My #FaveWorkout – Week 14

This week’s #FaveWorkout involved some #swimlove and #courage.


The working set became tough in the 2nd interval and I noticed Negative Nelly creeping into my head…I wasn’t sure I could keep pushing. I repeated, “I can and I am” over and over in my head while I pushed forward. This workout was all about continuing…

And now for the workout…

Warm-up: 200 swim, 4 x 50 drills
Main Set: 200 moderate to fast swim
60 sec rest
800 as 4 x 200 (200’s on 4:00- so swim faster than 4:00/200 yards to get rest, leave on the 4 min interval- this should be HARD!)
200 drills
60 sec rest
800 as 4 x 200 again (repeat as above)
Cool-down: 200 easy

I had some self doubt going into this workout…I typically swim about 2:00/100 and knew that I would have to work HARD to execute this workout like it should be executed. Not only did I successfully finish the first set, but I also pushed hard and successfully finished the 2nd set too!! I was super pumped that I mentally persevered and finished the workout strong, swimming each of my 200s in 3:30 (give or take a second). What?!?!?!?! AHH…YES!!!!! 🙂

I think it is time to retire this swim cap 😉

On a side note, this was good training for what it might be like to swim oxygen deprived at #IMBoulder in just over 23 weeks 😉 “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” ~Dory

What was your favorite workout this week?

Time Trial Virgin

Last night I participated in my first ever time trial “race.”  Having never participated in a TT before, I was a bit nervous throughout the day, but received some great advice from a fellow blogger: Screen shot 2014-06-13 at 10.22.01 AM Thanks for the tip, Erin 😉

The Iron Hippie went with me for moral support…thank you!!  When we arrived at the race site, I checked in, was given my race number and warmed up by riding the TT course to familiarize myself with the terrain, potholes (there weren’t many) and the winds.  As we headed south out of town, there was a very nice tailwind to start, but at the turn around point, that tailwind reared its ugly head and became a brutal headwind.  Because this was just a warm-up, I settled in without pushing the pace, kept my heart rate and power low and just spun the legs at a higher cadence.  With plenty of time before I would start racing, I was hopeful the winds would die down a bit.

After my warm up ride, I went back to the car, drank some fluids, went to the restroom and then went and lined up at the start.  I was #25 so I would be starting 12 minutes after the 6:30 pm start time.  As I waited in line, I had the following conversation with the guy in front of me (#24):

#24:  There aren’t many people here tonight.

Me:  Oh yeah?  This is my first time trial, so I wouldn’t know.

#24:  This is only my 2nd one, so I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

Me:  Well, you know more than me.

#24:  With a bike like that, you don’t race?

Me:  I race triathlon, but I decided to give the time trial a go.

#24:  Oh.  Are you doing the Hy Vee Triathlon?

Me:  No.  I have a larger race the following weekend.

#24:  What race are you doing?

Me:  Ironman Wisconsin

#24:  Oh my…you’re crazy!

Me:  Thanks!

#24:  Well, I’m sure you’re faster than me, so just don’t pass me until after the turn around. (said with a smile)

Me:  I don’t know about that.  Have a great race!


As I approached the start line, I was really nervous that the starter would drop me, but I had nothing to worry about!!

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...Here I go!!
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…Here I go!!

I pedaled for all I was worth…I know Erin said to don’t start too hard, but that is harder for me to judge with the wind at my back, so I just went for it.  After all…GO BIG OR GO HOME 🙂

Here are some of my random thoughts throughout the ride:

  • I love to ride my bicycle!
  • I love the wind at my back!
  • I’m going to catch #24!
  • This is challenging!
  • Singing to myself…”That’s the only way I know.  Don’t stop till everything’s gone.  Straight ahead, never turn ’round.  Don’t back up, don’t back down.  Full throttle, wide open.  You get tired and you don’t show it.  Dig a little deeper when you think you can’t dig no more.  That’s the only way I know.”
  • I love to ride my bicycle!
  • Oh…there’s that headwind.
  • I’m going to catch #24!
  • This is tough!
  • Singing to myself…”That’s the only way I know.  Don’t stop till everything’s gone.  Straight ahead, never turn ’round.  Don’t back up, don’t back down.  Full throttle, wide open.  You get tired and you don’t show it.  Dig a little deeper when you think you can’t dig no more.  That’s the only way I know.”
  • Oh buddy…you just got chicked!!  (as I passed #24)IMG_3687
  • Kiss me harder wind!
  • I love to ride my bicycle!
  • Only one more mile!
  • Singing to myself…”That’s the only way I know.  Don’t stop till everything’s gone.  Straight ahead, never turn ’round.  Don’t back up, don’t back down.  Full throttle, wide open.  You get tired and you don’t show it.  Dig a little deeper when you think you can’t dig no more.  That’s the only way I know.”
  • Come on legs…don’t fail me now!
  • I love to ride my bicycle!
  • I’m going to come really close to achieving my secret time goal 🙂  (22 minutes)
  • There’s the finish line!
  • Go. Legs. GO!
  • I love to ride my bicycle!
  • WAHOO!!                   IMG_3713
  • I love to ride my bicycle!
  • I love to ride my bicycle!
  • I love to ride my bicycle!

