2016 Intentions Check In #3

Where has time gone?! It is hard to believe that 3/4 of 2016 is already behind us! It seems like just yesterday I was sitting down to write about my intentions for 2016! 2017 will be here before we know it!

  1. #Believe…I have made progress with this intention, but still have room for growth. I think this is one area I will ALWAYS have room for growth. When things get tough in training, work, or life, I have turned to #courageovercomfort to bring me focus, help me overcome obstacles, and remind me to believe in myself throughout 2016. #courageovercomfort has helped me many times to find focus and redirect my self confidence to where it should be…to a place where I #believe in myself and my abilities much more than I used to. “Bravery means believing in yourself when nobody else does.”                    img_6190
  2. Break down barriers…I am pleased as punch to have our ladies only bike rides so well attended this summer! We managed to have one ride each in June, July, and August. Thanks so much to Coeur Sports and Kyle’s Bikes for their support to help make this event successful!! Yay for encouraging more women in cycling, helping them gain confidence on their bike and on the roads, and helping them learn basic bike maintenance!! I am definitely looking forward to hosting many more ladies only rides in 2017!!                 IMG_3720        IMG_4134
  3. Be present…I continue to really struggle with this one! I have a VERY hard time focusing on the here and now. I often find myself thinking about the past or the future. I wish I could say my 30 days of meditation in July happened, but unfortunately they did not. I’m still hopeful to make this happen before 2016 is over and out. Yoga always seems to help me find presence, but I have not had much of this in my schedule in the last few months due to ramped up Ironman training. Now that I am in the offseason, I have time to reacquaint myself with “mat,” my boyfriend. Tomorrow we have a date and I can’t wait!
  4. Find Balance…I set out to find balance more with the emotions that I direct at myself than other parts of my life. Thanks in part to my Living Brave Semester with Brene Brown, I have been doing a much better job of focusing in on how I am feeling, why I am feeling a certain way, giving myself permission to be human, and how to forgive myself for being human and making mistakes. I am pleased that I’ve been able to keep these habits in play even though the class has concluded. Now, it is time to find balance between life, training, work, and fun in the offseason.

Did you set goals or intentions for yourself for 2016? If so, have you checked in with these goals or intentions lately? What progress are you making toward achieving your goals or intentions?

2016 Intentions Check In #2

Where has time gone?! It is hard to believe that 2016 is already half over! It seems like just yesterday I was sitting down to write about my intentions for 2016 and now we are already half way through the year!

  1. #Believe…I have made progress with this intention, but still have room for growth. I think this is one area I will ALWAYS have room for growth. When things get tough in training, work, or life, I turn to #courageovercomfort to bring me focus on believing in myself. So far this year, it has helped bring me focus and redirected my self confidence to where it should be…to a place where I #believe in myself much more.
  2. Break down barriers…I am pleased as punch to have our ladies only bike rides started! The ultimate goal is to host these rides weekly, but for this year, we will be meeting once a month. Our first ride was a HUGE success, which you can read more about here. Thanks so much to Coeur Sports and Kyle’s Bikes for their support to help make this event successful!! Yay for encouraging more women in cycling, helping them gain confidence on their bike and on the roads, and helping them learn basic bike maintenance!! I am definitely looking forward to ladies night #2 on Monday, July 11 at 5:30 pm (location to be determined)…local ladies, mark your calendars!!We made it to Slater!
  3. Be present…I really struggle with this one! I have a VERY hard time focusing on the here and now. I often find myself thinking about the past or the future. I have not yet incorporated meditation into my weekly routine, but it is in my planner for July…30 days of meditation, here I come! I’m hoping after 30 days, it will become a habit! Yoga always seems to help with this…I just need to carve out more time to spend with my mat!
  4. Find Balance…I set out to find balance more with the emotions that I direct at myself than other parts of my life. Thanks in part to my Living Brave Semester with Brene Brown, I have been doing a much better job of focusing in on how I am feeling, why I am feeling a certain way, giving myself permission to be human, and how to forgive myself for being human and making mistakes. I am pleased that I’ve been able to keep these habits in play even though the class has concluded.

Did you set goals or intentions for yourself for 2016? If so, have you checked in with these goals or intentions lately? What progress are you making toward achieving your goals or intentions?

14 weeks ’til #IMWI: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Not sure how this happened, but we are inside of 100 days until Ironman Wisconsin. I guess time flies when you’re having fun!!

