2020 is filling up fast and I’m super excited to toe the line at some new + repeat race events, experience some big training weekends with others, and have so much fun as I swim/bike/run + #celebrate EVERYTHING in 2020!
I have some BIG goals for some of these races, which I’ll share with you in another post (or multiple posts). Ultimately, I plan to #CELEBRATE the highs and lows, the peaks and valleys, the successes and challenges of my journey to each finish line + life! Throughout 2020, I will be focusing on having more fun, more joy, more action, more play, more dancing, more laughter and #CELEBRATE every part of each chapter that I write this year!
The chapters at the end of 2020 have some gaps in it that I know will fill in, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what I’ll fill them in with. We’ll see what I can find to add to the months of September, October, November, and December as the year progresses.
Cheers to a fun 2020!! What does 2020 have in store for you?!
December tested my patience. I messed up my back on December 2 and was unable to do much for most of the month. Patience to step back and not do what I want and what my brain needs this time of year. Patience to ease back into training once I was cleared to do so. Patience going without a car for a week. Patience getting my Wahoo Kickr set up with Zwift so I could start 2020 off with a bang. Patience…patience…PATIENCE!!! Thanks to the help and support from Dr. Chris Feil with Team Chiropractic and Rehabilitation of Ames and Nick Morton with Vitality Massage, I was back to feeling myself by the end of the month and I’m ready to start 2020 strong and healthy.
Swim: 12,400 yards (7.05 miles)
Bike: 91 miles
Run: 14.2 miles
Strength: 10 minutes of core daily (except for 4 days in early December when my back was a hot mess) + some strength training + more yoga ❤
Meditation: 3 minutes daily since January 1
Monthly Totals: 21 hours & 49 minutes
Swim: 286,818 yards (162.96 miles)
Bike: 2785 miles
Run: 835 miles
511 hours & 27 minutes
Explore was my focus word in 2019 and I’m happy that I incorporated it into all areas of my life throughout the year. In December, I planned for 2020 and #explore was at the focus of this planning! I’m SUPER EXCITED about what’s on my 2020 schedule and will be sharing that with you soon! I also started to #explore functional power training with Chris Chapman at Movewell Iowa. We are working on getting all of my muscles to properly fire like they are supposed to while doing different motions. This takes work, but the work will be worth it as it should help prevent injuries and keep me healthy and active!
Beyond Grit: Ten Powerful Practices to Gain the High-Performance Edge by Cindra Kamphoff has practical tools and actions to help you improve your mindset and become the high-performer you want to be. “Kamphoff shares the tools and strategies she’s taught executives, entrepreneurs, NFL ProBowl athletes, Olympians, college athletes, and championship teams. Based on almost twenty years of research and consulting with the world’s best, she provides a practical, inspiring, and easy-to-use guide to radically accelerating your performance and improving your happiness.
In this book, Kamphoff teaches you how to develop Ten Practices of the World’s Best:
1. The world’s best are gritty.
2. The world’s best are clear on their purpose.
3. The world’s best become a master of their thoughts.
4. The world’s best know themselves to master yourself.
5. The world’s best dominate the controllables.
6. The world’s best own the moment.
7. The world’s best choose empowering emotions.
8. The world’s best own who they are.
9. The world’s best live and let go.
10. The world’s best choose their courage zone.
You’ll also discover 52 life-altering strategies that you can put in your High Performance Toolbox to develop these practices and change your daily life. Each chapter describes one strategy and ends with a powerful affirmation to help you develop the High Performance Mindset. A widely respected keynote speaker, trainer, and coach, Kamphoff possesses an inspiring style that combines high energy with strategies that work. Her proven system can transform the performance of anyone who wants to up their game, regardless of their field. Whether you re seeking to own your dream business, triple your income, be the best you can be in your sport, or merely achieve a higher level of personal satisfaction, Beyond Grit shows you how. Inspiring and practical, Kamphoff will show you how to ”own your why,” develop your grit, take control of your future, discover your purpose, thrive under pressure, and be your best more often.”
