2016 Intentions Check In #3

Where has time gone?! It is hard to believe that 3/4 of 2016 is already behind us! It seems like just yesterday I was sitting down to write about my intentions for 2016! 2017 will be here before we know it!

  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. When things get tough in training, work, or life, I have turned to #courageovercomfort to bring me focus, help me overcome obstacles, and remind me to believe in myself throughout 2016. #courageovercomfort has helped me many times to find focus and redirect my self confidence to where it should be…to a place where I #believe in myself and my abilities much more than I used to. “Bravery means believing in yourself when nobody else does.”                    img_6190
  2. Break down barriers…I am pleased as punch to have our ladies only bike rides so well attended this summer! We managed to have one ride each in June, July, and August. Thanks so much to Coeur Sports and Kyle’s Bikes for their support to help make this event successful!! Yay for encouraging more women in cycling, helping them gain confidence on their bike and on the roads, and helping them learn basic bike maintenance!! I am definitely looking forward to hosting many more ladies only rides in 2017!!                 IMG_3720        IMG_4134
  3. Be present…I continue to 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 wish I could say my 30 days of meditation in July happened, but unfortunately they did not. I’m still hopeful to make this happen before 2016 is over and out. Yoga always seems to help me find presence, but I have not had much of this in my schedule in the last few months due to ramped up Ironman training. Now that I am in the offseason, I have time to reacquaint myself with “mat,” my boyfriend. Tomorrow we have a date and I can’t wait!
  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. I am pleased that I’ve been able to keep these habits in play even though the class has concluded. Now, it is time to find balance between life, training, work, and fun in the offseason.

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?

Is Fear Holding Me Back?

So many of my Coeur Sports Teammates and triathlon friends push themselves to their maximum limit while racing. I’ve seen them punch their ticket to Kona, achieve goals and fulfill dreams. While I have pushed myself to hyponatremia twice while racing, I have never pushed myself so hard in a race that I wanted to collapse shortly after crossing the finish line. Why?!?!?! I think it comes down to fear. Deep down inside, I think I might be scared of the “pain” I will have to endure along the way. Scared of the unknown…especially on race day. Can my body handle it? What if I end up with hyponatremia again? What if I end up injured? Can I mentally handle it? Just how bad will it “hurt?” How long will I have to recover post race? What if I push myself to my limits and then don’t reach my goals/dreams? What if I push myself to my limits, but find it just isn’t as fun as I thought it would be? What if I push myself so hard that I don’t finish the race? What if? What if?? What if???

Fear is something I try to remove from my vocabulary, but I think it has crept in without me realizing it and has a stronger hold on me than I want to admit. Fear may be holding me back a bit when it comes to racing and really achieving my dreams. When I am at my most vulnerable, I find that I let that fear and doubt creep in and take over my once confident demeanor.

When I am racing I want to achieve success and really want to push myself to my maximum, but then fear creeps in…do I really want to endure the pain that comes with this level of success? Achieving success isn’t easy, whether it is in sport, at work, at home, etc. But working hard to achieve success is what makes it so enjoyable. So how do I keep the fear at bay?

With Ironman Wisconsin on the calendar for 2016 as my “A” race, my training and racing plan is going to be focused around speed and pushing my limits to their maximum. While I am INCREDIBLY nervous about leaving everything on the table, I am also VERY excited about finding out just how far I can push myself! 2016 will be the year that I learn to push past the fear and dig deep to see just how far I can go!

It is time to start living my dream and stop living my fears!
It is time to start living my dream and stop living my fears!

Does fear hold you back? How far do you push yourself while training and racing? How do you measure success?

Quiet the Chatter

“Your mind is your greatest power. Use it well.” ~Unknown

Sometimes during a workout or race, our minds start to have this internal banter with themselves…it’s like the devil is sitting on my right shoulder screaming negativity in my right ear and the angel is sitting on my left shoulder whispering positive come backs in my left ear.

Keep going-Just Quit

D: “You don’t really want to do this workout, so just don’t do it.”

A: “You will feel so much better after you complete the workout, so get it done!”

D: “This is hard. Just quit.”

A: “This should be hard, but I will be stronger. Don’t quit.”

D: “I am too slow.”

A: ” Keep working hard and I will get stronger and faster.”

D: “I can’t hold that power/pace.”

