2015 S.M.A.R.T. Goal for my “A” Race

Many people start the new year with “New Year’s Resolutions” and most of those people quit trying to keep these resolutions within the first month of the new year. According to the Huffington Post, only about 13% (1 in 8) of people who set New Year Resolutions successfully keep their resolutions for one year. This is why I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions…instead, I set S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based) goals.

I evaluated my 2014 journey, which allowed me to reflect on successes and failures throughout the year. Being truthful with myself and my 2014 journey, has helped me set S.M.A.R.T. goals for my 2015 training and racing season.

Smart Goal

When setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, it is important that they are:

  1. Specific…having precise goals stated in terms of performance.
  2. Measurable…being able to determine if the goal has been accomplished.
  3. Attainable…setting high, but realistic and achievable goals.
  4. Relevant…setting a goal that is important to YOU and NOT because a friend or family member has a similar goal.
  5. Timely…having a specific time frame for completing the goal.

My “A” race for 2015 is Ironman Boulder on August 2. My time goal for this race is sub 14 hours…

Ironman Boulder

  • What does this mean for a time goal for each discipline of the race? Swim = 1:15-1:20 (I swam 1:21:52 in 2014 at Ironman Wisconsin); Bike = 7:00:00…or less (I biked 8:15:12 in 2014 and 7:56:58 in 2011 at Ironman Wisconsin); Run = 4:30:00-4:45:00 (I ran 5:15:32 in 2014 at Ironman Wisconsin)
  • Why do I have a sub 14 hour goal? While it would be awesome to set a new PR (and sub 14 hours would be a PR by over an hour), I really want to push my limits and see what I can actually do, even if it is at a higher altitude. I have BIG DREAMS and a sub 14 hour Ironman would get me one step closer to fulfilling these #BigDreams.      IMG_0973
  • What steps am I going to take to get there? I am going to focus most of my efforts on the bike to improve my bike strength. Incorporating more power focused workouts on the bike into my training plan will definitely help me build the bike strength I am seeking. I am also going to incorporate more brick runs off the bike to teach my legs to run strong when they are tired. I am going to follow a well laid out training plan making sure it includes proper recovery. I am going to continue to incorporate strength training into my training plan to prevent injuries. I am going to continue to incorporate mental training into my training plan so that I continue to teach myself to #believe in me, my abilities and my training.

I am expecting some challenges along the way…after all, it wouldn’t be an Ironman if there weren’t challenges. One of the biggest challenges we will encounter is going from an altitude of 956 feet in central Iowa to an altitude of 5430 feet in Boulder, Colorado. Thankfully, we have a plan to help diminish the effects such a drastic change in altitude can have on a person…we are going to arrive in Colorado on Saturday, July 11 and start at an altitude of just over 8,000 feet to acclimate for a few weeks. This will give us 3 full weeks to acclimate (as best we can) to the higher altitude before race day…who doesn’t love a 3 week vacation leading up to a big race?!?!?!?!

What is your “A” goal for 2015? Have you made this goal a S.M.A.R.T. goal?

The Best of 2014

After posting the Best of 2013 last year, I decided it would be fun to look back through 2014 and reminisce my faves 🙂 The idea came from Abby over at Change of Pace who links up with Miss Zippy. If you haven’t checked them out yet, you definitely should!!

Best race experience?

Ironman Wisconsin was definitely my best race experience of 2014.  I overcame obstacles, set a swim PR with a time of 1:21:52, an Ironman run PR with a time of 5:15:32, and an overall Ironman race PR with a time of 15:15:56.  I met my race goals and had a near perfect day, while having a lot of fun!!

Feeling good as I run down the finish shoot.  Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.
Feeling good as I run down the finish shoot. Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.

Best run?

I have ran on the trails near our house many times over the years, but I had never run a trail race until this year.  One month after Ironman Wisconsin, the Iron Hippie and I ran a 10 mile trail race in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  We had a blast!!  I love running in the woods where you have to keep your focus or this will happen…

It wouldn't be a trail race if someone didn't eat dirt ;)
It wouldn’t be a trail race if someone didn’t eat dirt 😉

Best bike?

