This wasn’t the start of the new year that many of us had hoped for, but it was the start that we were given. We can choose to focus on the negative or choose to focus on the positive. I chose to make the most of what I was given last week and focus on the POSITIVES.
Quote of the week:
“Bringing integrity back to training and racing means you have to stop worrying about where you SHOULD be and OWN WHERE YOU ARE.”
Swim: 2600 yards
I had a swim test on Tuesday to determine where I am currently with my swim speed. LIMITLESS guided me throughout this test and helped me give everything I had to do my absolute best! My CSS (critical swim speed) has dropped just a bit since peaking for IMLP in 2019, but considering I haven’t swam as much in 2020 (thanks to closed pools + no racing) and I haven’t been training for anything other than life + fun, I am super happy with where my current swim speed is! I have a few more weeks before more focused and dedicated training will start for my 2021 races, so for now I will keep swimming for life + fun.
Bike: 22.7 miles
On December 31, 2020 I did an FTP test on the bike and while I lost some bike fitness, I FINALLY feel strong on the bike again! During my bike workout on Tuesday (which I forgot to take a picture of), I was FINALLY able to nail all of my intervals because I am training at my current fitness level instead of where I think I SHOULD be (aka…where I was before). OWNING WHERE I AM gave me a HUGE boost of CONFIDENCE on the bike again. Now it’s time to put in the hard work to RISE up and get those watts back that I lost. 😉
Run: 13.5 miles
I had a few good runs last week, but the highlight was my speed work on the treadmill that went so much better than I expected this week! That means next time I GET to work harder and increase my pace a bit. It is time to FLY! 😉
Strength Training: 15 minutes of core strength daily + a 30 minute full body workout
Weekly Totals: 5 hours & 58 minutes
Attitude of Gratitude:
What were your positive highlights from the first week of 2021?!
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had been streaking with more TITS. Before my streaking began, my FTP (functional threshold power) was 214 watts. Last Tuesday marked day 50 of my bike streak. I wanted to do a FTP test to see how big TITS translates to FTP. Guess what?! No surprise that the more time you spend in the saddle, the stronger you get. But what did surprise me was how MUCH stronger I have truly become.
I was expecting to see my power increase by a few watts, but certainly not by 15 watts. Yes, my FTP jumped from 214 watts to 229 watts. So proof in the pudding…there’s power in big TITS!
Moral of the story…the more you cycle, the more powerful you become. Since 2020 has been cancelled (personal opinion at this point), I’ve decided to really focus on my cycling this year. It translates well to run strength as well, so for me, it is a win-win! Gotta go hop on the saddle and grow my TITS!
Does one second matter? ABSOLUTELY!! One second is all it takes for change to take place. One second can cause a shift from sad to happy, from making mistakes to learning and growing, from failure to greatness, from survival mode to beast mode, from doubtful to confident, from weak to strong.
I have had a few bike sessions in the last 6 weeks that REALLY challenged me and pushed me WAY out of my comfort zone. I saw watts on the bike I’d never seen before and even held 412 watts for 15 seconds during one ride 2 weeks ago. To most people, 15 seconds isn’t a long time, but when you’re working REALLY hard, every second counts and 15 seconds can seem like an eternity! Those seconds turn weakness into strength and helped me become #trackcatstrong!
Today, I reaped the rewards of my hard work over the last 6 weeks. I broke through the ceiling and increased my power threshold on the bike and not just by a little bit. I improved my FTP from 6 weeks ago by 16 watts! Yep…16 watts! I’ve been working SO hard to break through the 200 watt barrier and today was my day! My new threshold is 204 watts! Cheers to hard work paying off! I guess this means I have to work that much harder in the future 😉
Every second counts, so make that one second count for you!
The theme for this week was…juggling our schedule around to get workouts in thanks to Mother Nature, visitors, and other scheduling conflicts.
