The Best of 2016

After posting the Best of 2013,¬†the Best of 2014, and the Best of 2015 I decided it would be fun to look back through 2016 and reminisce my favesūüôā

Best race experience?

The Okoboji Triathlon was my favorite race this year! It was special to race with The Iron Hippie on our Anniversary and get cheered on by our twin nieces at the finish line!

Getting low fives from my nieces at the Okoboji Triathlon. Photo by Sarah Riley

Getting low fives from my twin nieces at the Okoboji Triathlon. Photo by Sarah Riley

Best run?

There weren’t many runs that stood out as belonging at the top of the pile this year, but the most fun I had while running was at the Market to Market Relay. I got to run with friends All. Day. Long!

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Best bike?

Riding 3 loops of the Ironman Wisconsin bike course…was a challenging day full of 6847 feet of climbing over 125 miles. This ride gave me a lot of confidence for Ironman Wisconsin race day!

Looking down Barlow...this doesn't do it justice since you can't see the bottom!

Looking down Barlow (a 21% climb)…this doesn’t do it justice since you can’t see the bottom!

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Best swim?

The Okoboji 3.5 mile swim was not wetsuit legal, but it was a great experience for me to swim LONG with my father kayaking beside me!! I love swimming in my playground…Lake Okoboji!!

3.5 mile Okoboji Swim with Dad kayaking next to me

3.5 mile Okoboji Swim with Dad kayaking next to me

Best NEW racing experience?

This was a tough one! I had two new race experiences this year…Market to Market Relay and the Hickory Grove Duathlon. While both experiences were new, fun, and challenging (in their own way), the duathlon rocked this category! I was challenged in ways I hadn’t experienced before, had a BLAST, and got to race with my #solesister!

#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon

#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon

Best encouraging moment?

This year I was blessed to have the support from Coeur Sports¬†and Kyle’s Bikes to help me start a women’s only ride in central Iowa. It was fun to enCOEURage other women in sport and help them make gains on the bike and in their self confidence! #strongwomen #heartandcourage

Ladies Night!

Ladies Night!

Best recovery technique?

#recoveryisimportant and that is why I invest in the best recovery possible! Nick with Vitality Massage helps keep me injury free. I like to refer to myself as his insurance policy since Ironman racing looks to be in our future for the next few yearsūüėČ

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Best offseason adventure?

Family time, which included:

Ice skating with our nieces!

Ice skating with our nieces!

Jumping on trampolines is a much tougher workout than I thought it would be!

Jumping on trampolines with family over Thanksgiving weekend!

Best new piece of gear?

This is SUPER EASY!! The Coeur Sports¬†Zele Aero Triathlon Kit…it is the most comfortable, breathable, stylish, aerodynamic kit on the market!! I’m hopeful for more amazing designs in 2017!! #stylishspeed

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Best way to log my workouts?

This is another SUPER easy one…my #believetrainingjournal!! While I love to see green in Training Peaks, I much prefer writing things down by hand. I love looking back through my workouts and it is so much easier to do when they are written down. I don’t particularly like having to open up every box in Training Peaks to review my workouts, so the Believe Training Journal has been an absolute favorite this year! I love it so much that I ordered the Compete Training Journal for 2017!!
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Best way to stay healthy?

This was also SUPER easy…Sound Probiotics has been keeping me healthy since March 2015! As endurance athletes, we put ourselves at risk for a dysfunctional immune system because of the intensity and duration of our workouts. When stress, inadequate sleep, poor diet choices, cold weather, alcohol or travel are thrown into the mix, our immune system is even further suppressed. How has Sound Probiotics helped me? Sound Probiotics helps in nutrient production and absorption, helps fend off viruses, promotes the production of cytokines and mucin, and limits bad bacteria in the gut. I have experienced less fatigue and fewer sick days, which as a middle school teacher who is an endurance athlete speaks volumes! This has provided me with the opportunity for more training and better performance. I would highly recommend all endurance athletes use Sound Probiotics to stay healthy!!

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#soundathlete = #soundlife #winningtakesguts

Best piece of racing advice you received?

I read this before every big race. It is so motivating and reminds me to do and be my best as I embark on the race ahead:

‚ÄúBe calm; focus on what you are going to do. Don‚Äôt get distracted, don‚Äôt get overwhelmed, take it all as it comes. You are ready for this; you‚Äôve 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.‚ÄĚ ~Lynne Cox, ‚ÄúSwimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer‚ÄĚ

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Most inspirational athlete?