The best bike of the year was post Ironman Wisconsin.  The Iron Hippie and I decided to go ride at McFarland Park through the prairie and wooded areas.  While we weren’t racing or completing a hard training ride, it was fun to ride our cross bikes on different terrain than we are use to.  Being out in the fresh air surrounded by nature without many people around while on our bikes was AWESOME!!

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Best swim?

The best swim of the year was definitely the Okoboji 3.5 mile point to point swim.  I immediately set a PR simply by finishing this distance, but it was also a lot of fun to have Dad in a kayak next to me while I swam.  I finished the 3.5 miles in a time of 1:49:33 🙂

Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum...Allen and Dad were our support crew.
Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum…Allen and Dad were our support crew.
Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum:  The Iron Hippie and I successfully finished our 3.5 mile swim "race"
Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum: The Iron Hippie and I successfully finished our 3.5 mile swim “race”

Best brick workout?

The best brick workout of the year was our last big brick workout on August 16th.  We rode 112 miles in just under 7 hours and then ran 9 miles at a 10 min/mile pace (which was our goal pace for race day).  It was a near perfect workout and it gave me the confidence that would guide me to a successful race at Ironman Wisconsin.

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Best group workout?

The best group workout was our second 100 mile bike ride on July 6.  Since it was a holiday weekend, we decided to take advantage of the extra vacation day and get outside to ride.  It was fun to have a few additional friends join us for a long day!!

 

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Best new piece of gear?

This is SUPER easy…my new Coeur Sports tri kits!!  L.O.V.E. LOVE my Coeur tri kits…no chafing, seamless chamois, perfect fit, fun colors, #stylishspeed…simply AMAZING!!  I love them so much, that I have 4 of them…shh, don’t tell the Iron Hippie 😉  I love what Coeur Sports stands for and represents…#heartandcourage.  ALL women who SBR (swim, bike, run) and/or do triathlon should wear Coeur Sports apparel…it is da BOMB!!

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Approaching the finish line of Ironman Wisconsin 2014.  Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.
Approaching the finish line of Ironman Wisconsin 2014. Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.

Best hydration find?

This is another SUPER easy one…Osmo Nutrition!!  Because “Women are Not Small Men” there is a product line specifically for women.  Osmo Nutrition kept me properly hydrated during my hundreds of hours of training and racing this year.  I experienced one of the worst nutrition failures at Ironman Wisconsin 2011 and I am pleased to say that Osmo Nutrition worked perfectly for me and hydration failure was not an option at Ironman Wisconsin 2014!!

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Best piece of racing advice you received?

“Just one more” ~Tim Jenks

This quote was with me during many training workouts and on race day as I had to do just one more loop on the bike, or climb Observatory hill just one more time. He will be missed, but never forgotten!

Most inspirational athlete?

She is not known around the world, but this year a former student quickly became the most inspirational athlete to me.  Olivia was with her twin brother on a bicycle training ride when he tragically lost his life in June because he was struck by a vehicle.  Olivia had the heart and courage to race a few short weeks later in the Junior Elite Triathlon they were training for.  She was first out of the water and finished 9th overall (out of 75 participants) qualifying her for the National competition.  I am so proud of her!!

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OJ finishing strong!!
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Timothy Jenks was remembered at the Junior Elite Triathlon he was training for. He was given race #1 and his transition area was set up with his running shoes.

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

Epic, Fun, Inspirational

Tell me about your 2014 year!!

“I Feel Good”

This last week was the culmination of our training for Ironman before the taper.  Not only was this our biggest week of training, but it was also my first week back to school.  Needless to say, a LOT of household chores have been neglected as a result.  I can’t believe it has taken me nearly 5 days into the taper to get this blog post written…crazy how time flies!!

