Racing with patience

We take a break from the Ironman Lake Placid training for a 1/2 marathon race report…

Saturday was my 7th time running the Drake 1/2 marathon. It is typically cold and rainy, which only adds to the “fun” of the nearly 2000 feet of climbing across the 13.1 miles. This year was different, VERY different!! We had sun, little wind, and perfect running conditions!! IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!!

Before the race, I met up with two of my Coeur sisters. Hugs were the perfect way to start the day!! ❤️

Pre race hugs with my Coeur sisters!!
Coeur sisters and our amazing cheer squad!!

I lined up before the 2:00 pacer and behind the 1:45 pacer. I was hoping to finish around 1:50. Coach Kelly gave me the following race strategy, “Miles 1-4 settle in to the right effort. Miles 5-8 is about patience. Miles 9-10 is about extreme mental toughness. Miles 11-13 final chance to RUN hard! Last 0.1 celebrate!”

Trying to smile through the grit.

During the first 3 miles, I was trying to hold back and not push too hard because I knew that miles 3.5-7 are generally all uphill. I continually reminded myself to be patient through about mile 8. “Be patient. Be patient. Be patient.”

Be patient. Keep your focus. Be patient.

The hills. GAH!! They are relentless. At mile 9, I knew I had another decent size hill to climb, so I put my head down and climbed my way to the top. Stay mentally strong!

Just keep climbing!!

It was at the top of the hill at mile 9, that a spectator said, “No more hills to climb!” I mumbled under my breath, “Yeah right! I know better.” One of the other participants heard me and asked if we were really done with hills…nope…not even close. There are lots of rollers during the last 4 miles of the race.

Just put one foot in front of the other…

At about mile 11 a friend passed me and I was determined to keep her in my view for the last 2 miles. It was a challenge, but she was a good carrot to have. Run hard!!

Keep the focus and finish STRONG!! Last 0.1 mile sprint…errr… celebrate!!

Official finish time: 1:53:13 (8:39 min/mile average pace), 13 of 66 F40-44, 100 of 606 women, and 405 of 1292 overall

Overall, I am happy with my performance for this day. Sure I wish my finish time would have been faster, but I feel I did a much better job of executing this race than my 1/2 marathon a few weeks ago. I was able to generally negative split this run, keep my mental focus, and not walk up the hills (I struggled with that last year). I am pleased with the outcome and my fitness level.

Photo bomb!!
3 cheers for 3 Drake 1/2 marathon finishers!!
Celebrating by riding the Drake Bulldog!!

Let the Ironman Lake Placid training continue…

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Progress, NOT perfection

“Perfection is how you deal with imperfections perfectly.” ~Chrissie Wellington

We have been hammering “progress, not perfection” at home as the Iron Hippie rehabs and we continue to train for Ironman Lake Placid. Life, training, and racing are all learning experiences. They are not something that has to go “perfectly,” so making progress within the process and learning how to deal with imperfections is truly what is important. Focus on the process, not the outcome!

Recently I had a power test on the bike. I am very pleased with my performance. This didn’t happen overnight. It has taken lots of hard work, consistency, determination, grit, and so much more over the years to get to this point.

While the numbers are great and my power + heart rate graphs are pretty, Coach Kelly reminded me how far I’ve come since we started to work together in December of 2016.

“Since Kecia shared this, so will I. This athlete has been making progress each year. When we first started working together in 2016 she was already an experienced Ironman triathlete having had coaches and also having been self coached. However, here’s something I think is notable: Our first power test after a few weeks together (using 5 min/20 min) had her at 181 w 5 min, 161 w 20 min. Now, look at those mid & high 200s. Each year has been consistent with progress in an upward trajectory. Of course there are the normal high and low times along the way. Proof, even with experience you CAN get to levels much higher than you had imagined with dedication, commitment and knowing what it takes. Many will say jumps and breakthroughs are not possible once you’ve been in the sport for a number of years, but that’s simply not exactly true!” ~Coach Kelly

This was exactly the reminder that I needed to keep focusing on progress and don’t worry about perfection! There are ups and downs + twists and turns along any journey. The consistency day in and day out pays off. #showupandempoweryourself

I remember when I was self coaching how excited I was when I achieved an FTP of 177 watts for the first time. I have grown + learned a lot since then, and look forward to growing + learning even more in the coming years!!

