Progress, NOT perfection

“Perfection is how you deal with imperfections perfectly.” ~Chrissie Wellington

We have been hammering “progress, not perfection” at home as the Iron Hippie rehabs and we continue to train for Ironman Lake Placid. Life, training, and racing are all learning experiences. They are not something that has to go “perfectly,” so making progress within the process and learning how to deal with imperfections is truly what is important. Focus on the process, not the outcome!

Recently I had a power test on the bike. I am very pleased with my performance. This didn’t happen overnight. It has taken lots of hard work, consistency, determination, grit, and so much more over the years to get to this point.

While the numbers are great and my power + heart rate graphs are pretty, Coach Kelly reminded me how far I’ve come since we started to work together in December of 2016.

“Since Kecia shared this, so will I. This athlete has been making progress each year. When we first started working together in 2016 she was already an experienced Ironman triathlete having had coaches and also having been self coached. However, here’s something I think is notable: Our first power test after a few weeks together (using 5 min/20 min) had her at 181 w 5 min, 161 w 20 min. Now, look at those mid & high 200s. Each year has been consistent with progress in an upward trajectory. Of course there are the normal high and low times along the way. Proof, even with experience you CAN get to levels much higher than you had imagined with dedication, commitment and knowing what it takes. Many will say jumps and breakthroughs are not possible once you’ve been in the sport for a number of years, but that’s simply not exactly true!” ~Coach Kelly

This was exactly the reminder that I needed to keep focusing on progress and don’t worry about perfection! There are ups and downs + twists and turns along any journey. The consistency day in and day out pays off. #showupandempoweryourself

I remember when I was self coaching how excited I was when I achieved an FTP of 177 watts for the first time. I have grown + learned a lot since then, and look forward to growing + learning even more in the coming years!!

“Growth comes at a point of resistance; we learn by pushing ourselves to the outer reaches of our abilities.” ~Josh Waitzkin

What do you do when you are faced with resistance? Do you succumb to the resistance or push yourself to the outer reaches of your abilities? Do you focus on progress or perfection?

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Eliminate “just”

Me: “I just have an easy spin for 75 minutes.”
The Iron Hippie: “Don’t say ‘just’.”
Me: “Thanks for the reminder.”

“Just” is a word I want to eliminate from my vocabulary. When using the word “just,” it often sounds as though whatever I’m referring to is unimportant and trivial. While I might “just” have an easy spin on the schedule, this easy spin has a purpose. It is a great way to flush out the legs from a tough session and keep the legs fresh for the next session. It shouldn’t be diminished or belittled.

Sometimes we forget about how far we’ve come and diminish or belittle our successes. Thinking back to when I first started endurance sport, I would head out on an hour ride and work SO HARD to ride 12-14 mph. Now that is an easy ride for me. I struggled to run my first 20K race at a 12:00 min/mile average pace and now I struggle to run that pace for an easy run. I’m SO grateful for this progress!! That progress has happened because of a combination of tough + easy workouts, experience, hard work, determination, guidance from Coach Kelly, support from my tribe, believing in myself, self confidence, and so much more!!

Prefacing my workout with “just” doesn’t set a positive tone and can make others feel as though I am being less supportive of them and where they are in their journey. What might be something simple for one athlete might be a serious challenge for another athlete. What might be a short workout for one athlete might be a long workout for another athlete. What might be a slow pace one athlete might be a fast pace for another athlete. What might be a daunting workout for one athlete might be something another athlete would give anything to do (especially if they are recovering from an injury).

Whether it is “just” an easy spin, “just” a 10 minute run off the bike, “just” one cookie, “just” a short nap, “just, just, just”…”just” has no positive place in my vocabulary and I am going to continue to work really hard to eliminate it permanently from my vocabulary.

What’s up?! – March 2019

March was a turning point. Spring FINALLY showed up, the snow is nearly all melted, a sh!t ton of dog poop has been picked up, I finished my last parent teacher conferences EVER, and I am now just over 2 months away from the end of my last school year teaching. With the end of the school year comes the building excitement of starting my new career and nerves (in a good way) of doing something different for the first time in 16 years. Meanwhile, these are some of the highlights of March…

Training:

I had another SOLID month of training!! I completed 10 minutes of core strength daily + I’m still on the green streak in Training Peaks!! I have not missed one workout so far this year…13 weeks and counting!! BOOM!!