A: “Yes, I can. I am strong. I am tough.”

D: “I’m hungry. I need to stop.”

A: “I can survive for just another couple of minutes and then I can eat.”

D: “Why am I doing this?”

A: “I love to play and swim/bike/run is my playground! I feel AMAZING when I’m done.”

D: “I’m tired.”

A: “I should be tired, but I am strong enough to get through this workout.”

D: “You should just stop because these stomach cramps are BAD!”

A: “They will go away eventually. That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” (Thanks to my mother for this constant reminder…)

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How we deal with this internal banter can make us stronger or weaker. I hear the devil, but choose to listen to the angel. I try to make sure that I have a positive comeback for every negative thought that creeps into my mind. Sometimes it takes me a while to twist the negative into the positive, but that is what I focus on until those negative thoughts float away and positive ones take their place.

I have learned to expect the chatter to show up while training and racing. The devil voice in my head has tried to lure me to a more comfortable situations and environments. It often tries to undermine the angel. At times, it is my own worst enemy. But this voice has also made me stronger, tougher, resilient, more persistent and determined. It has taught me to better identify and manage what is pain and what is discomfort. It has taught me how to overcome obstacles and adversity. It has taught me to believe in me. When I embrace the chatter, I take control of the things within my control and let the rest go.

The key is to acknowledge the devil, but only listen to the angel. I have to rise up above myself, my doubts and my fears. Learning from the negative devil is key to my success. I expect to have moments in my journey that are awesome, but I expect to have even more that challenge me and push me to become a better version of myself. I know the devil will be screaming the loudest when I am at my weakest and am the most uncomfortable, but I have the ability and control to overcome those moments and outlast them. Eventually they will either dissipate or I will outlast them by completing the workout/race.

I’ve found the best way to manage the chatter is to keep moving forward toward my goals or the end of the workout/race…whichever comes first. If you keep moving forward, you might just surprise yourself with what you accomplish. Anything is possible if you quiet the negative chatter!!

Who do you listen to more during your workouts and races…the devil or the angel? How do you turn the negative into the positive?

2015 S.M.A.R.T. Goal for my “A” Race

Many people start the new year with “New Year’s Resolutions” and most of those people quit trying to keep these resolutions within the first month of the new year. According to the Huffington Post, only about 13% (1 in 8) of people who set New Year Resolutions successfully keep their resolutions for one year. This is why I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions…instead, I set S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based) goals.

I evaluated my 2014 journey, which allowed me to reflect on successes and failures throughout the year. Being truthful with myself and my 2014 journey, has helped me set S.M.A.R.T. goals for my 2015 training and racing season.

Smart Goal

When setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, it is important that they are:

  1. Specific…having precise goals stated in terms of performance.
  2. Measurable…being able to determine if the goal has been accomplished.
  3. Attainable…setting high, but realistic and achievable goals.
  4. Relevant…setting a goal that is important to YOU and NOT because a friend or family member has a similar goal.
  5. Timely…having a specific time frame for completing the goal.

My “A” race for 2015 is Ironman Boulder on August 2. My time goal for this race is sub 14 hours…

Ironman Boulder

  • What does this mean for a time goal for each discipline of the race? Swim = 1:15-1:20 (I swam 1:21:52 in 2014 at Ironman Wisconsin); Bike = 7:00:00…or less (I biked 8:15:12 in 2014 and 7:56:58 in 2011 at Ironman Wisconsin); Run = 4:30:00-4:45:00 (I ran 5:15:32 in 2014 at Ironman Wisconsin)
  • Why do I have a sub 14 hour goal? While it would be awesome to set a new PR (and sub 14 hours would be a PR by over an hour), I really want to push my limits and see what I can actually do, even if it is at a higher altitude. I have BIG DREAMS and a sub 14 hour Ironman would get me one step closer to fulfilling these #BigDreams.      IMG_0973
  • What steps am I going to take to get there? I am going to focus most of my efforts on the bike to improve my bike strength. Incorporating more power focused workouts on the bike into my training plan will definitely help me build the bike strength I am seeking. I am also going to incorporate more brick runs off the bike to teach my legs to run strong when they are tired. I am going to follow a well laid out training plan making sure it includes proper recovery. I am going to continue to incorporate strength training into my training plan to prevent injuries. I am going to continue to incorporate mental training into my training plan so that I continue to teach myself to #believe in me, my abilities and my training.