“Growth comes at a point of resistance; we learn by pushing ourselves to the outer reaches of our abilities.” ~Josh Waitzkin

What do you do when you are faced with resistance? Do you succumb to the resistance or push yourself to the outer reaches of your abilities? Do you focus on progress or perfection?

What’s up?! – March 2019

March was a turning point. Spring FINALLY showed up, the snow is nearly all melted, a sh!t ton of dog poop has been picked up, I finished my last parent teacher conferences EVER, and I am now just over 2 months away from the end of my last school year teaching. With the end of the school year comes the building excitement of starting my new career and nerves (in a good way) of doing something different for the first time in 16 years. Meanwhile, these are some of the highlights of March…

Training:

I had another SOLID month of training!! I completed 10 minutes of core strength daily + I’m still on the green streak in Training Peaks!! I have not missed one workout so far this year…13 weeks and counting!! BOOM!!

Love you more and SO glad you’re back in the water!!
My graph from my bike ramp test is so pretty!! Thanks Coach Kelly for helping me realize the strength I had didn’t disappear!!
So grateful for spring weather so I could wear the same Coeur Sports “Not Today Cancer” kit for my bike + run! Oh…and super grateful for my favorite girl who loves to run!! #basillovesrunning

Swim: 26,500 yards (15 miles)
Bike: 227 miles
Run: 79.2 miles
Strength: 10 minutes of core daily + various full body strength
Monthly Totals: 42 hours & 32 minutes

#explore:

Explore is my focus word in 2019 and I’m happy to be incorporating it into all areas of my life…including racing!! I ran the St. Paddy’s 1/2 Marathon with the goal of averaging an 8:30 min/mile pace and I am pleased as a Leprechaun finding a pot of gold with my performance!! I had an overall finish time of 1:51:44 (8:32 min/mile average pace)! I finished 2nd out of 20 in F40-44 and 89th out of 341 overall. I am super excited about where 2019 might take me as I continue to #explore and push my limits!!

Double medal race day at the St. Paddy’s 1/2 Marathon where I got 2nd place in my age group!

Listening to:

KonaKamps had me inspired by two AMAZING women!! Maggie Walsh won Ironman Maryland 2018 at her FIRST EVER triathlon!! She didn’t just win her age group, she was the first female to cross the finish line and break the tape!! Reiko Donato won Ironman Chattanooga 2018 for women 60-64 on a VERY special day…her birthday!! That’s right!! She turned 60 years old and won!! Jana Richtrova won Ironman Cozumel 2018 for women 35-39. This will be her 7th time at Kona!! Congratulations to all of these amazing ladies!!

Rich Roll Podcast with Todd Herman On the Alter Ego Effect: Unlocking the Hero Within is a long listen, but has so many useful nuggets in it! Wow! “There’s a big difference between interested and committed.” ~Todd Herman

Find Your Awesome Podcast with Kelsey Abbott had Jessica Broderick on to talk about grief and what one goes through when they lose a part of their identity. Jessica was a pro triathlete who recently retired and explains the grieving process she went through when this part of her identity was removed. “You can be healthy and fit. They are two very different things.” ~Jessica Broderick

Reading:

I strive to have an attitude of gratitude daily, so when I saw the recent blog post by Carrie Cheadle titled How an Attitude-Of-Gratitude Can Also Lead to Better Performance, I knew I had to read it! Gratitude has so many amazing benefits, why wouldn’t people try to be more grateful?!?!

  • “Greater feeling of happiness
  • Improved sleep
  • Boost your immune system
  • Feeling more optimistic
  • Better at handling adversity
  • Increased amount of exercise
  • Experiencing more positive emotions
  • Raises self-confidence
  • Less physical pain
  • More resiliency”

She has some great tips for how to start your own gratitude practice! She recommends “bedtime reflection, a happy jar, and a gratitude journal.” Every night before I go to bed, I write down as many things as I can think of that I’m grateful for from the day. I don’t limit myself to only 3 things and I try to make sure I am not writing down the same things everyday. I also try to take pictures of things that I am grateful for and I look back at these pictures at the end of each month as I compose my “What’s Up?!” monthly blog post. Compiling the “Attitude of Gratitude” section of my blog post each month is a great way to remind myself of all of the amazing things that I have in my life to be thankful for. Taking the pictures also keeps me focused on gratitude daily.

