What’s Up?! – October 2016

October wasn’t quite the month I was hoping for, but my body got the rest and recovery that it needed. Here are some of my highlights from October.

Family/Friend Time:

Mom came down and spent a weekend with us. It was fun to relax, eat good food, and visit Reiman Gardens while she was here.

Mom came to visit for a weekend! It was fun to spend quality time with her!
Mom came to visit for a weekend! It was fun to spend quality time with her!

I got to run with my sole sister at the Run for the Roses 5K, although that only lasted for the first mile since she was so much faster than me. She is so strong and speedy!

Run for the Roses is always better with friends!
Run for the Roses is always better with friends!

Chasing My Fave:

The Iron Hippie ran the Des Moines Marathon, so I took my bike down and chased him around the course! It was fun to cheer him on to another finish line!

The Iron Hippie getting close to the finish of the IMT Des Moines Marathon...I'm so proud of him only 5 weeks post Ironman Wisconsin
The Iron Hippie getting close to the finish of the IMT Des Moines Marathon…I’m so proud of him only 5 weeks post Ironman Wisconsin!

Reading, Reading, Reading:

Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown is a MUST READ! Wow! The obstacles these 9 men had to overcome to make it to the 1936 Berlin Olympics is not only inspiring, but also unthinkable! All of this happening as Hitler was starting his attempt to take over the world without the world knowing it. So many things that are hard to wrap my brain around, but the boys never gave up, fought for their spot on the US Olympic team, worked hard and overcame obstacles to chase their dreams!

Tri Marni’s recent blog post really hit home with me! As I’ve been dreaming of qualifying for Kona and working hard to achieve these dreams, her words reminded me to never give up! “Every athlete has a great performance inside him/herself but it takes time and patience to get the best out of yourself. And even if you think you achieved your “best race ever”, there’s probably another better race in you that you will experience down the road – so long as you don’t give up. Stay dedicated. Keep developing yourself as an athlete. If you believe you have what it takes, chase your dreams, fall in love with the process and have a lot of fun along the way.” I definitely plan to continue to “chase my dreams, fall in love with the process and have a lot of fun along the way” this coming year! #dreambelieveachieve

Carrie Cheadle’s recent blog post also really hit home with me! Because I have that lingering dream of qualifying for Kona, her words encourage me to take risks. “Give yourself permission to make wrong decisions. If you never risk making mistakes you’ll never perform to your potential. Trust. Believe. Jump!”

Being Inspired:

My Coeur Sports Teammies have been inspiring me for the last 2 years! Watching them chase their dreams as they conquered Kona, Louisville, Maryland, and North Carolina lit my fire even more to chase my dreams and turn them into reality! 2017…I’m comin’ for ya!

These ladies not only inspire me, but encourage me and light my fire! <3
These ladies not only inspire and encourage me, but also light my fire! Time to chase my dreams so I can one day be in this photo too! Photo credit: Jay Prasuhn

How was your month of October? What were your highlights for October?

My 2014 Year in Review


Attending an ISU basketball game with the Iron Hippie
Lots of basement riding during the Polar Vortex
Lots of hot yoga to keep me warm during the Polar Vortex


More basement riding
Finding an amazing new nutrition plan that would keep me hydrated all year long.
VO2 Max Test…OUCH!!


Lots of #swimlove focusing on bilateral breathing
Running with my girl, Basil, on a warm March day with snow on the ground.
Able to ride outside briefly before the Polar Vortex reappeared.
Lots of hot yoga to keep me warm on those cold winter days.
LOVING my Coeur Sports tri kit!! #heartandcourage


#runlove with my favorite girl, Basil
#bikelove with my main squeeze
Training with heart (Coeur) and hydrating with the best (Osmo Nutrition)
Playing with a 6 year old on the trampoline…#feelinglikeakidagain



#bikelove with the Iron Hippie
Our CSA started providing AMAZING produce
First #centuryride and #bikelove
First outdoor swim = #swimlove
First outdoor swim = #swimlove



Outdoor #swimlove
#bikelove with my main squeeze
Outdoor yoga in the park
First #bikelove time trial…OUCH!
#swimlove in the 50 meter pool
New #friendships with @CoeurSports girl, Kathy
#IMWI #bikelove training
Line running at the ISU track for injury prevention
Rehabilitation strength training