Overall Stats:

  • Distance: 7.5 miles
  • Official Time: 22:18.3
  • Average Speed:  20.2 mph
  • Normalized Power: 183 Watts (Zone 3)
  • Challenge level:  Very Difficult
  • Fun Factor:  A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  Cha Ching!!

Have you ever tried something new and found out you truly love it?  If so, what was it?

2013 Had Ups and Downs

Like most years, 2013 was a roller coaster ride.  There were ups and downs.  Luckily I had more ups than downs 🙂

Let’s start with the lows, so I can end 2013 on a high note!!


  • Superior Man Triathlon, August 25: DNF (Did Not Finish)
  • Grandpa died September 9 (just 6 days shy of turning 96 years young): While I am very sad that he is gone, I am happy that he lived such a monumental life and is now reunited and dancing with Grandma.
  • I fell into a mental slump after my DNF in August and really struggled to find self-control again.  Every workout I did was a challenge both physically and mentally and I lost focus for a while.
  • I injured my right shin after the Indianapolis Marathon and had to go though physical therapy.  As it turns out, it was caused by my back on my left side…go figure.
  • I got sick, strep throat, severe sinus infection and the beginning stages of pneumonia, in the middle of December (just before winter break).


  • Bringing in the New Year with a New Year’s Day “5K” race
  • Little Rock Marathon, March 3: While this wasn’t a PR for me, I was very happy breaking the 4 hour barrier and had a fantabulous weekend with friends!!
  • Drake 1/2 Marathon, April 28:  While this wasn’t a PR for me, I did get to help a friend find the inner strength to push herself when it got challenging and finish the race.
  • Ironman Kansas 70.3, June 9:  I set a PR with a time of 6:05.53 (shaving 26.51 off this distance)
  • Lake Geode Olympic Distance Triathlon, July 13:  I set another PR with a time of 2:53.40 (shaving 11.46 off this distance)
  • Okoboji Triathlon, July 20:  Another PR with a time of 1:55.07 (shaving 3.00 off this odd distance triathlon)
  • Olympic Distance Triathlon Age Group Nationals, August 10:  I broke the PR I set at Lake Geode one month earlier and set a new PR with a time of 2:49.03 (shaving 4.37 off my Lake Geode time)
  • The Iron Hippie and I renovated our back yard…regrading the  slope of land, installing a new fence, putting in a fire pit with a small patio around it and seeding the lawn.  We still have some work to do, but the yard already looks 100% better than when we bought the house.
  • Signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2014, September 9:  I will again be competing in Ironman Wisconsin on September 7, 2014.  I am excited to train and race at that level again!!
  • I was blessed to spend time with family (both immediate and extended) when we celebrated Grandpa’s life.
  • Indianapolis Marathon, October 19:  I ran my 2nd fastest marathon to date and finished in 3:56.42.  While I didn’t qualify for Boston like I originally hoped, I did execute a near perfect race given the circumstances of the day.
  • I was blessed to create MANY amazing memories with family and friends in 2013!!
  • Finished off they year happy, healthy and ready to start IRONMAN training 🙂
Successful 2013 = 6 medals and 1 trophy
Racing Success in 2013 = 6 medals and 1 trophy…I’m looking forward to many more “ups” in 2014!!!

What were some of your ups and downs of 2013?

Racing Bucket List #4

This race is actually in a tie for #1 on my bucket list, but my OCD tendencies have me listing it as #4…they must be in numerical order. 🙂

How BEAUTIFUL?!?!?!?!
How magnificently BEAUTIFUL?!?!?!?!

