2016 Intentions Check In #1

I was hoping to check in with my 2016 intentions on a monthly basis, but alas, that hasn’t happened. Quarterly check-ins will have to suffice for now.

  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. I have focused a lot on courage over comfort in all aspects of my life since the start of 2016. I have made some progress, which you can read more about here if you haven’t already, but there is still room for growth.

    FTP test results...My normalized power was 189 watts...this was 12 watts higher than peak Ironman Boulder training in 2015!!
    FTP test results…My normalized power was 189 watts…this was 12 watts higher than peak Ironman Boulder training in 2015!!
  2. Break down barriers…We do have women who ride with us in our basement, but I haven’t made progress with the women’s only ride YET. That is mostly in part to Mother Nature. We are still experiencing cool temperatures and occasional snow showers, which make outdoor riding non-existent this time of year. Since most of the women prefer riding in warmer temperatures, I am waiting a bit for Mother Nature to start cooperating with us. I am SERIOUSLY hoping we get outside to ride in the next month! If you are a women interested in cycling in the Ames area, please let me know so I can get you the information for our outdoor rides!!
  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 am looking to incorporate some meditation into my weekly routine (and hopefully daily if time permits as I figure it out) to help me stay focused on the here and now.
  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.

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

Happy New Year everyone!!

Last year I set “intentions” instead of “resolutions” for 2015. I wasn’t as good at checking in on these intentions as I should have been. I decided to put my intentions in writing for this year and be more diligent at checking my progress throughout the year. So here are my intentions for 2016:

  1. #Believe…I had this same intention last year and made some serious progress, but I still have lots of room for even more progress. I have #BigDreams! The only way to achieve these dreams is to believe in myself, my training and my abilities on race day. A sub 13 hour race at Ironman Wisconsin on September 11, 2016 would get me a bit closer to achieving those big dreams, so I will be focusing on action and execution during 2016. After all…  Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 2.19.10 PM
  2. Break down barriers…I had this intention last year as well and am carrying this intention with me into 2016. Why??? Because it is time to get more women in endurance sport, whether that is triathlon, swimming, running, cycling, or even cross country skiing!! Why endurance sport?!?!?!? It is fun, it is rewarding and it allows me to challenge myself in a way that nothing else can. I would love to share those experiences and my passion for endurance sport with other women in 2016!! In 2016 I will be starting a women’s only cycling group in Ames, where we will meet once a week to ride, learn and have fun!! If you are in this area and want to join us, please let me know!!
  3. Be present…I also had this intention last year and continue to struggle with it, so I am taking it with me into 2016. I always find myself thinking about what is next instead of focusing on the here and now. I need to slow down, find time to laugh (out loud) every day, enjoy every moment and be present.  Be Present
  4. Find Balance…I do a fairly good job of balancing work, home and training, but I definitely need to incorporate more balance, especially with the emotions I direct at myself…less stress, more fun, less anxiety, more joy, less anger, more happiness, less destruction, more self confidence, less negativity, more positivity!! This intention will probably be the one I struggle with the most and will take some serious focus and reflection throughout the year to make progress.

As with any intentions that we set, it is important to remember that baby steps will make the most difference and allow long term change and success. With these intentions, I gladly welcome 2016 and the fresh start 🙂 Cheers to 2016!!


What are your intentions for 2016?

Post Ironman Boulder – What’s Next???

I have spent the last 2 weeks recovering from Ironman Boulder, working out when I want, visiting family and enjoying life. Now it is time to get back to work…literally. Tomorrow marks the last day of summer vacation before I start the 2015-2016 school year on Wednesday. Here are some pictures of the last 2 weeks of my summer break/recovery time:

I love to ride my bicycle…even 4 days post Ironman 🙂
Post race massage…recovery is important.
Spending time with my family. I don’t get to see this one nearly enough!
Sister time!
Sister time!
Running up Mt. Diablo in California while visiting my sister and her family..
#bikelove and #solesistasweat What a perfect combination!!
Cycling is always better with friends!! #bikelove
Running back in Iowa with LOTS of humid, thick air…I miss the mountains!!

I decided today is a great day to get back into a consistent workout routine. After all, I have dreams and I am going to continue to work hard to fulfill my dreams 🙂


For now, I have the following races scheduled for the remainder of 2015:

This provides me with a good variety for the remainder of the year…a little bit of triathlon, a little bit of running and a little bit of cycling. Lots of fun to be had yet this year!

Do you fall out of a consistent routine during the summer months/post racing? How do you get back into a routine? How do you incorporate good variety in your training/racing while going into the off season?