Chasing Kona: From Back of the Pack Smoker to Racing the Ironman World Championships in Kona by Rob Cummins was a fun, quick read. “Sitting watching TV with a cigarette in one hand, a black coffee in the other and nursing a crushing hangover I switched channels until I found sports. There was some sort of bike race on and I half watched while lighting another cigarette off the butt of my last one for a minute before switching channels again. Just as I hit the button on the remote the commentator mentioned something about the athletes swimming before and running afterwards as well as racing the bike. I thought he said something about the run being a marathon but that couldn’t be right.This sparked my interest and I switched back, but he was talking about something else so I waited for him to get around to describing exactly what this race was. I didn’t have long to wait as he said they first did a 2.5 mile swim, then 112 miles on the bike all topped of with running a marathon. I was stunned. I didn’t think that would be physically possible and as I lit another cigarette I wondered how many days did they have to do it. I guessed it would have to be three days. Swim the first day, bike the second and run the third but it still sounded like a crazy thing to do. Then he said that they did it all in the one day, one after another without stopping. I was completely incredulous. And hooked. I remained glued to the TV and learned that these bronzed, muscular Greek God looking athletes weren’t all professionals either. There was an amateur or “age group” race as well Although I could hardly tell the difference between the pros and amateurs. They all looked unbelievably fit. As I sat there mesmerized I swore to myself that I’d race there someday. I’d stop smoking and drinking and somehow do “The Ironman” At the time I had no idea what that meant or how I would do it and after a while as things have a way of doing I got busy with life and I forgot all about The Ironman and Hawaii. I forgot until several years later when I had actually given up smoking and had taken up triathlon. It had taken me two years and sixteen races of swimming breast stroke before I learned to swim properly. I never once looked even remotely like Kona material but I wanted to have a go at doing an Ironman. It took another three years before I plucked up the courage and lined up for my first one in Nice, France. I finished in the last quarter of the field, hours behind the athletes racing for those precious Kona slots. Nothing I had done up to then had given any indication that I should have had a reason to believe I had a chance at qualifying, but three years later when I asked Aisling, my wife if she thought it was possible she immediately said yes and then she added let’s do it. Aisling’s belief in me started us on a journey that led to me treading water on the most iconic start line in triathlon, waiting for the cannon to fire at the start of the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. This is how we overcame all of the odds and discovered what it would take to get to the Ironman World Championships. This is our Kona story.”
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman is a great read to make sure you and your partner are speaking each other’s language to really connect with each other. “Falling in love is easy. Staying in love—that’s the challenge. How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life? In the #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner—starting today. The 5 Love Languages is as practical as it is insightful. Updated to reflect the complexities of relationships today, this new edition reveals intrinsic truths and applies relevant, actionable wisdom in ways that work.”
Attitude of Gratitude:
How was your month of December?! What were you grateful for last month?! Are you ready for the start of 2020?!
I love looking back and thinking about all of the amazing things that I’ve accomplished and all of the challenges I’ve overcome! 2019 was full of opportunities to #explore, challenges to overcome, accomplishments to enjoy, and SO MUCH FUN!! I’ve reflected for the last 6 years and now it’s time to reflect on 2019! You can look back at my previous posts if you’d like: the Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, the Best of 2015, the Best of 2016, the Best of 2017, and the Best of 2018. Now its time to reminisce my faves from 2019! 🙂
Best race experience?
Bluff Creek Triathlon where I competed with my girl, Traci, and had an absolute blast! We started the swim together. I waited for her in T1 and then followed her on the bike (don’t worry…I followed the drafting rules and rode far enough back). We had a mechanical issue on the bike, but we made it back to T2 and headed out on the run. Despite the mechanical, Traci had a PR! It was so much fun to cheer her on and encourage her every stroke and step of the way!
