The Best of 2016

After posting the Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, and the Best of 2015 I decided it would be fun to look back through 2016 and reminisce my faves🙂

Best race experience?

The Okoboji Triathlon was my favorite race this year! It was special to race with The Iron Hippie on our Anniversary and get cheered on by our twin nieces at the finish line!

Getting low fives from my nieces at the Okoboji Triathlon. Photo by Sarah Riley
Getting low fives from my twin nieces at the Okoboji Triathlon. Photo by Sarah Riley

Best run?

There weren’t many runs that stood out as belonging at the top of the pile this year, but the most fun I had while running was at the Market to Market Relay. I got to run with friends All. Day. Long!

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Best bike?

Riding 3 loops of the Ironman Wisconsin bike course…was a challenging day full of 6847 feet of climbing over 125 miles. This ride gave me a lot of confidence for Ironman Wisconsin race day!

Looking down Barlow...this doesn't do it justice since you can't see the bottom!
Looking down Barlow (a 21% climb)…this doesn’t do it justice since you can’t see the bottom!

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Best swim?

The Okoboji 3.5 mile swim was not wetsuit legal, but it was a great experience for me to swim LONG with my father kayaking beside me!! I love swimming in my playground…Lake Okoboji!!

3.5 mile Okoboji Swim with Dad kayaking next to me
3.5 mile Okoboji Swim with Dad kayaking next to me

Best NEW racing experience?

This was a tough one! I had two new race experiences this year…Market to Market Relay and the Hickory Grove Duathlon. While both experiences were new, fun, and challenging (in their own way), the duathlon rocked this category! I was challenged in ways I hadn’t experienced before, had a BLAST, and got to race with my #solesister!

#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon
#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon

Best encouraging moment?

This year I was blessed to have the support from Coeur Sports and Kyle’s Bikes to help me start a women’s only ride in central Iowa. It was fun to enCOEURage other women in sport and help them make gains on the bike and in their self confidence! #strongwomen #heartandcourage

Ladies Night!
Ladies Night!

Best recovery technique?

#recoveryisimportant and that is why I invest in the best recovery possible! Nick with Vitality Massage helps keep me injury free. I like to refer to myself as his insurance policy since Ironman racing looks to be in our future for the next few years😉

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Best offseason adventure?

Family time, which included:

Ice skating with our nieces!
Ice skating with our nieces!
Jumping on trampolines is a much tougher workout than I thought it would be!
Jumping on trampolines with family over Thanksgiving weekend!

Best new piece of gear?

This is SUPER EASY!! The Coeur Sports Zele Aero Triathlon Kit…it is the most comfortable, breathable, stylish, aerodynamic kit on the market!! I’m hopeful for more amazing designs in 2017!! #stylishspeed

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Best way to log my workouts?

This is another SUPER easy one…my #believetrainingjournal!! While I love to see green in Training Peaks, I much prefer writing things down by hand. I love looking back through my workouts and it is so much easier to do when they are written down. I don’t particularly like having to open up every box in Training Peaks to review my workouts, so the Believe Training Journal has been an absolute favorite this year! I love it so much that I ordered the Compete Training Journal for 2017!!
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Best way to stay healthy?

This was also SUPER easy…Sound Probiotics has been keeping me healthy since March 2015! As endurance athletes, we put ourselves at risk for a dysfunctional immune system because of the intensity and duration of our workouts. When stress, inadequate sleep, poor diet choices, cold weather, alcohol or travel are thrown into the mix, our immune system is even further suppressed. How has Sound Probiotics helped me? Sound Probiotics helps in nutrient production and absorption, helps fend off viruses, promotes the production of cytokines and mucin, and limits bad bacteria in the gut. I have experienced less fatigue and fewer sick days, which as a middle school teacher who is an endurance athlete speaks volumes! This has provided me with the opportunity for more training and better performance. I would highly recommend all endurance athletes use Sound Probiotics to stay healthy!!

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#soundathlete = #soundlife #winningtakesguts

Best piece of racing advice you received?

I read this before every big race. It is so motivating and reminds me to do and be my best as I embark on the race ahead:

“Be calm; focus on what you are going to do. Don’t get distracted, don’t get overwhelmed, take it all as it comes. You are ready for this; you’ve prepared for years. This is it, your time to shine. Go forth with all your powers. Go forth with everything in you. Make it work.” ~Lynne Cox, “Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer”

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Most inspirational athlete?

I can’t pick just one…so many of my Coeur Sports teammates have inspired me this year!! There were many Coeur women who raced with #heartandcourage in Kona at the Ironman World Championships, other ladies had podium finishes at various races they competed in, many ladies met goals, and all are working hard to achieve their dreams. My inspiration cup runneth over!! I am so pumped to be a part of this amazing team again in 2017!!