Volunteering at a July 4th 5K run.
#centuryride #bikelove on July 5
More acupuncture treatments
Lots of line running at the ISU track
The color run with the family
TRUE #heartandcourage racing!!
Anniversary with the Iron Hippie and #bikelove
Okoboji Triathlon…first race of the season for me
@CoeurSports girl time with Kathy 🙂
#IMWI #bikelove
#IMWI #runlove


#swimlove and #IMWImotivation at the 50 meter pool
#heartandcourage brick workout
Running with my #solesister
Painting wine bottles with friends
Who’s ready for some 3.5 mile open water #swimlove
3.5 mile open water #swimlove complete!!
Snow cones with my twin nieces
#runlove with friends



Who’s ready to race?!?!? #IMWI
Racing with TRJ at #IMWI
swim entry
Who’s ready for an Ironman?!?!?! #IMWI
swim exit
#swimlove and a 9 minute PR…whoop whoop!! #IMWI


#bikelove at #IMWI
#bikelove at #IMWI



#runlove at #IMWI
#IMWI finish in 15:15:56
#IMWI finishers
#IMWI finishers
#runlove at Ledge’s State Park


5K #runlove with #heartandcourage
Basil is full of #runlove at our 5K
1st in my age group at the 5K…#runlove
#bikelove with friends
#bikelove with my main squeeze and the open prairie
Hiking with our girls and my main squeeze
Early morning #runlove with my main squeeze
Lots of TRX
Reconnecting with #swimlove and #IronmanMotivation


Outdoor #runlove
#runlove with my favorite girl!!
5K #runlove for some chocolate 😉
Playing in the little snow we’ve had this winter
#runlove with #heartandcourage…#womenarenotsmallmen
#solesister love
The Iron Hippie praying while playing Jenga


Reconnecting with my mat
#runlove with friends
I was accepted to be a part of the Coeur Sports Ambassador Team for 2015 #heartandcourage
Reconnecting with Mojo and the trainer
Planning for 2015 with the #believetrainingjournal


My 10th Anniversary of My 1st Race

In 2004, I ran my first race…the Run for the Roses 5K.  I finished the 3.1 miles in a time of 33:18 and I thought I was going to die!!

I decided I HAD to run the Run for the Roses 5K again this year to reminisce my first race.  So…Sunday I ran the Run for the Roses 5K (on a different course from 10 years ago).  The alarm clock went off at 6 am for a power-filled breakfast.


The race started and finished at the Ames Middle School (where I work), so we arrived at 7:30 am, picked up our race packet and hung out in my classroom to stay warm (it was only 43F).  Five minutes before race start, we went outside and stripped down to our race attire.

Racing in style with Coeur Sports. Lora is excited for her first race 🙂


I ran with Basil, who thinks she needs to be at the front of the pack.  As a result, I had to continuously remind her to “heal” the whole run and keep her on a tight leash by my side.  While we ran at a quick pace, I am certain I could have ran faster solo.  My goal was to beat my time from 10 years ago and we did so quite successfully.

Basil and I ready to run…she is super concerned with all of the other dogs around and not wanting to cooperate for the camera 😉
While I look like I’m sleeping, I can assure you I’m finishing strong. Basil looks so happy and proud to be running 🙂

I definitely got an arm workout in while running with Basil, since I was continuously pulling back on her with my left arm.  We finished in 24:34, which wasn’t a PR, but it was close to 10 minutes faster than in 2004…we’ll take it!!  Oh…and I was first in my age group 😉

Finished 1st in my age group in a time of 24:34 (7:55 average pace).
Finished 1st in my age group in a time of 24:34 (7:55 average pace).
Congrats to Lora for successfully finishing her first race and doing it in a time faster than she had hoped for!!
Congrats to Lora for successfully finishing her first race and doing it in a time faster than she had hoped for!!

How long have you been racing?  What is your favorite distance to race?

Best Race Memories

This Sunday marks the 10 year anniversary of my first race.  I have raced hundreds of races ranging in distance from 5K to marathon and sprint triathlon to Ironman over the last 10 years.  I decided to take a minute and share with you my top 10 race memories.

