Racing with Heart and Courage in 2016

Wow, just WOW!! I am honored to be representing Coeur Sports again in 2016 as part of their ambassador team!!

I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2016 Ambassador Team...Such a badass group of women that I'm overjoyed to be a part of!!

I am overjoyed to be a part of this badass group of strong, courageous women who encourage women in sport and inspire me to be the best version of myself everyday!! They challenge me to #dreambig, #pushmylimits and to even push past them on occasion 🙂

Not only do I love Coeur Sports’s apparel (hello #stylishspeed, seamless chamois and #noangrykitty), but I love what this amazing company and the people behind it stand for: community, kindness, strength, positive sportsmanship, giving back (1% of sales go to the Challenged Athlete Foundation), #heartandcourage, and encouraging more women to lead a life of health and fitness.

Coeur Sports, founder Kebby Holden, and co-founder Hailey Manning stand for these Coeur values and aren’t afraid to #dreambig, while positively impacting the world around them. They put #heartandcourage into everything they do – while racing, training and behind the scenes.

I am beyond excited to represent a brand that embraces strong women and be a part of this badass group of courageous women who are full of #heartandcourage!

And Now…My tentative race schedule for 2016:

St. Louis 1/2 Marathon – April 10, 2016

Drake 1/2 Marathon – April 30, 2016

Tour de Cure Central Iowa 75 mile ride – June 11, 2016

Wisconsin Milkman Triathlon – June 19, 2016

Okoboji Triathlon – July 16, 2016

My “A” Race is: Ironman Wisconsin – September 11, 2016

2016 is going to be an FANTABULOUS year!!

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14 Weeks ’til Ironman Boulder

WOW!! What an awesome week of workouts!! I felt strong both mentally and physically all week long, which is good since I’m not feeling that way at work. Only 4 more weeks of school before summer break, but who’s counting 😉

Monday:

AM: 1 hour strength training session, which was the perfect start to my week.

PM: 1 hour trainer ride…alternating between Zone 2 and Zone 3/4

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Tuesday:

AM: 90 minute run with 6 x 0.3 mile hill repeats. This was my #FaveWorkout of the week

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PM: 65 minute swim covering 3000 yards…I felt slow in this swim, but felt as though I had really good form.

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Basil spending some time watching the birds. #sucharetriever
Basil spending some time watching the birds. #sucharetriever

Wednesday:

AM: 90 minute trainer ride…we did fartleks on the bike where each person picked something different to do for 2-4 minutes every 10 minutes after the 30 minute warm-up. It was fun to have variety and not know what was coming next 😉

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PM: 2500 yard swim in 55 minute that included a 1500 TT…my time trial was not where I had hoped it would be. Since I couldn’t seem to get my form down and felt like I was a fish out of water, I’ll take the sub 2:00/100 time though.

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Basil helping me make dinner...she loves veggies
Basil helping me make dinner…she loves veggies

Thursday:

PM: 1 hour brick followed by 45 minutes of TRX…the brick felt AWESOME!! I felt like I was flying on the run!! I love it when a workout falls together so smoothly and feels so amazing!! TRX was a good mix of strength, where we incorporated 2×1 minute of plank (both regular plank and side planks), which challenged a lot of the people in my class 🙂

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Friday:

100 days away from Ironman Boulder and it was a rest day…It felt really good to take it easy today.

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PM: We went to the Drake 1/2 Marathon packet pick-up for Sunday’s race and then started carb loading with breakfast for dinner…French Toast and Turkey Bacon…YUMMY 🙂

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Saturday:

AM: WHY IS IT RAINING AGAIN?!?!?!?!?!?! We were suppose to do our 5 hour trainer ride to raise funds for the Tour de Cure/American Diabetes Association, but the weather was COLD AND WET (mid 30s), so we opted to postpone yet again. I don’t know when we will reschedule this fundraiser to, but we haven’t given up hope yet. Instead, we rode on the trainer in the basement. 4 hours was the goal, but I was so close to 60 miles at the end of my 4 hour ride that I continued to ride to 60 miles. I was mentally and physically feeling really strong. I had #noangrykitty thanks to Coeur Sports. I stayed hydrated thanks to Osmo Nutrition Active and my nutrition was spot on thanks to goldfish crackers and Barnana 🙂

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PM: 30 minutes of core work followed by a pasta dinner with friends that we would be running the Drake 1/2 Marathon with on Sunday morning. Good times and great eats!!