St. Paddy’s Day 1/2 Marathon in March was SO. MUCH. FUN! Not only was I prepared for it physically and mentally, but I was able to race it and come within 3 minutes of a 1/2 marathon PR. Oh…and did I mention that I walked away with not 1, but 2 medals for that race?!
Riding with my fave from Iowa to Minnesota and back to Iowa! I absolutely love this route and the company! Any chance I get, I ride this route from Home Home!
Swimming in Mirror Lake for IRONMAN Lake Placid was my best IM swim to date! Swimming with the underwater cable to sight off of created an exceptional swim experience and allowed me to set an IRONMAN swim PR!! I was super pumped about it too!!
Best finish line?
IRONMAN Lake Placid! This was a very special finish line! It wasn’t planned for the Iron Hippie and I to finish together, but half way through the bike portion of this race, I made it my mission to catch him and finish with him. It was a long marathon, but we made it to the finish line TOGETHER!
Best training weekend?
Getting to train in Lake Placid with my fave before IRONMAN Lake Placid! We swam in Mirror Lake multiple times, rode one loop of the bike course, ran a good portion of one loop of the run course, and experienced Lake Placid! OH. SO. MUCH. FUN!!
Best training compass?
Myself! At different times in 2019 I was in the deepest valleys and on top of the highest mountains…I had some really high highs and some really low lows! Listening to my heart and allowing it to guide me in 2019 opened the door to so much more fun, joy, and “get to” experiences! I can’t wait to see where I take myself in 2020!
Best moment out of my comfort zone?
The Underpants Run at IRONMAN Lake Placid! This was so much fun, but I was way out of my comfort zone! Who runs in a swimsuit (or underpants) down main street exposing their flaws for all of the world to see?! Apparently a lot of crazy people!!
Best enCOEURaging moment?
The inaugural Ames Triathlon! It has been many years in the making, but we FINALLY got the approval for the Ames Triathlon in March of 2019 and within a few months were able to pull off the best race we could have asked for! If you want to experience this race for yourself in 2020, head to Ames in June. We look forward to seeing YOU on June 28!
Best nutritional find?
Orange Mud double barrel pack for carrying my hydration + nutrition is the best way I’ve found to carry enough nutrition on long runs without having to really plan my route to make sure I get enough hydration on those hot days. I was worried that it might chafe me in various places, but alas…15 miles with ZERO chafing!
Best new gear?
Coeur Sports running shorts and tights. The pockets in both of these are AMAZING! I can hold SO much in each of them. They are even flexible enough for me to carry a water bottle in the pocket if I want. They don’t move or chafe no matter how wet you get. These are a MUST HAVE!!
Best recovery tool?
Our Sleep Number bed! This has made a world of difference! I sleep so much better and I wake up without back pain. If you aren’t getting good quality sleep, you are compromising your health. I highly recommend the Sleep Number bed. It is definitely worth the investment!
Best time saver?
The Roomba! I can do one of at least a 1000 other possible things while the Roomba vacuums the house. The dogs aren’t too keen on it when it appears to be chasing them around the house, but they are adjusting to it and try to stay out of its way while it does its thing!
Best supportive role?
Heading to IRONMAN Louisville to cheer athletes on instead of racing myself. This was a REALLY TOUGH decision, but it was the right one. The weekend was full of laughter, fun, and friends! It was EXACTLY what I needed to help me figure out what I want from this sport and where I want to go with it in the future!
Best way to stay healthy?
Change careers! My mental stress has dropped SUBSTANTIALLY and I am no longer exposed to all of the germs from middle schoolers. Sure I am still exposed to germs at Iowa State University, but I’m not confined to a classroom and I’m not around the students much. Changing careers has been one of the best decisions for my overall health that I could have ever made!
Best piece of racing advice you received?
Have fun! I’ve heard this from so many different people, that I can’t pinpoint just one individual to give credit to. If we can’t have fun racing, then why are we doing it?!
Most inspirational athlete?
