Near the end of October I talked with Coach Kelly about where I was and where I wanted to be. We decided that setting a challenge for the month of November would be a great way to get back on the right track. So an entire month of:

  • 10 minutes of core daily
  • seeing green in Training Peaks for the entire month
  • no eating out
  • no alcohol consumption

It was beyond time to get back into my 10 minutes of daily core strength routine…plus I knew seeing green for a full month in Training Peaks would be just the kick in the shorts I needed to relieve stress, regain my confidence, and get that positivity train moving forward again! This was something that hadn’t happened since before Ironman Mont Tremblant…4 months to be exact! No eating out and no alcohol consumption would not only be better for us, but it would also save us money! Challenges make us stronger, so I’ve decided to set a challenge for myself each month for the rest of the school year to keep me motivated and on track.

I started out November with a bit of a head cold, so I was forced by Coach Kelly to skip the “optional” workouts to give myself a little extra rest. Thankfully my body responded beautifully to the extra sleep + TLC!

November 1-5, 2017
November 6-12, 2017
November 13-19, 2017
November 20-26, 2017
November 27-30, 2017

Monthly Totals: 51 hours & 7 minutes

  • Swim: 31,400 yards (17.84 miles)
  • Bike: 188 miles
  • Run: 75.9 miles
  • Strength Training: 13 hours & 5 minutes (this included my 10 minutes of core strength every day of the month)

Monthly accomplishments:

  • Finding faster in the pool! I have dropped my CSS by 3 seconds (on the 100 yard distance)!
  • Getting stronger on the bike! Hello bike intervals…I’ve missed you! You make me work, but you also make me stronger!
  • Running at varying paces…a mix of track work + hilly runs for speed development and sloooow runs have been a theme this month!
  • Rebuilding my strength…full body and core has been amazing for my swimming, cycling, and running!
  • Eating home cooked meals has been better for me nutritionally and saved us money! 🙂
  • No alcohol has been better for my mental state, better for me nutritionally, and has saved us money! 🙂
  • I’ve overcome a lot of adversity this month in many areas of my life.
  • I’m focusing on the positives!
  • I am healthier and happier…I’m finding myself again! Healthy + Happy is key! 🙂

Successfully completing the November challenge will set me up perfectly for my December swim challenge at the end of the month…30K yards in 7 days?! Yep, I’m going for the BSC swim cap!! 🙂

Keeping it fun!

Last week Kay was looking for ways to “love to swim.” Here was my response to her:

“As for LOVING to swim, PLAY in the water (either before or after the swim)…do hand stands, dive to the bottom of the pool like you are diving for pool toys (better yet…take some with you). I try to play at the pool every time I swim. If the pool is deep enough, dive in, do a flip into the water, cannon ball into the water…PLAY!! Sometimes I start with play and other times I end with it. 🙂 “

When I was a kid, I would play in the water ALL. DAY. LONG!! I started doing triathlon as an adult because it reminds me of my youth! I LOVED to swim, I LOVED to ride my bicycle (although I did so without a helmet), and I LOVED to run around with friends…ALWAYS PLAYING!! Why not do things I loved as a kid now as an adult?!

Why am I bringing this up?! As a hobby triathlete, it is important to remember to have fun…both in training and racing! If we aren’t having fun, why keep training and racing? Sure, I want to get faster and am willing to push my limits to stretch my comfort zone, but this doesn’t happen with every workout!

So, here are some of the things I do to keep it fun during my training:

  1. When I am at the pool, I ALWAYS try to play! Sometimes I play before my swim and other times after my swim, but I’m always trying to reconnect with my youth. Sometimes I do somersaults in the water, other times I do hand stands, but I almost always do dolphin dives in the water. I love dolphin diving and coasting along the bottom of the pool!

    Playing in the pool...Handstands!!
    Playing in the pool…Handstands!!
  2. Getting fun new swim suits, swim caps, and pool tools also helps keep things fun in the water!

    Fun swim caps FTW!
    Fun swim caps FTW!
  3. When I bike, I try to ride with others during outdoor season and sometimes we plan our stopping point at the pool for some post ride shenanigans!
    Pool Shenanigans post birthday century ride!
    Pool shenanigans post birthday century ride!