I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2017 Ambassador Team...Such a #hardcoeur group of women that I'm overjoyed to be a part of!!
I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2017 Ambassador Team…Such a #hardcoeur group of women that I’m overjoyed to be a part of!!
These ladies not only inspire me, but encourage me and light my fire! <3
These ladies not only inspire me, but encourage me and light my fire! ❤

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

Courage over comfort, believe, fun!!

Tell me about your 2016 year!! What are your “bests” from 2016?!

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The Best of 2015

After posting the Best of 2013 and the Best of 2014, I decided it would be fun to look back through 2015 and reminisce my faves 🙂

Best race experience?

Hands down…Ironman Boulder was my best race experience in 2015!! I set a bike PR with a time of 6:46:12 and an overall Ironman race PR with a time of 14:04:37. I came very close to meeting my time goal of breaking 14 hours and had a blast!! I absolutely love this course and definitely plan to do it again 🙂

Coming into the finish shoot all smiles...it was a daylight finish, but these photos don't represent that.
Coming into the finish shoot all smiles…it was a daylight finish, but these photos don’t represent that.

Best run?

I had multiple runs that were great throughout the year, but I think the most fun I had was running up Mt. Diablo in Walnut Creek, CA. This was a very challenging run, but so much fun to run some place new and different!

Running up Mt. Diablo in California
Running up Mt. Diablo in California
I made it to the top and looked out over the city.
I made it to the top and looked out over the city.

Best bike?

The Peak to Peak Highway rides, Day 1 and Day 2, in Colorado with the Iron Hippie and Allen were very challenging, but oh so much fun!! It was #bikelove like no other!! I can’t wait to get back to Colorado and ride more roads like these 🙂

Riding the Peak to Peak Highway in Colorado
Riding the Peak to Peak Highway in Colorado
Taking a break from the riding and doing a little core work in Ward!!
Taking a break from the riding and doing a little core work in Ward!!
I pulled us all up the mountain.
I pulled us all up the mountain.
On top of the world...or maybe just Colorado at elevation 9200+ feet.
On top of the world…or maybe just Colorado at elevation 9200+ feet.

Best swim?

Swimming with my father kayaking next to me around Lake Okoboji. I LOVE swimming in the lake where I grew up and am so lucky that my father likes to join me on my long swims 🙂

Dad is getting in his kayak
Dad is getting in his kayak
Lake Okoboji...my playground!!
Lake Okoboji…my playground!!
Feeling so great after 2.6 miles of open water swimming at an average pace of 1:52/100 yards.
Feeling so great after 2.6 miles of open water swimming at an average pace of 1:52/100 yards.

Best team race?

The Des Moines Triathlon that we did as a team was probably the most fun group workout I had this year. The Iron Hippie swam, I cycled and Allen ran in this Olympic-distance event. I pushed myself to limits on the bike that I didn’t know I had…especially only 5 weeks post Ironman Boulder.

Holy Crap! I think this is a sign that I left it all out on the bike course.
Holy Crap! I think this is a sign that I left it all out on the bike course.
Team Kecia crossed the finish line at the Des Moines Triathlon...job complete.
Team Kecia crossed the finish line at the Des Moines Triathlon…job complete.

Best recovery technique?

#recoveryisimportant and that is why I invest in the best recovery possible! Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic uses ART to help keep me healthy and Nick massages my tight muscles regularly! The two work well together…I like to refer to myself as their insurance policy since Ironman racing looks to be in our future for the next few years 😉

This rehab is the best there is!
This rehab is the best there is!
Dry needling to assist my healing...thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic
Dry needling to assist my healing…thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic

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Best hike in Colorado?

When we were staying in Estes Park, we went on a hike up to Loch Vale Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a great adventure!!

Hiking up to Loch Vale.
Hiking up to Loch Vale.
Having a little fun throwing snowballs in July on our way up to Loch Vale.
Having a little fun throwing snowballs in July on our way up to Loch Vale.
Loch Lake...so peaceful and magnificent!
Loch Lake…so peaceful and magnificent!

Best offseason adventure?

Snowshoeing…this is by far one of my favorite offseason activities! The Iron Hippie and our girls always have just as much fun as I do! It is good cross training, full of fresh air and fun 🙂

Snowshoeing is the perfect offseason cross training activity! The dogs love it too!
Snowshoeing is the perfect offseason cross training activity! The dogs love it too!

Best new piece of gear?

This is SUPER easy…Coeur Sports has the best women’s tri kits and running apparel on the market!!  L.O.V.E. LOVE all my Coeur gear…no chafing, seamless chamois, perfect fit, fun colors, #stylishspeed and #noangrykitty…simply AMAZING!!  This year I found new love in my run capris! Not only are they unbelievably comfortable, but they fit like a glove! I love them so much that I have them in every pattern they offer and can’t wait for more design options 🙂 I love what Coeur Sports stands for, that they encourage, inspire, and promote women in sport and they represent #heartandcourage.  ALL women who SBR (swim, bike, run) and/or do triathlon should wear Coeur Sports apparel…it is da BOMB!!