I am expecting some challenges along the way…after all, it wouldn’t be an Ironman if there weren’t challenges. One of the biggest challenges we will encounter is going from an altitude of 956 feet in central Iowa to an altitude of 5430 feet in Boulder, Colorado. Thankfully, we have a plan to help diminish the effects such a drastic change in altitude can have on a person…we are going to arrive in Colorado on Saturday, July 11 and start at an altitude of just over 8,000 feet to acclimate for a few weeks. This will give us 3 full weeks to acclimate (as best we can) to the higher altitude before race day…who doesn’t love a 3 week vacation leading up to a big race?!?!?!?!

What is your “A” goal for 2015? Have you made this goal a S.M.A.R.T. goal?

Looking Back to Move Foward

It is often a good idea to look back at what you did (both well and in need of improvement) before planning for the future.  A couple of weeks ago I took some time and evaluated my 2014 journey to help me set S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2015.

USA Triathlon posted a great article that I used to guide my evaluation of my 2014 training and racing season before trying to plan for my 2015 season.

1. In hindsight, were your goals for the season clear and attainable?

-My goals were clear and attainable: not have nutrition failure at Ironman Wisconsin, remember my whole day at IMWI and smile throughout the race.  I feel like I could have been more successful with the nutrition since I had stomach issues on the bike, but the fact that a was able to adjust to these issues and continue to move forward, I’m very happy with.  I feel as though I successfully achieved remembering my whole day and smiling throughout IMWI, so that was a huge bonus.

Feeling good as I run down the finish shoot.  Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.
Feeling good as I run down the finish shoot. Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.

2. What are you most proud of this season?

-I had a huge PR on the IM swim (just shy of 10 minutes). I had a successful run at IMWI cutting almost 90 minutes off my run time. I was able to overcome the obstacle of a cramped stomach on the bike during IMWI and ended up with a PR at IMWI (just shy of 1 hour). I am happy and confident that I could have aimed higher at IMWI without having a coach for the last half of my training season.

Photo courtesy of Lora Bierbaum
Photo courtesy of Lora Bierbaum

-I am happy that I conquered the Okoboji 3.5 mile open water swim and set a new PR.

Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum:  The Iron Hippie and I successfully finished our 3.5 mile swim "race"
Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum: The Iron Hippie and I successfully finished our 3.5 mile swim “race”

-I am happy that I was able to consume solid foods on the bike this year (although I was more successful at this during training than on race day) and that Osmo Nutrition was able to help me successfully stay hydrated during training and racing. 🙂

3. What would I like to duplicate next year?

-I would like to continue training without a coach and incorporate the same 3 big brick days that we completed last year into this year’s training plan for Ironman Boulder.  I feel like the 3.5 mile swim helped my swim at IMWI and would like to do a LONG open water swim in mid June (maybe even going back up to Okoboji and having Dad kayak next to me while I swim the same route).  I would like to do more of the Elkhart Time Trial bike races to incorporate more speed work into my cycling.  I would also like to continue working on incorporating more solid foods into my nutrition plan while hydrating with Osmo Nutrition to try to prevent all nutrition failures at Ironman Boulder.

4. What frustrated or disappointed you the most this season?

-Getting injured early in my racing season caused me to miss the Drake 1/2 Marathon in late April and Ironman Kansas 70.3 in early June. I’m glad I took the time to properly heal, but wish I would have backed down as soon as I started to feel injured instead of pushing through and making things worse. I am also disappointed that I did not work harder on the bike by incorporating more speed work and hills into my training. The bike was my biggest struggle on race day.

5. What do you not want to happen again next year?

-I want to avoid injuries and actually complete a 70.3 race prior to Ironman Boulder in 2015. I also don’t want my bike split to get slower (as it did in 2014).

6. What did you learn by going through these experiences?

-I need to be sure to do proper strength training that impacts all areas so I don’t get injured again. I have also found that I respond best to having two weeks intense training followed by one recovery week (instead of the typical 3 weeks intense training and 1 week recovery), so I would like to continue with that training plan.  I also need to make sure that I have at least one rest day a week. I sometimes struggle with this as I just want to go, Go, GO.

