It’s All a Matter of Perspective

When I think about being injured and currently not in my normal training regimen, I realize I have to keep it all in perspective and be thankful for what I can do.  I don’t think twice about having 16 hours of exercise in a week, but to some, that is ridiculous.

embrace a new perspective

Sure, I’m annoyed that I can’t run, but I can still go out and cycle 50-100 miles.  I know…ridiculous.  I can go swim 2 continuous miles with my face in the water.  I know…ridiculous.  I can go snow shoeing for a few hours (if there were snow on the ground right now) with the Iron Hippie and our dogs.  I know…ridiculous.  I can go kayaking all day.  I know…ridiculous.  I can go to a 90 minute hot yoga class and sweat buckets.  I know…ridiculous.

The Iron Hippie and I had a good conversation last night as we did a 1 hour “urban tour” bike ride.  Most people would consider riding their bicycle for an hour to be a “workout.”  In our household, however, we consider the “urban tour” to be socialization and pure enjoyment.  There is no part of it that we consider a “workout.”  We are not breaking a sweat.  We are not even riding hard enough for our heart rates to escalate.

The funny ironic part is that when you truly enjoy something, it doesn’t seem so ridiculous!!  I always say, “When you hang out with the crazies, you don’t seem so crazy.”  All of these “crazy” feats and hours of training have become the norm in our household.

What do you consider “normal” exercise routines/workouts?  Do you ever have to be reminded to keep your workout routine in perspective?

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

I recently decided to take the 100 happy days challenge and started documenting what makes me happy each day through pictures.  Looking back over the last month to see what I deem to be “happy” caused me to notice some themes…

  1. Exercise…no surprise there   IMG_3320
  2. Puppy Love…our girls know how to put a smile on my face   IMG_3321
  3. Food…goes hand-in-hand with exercise in my book   IMG_3323
  4. Nature…getting outside after a rather brutal winter has been wonderful                         IMG_3322
  5. The Iron Hippie…yes he does know how to put a smile on my face from time to time 🙂  Most of our time together is spent working out during IRONMAN training…we often times refer to these workouts as dates 😉IMG_3326

What makes you happy?  Are you taking the 100 happy days challenge?  If so, what themes have you noticed?

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Week 17: 14 hours & 34 minutes

Swim:  4800 yards

Bike:  35.7 miles

Run:  18.3 miles

Brick:  50.6 miles

Strength Training:  2 hours & 15 minutes

Hot Yoga: 2 hours & 30 minutes

I missed my first scheduled workout (a run) since December 30, 2013 this week.  I figure if I only miss one scheduled workout every 4 months, that is a pretty good streak 😉

Spring Equinox

Yesterday the Iron Hippie and I got up, went to the gym to lift weights, did some chores at home, ran some errands, and then hit the trails on a BEAUTIFUL spring day!!  We had a BRick scheduled…2 hour ride followed by a 30 minute run…

Time to Ride!!

Time to Ride!!  33.76 miles in 2 hours = 16.8 mph…not bad for being on the trainer since January 1, 2014

Ride is done...now for the run!!

Ride is done…now for the run!!  3.42 miles in 30 minutes = 8:47/mile…This was an easy run off the bike for me

Yesterday Mother Nature decided to have a good attitude and show us what we’ve been missing all winter.  The high temperature for the day was 58F with very little winds and lots of sun.  It felt SO GREAT to exercise outdoors with the sun on my face and the breeze in my hair!!  Thank you Mother Nature for a nice weather day, even if it isn’t going to last 🙂

What did you do to “celebrate” the first day of spring?

10 Lessons Dogs Teach You About Triathlon

Our two babies...Basil on the left and Mya on the right

Our two babies…Basil on the left and Mya on the right

The Iron Hippie and I have two black labs…Mya is 4 years old and Basil is 15 months old.  I have strep throat and have been home sick, hoping to get better before winter break.  Being sick, I am unable to workout, clean house, etc.  So what does one do when they are sick??? Well…write a blog post. 🙂  I’ve spent some time studying the girls these last two days and it got me thinking about how their actions translate to triathlon.  These are the 10 lessons that I have learned from Mya and Basil and what these lessons can teach you about triathlon:

  1. Have fun…Basil LOVES to play ball, go for a run, swim, tug on Mya and just have fun.  It is important for triathletes to ALWAYS remember to have fun.  If it ever becomes unenjoyable, it may be time to reevaluate why you are doing what you do.  Fun should be a #1 priority for triathletes!!
  2. Get lots of rest…Both Basil and Mya get lots of sleep.  They typically nap multiple hours a day.  Sleep is an integral component for proper recovery both for dogs and triathletes!!
  3. Stay hydrated…The girls drink plenty of water throughout the day.  Water enhances athlete performance by increasing blood volume and lowering body temperature during exercise.  As triathletes, we need to remember to stay properly hydrated, not just during a workout, but leading up to the workout and post workout to improve training and racing performance.
  4. Proper nutrition is key…Mya and Basil LOVE to eat!!  We feed our girls a highly recommended dog food.  Nutrition is what I refer to as the 5th discipline of triathlon and it is very important for us to remember to eat clean and healthy foods.  Proper nutrition will help us achieve our goals and dreams!!
  5. Salt is a necessity…After the girls exercise (often times with us), they always lick us for salt replacement.  As triathletes, we need to remember to not only stay properly hydrated, but also make sure we have proper amounts of electrolytes in our systems.  After having experienced hyponatremia first hand during my first IRONMAN race, I can definitely speak to the importance of electrolytes during training and racing.
  6. Massages are AWESOME…what dog doesn’t love a good massage???  Most professional triathletes know the benefits of massages and frequently incorporate them into their training for proper recovery.  If massages are good enough for professional triathletes and dogs, why shouldn’t we get them too???
  7. Learn from your mistakes…When Basil is scolded for something she shouldn’t do (such as chewing up a puzzle piece, moving a slipper, etc.), she often learns not to do it again.  As triathletes, we need to learn from our mistakes and not make them again.  Failure is success if we learn from it and make changes so the same mistakes don’t happen over and over again.
  8. Don’t Quit…Mya and Basil would swim and/or play ball ALL DAY LONG if we let them.  They don’t know when to quit!!  As triathletes, it is important for us to focus on our goals and dreams and work hard to achieve them.  We can’t get the results we want by making excuses for the work we don’t do 🙂
  9. Determination goes a long way…When Basil wants something, she is VERY DETERMINED to get it.  For example, she will continuously ring the decorative bell on the door knob when she wants outside (something we trained her to do as a young puppy).  Mental training is what I refer to as the 4th discipline of triathlon.  According to Veronica Roth (Divergent), “What good is a prepared body if you have a scattered mind?”  There is so much truth in that question.  Remember…Just Believe 🙂
  10. Listen to your body…When dogs need a nap, they sleep…When dogs are thirsty, they drink…When they have a full bladder, they relieve themselves.  If we listen to our bodies, we can help prevent injuries, help prevent overtraining, remain properly hydrated and stay happy and healthy.

Moral of this story…as triathletes, we can learn a lot from a dog!! dog

Hibernation vs. Exercise

With the changing of the clocks due to Daylight Savings this weekend, it gets me thinking about the time of year when some people have more problems finding motivation and symptoms of depression spike…due to fewer daylight hours, the anticipation of winter, confinement during the colder weather, the stresses of the Holidays, midterm exams, too many hours at work, deadlines at work, financial stresses, etc.  When the symptoms of depression start to rear their ugly heads, some people hibernate.

Working out helps combat symptoms of depression.  When I swim, bike, run, strength train, sweat, push my body to its limits and beyond…the endorphins kick in and I am happy 🙂  I feel better about myself, my mood is 100 % better than when I started and life is great after a workout!!

Many of us race so we can experience that “race high” at the start of the race when the gun goes off, the adrenalin kicks in and we get to enjoy what we have been training so hard for.  We also experience that “race high” at the finish line knowing we have pushed our bodies to their limits on that day, overcome challenges, conquered another goal, completed another journey in our journey of life…Oh, the euphoria!!

exercise antidepressantWhen we get into a slump, it is easy to just hibernate and let the emotions take over, but the best thing we can do for our mind, body and soul is to exercise.  What choice will you make…hibernation OR exercise????

How has exercise evolved, challenged and gifted your life?

I recently was reminded of how exercise has evolved, challenged and gifted my life…

For me, it all started in the fall of 2004…I decided to take control of my life and stop letting my life take control of me.  As a result I decided to try some new adventures…one of which was RUNNING!!  It wasn’t easy to start running.  As a matter of fact, it was very challenging at times, but I decided I was going to run a 5K in October of 2004…  My patience, persistence, perseverance and passion superceded the occasional exhaustion, sore muscles, or lack of motivation to get out the door.  After having recently gone through a divorce, running became my therapy.  I found new friends and discovered a gift that just keeps giving!!

Running is a gift

I finished that 5K and caught a virus…the RUNNING VIRUS!!!  I decided that my 5K run could be improved upon…by going farther and faster.  Next came a different kind of challenge…a local 7 mile off road race in November of 2004.  Shortly after the start of 2005, I decided I would sign up to train for a local 20K race (Dam to Dam) with the City of Ames Parks and Rec Program…Team 12.4.  This experience presented its own challenges and completely changed my life!!  I met some AMAZING friends, pushed my body to new limits and eventually found the love of my life!!

After completing the Dam to Dam 20K race in June of 2005, my running virus got more infectious!!  I decided to further challenge myself by signing up for a marathon and joined the training group through the City of Ames Parks and Rec for the marathon training program.  In October of 2005 many of the runners in our training group celebrated by running the Chicago Marathon.  After our celebration, we decided we didn’t want to see our running group break up, so we all played a role in the birth of TEAM VARDO…the BEST running group ever!!

The BEST running group EVER!!

The BEST running group EVER!!

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The following spring (spring of 2006), I was training for Grandma’s Marathon with the Team Vardo runners when a handsome gent started running with Team 12.4 to train for Dam to Dam.  After completing Dam to Dam in 2006, he decided to start running with Team Vardo…boy was I lucky!!  Not only would I get to meet him and run with him, but I was lucky enough to fall in love with and eventually marry this handsome gent!!

My running virus evolved into a full-fledged, exercise virus as I started to incorporate strength training into my workout regimen.  My exercise virus continued to get more and more infectious…it took me to new distances and pushed me to get faster.  To see evidence of this, check out my Race Log.

Through the course of time my exercise virus continued to become even MORE infectious as I went from just running and strength training to becoming a triathlete.  In September of 2011 my husband and I finished Ironman Wisconsin…Together.  That was the biggest exercise challenge yet!!

My husband and I right after finishing Ironman Wisconsin 2011.  What a long day :)

My husband and I right after finishing Ironman Wisconsin 2011. What a long day 🙂

What more does exercise have in store for me?????  Only time will tell!!

How has exercise evolved, challenged and gifted your life???