Monday:

Since we both had the day off work and we weren’t on a rigid schedule, we slept in and completed our workouts at different times throughout the day. We went to the gym at about 9:20 am for an hour strength training session. It was nice not to have many people at the gym since they weren’t officially open. We have a 24/7 key and can go to the gym anytime we want to do strength training and use the cardio equipment. This does not give us access to the pool anytime we want, so after our strength training, we went to the outdoor pool for our swim. It was SO AWESOME to get to finally swim outdoors!! After refueling, we hopped on the bike for 75 minutes of saddle time. We knew there were storms coming, so we opted for the trainer so we could get some yard work and house work done after our workout. With a couple more days of work, we prepared for the coming week, went to shower at our friends’ house (since we still didn’t have a working hot water heater) and then it was early to bed.

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Tuesday:

We took today as a rest day since we had put in lots of hours last week and knew we were getting a new hot water heater after work. On my way home from work, I met a client for a personal training session, picked up our CSA, stopped at the pharmacy, and picked up a gift card for the person who was installing our hot water heater. It took longer than I imagined to install the hot water heater, but it felt so amazing to shower at home and not have to heat water on the stove to do dishes!!

Wednesday:

Last day of work!! And to celebrate, I went for a bike ride!! It was an ABSOLUTELY PERFECT day to be in the saddle and on the open road/trail!!

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Serious #bikelove in my FAVORITE Coeur Sports kit!!

Thursday:

Happy first day of summer break!! We woke up at 4:30 am (yes, you read that correctly, I still got up early to workout with the Iron Hippie) and ran hill repeats with the sunrise + my two faves!! It was the perfect start to my day!! I spent most of the morning doing house work (vacuuming, laundry, and dishes) before going to the outdoor pool to swim at 11 am. There were a lot of people in the pool, but it was so peaceful to have my head in the water, the sun shining on my back, and not a care in the world about trying to rush off to whatever is next. After my swim, I made lunch, cleaned our veggies from our CSA, took an epsom salt bath, and did more laundry before the Iron Hippie came home from work. We capped the night off with TRX and refueling before bed.

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Friday:

It was another early morning and so peaceful to start my day in the 50 meter pool!! The long course + sunrise + quiet morning = #happyheart I consumed my breakfast smoothie on the way home from the pool. I had just enough time to get an easy hour in on the bike (trainer style) and shower before meeting a client for a personal training session. I went grocery shopping for the coming week on my way home…it is so nice to go during the week and not have to fight the crowds of people on the weekends. After eating lunch, I took the dogs for a walk and spent the afternoon relaxing, catching up on email and blogging. The Iron Hippie and I went downtown in the evening for the local “Art Walk,” where each downtown business sponsors a local artist for 3 hours. It is crazy how many different artists there are in our area!!

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Folk dancers at the downtown "Art Walk"
Folk dancers at the downtown “Art Walk”
Locals knitted a square to be hung as part of a quilt on the outside of a local business
Locals knitted a square to be hung as part of a quilt on the outside of a local business

Saturday:

We started the day with a 10 mile run, which I was hoping to average a 9:00/mile pace for…nailed it!! After making a quick smoothie with whey protein, for recovery, we rode our bikes to yoga in the park. Every Saturday from now until the first weekend in August (except July 4th weekend), Ames offers free yoga at Bandshell Park from 10-11 am. It is a great opportunity for people new to yoga to try it for free! For those who love yoga, it is a great opportunity to practice yoga outdoors with others! When we came home, we devoured food, did yard work, cleaned the house, did laundry, and then it was nap time!! It has been a while since I took an afternoon nap on the weekends, but my body loved it!! After my nap it was time for dinner and froyo before bed. It was great to meet my #solesister and her kids for some froyo!!

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Basil cooling down in the shade post running. Love her!!
Basil cooling down in the shade post running. Love her!!

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Sunday:

I was a bit tired, so I slept in and then completed the 3x(60 min bike + 20 min run) by myself. I set up the trainer in the driveway since each brick was supposed to be slightly harder (higher zone) and faster. This would allow me consistency and not have to worry about traffic/traffic lights/wind speeds to go harder with each one. I also ran the same route off the bike each time to try to go a bit farther with each run. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” was the theme for this workout. In the middle of brick #2, the wheels fell off…it became REALLY hard and I wasn’t sure if I could do brick #3. When I came back from run #2, I climbed back on the bike and reached out to multiple friends to encourage and motivate me to #nevergiveup on this workout, even though it wasn’t going as planned. With their encouragement and support, I pushed through and finished this workout. I seriously hope that our 70.3 race in 2 weeks is much easier than this workout!! After refueling and spending over an hour just laying in the recliner, I decided to move and take an epsom salt bath. We then did a little shopping for the coming week, took the dogs to Peterson Pits so they could swim, gave them baths in the driveway to wash the fishy water away, grabbed some leftovers for dinner, and met some friends for froyo. It was great to sit outside and chat with them while enjoying some froyo!!