7. What decisions did you make that were empowering for you?

-I felt empowered when we decided to drop coaching and self coach. This allowed me to figure out that my body responds best to 2 weeks of hard effort followed by a recovery week.  This realization also empowered me to do what I need instead of what works best for the general triathlete. By self-coaching, we were also empowered to keep Monday evenings free of workouts so we could focus on our relationship, things that needed to be done at home and spending time with friends.

-I felt empowered when I made the decision to detour on the IMWI bike course to get some orange juice from the gas station for my cramped stomach. I also felt empowered when I made the decision to use Osmo Nutrition for my hydration since it worked so magically for me.

Still Smiling...photo courtesy of Finisherpix
Still Smiling…photo courtesy of Finisherpix

8. What habits seemed to hold you back from achieving your potential?

-I definitely ate too many foods that were processed and fewer whole foods immediately post exercise. In doing so, this caused me to consume more calories than I needed. I have also found that my body responds best to less grains and dairy foods, but I ate these in larger quantities than I should have during the 2014 training season.

-My body responds best to going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. I found myself sleeping in later on the weekends, which would throw off my sleep schedule and cause me to be more tired at different times of the day and days of the week.

-I definitely did not incorporate enough mental training into my 2014 season. In years past, I’ve spent about 5-10 minutes every night visualizing success at races, coming up with affirmations and positive self talk to get me through challenges I may face at different points during a race.

9. What decisions should you make in order to have your best triathlon year ahead?

-I need to eat healthy, whole, unprocessed foods and keep a consistent sleep schedule…even on the weekends. I need to be sure to get a rest day every week, while maintaining 2 weeks of intense training followed by 1 week recovery as an overall training plan. I need to incorporate speed workouts and more hills on the bike, so I can improve my bike split at Ironman Boulder. I also need to focus on believing in myself and my training more. 🙂

Stay tuned for my 2015 goals…

Have you looked backward so you could plan for the future? What did you learn?

Accomplishing Goals and Chasing Dreams

Sunday was a GREAT day to chase dreams!!  I had two goals for Ironman Wisconsin 2014.

  1. Cross the finish line and remember my race (including the finish).  In 2011, I was hyponatremic and do not remember the last 8 hours of my race nor most of the following day.  This time around, I was focused only on race execution.  I didn’t care how long it took me.
  2. Smile. All. Day. Long.

I successfully achieved both of my goals!!  I smiled all day long (even when it hurt), I crossed the finish line and remember my whole day.  The best part…I was still “running”…even after 140.6+ miles (you’ll have to tune in for later posts on why the “+”)!!   😉

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P.S. I did set a new PR by almost 1 hour…so it was all in all a VERY successful day for me!!

Head vs. Heart…Who Will Win???

Yesterday I had made the decision to adjust my goals for this weekend’s race, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized this still might not be the best decision for my body, for successfully setting myself up for my “A race” and my mental state.

I went out to our local “swamp” to get one last open water swim in before heading to Lawrence and encountered one slight snag…without the wetsuit, the knee is VERY angry.  I didn’t even make it to the first buoy before I decided to be done.

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Since the water temperature in Clinton Lake can hover around 76.1F (the water temperature where the wetsuit is no longer allowed), this could pose a problem for the 1.2 mile swim.

I had a BIG decision to make.  Do I go to Lawrence hoping my knee isn’t so angry on race day so I can at least start the race?  Do I go to Lawrence without any gear so I can only spectate?  Do I stay at home and not put myself in a predicament where I might change my mind last minute and decide to give the race a try or worse…have a negative attitude because I’m not racing (this wouldn’t be good for the Iron Hippie and Allen who are racing)?  How will participating in this race help me get closer to the finish line at IRONMAN Wisconsin?

do today closer to tomorrow

This was all I needed to remind me that my A race is IMWI.  So in this battle, the head won.  I NEED to focus on getting 100% healthy.  I NEED to slowly ease back into run training, so I don’t set myself back further.  I NEED to make smart decisions to successfully toe the start line of IMWI.  I NEED to stay home and not put myself in a predicament where I might change my mind and start the race.  I NEED to stay home so I am not surrounding others who are racing with negative energy.

It sucks when the head and the heart don’t align.  What decisions have you had to make when the head and heart don’t align?

head vs heart