My Cycling Essentials and Tour de Cure®

I am getting ready for a 5 hour trainer ride to raise money for the American Diabetes Association® and the Tour de Cure® at Kyle’s Bikes on Saturday, April 18 and thought it would be fitting to share with you my cycling essentials as I prepare for this longer trainer ride. Yes, you read that correctly…5 hours in the saddle on the trainer…and I thought 3 hours & 45 minutes last weekend was tough. Please click here to make a donation; I would be forever grateful.

My cycling essentials tend to differ just a bit depending on where I ride…am I riding outdoors or am I riding on the trainer? As you’ll see, there are some common cycling essentials for cycling in both situations, but some differences do exist.

  1. Mojo…My Specialized Transition  IMG_2011
  2. Terry Butterfly Ti Gel Saddle  Screen shot 2014-07-09 at 8.10.22 AM
  3. Specialized Cycling Shoes  IMG_2302
  4. Speedfil water bottle  IMG_3869
  5. Coeur Sports seam-free chamois tri shorts  IMG_1917
  6. Osmo Active Hyrdation  IMG_1508
  7. Hoo Ha Ride Glide  IMG_3184
  8. Garmin 910XT  IMG_2521
  9. Powertap  IMG_3036
  10. Road ID Bracelet…I never take this offIMG_3280

Trainer Rides:

  1. Kinetic Fluid Trainer
  2. Trainer Tire
  3. Trainer Skewer
  4. Sweat towels…lots of them

Outdoor Rides:

  1. Bell Cycling Helmet  IMG_3868
  2. Tifosi Sunglasses  IMG_3867
  3. Bonk Breaker Bars (on the longer rides)

    Photo courtesy of Bonk Breaker
    Photo courtesy of Bonk Breaker
  4. Barnana (on the longer rides)…if you order from Barnana, please feel free to use my discount code Coeur15 for 15% off your order 🙂IMG_1931

What are your cycling essentials? Have you ever raced or participated in an event for a charity? If so, which event and which charity?

11 Weeks til IRONMAN Wisconsin

Last week was 11 weeks until race day.  This is the first week in the green since the week of April 21, 2014.  I am so grateful to be back to completing all of my scheduled weekly workouts and back to running…even if it is on the track with the white line between my feet.  😉  Here is a quick review of my week:


Am:  2600 meter Swim in 1 hour (2843 yards)…short ladder workout

A little Monday morning motivation with my Ironman Wisconsin swim cap from 2011.
A little Monday morning motivation with my Ironman Wisconsin swim cap from 2011.

PM: 2:10:00 Brick workout… 2 hour ride (37 miles) followed by an easy 10 minute run (1.1 miles) off the bike


AM:  10 mile bike commute (round trip) to the Iowa State University Track for a 50 minute run (5.86 miles at an 8:32 average pace) around the track while line running

I rode Molly the Raleigh to the track for my morning run.
I rode Molly the Raleigh to the track for my morning run.
5.86 miles of line running around the track.
5.86 miles of line running around the track.

AM: 1 hour strength workout


AM:  2600 meter swim in 1 hour (2843 yards)…base drill workout

I love the 50 meter outdoor lap pool in the mornings!!
I love the 50 meter outdoor lap pool in the mornings!!

PM:  3:00:00 bike ride (52 miles) with 2×20 minutes really pushing the power (but the battery in my power tap died part way through the first set, so I was going on feel instead of actual power numbers).

Riding with the Iron Hippie and Allen on the trail for part of our ride.
What a beautiful day for a ride!!


AM:  2000 meter swim in 1 hour (2187 yards)…Fast 50s and 100s

A beautiful double rainbow over the pool as we arrived to swim.
A beautiful double rainbow over the pool as we arrived to swim.

Easy 20 minute run around the track with the line between my feet (2.2 miles)

45 minutes of strength training

Acupuncture on my left leg to try to release the muscle tension before the weekend’s workouts…


PM:  Tragedy struck…

One of my 13 year old students from this last year was killed while cycling.  To make it even worse, his twin sister was with him when the he was killed…



REST DAY…Definitely needed this more emotionally than physically.