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Weekly Totals: 18 hours and 1 minute

Swim: 7907 yards (the 50 meter pool throws my yardage off during the summer)
Bike: 122 miles
Run: 24.8 miles
Strength Training: 2 hours & 15 minutes
Yoga: 1 hour

Quote of the Week:

“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. ” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

What’s Up?! – May 2016

Wahoo!! I made it to the end of the school year and am looking forward to having my summer off!! This is what I’ve been up to throughout the month of May:

Focus: Mental Gains

#courageovercomfort has gotten me through some really tough workouts this month, but self confidence and believing more in myself has definitely helped with this also! Some of these tough workouts wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t start believing in myself more. I had a great 10K run off of a 56 mile bike where I saw negative splits (where I ran down into the 7 minutes for the last few splits…gains), I had a long 15 mile run the next day with an average pace of 8:30/mile (I was hoping to run a 9:00/mile pace…gains), I put up fantastic times at the Market to Market Relay and Hickory Grove Duathlon…gains (see below). None of this would have happened without gaining self confidence and believing in myself.

Finish: School Year

The students had their last day of school on Friday, May 27. I have two additional days as professional development days on today and tomorrow, but then I will be free to do whatever I want for the whole summer. I’m definitely looking forward to this!

Firsts: Market to Market Relay Iowa and Hickory Grove Duathlon

Market to Market Relay: This was my first relay that I’ve ever participated in and boy was it SUPER fun!! I was really nervous going into it about what the day would be like, if I would enjoy myself, and how well my legs would hold up. I think being an Ironman athlete helped me both mentally and physically today as I ran 3 different times throughout the day. We woke up at 4 am, met the rest of Team #KissOurAsphalt at the middle school at 5:15 for a departure to Jefferson where we would start our 75 mile running relay to Des Moines, and our first runner started running at 7:15 am. I was the third runner, so I had some time before I started running. My first leg was 5.4 miles at an average pace of 7:56/mile. I didn’t feel too taxed with this leg, but boy could I smell and see the smoke that had drifted down from a Minnesota wildfire. My throat was very scratchy, but all I could think was “I hope everyone up north is safe!” as I ran. My second leg was 5.1 miles at an average pace of 8:07/mile. I didn’t smell the smoke as bad on this leg, but we were farther south…I don’t know if that matters or not. I did slow my pace a bit on this leg for just a short time to run with a friend for about 0.3 miles that I caught up to on the trail. It was good to chat with a friendly face, even if it meant running a bit slower than I had been! I was the final runner for our team, which meant running about 3.7 miles and then meeting my team for the last 0.3 miles as we crossed the finish line. I was nervous about this leg because everyone kept telling me how tired and sore my legs would be and that they wouldn’t want to cooperate. I was pleasantly surprised…as a triathlete, I am used to running on tired legs. It felt just like running off the bike after a long/tough workout. My last run totaled 3.95 miles at an average pace of 8:18/mile. This part of the run I was VERY familiar with (having run this part of the trail during MANY other local races) and I usually break down mentally in this area. Thankfully I had a pep talk with myself before I started this leg and I didn’t break down too badly today! Overall, I ran 14.42 miles at an average pace of 8:07/mile. Since I thought I would be running closer to 9:00 miles, I was SUPER happy with my performance on the day!

#courageovercomfort definitely helped me push past some mental barriers today! We arrived back home at about 8 pm, unloaded the car, showered, relaxed for a bit, and then hit the pillow by 9 pm. It was a really long day, but super fun!! Overall, our team finished in 10:26:45 with an average pace of 8:20/mile over the 75.1 miles. We had a LOT of fun and were VERY happy with our overall time and pace!

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Hickory Grove Duathlon: This was my first duathlon I’ve ever participated in and it was SO MUCH FUN!!

In training I have done some run/bike/run training, but had never raced in this format before. Since it was a 0.9 mile run/15.5 mile bike/3.1 mile run, I wanted to go hard and see what I could do. I am pretty pleased with my performance! I raced to 1st in my age group, 2nd overall female, and finished 11th overall. You can find the full race recap here.