Love you more and SO glad you’re back in the water!!
My graph from my bike ramp test is so pretty!! Thanks Coach Kelly for helping me realize the strength I had didn’t disappear!!
So grateful for spring weather so I could wear the same Coeur Sports “Not Today Cancer” kit for my bike + run! Oh…and super grateful for my favorite girl who loves to run!! #basillovesrunning

Swim: 26,500 yards (15 miles)
Bike: 227 miles
Run: 79.2 miles
Strength: 10 minutes of core daily + various full body strength
Monthly Totals: 42 hours & 32 minutes

#explore:

Explore is my focus word in 2019 and I’m happy to be incorporating it into all areas of my life…including racing!! I ran the St. Paddy’s 1/2 Marathon with the goal of averaging an 8:30 min/mile pace and I am pleased as a Leprechaun finding a pot of gold with my performance!! I had an overall finish time of 1:51:44 (8:32 min/mile average pace)! I finished 2nd out of 20 in F40-44 and 89th out of 341 overall. I am super excited about where 2019 might take me as I continue to #explore and push my limits!!

Double medal race day at the St. Paddy’s 1/2 Marathon where I got 2nd place in my age group!

Listening to:

KonaKamps had me inspired by two AMAZING women!! Maggie Walsh won Ironman Maryland 2018 at her FIRST EVER triathlon!! She didn’t just win her age group, she was the first female to cross the finish line and break the tape!! Reiko Donato won Ironman Chattanooga 2018 for women 60-64 on a VERY special day…her birthday!! That’s right!! She turned 60 years old and won!! Jana Richtrova won Ironman Cozumel 2018 for women 35-39. This will be her 7th time at Kona!! Congratulations to all of these amazing ladies!!

Rich Roll Podcast with Todd Herman On the Alter Ego Effect: Unlocking the Hero Within is a long listen, but has so many useful nuggets in it! Wow! “There’s a big difference between interested and committed.” ~Todd Herman

Find Your Awesome Podcast with Kelsey Abbott had Jessica Broderick on to talk about grief and what one goes through when they lose a part of their identity. Jessica was a pro triathlete who recently retired and explains the grieving process she went through when this part of her identity was removed. “You can be healthy and fit. They are two very different things.” ~Jessica Broderick

Reading:

I strive to have an attitude of gratitude daily, so when I saw the recent blog post by Carrie Cheadle titled How an Attitude-Of-Gratitude Can Also Lead to Better Performance, I knew I had to read it! Gratitude has so many amazing benefits, why wouldn’t people try to be more grateful?!?!

  • “Greater feeling of happiness
  • Improved sleep
  • Boost your immune system
  • Feeling more optimistic
  • Better at handling adversity
  • Increased amount of exercise
  • Experiencing more positive emotions
  • Raises self-confidence
  • Less physical pain
  • More resiliency”

She has some great tips for how to start your own gratitude practice! She recommends “bedtime reflection, a happy jar, and a gratitude journal.” Every night before I go to bed, I write down as many things as I can think of that I’m grateful for from the day. I don’t limit myself to only 3 things and I try to make sure I am not writing down the same things everyday. I also try to take pictures of things that I am grateful for and I look back at these pictures at the end of each month as I compose my “What’s Up?!” monthly blog post. Compiling the “Attitude of Gratitude” section of my blog post each month is a great way to remind myself of all of the amazing things that I have in my life to be thankful for. Taking the pictures also keeps me focused on gratitude daily.

Celebrating:

42!! My birthday fell on a very LONG work day (teach all day + parent teacher conferences all evening), but this being my last parent teacher conferences ever was one of the best birthday presents I could give myself!! I did get to celebrate over the weekend as I consumed loads of sushi + raced the St. Paddy’s 1/2 Marathon!!

Love me some sushi…SO YUMMY!!

Attitude of Gratitude:

So grateful I got to see these two beautiful faces…even if it wasn’t for the happiest reason.
So grateful for girl’s night out playing board games with these beauties!! #needtodothismoreoften
The first time in my 16 years of teaching that I was given flowers from a student.
Love my mama! She’s still the boss even after 42 years!! 🙂
So grateful, blessed, and lucky to have my fave supporting me, encouraging me, and cheering me on in races and life!!
I am so grateful for the sun, bluebird skies, and warm temps for a tank top + shorts while running outside!!
I am grateful for noticing the little things in life…the random heart that the cord of our fan made on the floor by my bike trainer.
I am grateful that the weather is nice enough to rake up all the leaves and play in them with my favorite girl!!
SO grateful my legs and mind were strong allowing me to put together a solid 7 mile run with 1100 feet of climbing!! 🙂
After a tough run (1100 feet of climbing over 7 miles), I was so grateful to find a way to use my Normatec Recovery boots in the car since I had to be there for a few hours post run.
Grateful to meet the Iron Hippie’s parents for lunch!
So grateful that my body and mind are strong and they allow me to run 15 miles after a busy day at work!
So grateful that I got some run love with Robin in the sunshine (even if the temps were cold)! I’ve missed my girl time!