There are so many that I can’t pick just one! Everyone is on their own, unique journey and I am inspired by them all. My Coeur Sports sisters inspire me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! I’ve also been SUPER inspired this year by friends who finished their first IRONMAN. By friends who attempted their first IRONMAN, but didn’t meet cutoffs. By friends who did their first triathlon this year. By people who have survived an accident and are still training + racing. By people who fight disease and keep training + racing. By people who challenge themselves and try something new. By people who don’t follow conventional training methods and SMASH their goals out of the park! By people I haven’t met yet and people I see everyday! There are far too many people who inspire me to pick just one!
Best support crew?
Hands down…Dad, Aunt Linda, Cousin Neal, and a dear friend Carol! These four pushed me through during some VERY dark times at Ironman Lake Placid. They were up EARLY on race morning. They cheered, photographed, and spread their love to me and so many other athletes throughout a REALLY long day! There are not enough hugs and kisses for each of you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Love you all so much! I couldn’t have gotten to this finish line without your unwavering encouragement and support!!
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Explore, strong, courage, brave, fun!!
Tell me about your 2019 year!! What are your “bests” from 2019?!
If you’ve been following my journey, you’ll know that I have made the decision to “choose me” and live my truth. By choosing me, I am actually choosing US, and I’m so grateful to have the Iron Hippie on this roller coaster ride with me. Here is a quick update on where I’m at.
TRUTH: I REALLY DO LOVE to swim/bike/run! My heart speaks swim/bike/run! It brings me calm. It brings me joy. It builds self confidence. It often teaches me something new. It breeds discipline. It connects me with others. It forces me to be more courageous. It allows me the freedom to mess up & still end up ok. It provides me an outlet. It makes me stronger – physically & mentally. It fills me with gratitude. It helps me be the best version of myself. I can’t imagine my life without swim/bike/run! Here are some of my truths:
I am a social introvert. Generally, I like to socialize with others while I workout. Socializing while working out fills me up and brings me joy because I get to connect with such great people in amazing communities. Don’t get me wrong, there are times a good solo workout is exactly what I need and crave…hence the introvert. The introvert is more present in the day to day activities when I hunker down at home, recover, gear up for the coming day/week, and jumpstart my batteries.
I love playing and feeling like a fish gliding through the water! Splashing around, making mud pies, dunking a friend, doing hand stands and somersaults in the water…hello childhood! ❤
I love the open roads, the wind in my face, the sun on my back, and the freedom I feel when I am on two wheels…I love it even more when I GET to ride with others!! The occasional red wing black bird that dive bombs my helmet also brings me joy…it is good interval training. 😉
I love running, but I love it even more with friends! Bonus = running with Basil! She knows how to have fun and bring a smile to my face! It’s hard not to smile when I watch her run. 🙂
I love being on the water!! It takes me back to my childhood. I love to SUP, canoe, kayak, water ski, tube, boat, anything that involves being on the water. The water is in my blood! 🙂
I love yoga! I love the community, the mindfulness, the focus, and the feeling of accomplishment + calm after a yoga session.
I love to be outside during all seasons! I love the fresh air, the calming sounds of nature, the various temperatures and humidity levels, the calm, the quiet, and the peace that comes with outdoor adventures.
Boxes aren’t for everyone. I’ve decided to step out of the box I’ve been in and experiment with self coaching in 2020. I’m excited to try new things knowing that some of these things may not work for me, while other things may be the best thing ever for me! Bring on the thinking outside of the box, the experimentation, the trial and error, the freedom and control to do it my way, and the excitement with trying something new!
I dream of one day…believing in myself so deeply that I open locked doors without the keys and inspire others to do the same on whatever journey they are on!!
Are you living your truth?! Are you being true to what YOU TRULY feel, what YOU really WANT to do, who YOU REALLY are, and what YOU DEFINITELY dream for yourself?! Are you choosing YOU?!
