Where has time gone?! It is hard to believe that 3/4 of 2016 is already behind us! It seems like just yesterday I was sitting down to write about my intentions for 2016! 2017 will be here before we know it!
#Believe…I have made progress with this intention, but still have room for growth. I think this is one area I will ALWAYS have room for growth. When things get tough in training, work, or life, I have turned to #courageovercomfort to bring me focus, help me overcome obstacles, and remind me to believe in myself throughout 2016. #courageovercomfort has helped me many times to find focus and redirect my self confidence to where it should be…to a place where I #believe in myself and my abilities much more than I used to. “Bravery means believing in yourself when nobody else does.”
Break down barriers…I am pleased as punch to have our ladies only bike rides so well attended this summer! We managed to have one ride each in June, July, and August. Thanks so much to Coeur Sports and Kyle’s Bikes for their support to help make this event successful!! Yay for encouraging more women in cycling, helping them gain confidence on their bike and on the roads, and helping them learn basic bike maintenance!! I am definitely looking forward to hosting many more ladies only rides in 2017!!
Be present…I continue to really struggle with this one! I have a VERY hard time focusing on the here and now. I often find myself thinking about the past or the future. I wish I could say my 30 days of meditation in July happened, but unfortunately they did not. I’m still hopeful to make this happen before 2016 is over and out. Yoga always seems to help me find presence, but I have not had much of this in my schedule in the last few months due to ramped up Ironman training. Now that I am in the offseason, I have time to reacquaint myself with “mat,” my boyfriend. Tomorrow we have a date and I can’t wait!
Find Balance…I set out to find balance more with the emotions that I direct at myself than other parts of my life. Thanks in part to my Living Brave Semester with Brene Brown, I have been doing a much better job of focusing in on how I am feeling, why I am feeling a certain way, giving myself permission to be human, and how to forgive myself for being human and making mistakes. I am pleased that I’ve been able to keep these habits in play even though the class has concluded. Now, it is time to find balance between life, training, work, and fun in the offseason.
Did you set goals or intentions for yourself for 2016? If so, have you checked in with these goals or intentions lately? What progress are you making toward achieving your goals or intentions?
The highlights of this week included using a vacation day on Friday + 70.3 race simulation weekend. We are currently 5 weeks out from Milkman Triathlon, which is our 70.3 race this year, so we threw a race simulation weekend in the mix this week to test our current fitness.
When the alarm clock went off at 4 am, I planted my feet on the floor and went to the gym for 1 hour of strength training. I followed this up with a full day of work, meeting a personal training client for an hour after work, and then getting on the bike for 75 minutes of sweaty ladder intervals.
Today was a rest day, so we slept in until 6 am! After a full day of work, I was exhausted! I didn’t want to talk to anyone, or be around anyone, so I came home and isolated myself to the bedroom with my book. It was lights out at 7 pm, which was exactly what I needed.
Another 4 am alarm meant hopping on the saddle at 4:30 am for 90 minutes of sweaty high speed/high power intervals. It was the perfect start to my day! After a full day of work, I went straight to the pool for 2500 yards of swimming. I was SO excited to see our friend Leisa at the pool. She is such an inspiration!! She is paralyzed from the waist down, but swims religiously. She used to do triathlons before she became paralyzed, so I asked her if she was interested in doing a sprint triathlon this summer as a team with the Iron Hippie and me. She would be the swim leg and we would decide who will bike and who will run. She was SO excited!! I can’t wait to make this happen 🙂
Hello 4 am!! I LOVE running hill repeats…I LOVE them even more on a beautiful morning when I get to see the sun come up during my run!! It was such a BEAUTIFUL morning for some serious #runlove!! Today’s work schedule was a bit different…I didn’t have kids, but instead had a teacher work day. It was nice to get some grading done, lessons planned for the last 10 days of school (yes…I’m almost down to single digits with students for the year), and lab equipment put away. After work, I met a personal training client for an hour, hopped on the saddle for an easy hour to spin out the legs, and then went to teach TRX. Thursdays are always my busy day, but with only one more day in the week, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel 😉 I was a VERY lucky girl to have my new Coeur Sports Graffiti Kit arrive in the mail today!! This is by far my favorite design from them yet!!
