Grace and Gratitude

This last week of training was challenging, but I finally made it to recovery week.  I LOVE my time on the mat and every time I go to hot yoga, I am reminded to show myself grace and gratitude.  I am grateful for the ability to push my body to new limits on a daily basis…now it is time to show my body grace and allow my hard work to sink in with focus on recovery this week.

  1. I am thankful that my mind is strong and focused.
  2. I am thankful that I am happy and healthy.
  3. I credit my body for pushing hard through some challenging workouts and pushing to new limits.
  4. I respect my body’s physical and mental strength.
  5. I am grateful for the confidence I have in my abilities.
  6. I am grateful for my determination to be a better person and athlete.
  7. I credit my mental focus for my perseverance and fortitude, even during challenging times.
  8. I show my body grace by giving it what it wants and needs…good nutrition, good sleep, good people.

grace & gratitude

What are you thankful for?  How do you show your body grace and gratitude?


Week #7 (Base Training) Totals:

Swim:  5000 yards

Bike:  60.8 miles

Run:  20.8 miles

Strength Training:  2 hours & 15 minutes

Hot Yoga:  2 hours & 30 minutes

Week #7 in the green 😉

Suffer to Succeed

My legs are burning, my heart is beating out of my chest, my lungs are working overtime and there is enough sweat dripping off my face to put out a small fire…I am suffering.  Physically this is REALLY challenging…mentally I am focused…physically my legs are shot…mentally I am strong…physically my legs want to take a break and stop moving…mentally I will push through…physically my legs have turned to jello…mentally I will finish strong.

I know that success on race day comes from all of the challenges I will face and overcome in all of the days leading up to the race.  So…what was the workout that made me suffer the most this week???  A trainer ride with zone 4 intervals…

0:00 – 0:15 Warm-up
0:15 – 0:24 20 sec sprint / 40 sec recovery
                   40 sec sprint / 20 sec recovery
                   60 sec sprint / 60 sec recovery
                   Spin 5 minutes
0:24 – 0:33 20 sec sprint / 40 sec recovery
                   40 sec sprint / 20 sec recovery
                   60 sec sprint / 60 sec recovery
                   Spin 5 minutes
0:33 – 0:42 20 sec sprint / 40 sec recovery
                   40 sec sprint / 20 sec recovery
                   60 sec sprint / 60 sec recovery
                   Spin 5 minutes
0:42 – 0:48 2 min Z4 / 4 min recovery
0:48 – 0:54 2 min Z4 / 4 min recovery
0:54 – 1:00 2 min Z4 / 4 min recovery
1:00 – 1:10 10 min Z2
1:10 – 1:24 10 min Z4 / 4 min recovery
1:24 – 1:38 10 min Z4 / 4 min recovery
1:38 – 1:52 10 min Z4 / 4 min recovery
1:52 – 2:00 Cool-down

Suffering during a 10 minute Z4 portion of the workout.
Suffering during a 10 minute Zone 4 portion of the workout.

Suffering now = Success later 🙂

What workout(s) has(have) made you “suffer” lately???


Week #5 (Base Training) Totals:

Swim:  4700 yards

Bike:  63 miles

Run:  15 miles

Strength Training:  2 hours & 15 minutes

Hot Yoga:  2 hours & 30 minutes

Week #5 in the green 😉


January Totals (successfully completed all scheduled workouts):

Swim:  12.7 miles

Bike:  190 miles

Run:  63.8 miles

Strength Training: 10 hours

Hot Yoga: 10 hours 45 minutes

The Bests of 2013

Thanks to Abby at Change of Pace for this post’s inspiration!!  She recently posted about her year of running with a triathlon twist and gave credit to Miss Zippy.  I am posting my year of triathlon, but with a few of my own bonus “bests.”

Best race experience?

I had quite a few PRs this year (including shaving 26:51 off my 70.3 distance time), so one would think it would be hard to pick just one race, but this is actually an easy one for me…

USA Triathlon 2013 Olympic-Distance Age Group National Championships

Not only did I have to qualify to compete in this race (by placing 2nd in my age group at the Lake Geode Olympic-distance Triathlon), but I did so by setting a PR (shaving 11:46 off my previous Olympic-distance time).  USAT Age Group National Championships was an AMAZING experience…awesome race venue (Milwaukee, WI), friendly and helpful volunteers, fierce competition, perfect racing weather and yet another PR in the books (shaving another 4:37 off my Olympic-distance triathlon time).

