Last week was a HARD week…I reached to complete fatigue! Lots of training, lots of emotions, lots of food, lots of exhaustion, lots of naps, lots of laundry, lots of balance…lots of imperfection, lots of lessons learned! Thanks to Coach Kelly for helping me get #trackcatstrong and pulling me out of the “quicksand” right before I sink.
Swim: 13,345 yards
Bike: 133 miles
Run: 36.4 miles
Strength Training: 10 minutes of core strength daily
Weekly Totals: 20 hours & 22 minutes
Quote of the Week:
“There is no perfect time. No perfect opportunity. No perfect situation. No perfect moment. You either make it happen, or you don’t.” ~Melissa Stockwell
I honestly can’t believe how quickly the summer is flying by! How is it possible that we are down to 7 weeks from race day and leave for our long summer vacation in just 3 weeks?!?! Here is a snapshot of last week:
Swim: 5455 yards
Bike: 101 miles
Run: 30.8 miles
Strength Training: 45 minutes + 10 minutes of core daily
Weekly Totals: 14 hours & 58 minutes
Quote of the Week:
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” ~my mama
With some storms last week, I had to juggle a few things around to get my training in…especially for swimming since it is an outdoor pool that closes with thunder and lightening in the area. If it is important to you, you’ll find a way to make it happen and last week I made it happen!
Swim: 7703 yards
I had to swim short course later in the day a couple of times last week because of morning storms, but was blessed to get to swim long course on Friday morning! Friday morning’s swim was a true testament to how much stronger + faster I am getting in the water! Thank you to Coach Kelly for helping me make these HUGE improvements in the water this year! #trackcatstrong
Bike: 136 miles
First century ride of 2017 is in the books and I set a new PR for 100 miles! Thank you Coach Kelly for helping me to become #trackcatstrong on the bike this year also! 🙂
Run: 25.3 miles
My longest run of 2017 is also in the books…16 miles! It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty, but I did it and am stronger for it!
Strength Training: 45 minute + 10 minutes of core daily
Weekly Totals: 16 hours & 59 minutes
Quote of the Week:
“If it is important to you, you will find a way.” ~Ryan Blair
Hmmm…I have so many thoughts about this race, but I should probably start at the beginning. Be prepared for a LONG report about the sh*t show…errrr…adversity adventure that was the Liberty Triathlon “70.3” race! Grab your favorite beverage and dessert to enjoy while you get a feel for my experience.
When the Iron Hippie and I decided to sign up for the Liberty Triathlon 70.3 race, we were waffling back and forth between the Liberty Triathlon 70.3 and Ironman Wisconsin 70.3. We raced Ironman Wisconsin 70.3 last year (when it was non-branded) and knew it was a GREAT race, but had heard good things about Liberty Triathlon as well. We opted for the cheaper race…Liberty Triathlon 70.3 (remember this for later…you get what you pay for).
We finally received an email from the race director Thursday (our race was Saturday). This was rather late correspondence in my opinion, but at least I knew I was actually registered!
“Liberty Triathlon – It’s getting hot in here!
Race day is coming up and it’s looking to be a hot one! Due to the expected temp on Saturday, we are allowing participants to transfer from the Long course to the Olympic course free of charge. Please email us at info@finalstretch to transfer your distance.
We will also have ice water and towels at the waters stops for participants to cool off.”
I had no intentions of transferring to the Olympic distance event, so I ignored it, packed my bags and was ready to leave Friday morning. I checked my email Friday morning before packing up All. The. Gear. for two athletes into the vehicle. We had an updated message from the race director:
Liberty Triathlon – Note from the Race Director
Changes due to Weather for Liberty Triathlon
Do to the 103 plus extreme heat index for Saturday there is going to be changes to the timetable for the Long Course participants. This change is not only for the athletes but all the volunteers that will be out on the course helping direct runners and manning the water stops.
Olympic will stay the same.
1. Swim will be the same
2. Bike will be the same
3. You must be in from the bike no later than 12:30 pm to continue on the run
4. If you get in from the bike from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, you will be required to run the 6.2 mile (10K) run course. This is so that all runners are in from the run by no later than 2:00 pm when the heat index gets very high.
Thank you everyone for your understanding with this difficult weather situation.