Basil likes to help me foam roller in my AMAZING Coeur Sports run capris :)
Basil likes to help me foam roller in my AMAZING Coeur Sports run capris 🙂

Best way to log my workouts?

This is another SUPER easy one…my #believetrainingjournal!! While I like to see green in Training Peaks, I much prefer writing things down by hand. I love looking back through my workouts and it is so much easier to do when they are written down. I don’t particularly like having to open up every box in Training Peaks to review my workouts, so the Believe Training Journal has been an absolute favorite this year! I love it so much that I ordered the lavender one for 2016!!

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LOVE this journal!
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Reviewing my workouts in my Believe Training Journal

Best way to stay healthy?

This was also SUPER easy…Sound Probiotics has been keeping me healthy since March! As endurance athletes, we put ourselves at risk for a dysfunctional immune system because of the intensity and duration of our workouts. When stress, inadequate sleep, poor diet choices, cold weather, alcohol or travel are thrown into the mix, our immune system is even further suppressed. How has Sound Probiotics helped me? Sound Probiotics helps in nutrient production and absorption, helps fend off viruses, promotes the production of cytokines and mucin, and limits bad bacteria in the gut. I have experienced less fatigue and fewer sick days, which as a middle school teacher who is an endurance athlete speaks volumes! This has provided me with the opportunity for more training and better performance. I would highly recommend all endurance athletes use Sound Probiotics to stay healthy!! #soundathlete = #soundlife

IMG_5891
#winningtakesguts

Best piece of racing advice you received?

“Be calm; focus on what you are going to do. Don’t get distracted, don’t get overwhelmed, take it all as it comes. You are ready for this; you’ve prepared for years. This is it, your time to shine. Go forth with all your powers. Go forth with everything in you. Make it work.” ~Lynne Cox, “Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer”

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Most inspirational athlete?

I can’t pick just one…so many of my Coeur Sports teammates have inspired me this year!! KristinErin and Jen fought hard to qualify for their first Ironman World Championships. Can you say inspirational? Amy won Ironman Lake Placid and Sonja won Ironman Lake Tahoe…first women overall at each of their races. Hello inspiration?!?! There were many Coeur women who raced in Kona at the Ironman World Championships, others had podium finishes at various races they competed in, many met goals and all are working hard to achieve their dreams. My inspiration cup runneth over!! I am so pumped to be a part of this amazing team again in 2016!! #heartandcourage

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 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!!

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

Fun, Believe, Dream Big

Tell me about your 2015 year!! What are your “bests” from 2015?

Currently // November

Training

November was the month of #bikeblocktraining and cycling 7 times throughout the week really paid off. My FTP test was on Thanksgiving morning and found that #hardworkpaysoff 🙂 My previous FTP test was on October 5 where my normalized power was 160 watts for my 20 minute TT. In just under 8 weeks, my new FTP test results on November 26 produced a normalized power of 176 watts for my 20 minute TT. I’ll take the 16 watt improvement! The best part?!?!?!?! This is only 1 watt less than my FTP test during peak training before Ironman Boulder. I am pumped for what this might mean for the 2016 season!!

FTP test is the perfect start to Thanksgiving day!
FTP test is the perfect start to Thanksgiving day!

I have also been able to start running again just this last week. While I am not running long or far, I am running without pain. 🙂

Running with these 2 make my heart happy!!
Running with these 2 make my heart happy!!

Reading

Carrie Cheadle is an amazing mental skills coach. Her book On Top of Your Game helped me mentally prepare for Ironman Boulder. Her most recent blog post really hit home with me!! Setting a goal and figuring out why the goal is important…not the surface why, but the “why deep underneath the surface at your very core” can help keep you motivated and focused on what is really important to you.

Planning for

2016!!! I have spent time reflecting on my 2015 racing calendar and results. This has helped me develop S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2016 (more on these in a later post). I am so excited to work hard to achieve my dreams!!

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My new #believetrainingjournal arrived just in time for 2016 🙂

Pumped about

I believe 2016 is going to be an epic year!! I have been chosen to be part of the Coeur Sports 2016 Ambassador Team. I ABSOLUTELY love these women!! They are inspirational, motivational, enCOEURaging, supportive and full of #heartandcourage 🙂

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 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!!

Thankful for

Family and friends! My heart and soul were full this Thanksgiving as I was surrounded by so much love! #friendsgiving

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Love my #solesista
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Jenga war is on… concentration is needed here boys!
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Jenga…don’t mess up!!