Celebrating:

42!! My birthday fell on a very LONG work day (teach all day + parent teacher conferences all evening), but this being my last parent teacher conferences ever was one of the best birthday presents I could give myself!! I did get to celebrate over the weekend as I consumed loads of sushi + raced the St. Paddy’s 1/2 Marathon!!

Love me some sushi…SO YUMMY!!

Attitude of Gratitude:

So grateful I got to see these two beautiful faces…even if it wasn’t for the happiest reason.
So grateful for girl’s night out playing board games with these beauties!! #needtodothismoreoften
The first time in my 16 years of teaching that I was given flowers from a student.
Love my mama! She’s still the boss even after 42 years!! 🙂
So grateful, blessed, and lucky to have my fave supporting me, encouraging me, and cheering me on in races and life!!
I am so grateful for the sun, bluebird skies, and warm temps for a tank top + shorts while running outside!!
I am grateful for noticing the little things in life…the random heart that the cord of our fan made on the floor by my bike trainer.
I am grateful that the weather is nice enough to rake up all the leaves and play in them with my favorite girl!!
SO grateful my legs and mind were strong allowing me to put together a solid 7 mile run with 1100 feet of climbing!! 🙂
After a tough run (1100 feet of climbing over 7 miles), I was so grateful to find a way to use my Normatec Recovery boots in the car since I had to be there for a few hours post run.
Grateful to meet the Iron Hippie’s parents for lunch!
So grateful that my body and mind are strong and they allow me to run 15 miles after a busy day at work!
So grateful that I got some run love with Robin in the sunshine (even if the temps were cold)! I’ve missed my girl time!

How was your month of March?! What were you grateful for last month?! How can you document them in a meaningful way for you?!

#ShowUpAndEmpowerMyself

“If you choose not to act, you have little chance of success. What’s more, when you choose to act, you’re able to succeed more frequently than you think. How often in life do we avoid doing something because we think we’ll fail? Is failure really worse than doing nothing? And how often might we actually have triumphed if we had just decided to give it a try?” ~Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

2019 has had me on the podium twice so far! Considering I’ve raced twice, I am on a roll! Action = Success! Part of my success stems from belief in myself, my training, and Coach Kelly who has successfully supported and guided me for over 2 years now. Another part comes from consciously making the decision to consistently show up to complete my workouts. When I show up, I empower myself! My crazy dreams aren’t going to make themselves happen. I have to show up and put in the work to get closer to achieving them. I am the only one who can turn my dreams into a reality!

Podium finish is a great way to start 2019!!

While I HAVE been upset with myself for skipping a workout, I’ve NEVER been upset with myself for showing up and completing a workout. It isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it! Since January 1 (really since December 26), I haven’t missed a workout. Things have been adjusted by Coach Kelly as life changes to ensure success, but I’ve only seen green in Training Peaks since the first of the year. Sure, my workouts don’t always go according to the plan, but that doesn’t mean I regret doing them. I learn and grow from them. I become a better athlete and a better person.

By showing up and completing my workouts, I am empowering myself! I am choosing action! I am choosing success!

Double medal race day at the St. Paddy’s 1/2 Marathon where I got 2nd place in my age group!

Keep showing up and empowering yourself!!

The Best of 2018

I love looking back and thinking about all of the amazing things that I’ve accomplished and all of the challenges I’ve overcome! 2018 was full of challenges, accomplishments, and FUN!! I’ve reflected for the last 5 years and now it’s time to reflect on 2018! You can look back at my previous posts if you’d like: Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, the Best of 2015, the Best of 2016, and the Best of 2017. Now its time to reminisce my faves from 2018! 🙂

Best race experience?

Ironman Ohio 70.3 was hands down my FAVORITE race this year!! I not only accomplished my #sub6orbust goal, but got to meet and race with so many of my Coeur Sports sisters + cross the finish with Steena!! It was truly one of the best race experiences I’ve ever had!! #blessed

My Coeur runneth over!! I got to meet some of the most inspirational, determined, loving ladies today!! #happycoeur Photo Credit: my fave
So grateful to have Steena by my side as I broke 6 hours, crushed goals, and achieved dreams at Ironman Ohio 70.3!! Thank you Steena for being such a strong, motivating, awesome BADASS!! Photo credit: FinisherPix

Best run?

