In October, I contacted Michelle about participating in the #batcapchallenge that she offers athletes. She decided that 30K yards of swimming in 7 days would be the perfect way to make my “eyes open wide.” I asked Coach Kelly if she thought this was an appropriate challenge for me (I wanted to remain injury free). I wanted her blessing + guidance on how to structure these 7 days before fully committing to it. Coach Kelly was on board, so I let Michelle know that we (the Iron Hippie decided to complete this challenge as well) would be completing this challenge on Tuesday, December 26 – Monday, January 1. What a way to close out 2017 and bring in the new year?!?!
To put this in perspective, I swam a total of 31,400 yards for the ENTIRE month of November. To say my eyes were open wide was an understatement. This challenge had me excited, nervous, eager, intimidated, anxious, and so much more!
Here is how Coach Kelly structured these 7 days:
Day 1: 5200 yards at the Bedell Family YMCA
I started the week off with a bang! This was a great swim for me since I felt fresh, charged, and ready to knock this swim challenge out of the park!
Day 2: 3200 yards at the Bedell Family YMCA
After yesterday’s long swim, I was expecting to feel a bit more fatigued than I actually felt, so I was very grateful for another strong swim day!
Day 3: 3300 yards at Ames Racquet and Fitness Center
I felt a bit more fatigued during this workout, but I was determined and focused. The fatigue was definitely something I could push through and finish strong.
Day 4: Double swim day! 2500 yards in the AM and 3500 yards in the PM at Ames Racquet and Fitness Center
This was my FIRST ever double swim day! The morning swim was short (in comparison to what I’ve been swimming lately) and full of recovery type of swimming. It was relatively easy, but my body was tired and I could tell.
The evening swim was to be more pace focused. I started out using my tempo trainer and tried so hard to stay with the beep, but my body just wouldn’t listen to my mind. That fatigue I was feeling earlier in the day was still lingering. After losing to my body’s fatigue (and not staying with the beep of the tempo trainer), I decided to put the tempo trainer on the pool deck and just swim to cover the yardage. Michelle did say that it is pretty common to feel the most fatigue on days 3 & 4. Yep…I was definitely feeling fatigue today!
Day 5: 5300 yards at the Ames Municipal Pool
After feeling really tired yesterday, I didn’t know what to expect of my body. Thankfully my body showed up to give some effort today! I managed to swim a 1:51/100 yard pace for a 500 yard effort. I was pretty happy with this since my body was so exhausted! My body is starting to “come through” the fatigue and feeling better and stronger. I can’t wait to see what it does for me in the next 2 swims and how this translates to future swimming!
Day 6: 3500 yards at Ames Racquet and Fitness Center
This swim had some good kick sets in it, which obviously take longer than simply swimming, but it was nice to have this break. The little swimming I did have went well! I was able to stay on the beep of my tempo trainer and felt strong…fatigued, but strong! Feeling grateful my body has allowed me to push it on this journey, but this triathlete is ready to be less of a swimmer and a more well rounded triathlete again!
Day 7: 3300 yards at the Boone YMCA
The final swim of the #batcapchallenge was rewarding! I swam one of my 100s at a 1:32/100 yard pace, which is a new swim PR for me! With all of the hours and swim mileage I’ve put in over the last 7 days, I still managed to have some speed in my swim on the last day of the challenge! Boom!
30,000 yards (17.045 miles) in 7 days!
11 hours & 35 minutes of swimming
8 swims in 7 days!
4 pools visited
This week of swimming was FULL of #swimlove + #chlorinetherapy! It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time! It challenged me both mentally and physically. It pushed my limits. I surprised myself on so many levels with this challenge! It was all for the bat cap + some lessons learned:
- All the swimming helped me find my swim stroke and become stronger + more efficient + faster in the water.
- All the swimming is exhausting and allowed me sleep REALLY WELL (I even got a couple of naps in)!
- I can do anything I put my mind to…even swimming 17+ miles in 7 days.
- The final push is worth the sweet reward of success!
- Accomplishing new goals + PRs is exhilarating!
- Achievement is sweet when it is earned, not given!
- Stepping outside of your comfort zone is where all of the magic happens! #courageovercomfort is where it is at!
- I love triathlon! The balance of swimming, cycling, and running is so much better than simply swimming! 😉 Triathlon lights my fire!
- I can do hard things!
- I am grateful my body is healthy and allows me to do what I love + enjoy!
Thank you Michelle for creating the #batcapchallenge and setting a distance that pushed my limits, but was achievable! Thank you Coach Kelly for keeping me #trackcatstrong + believing in me + structuring my week in such a way that I was able to achieve what seemed a daunting feat at the start! Thank you to SBR Sports, Inc. for making amazing swim products to wash away the chlorine + keep me itch free all week! Thank you to Coeur Sports for the most comfortable + super cute swimsuits!