Following the 4 am alarm clock was a 90 minute run! It was a beautiful morning for a run, and I was so happy to be pounding the pavement. I was even more happy to know that my run was a negative split run, which I found out after my run 😉 I followed this up with making homemade spaghetti sauce, making 6.5 dozen zucchini muffins, cleaning up the kitchen, doing some laundry, and mowing the lawn. When the Iron Hippie came home from work, we hopped on the bike for a 60 minute ride that included a 20 minute time trial. I was dreading this FTP test…I don’t know why, but I was. I had to remind myself of “courage over comfort” and “go for the gold; don’t settle for silver” (inspired by the Olympics) multiple times throughout the test, but it worked! I was able to put out a normalized power of 194 watts. This is 6 watts higher than my last FTP test and it gets me a little closer to my goal…200 watts. #progress I am not trying to get there before IMWI, but it would be nice to see a normalized power of 200 watts before 2017! 😉
We started the day with 2400 meters (2625 yards) of #swimlove with the sunrise. I could definitely feel the fatigue in my arms from the Okoboji 3.5 mile open water swim last Saturday, but it also felt good to get moving again. When I got home after swimming, I took the dogs for a walk, and did some strength training before lunch. After lunch, I cleaned up the house, did some laundry (this is NEVER. ENDING!) and cleaned some produce from our friend’s garden (she is on vacation for a week). I met a personal training client at 3 pm, picked up our CSA, and made homemade sweet potato and kale pizza for dinner with our neighbors.
This morning’s swim was a bit of a struggle. My arms were tired, so I finished 2800 meters (3062 yards) of swimming a bit slower than normal, but I pushed through and finished. After refueling, I took the dogs for a walk, cleaned up, ran to the grocery store, I finished the homemade spaghetti sauce by browning burger for each container before freezing them, made homemade beet pesto, cleaned all of the produce from yesterday’s CSA, made an Oriental cabbage salad for dinner, cleaned up the kitchen. It was a very busy day! Since school starts back up next week and the tropical weather has descended upon us yet again this summer, I am trying to get things done around the house so we are ready for the new school year…lots of food prep, deep clean the house, and make sure the cupboards are stocked with household essentials so we don’t have to go to the store for a while. When the Iron Hippie came home from work, we spent 90 minutes on the trainer for some really tough bike intervals before eating dinner, cleaning up, and preparing for the rest of the week.
We woke up early, went to the gym for an hour of strength training before the Iron Hippie had to go to work. I followed this up with eating everything in sight, puppy snuggles, and a morning nap. When I woke up, it was time for laundry and running LOTS of errands…time to stock up on all of our goods and supplies before going back to school! This meant 2 trips to Sam’s Club, one trip to Target, one trip to Walmart, and LOTS of putting away of items! When the Iron Hippie came home from work, we did a lot of food prep for the freezer. It was nice to have an evening with no workout to get stuff done at home and start to prepare for reality to set in!
We woke up to swim, but there were severe storms that had passed through the area over night producing high winds and 4+ inches of rain in Ames. We opted for more sleep and not play the game of “will the pool be open, or won’t it?!” After the Iron Hippie went to work, I went to school for about an hour to start putting my classroom back together for the coming school year. After my eyebrow wax, I went home, snarfed down food for lunch, loaded the car, and met the Iron Hippie across town for our 5 hour ride followed by 30 minute run. When we finished, I ate all the food I could find, took an epsom salt bath, and showered before my sister and the twins showed up to spend some time with us since they are in town with friends. When they left, it was bedtime!
We woke up at 5 am for our 18 mile run. It was VERY humid (97% humidity), but thankfully there were others who were able to join us for most of the run…we only had to run ~4 miles just the two of us. After the run, it was time for refueling, legs up the wall, and an epsom salt bath. We went to our friends’ house for brunch, took an afternoon nap, and then relaxed a bit while watching the Olympics. After dinner we got some froyo and then were in bed by 7:30…so tired!