Running with Steena at Ironman Ohio 70.3!! She ran stride for stride with me, pushing me to a 70.3 PR!! #sub6orbust

The #sub6orbust is no longer a dream!! Today I turned it into a reality thanks to Steena who ran with me!! This lady is such a strong, positive badass and I’m blessed and grateful to have had her by my side today!! Photo Credit: Danielle Worthington

Best bike?

For me, the ride that stands out the most this year is the one I learned the most from…my first 5 hour trainer ride. It was a VERY tough day for me! Physically I was pushing higher watts for longer durations than I ever had before. Mentally, I WANTED to be riding out on the open roads around the amazing #IMWI bike course, but a gut check put me on the trainer instead. In this process, I learned SO much about how STRONG I truly am both mentally and physically and what I can do when staring adversity in the face! Thanks to Ruth for keeping me going when the meltdown started! ❤

5 hours on the trainer pushed me to a whole new level…physically and mentally.

Best swim?

The first time I went sub 1:30/100 yards in the pool was this year!! While I have seen a sub 1:30/100 yards a few times since then, it has not happened often, but I’m THRILLED every time it does!!

My first 100 yard swim time that is sub 1:30!! #hardworkpaysoff

Best mental focus?

HANDS DOWN…Ironman Louisville!! What a day!! What a race!! I had to dig mentally into places I didn’t even know I had in me!! I was thrown challenge after challenge throughout the day; from Mother Nature providing us with MUCH LESS than ideal weather, to the race directors changing up the swim course 5 minutes before the race was set to start, to the traffic on the bike course that forced me to come to a complete stop (more than once) so I wouldn’t rear end the vehicle in front of me (with wet breaks I might add), to my body when my back cramped up on the run, and others I’m sure I’ve forgotten (or maybe blocked from my memory). Through all of these challenges, I fought the fight and won!! I remained focused throughout the day, stayed strong, and crossed the finish line with complete exhaustion and a smile on my face!!

This sums up my Ironman Louisville race day…cold + wet + windy + challenging + strong = success!! Photo credit: FinisherPix

Best training weekend?

My solo training weekend in Madison, Wisconsin!! I got to spend time on 2 wheels with Steena, I got to push myself out of my comfort zone, and I got to enjoy ALL. OF. THE. HILLS. on a course I LOVE!!

Hard work pays off!! Thanks to my #sub6orbust buddy Steena for pulling me up ALL. THE. HILLS On 2 loops of the #IMWI bike course!! Photo credit: GoPro 🙂

Best training compass?

Coach Kelly with Ever Racing has kept me grounded this year. There have been times this year when I overlooked my successes because I was consumed by the immediate feelings instead of the big picture. Thankfully Coach Kelly called me out on my SH!T and redirected my focus!! I would not be where I am today without her structure, focus, guidance, feedback, support, accountability, motivation + so much more! She has helped me to become a better, #everstrong athlete and person every day! I am forever grateful to her and so glad we have a strong relationship built on communication and trust!! I am excited to see how far we go in 2019!!

Best enCOEURaging moment?

Getting this text message from my sister after Ironman Louisville completely melted my heart!! I am SO excited that my 10 year old niece wants to do an Ironman with me one day in the future!! You never know who you are inspiring!!

Best nutritional find?

Infinit Nutrition has been a game changer for me this year!! Ironman Louisville was my first Ironman race that I did not bonk, have GI issues, or end up in the med tent with hyponatremia or dehydration. With 6 Ironman finish lines under my belt, I think I MAY have finally dialed in my race day nutrition!! 🙂

Best new gear?

My Normatec Recovery boots are da bomb diggity!! They have helped me recover from intense training + provided Basil with an inflatable pillow 😉 We are both in love with them and use them often!!

“I love my inflatable pillow Mama” ~Basil
So grateful for Normatec! #recoveryisimportant

Best supportive role?

Chasing my fave around while he ran the Twin Cities Marathon the week before I raced Ironman Louisville. I am SO PROUD of the hard work, dedication, perseverance, and PR race that he put up!! High five (or ten) to my fave!!

SO FREAKING PROUD of my FAVE!! HE CRUSHED IT!! Setting a new PR in a time of 3:33:05 at the Twin Cities Marathon!! 🙂

Best way to stay healthy?

Obviously eating healthy + sleep are super important, but to help me get a better understanding of how I can recover smarter, I decided to monitor my blood work with the help of Inside Tracker. I have learned so much about different biomarkers + how they can impact my training, recovery, sleep, etc. Knowledge is power!!