I had a vacation day to use, or I would lose it, so I took the day off today. I left home at 7 am and went to Ankeny (~30 minutes south) for the morning. With a 4700 yard swim, I decided to swim somewhere new, so I went to the Ankeny YMCA. It is such a great facility…MUCH better than the fitness center we have in Ames. I really wish we had a YMCA or other option in Ames for swimming, but it just isn’t the case right now. Only 2 more weeks and the outdoor pool will be open for the summer…I can’t wait to swim in the 50 meter pool all summer long! I had a really good swim, although I’m sure my form was probably still a mess. I only focused on keeping my nose to the bottom of the pool and didn’t worry about any of the other form issues I am to be working on. This made the swim so much more enjoyable!! After my swim, I went to Kyle’s Bikes for some minor adjustments to my saddle, a new chain, new handle bar tape…thank you Coeur Sports for the AWESOME tape, and a new bracket on my X-Lab. After I arrived back home, I did a few house chores, took an Epsom salt bath, and then got a massage. Nick spent the whole hour just on my legs…he wasn’t very nice, but that’s why I pay him 😉 I was lucky to have a visit from our former neighbors after my massage. The kids miss our dogs and came over for about an hour to play. It was great to see them and catch up!! It was an early to bed to recover with sleep as much as possible.
I was really excited to see how my body would hold up with today’s workout. Lucky for us (insert sarcasm), Mother Nature decided that we should experience wind chills of 32F this morning, so our 56 mile bike ride was done on the trainer. With the amount of time we were on the saddle, this was probably closer to 65 outdoor miles, but we knocked out the 56 miles and then went for a 10K run off the bike. This brick was to be a race day simulation workout, but that is hard to really do on the trainer. I was very happy with my time for my 56 mile ride, but I was SUPER pumped about my run performance!! My run was AWESOME!! Negative splits 🙂
It has been a LONG time since I’ve been able to maintain a 7:46/mile pace at the end of 6 miles. The best part…I felt that I could have kept going and gotten a bit faster yet!! I tapped into a LOT of #heartandcourage on this workout and thought of all those AMAZING and INSPIRING athletes racing Ironman Texas in very wild conditions!! After eating everything in sight, taking an Epsom salt bath/shower, and regrouping, it was time to take the dogs to the doggie wash for a bath. After their bath, I did lots of laundry, cleaned house, and did some yard work before relaxing for the evening.
Time to test the legs and see what is left…a 15 mile run at race pace was on the calendar. After yesterday’s near perfect execution, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about how my legs would hold up for this workout. I was hoping to have an average pace of 9:00/mile. Considering I’ve been running slower the last few years, I thought this pace for 15 miles would really challenge me. As we started, I could feel the fatigue in my legs and got most of the bugs worked out of them within the first couple of miles. I just ran on feel and tried not to look at my Garmin too much along the way. We did an 11 mile loop with Basil…that girl LOVES to run! We ran back to the house and left her at home for the last 4 miles since it was starting to warm up a bit with the sun shining on us and very little wind. Basil wasn’t happy about it, but sometimes we have to do what is best for our fur kids 🙂 Getting started again after was a bit of a struggle, but we eased back into it and soon found our groove. We were really working hard this entire run and I kept thinking #courageovercomfort to myself!! It also helped that I was wearing my new Coeur Sports Graffiti design kit that was covered with #heartandcourage all over it!! was SO pleased to see that I had underestimated myself by setting that 9:00/mile average pace! After eating all the food we could find/make, we went to the pool for an EASY 2100 yard swim. It felt so good to stretch out and swim easy…not focusing on the clock or my form…just having fun!! It was time for my Epsom salt bath (#3 for the week), more laundry (I swear this is NEVER ending at our house!), dinner, getting ready for the coming week, and time to write this blog post.
Thoughts on the race simulation weekend:
The 4700 yard swim was a LONG swim, but I felt like I had a pretty decent pace (especially without having improved my form much).
I am bummed I had to ride the 56 miles on the trainer, but it helped me build mental strength!!
I am elated with the negative split 10K run off the bike on Saturday!!
I am SUPER pumped to see that my legs can hold onto a faster pace than I though possible on the 15 mile run!!
Weekly Totals: 17 hours & 27 minutes
Swim: 9300 yards Bike: 110 miles Run: 30.9 miles Strength Training: 2 hours & 15 minutes
Quote of the Week:
“You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot have both.” ~Brene Brown
It is hard to believe that we only have 4 more weeks of school before summer break! Where has the time gone?! April has been a whirlwind, but here is what I’ve been up to:
Hello Spring!! I’ve missed you!! I’m so glad you’ve shown up so I can FINALLY get outside for more of my workouts!! Although today, the weather has turned back to cold, rainy, and gloomy for the weekend. As a matter of fact, the predicted weather for tomorrow morning’s Drake 1/2 Marathon race is 44F with 25 mph winds and 95% chance of rain. Oh…what to wear?! I have had some good training weeks (here and here) and lots of fun in the process!! We recently did a century ride. Why?! Because we could…no other reason. It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t on the calendar, it just kind of happened. It definitely wasn’t our fastest century ride, but the first century ride of 2016 is in the books!