We started the day with a ride that was supposed to be 3 hours, but due to timing with family events, it was cut just a little short. We immediately came home and refueled just in enough time for my sister and the twins to come over. We went to the aquatic center and spent the afternoon playing on the slide, tube slide, lazy river, diving board, and just soaking up the fun. At 3 pm the Iron Hippie and I came home to quickly clean up before his parents arrived to our house. We unloaded pork meat from coolers into our freezer and then took the twins to Orange Leaf for some froyo…Isabella has been talking about this for a full year! After froyo, my sister and the twins left for home, the Iron Hippie, his parents, and I went to dinner. It was good food and good conversation. When his parents finally left, we were so exhausted that we just kind of fell in bed and melted into the sheets.
Weekly Totals: 19 hours & 30 minutes
Swim: 5687 yards Bike: 166 miles Run: 20.7 miles Strength Training: 2 hours + 10 minutes of core everyday
Quote of the Week:
“I want to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain. I don’t want to shrink back just because something isn’t easy. I want to push back, and make more room in the area between I can and I can’t.” ~Kristin Armstrong
“We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.” ~Brene Brown
At the beginning of 2016, I thought “believe” would be my 2016 word. As 2016 has gotten underway, my 2016 word has evolved into the word “Courage,” which is the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous. Believe is still an underlying theme of courage for me, but there are so many other areas of my life that require courage as well. Over the last couple of months, the word courage has evolved into the phrase “Courage Over Comfort,” which has gotten me through multiple challenges in all aspects of life so far in 2016.
Courage over Comfort in my relationships
The Iron Hippie and I have a great relationship, but like any couple, we do have our differences and disagreements. Being vulnerable by sharing my thoughts and feelings in a new and different way is hard and takes a lot of courage, but it will be worth it when this uncomfortable method becomes “comfortable” and less difficult one day. “Courage over comfort” is where the magic happens!!
Courage over Comfort at work
I am not an emotional person, so incorporating more Developmental Designs (a social-emotional approach to learning) into my lessons and classroom is uncomfortable and has definitely taken courage. I keep waiting for the day when this style of learning into my lessons and classrooms becomes more comfortable, but so far it just hasn’t happened…so…I guess I’ll just living the “courage over comfort” theme at work also.
Courage over Comfort in training
Leap day was full of “Courage over Comfort” in my training. An FTP test on the bike was staring me in the face from my Training Peaks calendar, and I was intimidated. I have done these many times, but have never had everything fall together so I could experience a “successful” test, and this was precisely why I was intimidated. Sure I’ve seen improvements with them, but there has always been something that has happened for me to think “it could have been better if…” when I was done. This time around, I was determined it would be different. I would conquer this FTP test and not let it conquer me! #believe
I picked a gear and cadence and was determined to stick with it! 5 minutes in, I felt good and was questioning if I should be going a little harder. I decided to stick with my plan and reevaluate later in the test. 10 minutes in, things were getting tougher, but it was still doable. 15 minutes in, I just wanted to take a break. This is when I started mentally telling myself “Courage over Comfort” over and over and over. I pushed through the last 5 minutes and walla…I had the most successful FTP test I’ve ever had!! Why was this test so “successful?” It wasn’t about the 12 watt increase in power output, although I am incredibly happy and proud of my improvements. It was about my execution of the FTP test. This was the first test that I put it all together…physically, mentally, emotionally, and nutritionally. I didn’t have any lingering “it could have been better if…” when I finished this FTP test, and it felt better than AWESOME!!