10.  Crossing the finish line at the Run for the Roses 5K in 2004.  This was my first race and I was unsure if I would actually survive the short 3.1 mile distance.  It is fun to look back and see how far my training, racing and mental fortitude have come in the last 10 years.

9.  Crossing the finish line at the Dam to Dam 20K in 2005.  This was the farthest I had ever pushed myself.  I had no idea where I would go with endurance sport, but when I crossed this finish line, I was hooked…I found my passion.

8.  Crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon in 2005…my first marathon.  I had just conquered something I would have never suspected that I could or would ever do.

7.  Crossing the finish line at the Copper Creek Sprint Triathlon in 2009.  This was my first triathlon and I had found a new passion….I could combine my love of swimming, cycling and running and still challenge myself in endurance sport.

Copper Creek Run

6.  Crossing the finish line at Ironman Kansas 70.3 in 2010…my first 70.3 triathlon.  I had found my favorite triathlon distance!!  I love triathlon and this distance was far enough that I had to train for it, but short enough that it didn’t consume all of my spare time.  I LOVED meeting Chrissie Wellington for the first time after I finished as well…

Chrissie and Me IM Kansas 70.3

5.  Crossing the finish line at Ironman Kansas 70.3 2013 in 6:05:53…I set a new PR by 26:51.  WOW!!  I was super pumped to be so close to breaking the 6 hour barrier for the 1/2 Ironman distance.  I’ve got my eyes set on breaking the 6 hour barrier…

Finishers medal around my neck!!  70.3 miles in 6:05:53...that is nearly a 27 minute PR!!
Finishers medal around my neck!! 70.3 miles in 6:05:53…that is nearly a 27 minute PR!!

4.  Crossing the finish line at the USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance Age Group National Championships in 2013.  Not only did I set a new PR, but I had a blast and got to meet Sister Madonna Buder on the course.  She is such an inspiration!!

Getting my medal and a hug from Chrissie Wellington at the finish line of USA Triathlon Olympic-distance Age Group National Championships.
Getting my medal and a hug from Chrissie Wellington at the finish line of USA Triathlon Olympic-distance Age Group National Championships.

3.  Crossing the finish line at the Boston Marathon was so much fun.  I had worked so hard to get to Boston that running it for fun was definitely the best reward.

I made it...the finish line of the Boston Marathon :)
I made it…the finish line of the Boston Marathon 🙂  The view from my camera that I took pictures from all day long.

2.  Crossing the finish line at the Lakefront Milwaukee Marathon in 2008.  I qualified for the Boston Marathon with 1:13 to spare…YIPPEE!! 🙂

1.  Crossing the finish line at Ironman Wisconsin 2014 after overcoming obstacles earlier in the day.  The fact that I did not remember crossing the finish line in 2011 made this finish so much more rewarding 🙂

Yahoo!!  Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.
Yahoo!! Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.

What are some of your best racing memories?

2013 Had Ups and Downs

Like most years, 2013 was a roller coaster ride.  There were ups and downs.  Luckily I had more ups than downs 🙂

Let’s start with the lows, so I can end 2013 on a high note!!


  • Superior Man Triathlon, August 25: DNF (Did Not Finish)
  • Grandpa died September 9 (just 6 days shy of turning 96 years young): While I am very sad that he is gone, I am happy that he lived such a monumental life and is now reunited and dancing with Grandma.
  • I fell into a mental slump after my DNF in August and really struggled to find self-control again.  Every workout I did was a challenge both physically and mentally and I lost focus for a while.
  • I injured my right shin after the Indianapolis Marathon and had to go though physical therapy.  As it turns out, it was caused by my back on my left side…go figure.
  • I got sick, strep throat, severe sinus infection and the beginning stages of pneumonia, in the middle of December (just before winter break).


