What’s up?! – May 2019

And with that, I am officially done teaching 8th graders!! I still have multiple days of professional development ahead of me, but the students are gone. It is bitter sweet!! You can read more about that here. It is time to start my next new adventure soon, but first, here is a look at what the month of May had in store for me.

Training:

I had another SOLID month of training!! I completed 10 minutes of core strength daily + 3 minutes of meditation daily + I’m still on the green streak in Training Peaks!! I have not missed one workout so far this year…22 weeks and counting!! BOOM!!

BOOM!! I think I grew gills and fins!! This is my fastest ever 100 yard pace!! 🙂
I love spending time on two wheels outside with my fave at my side!! 70+ miles on the most perfect weather day any cyclist could ask for!!
What?! I got to run with my fave!! WAHOO!! I’m so proud of his patience, strength, and focus on getting to the start line of #IMLP this July!!

Swim: 28,725 yards (16.3 miles)
Bike: 357 miles
Run: 83.6 miles
Strength: 10 minutes of core daily + various full body strength
Meditation: 3 minutes daily since January 1
Monthly Totals: 53 hours & 5 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’ve been talking with Coach Kelly about racing two IRONMAN races in one year and she was just as excited for me to give it a go as I am. So, on May 1, I decided to #explore with racing TWO IRONMAN races 10 weeks apart in 2019. I have officially registered for Ironman Lake Placid on July 28 AND Ironman Louisville on October 13. This will be my first ever experience in doing two Ironman races so close together. Am I nervous? Sure! Am I scared? A bit! Am I excited? MOST DEFINITELY! I am ready to push my limits and see what my body + mind can handle.

Ironman Louisville registration is complete! I am ready for another crack at you and hoping for much better weather this year!!

Listening to:

KonaKamps always has me inspired by some amazing peeps!! Megan Anley won Ironman South Africa in the W18-24 age group at her first Ironman. Congrats Megan!!

Rich Roll brought Jesse Thomas to his podcast recently. Jesse is not only an amazing professional triathlete, but he balances his pro triathlon career with a wife, kids, his own business, and fun. He is quite the inspiration and so down to Earth!!

Reading:

Finding my Voice by Mike Reilly is so inspirational!! “Finding My Voice is a series of deeply personal vignettes illuminating how profoundly the sport of IRONMAN touches both its participants and its fans. Written from Reilly’s unique insider’s perspective as the long-time World Championship race announcer and one of the most prominent personalities in the endurance sports field, it  provides an intimate, revealing and entertaining glimpse into a fascinating corner of the world of endurance sports.”

Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins is a great read. He overcame so many obstacles in life and eventually became “the only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller. He went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name him “The Fittest (Real) Man in America.” Through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world’s top endurance athletes.”

Loving:

Our new Sleep Number bed!! While we have only slept in it for 3 nights, it has been three of the best nights’ of sleep in a LONG time!! As we continue to dial in our numbers, I can only imagine that out sleep will continue to improve!!

Basil loves our new bed!!

Leaning into:

My last week of my middle school teaching career. This change feels scary, but right!! I’m super excited to embark on this new career as a Teaching Laboratory Coordinator with the Physics and Astronomy Department at Iowa State University starting next week. After all, stepping outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens!

Going out with a splash!! My last day with kids was super fun and wet!! Now for a week of professional development before starting my new adventure next week!!

Attitude of Gratitude:

Chaperoning my last 8th grade dance!!
Morning sunrises are the best way to start the day!!
Playing in the water with my fave!!
Recovering in my Normatec boots while watching the Kentucky Derby!!
Joining some friends for a spin class!
Our neighbor, Marjorie, came home from Arizona. We are so happy she is here to stay!!
So grateful my favorite girl loves to run!! 13.2 miles later, we were both ready for some food and a nap!! 🙂
I love fresh, homegrown veggies!! So grateful to get our garden planted!!
Grateful to get to reconnect with my mat!
Grateful for the time and nice weather to finally landscape around the house!!
Grateful to have these two amazing ladies show up and attend my triathlon clinic!!
So grateful that Shane, our UPS delivery driver, loves our girls!!
So grateful to have had some of the most AMAZING colleagues ever!! I will miss some of our shenanigans!!