I can’t pick just one…so many of my Coeur Sports teammates have inspired me this year!! There were many Coeur women who raced with #heartandcourage in Kona at the Ironman World Championships, other ladies had podium finishes at various races they competed in, many ladies met goals, and all are working hard to achieve their dreams. My inspiration cup runneth over!! I am so pumped to be a part of this amazing team again in 2017!!

I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2017 Ambassador Team...Such a #hardcoeur group of women that I'm overjoyed to be a part of!!

I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2017 Ambassador Team…Such a #hardcoeur group of women that I’m overjoyed to be a part of!!

These ladies not only inspire me, but encourage me and light my fire! <3

These ladies not only inspire me, but encourage me and light my fire! ‚̧

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

Courage over comfort, believe, fun!!

Tell me about your 2016 year!! What are your ‚Äúbests‚ÄĚ from 2016?!

Dream Season

“The most powerful weapon on Earth is the human soul on fire.” ~Ferdinand Foch

The off season is the perfect time for dreaming! This is the time when I’m not exercising as much, so I have LOTS WAY TOO MUCH time to dream about what is to come! One thing is for sure…triathlon lights my fire! I’ve been dreaming of the coming year…2017 is the year I turn 40! The year I have my heart set on fun! The year I will push my limits to overcome challenges! The year I will push my limits to get closer to making my Kona qualifying dream come true! The year we go on another racecation! 40 is going to be my year! I’m excited to get this year started! It is¬†time to start filling my barn with hay so that I can light a massive fire on race day!

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Ironman Mont Tremblant 2017…I’m coming for ya!

Dreaming is easy…how will I turn these dreams into reality? Believing in myself, my abilities, my training, and my new coach! Yes, that’s right! I’m super excited to have Kelly Hardiaris¬†coaching me in¬†2017! With her expertise, guidance, support, and encouragement, I am hoping to have the best year ever!¬†I’m ready to embark on this journey¬†with Kelly and see where we can go together in 2017!

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I’m super pumped that I’ve¬†been chosen to be part of the Coeur Sports¬†Ambassador Team again in 2017!! I ABSOLUTELY love these ladies!! They are inspirational, motivational, enCOEURaging, supportive and full of #heartandcourage ūüôā

I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2016 Ambassador Team...Such a #hardcoeur group of women that I'm overjoyed to be a part of!!

Pumped to¬†make the Coeur Sports 2017 Ambassador Team…Such a #hardcoeur group of ladies that I’m overjoyed to be a part of!!

Who’s excited for 2017?! What are you looking forward to in 2017?!

Ironman Wisconsin: Gratitude for My Tribe

I have so much to be grateful for!! I am beyond grateful that my body is healthy and allows me to push it to limits I would have never thought possible 5 years ago, but I can’t do it alone!! People often think of Ironman racing as an individual sport, but there are SO many people who have helped me on my journey and I couldn’t do it without their support!!

Family and Friends…

I am so blessed to have the most amazing and supportive family!¬†Dad made the trip to Madison to cheer us on since he was in the area for work earlier in the week. He has kayaked beside me while I swim (both in training and swim racing), keeping me safe and on track. My sister and twin nieces cheered me on at the finish line of the Okoboji Triathlon earlier this year as well. Mom has had many tasty meals ready for us to consume after workouts and has cheered me on to 2 Ironman finish lines over the years. My sole sister has joined me on bike rides and runs throughout my training and has encouraged and motivated me to do and be my best! Our girlfriends Sue and Michele are amazing! I’m so grateful for their¬†support and encouragement of us and our crazy lifestyle! My Coeur Sports Teammies have been inspiring and motivating me virtually for 2 years now. I was super lucky to have a few of them out on the course cheering me on (and many others on) in person…so much fun to see them all over the course! My family and friends are always inquiring¬†about how my training is going and what race I am doing next. I am a lucky girl to have their support!!

Thanks to Dad and Tom for being our kayak support for the 3.5 mile Okoboji open water swim event!

Thanks to Dad and Tom for being our kayak support for the 3.5 mile Okoboji open water swim event!

