I want my July back!! August is flying by and I’m not ready to go back to school just yet!! I could definitely use a few more weeks of summer break before the daily grind begins back up, but alas, that isn’t going to happen. Thankfully I still have 12 days of summer break left and I’m going to soak up every moment that I can!!
Swim: 34,332 yards (19.5 miles)
Bike: 320 miles
Run: 92.3 miles
Monthly Totals: 53 hours & 51 minutes
Ironman Ohio 70.3 was nearly perfect! Incase you missed it, my goal was to go sub 6 hours. I’m happy to report that I FINALLY achieved this goal!! Thanks to Coach Kelly for designing a plan to help me achieve this. Thanks to Steena for running the 13.1 miles with me and pushing me the last 2 miles. Thanks to my fave for being the most supportive, encouraging, motivating, loving friend and life partner I could ask for!!
Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea is a great mystery! I typically figure out the ending before I get there, but I really didn’t see this ending coming! “Becca Eckersley was a first-year law student and daughter of a powerful attorney was brutally murdered in Summit Lake. There are no suspects. No persons of interest. Just a girl who was alive one day and dead the next. Kelsey Castle is an investigative reporter who thinks this assignment is a fluff piece at first. As Kelsey digs deeper, despite danger and warnings, she feels a growing connection to the dead girl. And the more she learns about Becca’s friendships, her love life—and her secrets—the more convinced she becomes that walking in Becca’s footsteps could lead her out of her own dark past…”
The Girl Who was Taken by Charlie Donlea is another great mystery! “The night they go missing, high school seniors Nicole Cutty and Megan McDonald are at a beach party in their small town of Emerson Bay, North Carolina. Police launch a massive search, but hope is almost lost—until Megan escapes from a bunker deep in the woods. . . . A year later, the bestselling account of her ordeal has made Megan a celebrity. It’s a triumphant story, except for one inconvenient detail: Nicole is still missing. Nicole’s older sister, Livia, a fellow in forensic pathology, expects that one day soon Nicole’s body will be found and her sister’s fate determined. Instead, the first clue comes from another body—that of a young man connected to Nicole’s past. Livia reaches out to Megan to learn more about that fateful night. Other girls have disappeared, and she’s increasingly sure the cases are connected. Megan knows more than she revealed in her book. Flashes of memory are pointing to something more monstrous than she described. And the deeper she and Livia dig, the more they realize that sometimes true terror lies in finding exactly what you’ve been looking for . . .”
The Coeur Sports EarSplitz Podcast interviewed Kebby Holden, Founder of Coeur Sports. This company has my heart…not simply because of the amazing clothing, but because of what they represent. I love that they encourage us to try to get more women in sport!! ❤
How was your month of July?! What were you grateful for last month?!
Wow!! Where to begin?!?! I guess I’ll start with the short version…
Now for the full race report…Ironman Ohio 70.3 was more than I could have hoped for!! If you’ve been following my journey, you’ll know that #sub6orbust was my goal for Ohio. I knew I could break 6 hours, but everything had to fall together. Ironman Ohio 70.3 was about exploring! After 5+ years of dreaming about breaking 6 hours at the 70.3 distance, it was time to turn that dream into a reality! I felt strong, ready, and willing to give it my all!
“Of course we all have our limits, but how can you possibly find your boundaries unless you EXPLORE as far and as wide as you possibly can? I would rather fail in an attempt at something new and uncharted than safely succeed in a repeat of something I have done.”
Swim: 43:19 (2:03/100 yards)
The water was 79.25*F, which made it wetsuit optional. It was DEFINITELY too warm for a wetsuit…swimming in murky bath water isn’t ideal, but it is what we were all given. I LOVE the self seeding swim starts!! This was my second race of this format and it is so much cleaner in the water. My Coeur Sports teammate, Steena, her friend Jodi, and I all lined up in the corrals together, but I somehow ended up in the water about 7 seconds before them. As I entered the water, I was calm, relaxed, and focused. I found my line and swam! No anxiety! No stress! Just pure swim flow! I swam a relatively straight line (for me) siting every 6 strokes. I had very little contact with others in the water for the majority of the swim. I focused on my swim mantra, “long, strong, pull” for the duration of the swim…especially when I encountered traffic after the last turn buoy before returning to the shore. As I exited the water, I was a bit disappointed with my swim time, but immediately changed the channel and reset my brain to a positive state for the bike ahead. In hindsight, I think this swim was long. Other athletes had similar swim distances (2300 yards instead of 2187), but no excuses…we all swam the same distance!