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Race ready!!

Sunday:

AM: The Drake 1/2 Marathon started at 7:30 am. My goal was to run a 2 hour race, relax and have fun. I crossed the finish line in 1:56:10 with a HUGE smile after having managed to run the entire race (including Bulldog Hill and quite a few others). I was ready to walk the hills if needed, but I just slowed my pace a bit and plowed through the hundreds of walking athletes. This course is not designed for a PR as it has some substantial hills in it, most of which are in the last 5K of the race, but I was only 3:30 slower than my PR, so I’ll take it!! With the Legend Tri 100 only 6 short weeks away, I’m glad I didn’t push harder, even though I had it in me to do so.

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PM: 2100 yard swim…most of this workout was drills and 100s, so it was a nice and easy recovery swim after this morning’s race.

Weekly Totals: 16:08

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Another week in the green 🙂

Swim: 7600 yards

Bike: 106 miles

Run: 24.5 miles

Strength Training: 2:15:00

How was your week? Did you have any races last week? If so, tell me about them 🙂

Racing in 2015

It has taken me a bit of time to solidify my 2015 racing calendar, but this is what I’ve decided on…

Elkhart Time Trial Series – April, May, June, July and August (one Thursday evening each month) in 2015

  • I did race the Elkhart Time Trial once in 2014, but I am looking forward to racing the Time Trial Series more consistently this year.   IMG_3713

Drake 1/2 Marathon – April 26, 2015

  • I’ve raced this many times in the past and am not super thrilled with the new route, but it is close to home and gives me a running race to test my run strength before my tri season really starts up.

Legend Tri 100 – June 7, 2015

  • This will be an automatic PR for me when I cross the finish line. I have not finished a 100 mile triathlon before. I am really looking forward to this event since I have raced the 70.3 mile distance at this venue twice and loved it!!

Accel Olympic Triathlon – June 14, 2015

  • This will be a new event for me. I am excited to get the opportunity to race an Olympic distance triathlon before Ironman Boulder. I love the distance and am thrilled to have the opportunity to go fast 🙂

Eastern Iowa Tour de CURE – June 27, 2015

  • This will also be a new event for me this year. While it is not a race, it will be a great training day and opportunity to ride 75 miles on relatively protected streets and for a great cause!!

Ironman Boulder – August 2, 2015

  • This will be my 3rd Ironman race, but the first time I’ll be racing in Boulder. I am pumped to be taking a 3 week vacation out in Colorado prior to the race to acclimate, relax and train a little.

Des Moines Triathlon – September 6, 2015

  • Since the Hy Vee Triathlon is no more, I will be participating in the first ever Des Moines Triathlon on Labor Day weekend. I am planning on doing the Olympic distance race and seeing what my body has left with only a few weeks post #IMBoulder 😉

Runner’s Flat 50K – October 10, 2015

  • Last year we participated in this event for its inaugural year, but only ran the 10 mile distance. This year I am going to attempt my first ever 50k and am looking forward to having something a bit more challenging to train for post #IMBoulder.

    Approaching the first aid station
    Approaching the first aid station on the 10 mile course

While I am sad to be missing some of my favorite local events this summer, I am super pumped to attempt some new events and challenges in 2015!!

What fun races do you have planned for 2015?

