Celebrating my Independence

As a very independent woman (sometimes this causes some scuttle in our household), I enjoy celebrating Independence Day!!  In honor of Independence Day falling on Thursday of this last week, I decided to do a week long celebration and document my Red, White and Blue week through photography.

Monday, July 1, 2013:  Today was a day in red…

I went to Furman Aquatic Center and swam 2660 yards on the short end of the pool (23.75 yard distance for one length).  When I got done with my swim, I decided to try water walking.   The Lazy River was open for water walking and while some people were walking with the current, I wanted more of a challenge and instead walked with those people walking against the current for 30 minutes.  I really enjoyed the water walking as a different way to keep moving!!
I went to Furman Aquatic Center and swam 2660 yards on the short end of the pool (23.75 yard distance for one length). When I got done with my swim, I decided to try water walking. The Lazy River was open for water walking and while some people were walking with the current, I wanted more of a challenge and instead walked with those people walking against the current for 30 minutes. I really enjoyed the water walking as a different way to keep moving!!
Monday afternoon, my husband and I went for a leisure bike ride on our cross bikes through the woods near our house.  We had fun covering 4 miles in 30 minutes on very uneven terrain, while enjoying the picture Mother Nature has so beautifully painted.  It was also fun to get out on Molly the Raleigh.  We definitely don't get to spend enough time together during triathlon training!!
Monday afternoon, my husband and I went for a leisure bike ride on our cross bikes through the woods near our house. We had fun covering 4 miles in 30 minutes, while enjoying the picture Mother Nature has so beautifully painted. It was also fun to get out on Molly the Raleigh…we definitely don’t get to spend enough time together during triathlon training!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013:  I went for white and blue today…

Tuesday morning we woke up to a BEAUTIFUL July morning.  It was 61 degrees at 5:15 am when we started our 8 mile run.  It is mornings like these that make me feel like I could run forever!!
Tuesday morning we woke up to a BEAUTIFUL July morning!! It was 61 degrees at 5:15 am when we started our 8 mile run. It is mornings like these that make me feel like I could run forever…covering 8 miles in 1:12:29…what fun!!  I got to see a gorgeous sunrise with wonderful company doing what I love!!  What an amazing way to start the day!!
After running, I went to the gym to complete a one hour strength training session.
After running, I went to the gym to complete a one hour strength training session.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013:  My day in Blue

While 58 degrees at 6 am may feel a bit chilly to most people...especially when getting into the pool for an outdoor swim, it was a BEAUTIFUL morning!!  I got to enjoy swimming in the 50 meter pool, which included a 1000 meter straight swim.  I swam this 1000 meters in 20:40, which gave me an average pace of 1:53 per 100 yards.  I was pretty happy with this!!
While 58 degrees at 6 am may feel a bit chilly to most people…especially when getting into the pool for an outdoor swim, I thought it was a BEAUTIFUL morning!! I got to enjoy swimming in the 50 meter pool, which included a 1000 meter straight swim. I swam this 1000 meters in 20:40, which gave me an average pace of 1:53 per 100 yards. I’ll take that!!
I went for a 37 mile bike ride on the High Tressel Trail system at 2 pm.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day to be outside and enjoy Mother Nature!!
I went for a 37 mile bike ride on the High Tressel Trail system at 2 pm. It was a BEAUTIFUL day to be outside and enjoy Mother Nature!!

Thursday, July 4, 2013:  Today was a rest day…we had a very fun and busy day to celebrate Independence Day!!

We started the day by sleeping in and then heading downtown on our cross bikes for free buttermilk pancakes served at City Hall by the City of Ames employees.  It was a fun way to start our day!!
We started the day by sleeping in and then headed downtown on our cross bikes for free buttermilk pancakes served at City Hall by the City of Ames employees. It was a fun way to start our day!!
The dogs loving the water on a beautiful day!!
We took the dogs to the local watering hole for a great afternoon swim!!
We finished off the great day with some amazing friends, a campfire and smores.  What a great day!!!
We finished off the great day with some amazing friends, a campfire and smores. What a great day!!!