What?! NOOOO!! With wave starts, this did not offer an equal opportunity for ALL athletes! Since my swim wave was not scheduled to go off until 7:45 am, I would have to finish the 1.2 mile swim + 56 mile bike in 3:45…doable, but with the extreme heat we should be conserving energy to avoid dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. I immediately emailed the race director and asked them to consider starting the race earlier (even 7 am would give us an additional 30 minutes) to allow more time for all athletes to have a fair shake at meeting this 11:30 am cut off. Here was their response:
“We’ve considered it. Due to other factors including permits, set up, police, volunteers, medical staff, and out of town athletes, we are not able to start the race any earlier.”
In actuality, they could have applied for an emergency change in the permits, but they didn’t want to mess with it. I get it (not really)…so I emailed them again and asked them if they would consider combining swim waves since they were encouraging people to switch from the long course to the Olympic course. Nope…not happening:
“We will not be combining swim waves. If enough people switch to the Olympic course, we will shorten the time between waves from 3 minutes to 2 or 2.5 minutes between waves to get people in the water sooner.”
Ok, so they are not willing to make accommodations for athletes to make this a fair experience for ALL athletes. Now the question is do I stick to my race plan knowing I will likely miss this time cut-off, or do I put the hammer down and try to make the time cut-off?! I decided to wait to talk to Coach Kelly about this until after I had checked in at packet pick-up to make sure there weren’t any more changes being made (good thing I waited…more changes to come).
The 3+ hour commute to the race site was uneventful. After checking out the lake and checking into our hotel, it was time to go to packet pick-up (which was at our hotel). While waiting in line, the first lady said there was another change to the 11:30 time cut-off. We now had to finish the 1.2 mile swim, the 56 mile bike, and get to 3.1 miles on the run by 11:30 in order to be able to continue for the full 13.1 miles. I IMMEDIATELY spoke up! “This is not what the email said and they have NOT communicated this with the athletes in any email. This is not acceptable!” The lady at the 2nd table knew many of the athletes in the line were frustrated. She called the race director for clarification and relayed his new decision to us:
We actually had until 3.1 miles on the run to catch the sag bike that would leave transition with the last cyclist to arrive into T2 at 11:30. If you are a strong runner, this will give you an opportunity to continue even if you get into T2 after the 11:30 time. This also meant if you were not a strong runner, you may get passed by the sag bike even if you made the 11:30 time cut into T2…HELLO SH*T SHOW!!!
Grrr…now it is time to call Coach Kelly! After eating Mexican food at El Azteca in Plymouth, MN, I relayed all of this information to Coach Kelly and said, “What do I do? Do I put the hammer down and try to make the time cut-off, or do I stick to my race plan?” Coach was LIVID with the decisions the race director had made. This was not only unfair to all athletes, it encouraged athletes to push harder and risk dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke on a day when we should be conserving a bit more than normal. Since this was not my “A” race for 2017, I was told to stick to the race plan and if I didn’t make the 11:30 time cut-off or catch the bike, it would still be a good training day…hello 97F heat index and 20-25 mph sustained winds with gusts up to 35 mph from the SSW.
Ok…I have a plan and know what I need to do.
I received the BEST email from my Coeur Sports tribe:
I told you this would be a long post, but I’m finally to race day! 🙂
The alarm went off at 3:45 am. After eating my typical pre-race breakfast (muesli + peanut butter + Pure Clean Beet Powder and Karma Kombucha), donning my beautiful Coeur Sports race kit, and loading the car with all the gear, it was time to travel the 30 minutes to Lake Rebecca.
The sh*t show continued when we got to the race site…we could set up our transition area where ever we wanted, no one was making announcements, (What was the water temperature? Was the water wetsuit legal?), and no one seemed to know where body marking was. There was no one working the entrances to the transition area, so anyone could enter (including spectators). I’ve experienced this at smaller local races, but NEVER at a 70.3 event!
After setting up our transition area and relaxing at the car for a bit, it was time to put on the wetsuit (I had found the one and only USAT referee earlier who said the water was wetsuit legal) and head to the lake for a short pre-race swim and the pre-race informational meeting on the shore at 7:15 am. Thankfully I saw my Coeur sister, Megan, before the race and she gave me a quick hug. This is just what I needed to calm the climbing nerves. We were reminded of the changes to the time cut-offs, told there would be ice, wet rags, water, and heed at every aid station on the run. We were also informed that there would be 2 minutes between wave starts instead of the original 3 minutes. After the National Anthem, it was time to line up on the beach for the race start. One more quick hug on the beach from Megan and we were ready for the swim!