7 hour Ironman Practice Day:

  • 2500 meter swim in 1 hour (2734 yards) with a 1500 meter time trial in 32:49.  This wasn’t a very good swim for me.  If there were ever a day when I might drown while swimming, it was Saturday morning, but I pushed through and survived.
  • 5 hour bike ride (78 miles) with an average speed of 15.9 mph and relentless winds.  We had headwinds or cross winds for all but about 20 miles.  At one point I was yelling profanities at the unforgiving winds.  IMG_3876
  • 1 hour run was to follow the bike, but we were only able to complete 45 minutes of running before the thunder, lightening and downpours started.  I don’t mind running in the rain, but I won’t risk getting struck by lightening.  There was a little rest between the bike and run since I had to drive to the track for line running.  I managed to cover 4.75 miles in 45 minutes around the track (9:28 average pace).  I was shooting for 10 minute miles, but I struggle with running slowly off the bike.
  • Overall: 84.3 miles covered in 6:40:00…I felt really good and could have kept running, which made me happy.  While my running isn’t where I would like it to be…yet, I felt really good about where I am at after this workout.


1 hour of line running around the track…this was the first time I have ran over 1 hour since May 4.  I was super excited…even if it meant running circles around the track…


25 minutes of core work followed this track run.

Weekly Totals:  20 hours & 23 minutes

Swimming:  10, 608 yards

Cycling:  172 miles

Running:  21 miles

Strength Training:  2 hours & 10 minutes

I really need to get back to incorporating yoga into my weekly workout routine, but with 20 hours of training, I’m not sure where to fit it in.

On average, how many hours a week do you workout?  Can you imagine fitting 20 hours of exercise into your weekly schedule?

Transitions…in Life and Training

“Transition: a change from one state or condition to another”  ~Merriam Webster

Life is full of transitions…transitioning from baby to child to adolescent to adult.  Transitioning from grade level to grade level and possibly school to school.  Transitioning from living at home, to living on your own.  Transitioning from attending school to the working world.  Transitioning from renting to owning a home.  Transitioning from job to job.  Transitioning from single to in a relationship and maybe even to marriage.  Transitioning from season to season.  Transitioning from hobby to hobby.  Transitioning from young to older and eventually “old.”  The list goes on and on and on.

The end of the school year brings transitions to our household and this year will be no different.  I transition from the role of school teacher to the role of house wife.  When I am in the role of school teacher, we have to find/make time on the weekends to run errands, clean house, do laundry and make/prep meals for the coming week.  When I am in the role of the house wife, I can do all of these chores during the week while the Iron Hippie is at work so we can enjoy our weekends more freely.  The role of house wife also gives me the flexibility to take on a few more personal training clients and make a little extra money at my part time job.

Training is also full of transitions…transitioning from goal to goal.  Transitioning from swimming to cycling to running during triathlon.  Transitioning from season to season.  Transitioning from race to race.  Transitioning from indoor trainer rides to outdoor road rides.  Transitioning from indoor pool swimming to outdoor pool swimming and/or open water swimming.   Transitioning from treadmill running to running outdoors.  Transitioning from working out solo vs. with others.  This list also goes on and on and on.

Transition area at the 2013 USAT Olympic Distance National Championships in Milwaukee, WI.

Having a more flexible schedule during the summer months allows me to train at different times of the day…acclimating to different temperatures, training with different people and juggling my workouts around variable weather if necessary.

This year, we are experiencing an additional transition…going from training with a coach, to training without a coach.  While both the Iron Hippie and I LOVE Coach Julie, we have decided to discontinue her coaching services.  Julie is moving to the Chicagoland area and we feel that we are knowledgable enough, motivated enough and dedicated enough to get ourselves to the start line and finish line of Ironman Wisconsin 2014.   As a science teacher, I’m looking at this as our own little science experiment…what can we do to successfully get us to the start and finish lines of IMWI?!?!?!?!

science experiment

Discontinuing our coaching services will allow us to have some extra money that we can save for upcoming races, vacations, home/yard renovations, etc.  We will have the flexibility to incorporate more social activities into our weekly regimen and it will encourage the Iron Hippie and I to communicate more with each other regarding our training and home schedules.

Transitions can sometimes be uncomfortable and scary…especially when we don’t know what to expect, what the outcomes will be, or how they will impact our daily lives.  The Iron Hippie and I are embracing these transitions and looking forward to the positive impacts they will have on our household.

life transitions

Do you embrace transitions?  What transitions do you experience / have you experienced in your life?

Century Ride in the Books

Yesterday we hopped on the bikes at 8:15 am and set out on an adventure.  Our goal was 100 miles of saddle time…and to have a little fun along the way 🙂  We weren’t concerned about pacing.  We weren’t concerned about keeping our stop breaks to a minimum.  We weren’t concerned about taking our time to finish the ride.