Here is what our final BIG training week looked like:

Monday (8/11):

Inservice Day – No Students

3700 yard swim at 5:45 am (ladder to 400)

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One hour strength training over lunch

Tuesday (8/12):

Inservice Day – No Students

15 mile run at endurance pace after work (starting at 4:30 pm)

Wednesday (8/13):

Inservice Day – No Students

2700 meter swim at 6 am (300s)

Brick: 20 minute run, 3 hour ride at Half Ironman race pace, 30 minute run (starting at 3 pm)

Thursday (8/14):

First Day of Class with Students

One hour strength training at 5 am

Friday (8/15):

Unintentional Rest Day:  I was scheduled to swim for 1 hour today, but I was EXHAUSTED after completing my first week back at school and lots of training, so I decided recovery for the weekend workouts might be best and scratched this workout.

Saturday (8/16):

LONG Brick:  112 miles on the bike followed by a 9 mile run

This was our longest brick of the season.  While I was riding, I started to hear James Brown in my head, “I Feel Good.”  Eventually this started to escape my lips and I found that even when I wasn’t feeling good, if I started singing this song, my attitude changed and I started actually feeling good again.  The mind is a powerful tool 🙂  The run portion of this brick was AWESOME!!  I felt AH-MA-ZING and know that I could have ran 26.2 miles.  I hope I feel this good on race day 🙂

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Sunday (8/17):

One hour leisure bike ride in the am

Bike cleaning session…it was great to have a couple of little helpers with this 😉

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5843 yard swim at 6 pm, including 3×1500 at race pace (3.3 miles of pool swimming is a lot of turning)

Monday (8/18):

18 mile endurance run after work (starting at 4 pm)

This was the longest run I’ve had since my injury in early May.  It was also the hottest run we’ve had all season.  We have been very lucky this year with cool training weather, but Monday was HOT and HUMID, which made this 18 mile run much more challenging, but we accomplished it.  “I Feel Good” continued to pull me through this difficult workout as well.  I really hope the cool weather returns in time for race day!!

Total Time:  25 hours

Total Distance covered:  223.5 miles

New Song for Race Day: “I Feel Good” by James Brown

What song(s) do you sing to yourself while exercising to help ease the pain?

What’s Up?!?!?!?!

I thought I’d give you a quick update on where we are at with our training and what is happening in our everyday lives…

Training Update:

4 weeks from today is Ironman Wisconsin 2014…crazy how time has flown by!!  We have been training hard, putting in lots of hours and preparing our bodies and minds for what is to come in a few short weeks.

With 5 weeks out, we successfully completed 15+ hours of training with a 3.5 mile open water swim event.  This last week, we successfully completed 20+ hours of training and are looking forward to the last big push before the taper.

Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum:  The Iron Hippie and I successfully finished our 3.5 mile swim "race"
Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum: The Iron Hippie and I successfully finished our 3.5 mile swim “race”
Having the pool to myself is priceless!!
Having the pool to myself is priceless!!
We successfully completed hill repeats...2 bonus repeats were done in memory and honor of an amazing kid never to be forgotten.
We successfully completed hill repeats…2 bonus repeats were done in memory and honor of an amazing kid never to be forgotten.
2500 yard swim followed by a challenging brick.  3x(60 min ride + 20 min run) with each brick repeat at a higher power zone on the bike and faster pace on the run than the last.
2500 yard swim followed by a challenging brick. 3x(60 min ride + 20 min run) with each brick repeat at a higher power zone on the bike and faster pace on the run than the last.
Completing a 9+ mile run with friends after a 1 hour power session on the trainer...priceless!!
Completing a 9+ mile run with friends after a 1 hour power interval bike session on the trainer…priceless!!

Life Update:

Lately our lives have revolved around our training, but we have managed to find some time to spend with friends, make sure the laundry gets done and that we have healthy foods in our bellies.  Snuggling up with my two favorite furry friends and spending time with our twin nieces has also been enjoyable!!  Every night I try to read a bit before going to bed (I’m reading the Divergent series since the 4th book came out), but lately I’ve been so tired, that I think I’ve reread the same page multiple times 😉

Grill out with my sole sista...love this girl!!
Grill out with my sole sista…love this girl!!
After our 3.5 mile swim, we took the nieces to the amusement park and then stopped off for a few snow cones on our way home...sure hit the spot on a warm August day.
After our 3.5 mile swim, we took the nieces to the amusement park and then stopped off for a few snow cones on our way home…sure hit the spot on a warm August day.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be back at school with inservice days on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and students starting on Thursday.  With a 24 hour training week this coming week on top of going back to work and balancing chores at home, this will likely be my most challenging week of the 2014 calendar year.  I know what I need to do and will get it done…it is only one week after all 😉

What have you been up to lately?  How is your training going?