My run on March 1 was also FULL of “courage over comfort!” I had a 4×1 mile progressive repeats run staring at me from Training Peaks all day long!! I knew this would be a tough run, since my legs were exhausted from my FTP test on the bike the day before. It was a cold day with ice on the roads (thanks to an early morning freezing rain, snow mix…gotta love Iowa winters), so I opted to run on the treadmill at the gym after work. When I got to the gym, there was no cardio equipment!! What?! They got all new cardio equipment in that morning and were in the process of putting all of the machines together, but so far, no treadmills had been assembled. So it was time for plan B…back to school I went to run on OLD treadmills with no televisions, no people, nothing to distract me from my own potentially negative thoughts. Thankfully I did have music on my phone to jam to as I ran. After my 2 mile warm-up, I set the treadmill to just under a 9 minute/mile pace, which I estimated to be my current 1/2 marathon pace (although I haven’t been running consistently for long, so I had no idea how accurate this was). With each mile, I dropped ~15 seconds off per mile. The first couple of miles weren’t bad, but by the 4th mile repeat, I was running at an 8:13 minute/mile pace and thought I was going to die! Hello “courage over comfort” and goodbye negative thoughts!! I was so proud of myself for not quitting when it got tough…boy did I think REALLY hard about making the pace on the treadmill easier so I didn’t have to work so hard, but I just kept telling myself “courage over comfort” as I pushed on through that final mile. As I ran my cool down mile, mentally I was super strong and on cloud nine, but physically, my legs were TRASHED!! So this is what it feels like to REALLY push myself out of my comfort zone…
Change is uncomfortable, but that is why I have been embracing #courageovercomfort as my theme and mantra in all aspects of my life in 2016. Strength doesn’t come from what we can do, it comes from overcoming the things we once thought we couldn’t do. If dreams come true when we step out of our comfort zone, then you can bet I will be tapping into a lot more courage and a lot less comfort this year!!
Do you stick with what is comfortable in your life, or do you rise to the challenge of trying to make the uncomfortable more comfortable? Where are you courageous in your life? What is your word/phrase for 2016?
November was the month of #bikeblocktraining and cycling 7 times throughout the week really paid off. My FTP test was on Thanksgiving morning and found that #hardworkpaysoff 🙂 My previous FTP test was on October 5 where my normalized power was 160 watts for my 20 minute TT. In just under 8 weeks, my new FTP test results on November 26 produced a normalized power of 176 watts for my 20 minute TT. I’ll take the 16 watt improvement! The best part?!?!?!?! This is only 1 watt less than my FTP test during peak training before Ironman Boulder. I am pumped for what this might mean for the 2016 season!!
I have also been able to start running again just this last week. While I am not running long or far, I am running without pain. 🙂
Carrie Cheadle is an amazing mental skills coach. Her book On Top of Your Game helped me mentally prepare for Ironman Boulder. Her most recent blog post really hit home with me!! Setting a goal and figuring out why the goal is important…not the surface why, but the “why deep underneath the surface at your very core” can help keep you motivated and focused on what is really important to you.
2016!!! I have spent time reflecting on my 2015 racing calendar and results. This has helped me develop S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2016 (more on these in a later post). I am so excited to work hard to achieve my dreams!!
I believe 2016 is going to be an epic year!! I have been chosen to be part of the Coeur Sports 2016 Ambassador Team. I ABSOLUTELY love these women!! They are inspirational, motivational, enCOEURaging, supportive and full of #heartandcourage 🙂
Family and friends! My heart and soul were full this Thanksgiving as I was surrounded by so much love! #friendsgiving
Friday morning after our #friendsgiving I woke up with a sore throat and am headed to the doctor today. While I am not a fan of being sick, I am #grateful that it is the offseason and I am not sick during peak training and race season!!
Quote of the week
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” ~Michael Jordan
How was your month of November? How was your Thanksgiving?
How did we get to be only 15 weeks away from race day?!?!?! Race day is going to be here before we know it!!!! Last week was a recovery week and I took full advantage of it…maybe more than I should have 😉
Swim: 0 yards
I didn’t swim 1 yard this week and my body was just fine with it.
Bike: 44.4 miles
I only rode twice this week. The first ride was a FTP test…it didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped, but at least I haven’t lost any power.
Run: 0 miles
I didn’t run one step this week and it felt good. Basil isn’t as happy about this, but she’ll get plenty of miles this week 😉
Strength Training: 1:15:00
Workout Totals: 4 hours & 15 minutes
I got lots of sleep this week, ate good food, watched the movie Wild for the first time and graded LOTS of papers. With all of the planning time I put in this week, it helped set me up for the last 5 weeks of school. WAHOO…Only 5 more weeks until summer break, but who’s counting 😉
We were supposed to do our 5 hour trainer ride last Saturday to raise money for the Tour de Cure, but Mother Nature had other plans…I was very disappointed. The good news…we have rescheduled the event for this coming Saturday. If you would like to donate to help improve the lives of people with diabetes, please click here.