#solesister + #bikelove = #perfectworld

#solesister + #bikelove = #perfectworld

My Sponsors…

Coeur Sports is hands down the best women’s SBR (swim/bike/run)¬†brand¬†on the market!! They have created #stylishspeed¬†that keeps my girly bits happy…even while covering 140.6 miles. #noangrykitty here!! As a Coeur Sports ambassador, I get the privilege of being a part of an AMAZING¬†team of women who are supportive, inspirational and genuinely full of #heartandcourage! I am so lucky to get the opportunity to enCOEURage¬†more women in endurance sport,¬†experience the ups and downs¬†they encounter while on their journey and witness their joy when they reach new¬†finish lines!! Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!

I am forever grateful for¬†Kyle and the Kyle’s Bikes crew, who have kept Mojo happy throughout training and on race day! You are always there for me when I frantically call or text, so thank you for talking me off a ledge and immediately getting Mojo fixed up when she has a mechanical issue!! Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!

So glad two of my favorite worlds have collided! :)

So glad two of my favorite worlds have collided…Kyle’s Bikes and Coeur Sports! ūüôā

Sound Probiotics¬†has been keeping me healthy and on track for almost 2 years. Before taking Sound Probiotics, I would end up¬†sick during the taper and often times once or twice during training…especially since I teach middle schoolers and am always surrounded by germs. Thanks to Sound Probiotics for my #happygut, enhanced immunity¬†and better recovery¬†throughout my training and racing experience!! After all, #winningtakesguts!

Karma Kombucha¬†has been a daily staple in my diet since it’s birth…5 years now! They help keep my gut happy and healthy everyday! Drinking my booch before starting the marathon during Ironman Wisconsin definitely helped set me up for a great run!

So grateful to Karma Kombucha and Sound Probiotics for keeping me healthy while I train hard and start a new school year!

So grateful to Karma Kombucha and Sound Probiotics for keeping me healthy while I train hard and race harder!

One of the many perks of being a Coeur Sports ambassador is getting support from other amazing companies as well. Roka Sports,¬†Smith Optics¬†and Base Performance¬†are three of the companies that have helped make my training and race experience so awesome!! Ironman Wisconsin¬†was a wetsuit legal swim, so I donned my Maverick Elite wetsuit and my X1 goggles!! The Roka wetsuit works with my body instead of against it, making each swim stroke feel easy!! I absolutely LOVE the Roka goggles!! If you haven’t tried them, you definitely should…they are the BEST!! This year I tried the Smith Optics PivLock Arena sunnies and ABSOLUTELY love them!! What a game changer on the bike and run!! Speaking of game changer…Base Salt has definitely helped me better prevent hyponatremia (which I’ve experienced during 2 of my 5 Ironman races). Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU to you all!!

My Triathlon Peeps…

I am one of the luckiest ladies around! I have a slew of support, inspiration, and motivation from my triathlon people…both in person and virtually! Thank you to all of the people who called, texted, emailed, Facebook messaged me, tweeted me, commented on my blog posts, commented on my Instagram pictures and tracked my progress both while training and on race day! You all ROCK!!

Nick has been keeping my body well recovered through massage for almost 3 years. He knows all of my problem areas and knows just what to do to keep my body (and ultimately my mind) happy and healthy! Thank you Nick for restoring the damage I do as I swim/bike/run my way to countless finish lines! Vitality Massage is definitely where recovery is at!!

The Iron Hippie…

My fave has been by my side for millions of swim strokes and the countless views as we’ve covered¬†thousands and thousands of miles on two wheels and pounding the pavement.¬†You are my #1 cheerleader and have supported me on this crazy journey of life and the even crazier journey of triathlon. I love you and am forever grateful for your love and support. What crazy journey should we take on next?!?!?!?

Countless laps next to my fave!

Countless laps next to my fave!

Many miles on two wheels with my fave!

Thousands of miles on two wheels with my fave!

Pounding the pavement for hundreds of miles with my fave!

Pounding the pavement for hundreds of miles with my fave!

15 weeks ’til #IMWI: Grit

The theme from last week: GRIT! Grit to push through the last week of school with kids. Grit to get up in the morning and work for my dreams. Grit to push through tough workouts and do my best.

I only have two more days of school to wrap up this school year, but the kids are already done. I will be spending those days cleaning my room, sitting through a few meetings, and then the sweet sound of freedom for 11 weeks.

Monday:

When I woke up at 4 am, I REALLY wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, but dreams don’t come true with my head on the pillow! Grit won! I planted my feet on the floor and went to the gym for an hour strength training session. It ended up being a great way to start the day!

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After work, I met a client for personal training and followed this up with some #bikelove intervals. We are so blessed to have some AMAZING neighbors. During the middle of our intervals, we had a fresh baked loaf of sourdough bread delivered to us. That meant homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. It was so DELISH!! The perfect meal post #bikelove intervals!!