How was your month of March?! What were you grateful for last month?! How can you document them in a meaningful way for you?!

Doubt to Confidence

For the last 3+ weeks, I have experienced increasing self doubt with every ride. I was actually starting to lose my #bikelove and dread upcoming bike rides. Every workout was HARD…SO MUCH harder than it should have been. Even the easy rides felt taxing. Why? Was my power meter not calibrated correctly? Was my Garmin not synced with the most recent updates? Was I training too hard? Was I not getting enough sleep? Why were these workouts SO TOUGH?! I was troubleshooting right and left, up and down to try to figure out what was wrong.

I expressed all of this to Coach Kelly. She thought I was carrying a lot of fatigue from training and life, so she made some changes to my schedule and gave me a power ramp test last Thursday after resting me just a bit. This was EXACTLY what I needed! Not only was this fun, but it also quelled the self doubt and turned it back into self confidence on the bike! Hello #bikelove! I’m so happy we meet again! I’ve missed you!

I executed this ramp test exactly how it was written and produced beautiful increasing trends for my power, heart rate, and speed.

While these beautiful graphs are amazing and something I am proud of, the best part was turning the self doubt back into confidence on the bike! Sometimes the chimp between my ears needs a reminder to STFU and stop interfering with forward progress! Clearly Coach was right…I’ve been carrying a lot of extra fatigue from training and life lately. It was nice to see that everything was calibrated and synced correctly and that I wasn’t losing fitness as I feared. With a little rest, I am performing right where I should be. Time to keep that confidence rolling in the forward direction and soak up some more #bikelove!

What’s up?! – February 2019

February was a mixed bag with LOTS of snow (over 24 inches just in the short month of February) + turning into a hamster running on the wheel, but it was full of LOTS of good things as well. Spring is just around the corner on the calendar…hopefully Mother Nature keeps her eye on the calendar

Training:

I had another SOLID month of training!! I completed 10 minutes of core strength daily + I did not miss one workout last month!! BOOM!!

1000 yard straight swim right where I wanted to be!
My goal was to complete 10×1 minute Z5 repeats before failure. I successfully completed 15!! BOOM!!
I’ve spent FAR TOO MANY MILES here this month, but I’m just grateful that I have an option for running when Mother Nature’s sense of humor doesn’t match mine.

Swim: 24,200 yards (13.75 miles)
Bike: 214 miles
Run: 78.7 miles
Strength: 10 minutes of core daily + various full body strength + some yoga 🙂
Monthly Totals: 43 hours & 56 minute

#explore:

Explore is my focus word in 2019 and I’m happy to be incorporating it into all areas of my life…including my work life. Not only have I been exploring in training and racing this year, but in February, I accepted a new gig! At the end of this school year, I will be starting a new chapter. I am pleased to announce that I will be the Teaching Laboratory Coordinator with the Physics and Astronomy Department at Iowa State University!! I am VERY nervous to embark on a new career (I have been teaching 8th graders for 16 years…change is scary), but I am SUPER excited for this new opportunity and can’t wait to embark on this new adventure!!

I’m so ready to “explore” in a new career!!

Listening to:

Coeur Sports Earsplitz Podcast!! Voices (featuring Mike Reilly the voice of Ironman) is SO exciting!! He has called over 400,000 athletes across Ironman finish lines all around the world. The things he’s seen, the stories he’s learned about people and the enthusiasm he brings to each finisher over the many, many years is so exciting!! Just listening to Mike brings a HUGE smile to my face!!

KonaKamps!! Gah!! So many AMAZING podcasts dropped this month that I can’t keep up!! So many GREAT listens listed below!!
Kampsite 1
Jess Bramble Perry (Ironman Arizona 2018)
Kampsite 2
Kampsite 3
Eryn Schmisseur (Ironman Arizona 2018)
Kampsite 4
Katie Colville (Ironman Cozumel 2018)
Kampsite 5

Reading:

The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self -Assurance—What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman is very insightful.

“In The Confidence Code, journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman travel to the frontiers of neuroscience on a hunt for the confidence gene and reveal surprising new research on its roots in our brains. They visit the world’s leading psychologists who explain how we can all choose to become more confident simply by taking action and courting risk, and how those actions change our physical wiring. They interview women leaders from the worlds of politics, sports, the military, and the arts to learn how they have tapped into this elemental resource. They examine how a lack of confidence impacts our leadership, success, and fulfillment.