#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon
#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon

Finding Faster:

As you know, I have been working on my swim. Thanks to the recommendation of my Coeur Teammate Erin, I purchased the Finis Forearm Fulcrums and have just started to use them. I am hoping these help me find my catch again…sooner rather than later 😉

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Fun Reads:

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins kept me reading. I really wanted to know who “did it.” I was so captivated that I read the whole book in less than a week. I couldn’t put it down!! “Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?”

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Elite Minds: Creating the Competitive Advantage by Stan Beecham is a must read for those people trying to change their mindset to develop a world-class mind in business or sport. “Most people don’t reach their full potential because of their body, training, or physical talent. It is their mind that is the deterrent. They may or may not consider how their thoughts and beliefs are actually hindering performance. “Elite Minds” gives insight into the process of developing a world-class mind in both business and sport, where the principles of performance are the same, despite the activity. With “Elite Minds,” Dr. Stan Beecham will: Explain that what you believe is the most important thing in the world to you; Show you how fear is keeping you from reaching your goals; Teach you that there is no such thing as individual performance; Demonstrate how successful people value their time more, making them more efficient; Take you through the minds of the elite, who have reached their full potential by tapping into their consciousness and answering the question: Who Am I?”

Stop Using Qualifiers: How to Own Your Strengths by Carrie Cheadle really got me thinking about how I discount my strengths by adding qualifiers to them. She stresses how important it is to be confident (not cocky) when owning your strengths and not undersell them. Own your strengths, be proud of them, and don’t over shadow them by always setting the bar higher and higher. Accept your strengths and successes as being “enough.”

Stop Saying Just! by Janine Kaye, a Witsup.com contributor, had me really thinking about downplaying our accomplishments no matter how big or small by putting the word “just” in front of it. I just ran a 5K. I just raced the bike leg of the triathlon for my team. I just swam in open water for only 20 minutes. We are awesome and we should own it! “Don’t belittle your achievement or success.”

I am currently reading Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. As an educator and endurance athlete, I am always trying to gain insight on how to intrinsically motivate individuals. “Pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.” Among Grit’s most valuable insights:

*Why any effort you make ultimately counts twice toward your goal
*How grit can be learned, regardless of I.Q. or circumstances
*How lifelong interest is triggered
*How much of optimal practice is suffering and how much ecstasy
*Which is better for your child—a warm embrace or high standards
*The magic of the Hard Thing Rule

Winningly personal, insightful, and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that—not talent or luck—makes all the difference.”

How was your month of May? Have you tried anything new lately? If so, what was your overall impression of this new endeavor? What new reads have you enjoyed lately?

15 weeks ’til #IMWI: Grit

The theme from last week: GRIT! Grit to push through the last week of school with kids. Grit to get up in the morning and work for my dreams. Grit to push through tough workouts and do my best.

I only have two more days of school to wrap up this school year, but the kids are already done. I will be spending those days cleaning my room, sitting through a few meetings, and then the sweet sound of freedom for 11 weeks.

Monday:

When I woke up at 4 am, I REALLY wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, but dreams don’t come true with my head on the pillow! Grit won! I planted my feet on the floor and went to the gym for an hour strength training session. It ended up being a great way to start the day!

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After work, I met a client for personal training and followed this up with some #bikelove intervals. We are so blessed to have some AMAZING neighbors. During the middle of our intervals, we had a fresh baked loaf of sourdough bread delivered to us. That meant homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. It was so DELISH!! The perfect meal post #bikelove intervals!!

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Tuesday:

When I woke up at 4 am, it was raining. We had speed work to do while running, so we decided to go to the gym and do this work on the treadmill. This ended up being the perfect decision for this workout! I’m not sure I would have successfully hit the target paces that I did if I were outside on the open roads. Minute ladders for 55 minutes looks like this:

  • 15 minute warm up
  • 1 minute Zone 5/1 minute Zone 2
  • 2 minutes Zone 5/2 minutes Zone 2
  • 3 minutes Zone 5/3 minutes Zone 2
  • 4 minutes Zone 5/4 minutes Zone 2
  • 3 minutes Zone 5/3 minutes Zone 2
  • 2 minutes Zone 5/2 minutes Zone 2
  • 1 minute Zone 5/1 minute Zone 2
  • 8 minute cool down

For the zone 5 intervals, I set the treadmill to a 7:03/mile pace (8.5 speed) and for the zone 2 recovery portions, I set the treadmill to an 8:57/mile pace (6.7 speed). Looking back on this, I think I could have run my zone 5 intervals one or two clicks faster, but I didn’t want to be overzealous and not be able to maintain this pace for every interval of the workout. This was a very challenging workout…much more so mentally than physically. #courageovercomfort

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After a CRAZY day with students, I went to the pool for a 2400 yard swim. I needed to wash away the negativity from the day. Once I got moving, I could definitely tell I was tired from the morning run. I am working to find my catch in the water, so this means lots of #heartandcourage while I #findfaster. After my swim, I had a VERY productive evening…prepping for Wednesday, cleaning produce from our CSA, preparing lunches for the rest of the week, doing laundry, and dishes before bed.