Swim: 51:10 for 1.2 miles at 2:26/100 yard pace
The first wave (Elites/Athenas/Clydesdales) was supposed to start at 7:30 am, but it was delayed because of other athletes swimming back to shore from their warm-up. So…my swim wave (women 40+) started at 7:42 am (3 minutes before the originally scheduled time). With the winds already at 20 mph, the lake was very choppy, and we were swimming straight into the chop on the way to the turn around buoys. It was rough! Hello first open water swim of the year…yep…on race day! I started out trying to swim with bilateral breathing, but that was short lived. I couldn’t get in a rhythm that allowed me to breathe and not consume 1/2 of the lake water because of the waves crashing back into my face. Like all of the other swimmers, I fought my way to the turn around buoys, and then got a free ride on the waves back to transition. Throughout the entire swim, I just kept telling myself to enjoy the adversity adventure that was just beginning! Learn from it, grow from it, and keep moving forward! This was officially my slowest swim time on a 1.2 mile distance EVER!
After quickly making my way to my bike, getting a random stranger out of the way of my bike (he was just hanging out in the transition right in front of my transition area…not sure what he was doing in there), stripping out of my wetsuit, throwing on my helmet, socks, and bike shoes, I was out of the transition area and on the bike!
Bike: 3:16:09 for 56 miles at 17.1 mph average speed
The first 10-12 miles were straight SSW into the headwind that had picked up since the swim start. The winds were now closer to 22-25 mph sustained winds, with gusts up to 35 mph and boy could we feel it! Let the adversity adventure continue! Mojo and I just buckled down, found our groove, and sang our way to the turn. Once we turned, the cross wind was SO strong that I got blown off the road twice! I screamed out loud that I wish I weighed about 100 pounds more so I would stay on the road (but later found out from the Iron Hippie that the extra weight didn’t help him either…). Only a few short miles to the turn and a tailwind! Hello 25+ mph speeds climbing up a hill in my most challenging gear…you are a VERY welcome sight! Unfortunately we had to do the loop again, so back into the headwind we went! Let the singing commence…
“I feel good”
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
“Full throttle, wide open, you get tired and you don’t show it, dig a little deeper when you think you can’t dig no more, that’s the only way I know”
“Vanilla ice ice baby”…I was dreaming of ice and cold temperatures at this point as the outdoor temps were really climbing
“I saw the sign”…HELLO HWY 10 sign + tailwind all the way back to transition! What a welcome sign!
I also may have startled other athletes by screaming “Wahoo! St. Bonifacius you are a welcome sight! No more headwind!” Hee!! Hee!! Let the adversity adventure continue!
After cruising into transition and learning that I was between 1 and 2 miles behind the sag bike (it was after 11:50 am), I decided to leave my hydration bottle in transition and run hard for the 10K that I was going to be forced to run.
Run: 1:01:17 for a 10K at an average pace of 9:53/mile
As I exited transition, I ran into my Coeur sister Megan! She stopped at the loo, and I continued on my way! I was pushing a bit harder than I should have been. My heart rate was high…too high! I periodically walked to get my HR back to a respectable beat. I took in Base Salt and water at every aid station, but there was NO ice or rags at any of the aid stations on the run like the race director said there would be. Let the adversity adventure continue! Then at mile 2, I caught the sag bike. What?! How did I catch him? I decided to walk for a minute and ask the athlete how I had caught up with him. In briefly chatting with him, I learned that he had decided to walk the entire first 5K to give as many of the women an opportunity to make the decision to run the 1/2 marathon if they wanted to since our swim waves started so late. I thanked him for allowing me to make this decision and ran on. Shortly after this, I saw the Iron Hippie heading back and quickly learned he was only doing the 10K by choice. As I ran to the 5K mark, I did some thinking and data analysis…could I run the full 1/2 marathon? Yes, but I had no hydration with me (I left it in transition remember?!), there was no ice or rags at the aid stations, it was HOT and only getting hotter, and this was not my “A” race. Coach Kelly told me to not end up dehydrated, with heat stroke, with heat exhaustion, or hyponatremic…it would prolong my recovery. Based on all of the data I had in my arsenal, I opted to turn around and only do the 10K run. As I crossed the finish line, I was happy with my decision to turn around, but was immediately disappointed because there was no water at the finish line for the athletes. SERIOUSLY?! What an adversity adventure…or is it a sh*t show?!