Spring Cleaning

I’ve recently decided to do some “spring cleaning” to improve the quality of my life.  Some areas of focus:

  • Facebook…I’ve decided to take some time and go through my contacts and “unfriend” those individuals who (in my opinion) are negative, disrespectful and unappreciative of others.  I want my world to be a happy place and when I see others sharing negativity, it often brings down my mood and I don’t like how it makes me feel.
  • The closets…They are full of clothes that I don’t wear.  It is definitely time to purge some of those items I haven’t worn in the last year.                                IMG_3316 IMG_3317
  • Blogs I follow…66 to be exact.  While you all write about amazing topics and hold a special place in my heart, I am going to have to cut back a little bit over the next few weeks and be more selective on the posts that I choose to read.  Saturday morning I spent almost 4 hours catching up on blog posts and another 2 hours Sunday morning. Being a teacher, I can devote more time during the summer months reading each of your posts.

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  • The house…I know our house has been neglected lately.  With more demands placed on me during the last few weeks of school and an increase in my training hours, the house needs to be deep cleaned, but this may have to wait just a few more weeks until I am officially on summer vacation.

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April Training Totals:

Swim: 12.84 miles

Bike: 139.23 miles

Run: 98.73 miles

Brick: 187.11 miles

Strength Training: 8 hours & 30 minutes

Hot Yoga: 5 hours

Total Hours: 60 hours & 35 minutes

Nutrition Part 1 – Osmo Review

As you may recall, I had nutrition troubles at IRONMAN Wisconsin 2011.  These troubles have lead me to practice a variety of different nutrition options.

I am thankful that Erin has referred me to Osmo Nutrition.  I decided to try Osmo for Women after doing some research, reading some reviews from other athletes and asking a friend/nutritionist his valued opinion.

The longest workout I’ve had so far this year was Saturday’s 4 hour brick…20 min run, 3:10 bike, 30 min run.  Osmo nutrition has been my go to for hydration during my bike and run workouts since late February.  When I have long or taxing workouts, I use the preload before my workout (both the night before and the morning of) and the active hydration during the workout.  I have not used the recovery formula due to the caffeine…my body is SUPER sensitive to caffeine and doesn’t respond well to it.

During Saturday’s 4 hour brick workout, I noticed the following:

  • It was 84F and humid during the last run portion.
  • It was mostly sunny for the duration of the workout.
  • There were strong winds from the SSW at 20+ mph.
  • While on the bike, I consumed 4 bottles of water, 1 bottle of Osmo Active Hydration (3 scoops), 2 Kind granola bars, 2 packages of Honey Stinger Chews.
  • On the 2nd run, I got very hungry.  Next time I need to take in calories closer to the run while on the bike.
  • I sweat out a LOT of salt…my blue Coeur tri kit was covered in white salt when I was done working out.
  • I was not dehydrated or hyponatremic at any point during the workout or post workout. 🙂

So far, I am a HUGE fan of Osmo Nutrition and I am definitely looking forward to testing it during races and longer workouts as this summer progresses…the heat and humidity in central Iowa will be the true test 😉

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Week #14 Totals:

Swim:  4500 yards

Bike:  79.1 miles

Run:  34.5 miles

Strength Training:  2 hours & 15 minutes

Hot Yoga:  1 hour

Week #14 in the green 😉

Chrissie is an Amazing Ambassador to Triathlon

Some of you may have read my post about my best triathlon experiences for 2013 and noticed that Chrissie Wellington is the athlete who has inspired me the most.  I have had the AWESOME experience of meeting Chrissie twice in my life (so far)…I received my finisher’s medal from her at IRONMAN Kansas 70.3 in 2010 (my first every 70.3 distance race) and at USA Triathlon Olympic-distance Age Group National Championships in 2013.  She is an amazing ambassador for the sport of triathlon!!  What makes her a good ambassador????