Friday morning after our #friendsgiving I woke up with a sore throat and am headed to the doctor today. While I am not a fan of being sick, I am #grateful that it is the offseason and I am not sick during peak training and race season!!

Quote of the week

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”       ~Michael Jordan

How was your month of November? How was your Thanksgiving?

29 Weeks ’til Ironman Boulder

Last week wrapped up 29 weeks until Ironman Boulder and with it came the start of semester 2 and ridiculously COLD temperatures…school was even cancelled on Wednesday due to the bitterly cold windchill temperatures (-42F). I didn’t let the cold keep me from having a successful week of workouts. The theme for this week was, “I have some work to do.”

Monday:

AM: One hour of strength training that included 20 minutes of core work (I’m still pushing for at least 5 minutes of core work everyday for 30 days)

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PM: LOTS of shoveling thanks to an 8 inch snow fall 😉

Tuesday:

AM: More shoveling before the Lucky 7s Treadmill Run…this run is all hill work at varying inclines, but every segment needs to add up to “7” = 1 min at 6% incline, 6 min at 1% incline, 2 min at 5% incline, 5 min at 2% incline, etc. The key is not adjusting the pace at which you run…lock the treadmill at one pace and go. I ran 5.64 miles in 55 minutes. I was hoping to be able to maintain a 9:30 pace for this run, but I just didn’t have it in me this morning, so I ran closer to a 10 minute pace. This gives me something to work toward for next time I do this run!

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PM: 2600 yard swim with steady 200s…this was a one hour swim and my calves were SO TIGHT (from the jump squats I did yesterday morning) that it almost hurt to push off the wall. Thankfully they loosened up toward the end of the workout. I followed this up with 5 minutes of core work.

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Wednesday:

AM: Trainer ride of 1 on/1 off for 75 minutes…This was a tough workout, but that is how I will get stronger and faster on the bike 😉 I covered 16.2 miles in the 75 minutes while on the bike and followed this up with 20 minutes of core work.

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Later in the AM: 500 TT swim workout…this was my #FaveWorkout of the week, mostly because I had the pool ENTIRELY to myself. This was a 45 minute swim with a 500 TT included in it. My TT wasn’t as fast as I would have liked, but with the tough ride prior to it, this was the best I could do today. My 500 TT was 9:11.77 with my 2nd half being 6 seconds faster than the first half. This gives me something to work toward for next time I do a 500 TT. I’m starting to see a theme for the week 😉

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PM: Active Release Therapy (ART) on my left leg trying to get it to release all of the tension it holds…

Thursday:

AM: No morning workout after yesterday afternoon’s ART session.

PM: 45 minutes of TRX with about 20 minutes of core work.

Friday:

AM: 7.33 mile treadmill run in 70 minutes…The first 40 minutes were run at a 10 minute pace and the last 30 minutes were run at an 8:57 pace

PM: 2400 yard swim with 2 x ladder to 300 in 1 hour…I felt like my form was struggling a bit, but I pushed through and finished strong. I followed this up with 10 minutes of core work.

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Saturday:

AM: 10.55 mile treadmill run in 1:40 with a 9:29 average pace…I have some work to do to get my runs faster. I followed this up with 30 minutes of core work.

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PM: Made lots of soup to put in the freezer for ready to eat meals…Homemade Carrot Ginger Soup and Homemade Tomato Soup.

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Homemade Carrot Ginger Soup
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Homemade Tomato Soup

 

Sunday:

AM: Trainer ride of 3 x up/down hills covering 28.6 miles in 2 hours…this might just be next week’s #FaveWorkout. This was tough, but I LOVED IT!! It kept me focused and really made me work hard.  This was true #bikelove!! I followed this up with 5 minutes of core work.

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PM: Homemade Grapefruit Juice…YUMMY!!

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Bonus 5 minutes of abs followed by 90 minutes of Hot Yoga…

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Weekly Totals:

Swim: 3.92 miles
Bike: 44.8 miles
Run: 23.5 miles
Strength Training: 4 hours (including all of my core work)
Hot Yoga: 90 minutes

That's a wrap...a #successfultrainingweek all documented in my #believetrainingjournal
That’s a wrap…a #successfultrainingweek all documented in my #believetrainingjournal

Quote of the week:

“Time fixes nothing. Time is a facilitator but you still have to do the fixing; dig into the difficult conversations; look hard at yourself in the mirror and ask if you’re doing everything you can do to get healthy. If you aren’t currently living the life you want, there is no other way to get there. Time won’t make it happen. So you can either adjust the goal, or give yourself a swift kick in the ass. Those are your only two options unless you enjoy the feeling of eternal tug of war.”
~Lauren Fleshman

**Thanks to Erin for sharing this quote with me.

How was your week of workouts?