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Wednesday:

When I woke up at 4 am, I really, Really, REALLY wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, but grit won this morning. It took me a bit longer than usual to warm up on the bike and not feel like my head should be on my pillow. Once I got into the working set, I finally felt wide awake…the incredibly loud thunder and bright sky from the lightening could have had something to do with it as well. With storms in the area capable of producing hail, we left the car in the garage, which meant cramped quarters while riding. I’m so glad I got up and worked to make my dreams become a reality instead of allowing myself to stay with my dreams while my head was on the pillow. #workforitwednesday

I did some more laundry and vacuumed the house before heading out the door to work.

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After another CRAZY day with students, I went back to the pool for 2300 yards of #swimlove. I was tired, but thankfully I had a much better swim than Tuesday. I’m not sure my form was any better, but I did #findfaster in the water!! I had fun in the water, while washing away the negativity from the week.

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Thursday:

Thursday’s we typically sleep in and this week was one of those days. It felt really good to sleep in and rest…10 hours of sleep = happy body. After a full day of work, I ran an errand on my home. Our evening consisted of a 1 hour trainer ride in the driveway on a very warm day, 45 minutes of TRX class, and gearing up for my last day of school with students.

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Friday:

We slept in again this morning!! The last day of school is always a fun day for the students and we did our best to make it a fun day for the teachers as well. I challenged our principal to a race through the obstacle course inflatable. We had fun, but both got hurt in the process. Thankfully nothing too serious.

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Cue song: “School’s Out For Summer”…well, not quite. I still have 2 professional development days, but no more students until August! After work, I went to the pool to swim and wash away all of the stress from the school year. This was definitely my best swim of the week. I’m certain my form wasn’t much better, but my stroke felt more effortless than it has felt all week. I followed this up with a massage, grocery shopping for the coming week on my way home, and trying to help the Iron Hippie figure out how to get our hot water heater working. Unfortunately the hot water heater went kaput and we can’t get it replaced until Tuesday. I guess that means boiling water to wash dishes and driving to the gym to shower this weekend.

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Saturday:

With the rainy early morning forecast, we decided to start our long run at 8 am. This meant we could sleep in! As we set out on our run, I knew it was going to be a challenging run…Holy Humidity Batman! With only one mile under our feet, I already had massive amounts of sweat running off of me! My goal was to start off easy, eventually pick up the pace, and finish with an overall average pace of 9:00/mile for 2 hours of run time. By the end of the run, I had sweat enough to look as though I had gone swimming instead of running. I had completely saturated my shoes…to the point that with every footfall, I could feel and hear the sweat squish in them. Gross 😉 I was grateful that my body held up during this humid run and was able to maintain an average pace of 8:55/mile for the entire 2 hours.

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After refueling and changing clothes, we went to the gym for 30 minutes of core work and a hot shower. Since we don’t have a working hot water heater, and we had sweat enough to fill a kiddy pool, it was essential we take a hot shower! After spending about an hour at the gym, we came home, vacuumed the house, did some laundry, washed dishes (heating water on the stove to do dishes makes me feel like I live in the caveman era), got ourselves and bikes ready for a long brick tomorrow, and had a snack.

"Mom, I just want to try a piece, or all of the pieces, of your pineapple." ~Basil
“Mom, I just want to try a piece, or all of the pieces, of your pineapple.” ~Basil

I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening relaxing in my compression gear while I blogged, planned out the coming week, and reflected on last week.

Sunday:

We woke up at 6 am so that we could be wheels on by 7:15 am for our long brick. We had a hilly century ride planned with a 30 minute run off the bike. We got through the first 2 hours on our own and then Allen got a ride out to met up with us and ride with us for the next 40 miles. The last 30 miles were again on our own with the open roads. I was pleasantly surprised with the traffic. Almost everyone who passed us did so by going into the left lane, most waited until they were win a passing zone (although some didn’t), and some even honked from a long ways back letting us know they were approaching. If any of you who passed us are reading this, THANK YOU for safely passing us, respecting our choice to be on the open roads, and “passing us like you love us.” We ended up with 103 miles as we rolled into the driveway on a great day! We transitioned into running gear and set out for our 30 minute run. The first 0.5 miles my legs were screaming at me…”What the hell are you doing to me?!” But then I got into a great groove and found myself cruising. The last 4 minutes of the run, I had to really convince myself that I wasn’t as hungry as my belly and body were telling me I was.