November was full of fun, gratitude, and heart! I spent time really listening to my heart and letting it guide me in my training, life experiences, and planning for 2020! Here is a snippet of what November looked like for me:
This month I decided to do whatever I wanted, when I wanted. No structured training. No 4 am wake ups until I was ready. No routines. It was awesomely awful! I swam when I wanted. I biked when I wanted. I ran when I wanted. I did intervals when I wanted. I incorporated more strength training. I spent more time with my mat. I went back to 10 minutes of core strength daily because it is a better fit for my schedule. I’ve decided I definitely thrive off of routines and consistency. While this freedom in training was much needed to reset my body and mind, it is time for me to regain the routines and consistency that I enjoy as I get ready to head into 2020.
Swim: 18,900 yards (10.74 miles)
Bike: 75.4 miles
Run: 57.0 miles
Strength: 10 minutes of core daily + more strength training + yoga ❤
Meditation: 3 minutes daily since January 1
Monthly Totals: 35 hours & 20 minutes
Explore is my focus word in 2019 and I’m happy to be incorporating it into all areas of my life…including racing the Hillbilly Hike 1/2 Marathon. When I went into this race, I wasn’t sure if I was going to run with my friend, Robin, or try to push myself and see what I could do. I decided to let my legs tell me. They told me to go after it despite the frost + ice covered running surfaces. I’m glad I pushed myself, am happy with my results, and am looking for more opportunities to #explore + break out of my comfort zone + push myself to new limits in 2020!
80/20 Triathlon: Discover the Breakthrough Elite-Training Formula for Ultimate Fitness and Performance at All Levels by Matt Fitzgerald and David Warden is for triathletes of all levels helping them balance training intensity to maximize performance. “Cutting-edge research has proven that triathletes and other endurance athletes experience their greatest performance when they do 80 percent of their training at low intensity and the remaining 20 percent at moderate to high intensity. But the vast majority of recreational triathletes are caught in the so-called “moderate-intensity rut,” spending almost half of their time training too hard–harder than the pros. Training harder isn’t smarter; it actually results in low-grade chronic fatigue that prevents recreational athletes from getting the best results. In 80/20 Triathlon, Matt Fitzgerald and David Warden lay out the real-world and scientific evidence, offering concrete tips and strategies, along with complete training plans for every distance–Sprint, Olympic, Half-Ironman, and Ironman–to help athletes implement the 80/20 rule of intensity balance. Benefits include reduced fatigue and injury risk, improved fitness, increased motivation, and better race results.”
The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins provides you with tools to create action and change. “Throughout your life, you’ve had parents, coaches, teachers, friends, and mentors who have pushed you to be better than your excuses and bigger than your fears. What if the secret to having the confidence and courage to enrich your life and work is simply knowing how to push yourself? Using the science of habits, riveting stories, and surprising facts from some of the most famous moments in history, art, and business, Mel Robbins will explain the power of a “push moment”. Then, she’ll give you one simple tool you can use to become your greatest self. It takes just five seconds to use this tool, and every time you do you’ll be in great company. More than eight million people have watched Mel’s TEDx Talk, and executives inside of the world’s largest brands are using the tool to increase productivity, collaboration, and engagement. In The 5 Second Rule, you’ll discover it takes just five seconds to:
Break the habit of procrastination and self-doubt
Beat fear and uncertainty
Stop worrying and feel happier
Share your ideas with courage
The 5 Second Rule is a simple, one-size-fits-all solution for the one problem we all face – we hold ourselves back. The secret isn’t knowing what to do – it’s knowing how to make yourself do it.”
Two Concepts to Guide Your Off-season Training by Matt Edwards is full of some great information for things you can do in the off-season to better prepare yourself for the coming season. During your off-season, take time to focus on technique, strength training, your weakness, and endurance.
6 Ways to Avoid “Bad Race Blues” by Mackenzie Madison has some great tips for getting back on track after a “bad” race and “avoid feeling mentally stuck in a previous disappointment.”