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Tuesday:

When I woke up at 4 am, it was raining. We had speed work to do while running, so we decided to go to the gym and do this work on the treadmill. This ended up being the perfect decision for this workout! I’m not sure I would have successfully hit the target paces that I did if I were outside on the open roads. Minute ladders for 55 minutes looks like this:

  • 15 minute warm up
  • 1 minute Zone 5/1 minute Zone 2
  • 2 minutes Zone 5/2 minutes Zone 2
  • 3 minutes Zone 5/3 minutes Zone 2
  • 4 minutes Zone 5/4 minutes Zone 2
  • 3 minutes Zone 5/3 minutes Zone 2
  • 2 minutes Zone 5/2 minutes Zone 2
  • 1 minute Zone 5/1 minute Zone 2
  • 8 minute cool down

For the zone 5 intervals, I set the treadmill to a 7:03/mile pace (8.5 speed) and for the zone 2 recovery portions, I set the treadmill to an 8:57/mile pace (6.7 speed). Looking back on this, I think I could have run my zone 5 intervals one or two clicks faster, but I didn’t want to be overzealous and not be able to maintain this pace for every interval of the workout. This was a very challenging workout…much more so mentally than physically. #courageovercomfort

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After a CRAZY day with students, I went to the pool for a 2400 yard swim. I needed to wash away the negativity from the day. Once I got moving, I could definitely tell I was tired from the morning run. I am working to find my catch in the water, so this means lots of #heartandcourage while I #findfaster. After my swim, I had a VERY productive evening…prepping for Wednesday, cleaning produce from our CSA, preparing lunches for the rest of the week, doing laundry, and dishes before bed.

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Wednesday:

When I woke up at 4 am, I really, Really, REALLY wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, but grit won this morning. It took me a bit longer than usual to warm up on the bike and not feel like my head should be on my pillow. Once I got into the working set, I finally felt wide awake…the incredibly loud thunder and bright sky from the lightening could have had something to do with it as well. With¬†storms in the area capable of producing hail, we left the car in the garage, which meant cramped quarters while riding. I’m so glad I got up and worked to make my dreams become a reality¬†instead of allowing myself to stay with my dreams while my head was on the pillow. #workforitwednesday

I did some more laundry and vacuumed the house before heading out the door to work.

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After another CRAZY day with students, I went back to the pool for 2300 yards of #swimlove. I was tired, but thankfully I had a much better swim than Tuesday. I’m not sure my form was any better, but I did #findfaster in the water!! I had fun in the water, while washing away the negativity from the week.

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Thursday:

Thursday’s we typically sleep in and this week was one of those days. It felt really good to sleep in and rest…10 hours of sleep = happy body. After a full day of work, I ran an errand on my home. Our evening consisted of a 1 hour trainer ride in the driveway on a very warm day, 45 minutes of TRX class, and gearing up for my last day of school with students.

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Friday:

We slept in again this morning!! The last day of school is always a fun day for the students and we did our best to make it a fun day for the teachers as well. I challenged our principal to a race through the obstacle course inflatable. We had fun, but both got hurt in the process. Thankfully nothing too serious.

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Cue song: “School’s Out For Summer”…well, not quite. I still have 2 professional development days, but no more¬†students until August! After work, I went to the pool to swim and wash away all of the stress from the school year. This was definitely my best swim of the week. I’m certain my form wasn’t much better, but my stroke felt more effortless than it has felt all week. I followed this up with a massage, grocery shopping for the coming week on my way home, and trying to help the Iron Hippie figure out how to get¬†our hot water heater working. Unfortunately the¬†hot water heater went kaput and we can’t get it replaced until Tuesday. I guess that means boiling water to wash dishes and driving to the gym to shower this weekend.

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Saturday:

With the rainy early morning forecast, we decided to start our long run at 8 am. This meant we could sleep in! As we set out on our run, I knew it was going to be a challenging run…Holy Humidity Batman! With only one mile under our feet, I already had massive amounts of sweat running off of me! My goal was to start off easy, eventually pick up the pace, and finish with an overall average pace of 9:00/mile for 2 hours of run time. By the end of the run, I had sweat enough to look as though I had gone swimming instead of running. I had completely saturated my shoes…to the point that with every footfall, I could feel and hear the sweat squish in them. Gross ūüėČ I was grateful that my body held up during this humid run and was able to maintain an average pace of 8:55/mile for the entire 2 hours.