  1. She is trustworthy, honest, follows the rules and is loyal to the sport of triathlon.
  2. She has respect for the sport of triathlon, her fellow professional athletes and the age group athletes that follow in her footsteps.
  3. She has ambition and drive to do and be her absolute best…full of self-control and self-discipline.  She is accountable for her words, actions and attitude.
  4. She is open-minded and not afraid to take advice from others around her…always willing to learn and trying to grow as an athlete.
  5. She is compassionate and shows extreme gratitude…I experienced this first hand after IRONMAN Kansas 70.3 in 2010.  I was waiting for a massage in the massage tent after the race.  When it was my turn for a massage, Chrissie walked into the massage tent inquiring to the massage therapist about when she should come back to get a massage.  She did NOT want to cut into the line of age group athletes that had been sitting and waiting in line.  I gave her my spot in the massage line and she was UNBELIEVABLY grateful…and for the record, everyone behind me in line still let me get my massage.  I was also very grateful!!

    Yep...That's me with CHRISSIE WELLINGTON after IRONMAN Kansas 70.3 in 2010!!  Only the BEST!!
    Chrissie and me in the massage tent after IRONMAN Kansas 70.3 in 2010!!
  6. She has a vision, both for sport and for making the world a better place.  She volunteers her time at races, supports charities she is passionate about and has a “pay it forward” demeanor about her.
  7. She sets goals and pushes her limits trying to achieve those goals…while training and racing.
  8. She lives life with a positive, “I CAN” attitude, even when faced with challenges…keeping a smile on her face and believing that she can overcome any obstacle in her path.
  9. She inspires many athletes just by being real.  She does not try to hide the struggles she has gone through or struggles she is currently going through.  She has shared her struggles with eating disorders, injuries, her coaches, other professional athletes, etc.
  10. After she crosses the finish line, she always returns to hand out medals to the age group athletes that follow in her footsteps…inspiring us, encouraging us and displaying her passion for triathlon.
Getting my medal and a hug from Chrissie Wellington at the finish line of USA Triathlon Olympic-distance Age Group National Championships.
Getting my medal and a hug from Chrissie Wellington at the finish line of USA Triathlon Olympic-distance Age Group National Championships in 2013.

In my opinion, Chrissie is an amazing ambassador for the sport of triathlon.  What characteristics do you appreciate and look for in an ambassador?

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Week #13 (Recovery Week) Totals:

Swim:  4200 yards

Bike:  50.5 miles

Run:  21.9 miles

Strength Training:  2 hours

Hot Yoga:  1 hour

Week #13 in the green 😉

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March Totals:

Swim:  11.42 miles

Bike:  198.6 miles

Run:  86.62 miles

Brick: 141.15 miles (biking and running together)

Strength Training:  10 hours & 45 minutes

Hot Yoga:  8 hours

Spring Equinox

Yesterday the Iron Hippie and I got up, went to the gym to lift weights, did some chores at home, ran some errands, and then hit the trails on a BEAUTIFUL spring day!!  We had a BRick scheduled…2 hour ride followed by a 30 minute run…

Time to Ride!!
Time to Ride!!  33.76 miles in 2 hours = 16.8 mph…not bad for being on the trainer since January 1, 2014
Ride is done...now for the run!!
Ride is done…now for the run!!  3.42 miles in 30 minutes = 8:47/mile…This was an easy run off the bike for me

Yesterday Mother Nature decided to have a good attitude and show us what we’ve been missing all winter.  The high temperature for the day was 58F with very little winds and lots of sun.  It felt SO GREAT to exercise outdoors with the sun on my face and the breeze in my hair!!  Thank you Mother Nature for a nice weather day, even if it isn’t going to last 🙂

What did you do to “celebrate” the first day of spring?

Typical Week of Workouts

Training for IRONMAN for some is a full time job…there are people who have turned professional, but I am not one of them 😉  I have a full time job (an 8th grade science teacher) and still find time to train for IRONMAN.