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103 miles of #bikelove on a BEAUTIFUL day!
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30 minute run at an 8:39/mile average pace off of a century ride…I’ll take that!!

We devoured all the food we could find, went to the gym to shower, cleaned and sliced 8 pounds of fresh strawberries (I probably ate a whole pound by myself while I was cleaning them), and then went to our friends’ house for dinner. Great company + awesome grilled food = PERFECT!! We capped off the night with some homemade dessert and blood donating (the mosquitoes were obnoxious) in our neighbors’ back patio.

Weekly Totals: 18 hours & 24 minutes

Swim: 6800 yards
Bike: 157 miles
Run: 23.5 miles
Strength Training: 2 hours & 15 minutes

Quote of the Week:

“Your dreams are on the other side of your grit!” ~Unknown

Sole Sisters Rock the Du

Sunday morning I was blessed and lucky to get to race our first ever duathlon along side my sole sister! She inspires me, believes in me, and encourages me to be the best version of myself everyday! I am forever grateful that our paths crossed and can’t imagine my life without her in it!

A 4 am wake up allowed me plenty of time to make the breakfast of champions (cream of rice with raspberries and Pure Clean Beet Powder and a Karma Kombucha), pack up the last of my race day essentials, load up the car, and be ready to leave by 5 am. The Iron Hippie was volunteering, so he rode with us to the race venue.

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Breakfast of Champions!

Once we arrived to the race, I could tell Tonja’s nerves were really starting to kick in. While she has participated in every running distance from 5K to Marathon, she has never participated in a duathlon or triathlon and had no idea what to expect. Heck, she has only been on her bike once this year, and it was last Wednesday morning before our race. I kept reminding her that there was nothing to be nervous about…we were there to have fun! We unloaded the car, got her race packet, set up transition and then relaxed in the car to warm our toes until race start.

Matching tats and socks...T must be my #solesista
Matching tats and socks…Tonja must be my #solesista
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Bikes are racked and we are ready to race!

At about 7:30, we decided to check our transition one more time, hit the kybos, and ventured to the start for the pre-race announcements. Tonja was REALLY nervous by this point, but I knew once we got going the nerves would subside. We decided we were going to run the first 0.9 miles together and exit transition together. My role was to prevent her from going out too fast on the first run. She was going to try to keep me in view on the bike, but we both decided to race our own race once out on the bike. As we lined up at the start, we gave each other a hug, a few encouraging words, and we were off.

Lined up and ready to start! Thanks to the Iron Hippie for all of the photos throughout the day!
Lined up and ready to start! Thanks to the Iron Hippie for all of the photos throughout the day!

The first 0.9 miles were on cinder trail, grass, and dirt. Not ideal footing, but we ran side by side and I occasionally reminded T to hold back on this run to set ourselves up for a solid bike and another run. We ran out about 0.45 miles, ran around a cone, and then ran back to transition. Run time = 7:47 (8:39/mile average pace)

T1 time = 1:42

The bike course is 15.5 miles that consists of 3 loops of just over 5 miles each. Once we passed the mount line, we took off! Tonja and I separated pretty quickly, but that is only because I have a LOT more experience on the bike. During the first loop, I went hard, but my main focus was to figure out the bike loop. I learned where the hills were, where the Iron Hippie was cheering/volunteering, where the out and back was (cheering Tonja on as we passed each other…she was doing great!), where we go onto the 2nd/3rd loops or return to transition, where I could drink, where I had to be careful on a turn, etc. On lap 1 at the out and back section, I counted the ladies doing the duathlon that were in front of me (there was also a triathlon and aqua/bike race going on at the same time)…there were only 2 ladies in front of me! #courageovercomfort The 2nd and 3rd loops were so much more fun and I pushed myself even harder on these loops. Now that I knew what to expect, it was time to put the hammer down. #courageovercomfort #courageovercomfort #courageovercomfort was repeated over and over and over in my head while I raced. By lap 2, I could see the 2nd place lady in front of me. #courageovercomfort As we started the 3rd lap, I passed the 2nd place lady and made my way comfortably into 2nd place. Thankfully there wasn’t much wind on the ride, but I knew that wouldn’t be good on the run since the sun was out and the day was heating up rather nicely. Bike time = 50:19 (18.5 mph average speed)

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Thanks to the Iron Hippie for taking pics while I was riding!!