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

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Work Works!!

Monday morning I had the swim of my life!! I’ve been working so hard for years and all of my hard work is paying off!! Seriously!! For the main set, I had 5×100 ALL OUT EFFORT with 4 minutes of recovery between intervals. The last time I did this swim, my times were 1:31-1:33/100 yards, so my goal was to break 1:30/100 yards for most of them. I didn’t know if it was possible, but I was going to do my best to give it a go!!

After my first 100 yards, I was STOKED!! Not only was I sub 1:30/100 yards, but I was more than a couple of seconds under. BOOM!! Let’s keep this momentum going!! 4 minutes rest and my second one was even faster!! WHAT?! Who am I?! Have I grown gills and fins?! 4 minutes rest and consistency…same time as my 2nd interval. I’m good with that!! 4 minutes rest and BOOM…5 seconds faster than the 1:30/100 yard goal!! WHAT?! I must be in someone else’s body this morning!! 4 minutes rest and let’s do this last one. SOLID!!

My 5×100 yard splits

I am super pleased with this swim. Not because I surpassed my wildest expectations. Not because I had super fast (for me) swim times. Not because I fought hard for every second. Not because I stayed physically strong throughout this swim. Not because I was efficient in the water. Not because I was determined and disciplined during this swim. Not because I was focused mentally throughout this swim.

I am super pleased with this swim BECAUSE I never gave up!! I have been consistently showing up and working SO HARD to get to this point. My first 100 yard time trial effort in January of 2010 was 1:57/100 yards and in reading my notes about that swim, it was SUCH a struggle to achieve. I could have settled with the 1:57/100 yard pace and continued to swim at this *fast* speed for the next 9+ years; instead I decided to work hard and push myself out of my comfort zone to achieve great things. Consistently show up!! Never give up!! Work works!!

Accomplishing this goal has not been a solo endeavor.

  • Thank you to the Iron Hippie for always believing in me, always pushing me to be the best I can be, and being my rock. ❤
  • Thank you to Coach Kelly for believing in me, challenging me, and building a program that has allowed me to get stronger and faster.
  • Thank you to my parents for teaching me to chase my dreams, that hard work pays off, and always supporting me no matter what! ❤
  • Thank you to my Coeur teammates for your motivation, inspiration, support, and encouragement to always strive for the best from myself.

** Special thanks to Steena for the title of this post!!

#explore x2

If you’ve been following my blog this year, you know that #explore is my word for 2019. I have been exploring in all areas of my life…training, racing, work, and my personal life. I have been healthy and strong so far this year, so after conferring with the Iron Hippie and Coach Kelly, I have decided to #explore x2 in 2019!

What does #explore x2 mean?! Well…2x the Ironman journey, 2x the learning + growing, 2x the fun! On July 28, 2019 I will be tackling Ironman Lake Placid and on October 13, 2019 I will be tackling Ironman Louisville. Until now, the closest I have raced two Ironman competitions is 10 months apart, but in 2019 I am going to #explore and see what my body + mind can do with two Ironman races 10 WEEKS apart. Eeeekkkkk!!! Like any new thing, I am full of mixed emotions; one minute I doubt my decision and abilities, and the next I am confident in my decision and my abilities. Overall, I am very excited and looking forward to the challenge.

Ironman teaches me something during every journey to the start line and on every race day. I learn things about myself; things I didn’t know before. I ❤ to learn! As a result, I am looking forward to learning and growing on my journey to Ironman Lake Placid, on my journey to Ironman Louisville, during Ironman Lake Placid, and during Ironman Louisville this year.

“Adversity is what introduces you to yourself, so I am discovering myself anew on a daily basis, and everyday I get stronger.” ~Mike Reilly

July 28, 2019
October 13, 2019

For those of you who have done 2 Ironman races ~10 weeks apart, what advice do you have?!