The farthest we had gone so far this spring prior to this ride was 52 miles, so we knew this would be a big jump in distance and saddle time for us, but we had all day to get it done.

The first 40 miles were really fun.  Sure it rained on us for a bit, but we were just getting started, so we were feeling good and we had the winds at our backs for the most part.

The Iron Hippie and Dr. Chris taking a quick break to refill our water bottles.
Allen taking a quick break to refill water bottles.

Shortly before mile 40, we saw a sign that looked like this:

IMG_1475This would be the first of many (I lost count after #4)…”Twister Hill” was the first BIG hill that we would encounter on this route.  Unfortunately in central Iowa, we always go down the big hills first and then have to climb back out of the river valley.  “Twister Hill” is where some of the filming took place in the movie “Twister.”  What goes down, must come up…225 feet of climbing over 1 mile.  For central Iowa, this is a fairly big hill 😉

We had a few more of these big hills to descend and climb before we got to mile 50 where we would take our 2nd longer break to refill the water bottles.  We finished the first 50 miles in just under 3 hours.


Once we were back in the saddle, we knew we were going to have some headwinds to fight, a couple more of those big hills to climb and lots of rolling hills to overcome.  As a result, we decided to start off a bit easier than what we had been riding for the first 50 miles.

At mile 80, we knew we only had 7 more miles of suck until we could turn around and have the tailwind for the last 15 miles home.  These next 7 miles would prove to be VERY challenging…more mentally than physically, but we conquered them!!

We finally made it to mile 87…now it is time for the tailwind.

We easily averaged over 20 mph on the return trip to Ames, without even trying.  It was awesome!!  When we pulled into our driveway, we were super excited to get off our bikes, relax in the lawn chairs and eat the homemade beef stew that had been cooking all day in the crock pot 🙂

Total Ride Time:  6:33:08

Total Distance:  102 miles

Average Speed:  15.6 mph

Total Elevation Gain: 2,956 feet (the Ironman Wisconsin bike course is 2,890 feet of climbing over 112 miles)

Average Power: 121 Watts (upper Zone 1…I need to work on getting more solidly into Zone 2)

This morning I received a text message from Allen with the following quote that I feel sums up our century ride almost perfectly:

“I was thinking about our ride yesterday and it was rather sadistic.  Let’s start with 40 miles in the rain to get soaked and going, then throw in 35 miles of climbing in and out of the Des Moines river valley because we are bored, then for more fun lets finish up by riding straight into a headwind for a bit more enjoyment.  I am not sure we could have chosen a harder 100 around here and still end up in Ames.  Good work 🙂 “


Knee Update…I am still unable to run, but cycling does not bother my knee at all.  I am going through active release therapy and am still holding out some hope that I will be able to run some at our upcoming 70.3 race on June 8.


I have heard from many people outside of our little bubble at home, that the Iron Hippie and I are “very disciplined” and that it is a quality many “admire.”  It is true that we get up between 4 and 4:15 am every day and that our heads hit the pillow around 8 pm every evening.  It is true that we do an am and pm workout almost daily.  It is true that we typically juggle our schedules around our training.  It is true that we’ve decided to take one full year off from drinking alcohol as we train.  It is true that we eat mostly healthy (foods that provide us with the energy and fuel stores our bodies need to train like we do).

We are disciplined, but why?  I can only speak for myself…I am determined to be better prepared for IRONMAN Wisconsin this year than I was in 2011.  I am driven to grow stronger and more powerful while swimming, cycling and running.  I am committed to do my absolute best and set new personal records.  I am courageous…I am not going to let fear prevent me from being successful.  I am doing what I love…swim, bike, run 😉


Sure, there are days I don’t “feel like” completing a workout as scheduled or even “feel like” completing the workout, but I know that I will reap the rewards on race day if I have the discipline now.

As of today (May 7), the Iron Hippie and I are officially 8 months sans alcohol, which means only 4 months away from IRONMAN Wisconsin.  That is both great and scary at the same time 😉

How disciplined are you?  What motivates you to be so disciplined?

Typical Week of Workouts

Training for IRONMAN for some is a full time job…there are people who have turned professional, but I am not one of them 😉  I have a full time job (an 8th grade science teacher) and still find time to train for IRONMAN.