    Going down the slide post ride!
  4. Getting fun new tri kits and cycling jerseys is always a great way to keep it fun on the roads!

    Fun new Coeur Sports gear! #stylishspeed
    Fun new Coeur Sports gear! #stylishspeed
  5. When I am running, I try to mix up the scenery and take my girl with me as often as possible! Basil not only LOVES to run, but when we run through the park, it is so much fun for me to see the joy she experiences as she runs off leash. Her joy warms my heart!

    Running the golf course with my girl + bonus #puppylove
    Running the golf course with my girl + bonus #puppylove
  6. Hire a coach! When you have new workouts show up in your training plan, you get to experience fun on a whole new and challenging level! You also get the support, encouragement, and motivation from your coach to push yourself! I’m so thankful to have a coach who not only supports and motivates me, but also mixes things up and keeps my workouts fun! Thanks Coach Kelly for bringing new life to my training!!

How do you keep it fun?! What ideas do you have/implement to keep it fun as you SBR?!

Dream Season

“The most powerful weapon on Earth is the human soul on fire.” ~Ferdinand Foch

The off season is the perfect time for dreaming! This is the time when I’m not exercising as much, so I have LOTS WAY TOO MUCH time to dream about what is to come! One thing is for sure…triathlon lights my fire! I’ve been dreaming of the coming year…2017 is the year I turn 40! The year I have my heart set on fun! The year I will push my limits to overcome challenges! The year I will push my limits to get closer to making my Kona qualifying dream come true! The year we go on another racecation! 40 is going to be my year! I’m excited to get this year started! It is time to start filling my barn with hay so that I can light a massive fire on race day!

Ironman Mont Tremblant 2017…I’m coming for ya!

Dreaming is easy…how will I turn these dreams into reality? Believing in myself, my abilities, my training, and my new coach! Yes, that’s right! I’m super excited to have Kelly Hardiaris coaching me in 2017! With her expertise, guidance, support, and encouragement, I am hoping to have the best year ever! I’m ready to embark on this journey with Kelly and see where we can go together in 2017!


I’m super pumped that I’ve been chosen to be part of the Coeur Sports Ambassador Team again in 2017!! I ABSOLUTELY love these ladies!! They are inspirational, motivational, enCOEURaging, supportive and full of #heartandcourage 🙂

I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2016 Ambassador Team...Such a #hardcoeur group of women that I'm overjoyed to be a part of!!
Pumped to make the Coeur Sports 2017 Ambassador Team…Such a #hardcoeur group of ladies that I’m overjoyed to be a part of!!

Who’s excited for 2017?! What are you looking forward to in 2017?!

Interviewing Coaches

Despite my disappointment in the recent elections, I’m confident 2017 is going to be a great year! I turn 40 and I want to chase my dreams! So, I’ve decided to hire a coach to help me get closer to achieving my dreams! This means I’ve been interviewing coaches and I’ve learned a LOT in the process!

Before I share what I’ve learned, let’s back up this train just a bit…I had a coach from January of 2010 – May of 2014. I am forever grateful to her for getting me across the finish line of many races, including my first 70.3 and first Ironman, and for all of the knowledge and encouragement she bestowed on me in that time.

I decided to cut ties with her when I realized I was often injured and overtrained. Having to make the decision to pull out of a 70.3 race in June of 2014 due to injury about killed me was very hard on me mentally, but I knew this was the right decision if I was going to set myself up for success and get to the start line of my Ironman race in September.

I decided to self coach and see where I could take myself. I took myself from a 16:15:00 at Ironman Wisconsin 2011 to a 15:15:56 at Ironman Wisconsin 2014. In 2015 I put up a 14:04:37 at Ironman Boulder and this year I had a 14:34:11 at Ironman Wisconsin. I have seen improvements in my training and racing because of my passion, hard work, dedication, determination, and commitment to the sport. I feel like I have plateaued a bit, and have decided to seek the expertise, guidance, and support from a coach.

I had no idea I’d learn so much in the process of hiring a coach! Some of the best advise that I received via social media was to listen to the questions that the coaches ask me and make sure our communication styles match. If they have no questions, they probably aren’t super invested in their athletes and might not be the right coach for me. If they have questions, what kind of questions are they asking? What is their focus?