T2 time = 54 seconds

As I exited T2, the 3rd place lady (the one that I had just passed) had just come into transition. I told that she had a nice bike leg and thanked her for pushing me to work really hard on the bike. The last run was a 5K run (3.1 miles) and I was right…it had heated up quite nicely. The first mile was mostly on cinder trail, grass and dirt and went the same direction as the first run that we started the duathlon with. There was an aid station at mile 1, which is where we exited the grassy area and started running on the roads…straight up hill. It was at this point that I was passed by another lady participating in the duathlon. I told her she was doing awesome and to keep working hard as she passed. I knew I was now in 3rd place, but this only made me work harder. #courageovercomfort I could see the first place duathlon lady and knew that I could catch her. My goal was to catch her by mile 2, which is where the Iron Hippie was volunteering. I ended up catching her at about mile 1.5. I told her she was doing great and that it was super hard to catch her! I encouraged her to keep going hard and finish strong! When I saw the Iron Hippie just past the 2 mile mark, he told me I was 40 seconds behind the 1st place female and to give it all I had. Little did he know I was already pushing as hard as I could. At this point, we were back in a grassy area with some cinder trails all the way to the finish line. There was VERY LITTLE shade, it was hot, and I was giving it EVERYTHING I had. #courageovercomfort I was so happy to finally see the finish line!! Run time = 26:48 (8:39/mile average pace)…I guess you can say that I was consistent 😉

Overall Finish: 1:27:29
1st Place Age Group
2nd Place Female Overall
11th Place Overall

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These lovely ladies made me work for this AG win!!
#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon
Tonja got 2nd place in her age group at her first ever duathlon!! So proud of her!!

This race challenged me in many ways, but was also very fun!! I consider anytime I get to run and bike while racing and encouraging others a win!!

17 weeks ’til #IMWI: vacation day + race simulation weekend

The highlights of this week included using a vacation day on Friday + 70.3 race simulation weekend. We are currently 5 weeks out from Milkman Triathlon, which is our 70.3 race this year, so we threw a race simulation weekend in the mix this week to test our current fitness.

Monday:

When the alarm clock went off at 4 am, I planted my feet on the floor and went to the gym for 1 hour of strength training. I followed this up with a full day of work, meeting a personal training client for an hour after work, and then getting on the bike for 75 minutes of sweaty ladder intervals.

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Tuesday:

Today was a rest day, so we slept in until 6 am! After a full day of work, I was exhausted! I didn’t want to talk to anyone, or be around anyone, so I came home and isolated myself to the bedroom with my book. It was lights out at 7 pm, which was exactly what I needed.

Wednesday:

Another 4 am alarm meant hopping on the saddle at 4:30 am for 90 minutes of sweaty high speed/high power intervals. It was the perfect start to my day! After a full day of work, I went straight to the pool for 2500 yards of swimming. I was SO excited to see our friend Leisa at the pool. She is such an inspiration!! She is paralyzed from the waist down, but swims religiously. She used to do triathlons before she became paralyzed, so I asked her if she was interested in doing a sprint triathlon this summer as a team with the Iron Hippie and me. She would be the swim leg and we would decide who will bike and who will run. She was SO excited!! I can’t wait to make this happen 🙂

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Thursday:

Hello 4 am!! I LOVE running hill repeats…I LOVE them even more on a beautiful morning when I get to see the sun come up during my run!! It was such a BEAUTIFUL morning for some serious #runlove!! Today’s work schedule was a bit different…I didn’t have kids, but instead had a teacher work day. It was nice to get some grading done, lessons planned for the last 10 days of school (yes…I’m almost down to single digits with students for the year), and lab equipment put away. After work, I met a personal training client for an hour, hopped on the saddle for an easy hour to spin out the legs, and then went to teach TRX. Thursdays are always my busy day, but with only one more day in the week, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel 😉 I was a VERY lucky girl to have my new Coeur Sports Graffiti Kit arrive in the mail today!! This is by far my favorite design from them yet!!