Friday, July 5, 2013:  Our Century Ride…I’m in white and blue today

Our Century Ride route..
Our Century Ride route through Central Iowa..
What a great way to spend the day...with great friends, doing what I love...riding bikes!!
What a great way to spend the day…with great friends, doing what I love…riding bikes…both on the roads and trails in Central Iowa!!  Our goal for the day was just to complete 100 miles (not aiming for a certain speed/pace), enjoy each other’s company and enjoy what started out as a beautiful Iowa day!!
On our way to the High Tressel Trail (top), a few of the men needed to relieve themselves (bottom)...
On our way to the High Tressel Trail (top), a few of the men needed to relieve themselves (bottom)…
A few awesome hill climbs scattered throughout the ride provided for some amazing scenery!!  We did have a train that we had to wait for as well as a flat tire (by my husband), but we finished our 100 miles in style!!
A few hill climbs scattered throughout the ride provided for some amazing scenery!! We did have a train that we had to wait for as well as a flat tire (by my husband), but we finished our 100 miles in style!!  Oh yeah…at about 11 am the furnace kicked on and that beautiful morning turned into a scorching afternoon…

Saturday, July 6, 2013:  Today was a day in blue (and black) while donning my red and white Mojo…

After yesterday's century ride, I was anticipating a sore bum when I donned Mojo for my brick workout, but I was pleasantly surprised...No sore bum, legs felt GREAT and I was strong and able to push forward at a surprising speed (especially into the headwind).  Bike:  average speed was 17.5 mph for 25 miles...Run: 9:18 average pace for 5 miles.
After yesterday’s century ride, I was anticipating a sore bum when I donned Mojo for my brick workout, but I was pleasantly surprised…No sore bum, legs felt GREAT and I was strong and able to push forward at a surprising speed (especially into the headwind). Bike: average speed was 17.5 mph for 25 miles…Run: 9:18 average pace for 5 miles.  The run was a bit of a challenge as we were running in the heat of the day (90+ degrees), but I finished strong!!  I was pleasantly surprised with how well this workout finished up.

Sunday, July 7, 2013:  Another day in blue…

Woke up early to go for a 2 hour run, which ended up being exactly 13 miles at an average pace of 9:16.  It was a very muggy morning...so muggy that during the last couple of miles, I had sweat so much that my shoes were squishy and squeaking water with every foot fall.
Woke up early for a 2 hour run, which ended up being exactly 13 miles at an average pace of 9:16. It was a VERY muggy morning…so muggy that during the last couple of miles, I had sweat so much that my shoes were squishy and squeaking sweat with every foot fall.  This was a challenging run after all of the other workouts that I completed this weekend…it wasn’t pretty, but I finished!
A great afternoon at The Pits with some friends
An awesome late morning swim at The Pits with some friends and all the dogs…what a great way to end the AMAZING Independence Week!!

Two States Bike Ride

This last weekend, the Iron Hippie and I went to Okoboji to visit my parents.  We had an AMAZING run on Saturday and followed it up with an AWESOME bike ride on Sunday.  The Iron Hippie was scheduled to ride for 60 miles and I was scheduled to ride for 2-3 hours.  I knew that I would not be able to ride 60 miles in that 2-3 hour time window, but figured I would come close, so we mapped out a route.

70 mile bike route surrounding the Iowa Great Lakes area, including Iowa and Minnesota saddle time.
70 mile bike route surrounding the Iowa Great Lakes area, including Iowa and Minnesota saddle time.

Living in central Iowa, we rarely get the opportunity to ride in two states in one day, but since Okoboji is only about 15 miles from the Minnesota border, we decided to map a ride that would take us into Minnesota.  We have also never had the opportunity to completely circle the Iowa Great Lakes region by bike, so we decided that we would accomplish this goal on this bike ride!!  In order to completely circle the Iowa Great Lakes area AND bike in Iowa and Minnesota (safely), we had to make our route a little longer than 60 miles…it ended up being 70.5 miles.  We definitely could have made the route shorter, but we would have had to ride our bikes on some roads with really heavy traffic and decided to opt out of that option.