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After refueling and changing clothes, we went to the gym for 30 minutes of core work and a hot shower. Since we don’t have a working hot water heater, and we had sweat enough to fill a kiddy pool, it was essential we take a hot shower! After spending about an hour at the gym, we came home, vacuumed the house, did some laundry, washed dishes (heating water on the stove to do dishes makes me feel like I live in the caveman era), got ourselves and bikes ready for a long brick tomorrow, and had a snack.

"Mom, I just want to try a piece, or all of the pieces, of your pineapple." ~Basil

“Mom, I just want to try a piece, or all of the pieces, of your pineapple.” ~Basil

I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening relaxing in my compression gear while I blogged, planned out the coming week, and reflected on last week.

Sunday:

We woke up at 6 am so that we could be wheels on by 7:15 am for our long brick.¬†We had a hilly century ride planned with a 30 minute run off the bike. We got through the first 2 hours on our own and then Allen got a ride out to met up with us and ride with us for the next 40 miles. The last 30 miles were again on our own with the open roads. I was pleasantly surprised with the traffic. Almost everyone who passed us did so by going into the left lane, most waited until they were win a passing zone (although some didn’t), and some even honked from a long ways back letting us know they were approaching. If any of you who passed us are reading this, THANK YOU for safely passing us, respecting our choice to be on the open roads, and “passing us like you love us.” We ended up with 103 miles as we rolled into the driveway on a great day! We transitioned into running gear and set out for our 30 minute run. The first 0.5 miles my legs were screaming at me…”What the hell are you doing to me?!” But then I got into a great groove and found myself cruising. The last 4 minutes of the run, I had to really convince myself that I wasn’t as hungry as my belly and body were telling me I was.

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103 miles of #bikelove on a BEAUTIFUL day!

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30 minute run at an 8:39/mile average pace off of a century ride…I’ll take that!!

We devoured all the food we could find, went to the gym to shower, cleaned and sliced 8 pounds of fresh strawberries (I probably ate a whole pound by myself while I was cleaning them), and then went to our friends’ house for dinner. Great company + awesome grilled food = PERFECT!! We capped off the night with some homemade dessert and blood donating (the mosquitoes were obnoxious) in our neighbors’ back patio.

Weekly Totals: 18 hours & 24 minutes

Swim: 6800 yards
Bike: 157 miles
Run: 23.5 miles
Strength Training: 2 hours & 15 minutes

Quote of the Week:

“Your dreams are on the other side of your grit!” ~Unknown

17 weeks ’til #IMWI: vacation day + race simulation weekend

The highlights of this week included using a vacation day on Friday + 70.3 race simulation weekend. We are currently 5 weeks out from Milkman Triathlon, which is our 70.3 race this year, so we threw a race simulation weekend in the mix this week to test our current fitness.

Monday:

When the alarm clock went off at 4 am, I planted my feet on the floor and went to the gym for 1 hour of strength training. I followed this up with a full day of work, meeting a personal training client for an hour after work, and then getting on the bike for 75 minutes of sweaty ladder intervals.

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Tuesday:

Today was a rest day, so we slept in until 6 am! After a full day of work, I was exhausted! I didn’t want to talk to anyone, or be around anyone, so I came home and isolated myself to the bedroom with my book. It was lights out at 7 pm, which was exactly what I needed.

Wednesday:

Another 4 am alarm meant hopping on the saddle at 4:30 am for 90 minutes of sweaty high speed/high power intervals. It was the perfect start to my day! After a full day of work, I went straight to the pool for 2500 yards of swimming. I was SO excited to see our friend Leisa at the pool. She is such an inspiration!! She is paralyzed from the waist down, but swims religiously. She used to do triathlons before she became paralyzed, so I asked her if she was interested in doing a sprint triathlon this summer as a team with the Iron Hippie and me. She would be the swim leg and we would decide who will bike and who will run. She was SO excited!! I can’t wait to make this happen ūüôā

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Thursday:

Hello 4 am!! I LOVE running hill repeats…I LOVE them even more on a beautiful morning when I get to see the sun come up during my run!! It was such a BEAUTIFUL morning for some serious #runlove!! Today’s work schedule was a bit different…I didn’t have kids, but instead had a teacher work day. It was nice to get some grading done, lessons planned for the last 10 days of school (yes…I’m almost down to single digits with students for the year), and lab equipment put away. After work, I met a personal training client for an hour, hopped on the saddle for an easy hour to spin out the legs, and then went to teach TRX. Thursdays are always my busy day, but with only one more day in the week, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel ūüėČ I was a VERY lucky girl to have my new Coeur Sports Graffiti Kit arrive in the mail today!! This is by far my favorite design from them yet!!