As I left transition, my fave was right at the mount line and told me to ease into my pace and be careful as there was a TON of congestion out there and other athletes weren’t being very respectful of one another.
He was right. I hadn’t even got a 1/4 mile down the road and was getting yelled at by another athlete to get out of his way as I was trying to safely pass two other athletes. One of the athletes I was passing yelled, “Don’t be a douche bag,” while I reminded this douche bag that “we are all out here to have a good and SAFE day.” He wanted to hear nothing of it. He yelled some profanity at us and off he went. I reset my positivity! I knew I would be on the pedals for the whole ride as there isn’t much climbing over the 56 miles on this course. I’ve never raced a 70.3 distance (or full Ironman for that matter) on such a flat course, so this would be a new experience. I was ready to explore and give it my all!! Mojo and I quickly settled into Z3 watts (152-182 watts for me) where we planned to remain for the duration of the ride. Once settled into my pace, I ate a Honey Stinger Waffle, drank some hydration and cruised! About mile 10, I passed Steena. She had beat me out of the water. She said, “Go get it” to me as I passed her. I REALLY wanted to slap her on the a$$ as I passed her, but didn’t want to cause an accident, so I cheered for her and kept going strong. It was shortly after this that I eased up on my watts (oops!) into Z2 and they stayed on the upper end of Z2 for the remainder of the ride. This wasn’t the goal, but it was what happened.
At about mile 54, Steena passed me and said, “What are you doing? Let’s go!” I was having a bit of heart burn, so I took 4 Tums and off I went. I passed Steena (after all she told me at the swim start that I should be in front of her all day long) and as I passed her, she told me she wanted to photo bomb me if the opportunity presented itself…sadly it didn’t. I wheeled into transition with her right behind me.
Gear: Coeur Sports team kit, Mojo (Specialized Transition bike), Specialized Evade helmet, Specialized Shoes, Roka Sunnies
Run: 2:10:29 (9:50 min/mile)
Steena and I left T2 at the same time, so we decided to start the run together and see how things unfolded. Now was the time to truly explore how my legs would hold up. They felt trashed right from the first run step, but I ignored them. I ignored the fact that I really had to pee (I didn’t have time to stop…#sub6orbust was on the line). I ignored my run pace. I monitored my HR. Coach Kelly told me to monitor my HR through mile 10 and if I was feeling up to it to let ‘er rip at that point. I told Steena of my plan and she decided to stick with me for a while and see how this unfolded. I couldn’t have asked for a better running partner! We were so evenly matched in pace and footfall! She says I pulled her through the first 11 miles, but in reality, she gave me a “job” of successfully pacing both of us to a sub 6 hour finish! I turned my Garmin screen to monitor only my HR and tried not to focus on the pace. We were moving along at a decent clip, chatting occasionally (in broken sentences), and enjoying the footfalls of each other as we moved forward. At one point Steena said, “You are such a consistent pacer. You need to come pace me at Ironman Wisconsin.” I started singing “Pacing Queen” instead of “Dancing Queen” in my head and shared this with Steena as we pushed on.