We donned our bikes at 6 am and headed out in perfect weather…low 60s, less than 5 mph winds, full sun…couldn’t be better for cycling!!  The 6 am start time would allow us to get most of our ride done before the Iowa Great Lakes region woke up 🙂

On the north edge of the Iowa Great Lakes area, there is a stretch of road that is right on the Iowa/Minnesota border.  Since we were the only ones on the road, we decided to take a picture of us riding down the road…my husband was in Iowa, while I was in Minnesota!!  Not everyday you can zig zag across the road and switch the state you are in so quickly 🙂

My husband is in Iowa on the left and I am in Minnesota on the right.
The Iron Hippie is in Iowa on the left and I am in Minnesota on the right.

During this ride, I could definitely tell that I had raced hard the week before.  My legs were a bit sluggish, but I just kept pushing forward!!  We finished our 70.5 mile route in 3:55:00…giving us an average speed of 18.0 mph…I have become stronger and gotten faster on the bike and I am super stoked about it!!

We LOVED this route, the smooth surfaces and the little vehicle traffic that we encountered!!  This is definitely a ride we will be doing again in the future!!

Bike Adjustments 101

Wednesday I went out for what was to be a 90-120 minute bike ride, but Mojo was a little angry with me.  I had changed her wheels (from race ready to training ready), which required a few minor adjustments.  The derailleur was rubbing on the chain, so I made some adjustments…oops…I just made it worse…Let’s try this…oops…now she won’t shift into the big ring…I’m sorry Mojo…she went from frustrated to angry to irate in a matter of a few minutes.

What does one do when she is on the road and has a VERY angry bike…call a bike savvy friend…PLEASE HELP ME!!!

Lucky for me, this bike savvy friend was home and able to get Mojo to sing a much happier song.  He had to readjust many of the things I had changed back to the way they were before fixing the initial problem…the derailleur rubbing on the chain.

I learned a few lessons:

Lesson 1:  Have a bike mechanic or bike savvy friend on speed dial and don’t be afraid to call them!!

Lesson 2:  Don’t adjust anything if you don’t know what it will change or what is going to happen if it is adjusted…especially when you are out on the road.  Take your bike to a knowledgable individual or bike shop to get the bike in working order.

Lesson 3:  An angry bike makes for a much more challenging bike ride.  Happy bikes make happy riders.

To my bike savvy friend…THANK YOU for making Mojo much happier and getting me back out on the road!!  Mojo thanks you too!!

Mojo in her road wheels singing a happy tune!!
Mojo in her road wheels singing a happy tune!!

My Reverse Triathlon

The alarm clock went off at 3 am Saturday morning for what was going to be a very long day!!  We loaded the car and headed to Des Moines for the Dam to Dam races (I wasn’t running the race because of my upcoming half Ironman, but went down to spectate and cheer on MANY friends who were running)…what an early morning…we are use to early mornings, but it seemed really early this morning!!

We arrived at the parking ramp in downtown Des Moines at 4:40 am.  I got organized and went for a 50 minute run around Des Moines while the Dam runners loaded buses and were transported out to the race start at Saylorville Dam.  I thought I would run over to Gray’s Lake and loop the lake before running back to the downtown area to give me a near perfect  run distance/time…well…Mother Nature had a few other plans…

Gray's Lake was closed!!
Gray’s Lake was closed!!
Thank you Mother Nature for all of the rain we have received lately...enough to flood the area around Gray's Lake and put the running trail under water!!
Thank you Mother Nature for all of the rain we have received lately…enough to flood the area around Gray’s Lake and put the running trail under water!!

Luckily I have run around Des Moines enough that I was comfortable with a creative route adjustment to get my distance/time in.  As I was heading back toward downtown Des Moines and the parking ramp, the sun began to rise…BEAUTIFUL!!

Sunrise over Downtown Des Moines.
Sunrise over Downtown Des Moines.

I made it back to the parking ramp in time to change clothes, rehydrate, hop on my bike and meet Robin at the corner of 6th Ave and High Street at 6 am for our bike ride out to Saylorville Dam to see the race start.  We wanted to allow ourselves plenty of time to ride the 12.4 miles out to the dam and not get trampled by the Dam runners running back to downtown!!