#blooddontlie

Best piece of racing advice you received?

I know this has been my best piece of racing advice for a few years, but that is because I have not found anything better to remind me of my race day “job” and what I need to do to achieve success. Race day can be a mixed bag (hello Ironman Louisville), but this advice works no matter what the conditions and the day bring:

“Be calm; focus on what you are going to do. Don’t get distracted, don’t get overwhelmed, take it all as it comes. You are ready for this; you’ve prepared for years. This is it, your time to shine. Go forth with all your powers. Go forth with everything in you. Make it work.” ~Lynne Cox, “Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer”

IMG_3610

Most inspirational athlete?

There are so many that I can’t pick just one! Everyone is on their own, unique journey and I am inspired by them all. My Coeur Sports sisters inspire me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! I’ve also been SUPER inspired this year by friends who finished their first Ironman. By friends who attempted their first Ironman, but didn’t meet cutoffs. By friends who did their first triathlon this year. By people who have survived an accident and are still training + racing. By people who fight disease and keep training + racing. By people who challenge themselves and try something new. By people I haven’t met yet and people I see everyday! There are far too many people who inspire me to pick just one!

Best support crew?

Hands down…Tim, Dad and my sister, Abbie! These three pushed me through during some VERY challenging times at Ironman Louisville. They were up EARLY on race morning to help me get to transition. They were patient with the process of all of the race morning shenanigans…even in the cold + rain + wind. They were in all of the right places at all of the right times during the race encouraging me (and SO many others) to keep moving forward when it would have been SO. MUCH. EASIER to throw in the towel and call it a day. Tim got all of my race gear while I was out on the run to save time. They cheered, photographed, and spread love to me and other athletes throughout a REALLY long day! There are not enough hugs and kisses for each of you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Love you all so much! I couldn’t have gotten to this finish line without your unwavering encouragement and support!!

My cheer squad on the second loop!! Tim, Abbie, and Dad (left to right) chasing me up the hill into LaGrange! I made it back to them!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

Strong, courage, believe, fun!!

Tell me about your 2018 year!! What are your “bests” from 2018?!

What’s Up?! – November 2018

How is it possible that we are less than one month away from 2019?! I think time moves faster the older I get, but I must say that November was the LONGEST month I’ve had in quite some time! Here is a small snapshot of what I was up to last month!!

Training:

Putting in the work with my fave by my side!!
Spending more time on the bike with my fave now that we are training for the same races in 2019!!
Running on the golf course now that it is closed for winter!!

Swim: 17,400 yards (9.89 miles)
Bike: 139 miles
Run: 44.9 miles
Monthly Totals: 31 hours & 3 minutes

Dreaming of:

A white Christmas!! I want SNOW!! I love to go out and play in the snow, but sadly we have none…not even one measly flake. Mother Nature has blessed many other locations around us with snow, but none here. I’m ready for lots of snow so I can go snowshoeing with the family, run through the fresh stuff and be the first one to leave tracks, and go sledding with my nieces at Christmas!! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!

Listening to:

Michelle Bandur is not only an AMAZING friend and Coeur Sports sister, but she is a PHENOMENAL person! Listen to her story about how she turned a dollar into a triathlon club for young girls in her community. I guarantee…you won’t be disappointed!!

Ellen Wexler is also an AMAZING friend and Coeur Sports sister!! This woman is so inspirational, determined, and full of grit + tenacity!! You definitely are going to want to listen to her story!! She has overcome many obstacles in her path to find happiness + joy!! #fuckcancer!!

Planning for:

2019!! I am SUPER excited to chase some BIG GOALS in 2019!! Thanks to the help of Coach Kelly, we have a plan in place to help me achieve my goals. I’m so grateful to have her as my compass pointing me in the “right direction” as I continue on the yellow (or blue if I’m in the pool) brick road toward my dreams in endurance sport!!

Grateful for:

The Coeur Sports 2019 ambassador team…I’m SO grateful to be representing the BEST brand + sisterhood in endurance sport!!
Grateful to have my mother-in-law visit us!!
When you FINALLY see yourself on the side of the city bus when it is stopped!!
So thankful to have this guy by my side in life!!
So grateful that we got to meet up with framily over Thanksgiving break!!

How was your month of November?! What were you grateful for last month?!