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?

My 12 Days of Christmas

I was inspired by Carrie Cheadle’s Facebook Post about giving yourself something to make you feel amazing for the 12 days of Christmas this year.   I decided to give myself a “gift” everyday during the 12 days of Christmas….some of these gifts were what Carrie suggested, while others where ones that I came up with on my own.  Each of these gifts is special to me…some of these gifts are very simple and most of them don’t cost even a penny, but they are all gifts we should consider giving ourselves everyday to remind ourselves just how special we truly are.

Day #1:  Write a mini love note to myself  IMG_2705

Day #2:  Gift of Time…30 minutes for just me 🙂

Taking 30 minutes to snuggle up under a cozy blanket with a good book and a cup of hot tea.
Taking 30 minutes to snuggle up under a cozy blanket with a good book and a cup of hot tea (in a mug I won as an award in 2004 at RCC Run the Woods).

Day #3:  Gift of Motivation…I decided to make a motivational collage and post it where I can see it daily.

I created a collage of motivational images
I created a collage of motivational images

Day #4:  Give myself a pat on the back…I don’t give myself enough credit most of the time for all that I do and how amazing I am.  I decided a good pat on the back was in order.

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Day #5: I gave myself a treat.  Something I didn’t have to share with anyone else…

Yes...a shower.  While this may seem to simple for most of you, I was incapacitated for a week due to a combination of strep throat, a severe sinus infection and pneumonia, so a shower felt truly amazing.  It was a small gift, but the best gift I could ask for at the time.
Yes…a shower. While this may seem too simple for most of you, I was incapacitated for a week due to a combination of strep throat, a severe sinus infection and pneumonia, so a shower felt truly amazing!! It was a small gift, but the best gift I could ask for at the time.

Day #6:  I gave myself an award.  Since I ended my 2013 triathlon season with a DNF, I decided with the New Year just around the corner that it is time to start mental training for 2014.

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Day #7: I gave myself a party…not the typical party with lots of people, food and drink, etc.  I gave myself a party with just me and my girls (Mya and Basil…our two black labs).  I played the song “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang, we danced, celebrated (both feeling better and the beginning of a 2 week winter break), smiled and had lots of fun!!

Basil dancing with me and celebrating!!
Basil dancing with me and celebrating!!

Day #8:  Gift of Knowledge…I purchased a book to help me learn how to perform better under pressure, tame the butterflies and overcome setbacks.  I am hoping to use these mental skills to help me perform consistently, remain confident when faced with challenges and successfully accomplish my goals both during training and on race day.

On Top of Your Game

Day #9:  Gift of Perspective…a list of gratitude.  I make a list of things I am thankful for every night before bed, but I decided to put a twist on this list…growth is a must for everything on this list.

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Day #10:  Gift of Encouragement…I wrote out 4 powerful and affirming statements and posted them where I will read them everyday between now and January 1, 2014.  The power of being who I want to be lies in my own thoughts.  Only I can change negative thoughts into positive beliefs.

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Day #11:  Gift of a Toast to Celebrate ME…”I proposed a toast to my strengths, my PRs in 2013, my commitments and dedication.”  I also “proposed a toast to the most relaxing Christmas ever” with the Iron Hippie.

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Toasting the Iron Hippie

Day #12: Gift of Relaxation…I started Christmas morning with 1 hour of hot yoga.  While this is typically in my weekly workout routine, I haven’t been able to workout for the last two weeks due to illness.  I decided that this would be a perfect gift for Christmas Day.

Starting Christmas Day focusing on Mind, Body and Soul...PERFECT!!
Starting Christmas Day focusing on Mind, Body and Soul…PERFECT!!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Hibernation vs. Exercise

With the changing of the clocks due to Daylight Savings this weekend, it gets me thinking about the time of year when some people have more problems finding motivation and symptoms of depression spike…due to fewer daylight hours, the anticipation of winter, confinement during the colder weather, the stresses of the Holidays, midterm exams, too many hours at work, deadlines at work, financial stresses, etc.  When the symptoms of depression start to rear their ugly heads, some people hibernate.