We were stopped by a very rude and unhappy state trooper at mile 1 telling us we could not go any further…he wasn’t even letting registered runners enter the race start from that side of the dam…thank you Boston Bombers!!  I may have had a few choice words for the officer and told the runners how to get around him and to the race start from that side of the dam…

Mile 1 turned out to be a pretty sweet location for us to watch all of the Dam runners come by!!  With 8000 participants registered for the 20K, there was a pretty steady stream of runners for nearly 30 minutes.  We then donned our bikes and rode back toward downtown Des Moines (via a different route to avoid the congestion of the runners).  We stopped at the mile 9+ point of the race course to watch and cheer for the runners for a while.  Most of the runners we saw were doing AWESOME!!  It was a beautiful morning for a run!!

Our vantage point at mile 9 of the 20K race.
Our vantage point at mile 9 of the 20K race.

We waited until about 8:35 am and then headed back toward downtown Des Moines.  Robin was running the 5K event at 9:15 am and we wanted to get her back, changed and to the race start in plenty of time!!  I headed to the finish area and cheered on/waited for many friends to finish.  I am so proud of my dear friend Tonja for finding mental focus and pushing herself to a PR of 1:45:10 today!!  Congratulations T you are a ROCKSTAR and I am so proud of you!!

Tonja and me at the finish of Dam 2 Dam
Tonja and me at the finish of Dam 2 Dam

After a very full morning and some lunch, we made it back home by about 1 pm, showered, took a nap and then decided to go for an open water swim.  In the last couple of weeks, every time I have tried to get into open water we have had severe thunderstorms prohibiting me from swimming, so I had yet to be in open water this year.  What started out as a beautiful morning turned into a rainy afternoon, but it was not storming, so we decided to go to The Pits for a swim.  The water was not nearly as cold as I thought it would be…I’m guessing mid 60s…it was near perfect water temperatures for the wetsuit.  I didn’t swim for long as the skies started to darken and I was struggling to get my breathing under control.  With a few more open water swim sessions this week, I will be race ready for Sunday!!

Getting ready to immerse myself into the water for my first open water swim of the year.
Getting ready to immerse myself into the water for my first open water swim of the year.

As I emerged from the water, a rainbow had recently formed off to the east…what a perfect end to my reverse triathlon!!

Ridiculous Central Iowa Weather

We have had some ridiculous weather in Central Iowa in the last couple of weeks that has not cooperated with my triathlon training.  A few weeks ago we had drought conditions, but that has quickly changed to flooding.  In the intermittent weeks, there were MANY windy days…Oh, the relentless wind.  Some people may not pay as much attention to the weather and scoff at the relentless wind, but as a triathlete, I enjoy the opportunity to get outside and complete my workouts safely.

When every bike ride I do pounds wind in my face, I have one of two choices…gain mental strength from the challenge I’m faced with or mentally break down.  I choose to accept the wind as a challenge that is going to make me stronger.  This relentless wind has helped me improve my physical strength and mental strength.  I have had to alter how I’ve completed some of my workouts due to the extreme weather, but that has only added to the mental strength I have gained.

Some of the more memorable Central Iowa weather days for me include the following:

Sunday, May 19, 2013:

I knew there were storms in the forecast for later in the day, so I got out early to complete my triple brick.  Those storms did eventually show up and boy was I glad to have my workout complete when they did!!

After part of the storm had pushed through the area.
After part of the storm had pushed through the area.

Saturday, May 25, 2013:

I was suppose to complete a dress rehearsal for my upcoming race, but I pushed it back to Sunday due to the severe weather.  Instead, I did Sunday’s workouts…swim in the pool and run on the treadmill.

Bad Weather 1

Sunday, May 26, 2013:

I had to go to the gym to swim in the pool for my race day dress rehearsal since there was thunder and lightening in the area.  I was hoping that the weather would clear up enough for me to ride outside while I was swimming indoors, but no such luck!!  😦  Instead I had to hook my bicycle up to the trainer in the basement and ride in my own head for 2 hours at race pace.  While I rode in the basement, the weather did clear up enough for me to complete my dress rehearsal with an outdoor run.  I ran for one hour at an average pace of 8:42…I felt really good and strong 🙂  This was a huge mental boost for race day!!