Having my fave yo-yo around us on his bike was AMAZING!! We saw him every 1-2 miles. He was cheering, taking photos, and texting with Coach Kelly throughout the run. As we started the 2nd loop, Steena said, “Let’s F*ck Sh!t UP!” and told me the back story that goes with it. I said, “I’m ready, but am going to stick to the plan until mile 10.” So we continued on with the plan. At mile 10, I picked up the pace, but by mile 11, I was in the hurt box. This is where Steena took over and got us to the finish line. She gave me her flower and told me it means “resilience” and that I was going to break 6 hours today! At mile 12, my fave chased me up the hill cracking the whip…
After we turned back on Henry to head back to the stadium, I saw Linda (a fellow Coeur teammate) heading out on the run. I gave her a quick hug and started to tear up. Steena said, “Don’t cry! It makes running harder. Focus on your dog and all of the funny things she does to make you smile. Let’s go!” As we continued down Henry, I could hear our Air BNB hosts cheering me on. Then we rounded the corner into the stadium and Ruth (another Coeur teammate) was on the corner cheering!
I knew we would break 6 hours, but by how much?! Steena asked me if I wanted to run ahead and have my own moment at the finish line. I said, “Hell no! You have been with me this whole run. We are crossing together!”
And that is EXACTLY what we did! PRs are definitely better with friends!!
Overall: 5:56:20 (30 out of 110 in F40-44; 192 out of 666 women; 764 out of 1957 total finishers)
I can’t even begin to explain how elated I am with this race, my performance, and the amazing people that entered my life throughout this weekend! This was so much better than I ever dreamed!! I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone and achieved big goals and dreams!! This gives me huge amounts of confidence for big rewards at #IMLou in October!! I am forever grateful to Steena for making sure I achieved my #sub6 dream by pushing me those last 2 miles and to my fave for being the best husband, friend, supporter, Sherpa, spectator, cheerleader, photographer, and whip cracker anyone could ask for!! I am truly blessed and riding on cloud nine!!
Last week my body reminded me that it is in control and I need to spend more time listening to it. Time to be honest…I have been neglecting my stretching lately. My body took note and decided it was time for a reminder. After last Sunday’s brick, my right hamstring was talking…it wasn’t injured, just talking, so I listened. I got in to see Dr. Feil twice this week to have him work on my leg. Monday he did some dry needle work on the hamstring. That felt SO much better, but the uncomfortable feeling moved up into my glute on Tuesday. On Thursday, he did more dry needling and added some electrolysis treatment and electric shock therapy to really try and loosen everything up. Coach Kelly reduced my running to pretty much nothing last week to reduce the hamstring strain and allow it to relax before Ironman Ohio 70.3 one week from today.
Swim: 8894 yards
Bike: 82.7 miles
Run: 6.14 miles
Strength Training: 10 minutes of core strength almost daily + 30 minutes full body strength
Weekly Totals: 10 hours & 59 minutes
Quote of the Week:
“If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won’t have to hear it scream.” ~Unknown
Attitude of Gratitude:
How was your week? What were you grateful for last week?! Do you listen to your body when it whispers?!
I’m not sure how summer is already 1/2 over!! Once the 4th of July comes and goes, it is usually a FAST downhill slide to the start of the school year. This makes me sad, but I’m choosing to continue to soak up each and every moment of summer break!!! Here is a snapshot of what I was up to during June…
Swim: 20,742 yards (11.8 miles)
Bike: 339 miles
Run: 61.5 miles
Monthly Totals:46 hours & 39 minutes
My Solo 70.3 “Race”:
In case you missed it, I did a thing…the Flatlander 70.3. It was INCREDIBLY challenging, but loaded with lots of learning experiences. So grateful to my fave for making me feel like a champion after a really tough day!!
Breathing and Relaxation: Control your Breath to Control your Body by Seth Rose is part 2 of one of my articles I posted last month. If you missed part 1, check it out here. In part 2, he addresses how to learn to control your breathing to reduce anxiety and/or tightness on race day. Everyone wants to have less anxiety and tightness on race day, right?!?! Practicing diaphragmatic breathing and using this technique on race day is sure to help!! He also addresses how to use mental rehearsal to help us achieve what we want to happen or feel. This is different from visualization. “While visualization is focused on seeing things in our mind’s-eye, mental rehearsal involves us using as many of our senses that are appropriate to make our image as real as possible.”