How to Master Your Athletes’ Motivation by Jamie Blanchfield is very insightful on what influences motivation and what enhances motivation. Motivation ebbs and flows with changes in life, training, work, etc. Self efficacy is key to motivation and success.
October was a roller coaster ride. It was full of some really high highs, and some pretty low lows. I’m happy to be moving into November, figuring out what “normal” is for us, planning for 2020, and preparing for winter.
This month I took part in the Coretober Challenge that Multisport Mastery + JHC Coaching put together. It was a good challenge for me. I have been doing 10 minutes of core strength daily for nearly 2 years (with the few exceptions around race days or when I have been sick), so the extra 5 minutes was a definite challenge for the first week or two, but I’m so glad I took part in this challenge!
Swim: 13,850 yards (7.87 miles)
Bike: 90.7 miles
Run: 78.3 miles
Strength: 15 minutes of core daily + some yoga ❤
Meditation: 3 minutes daily since January 1
Monthly Totals: 31 hours & 52 minutes
Explore is my focus word in 2019 and I’m happy to be incorporating it into all areas of my life…including being at my first IRONMAN race that I wasn’t racing or volunteering (aka working) on race day. This was WAY out of my comfort zone!! I struggled going to this event knowing that I wasn’t racing (when I originally was suppose to be toeing the start line). I wanted to race SO badly, but also knew that this race had to be different for me. I had to use this race to explore. Explore being involved in IRONMAN without racing. Explore being involved in IRONMAN without volunteering and “working” on race day. Explore what is deep in my heart. Explore living my truth. So many memories were made, perspective was gained, and laughter in Lou filled my heart. I’ll have more on what I learned down the road.
I am finding that I love to listen to podcasts while I set up and tear down labs at work, so if you have any suggestions, please send them my way! Here is what I listened to this month:
Kelsey Abbott brought CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke onto the Find Your Awesome Podcast. Susan said something that really hit home with me, “Speaking up is more important than shutting up and dying.”
Rich Roll brought on Amelia Boone. She is the most decorated and dominate female in obstacle course racing. She struggles with childhood trauma and an eating disorder. “I don’t want to be ‘the eating disorder recovery girl’, I don’t want to be ‘the athlete’. This is just me. I am super flawed, I’m super complex, just like everybody else out there.”
“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens is captivating. It was the perfect book to take me away into another world. “For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.”
“Snap, Crackle, Pop: My Road to IRONMAN Kona 2019” by Barbara Perkins was highlighted by USA Triathlon this month. Barbara is one of my Coeur Sports teammates who qualified for the IRONMAN World Championships at IRONMAN Santa Rosa in May. She has overcome some obstacles to get to the start of the IRONMAN World Championships, but as Barb says, “Each of us deals with our own set of circumstances, injury, bike mishaps and more. You have to trust that you have done (mostly) everything in your power to get to that start line happy and healthy. Enjoy the day! Celebrate the moment! Because hey, this is actually happening.” This is a good reminder that I GET TO DO THIS SPORT! ❤
“Manage Your Personal Energy to Improve the Quality of Life” by Darius Foroux is a great reminder that when we do things that energize us (even if we don’t feel energized when doing it), we empower ourselves. We need to focus on the 20% of the activities that improve the quality of our lives and incorporate these activities into our lives at least 80% of the time. “What is one thing I can do today to improve my mood?”
“Triumph Over Heartbreak: My Kona 2019 Story” by Barbara Perkins was highlighted by USA Triathlon this month. As I mentioned above, Barbara is one of my Coeur Sports teammates who qualified for and competed in the IRONMAN World Championships. She is a fierce competitor and warrior. “You will find your true, innermost self out in the lava fields of the IRONMAN World Championship course. Some people will fall victim to the brutal conditions. They will give up, but others will conquer the course and everything inside them that doubted they could make it there. Most will come away with some itch left unscratched, drawn again to the island to discover its unique possibilities.”
Attitude of Gratitude:
How was your month of October?! What were you grateful for last month?!