The weather over the weekend did lead to some flooding in Ames…so much for that drought from a couple of weeks ago!!

Flood Waters
Flood Waters

Wednesday, May 30, 2013:

I was suppose to swim outdoors after work, but due to severe storms, I was unable to do my open water swim. 😦

Bad Weather 2I am hoping that this ridiculous weather is nearing an end and that I have near perfect conditions for race day!!

Workouts in Review for May 13-19, 2013

I decided to try something different to represent my workouts this week.  Last week I went picture style…this week…well take a look for yourself!!

Monday swim at 5 am
Monday swim at 5 am
Monday Bike Ride at 5 pm
Monday Bike Ride at 5 pm
Tuesday Strength Training at 4:30 am
Tuesday Strength Training at 4:30 am
Tuesday's 5:30 pm Run...This was a HOT, WINDY Run!!
Tuesday’s 5:30 pm Run…This was a HOT, WINDY Run!!
Wednesday's 5 am 2200 yard Swim
Wednesday’s 5 am 2200 yard Swim
Wednesday's Bike Ride at 3:30 pm...This was a PR at 17.4 mph for an average over the nearly 38 miles I rode :)
Wednesday’s Bike Ride at 3:30 pm…This was a PR at 17.4 mph for an average over the nearly 38 miles I rode 🙂
Thursday morning at 4 am I ran with an amazing friend.  We had a great run with great conversations!!
Thursday morning at 4 am I ran with an amazing friend. We had a great run with great conversations!!
Thursday morning after the run I did some strength training for my arms and legs.  I then did the core workout after work at 3:30 pm.
Thursday morning after the run I did some strength training for my arms and legs. I then did the core workout after work at 3:30 pm.
Saturday morning run at 5:00 am with AMAZING friends!!  Life doesn't get much better than this!!
Saturday morning run at 5:00 am with AMAZING friends!! Life doesn’t get much better than this!!
Core Strengthening after Running Saturday morning
Core Strengthening after Running Saturday morning
Sunday's Brick was mentally and physically challenging, but a GREAT workout that I conquered!!
Sunday’s Brick was mentally and physically challenging, but a GREAT workout that I conquered!!

This was a VERY successful week for me…I’m very happy with my performance on all of my workouts this week!!