Ultimately, they argue, while confidence is partly influenced by genetics, it is not a fixed psychological state. That’s the good news. You won’t discover it by thinking positive thoughts or by telling yourself (or your children) that you are perfect as you are. You also won’t find it by simply squaring your shoulders and faking it. But it does require a choice: less people pleasing and perfectionism and more action, risk taking, and fast failure.

Inspiring, insightful, and persuasive, The Confidence Code shows that by acting on our best instincts and by daring to be authentic, women can feel the transformative power of a life on confidence.”

Trying Something New:

Thanks to my friend and colleague, Traci, for encouraging me to try something new! We went to Art Ciccotti and made glass heart paperweights. This was my first experience with glass blowing and it was so much fun! I’m already thinking about future glass blowing experiences. 🙂

Carving my glass heart!
The finished product! I think they turned out pretty awesome!

Photo Shoot Time:

I am SO blessed and honored to be a part of the rad Coeur Sports #tigerteam19 mission to encourage, empower, and support women in sport + spread #heartandcourage EVERYWHERE! This year’s theme is to #befierce and remove the leash that may be holding you back and not allowing you to be your best self. It is time to #uncageyourinnerbeast ❤

Because my focus for this year is to #explore, even in training and racing!
#uncageyourinnerbeast
Not only do I love this team, but I love this girl!
These two have two keys to my heart!
“And one day she discovered she was fierce, and strong, and full of fire, and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears!” ~Mark Anthony

Grateful for:

So grateful for being able to run outside in short sleeves in February in Iowa!! This was DEFINITELY NOT the norm this month!!
I’m so grateful to be on #tigerteam19!! My Coeur Sports teammates help me to feel empowered, inspired, connected, loved, and full of joy!!
The Skratch Labs cookies are da bomb diggity!! I’m so grateful for the ease to make these!!
These 3…I love them all!! So grateful for their unconditional love!!
Mother Nature’s sense of humor is a bit different than mine, but I am grateful for the 4 seasons…even if the snow drifts over one of our favorite trails. #driftedsnowiswaistdeep
I am so grateful for my Normatec recovery boots…especially after 14 solid treadmill miles!!
So grateful for Nick at Vitality Massage for keeping me active and healthy!

How was your month of February?! What were you grateful for last month?! Have you ever tried glass blowing?! 

What’s up?! – January 2019

2019 is off to a great start…even with arctic temps last week!! I love the changing seasons and we FINALLY got snow, so winter is officially here!! Only in Iowa can you have nearly a 100*F temperature swing in a span of 5 days. Thankfully we are experiencing a temperature swing in the upward direction!! As the saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather in Iowa, just wait 5 days…it will change!”😂 Here is a snapshot of what January had in store for me.

Training:

I had a SOLID month of training!! I completed 10 minutes of core strength daily + I did not miss one workout last month!! BOOM!!

It is SO HARD to swim with a merman on your back!!
We don’t always hit our targets, sometimes we don’t even hit a single target, and that’s ok. That’s why they are targets. I wanted to quit multiple times throughout the 7×20 minute intervals during my 3:11:00 ride, but instead I became more determined with each one. I gave everything I had today. Tomorrow is a new day.
Running in the snow is SO HARD, but I loved every minute of my 8+ mile run in the sun!!

Swim: 35,300 yards (20.06 miles)
Bike: 257 miles
Run: 62.8 miles
Strength: 10 minutes of core daily + various full body strength + some yoga 🙂
Monthly Totals: 50 hours & 1 minute

Creating Headspace:

I have been meditating in the morning for about 6 months, but I did so on my own until January 1. I had tried the Calm app, but it was definitely not for me. So many people had recommended the Headspace app to me, so on January 1, I bit the bullet and officially tried using the Headspace app to help me meditate. I am pleased to say that I used the app everyday for the entire month of January. The best part…I don’t mind it!! This is a HUGE success for me as I typically don’t like it when someone else tells me what to “think” or how to think.😂 Thankfully the Headspace app doesn’t do this, but instead subtly reminds me to focus on my breathing rather than on the random thoughts floating through my mind like clouds in the sky.

Listening to:

Kona Kamps!! Bianca Faulke-Tanner won the F30-34 age group at Ironman Malaysia on a challenging day. Sara Randolph won the F40-44 age group at Ironman Malaysia on a hot, humid, and stormy day! Congratulations to both ladies on their win!

Reading:

Courage to Tri: Finish Your First Triathlon. A Motivational How-To for Women by Bethany Rutledge isn’t just for new triathletes. This is a great read with little nuggets of motivation + practical tools that even veteran triathletes can benefit from.