IRONMAN Canada has recently snuck onto my racing radar.  What intrigues me about IRONMAN Canada???  Here are just a few things:

  1. It is in Whistler, BC, Canada…the Official Alpine Skiing Venue for the 2010 winter Olympics.  I have never been to Canada, but have always wanted to go.  What better reason than to race IRONMAN Canada?!?!?!?
  2. IRONMAN Canada is held in late July, which is a perfect time to race for a school teacher.  I will be off school during the hardest part of my training.  I will not have to take time off of work to race.  We can make a longer vacation out of it (instead of only being allowed to take two paid vacation days if I were in school).
  3. The bike course…112 mile one loop course with 4213 feet of climbing.  I love climbing on the bike and having a more challenging course that provides a variety of things to keep me mentally focused.
  4. The run course…the 26.2 mile run course is two loops.  It is a relatively flat run course with only 699 feet of climbing.  After 112 miles of cycling on a rather hilly course, a relatively flat run will be a welcomed change.
  5. The swim…will happen in the beautiful clear waters of Alta Lake.  With water temperatures in the mid to upper 60s, it is a perfect temperature for the 2.4 mile wetsuit legal swim.
  6. I love the mountains…this will provide for some amazing views while on the bike and run.  (Since my face will be in the water during the swim, I don’t anticipate seeing much of the beautiful scenery while swimming.)
  7. I’m always up for a challenge…IRONMAN is always a challenge.  It doesn’t matter where the race venue is or what the day brings, when you race for 140.6 miles, you are bound to encounter challenges along the way.

I’m thinking IRONMAN Canada 2016…who’s with me????

“F” words no athlete should be afraid of…

I just crossed the finish line of a VERY FULL and BUSY week…teaching 8th grader science all day followed by parent teacher conferences until 7 pm Monday-Wednesday, followed by another round of parent teacher conferences Thursday morning until noon (54 conferences in all…less than half of my students).  My conversations with parents and students, sparked my thoughts about “failure.”  I shared my view of failure with some parents and students…

You have only failed if you didn’t learn something along the way and you stopped trying to get better.


My view of failure doesn’t just apply to 8th grade science, but to life and sport.  As an athlete, there are some very prominent “F” words that show up from time to time.  I do my best to change my thinking from the negative connotation that these “F” words can have to a much more positive outlook when they appear.  How can these “F” words help me be a better athlete?!?!?

Fear…Many people have anxiety when they allow fear to enter their domain.  However, fear doesn’t seem to cause me anxiety.  I view fear as a challenge for me to become better.  When I stop and look fear head on, I become strong, courageous, confident, powerful and in control of my domain.

Failure…For me, fear and failure can go hand-in-hand.  On race day, I sometimes experience the “fear of failure,” so I have to keep reminding myself of the following:  as long as I learn something and keep trying to become better, I am not failing.


Frustration…I only become frustrated when I don’t meet the expectations I have set for myself.  I am learning to adjust these expectations to help reduce the amount of frustration that I feel, but for a very goal-oriented person with high standards, adjusting expectations can be a challenge.  Luckily I have never been one to shy away from a challenge 🙂

What negative “F” words do you encounter that you are trying to twist into a positive???

Running in Cotton = BAD

Friday, October 11, we had a “Spirit Run” at Ames Middle School with 971 middle school students (6th, 7th and 8th graders) running the 2.4 miles and celebrating our school spirit.  The students and staff were given cotton t-shirts to wear for the day.  I decided to run with the students and provided my 29 homeroom students with a challenge…I would give those individuals who could beat me to the finish line a treat of their choosing.  I ran the 2.4 miles in 16:03 giving me an average pace of 6:41/mile.  I was super stoked with my performance…AND…no one in my homeroom beat me 🙂

Ames Spirit Run

While I was very happy with my run, I was NOT at all happy with the cotton t-shirt that I ran in!!  While it was only 2.4 miles, it was a very strong reminder for why I don’t exercise in cotton.  UGH!!  It trapped in the heat, didn’t wick my sweat away and chaffed under my arms.  While I can’t remember the last time I ran in cotton (prior to this run), I can guarantee that I won’t be running in cotton again anytime soon!!

18 mile run around Madison

September 7th we were in Madison, Wisconsin to enjoy Ironman Wisconsin race weekend.  I LOVE Ironman Wisconsin, race weekend and the community!!  We have met some incredible “family members” through Ironman Wisconsin.  I am truly blessed and lucky to have such amazing and inspirational people in my life!!