This Week’s Workouts in Review…Picture Style

I swam 2600 yards at 5 am on Monday morning in 50 minutes.
I swam 2600 yards at 5 am on Monday morning in 50 minutes.
24.25 mile bike ride in 90 minutes on Monday afternoon. It was a PERFECT day for being outside!!
24.25 mile bike ride in 90 minutes on Monday afternoon. It was a PERFECT day for being outside!!
Tuesday morning I meet an AMAZING friend for a GREAT strength training workout at 4:30 am...we were a little late to the gym this morning since we didn't have to run before the strength training today :)
Tuesday morning I meet an AMAZING friend for a GREAT strength training workout at 4:30 am…we were a little late to the gym this morning since we didn’t have to run before the strength training today 🙂
11 mile run Tuesday evening at 4:20 pm for 1:38:48...I had 8 hill repeats in the first 6 miles on 13th street hill and ran the last 5 miles as a "cool down" with Team 12.4
11 mile run Tuesday evening at 4:20 pm for 1:38:48…I had 8 hill repeats in the first 6 miles on 13th street hill and ran the last 5 miles as a “cool down” with Team 12.4
2600 yard swim at 5 am Wednesday morning...Steady 200s was the workout.  I forgot my phone in the car, hence the photo in the parking lot after my swim :)
2600 yard swim at 5 am Wednesday morning…Steady 200s was the workout. I forgot my phone in the car, hence the photo in the parking lot after my swim 🙂
Wednesday I had a brick to do in the pm hours.  At 4:00 pm it was raining outside, so I changed my rear wheel on my tri bike (which also requires brake adjustments since my trainer wheel doesn't fit my bike the same as my road or racing wheels) for the first time all by myself.  At 4:30 pm I hopped on Mojo in the basement for my 1:15:00 ride before heading out the door for my 20 min run...Total distance covered was 21.2 miles in 1:35:00.
Wednesday I had a brick to do in the pm hours. At 4:00 pm it was raining outside, so I changed my rear wheel on my tri bike (which also requires brake adjustments since my trainer wheel doesn’t fit my bike the same as my road or racing wheels) for the first time all by myself. At 4:30 pm I hopped on Mojo in the basement for my 1:15:00 ride before heading out the door for my 20 min run…Total distance covered was estimated at 21.2 miles in 1:35:00…my computer was not working on my bike to record my total distance for the ride portion of my brick…grrr!!
Thursday morning we had thunderstorms, so I went to the gym at 4 am to run on the treadmill instead of running outside like originally planned.  I ran 5.03 miles in 55 minutes (I was scheduled to run a nice, easy pace).  After running, I did a strength training workout for 50 minutes.  I focused mostly on my core and arms today since my legs were still a little sore from Tuesday morning's strength workout.
Thursday morning we had thunderstorms, so I went to the gym at 4 am to run on the treadmill instead of running outside like originally planned. I ran 5.03 miles in 55 minutes (I was scheduled to run a nice, easy pace…and I did just that). After running, I did a strength training workout for 50 minutes. I focused mostly on my core and arms since my legs (mostly my hamstrings) were still a little sore from Tuesday morning’s strength workout.
BONUS WORKOUT!!! Friday morning I decided to get up and swim at 5 am, even though it wasn't a scheduled workout. I swam 2000 yards in 45 minutes completing the Drills and 50s swim. It was a great way to start my day!!
BONUS WORKOUT!!!
Friday morning I decided to get up and swim at 5 am, even though it wasn’t a scheduled workout. I swam 2000 yards in 45 minutes completing the Drills and 50s swim. It was a great way to start my day!!
Friday afternoon we went on a leisure bike ride on the trails through Ames, stopping at a favorite watering hole...Stomping Grounds...for a Blue Note Lemonade (blueberries pureed in lemon ice)...YUMMY!!  We then went through campus on our return trip home.  8.88 miles in 49 minutes...NICE and RELAXING ride!!
Friday afternoon we went on a leisure bike ride on the trails through Ames, stopping at a favorite watering hole…Stomping Grounds…for a Blue Note Lemonade (blueberries pureed in lemon ice)…YUMMY!! We then went through campus on our return trip home. 8.88 miles in 49 minutes…NICE and RELAXING ride!!
Ran 10.6 miles in 1:31:00 for an average pace of 8:34 per mile Saturday morning at 7 am.  This was a WINDY run with winds at 27 mph out of the NNW, but it was a GREAT run with awesome company!!  We had some good hills to climb into the headwind...I was able to stay mentally and physically strong and focused :)
Ran 10.6 miles in 1:31:00 for an average pace of 8:34 per mile Saturday morning at 7 am. This was a WINDY run with winds at 27 mph out of the NNW, but it was a GREAT run with awesome company!! We had some good hills to climb into the headwind…I was able to stay mentally and physically strong and focused 🙂
Saturday morning after the run I had a 30 minute core workout...it is REALLY hard to get a picture of yourself doing core work ;)
Saturday morning after the run I had a 30 minute core workout…it is REALLY hard to get a picture of yourself doing core work 😉
At 11 am on Sunday morning I went to yoga. I prefer going to hot yoga, but that wasn’t an option since I new I would be riding later in the day during the hot yoga class, so I made do with regular yoga this time.
64.15 mile ride in 4 hours starting at 1:30 pm on Sunday.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day for a ride!!  We incorporated some big hill climbs (for Iowa) through the Des Moines River Valley a couple of different times.
64.15 mile ride in 4 hours starting at 1:30 pm on Sunday. It was a BEAUTIFUL day for a ride!! We incorporated some big hill climbs (for Iowa) through the Des Moines River Valley a couple of different times.
I call this a successful week!!
I call this a successful week!!