The One Thing Every Athlete Wants: Confidence by Carrie Cheadle is spot on!! Even the best athlete isn’t 100% confident 100% of the time! One of her favorite quotes struck home with me: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steve Furtick
WOW!!! Truth!!! Most endurance athletes want to “feel” confident, but confidence isn’t simply a feeling, it is also an action! I’m definitely looking forward to part 2 of this blog post to learn ways to increase my own self confidence!! Aren’t you?!?!
The IronWomen Podcast NAILED IT with The Cyclist Lawyer – Megan Hottman!! This is a MUST listen to for ANY cyclist or motorist on the roads. Megan is a lawyer in Colorado who specializes in cases involving cyclists. She discusses the laws of the roads (not just in Colorado, but all states), how to better protect yourself as a cyclist, and insurance options to better protect yourself if you are a cyclist who crashes or gets hit by a motorist. WOW!! SO MUCH INFORMATION!! I listened to it 3 times to make sure I grasped it all!! Definite 5 star rating here!!
KonaKamps has uploaded some new listens with Brenda Bettencourt, Amy Javens, and Amy Farrell (one of my AWESOME Coeur Sports Teammates). These ladies have worked hard and climbed the ladder to place in their age groups!! If you haven’t taken a listen yet, I HIGHLY recommend KonaKamps!!
My nutrition and hydration plan!! This has been an ongoing process since…well, always!! Just when you think you’ve got your plan dialed in and working, something changes or your wrong. Maybe the weather has drastically changed. Maybe what your body once loved, it no longer likes. Maybe your tastes have changed. Maybe your just wanting to try something different. Maybe what you thought worked really didn’t work in the first place. I am working on a separate blog post specific to this topic as I have encountered some real nutrition and hydration obstacles that I’m working to overcome, so stay tuned for more on this soon! For those that have shared hydration and nutrition tips with me. Thank you!!
How was your month of June?! What hydration and/or nutrition tips do you have and/or use?! What were you grateful for last month?!
On Sunday, I was ready to race Ironman Wisconsin 70.3. Mojo was set in transition on Saturday and I was excited to test my endurance and push my limits on race day! I woke up to severe thunderstorms on race morning and a note from Ironman Wisconsin:
So, with no real hurry to get to transition only to stand around in the pouring rain, we opted to sit in the car for a bit at the Alliant Energy Center before boarding a school bus to transition.
Once in transition, we set up our gear (trying to find ways to keep it as dry as possible), donned our wetsuits in the mud pit that transition was, and 3 minutes before transition closed made the decision to pull out of the event. We loaded up our gear, trudged through the mud pit, and headed back to the Alliant Energy Center where the car was.
My fave decided to take a quick shower to get all of the mud off of him before getting in the car…
Fast forward to Sunday afternoon…
I talked on the phone with Coach Kelly. She really wanted me to test my fitness since I was trained, tapered, and super jazzed to test my endurance. I immediately got excited about the idea of doing a solo 70.3 race! Coach Kelly encouraged me to come up with a name for my event and reminded me to mentally prepare to crush it! She may have also told me not to get a drafting penalty on a solo race! 😉 I came up with the name “Flatlander 70.3” for my event since our terrain in central Iowa is pretty flat compared to most locations and MUCH flatter than the IMWI 70.3 course!!
Fast forward to Tuesday morning…race day!!