The Iron Hippie and I just completed week #10 or our 36 week training program for IRONMAN Wisconsin 2014.  With some minor variations in duration and intensity of the workouts, this is what my typical workout week looks like:

Monday:

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Strength training completed between 4:45 and 5:45 am

Tuesday:

Completed between 4:45 and 5:35 am
Run completed between 4:45 and 5:35 am
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Completed between 4:45 and 5:35 pm

Wednesday:

Completed between 4:45 and 6:00 am
Cycling completed between 4:45 and 6:00 am
Completed between 5:30 and 6:30 pm
Completed between 5:30 and 6:30 pm

Thursday:

Completed at 5:00 pm, but I typically run in the morning on Thursdays...I couldn't resist the decent weather to get outside today.
Run completed between 5:00 and 5:30 pm, but I typically run in the morning on Thursdays…I couldn’t resist the decent weather to get outside today.
Completed between 6:15 and 7:00 pm
Strength training completed between 6:15 and 7:00 pm

Friday:

Solo ride completed between 4:50 and 6:00 am
Solo ride completed between 4:50 and 6:00 am
Swim from 3:45 to 4:40 pm
Swim completed from 3:45 to 4:40 pm

Saturday:

Completed from 6:00 to 7:00 am
Run completed from 6:00 to 7:00 am
Core work completed from 7:30 to 8:00 am
Core work completed from 7:30 to 8:00 am

Sunday:

Brick completed from 7:30 to 10:30 am
Brick completed from 7:30 to 10:30 am…Bike ride was on the trainer working on cadence and run was outdoors
Hot Yoga completed between 4 and 5:30 pm in a nearly full 106F room
Hot Yoga completed between 4 and 5:30 pm in a nearly full 106F room

14 hours & 10 minutes of training this week…that doesn’t include the preparation time, travel time to and from the gym or refueling/recovery time.  The duration of my weekly workouts will only increase between now and September 7, 2014.

Do you have the available time and determination to train for IRONMAN?

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Week #10 Totals:

Swim:  4600 yards

Bike:  72.3 miles

Run:  18.7 miles

Strength Training:  2 hours & 15 minutes

Hot Yoga:  2 hours & 30 minutes

Week #10 in the green ;)

Growth…Just How Much Can I Improve in One Season???

I have seen definite improvements in my racing this year, setting PRs in both the Olympic-distance and Half Ironman-distance triathlons, but I haven’t been as aware of how my training has progressed until today.

Yesterday I completed a 3×60/20 Brick for the second time this year.  This brick is a one hour ride, followed by a 20 minute run repeated 3 times.  The first brick should be solidly in Z2, the second brick should be in Z2/Z3 and the third brick should be solidly in Z3.

On May 19, 2013 I completed this same workout with the following results:

Bike #1 = 15.6 mph

Run #1 = 8:58/mile

Bike #2 = 15.8 mph

Run #2 = 8:39/mile

Bike #3 = 16.3 mph

Run #3 = 8:33/mile

Total = 55.04 miles in 4:01:29

After completing this workout I was SUPER excited about my performance!!  I had nailed every part of this workout and showed improvements in my speed, both on the bike and the run, for each “leg” of this workout.

I spent most of my summer training and racing, making improvements here and there, but I wasn’t sure about the gains in my training until I completed this same 3×60/20 Brick yesterday.  Here are the results from yesterday (August 4, 2013):

Bike #1 = 17.3 mph

Run #1 = 8:38/mile

Bike #2 = 17.8 mph

Run #2 = 8:36/mile

Bike #3 = 17.5 mph

Run #3 = 7:59/mile

Total = 59.15 miles in 3:59:03

After completing this workout yesterday, I was beat!!  I was slightly disappointed with my decrease in speed from Bike #2 to Bike #3, but I knew I had pushed to my limits…at least for the day.

This is how I felt after Sunday's 3x60/20 Brick...UGH!!
This is how I felt after Sunday’s 3×60/20 Brick…UGH!!

When I looked at my growth from the middle of May to the beginning of August, I was AMAZED!!  I have gotten stronger and faster throughout the season 🙂  I am very excited to see how this momentum and these improvements will translate into Ironman Wisconsin 2014!!