Overall: 5:12:43 for 63.4 miles
I set a PR on a new distance (since I didn’t do the official 70.3)…63.4 miles. I got to meet some amazing new athletes and ladies decked out in Coeur tri kits. I overcame a lot of adversity that was mostly out of my control. I learned that you get what you pay for! I’m disappointed that the race director did not make the time cut-offs equal for all participants and I’m very disappointed in the lack of care for the athletes at this race. Many athletes were in the med tent at the end of the race…likely because they pushed too hard in the heat and wind to make time cut-offs, but not having ice and rags/sponges at the aid stations on the run definitely didn’t help. I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed. The timing company was separate from the racing company. They were very angry with how things were handled as well. All athletes who ran the 10K were disqualified…whether they were forced to only run the 10K (because of the rule the race director implemented) or because they chose to. I ended up spending about 30 minutes helping the timing company figure out who had actually run the full 1/2 marathon in all of the age groups before the award ceremony, because the man in charge of the timing was VERY frustrated! If someone were to pay for my entry into this race in the future, I would turn it down. I want to support smaller, local races, but not at the expense of the athletes and their safety!
Well, that’s a wrap! My adversity adventure or sh*t show…
Last week my focus was on building self-confidence. Confidence as an athlete is all about believing in your abilities to achieve your athletic goals. With Coach Kelly’s help, last week I focused on more self-confidence…more believing in my abilities…more believing in me! The week started a bit rocky as I was lacking motivation and I’m not sure why, but it sure turned around quickly! I had many workouts in each discipline that boosted my self-confidence throughout the week!
Swim: 9100 yards
I finally started to see some swim pacing consistency last week! I’ve struggled with pacing in the water probably since I was a baby. I always start off too fast and then end up slowing down and finding a pace that I can swim all day long. It is good to finally get some consistency with my pacing in the water! Pacing in the water is a great way to build my confidence for race day.
Bike: 66.4 miles
I saw HUGE gains last week on the bike! I don’t think I have EVER seen watts above 350 on the bike (even for 1 second), but last week I had multiple bike interval sessions that pushed me WAY out of my comfort zone and on Thursday, I was able to hold 412 watts for 15 seconds. Say what?!?! That’s unheard of!! I’ve had to overcome some mental challenges to get stronger physically, but it is totally worth it!! I’m incredibly proud of myself for digging deep during this bike block and pushing myself to new limits. I’m also incredibly grateful to Coach Kelly for challenging me…she saw potential in me that I hadn’t yet seen in myself and I’m forever grateful to her for helping me achieve this potential! I’m getting more #trackcatstrong + confident everyday!
Run: 17.5 miles
I was blessed to get to run with a friend twice last week! It is so nice to get to share my #runlove with others! I am also super excited to have built confidence on my run! Sunday I had a 10 mile run. The first 5 miles were at a pretty comfortable pace, but then I decided to pick up the pace and see what I had left in my legs (they were already completely EXHAUSTED from the week) to see what pace I could hold for the end of my run. Not only did I negative split the last 5 miles, but I also clocked some pretty speedy times (for me) this late in a run. My last 5 run splits = 9:28, 9:04, 8:56, 8:43, and 8:20. Say what?!?! I finished my 10 mile run on completely EXHAUSTED legs with an 8:20 min/mile pace…I’m still in shock!
I had some good strength training sessions this week that helped me identify muscle imbalances in my body…guess that means it is time to get to work to overcome these imbalances!
Weekly Totals: 13 hours & 1 minute
I got educated on everything NBS during a conference call on Monday night! I’m so grateful to Breakthrough Nutrition for keeping me hydrated and recovered this year! If you are looking to try a new sports hydration, give Breakthrough Nutrition a try and use code WELOVESNBS at check out for 10% off your order!
I received snail mail…the best snail mail!!
The 2017 Coeur Team was updated to their website! I’m so pumped to be part of this amazing team in 2017! This team of ladies has heart! If you see us at a race, come and get a hi-5 or a hug!
I had some quiet time…salt + bubble baths are the best!!
Snuggles with my baby girl! I’m so lucky to have the best fur babies!
Quote of the Week:
“The quickest way to acquire self-confidence is to do exactly what you are afraid to do.”