USAT Collage

Best run?

In 2013, I raced two marathons, one half marathon and a 5K to bring in the New Year, but my best run wasn’t a race.  My best run was with the Iron Hippie and our two black labs.  We ran through Carr Woods for a short, late afternoon run this fall…leaves crunching under our feet, perfect temperature, setting sun through the branches of the trees, uneven terrain, quiet surroundings…PERFECT!!


Best bike?

Was without a doubt the Two States Ride with the Iron Hippie back in June…there was little vehicular traffic, we rode a perfect distance (70 miles), the company was great, we got to experience new scenery…this ride was simply wonderful!!

The Iron Hippie is in Iowa on the left and I am in Minnesota on the right.
The Iron Hippie is in Iowa on the left and I am in Minnesota on the right.

Best swim?

There really isn’t any particular swim that stands out to me as being “the best” this year.  This summer I really enjoyed starting my day with a swim in the outdoor 50 meter pool at 6 am.


Best brick workout?

I LOVED (and at moments hated) the 3×60/20 brick that I completed on May 19!!  This brick consisted of 3 sets of a 60 minute ride followed by a 20 minute run.  Set #1 was completed in zone 2, set #2 was completed in upper zone 2/lower zone 3 and set #3 was completed in mid to upper zone 3.  While it was a very CHALLENGING 4 hour workout, it was also very REWARDING!!

3x 60/20 Brick
My workout summary from my 3×60/20 Brick on May 19, 2013

Best group workout?

Six friends set out on a leisure century ride around central Iowa on a HOT July 5th day.  We started with 6 cyclists, but shortly before mile 40, one cyclist had to head home and go to work.  About 5 miles later, another friend met up with us after he got off work, so our numbers were back up to 6.  Great time with awesome friends!!

century collage

Best new piece of gear?

This is SUPER easy…my new SOAS tri kit!!  Love, LOve, LOVE my SOAS tri kit…no chafing, perfect fit, cool white color…simply AMAZING!!

My new SOAS tri kit...LOVE,  LOVE, LOVE IT!!
My new SOAS tri kit…LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!

Best piece of racing advice you received?

I think the best advice I’ve received has come from a variety of sources…Just Believe.  When you believe in yourself, anything is possible!!

Most inspirational athlete?

While Chrissie Wellington is not racing IRONMAN any more, she is definitely my most inspirational athlete.  Her compassion for sport, love of people, positive attitude, strong will, outstanding character and amazing smile are very motivational and extremely contagious.  With every workout that I do, or race that I compete in, Chrissie is at the forefront of my mind with a big smile and the following quote,

“It’s when the discomfort strikes that one realizes a strong mind is the most powerful weapon of all.”                                                                ~Chrissie Wellington

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.

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

PR (personal record), FUN, STRONG

Tell me about your 2013 year and then link back to Abby’s and Miss Zippy’s posts!!

Embrace the Suck

“Ultimately, triathlon is about pain – how you endure it and the mechanisms you put in place to deal with it when it comes.”                                                                                                                                     ~Chris McCormack

With the Indianapolis Marathon just around the corner, it is time to be reminded to “Embrace the Suck” on race day.  If you truly race, you are going to feel pain at some point during your race and it will suck.  “Embracing the suck” is all about how you handle the pain when it shows up.  Being mentally prepared for the pain and “suck” is essential to peak performance on race day.

How do we prepare to embrace the suck?  Easy…train…during tough workouts, push your body to the moments that suck and take note of where your mind goes during the suck moments.  Once you know what this pain feels like, you can determine a plan to help you deal with it on race day.  Make a checklist that you run through, accept pain as an inevitable…don’t try to deny that it will show up, positive self-talk can also help keep you focused, smile 🙂 (that always seems to work for me…learning this one from the best…Chrissie Wellington), focus on controlled breathing, determine if your nutrition is in check, make sure you are as relaxed as you can be so you aren’t wasting unnecessary energy, focus on stride pattern and/or stride cadence (for those who are in tune with their stride), and stay in control.

Your body will do anything your mind tells it to, so stay in control.  Never lose control of your mind when things get challenging.  Stay focused and EMBRACE THE SUCK!!

Macca Success

“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!!!