My Run Essentials

With my first 10 mile trail race coming up on Saturday, October 11, I feel it is appropriate to share with you some of my running essentials…

  • Tri Kit…I am going with the Chevron Coeur kit for Saturday’s race.  I love the fit of a triathlon kit when I run.  I have less chafing with tighter fitting clothing.  I wore a Coeur kit for the marathon at Ironman Wisconsin and had ZERO chaffing.  The tight fit and seamless chamois are AH-MAZ-ING!!  I would HIGHLY recommend all women give them a try!!
  • Boco visor…it allows my head to ventilate, yet shade my face and absorb sweat.
  • Brooks Pure Flow running shoes with iBungee shoe laces keep my feet happy.  When my feet swell, the laces give in all the right places.
  • Road Runner Sports Drymax Socks…help prevent blisters and keep my feet happy.
  • Zoot race belt…fits just right on my hips and prevents the need for safety pins in my clothes.
  • Body Glide…to prevent chafing in all of the places you don’t want it.
  • Honey Stinger Chews pink lemonade flavor…just what I need for a boost of energy an hour into a run.
  • Bellweather Arm Warmers…on a cool morning when the low temperatures are predicted to be 42F at race start, these are essential.
  • Road ID…you never know when an accident may strike and emergency information is needed.
  • Nathan hand held water bottle…this allows me to carry hydration, nutrition and my cell phone while on long training runs.
  • Osmo Active Hydration…the women’s formula is great!!  It keeps me hydrated, and I had zero issues with salt imbalances at Ironman Wisconsin 2014 (even while exercising for 15:15:56).
  • iFitness fuel belt…it is a nice snug fit, expands to hold lots of goodies and doesn’t move or wiggle while you run.

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What are your run essentials?  What fun, fall races do you have planned?

The Race I Didn’t Run

Yesterday we woke up at 4:30 am, hopped in the car and drove 40 miles to run the Drake 1/2 Marathon.  When I woke, I had a gut feeling I shouldn’t be running this race.  I couldn’t put my finger on a firm reason why, so I decided to just go with the flow and head to Des Moines. We arrived at about 6:10 am.  With the start time at 7:30 am, we had plenty of time to get organized, do a short shake out run, hit the loo and get to the start line.

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Race Ready…Let’s run this thing!!

The weather was not in our favor with temperatures at 45F, winds at 25 mph from the E and a 70% chance of severe thunderstorms.  While the temperature was almost perfect, the severe storms were anything but perfect.  After a short shake out run we heard the following announcement as we approached the start line, “All races will be delayed 30 minutes.  Please make your way into the Knapp Center to take shelter.” Great…just what we all want to do…wait in a crowded building for storms to pass.  As you might expect, the energy in the building was high with lots of people ready to race.  Some 1/2 marathon virgins and some veterans, some 10K virgins and some veterans, some 5K virgins and some veterans…all ready to run.

A portion of our gang waiting in the Knapp Center for the storms to pass.
A portion of our gang waiting in the Knapp Center for the storms to pass.

We waited for 30 minutes, when a second announcement was made, “All races will be delayed an additional 30 minutes.  This means each race will be delayed 1 hour from the original scheduled start time.” At this point, we talked about our options…

  1. Continue to wait and hope that we eventually get to run the race.  If the race actually got the green flag, would there be enough time to complete the race before the next round of storms made it into the area, or would we be pulled from the course?
  2. Head home and run on our own.

The Iron Hippie and I decided to do the later.  We have run plenty of 1/2 marathon races (including this one in almost every weather condition imaginable) and our goals for 2014 are aimed at IRONMAN 70.3 Kansas in June and IRONMAN Wisconsin in September.  While the Drake 1/2 Marathon would be a good test to see where our running fitness was, it was more of a C race for us.

They did eventually run the race, and from the reports I received, Mother Nature decided to cooperate for a bit making it possible for most to run a great race.  Am I disappointed I didn’t stick around to race?  No.  The Iron Hippie and I got a nice run in at home with the dogs during a break in Mother Nature’s sour attitude (we did get a little wet, but the thunder and lightening were at bay during our run).  I’m happy we are safe, dry and still moving forward toward a much bigger goal on our 2014 racing calendar.

Have you ever registered for a race you haven’t run?