I am seeking a coach who is hands-on and minds-on. Someone who is passionate about coaching, but even more passionate about helping ME become a better athlete. Someone who has the education AND experience to help me train smart. Someone who is knowledgable, motivating, supportive, and not committed to so many athletes that they can’t provide me with the attention I am paying them for. Someone who will push me and isn’t afraid to use tough love when training me. Someone who communicates effectively, who is honest and trustworthy, but also listens to me and makes adjustments to my plan if life happens or problems arise. Someone who is not all business, but also likes to have fun. Someone who cares about and is invested in ME!

I wrote out a list of questions that each of the prospective coaches answered via email. This did help me narrow down my prospects. Some answers to these questions I received felt very formal and impersonal; I felt like the answers were what they thought I wanted to hear. Because of this, I decided to give some of them a call to get a better idea of how we would fit together as we develop an athlete/coach relationship. After all, that is what I’m seeking…a relationship.

So…what did I ask each of the prospective coaches? Via email, I asked the following questions:

  1. What is your coaching philosophy?
  2. What is your coaching resume/experience?
  3. Since you are not a local coach, how will you help me improve form and make recommendations for improvement?
  4. I am looking to maintain balance between life (work, family, social) and training. How will you help me achieve this?
  5. How will you help me get stronger & faster without risking injury/overtraining?
  6. How will you help me physically reach my goals/dreams? Mentally?
  7. How many athletes have you coached to a Kona qualification? What experience do you have in coaching athletes to Kona qualification or 70.3 Worlds qualification?
  8. I have struggled with hyponatremia/nutrition in some of my previous Ironman races. How will you help me overcome this for future races?
  9. Will you customize my workouts based on “feel,” data (power/heart rate), or both?
  10. What are your coaching packages and prices? What do your coaching packages provide me with?

Over the phone, we socialized a bit more (getting to know each other personally is also important to me) and I asked a few additional questions while trying to get to know each of my prospective coaches:

  1. After Ironman Boulder, I ended up in the med tent and the doctor who met with me suggested that I have a sweat test done because of how salty I was and because I was experiencing early signs of blacking out again (this happened at IMWI 2011). I haven’t been able to find a place that does a sweat test in the Midwest (including the University of Iowa, which is a medical university). How will you help me overcome this problem?
  2. My husband is looking to hire a coach as well (he is talking with a coach who is more local). We are two very different people. I am VERY much an introvert, he is an extrovert. I am very goal-oriented and typically race with a time goal in mind. He races to have fun. If we were both on the Biggest Loser, I would be motivated by Jillian, while he would be motivated by Bob. Our relationship probably works so well because we are so different. We have been training together and competing in the same races for nearly 7 years now. Are you willing to work with me so that we can have a couple of workouts each week that are the same type of workout (maybe a trainer ride on Monday that we could both do, knowing that the workout would be very different; doing our long ride together for safety; doing a run together each week) so we can still train together on occasion and spend time together?
  3. For safety and convenience, we try to do our long rides and maybe a 2nd longer ride outside each week (even in the summer). Are you willing to work with me to make this happen? I really do prefer riding the trainer for anything under 2 hours for safety and convenience.

It was so nice to get to talk with each of my prospective coaches to get to know them a bit better and place a voice with their face!! If you are thinking of hiring a coach to help you get closer to achieving your dreams, spend time to find the right coach for you!! What kind of coach do you want…someone who is “high touch” or someone who is more “hands off”? What kind of relationship do you want with your coach? What do you want from your coach? What do you want to pay for? Do you want a coach who is local that you can see in person, or is an online coach able to meet your needs?

I’m hoping to have my final decision made by the end of this week. Stay tuned to see who I go with for a coach in 2017! 😉

Have you interviewed coaches? If so, how did you go about hiring him/her? What would you recommend for people looking to hire a coach?

Just Believe

With the Holidays upon us and Christmas just around the corner, many parents are hopeful that their young ones will believe in Santa Claus, Elf on the Shelf, the true meaning of Christmas and paying it forward to those around them.  While these are all very important, I would like to add another very important thing for us to believe in…ourselves.


As endurance athletes, it is critical to our success that we believe in our own abilities, our training, our coach, our nutrition plan, our race day plan…ourselves.  When you truly believe in yourself, success is yours!!