Swim: The Good…
I felt the normal “pre-race butterflies” as I ate my breakfast and drank my Karma Kombucha. I set up my run transition in the garage, and headed to the pool where I would begin my Flatlander 70.3 adventure! I set up my bike and transition area inside the gate of the aquatic center, started my RoadID app so people could track my progress, and hopped in the pool at about 6:05 am for 2000 meters (just over the 1.2 mile distance). I felt like I was working hard and swimming at a good clip, but I was burping A LOT!! I never have this problem, so I wasn’t really sure what was going on. My swim ended up not being as fast as I thought or hoped for…41:48 for 2000 meters (1:55/100 yard swim time) + 1st overall 🙂
Bike: The Bad…
I quickly jumped out of the pool, jogged to my transition area (and was asked by the lifeguard not to run in the pool area…LOL…don’t they know I’m racing?!?!), and transitioned to my bike gear. As I exited the pool area, I quickly dropped my swim skin + swim goggles + swim cap in the car before heading out on the bike. It ended up being a bit foggy, which was a good indicator of the humidity levels, but I could still see at least a mile out in front of me, so I wasn’t worried about vehicles being able to see me. As I pulled up to the first stoplight leaving town, I realized that auto pause was set to “stop mode” on my Garmin. As the light changed green and I rolled ahead, I tried to change this while riding, but accidentally pushed the “lap” button putting my data in T2 instead of on the bike. I kept rolling, but stopped the triathlon mode and just set my Garmin to the bike mode and stopped messing with it. I was still burping a bit, so I drank water and pushed on. As I left town and went west, the sun came out, but when I turned around and went back east, the fog was still hanging on. It was weird. About 30 minutes into my ride, I took my first round of nutrition (Salty Balls) and nearly puked. My stomach didn’t want them, but I had no other nutrition with me, so I forced them down (gagging the whole time), drank a lot of water, and kept moving forward. Each time I tried to consume nutrition, I thought I was going to puke…my stomach was not happy, but I knew I needed nutrition to have any chance of finishing the day, so I kept forcing it down little by little every 30 minutes and drinking all the fluids I had. With about 1 hour ride time left, I knew I had to stop at the gas station and refill my water bottles since I was completely out of water. I could feel the temperature + humidity rising and there was no breeze! About 5 miles from home, I had to stop for a train…I think the race director for the Flatlander 70.3 forgot to inform Union Pacific Railroads that there was a race going on…LOL!! 😉 As I was rolling back into town the fog lifted and the sun beat down just in time for me to transition to the run. My bike was not as fast as I’d hoped (and my watts were lower than I’d wanted + expected them to be)…3:18:43 for 57.1 miles (17.2 mph average speed) + 1st overall 🙂
Run: The Ugly…
I quickly put my bike in the garage and transitioned to the run. Basil was barking at me from inside the house…clearly VERY upset that I wasn’t taking her running with me! Within the first few steps of the run, I knew this was going to be a long run. My calves were on the verge of cramping. I knew this meant I needed to drink a LOT more water, so I started downing my handheld water bottle. By mile 2, I was run/walking…the cramping was awful, I was HOT, there wasn’t even a breeze from the fart of a nearby animal, the humidity was 70* (which was on the border between “uncomfortable and tropical” according to our local meteorologist, which I found out when I was done), and there was no one there to encourage me to keep going. I SERIOUSLY considered quitting! I decided to keep run/walking + drinking all the water I had to Moore Park where I would refill my water bottle and then head back home calling it a day. I had made the decision to quit. By mile 3, I was so sweaty that I had sweat squishing out of my shoes with every step I took. At about mile 4, a Spring Green Lawn Care employee saw me hobbling by with my Ironman Wisconsin 70.3 race bib on (I figured I had it from Sunday’s race that I didn’t do and I was racing, so I should wear it). He asked, “Did you race on Sunday?” I told him I opted not to start the race due to the weather, which is why I was doing the distance today instead. He said, “That was a wise decision. That race was one of the stupidest things I’ve done. I couldn’t see the swim buoys because of the chop on the water, the transition was a muddy mess and then when I got to the bike, people were crashing all around me. I just held on during the run trying to get to the finish line.” I said, “Congratulations on finishing!” and ran on. He gave me the motivation to finish the whole 13.1 miles even if it was going to continue to be a run/walk due to the cramping and feeling defeated (as I knew my sub 6 hour goal was gone). I consumed some fruit snacks (which I always use while running for nutrition), but my stomach was still off and I was gagging on them. I forced them down and washed them down with water. I refilled my water bottle at Moore Park, drank the whole thing, then filled it again before going on. I drank the whole bottle again before mile 7. I took in more fruit snacks, refilled my water bottle at a different park, and forged on. I made it home at about mile 10.5, where I consumed more fruit snacks and refilled my water bottle again (using the outside spigot…I knew if I went inside where there was air conditioning + puppy snuggles I’d be done) before heading back to the pool where I’d left the car. It was a struggle and I was very disappointed that I wasn’t going to meet my sub 6 hour goal. At mile 12, I was jogging and sobbing uncontrollably because I was so disappointed in myself. I decided to change the channel and set a new goal for the last 1.1 miles. I had just over 12 minutes to finish the 13.1 miles in under 2 hours and 30 minutes run/walk time (my actual run time was 2:52 something with stopping at the drinking fountains all over town). When I hit the 13.1 miles, I immediately started crying…I was done. I was so happy to be done, but also very disappointed in my performance. I was upset that my stomach wasn’t cooperative. I was crushed. My run time was MUCH slower than I’d hoped for (and much slower than I know I’m capable of)…2:29:45 for 13.1 miles of run/walk (11:26/mile pace) + 1st overall 🙂
Overall I finished in about 7 hours and 10 minutes of total time + 1st overall. Sure, I did what I could and I finished, but no where near how I had hoped. This was THE TOUGHEST RACE I’ve ever done!