I love looking back and thinking about all of the amazing things that I’ve accomplished and all of the challenges I’ve overcome! I’ve reflected for the last 4 years and want to keep this trend going! You can look back at my previous posts if you’d like: Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, the Best of 2015, and the Best of 2016. Now its time to reminisce my faves from 2017! 🙂
Best race experience?
Ironman Mont Tremblant! This was by far one of the best experiences of the year! I was blessed with a near perfect day + a PR on the day. I was so incredibly lucky to combine my race experience with an extended vacation with family + friends, which made for a really fun time!
I have been waiting to have a good run during an Ironman race for 6 years and this year, it finally happened at Ironman Mont Tremblant! I FINALLY pulled off a sub 5 hour marathon (and I know it could have been even faster without some visits to the kybo). I felt good, I felt strong, I was happy, I smiled the whole run, I really enjoyed myself, I spread coeur with others, and gave “hi-fives” to those who looked like they could use one. This run was a HUGE confidence builder for future races!
Sometimes the best rides aren’t the ones where we have the most fun, but where we learn the most. Yes, I had some seriously fun rides this summer…some solo rides, some with the Iron Hippie, some at the Track Cat Fitness Training Camp, and some on the Ironman Lake Placid + Ironman Mont Tremblant bike courses. For me, the ride that stands out the most this year is the one I learned the most from…my first solo century ride. It was a VERY tough day for me! Physically the wind BEAT. ME. UP! Mentally, I had to overcome a case of the “I can’t do this,” a case of the “I’m not strong enough,” a case of the “I’m not fast enough,” and a case of the “I’m not fueled enough” to finish. In this process, I learned so much about who I am and what I can do when staring adversity in the face!
Swimming in Mirror Lake was probably one of the best experiences of the summer! It was so much fun to swim with an underwater guide wire! All lakes should be closed to motorized vehicles and have have an underwater guide wire available for swimmers!
Best training weekend?
The Track Cat Fitness Training Camp in Stowe, Vermont at the end of July was CHALLENGING + SO. MUCH. FUN! I climbed Smuggler’s Notch. I climbed App Gap. I ran trails. I swam. In addition to all of the fun, there was community, riding, running, swimming, eating, learning, and growing as an athlete.
Best training compass?
Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness has provided me with structure, focus, guidance, feedback, support, accountability, motivation + so much more! She has paved the yellow brick road for me this year and I am forever grateful! Standing beside me, believing in me, educating me, and helping me to become a better, #trackcatstrong athlete every day!
Best enCOEURaging moment?
Thanks to the support of Coeur Sports, Ignite Yoga, and Team Chiropractic for helping me provide a recovery clinic for women! The community! The learning! The practice! The enCOEURaging! The supporting! The love!
Best recovery secret?
Wearing my CEP recovery tights as part of my work attire after a tough morning workout. Hello style + recovery! The best of both worlds!
Best tapering adventure?
Having my sister, brother-in-law, and 3 nieces vacation with us in Mont Tremblant for a few days was so much fun! We don’t get to see each other nearly enough (since they live in California and we live in Iowa), so this was a special treat!
Best new piece of gear?
This was SUPER easy! We had some REALLY HOT + HUMID summer days this year, which forced me out of my comfort zone as I became a part of the #sportsbrasquad! I absolutely love the Coeur Sports sports bras! Not only are they super cute, functional, and comfortable, but they also have a hidden pocket that is perfect for carrying keys, nutrition, or ice!
Best way to stay healthy?
This was also SUPER easy…Sound Probiotics has been keeping me healthy since March 2015! As endurance athletes, we put ourselves at risk for a dysfunctional immune system because of the intensity and duration of our workouts. When stress (life, work, or otherwise), inadequate sleep, poor diet choices, cold weather, alcohol or travel are thrown into the mix, our immune system is even further suppressed. How has Sound Probiotics helped me? Sound Probiotics helps in nutrient production and absorption, helps fend off viruses, promotes the production of cytokines and mucin, and limits bad bacteria in the gut. I have experienced less fatigue and fewer sick days, which as a middle school teacher who is an endurance athlete speaks volumes! This has provided me with the opportunity for more training and better performance. I would highly recommend all endurance athletes use Sound Probiotics to stay healthy!!
Best piece of racing advice you received?
Hello race morning! Time to drink my Karma Kombucha, eat my muesli, and get inspired to do and be my best as I embark on the race ahead:
“Be calm; focus on what you are going to do. Don’t get distracted, don’t get overwhelmed, take it all as it comes. You are ready for this; you’ve prepared for years. This is it, your time to shine. Go forth with all your powers. Go forth with everything in you. Make it work.” ~Lynne Cox, “Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer”
Most inspirational athlete?
There are so many that I can’t pick just one! 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 people who fight disease and keep training + racing. By people who challenge themselves and try something new. By people I haven’t met yet and people I see everyday! There are far to many people who inspire me to pick just one!