Coaches Expectations

I recently received feedback from Coach Kelly on a couple of workouts that I’ve completed. They got me thinking about what I think her expectations are of me as an athlete. As athletes, we have expectations of our coaches, so wouldn’t it be true that our coaches have expectations of us as athletes?! I believe our coaches have expectations of us as athletes. I believe the following are some of Coach Kelly’s expectations of me.

  1. Communicate openly and honestly with her. I am paying her to help me. If I hold things back from her, I limit the amount of help she can provide me and limit my own success.
  2. Be open and responsive to feedback. I hired her to help me get stronger and improve my fitness. I want her feedback and I am grateful when she helps me reframe my mindset to be more positive and realistic.
  3. Be realistic about the time that I have to commit to training. Keeping her informed from week to week of engagements and appointments so that I can minimize my stress + maximize my success is key. With my career changing, I may find that my work hours change a bit as well, so being realistic with the amount of time I have to train and the time of day that I can do so will also be key.
  4. Stay healthy; this does not only mean staying injury free, but also remaining healthy mentally. Fueling my body with healthy foods, getting plenty of sleep so it is ready for the next session, and getting massages + ART as needed are key in staying physically + mentally healthy.
  5. Be engaged and focused during my training sessions. The mind will wander…that’s a given, but when I notice the mind has wandered, pull it back to the task at hand and keep the focus.
  6. Adjust to adversity…life isn’t always full of rainbows and unicorns. There are challenges that we have to face. As an athlete, it is important to face adversity head on, problem solve, and make adjustments on the fly to make the challenging situation as easy as possible. How can I get past this struggle?!
  7. Believe in myself…know that I won’t hit every target that is set. Having targets to chase is how I will get stronger and become a better athlete. Even when I don’t hit the targets, believe that I will one day and keep fighting with everything I have in me.
  8. Trust my coach…if I go into workouts questioning why I’m doing this workout or doubting what she has put in place to help me be successful, I will not be successful. It is just as important for me to believe in my coach as it is to believe in myself!
  9. Do and be my best! Not just in training and racing, but in life. Be a positive ambassador for the sport. If it isn’t my day, that’s ok. I can still be positive, encouraging, and uplifting for others around me. Knowing I gave the best I had for that day.
  10. Have fun! If we aren’t having fun, what is the point of training and racing?! Fun should always be the top reason for doing what we love!!
Coach Kelly really cares about her athletes and I am SO grateful to have her in my village guiding, supporting, and encouraging me on my journey to becoming the best triathlete + person I can be!!

Am I missing any expectations that you think a coach might have for their athlete?! If so, what are they?

What’s up?! – April 2019

As I roll into my last month of teaching, before changing careers, it is time to reflect on April. April has brought us some days of warmer weather, had me spending time with my Coeur sisters, crossing the finish line of another 1/2 marathon, and riding outside on the open roads with my fave. With all of these amazing things in the rear view mirror, I have high hopes for the month of May!!

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…18 weeks and counting!! BOOM!!

14 Ironman finish lines amongst this #swimsquad and more to come in our futures!!
“Growth comes at a point of resistance; we learn by pushing ourselves to the outer reaches of our abilities.” ~Josh Waitzkin
Keep the focus and finish STRONG!! My 7th Drake 1/2 marathon is in the books!! You can read more about it here.

Swim: 38,700 yards (21.99 miles)
Bike: 282 miles
Run: 95.5  miles
Strength: 10 minutes of core daily + various full body strength
Monthly Totals: 54 hours & 40 minutes

#explore:

Explore is my focus word in 2019 and I’m happy to be incorporating it into all areas of my life…including training!! Before each race, I think back to key sessions that better prepared me (both physically and mentally) for the race I’m about to embark on. I even jot these key sessions down so that I know the dates to refer back to in my training log. On April 23, I had a key swim session that gave me the confidence that I can have a stellar PR swim this year! The workout…

Swim 100 at the 3rd fastest pace from the 4 x 100 descending above. Assuming that felt “right” for z3/mod hard type effort this will be your pace.