I’ve been lucky to help a few friends with bike fun this week. From changing tubes to helping with a “new” bike rack…I really enjoy helping others find the love for endurance sport!!
I am feeling mentally and physically recovered and ready to rock the next few weeks of training!!
How was your week? Do you ever take more of a break from something than you had planned? How does it make you feel?
This was a recovery week and was supposed to be a week of parent teacher conferences. Thanks to Mother Nature deciding to continue to force her bad attitude on us, we had an early dismissal from school and no parent teacher conferences on Wednesday. This was a nice reprieve, but it puts a kink into my training schedule for the coming week since we have to make up those conferences…
Rest Day…While I had planned to get up early and complete an hour strength training session, I decided resting up for the coming week would be more advantageous due to the long days ahead of me. After a 13 hour work day, I came home to a very special delivery…my new Coeur Sports gear!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!! #heartandcourage #stylishspeed
Rest Day #2…I intentionally took Tuesday and Wednesday off from working out since I had an FTP test on the calendar for Thursday afternoon. My 13 hour work day #2 is in the books…
Rest Day #3…I did have to shovel some snow, but that was the only working out that I did in preparation for my FTP test tomorrow. Instead of leaving work at 7:30 pm, we were released at 1:30 pm due to the weather. What does one do with this extra down time?!?!?!?
This was a half day of work, so I was home by noon…just in time for a nap before my FTP test 😉
And now for the FTP test…after a 20 minute warm-up, I pushed hard for 20 minutes and sweat A LOT. The results??? I improved my FTP by 21 watts (up from 156 watts to 177 watts) from my last test 2 months ago. #progress 🙂 I still have LOTS of room for growth and will continue to work hard to continue to get stronger and faster on the bike!!
I followed my FTP test up with TRX…this was my #FaveWorkout this week. OUCH!!
HOLY COLD…BRR!! Going outside in this weather = #hardcoeur
With the day off, I could go to the gym and complete my workouts whenever I wanted, so I opted for about 10:00 am…
I followed my swim up with 50 minutes of #runlove including 6×1 minute at faster than 5K pace. I ran these at a 7:03 pace…I’m not sure I could have gone much faster today. My legs were still REALLY tired from yesterday’s FTP test and TRX class.
After refueling and cleaning up, it was time for a massage. Bad news…OUCH!!! Good news…Nick noticed that my muscles aren’t as tight as they have been in the past. Maybe my thyroid meds are slowly starting to work. 🙂
I also had a very special delivery from Barnana today!! #realfoodfuel #potassiumboost
We opted for an early morning run on the mill again due to the cold morning temps…it looks like we MIGHT have warmer weather in the next 7 days. We’ll see…
9.9 miles of #solesistasweat is the best start to my Saturday…ignore the creepy guy in the background…
I followed this run up with 30 minutes of #hardcoeur work…
After cleaning up, we did a little photo shoot for my Coeur Sports Ambassador Team photo 😉
I started my morning with the Z2, Z3 and wall sit workout lasting 2 hours…this was tough, but when you conquer the mountain of obstacles in your path, the victory is yours. I’m hoping the victory becomes mine on race day 🙂
I followed up this workout with good food, a little rest and 90 minutes of hot yoga with friends 🙂
This week is a recovery week and has been VERY limited on workouts. With parent teacher conferences early in the week and resting up for my FTP test, I didn’t get many workouts in during the first half of the week.
So what was my #FaveWorkout this week????
Thursday night was full of exercise fun…I started with my FTP test on the bike. I’m excited to be making #progress on the bike 🙂 I immediately followed up my FTP test with TRX…this was my weekly #FaveWorkout. I think the reason it was my #FaveWorkout was because my legs were so fatigued that it made TRX even harder than normal. Here is what the workout consisted of:
Swimmers (18 each direction)…lay on the floor face down with hands on the loops of the straps and do the breaststroke motion. Once you’ve completed 18 breaststroke motions, reverse the motion and complete 18 more.