Running has been going well. Little by little, I have been seeing improvements in my run times off of the bike. I am hoping this continues.
Training hasn’t been all peaches and cream. I have been getting some swim coaching, and it has been challenging. Tough. Uncomfortable. I am hoping that one day soon the uncomfortable becomes comfortable, but until then, I will keep working hard and hope that one day (hopefully soon) I will have a swim stroke as beautiful and efficient as Michael Phelps.
Elite Minds: Creating the Competitive Advantage by Stan Beecham is a really easy read that gives insight into the process of developing a world-class mind in business and sport. I’m learning how fear is holding me back, what I can do to overcome this fear, and that I can’t do it on my own. I consider myself to be a very independent person and often try to achieve success on my own. I’m learning that I can’t achieve success without the help and support of others. It is good to ask for and receive help! It is not a sign of weakness. It is time for me to change my mindset! Success is also important on overcoming my fears. It is time to figure out why those fears exist and overcome those fears aside to achieve dreams and success!
Brene Brown is a researcher + storyteller who studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. I’ve been taking her Living Brave Semester coursework since January. I can’t even begin to share how much I’ve learned, how much I’ve grown, and how sad I am going to be when this class is over. If you haven’t been exposed to Brene’s work, I highly recommend you watch this Ted Talk or read this article.
All of the fun new Coeur Sports designs in the triathlon and cycling gear! Hello #stylishspeed and #noangrykitty in amazing and fun designs!!
Looking Forward To:
With only 4 more weeks of school, I am definitely looking forward to summer break. Being a school teacher doesn’t have many perks, but the summer off is a definite perk that I look forward to every year!
What new reads do you recommend? What are you loving right now? What are you looking forward to?
During the month of March and the first week of April, I was under a lot of stress. Stress I had the ability to control, but didn’t. Stress I was putting on myself consciously and unconsciously. I knew I was experiencing lots of highs and lows, but didn’t connect the dots and realize why until last weekend when I was completing my Living Brave Semester coursework. Through reflection and guidance in my coursework, I have learned a lot about how stress impacts my body, life, and training.
Stress causes my body to be EXHAUSTED. All I want to do is sleep! I mean like 10-12 hours a night…sleep! This makes sense. Mentally, I am focused elsewhere and either consciously or unconsciously deplete myself of all energy as a result.
Stress causes my life to be in a state of chaos. My train gets derailed and I don’t know how to get it back on track. With complete lack of energy, I turn into the Cookie Monster and eat monster cookies, peanut butter cookies, sugar cookies, cookies, Cookies, COOKIES! A quick sugar fix gives me a short boost of energy, but when it wears off, my energy levels plummet lower than they were originally. It just becomes a vicious cycle. With the roller coaster of energy, comes a roller coaster ride of emotions as well. This doesn’t bode well to maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse when your emotions are all over the place.
Stress causes my training to fall apart. I miss more workouts than I complete. Because I am so tired all the time, all I want to do is sleep. When my alarm clock goes off in the morning and I have the choice of getting up and working out, or sleeping for another 2 hours. When I am stressed, I often choose the later, knowing it is NOT helping me achieve my goals and dreams…SIGH…I lack all motivation to even plant my feet on the floor and pretend like I might get up and workout in the morning. I lack determination, willpower, and drive. I get frustrated with the Iron Hippie, because he “lets” me go back to bed. What am I thinking…IT IS NOT HIS FAULT!!
How do I overcome stress?
Thanks to Brene Brown’s Living Brave Semester, I have learned to focus on identifying what is REALLY causing the stress, how to let the stress go, refocus my conscious and unconscious mind elsewhere, and get myself off the merry-go-round that slowly and continuously seems to suck me into it’s center.
I first take a full body scan of where I’m at. Where is this stress coming from? What am I feeling? Why am I feeling this way? Have I created an ending to my story that is real, or something that may not be real?
Next I take 20 minutes on 4 consecutive days and write in my journal about the stress. I don’t sensor what I write…I just let the pen flow for 20 solid minutes (I even set a timer and put myself in an environment with no distractions). It is amazing what I learn when I don’t sensor my thoughts.