After taking some time to think about my race, I have so many take aways and lessons learned!
When my stomach is off (even just burping in the water) take Tums! I had them with me, but didn’t consume any. Don’t know what I was thinking…oh wait…I clearly wasn’t thinking!!
Because of my stomach issues, it is time to start practicing other nutrition options. This isn’t the first time the salty balls have caused some GI distress for me during a race, so I need to start practicing other options.
I am a VERY heavy sweater (not the kind you wear in the dead of winter either)!! My body requires a LOT more salt + water as a result. Don’t skimp on the water/hydration consumption…especially when it is so humid! Drink it all up + take my Base Salt!
Self supported races require a lot of planning to try and get all of the hydration/water you need on your own.
Having no volunteers, spectators, cheer squads, and other athletes on the course is SO HARD!! I’ve had some races in worse racing conditions that I THOUGHT were miserable, but they weren’t compared to this! Having friends, family, and random strangers around you, supporting you, pushing you, encouraging you, and cheering for you makes tough conditions much more bearable!!
My mind is so much stronger than I think it is. I have to believe in myself even more than I already do! I have come a long way in this department over the last 15 years of racing, but I still have a long way to go! I am strong! As a friend said, “NOW you know what you’re made of…pretty amazing ain’t ya!”
My body allowed me to keep pushing it even when my stomach was upset, my legs were cramping, and my mind wanted to quit. Sure I was cramping a bit on the run, but I KNOW I used that as an excuse far more than I should have during this race. I definitely could have run more than I did + I should’ve and could’ve pushed harder than I did in every discipline throughout this race.
I am beyond blessed to have a village full of amazing people who were behind me in this crazy adventure!! Thank you to Coach Kelly for believing in me + pushing me out of my comfort zone to have me complete a solo 70.3!! Thank you to Coeur Sports for making super comfortable apparel even when I saturate it in sweat and for connecting me with such an amazing + supportive team of women!! Thank you to SBR Sports Inc. for keeping me chafe-free (even in all of that sweat) with the use of Skin Slick…or should I say skin saver!! Thank you to my cheer squad for encouraging me to keep going and finish this crazy feat…my fave, Ruth, Robin, Liz, Beth, Sara…your social media posts brought a smile to my face when I was done!! Thank you to Nick at Vitality Massage for working out all of the mess RIGHT after I was done racing!! Thank you to my FAVE!! You are my rock…your unwavering support and encouragement help me achieve the impossible!! I’m so grateful to have you by my side!!
Last week was RACE WEEEEEEEKKK…well, kind of!!! Ironman Wisconsin 70.3 was today!! My goal was #sub6orbust and you can read more about how I planned to achieve this goal here. Due to the weather, delays, and my safety, I made the decision to pull out of the race before it started (see the picture below of my fave and the crazy weather we had). Coach Kelly is having me do a solo 70.3 “race” on Tuesday and I’m really excited to do so! The #sub6orbust is still alive, but will hopefully be put to rest (unofficially) soon!! This will be a different kind of 70.3, but since I’m trained, tapered and mentally ready, I am going to give it my ALL and am going to crush the 6 hour time barrier!!