The Iron Hippie and I just completed week #10 or our 36 week training program for IRONMAN Wisconsin 2014.  With some minor variations in duration and intensity of the workouts, this is what my typical workout week looks like:


Strength training completed between 4:45 and 5:45 am


Completed between 4:45 and 5:35 am
Run completed between 4:45 and 5:35 am
Completed between 4:45 and 5:35 pm


Completed between 4:45 and 6:00 am
Cycling completed between 4:45 and 6:00 am
Completed between 5:30 and 6:30 pm
Completed between 5:30 and 6:30 pm


Completed at 5:00 pm, but I typically run in the morning on Thursdays...I couldn't resist the decent weather to get outside today.
Run completed between 5:00 and 5:30 pm, but I typically run in the morning on Thursdays…I couldn’t resist the decent weather to get outside today.
Completed between 6:15 and 7:00 pm
Strength training completed between 6:15 and 7:00 pm


Solo ride completed between 4:50 and 6:00 am
Solo ride completed between 4:50 and 6:00 am
Swim from 3:45 to 4:40 pm
Swim completed from 3:45 to 4:40 pm


Completed from 6:00 to 7:00 am
Run completed from 6:00 to 7:00 am
Core work completed from 7:30 to 8:00 am
Core work completed from 7:30 to 8:00 am


Brick completed from 7:30 to 10:30 am
Brick completed from 7:30 to 10:30 am…Bike ride was on the trainer working on cadence and run was outdoors
Hot Yoga completed between 4 and 5:30 pm in a nearly full 106F room
Hot Yoga completed between 4 and 5:30 pm in a nearly full 106F room

14 hours & 10 minutes of training this week…that doesn’t include the preparation time, travel time to and from the gym or refueling/recovery time.  The duration of my weekly workouts will only increase between now and September 7, 2014.

Do you have the available time and determination to train for IRONMAN?


Week #10 Totals:

Swim:  4600 yards

Bike:  72.3 miles

Run:  18.7 miles

Strength Training:  2 hours & 15 minutes

Hot Yoga:  2 hours & 30 minutes

Week #10 in the green ;)

How to Prepare for Your First Triathlon

The inspiration for this post came from watching the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.  Since I was home most of last week with strep throat, a severe sinus infection and the beginning stages of pneumonia, I had plenty of time to lay around and watch movies and reminisce about my first triathlon.

I decided to write a “How to” guide…How to Prepare for Your First Triathlon:

  1. If you really want to complete your first triathlon, you must make training a priority.  This will help you remain injury free and properly prepare you to toe the start line.
  2. Set aside time for your training…make an appointment with yourself.  You should spend a minimum of 30 minutes a week on swimming, cycling and running…that is only 1.5 hours a week.  (Training each discipline twice a week for a minimum of 30 minutes each is ideal.)  If you don’t think you have that much time to commit to training, take a look at how much time you spend watching television, surfing the internet, reading a book, etc.  I bet you can find more time to train for a triathlon than you thought.
  3. Determine your goals for your first triathlon.  Pick a distance that is realistic for the amount of time you plan to spend training on a weekly basis and how many weeks you have until race day.  I would not recommend picking an IRONMAN as your first triathlon 😉
  4. Build a solid base…if you have not been active or have little to no experience with one (or more) of the disciplines of triathlon, you may find it REALLY challenging (and risk injury) if you go out and swim a 1/2 mile, cycle 12 miles and run 3 miles (these are the rough distances for a sprint triathlon).  To help you successfully toe the start line of your first triathlon, you should research training plans, find a triathlon community, and/or hire a knowledgable coach to write a training plan for you.
  5. Incorporate strength training into your workout routine.  Strength training helps prevent injury, builds bone density, strengthens the joints, tones the body, and allows you to be strong and healthy on race day.
  6. Proper recovery is important…make sure to have days and weeks built into your training plan that are not as taxing on your body.  Recovery days and weeks will allow your body to repair itself stronger than it was before you broke it down with the tough training sessions.
  7. Practice, practice, practice…open water is different than pool swimming, swimming in a pack of people is different than swimming in open water, swimming in a wetsuit is different than swimming without one, transitioning from the bike to run often gives people jello legs, consuming fluids and nutrition on the bike and run are different than consuming nothing…anything that is new and different from what you have ever experienced should be practiced, so you have an idea of what to expect on race day.
  8. Find a triathlon community…it is great to have a community of people who will help hold you accountable to complete your workouts, people you can train with (especially for open water swimming and riding on the roads), people you can ask questions of, people you can talk to about what you are experiencing in training and racing, people you can talk with about gear, nutrition, safe riding and running routes, etc.
  9. Remember to have fun…your journey to the start line may be challenging at times, but it should almost always be fun and rewarding!!

TriathletesNow…who’s ready to do their first triathlon??????