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Friday:

I had a vacation day to use, or I would lose it, so I took the day off today. I left home at 7 am and went to Ankeny (~30 minutes south) for the morning. With a 4700 yard swim, I decided to swim somewhere new, so I went to the Ankeny YMCA. It is such a great facility…MUCH better than the fitness center we have in Ames. I really wish we had a YMCA or other option in Ames for swimming, but it just isn’t the case right now. Only 2 more weeks and the outdoor pool will be open for the summer…I can’t wait to swim in the 50 meter pool all summer long! I had a really good swim, although I’m sure my form was probably still a mess. I only focused on keeping my nose to the bottom of the pool and didn’t worry about any of the other form issues I am to be working on. This made the swim so much more enjoyable!! After my swim, I went to Kyle’s Bikes for some minor adjustments to my saddle, a new chain, new handle bar tape…thank you Coeur Sports for the AWESOME tape, and a new bracket on my X-Lab. After I arrived back home, I did a few house chores, took an Epsom salt bath, and then got a massage. Nick spent the whole hour just on my legs…he wasn’t very nice, but that’s why I pay him ūüėČ I was lucky to have a visit from our former neighbors after my massage. The kids miss our dogs and came over for about an hour to play. It was great to see them and catch up!! It was an early to bed to recover¬†with sleep as much as possible.

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Saturday:

I was really excited to see how my body would hold up with today’s workout. Lucky for us (insert sarcasm), Mother Nature decided that we should experience wind chills of 32F this morning, so our 56 mile bike ride was done on the trainer. With the amount of time we were on the saddle,¬†this was probably closer to 65 outdoor miles, but we knocked out the 56 miles and then went for a 10K run off the bike. This brick was to be a race day simulation workout, but that is hard to really do on the trainer. I was very happy with my time for my 56 mile ride, but I was SUPER pumped about my run performance!! My run was AWESOME!! Negative splits ūüôā

Mile 1 = 9:25/mile
Mile 2 = 9:01/mile
Mile 3 = 8:36/mile
Mile 4 = 8:26/mile
Mile 5 = 8:01/mile
Mile 6 = 7:46/mile
Last 0.2 = 7:20/mile

It has been a LONG time since I’ve been able to maintain a 7:46/mile pace at the end of 6 miles. The best part…I felt that I could have kept going and gotten a bit faster yet!! I tapped into a LOT of #heartandcourage on this workout and thought of all those AMAZING and INSPIRING athletes racing Ironman Texas in very wild conditions!! After eating everything in sight, taking an Epsom salt bath/shower, and regrouping, it was time to take the dogs to the doggie wash for a bath. After their bath, I did lots of laundry, cleaned house, and did some yard work before relaxing for the evening.

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Sunday:

Time to test the legs and see what is left…a 15 mile run at race pace was on the calendar. After yesterday’s near perfect execution, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about how my legs would hold up for this workout. I was hoping to have an average pace of 9:00/mile. Considering I’ve been running slower the last few years, I thought this pace for 15 miles would really challenge me. As we started, I could feel the fatigue in my legs and got most of the bugs worked out of them within the first couple of miles. I just ran on feel and tried not to look at my Garmin too much along the way. We did an 11 mile loop with Basil…that girl LOVES to run! We ran back to the house and left her at home for the last 4 miles since it was starting to warm up a bit with the sun shining on us and very little wind. Basil wasn’t happy about it, but sometimes we have to do what is best for our fur kids ūüôā Getting started again after was a bit of a struggle, but we eased back into it and soon found our groove. We were really working hard this entire run and I kept thinking #courageovercomfort to myself!! It also helped that I was wearing my new Coeur Sports Graffiti design kit that was covered with #heartandcourage all over it!! was SO pleased to see that I had underestimated myself by setting that 9:00/mile average pace! After eating all the food we could find/make, we went to the pool for an EASY 2100 yard swim. It felt so good to stretch out and swim easy…not focusing on the clock or my form…just having fun!! It was time for my Epsom salt bath (#3 for the week), more laundry (I swear this is NEVER ending at our house!), dinner, getting ready for the coming week, and time to write this blog post.