Best support crew?
Hands down…Dad and my Aunt Linda! These two helped us load our car with ALL. THE. GEAR. from our 4 week vacation the day before our race. They were up EARLY on race morning to help us get to transition. They were patient with the process of all of the race morning shenanigans. They were in all of the right places at all of the right times during the race. They helped us get our gear after the race. They cheered, photographed, and spread love to us and 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 both so much!
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Courage over comfort, believe, fun!!
Tell me about your 2017 year!! What are your “bests” from 2017?!
November was full of ups and downs, but I’m choosing to remember the positives, so here they are!
I finally had a successful month of training…I met my November challenge! 10 minutes of core strength every day for the entire month + an entire month of seeing green in Training Peaks! Bonus…NO eating out + NO alcohol for the month of November = Boo-yay!
Swim: 31,400 yards (17.84 miles)
Bike: 188 miles
Run: 75.9 miles
The Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon…I ran with Tim and Robin. So much fun to run strong and with friends on a course that could definitely result in a PR some day when I’m not coming off of Ironman season!
Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow is an interview with Susan Lacke about her book, which is a tribute to the friendship she had with Carlos. He was not only her mentor, but also her colleague, role model, friend, and a continuous fighter. “Even when you’re scared, you do the thing. You show up, face your fears, and you keep going.”
Dr. Grace Liu: How to Build a Warrior Gut, Common and Solvable Gut Issues in Athletes, and More is an interview full of loads of valuable information! I’m so happy to hear amazing things about Sound Probiotics from Dr. Grace Liu in this interview! I am a HUGE proponent of Sound Probiotics! As a middle school teacher + endurance athlete, I am constantly exposed to germs and my body is under varying forms of stress. Taking Sound Probiotics daily for over 2 years now has drastically decreased the illnesses I’ve had! I feel better + stronger + more energetic with Sound Probiotics in my corner! #soundathlete
Time to Start Planning Your 2018 Season with Lost in Transition is a great podcast reminding you to reflect on 2017 to better plan for 2018! It is important to have a healthy mix of outcome + process goals when planning for future seasons. When planning your season, you should consider the course terrain, travel, cost, community, time of year, etc.
We are so lucky to have a golf course nearby that closes for the winter. Basil thinks it is her own personal playground!
Looking forward to:
Winter break! The countdown is on! We are inside 20 days until we get a much needed break + time with family! I will also be completing an BSC swim challenge the last week in December, which I am super excited + nervous about! If nerves weren’t involved, it wouldn’t be a challenge right?!
Racing with #heartandcourage + these empowering and inspirational Coeur Sports sisters again in 2018!
How was your month of November?! What are you excited for?!
If I had to sum up my 2017 season in one word, it would be FANTABULOUS! Sure it was full of ups and downs, but overall, it was SO. MUCH. FUN! Here are some of the ups and downs of my 2017 season:
Thanks to Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness for helping me become #trackcatstrong this year both mentally and physically! I’m super excited to see what is in store for us in 2018!
October has come and gone and I’m so ready for November! Here’s a snapshot of what I’ve been up to:
My training this month was a bit hit or miss. I did get some good training sessions in and am very grateful to Coach Hansen for taking some time to help me work on my swim stroke.
Swim: 3.98 miles
Bike: 79.9 miles
Run: 61.4 miles
I’m not sugar coating things…this school year has been tough. This has been the most stressful year of teaching I’ve had in my 14 years. I’m grateful that the first quarter is behind us! Only 3 more to go!
We went home and saw family at the beginning of October. It was so nice to get to spend time with family, get snuggles, and get some lake lovin’!
Just not now…really struck home with me! I have had a lot of the “just not now” moments this month and am reminding myself that these moments won’t last. Thankfully!
Lauren Parker Update: Resilience Personified…Wow, just wow! Lauren was in a bicycle accident just weeks before she was to race Ironman Australia, which caused her to break her back, leaving her with a 1% chance of ever walking again. She is full of determination, drive, and commitment!
Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe by Becky Wade…Becky was the recipient of the Watson Fellowship in 2012. After a successful college running career, she packed four pairs of running shoes and took off on a one year journey to learn from diverse running communities around the world.
IronWomen Podcasts…I have listened to so many of these amazing + inspirational podcasts lately that I can’t pick just one! You should do as I have and listen to them all!
Find Your Awesome Podcasts…I have listened to most of these and am very grateful to Kelsey for the inspiration + awesomeness!
What to do after triathlon season ends by Lost in Transition…I love that they refer to the “off season” as the “out season.” Just because we aren’t racing, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be training. The “out season” refers to being out of the racing season, but still training. Lana talks about things we can do in the out season to prepare us for the coming season.
Some winter challenges + the 2018 season! I’m SO excited for a few challenges I have in November, a swim challenge I am going to do in December and my race plan in 2018!
How was your month of October?! What are you looking forward to?!