The month of March was SO much better than February!! I wasn’t sick or injured at all! Whoop! Whoop! Here’s a look at what I’ve been up to…
My training was SO much more productive and focused than February! And that makes me happy! I had a swim time trial…my CSS (critical swim speed) increased 3 seconds per 100 yards! Hello small gains in the water! I had a FTP challenge on the bike this month, where I had an increase of 10 watts over my last challenge! Hello HUGE gains on the bike! I also finished the year with a 10K road race, where I came SO close to breaking my PR from 2008! The best part…I wasn’t even rested for this race, so I can only imagine what I could have done on rested legs! HUGE hugs to Coach Kelly, with Track Cat Fitness, for challenging me on so many levels, pushing me WAY out of my comfort zone, and making me #trackcatstrong this year!
Swim Totals: 14.1 miles
Bike Totals: 234 miles
Run Totals: 54.2 miles
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is a very moving book. Louisa Clark is living a simple and comfortable life when she loses her job. She takes a much needed job working for Will Traynor who was in an accident and is now wheelchair bound. He is bossy, crabby, and used to being the center of the universe. Louisa’s life changes on so many levels throughout this amazing story.
How Bad Do You Want It: Motivation vs. Commitment by Carrie Cheadle gets you thinking about the differences between motivation and commitment. Do you have desire + drive to stay motivated? Are you so committed that you have determination + dedication? Do you feel like you HAVE to complete your workout or do you feel lucky that you GET to complete your workout? If you want more insight on how motivation + commitment can help you achieve your goals, this is a must read!
Do This Now: Mental Training Homework on Getting Unstuck by Carrie Cheadle is great if you are seeking change! Maybe you’re seeking change in your personal life. Maybe it is time to make a change professionally. Maybe you want change in your sport. What ever it is, now is the time to change! Now is the time to “Do Something Different!”
Conor Dwyer is an Olympic gold medalist who talks about how hard work in swimming has gotten him so much farther than someone with talent who doesn’t work hard. A hard worker definitely trumps someone who wastes their talent! So inspiring!
Turning 40! I’m super pumped about turning 40! I’ve heard this is one of the greatest decades of our lives and I’m excited to finally be here to experience it! I’m also super excited to be the youngest one in my age group as I race and push myself to new levels this year! 😉
Getting my Coeur Sports 2017 Team gear…This kit! This Team! I absolutely LOVE EVERYTHING Coeur Sports stands for! As a Coeur Sports ambassador, I am a beacon of the Coeur mission: to inspire + encourage other women, to welcome questions from women + other athletes of all abilities + backgrounds, to be a good sport…even if my race didn’t go as planned, have fun…even if in pain, during bad weather, or when my spirit unicorn doesn’t show up to guide my way, and to give a hi-5! If you see me or one of my sisters in one of these amazing kits this year, PLEASE come chat with us! We’d LOVE to give you a hi-5 (or even a hug), answer questions, and cheer you on! I’ll even share my spirit unicorn with you! Cheers to an amazing 2017 full of lots of #heartandcourage + chasing dreams!
My intention for 2017 is to become more fearless! So…how have I been doing with this? I feel like I was much more successful during January, but I’ve still made some progress on becoming more fearless in March. In my personal life, I have not had a drop of alcohol in 2017 = WIN! I am still working on facing those things that truly scare me, but this has required me to take baby steps because some of these things have a REALLY TIGHT hold on me. I am also really working on not letting others opinions of me bother me, but this is very challenging since it too has a TIGHT hold on me. How do you get those tight holds to let you go?!?! At work, we have started a new unit that I have never taught before thanks to our newly adopted standards. As a result, I am much less knowledgable than I am comfortable with. This has challenged me to be more #fearless at work, because I have had to openly admit that I often “don’t know” all of the answers. SCARY! I have made some BIG gains while training this month! This has caused me to have to stare fear in the face and stretch WAY out of my comfort zone! I also pushed myself HARD during my 10K road race…so hard that at about mile 4 self-doubt started to infiltrate my thoughts. How long can I keep pushing myself at this pace?! I’m feeling tired…what if the wheels fall off?! I can’t believe how hard this is…what if I work this hard and I don’t reach my goal?! I’m so proud of myself for changing the negative channel in my head and pushing myself hard all the way through the finish chute! While I’ve made some progress, I still have a LOT more progress to make, but don’t we all?! I’m a continuous work in progress!
How was your month of March? What were your March highlights? What are you excited for?