My average pace for 15 miles was 8:30/mile...THANK YOU LEGS!!

My average pace for 15 miles was 8:30/mile…THANK YOU LEGS!!

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Nap time!! We could learn a LOT from our dogs about having fun, playing hard, and recovering harder!!

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Keeping things fun in the pool after our recovery swim.

Thoughts on the race simulation weekend:

  • The 4700 yard swim was a LONG swim, but I felt like I had a pretty decent pace (especially without having improved my form much).
  • I am bummed I had to ride the 56 miles on the trainer, but it helped me build mental strength!!
  • I am elated with the negative split 10K run off the bike on Saturday!!
  • I am SUPER pumped to see that my legs can hold onto a faster pace than I though possible on the 15 mile run!!

Weekly Totals: 17 hours & 27 minutes

Swim: 9300 yards
Bike: 110 miles
Run: 30.9 miles
Strength Training: 2 hours & 15 minutes

Quote of the Week:

“You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot have both.” ~Brene Brown

19 Weeks ’til #IMWI: Recovery + Race Time

How are we all of a sudden only 19 weeks away from Ironman Wisconsin?!?! This was not a typical week for us. We had 2 full rest days, lots of recovery, and a 1/2 marathon race to cap off the week.

Monday:

After waking up with an upset stomach, I decided to stay home from work. I¬†think it might have been the yummy, yet excessive roasted garlic on the amazing pizza from last night. I knew I had a lot of work that could be done from home, so I did that for most of the morning. Around lunch time, I started to feel much better, so I took my strength training outside to sweat out the remaining garlic. It was a beautiful afternoon and I should have been working outside, but I stayed indoors for my afternoon work session.¬†When the Iron Hippie got home, we rode our bikes outside in the sun for an easy recovery ride. It was a great snail mail day! I received goodies from both Coeur Sports and Sound Probiotics today…WAHOO!!

Strength training in the sun!

Strength training in the sun!

Recovery ride in the sun!

Recovery ride in the sun!

Snail mail delivery from Coeur Sports + Sound Probiotics = LOVE!!

Snail mail delivery from Coeur Sports + Sound Probiotics = LOVE!! #noangrykitty #stylishspeed #soundathlete

Tuesday:

Since it was a recovery week, we opted to have Tuesday be a rest day. We slept in, had a full day of work, I had a personal training client, and then went out for an amazing sushi dinner. Why didn’t I take a picture of the amazing sushi?! We ran a few errands after dinner and were ready for bed by 7 pm.

Wednesday:

We slept in Wednesday morning, so we got a LOT of sleep, which felt really good! After a full day of work, I hopped on the trainer for some sweaty, #bikelove intervals. It was definitely a #workforitwednesday with that workout! In looking at my normalized power from various rides lately, I think I’ve lost some bike fitness over the last month. Although I haven’t done an FTP test in a while, so I don’t know if it really has dropped or not…I think it might be time to test this and see where I’m at.

Sweaty #bikelove intervals with a little Ironman motivation in the background.

Sweaty #bikelove intervals with a little Ironman motivation in the background.

Thursday:

We always sleep in on Thursday mornings, but we actually had planned to¬†get up and swim this morning. I decided against this when I woke up, since I had been up 3 times throughout the night with cramps in the arch of my left foot. Boy do those hurt!! This is not typical for me, so what was causing them?! I even had them a couple of times throughout the work day. After work, I met a personal training client, completed a 60 minute cadence ladder ride, and then went to teach TRX…guess what?! MORE CRAMPS in the left foot. UGH! ūüė¶

Recovery ride on a cold and dreary day!

Recovery ride on a cold and dreary day!

Friday:

Today was another rest day. After work I had a massage, which was poor planning on my part since I am racing a 1/2 marathon tomorrow.¬†We’ll test this tomorrow and see how it impacts me! After my massage, we made a trip to Des Moines to pick up our race packets for the Drake 1/2 Marathon in the morning. In looking at the weather for the race, I couldn’t decide what to wear. What do you wear when it is going to be 46F, 22 mph winds, and 90% chance of rain?! I knew I’d need a lot of warm clothes for after the race, so I started by picking those out first. I decided to¬†wait until morning to decide what to wear. After picking up our packets, we had Mexican food for dinner and were in bed by 9 pm.

Massage...the day before a 1/2 marathon. We'll find out tomorrow if this was a good idea or not!