4 heartbreaking (yet very common) reasons we don’t set goals by Mel, with Fellow Flowers, really resonated with me. I find so many of these reasons to be true for why women (and sometimes even men) don’t set goals. It is ok to fail…it makes us stronger and more resilient! Stop comparing yourself to others…YOU DO YOU & BE YOU! It is ok to change your mind…people do this all of the time with small, medium, and large things. Make a decision, commit, and set goals that feel good to YOU in this moment!

Race Day:

First race of 2019 is in the books and a podium finish!!

Focus…Today is going to be tough, but I’M READY to push myself to new limits!
Goal swim was sub 8:30 for the 500 yards. Actual swim time was 8:06 (1:37/100 yards)…BOOM!!
This stationary bike was so not fit for me, but I still managed to average 18.5 mph for the 8 miles at the resistance we were instructed to ride at. I missed Mojo SO MUCH!! That gurl and I have a bond…she gets me!!
Onto the run…running 16 laps on an indoor track isn’t easy…hence the ugly grimace.
Finally…done and I can honestly say that was the toughest race I’ve had. I pushed myself into a state I’ve never been in before.
Overall finish time was 50:03 for 2nd place in my age group!!
Podium finish is a great way to start 2019!!

Grateful for:

I’m so grateful our twin nieces and my sister came to visit for the twin’s swim meet!
I’m so grateful for morning runs with my favorite girl! #basillovesrunning
WOW!! Magnificent sunsets are amazing!!
So grateful to have some of my tribe coming to cheer me on…even though it was snowing!!
Cheer squad!! #grateful
Basil loves to play in the snow and help shovel!!
Snowshoeing at dusk with my faves!!
I have some of the best people in my village!! Thanks Ruth for the reminder to #explore in all areas of my life this year and always! You’re the best! ❤
I’m so grateful for sushi…SO YUMMY!!

How was your month of January?! What were you grateful for last month?! Have you done an indoor triathlon?! If so, what were your favorite parts of the race?!

First race of 2019 is in the books!

Last Sunday was my first triathlon of 2019. As an endurance machine, going short + fast was SO HARD, but it was OH SO MUCH FUN!! This was my first opportunity to #explore and see what I was truly capable of in 2019!!

Negatives:
-Lots of time spent waiting…waiting for other athletes in my wave to finish, so we could go on to the next leg of the triathlon. Waiting for the people in the wave before us to finish the leg they were on so we could go on to the next one.
-Not being able to ride Mojo…those stationary bikes are NOT comfortable!! I really missed my gurl!!
-My race didn’t start until noon. In my opinion there was too much time to wait for the race start.

Positives:
-The triathlon was INDOORS in Iowa in January!! So much warmer than my Ironman Louisville experience in October.
-I got to sleep in my own bed and arrive to the race start right before it started because…small, local race.
-I needed less gear (no wetsuit, helmet, race belt, etc.)!!
-There was no contact during the swim because we split lanes with only one other athlete.
-There was music playing during the bike ride to keep us motivated and distracted from the “pain” we were inflicting on ourselves.
-There were only 10 people in my wave, so I didn’t have much traffic to dodge during the run.
-Part of my tribe was able to come out and cheer me on as I pushed my limits.
-Going short + fast means the “pain” ends much sooner than an all day Ironman event.

Notice there are so many more positives than negatives for this event! This may have to become an annual event on my calendar!!

Doesn’t everyone shovel snow to “warm up” before their triathlon?! Oh wait…this is actually the first triathlon I’ve ever done where I’ve WARMED UP with SNOW! We had to shovel out to get to the race…
Focus…Today is going to be tough, but I’M READY to push myself to new limits!
Goal swim was sub 8:30 for the 500 yards. Actual swim time was 8:06 (1:37/100 yards)…BOOM!!
This stationary bike was so not fit for me, but 8 miles…that’s all I had to tough it out for. I missed Mojo SO MUCH!! That gurl and I have a bond…she gets me!! Actual bike time was 25:55 (average speed = 18.5 mph)…BOOM!!
Onto the run…running 16 laps on an indoor track isn’t easy…hence the ugly grimace.
Finally…done and I can honestly say that was the toughest race I’ve had. I pushed myself into a state I’ve never been in before. Actual run time was 16:02 for 2 miles (average pace = 8:01 min/mile)…BOOM!!
Overall finish time was 50:03 for 2nd place in my age group!!
Podium finish is a great way to start 2019!!
A free massage post race was much needed!! #grateful
So grateful to have some of my tribe coming to cheer me on…even though it was snowing!!
Cheer squad!! #grateful

What a great way to start off my 2019 season!! Let’s keep this momentum going throughout 2019!!