During the day when I start to notice my mind allowing some negativity to filter in around my stress, I remind myself to let it go and focus on the here and now. By refocusing my conscious mind, my unconscious mind follows.
Through this work, I’ve overcome the stress. My train is back on its tracks, and I’m ready to conquer the world…ok, maybe not the world, but definitely the last 6 weeks of the school year. Yep…hard to believe our summer break will be here in about 6 weeks 😉
How does stress impact your body, life, and training? How do you overcome stress?
I was hoping to check in with my 2016 intentions on a monthly basis, but alas, that hasn’t happened. Quarterly check-ins will have to suffice for now.
#Believe…I have made progress with this intention, but still have room for growth. I think this is one area I will ALWAYS have room for growth. I have focused a lot on courage over comfort in all aspects of my life since the start of 2016. I have made some progress, which you can read more about here if you haven’t already, but there is still room for growth.
Break down barriers…We do have women who ride with us in our basement, but I haven’t made progress with the women’s only ride YET. That is mostly in part to Mother Nature. We are still experiencing cool temperatures and occasional snow showers, which make outdoor riding non-existent this time of year. Since most of the women prefer riding in warmer temperatures, I am waiting a bit for Mother Nature to start cooperating with us. I am SERIOUSLY hoping we get outside to ride in the next month! If you are a women interested in cycling in the Ames area, please let me know so I can get you the information for our outdoor rides!!
Be present…I really struggle with this one! I have a VERY hard time focusing on the here and now. I often find myself thinking about the past or the future. I am looking to incorporate some meditation into my weekly routine (and hopefully daily if time permits as I figure it out) to help me stay focused on the here and now.
Find Balance…I set out to find balance more with the emotions that I direct at myself than other parts of my life. Thanks in part to my Living Brave Semester with Brene Brown, I have been doing a much better job of focusing in on how I am feeling, why I am feeling a certain way, giving myself permission to be human, and how to forgive myself for being human and making mistakes.
Did you set goals or intentions for yourself for 2016? If so, have you checked in with these goals or intentions lately? What progress are you making toward achieving your goals or intentions?
“We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” ~Brene Brown
At the beginning of 2016, I thought “believe” would be my 2016 word. As 2016 has gotten underway, my 2016 word has evolved into the word “Courage,” which is the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous. Believe is still an underlying theme of courage for me, but there are so many other areas of my life that require courage as well. Over the last couple of months, the word courage has evolved into the phrase “Courage Over Comfort,” which has gotten me through multiple challenges in all aspects of life so far in 2016.
Courage over Comfort in my relationships
The Iron Hippie and I have a great relationship, but like any couple, we do have our differences and disagreements. Being vulnerable by sharing my thoughts and feelings in a new and different way is hard and takes a lot of courage, but it will be worth it when this uncomfortable method becomes “comfortable” and less difficult one day. “Courage over comfort” is where the magic happens!!
Courage over Comfort at work
I am not an emotional person, so incorporating more Developmental Designs (a social-emotional approach to learning) into my lessons and classroom is uncomfortable and has definitely taken courage. I keep waiting for the day when this style of learning into my lessons and classrooms becomes more comfortable, but so far it just hasn’t happened…so…I guess I’ll just living the “courage over comfort” theme at work also.
Courage over Comfort in training
Leap day was full of “Courage over Comfort” in my training. An FTP test on the bike was staring me in the face from my Training Peaks calendar, and I was intimidated. I have done these many times, but have never had everything fall together so I could experience a “successful” test, and this was precisely why I was intimidated. Sure I’ve seen improvements with them, but there has always been something that has happened for me to think “it could have been better if…” when I was done. This time around, I was determined it would be different. I would conquer this FTP test and not let it conquer me! #believe
I picked a gear and cadence and was determined to stick with it! 5 minutes in, I felt good and was questioning if I should be going a little harder. I decided to stick with my plan and reevaluate later in the test. 10 minutes in, things were getting tougher, but it was still doable. 15 minutes in, I just wanted to take a break. This is when I started mentally telling myself “Courage over Comfort” over and over and over. I pushed through the last 5 minutes and walla…I had the most successful FTP test I’ve ever had!! Why was this test so “successful?” It wasn’t about the 12 watt increase in power output, although I am incredibly happy and proud of my improvements. It was about my execution of the FTP test. This was the first test that I put it all together…physically, mentally, emotionally, and nutritionally. I didn’t have any lingering “it could have been better if…” when I finished this FTP test, and it felt better than AWESOME!!