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Week #16 (Recovery Week): 11 hours

Swim:  4000 yards

Bike:  55 miles

Run:  19.9 miles

Strength Training:  1 hour & 45 minutes

Hot Yoga:  1 hour

Week #16 in the green 😉

My Race of Good Karma

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Last Sunday I ran the Drake 1/2 Marathon

Pre-Race Photo:  Tracy, Jeff, Deb, my handsome gent and me
Pre-Race Photo: Tracy, Jeff, Deb, my handsome gent and me

We had perfect race conditions…53 degrees, sunny skies, winds SSW at 12 mph…where did this April weather come from?!?!?!  In years past the Drake 1/2 Marathon has been known for cold, rain and wind…definitely not like this morning!!  I don’t want to speak too soon and jinx it…the weather forecast for the next couple of days has rain, sleet and SNOW in the forecast.  UGH!!!  SNOW in May?!?!?!?  I’m ready for Mother Nature to get an attitude adjustment…Mother Nature, it’s time for a POSITIVE attitude!!

Let's do this thing!!
Let’s do this thing!!

Back to my race report…My typical race strategy is to hold back for the first half of a race and then pick up the pace to finish strong.  Sunday I decided to take an unusual approach to my race:  start out fast and see how long I can hold on.  While most coaches and athletes don’t recommend this, I wanted to see just how hard I could push myself and see just how long I could maintain it.

Drake 1:2 Marathon CourseIn looking at the race profile, I knew the last couple of miles would be a challenge, so I decided to lay it out on the line and see what I could do from the start.  I strategically placed myself a little bit behind the 1:45 pacer, with the hopes that I would finish between 1:45 and 1:48.  I ran my first mile at an 8:17 pace and I was feeling really good about starting easy…well easier than I had planned 🙂

I kept my sites on the 1:45 pacer and ran my second mile at an 8:06 pace.  This was getting closer to the pace I was hoping to maintain for the entire race.  I was feeling GREAT, but I was still going downhill.  Miles 3 and 4 continued to be successful…my pace for mile 3 was a 7:57 and for mile 4 was 8:07…I still had the 1:45 pacer in my sites!!  At mile 5 my brain started to wander…I began to realize just how much I disliked the new course.  In years past, the route went through scenic residential neighborhoods, but this new route was very industrialized and definitely not the beauty I remembered. I was still on track though as my pace was holding strong at 8:11.  The true test was just ahead…the hills around capital square.

Mentally I was strong and knew I could maintain a good strong pace.  Mile 6 was an 8:22 pace followed by a relatively flat boring section as we went past Principal Park (Iowa Cubs stadium) and ventured out to Gray’s Lake.  Again my mind started to wander and tell my body to quit pushing so hard, but I quickly overcame these thoughts and maintained an 8:07 pace for mile 7 and an 8:17 pace for mile 8.  My race changed during mile 9…I ran upon a friend who was walking and this is where “My Race of Good Karma” began.

Kelly was struggling.  My brain was going a mile a minute…should I help her finish, or push on to see what I could do with this race…if I help her, I will give up a PR…if I don’t help her, will I regret it…what do I do?!?!?  The good samaritan in me won out.  I slowed my pace to help Kelly finish.  My mile 9 split was an 8:31 pace, followed by an 8:29 pace for mile 10 and a 9:02 pace for mile 11.  This is where some of those climbs began.  Kelly continued to struggle, but I reminded her to shorten her stride, lean into the hills and breathe as we climbed.  Our mile 12 split was a 9:24 pace followed by an 8:49 pace for mile 13.  The course was a little long, so the last 0.31 of a mile had an average pace of 7:32 as we sprinted around the Blue Oval to the finish line in 1:52:05…not the PR I was hoping for, but Good Karma in the bank!!

My "Good Karma" finisher medal with my race number
My “Good Karma” finisher medal with my race number

Looking back I am very happy that I helped another runner finish.  I am questioning how much of her struggles were physical and how much were mental as she was able to finish really strong.  Mental training is a component that many athletes overlook, yet it is just as important as the physical training and nutritional training that comes with race preparation.  Mental training will be a topic for another day…

body achieves mind believes

I am hopeful that “My Race of Good Karma” will come back to bite me when I need it most!!