Saturday morning my husband and I went to the volunteer meeting at 8 am at the Monona Terrace, then changed into our running gear before heading out the door for our 18 mile run around Madison.  Even though we have run in Madison many times before, it was fun to go on a LONG run somewhere other than home.

A beautiful start to our run...running down the helix at Monona Terrace to the lake front.
A beautiful start to our run…running down the helix at Monona Terrace to the lake front.
Water stop at a new, beautiful park  on the eastern edge of Lake Monona.
Water stop at a new, beautiful park on the eastern edge of Lake Monona.
Many ducks basking on the shore of Lake Monona...
Many ducks basking on the shore of Lake Monona…
A look at downtown from across Lake Monona...
A look at downtown from across Lake Monona…
Awesome man hole covers around Madison...
Awesome man hole covers around Madison…

The last 4 miles were a challenge…with full sun, high temperatures and high humidity, the only saving grace was the winds blowing in our face.  It felt great to get this run done, submerge ourselves in Lake Monona to cool down and enjoy the scenery in a “new” location.  With our run behind us, we could now spend Sunday volunteering and spectating for all of the Ironman Wisconsin athletes!!

“Kiss Me Harder!!”

This last Sunday we went outdoors for our bicycle ride.  This may not be a new phenomena for some of you, but for those of us who live in Iowa, we are really tired of riding our bicycles on the trainers in the basement.  We have been in the basement since late October, so it is definitely time to get off the trainer and get outside!!  I had a brick scheduled for Sunday…ride a hilly route for 2 hours and then follow that up with an easy 20 minute run.

As we pulled away from home, I knew it was going to be a challenging ride.  The temperature was in the mid 40s and the winds were blowing at a sustained 25 mph from the NNW with gusts much higher.  Because of these winds, we decided to ride to the NNW first so we could get the most challenging part out of the way, with the hopes that we could enjoy our return ride home.  Positive note…we were riding outside and it was a bright, sunny day 🙂

The shadows of three amazing riders...Kris, me and my husband.
The shadows of three amazing riders…Kris, me and my husband.

That wind was BRUTAL!!  I thought back to my most recent marathon…when the winds picked up at mile 18 and made the run more challenging, Adam started talking out loud to the wind, “Kiss me harder.”  As I was leaving town and riding to the north into the headwind, Adam entered my head and I immediately started talking to and eventually shouting at the wind… “Kiss me harder…Kiss ME harder…Kiss ME HARDER…KISS ME HARDER.”

My husband and I stopped at the stop sign at 170th street to hydrate.  He decided he was heading back home (he had been sick the day before and didn’t have much energy from his inability to keep nutrition in his system).  I was mentally questioning myself, “Can I do this?  I’m really tired and this is REALLY hard!!”  Thankfully Kris was riding with us as well.  As she pulled up to the stop sign she yelled, “I only have 2 and a 1/2 more minutes in Zone 3.  I’m going to the next stop sign.”  “Ok, I’m with you!!” I yelled back.  I told my husband to ride home safely and took off after Kris.  The winds now created a crosswind as we rode west on 170th street.  I knew I was riding at a severe angle, leaning hard to the right, but this was a must if I was to keep my bike on the road.  “Kiss me harder!!”

We stopped at the next stop sign and talked about our plan.  I told Kris I was going to the next stop sign and she decided to join me.  We fueled up and again turned back into the headwind as we went north on R38.  “Kiss ME HARDER!!”

It was on R38 that I had the following conversation with myself, “I’ve never had a name for my bicycle.  I should name you!! …KISS ME HARDER… Red…Ruby…Rojo (red in Spanish)…Mojo (even though they don’t rhyme, they are spelled nearly the same)…KISS ME HARDER… Mojo…that is your new name!!  Come on Mojo…get me to the next stop sign!!  …KISS ME HARDER…”

Unfortunately this conversation didn’t last very long, so I needed a new strategy to get me to the next stop sign…time to play mental tricks on myself… “Ok…you CAN make it to the church up the road…WHAT?!?!?! I’m only going 7 mph…KISS ME HARDER…You CAN make it to the goat farm…too bad those goats aren’t fainting goats…I’ve always wanted to have fainting goats…KISS ME HARDER…See that gray house…you CAN make it there…that flag is blowing straight out…KISS ME HARDER…9 mph is a little better than 7 mph…KISS ME HARDER…See the green house…you CAN make it there…KISS ME HARDER…OH, there is the stop sign!!  I’m at an hour and 5 minutes ride time.  There is NO WAY it is going to take me an hour to get home…Just go to the farmhouse on the top of the first hill on E18, then you can turn back and head home.  Ok…let’s do this!!”