My run on March 1 was also FULL of “courage over comfort!” I had a 4×1 mile progressive repeats run staring at me from Training Peaks all day long!! I knew this would be a tough run, since my legs were exhausted from my FTP test on the bike the day before. It was a cold day with ice on the roads (thanks to an early morning freezing rain, snow mix…gotta love Iowa winters), so I opted to run on the treadmill at the gym after work. When I got to the gym, there was no cardio equipment!! What?! They got all new cardio equipment in that morning and were in the process of putting all of the machines together, but so far, no treadmills had been assembled. So it was time for plan B…back to school I went to run on OLD treadmills with no televisions, no people, nothing to distract me from my own potentially negative thoughts. Thankfully I did have music on my phone to jam to as I ran. After my 2 mile warm-up, I set the treadmill to just under a 9 minute/mile pace, which I estimated to be my current 1/2 marathon pace (although I haven’t been running consistently for long, so I had no idea how accurate this was). With each mile, I dropped ~15 seconds off per mile. The first couple of miles weren’t bad, but by the 4th mile repeat, I was running at an 8:13 minute/mile pace and thought I was going to die! Hello “courage over comfort” and goodbye negative thoughts!! I was so proud of myself for not quitting when it got tough…boy did I think REALLY hard about making the pace on the treadmill easier so I didn’t have to work so hard, but I just kept telling myself “courage over comfort” as I pushed on through that final mile. As I ran my cool down mile, mentally I was super strong and on cloud nine, but physically, my legs were TRASHED!! So this is what it feels like to REALLY push myself out of my comfort zone…
Change is uncomfortable, but that is why I have been embracing #courageovercomfort as my theme and mantra in all aspects of my life in 2016. Strength doesn’t come from what we can do, it comes from overcoming the things we once thought we couldn’t do. If dreams come true when we step out of our comfort zone, then you can bet I will be tapping into a lot more courage and a lot less comfort this year!!
Do you stick with what is comfortable in your life, or do you rise to the challenge of trying to make the uncomfortable more comfortable? Where are you courageous in your life? What is your word/phrase for 2016?
Last week was a HUGE recovery week for me because of my work schedule, but the rest of February has been super successful and full of #SBRlove:) I am so grateful for Al Painter with Integrate Performance Fitness for his assessment and guidance in strengthening my hips and glutes to help me be injury-free.
I am so grateful that I have been able to run injury-free more this month thanks to the hip and glute strength that I’ve been doing more of! I really enjoy my quiet time pounding the pavement (or occasional treadmill), especially when it involves spending time with my faves.
I have been incorporating more hot yoga into my schedule. Not only does it make my heart happy, but it is also great to stretch the body and mind for full recovery!!
I was incredibly inspired by Kara LaPoint’s blog post on Fitspiration this month!! “Embracing YOUR body, maximizing and celebrating your own strengths, letting go of the “imperfections,” and making the most of the incredible body you already have.” WOW!! Let’s do this instead of worrying about the body image that society thinks we should have. If you have a wife, girlfriend, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, or any woman that you love and care for, Kara’s post is a MUST read!! After all, STRONG GIRLS = STRONG WORLD 🙂
Leo Babauta talks about the importance of celebrating our mistakes in this blog post. After all, this is how we learn and grow. “So if you value learning, if you value growing and improving, then you should value mistakes.”
Goals are what motivate me to work hard to reach my dreams. Elizabeth Waterstraat posted about goals, breaking them down into meaningful steps, and figuring out what commitments (or struggles as I put them) that we are willing to have in our lives as we work hard to meet these goals we’ve set for ourselves. If you set goals for yourself, this is a must read!
In Brene Brown’s Living Brave Semester, I am learning:
to differentiate between shame, guilt, humiliation, and embarrassment
to recognize how shame, scarcity, and comparison show up in our lives and how they affect engagement, trust, and connection
to recognize the armor I use to protect myself against feelings of shame
to cultivate shame resilience skills
to explore the actual gaps between my aspirational values and practiced values and develop strategies for staying aligned with my values through daily practices
to develop my own manifesto to set intentions around my values and the daily practices that support those values
I’m super jazzed to be part of the amazing team of Coeur Sports women who #enCOEURage and empower women in sport!! I LOVE what the Coeur Sports company stands for and the community of women who represent the brand!! Thanks to Triathlete Magazine for sharing the Coeur story:
The daylight hours are growing longer and longer everyday and I’m LOVING it!! With Daylight Savings in just two weeks, these are sure signs that spring is just around the corner 🙂
Quote of the Week
“Without mistakes there are no lessons. Without lessons there is no progress. Without progress there is no achievement.”