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Friday:

I had a vacation day to use, or I would lose it, so I took the day off today. I left home at 7 am and went to Ankeny (~30 minutes south) for the morning. With a 4700 yard swim, I decided to swim somewhere new, so I went to the Ankeny YMCA. It is such a great facility…MUCH better than the fitness center we have in Ames. I really wish we had a YMCA or other option in Ames for swimming, but it just isn’t the case right now. Only 2 more weeks and the outdoor pool will be open for the summer…I can’t wait to swim in the 50 meter pool all summer long! I had a really good swim, although I’m sure my form was probably still a mess. I only focused on keeping my nose to the bottom of the pool and didn’t worry about any of the other form issues I am to be working on. This made the swim so much more enjoyable!! After my swim, I went to Kyle’s Bikes for some minor adjustments to my saddle, a new chain, new handle bar tape…thank you Coeur Sports for the AWESOME tape, and a new bracket on my X-Lab. After I arrived back home, I did a few house chores, took an Epsom salt bath, and then got a massage. Nick spent the whole hour just on my legs…he wasn’t very nice, but that’s why I pay him 😉 I was lucky to have a visit from our former neighbors after my massage. The kids miss our dogs and came over for about an hour to play. It was great to see them and catch up!! It was an early to bed to recover with sleep as much as possible.

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Saturday:

I was really excited to see how my body would hold up with today’s workout. Lucky for us (insert sarcasm), Mother Nature decided that we should experience wind chills of 32F this morning, so our 56 mile bike ride was done on the trainer. With the amount of time we were on the saddle, this was probably closer to 65 outdoor miles, but we knocked out the 56 miles and then went for a 10K run off the bike. This brick was to be a race day simulation workout, but that is hard to really do on the trainer. I was very happy with my time for my 56 mile ride, but I was SUPER pumped about my run performance!! My run was AWESOME!! Negative splits 🙂

Mile 1 = 9:25/mile
Mile 2 = 9:01/mile
Mile 3 = 8:36/mile
Mile 4 = 8:26/mile
Mile 5 = 8:01/mile
Mile 6 = 7:46/mile
Last 0.2 = 7:20/mile

It has been a LONG time since I’ve been able to maintain a 7:46/mile pace at the end of 6 miles. The best part…I felt that I could have kept going and gotten a bit faster yet!! I tapped into a LOT of #heartandcourage on this workout and thought of all those AMAZING and INSPIRING athletes racing Ironman Texas in very wild conditions!! After eating everything in sight, taking an Epsom salt bath/shower, and regrouping, it was time to take the dogs to the doggie wash for a bath. After their bath, I did lots of laundry, cleaned house, and did some yard work before relaxing for the evening.

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Sunday:

Time to test the legs and see what is left…a 15 mile run at race pace was on the calendar. After yesterday’s near perfect execution, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about how my legs would hold up for this workout. I was hoping to have an average pace of 9:00/mile. Considering I’ve been running slower the last few years, I thought this pace for 15 miles would really challenge me. As we started, I could feel the fatigue in my legs and got most of the bugs worked out of them within the first couple of miles. I just ran on feel and tried not to look at my Garmin too much along the way. We did an 11 mile loop with Basil…that girl LOVES to run! We ran back to the house and left her at home for the last 4 miles since it was starting to warm up a bit with the sun shining on us and very little wind. Basil wasn’t happy about it, but sometimes we have to do what is best for our fur kids 🙂 Getting started again after was a bit of a struggle, but we eased back into it and soon found our groove. We were really working hard this entire run and I kept thinking #courageovercomfort to myself!! It also helped that I was wearing my new Coeur Sports Graffiti design kit that was covered with #heartandcourage all over it!! was SO pleased to see that I had underestimated myself by setting that 9:00/mile average pace! After eating all the food we could find/make, we went to the pool for an EASY 2100 yard swim. It felt so good to stretch out and swim easy…not focusing on the clock or my form…just having fun!! It was time for my Epsom salt bath (#3 for the week), more laundry (I swear this is NEVER ending at our house!), dinner, getting ready for the coming week, and time to write this blog post.

My average pace for 15 miles was 8:30/mile...THANK YOU LEGS!!
My average pace for 15 miles was 8:30/mile…THANK YOU LEGS!!
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Nap time!! We could learn a LOT from our dogs about having fun, playing hard, and recovering harder!!
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Keeping things fun in the pool after our recovery swim.

Thoughts on the race simulation weekend:

  • The 4700 yard swim was a LONG swim, but I felt like I had a pretty decent pace (especially without having improved my form much).
  • I am bummed I had to ride the 56 miles on the trainer, but it helped me build mental strength!!
  • I am elated with the negative split 10K run off the bike on Saturday!!
  • I am SUPER pumped to see that my legs can hold onto a faster pace than I though possible on the 15 mile run!!

Weekly Totals: 17 hours & 27 minutes

Swim: 9300 yards
Bike: 110 miles
Run: 30.9 miles
Strength Training: 2 hours & 15 minutes

Quote of the Week:

“You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot have both.” ~Brene Brown