Working out helps combat symptoms of depression.  When I swim, bike, run, strength train, sweat, push my body to its limits and beyond…the endorphins kick in and I am happy 🙂  I feel better about myself, my mood is 100 % better than when I started and life is great after a workout!!

Many of us race so we can experience that “race high” at the start of the race when the gun goes off, the adrenalin kicks in and we get to enjoy what we have been training so hard for.  We also experience that “race high” at the finish line knowing we have pushed our bodies to their limits on that day, overcome challenges, conquered another goal, completed another journey in our journey of life…Oh, the euphoria!!

exercise antidepressantWhen we get into a slump, it is easy to just hibernate and let the emotions take over, but the best thing we can do for our mind, body and soul is to exercise.  What choice will you make…hibernation OR exercise????

“Why Ironman?”

Simone asked the question “Why Ironman?” and it got me thinking about why I want to do another Ironman…and then I experience race day (whether as a volunteer, spectator or athlete) and see videos like this and I know why I will do Ironman Wisconsin in 2014…

“Ironman is a metaphor for life.  As with everything else, work comes before success.  It pays to set goals, be disciplined, work on one’s weaknesses, overcome setbacks, and avoid being diverted from one’s charted course.”                                                                                      ~Mathias Muller

My top 10 reasons for why I want to do another Ironman…

10. I want to experience the extreme highs and lows…both while training and racing.

9.  I want to experience the constant mental battle during training and racing that helps make me a stronger, much more well-rounded individual…the little negative Nelly sitting on my left shoulder vs. the much larger positive Patty sitting on my right shoulder.

8.  I want to improve my weaknesses…cycling and mental fortitude.

7.  I want to develop my strengths…swimming and running.

6.  I love the feeling of overcoming challenges…both during training and racing.  I enjoy challenging myself and pushing myself to find new limits.

5.  I enjoy the feeling of overcoming the pain that comes with racing long and hard.

4.  I LOVE the triathlon community!!  Even though I have not met many of the people involved, I feel like many of the athletes, volunteers and spectators are like family…the triathlon community makes the race day experience TOP NOTCH at Ironman Wisconsin!!

3.  I want to finish my next Ironman in a time faster than 16:15:00.

2.  I want to have fun, doing what I LOVE…swimming, biking and running 🙂

1.  I want to actually remember crossing the finish line this time and hearing Mike Reilly say, “You are an Ironman!!”

Ironman Wisconsin Weekend 2013
Ironman Wisconsin Weekend 2013
Ironman Wisconsin Weekend 2013
Ironman Wisconsin Weekend 2013
Registration morning for Ironman Wisconsin 2014.  We got in line at 4:15 am and waited until the line opened at 7:33 am (the line wasn't suppose to open until 9 am).  We were pleasantly surprised when the doors opened early!!
Registration morning for Ironman Wisconsin 2014. We got in line at 4:15 am and waited until the line opened at 7:33 am (the line wasn’t suppose to open until 9 am). We were pleasantly surprised when the doors opened early!!

Ironman Kansas 70.3 Race Goals

“Triathlon is about pain – how you endure it and the mechanisms you put in place to deal with it when it comes.”

                           ~Chris McCormack

This coming Sunday I am racing Ironman Kansas 70.3.  I have done a lot of thinking about my race goals for this race, and while I do have time goals in mind, I feel it is much more critical for me to focus on performance goals to help me achieve a PR…

1. Be patient with myself…I will remain steadfast despite opposition, difficulty or adversity throughout the race.

2. Believe in myself and my abilities…I will trust myself, my training and my ability to meet and conquer challenges that may arise.  By believing in myself and my abilities, I will effectively execute my race and have the best race experience I can.

3. Be focused & relaxed…I will focus on the factors that I can control and control my reaction to any factors that are out of my control.

4. Be strong & tough…I will have uncompromising determination even if faced with challenges throughout the race.