Swim as many 100’s as you can at this pace with :20 to :25 rest between. If using a tempo trainer, your rest is one beep cycle.

If off by 3 seconds, rest a full minute and try again.

If after 1 minute you cannot hold the pace you are done. Cool down.

Well…my 3rd fastest 100 was 1:38.7/100 yards. Could I really hold 1:39/100 yards for more than 5 intervals?

100s Z3 effort until failure for breakfast…goal pace = 1:39/100 yards with 20 sec recovery between each; failure = 1:42/100 yards
Self doubt told me I could only maintain my goal pace for 5×100.
Self confidence told me I was strong and could crush this pace for at least 10×100.
Giddy!! That’s how I felt when I successfully completed 20×100 at 1:3x.x + nailing 21×100 before failure!! #explore #befierce #beatiger #believe

Apparently so! #befierce is the mantra for the Coeur Team in 2019 and it helped me crush my expectations and self doubt during this workout and I know it will help me with many more in the future!!

Tiger Team!! #beatiger

Listening to:

KonaKamps always has me inspired by some amazing peeps!! Keri Houston is an age group champ at Ironman New Zealand 2019. Michelle Enslin is the age group champion for the 50-54 age group at Ironman South Africa 2019 after coming back from surgery. Her gratitude is contagious!

Rich Roll brought Johann Hari on his podcast to talk about addiction and depression. “The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety. It’s connection.” With the world at our fingertips (quite literally…that phone you’re holding is taking you away from making connections with the people around you, so put it down and make memories with those around you) we can disconnect from those around us just as quickly as we can connect with them by putting the technology away. “If you suffer from addiction or depression, this is a must listen. If you don’t, chances are someone you care for does. This conversation can provide the insight and tools for better understanding the struggle — because mental health truly impacts everyone.”

Reading:

Peak Performance: Elevate your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness is amazing!! It kept me engaged and wanting to read even more!! The authors suggest “optimally alternating between periods of intense work and rest; priming the body and mind for enhanced productivity; and developing and harnessing the power of a self-transcending purpose.” There is so much useful information in here!! It was one that I struggled to put down so I could get adequate sleep each night!!

Leaning into:

Discomfort…I know that when we step outside of our comfort zone and embrace discomfort that we experience growth. As a result, I have been leaning into discomfort more in my personal life and am making huge strides. Discomfort isn’t easy and it takes a lot of work for growth to happen, but the rewards that come from it are definitely worth leaning into and embracing the discomfort.

Attitude of Gratitude:

Grateful for the support of SBR Sports, Inc. SBR is my go to for chlorine removal + blister prevention + easy wetsuit removal. Use KEPL19 at checkout for 20% off your next order of these amazing products!!
Grateful for the warmer temps + sunshine as I put my feet up with a good book while the dogs enjoy their bones!!
WAHOO!! Grateful that the IronHippie is seeing green in Training Peaks again post surgery!!
Grateful for the yoga mat + some vitamin D!!
Grateful for a strong body to put up some all time records during my most recent FTP test!!
Grateful to have Basil run by my side and the IronHippie back in the saddle!!
Grateful to Normatec Recovery for helping me bounce back from tough workouts so I can nail the next session!!
These two…so grateful for their unconditional love!!
Grateful for some girl time with Robin as we pound the pavement!!
Grateful to Nick with Vitality Massage for keeping me active!!
So grateful to meet up with some of my Coeur sisters!! Pre race hugs are where it’s at!!
3 cheers for 3 Drake 1/2 marathon finishers!! Grateful to cross another finish line!!
So grateful I get to fill my belly with this yummy sushi!! Especially after racing!!
Grateful for freedom on 2 wheels on the open road with my fave!!
Grateful to have a coach who thinks I’m a mermaid…specifically Ariel. 🙂
Mindfulness is a practice. I am so grateful to be practicing this and becoming more aware of my thoughts/emotions as a result!

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

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…

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?