As I approached the stop sign, I yelled to Kris, “I’m going to the farmhouse on the top of the first hill on E18, then turning around.”  Kris responded with, “Ok I’m with you.”  As I turned back to the west, that crosswind was back and my private conversation continued… “Kiss Me Harder…I WILL finish this…Kiss ME Harder…I WILL FINISH this…KISS ME HARDER…I WILL FINISH THIS!!  YAY…WE MADE IT!!!”  It took us 1 hour and 17 minutes to get to the turn around point…14.78 miles.  Though there weren’t many hills on this route, the headwinds and crosswinds posed enough of a challenge that I wasn’t too concerned about the lack of hills.

We made it to the turn around point!!
We made it to the turn around point!!

Now for the return trip home… “This is why we were pushing so hard on the way out…it feels awesome with that wind at my back…KISS ME HARDER…Oh my…I’m going 25 mph without even trying…KISS ME HARDER…Let’s see just how fast I can go…30.4 mph with no more gears to upshift to…KISS ME HARDER…Let’s go faster…KISS ME HARDER!!”  It only took 46 minutes to go back the 14.78 miles home.

Now for the run portion of my brick…KISS ME HARDER!!!

How has exercise evolved, challenged and gifted your life?

I recently was reminded of how exercise has evolved, challenged and gifted my life…

For me, it all started in the fall of 2004…I decided to take control of my life and stop letting my life take control of me.  As a result I decided to try some new adventures…one of which was RUNNING!!  It wasn’t easy to start running.  As a matter of fact, it was very challenging at times, but I decided I was going to run a 5K in October of 2004…  My patience, persistence, perseverance and passion superceded the occasional exhaustion, sore muscles, or lack of motivation to get out the door.  After having recently gone through a divorce, running became my therapy.  I found new friends and discovered a gift that just keeps giving!!

Running is a gift

I finished that 5K and caught a virus…the RUNNING VIRUS!!!  I decided that my 5K run could be improved upon…by going farther and faster.  Next came a different kind of challenge…a local 7 mile off road race in November of 2004.  Shortly after the start of 2005, I decided I would sign up to train for a local 20K race (Dam to Dam) with the City of Ames Parks and Rec Program…Team 12.4.  This experience presented its own challenges and completely changed my life!!  I met some AMAZING friends, pushed my body to new limits and eventually found the love of my life!!

After completing the Dam to Dam 20K race in June of 2005, my running virus got more infectious!!  I decided to further challenge myself by signing up for a marathon and joined the training group through the City of Ames Parks and Rec for the marathon training program.  In October of 2005 many of the runners in our training group celebrated by running the Chicago Marathon.  After our celebration, we decided we didn’t want to see our running group break up, so we all played a role in the birth of TEAM VARDO…the BEST running group ever!!

The BEST running group EVER!!
The BEST running group EVER!!

Screen shot 2013-03-28 at 11.12.10 AM

The following spring (spring of 2006), I was training for Grandma’s Marathon with the Team Vardo runners when a handsome gent started running with Team 12.4 to train for Dam to Dam.  After completing Dam to Dam in 2006, he decided to start running with Team Vardo…boy was I lucky!!  Not only would I get to meet him and run with him, but I was lucky enough to fall in love with and eventually marry this handsome gent!!

My running virus evolved into a full-fledged, exercise virus as I started to incorporate strength training into my workout regimen.  My exercise virus continued to get more and more infectious…it took me to new distances and pushed me to get faster.  To see evidence of this, check out my Race Log.

Through the course of time my exercise virus continued to become even MORE infectious as I went from just running and strength training to becoming a triathlete.  In September of 2011 my husband and I finished Ironman Wisconsin…Together.  That was the biggest exercise challenge yet!!

My husband and I right after finishing Ironman Wisconsin 2011.  What a long day :)
My husband and I right after finishing Ironman Wisconsin 2011. What a long day 🙂

What more does exercise have in store for me?????  Only time will tell!!

How has exercise evolved, challenged and gifted your life???