  • Bringing in the New Year with a New Year’s Day “5K” race
  • Little Rock Marathon, March 3: While this wasn’t a PR for me, I was very happy breaking the 4 hour barrier and had a fantabulous weekend with friends!!
  • Drake 1/2 Marathon, April 28:  While this wasn’t a PR for me, I did get to help a friend find the inner strength to push herself when it got challenging and finish the race.
  • Ironman Kansas 70.3, June 9:  I set a PR with a time of 6:05.53 (shaving 26.51 off this distance)
  • Lake Geode Olympic Distance Triathlon, July 13:  I set another PR with a time of 2:53.40 (shaving 11.46 off this distance)
  • Okoboji Triathlon, July 20:  Another PR with a time of 1:55.07 (shaving 3.00 off this odd distance triathlon)
  • Olympic Distance Triathlon Age Group Nationals, August 10:  I broke the PR I set at Lake Geode one month earlier and set a new PR with a time of 2:49.03 (shaving 4.37 off my Lake Geode time)
  • The Iron Hippie and I renovated our back yard…regrading the  slope of land, installing a new fence, putting in a fire pit with a small patio around it and seeding the lawn.  We still have some work to do, but the yard already looks 100% better than when we bought the house.
  • Signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2014, September 9:  I will again be competing in Ironman Wisconsin on September 7, 2014.  I am excited to train and race at that level again!!
  • I was blessed to spend time with family (both immediate and extended) when we celebrated Grandpa’s life.
  • Indianapolis Marathon, October 19:  I ran my 2nd fastest marathon to date and finished in 3:56.42.  While I didn’t qualify for Boston like I originally hoped, I did execute a near perfect race given the circumstances of the day.
  • I was blessed to create MANY amazing memories with family and friends in 2013!!
  • Finished off they year happy, healthy and ready to start IRONMAN training 🙂
Successful 2013 = 6 medals and 1 trophy
Racing Success in 2013 = 6 medals and 1 trophy…I’m looking forward to many more “ups” in 2014!!!

What were some of your ups and downs of 2013?

How has exercise evolved, challenged and gifted your life?

I recently was reminded of how exercise has evolved, challenged and gifted my life…

For me, it all started in the fall of 2004…I decided to take control of my life and stop letting my life take control of me.  As a result I decided to try some new adventures…one of which was RUNNING!!  It wasn’t easy to start running.  As a matter of fact, it was very challenging at times, but I decided I was going to run a 5K in October of 2004…  My patience, persistence, perseverance and passion superceded the occasional exhaustion, sore muscles, or lack of motivation to get out the door.  After having recently gone through a divorce, running became my therapy.  I found new friends and discovered a gift that just keeps giving!!

Running is a gift

I finished that 5K and caught a virus…the RUNNING VIRUS!!!  I decided that my 5K run could be improved upon…by going farther and faster.  Next came a different kind of challenge…a local 7 mile off road race in November of 2004.  Shortly after the start of 2005, I decided I would sign up to train for a local 20K race (Dam to Dam) with the City of Ames Parks and Rec Program…Team 12.4.  This experience presented its own challenges and completely changed my life!!  I met some AMAZING friends, pushed my body to new limits and eventually found the love of my life!!

After completing the Dam to Dam 20K race in June of 2005, my running virus got more infectious!!  I decided to further challenge myself by signing up for a marathon and joined the training group through the City of Ames Parks and Rec for the marathon training program.  In October of 2005 many of the runners in our training group celebrated by running the Chicago Marathon.  After our celebration, we decided we didn’t want to see our running group break up, so we all played a role in the birth of TEAM VARDO…the BEST running group ever!!

The BEST running group EVER!!
The BEST running group EVER!!

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 11.12.10 AM

The following spring (spring of 2006), I was training for Grandma’s Marathon with the Team Vardo runners when a handsome gent started running with Team 12.4 to train for Dam to Dam.  After completing Dam to Dam in 2006, he decided to start running with Team Vardo…boy was I lucky!!  Not only would I get to meet him and run with him, but I was lucky enough to fall in love with and eventually marry this handsome gent!!

My running virus evolved into a full-fledged, exercise virus as I started to incorporate strength training into my workout regimen.  My exercise virus continued to get more and more infectious…it took me to new distances and pushed me to get faster.  To see evidence of this, check out my Race Log.

Through the course of time my exercise virus continued to become even MORE infectious as I went from just running and strength training to becoming a triathlete.  In September of 2011 my husband and I finished Ironman Wisconsin…Together.  That was the biggest exercise challenge yet!!

My husband and I right after finishing Ironman Wisconsin 2011.  What a long day :)
My husband and I right after finishing Ironman Wisconsin 2011. What a long day 🙂

What more does exercise have in store for me?????  Only time will tell!!

How has exercise evolved, challenged and gifted your life???