there are pancakes after the race).
Hello squirrel brain! Too many options. I decided to think about it while I did my FTP test Friday evening.
Run the PBR 1/2 marathon that I was already signed up for (which was a free entry) in Perry (which is a 1 hour drive each way). Upon completing my FTP test, I decided the 1/2 marathon was out. I had completely spent everything my legs had in them. I didn’t want to risk injury running long for a race that didn’t mean much in the big picture of my 2020 racing season. Plus…we’ve had melting and refreezing (hello February in Iowa)…I didn’t want to fight that nonsense for 13.1 miles.
Sleep in and do whatever I want when I wake up. I knew this wasn’t an option…sleep in?!?! Really?!?! Even if I do sleep in, sleeping in for us is usually not much later than 6 am. Yep…this was off the table.
Run with friends at home for fun. I knew in my heart that I wanted to race. I love running with friends, but I don’t have the option to race the day after an FTP test often…actually, I’ve never done it. I wanted to push my limits (without risking injury) after my FTP test. Just how strong had all of this cycling in January made me? Just how far can I really go? What can I do on tired legs?
Run the Rosy Cheeks 5K in Story City (which is a 15 minute drive each way + there were pancakes after the race). YES! This is what was in my heart. Plus…pancakes afterwards…yes please!
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!
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?!
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!
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?!
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!
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!!
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!
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!!
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!
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!!
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!
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!
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!!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!!
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?!
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).
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”…
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.
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).
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!
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?!
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.
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’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!
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!! ❤️
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!”
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.”
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!
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.
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!!
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.
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
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?!
Saturday we ran the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon from Indianola to Carlisle. We drove down to Carlisle, picked up our race bib and t-shirt, then loaded onto a bus that would shuttle us to Indianola where we would start the race. Thankfully, the bus stayed at the race start so we could hang out on the bus to keep warm as it was perfect weather to run, but too cool, damp, and breezy to hang around outside waiting to start.
I had some decisions to make on race morning in terms of how I was going to run. Was I going to race? Take it easy? Try for consistent pacing? After a full week of teaching + parent teacher conferences, I came down with a sore throat Friday. I loaded up on all of the vitamin C, Sound Probiotics, lysine, fluids, and healthy foods I could find. I really wanted to stave off whatever was taking residence in my body. On race morning, I felt good and ready to race, but decided it would be better for me to run with the Iron Hippie and our friend, Robin. She is diabetic and her blood sugar was higher than it should have been, so I took it upon myself to be on #bloodsugarpatrol for the rest of the morning.
We started off with what felt like an easy pace checking in occasionally with Robin to see where her blood sugar levels were at. By about mile 4, her blood sugar levels were still high, but had dropped over 100 units and were trending downward, which was excellent news! At this point, I still felt good and really strong, but I took in nutrition to stay proactive instead of potentially having to be reactive later in the race.
By the 10K point of the run, Robin’s blood sugar eventually flatlined in a safe range, so she took in some nutrition. We saw what appeared to be a “petting zoo” at a farm along the trail. Shortly after this, we were “cheered” on by some cows along the side of the trail. By about mile 8 our pace started to slow a bit, I took in more nutrition, and we kept pushing on! The miles kept ticking by and went by faster than I anticipated.
By mile 10, I was starting to feel it. I’m sure the bug that had taken up residence in my body wasn’t helping, but I know the other part was the distance…this was the farthest I’d run since Ironman Mont Tremblant. This is where mind over matter really kicked in. We pushed on, all of the way to the finish line and all 3 of us crossed together. Thankfully Robin’s blood sugar was on point at the finish line!
We finished in 2:05:40, which was a long way off from a PR, but it was well worth the fun with friends! This is a race that I can see us doing year after year and maybe one year setting a PR!
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:
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!