Massage…the day before a 1/2 marathon. We’ll find out tomorrow if this was a good idea or not!

Saturday:

4 am wake-up followed by cream of rice with¬†Pure Clean Beet Powder¬†and frozen blueberries + Karma Kombucha prepped my engine for what was looking to be a cold, wet, windy race. Now to decide what to wear…I decided to wear my Coeur Sports racing tri kit with arm warmers. I was hoping this would be a good decision. We arrived in Des Moines about 90 minutes before the race. We figured we wouldn’t have problems finding a place to park since the weather was so crappy and we were right. We had our pick of parking spots! At about 7:00 am, we started getting ready for our race and headed to the race start at 7:15. When they started the race at 7:30 am, it was 44F, 17 mph winds, and raining on us. I decided to run with my trash bag on until I warmed up a bit, which really only lasted about 1 mile. I met a friend that I’ve known through social media at about mile 1 and ran with her for a few miles. Kristen was pushing her 13 year old cousin with Rett Syndrome in a running bob for the first time ever during the 1/2 marathon. Can you say #heartandcourage?! She is so inspiring and motivated to do what she can to help find a cure for Rett Syndrome. Eventually we got separated on the hills, but Mother Nature continued to challenge us with the weather she threw our way. I quickly realized that a massage the day before a 1/2 marathon was not my best decision, but pushed as hard as I could for the whole race. My official finish time was 1:54:23, which was an 8:44/mile average pace. I was pretty pleased with this considering my legs did NOT want to move after about mile 5 + I was freezing + I was soaked like a drowned rat! Post run, we quickly changed and ate delicious post race food at the Drake Diner before heading back home. It was time for a REALLY HOT shower and a nap, followed by chili and cornbread with friends for dinner and an early to bed.

Who's ready to run a cold + soaking wet + windy 1/2 marathon? We are!

Who’s ready to run a cold + soaking wet + windy 1/2 marathon? We are!

Are we really going to do this?!

Are we really going to do this?!

Unofficial stats...I guess I tried to dodge a LOT of puddles ;)

Unofficial stats…I guess I tried to dodge a LOT of puddles since I was only supposed to have run 13.1 miles ūüėČ

Drake 1/2 marathon is in the books! Official finish time = 1:54:23

Drake 1/2 marathon is in the books! Official finish time = 1:54:23

Sunday:

I woke up with VERY stiff and sore legs, so I hopped on the bike for an easy hour to spin out the legs a bit, followed by breakfast, and an epsom salt bath. I did a few house chores to get ready for the coming week and then met Coach Hansen at the pool for more swim analyzing and coaching. I have A LOT to work on this week in the pool!! Later in the day, we went to Ankeny to visit the bike shop and meet an amazing friend for dinner. He came into town for the Drake 1/2 marathon from the Gulf Coast. I don’t think he was quite prepared for the cold, wet, windy weather we experienced. Since he and his wife retired down south, I’ve really missed having them around, so it was super fun to catch up with him!

Basil says, "Mama, will you please get off your bike and come cuddle with me?"

Basil says, “Mama, will you please get off your bike and come cuddle with me?”

LOTS to work on this week in the pool! Thanks Coach for the stroke analysis and guidance!!

LOTS to work on this week in the pool! Thanks Coach for the stroke analysis and guidance!!

Weekly Totals: 8 hours & 44 minutes

Swim: 550 yards
Bike: 65.8 miles
Run: 13.1 miles
Strength Training: 1:45:00

Quote of the Week:

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~Dr. Seuss

20 weeks ’til #IMWI: Bouncing Back

This week’s theme is Bouncing Back…just like Tigger! I finally feel like I have my mojo back and am on cruise control in the right direction. The warmer temperatures and sunshine are definitely helping ūüôā

Monday:

The 4 am alarm clock went off, feet planted to the floor, and off we went to the gym for 1 hour of strength training. With it being Boston Marathon Monday, I was very motivated to get out the door and workout while reminiscing my 2010 Boston Marathon experience! After a full day of work, I met with a personal training client, and then had an easy hour recovery ride before getting ready for the rest of my week. When I arrived home today, we had the *joy* of having our street torn up, so we have to park a block away and *commute* to our vehicles this week.

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Tuesday:

The day started with a 4:30 am alarm clock followed by the 2800 yard swim workout from last week that had me crying in my goggles. This week it went SO much better! I kept telling myself “I am Michael Phelps” over and over again. I’m not sure my form was ANYWHERE close to Michael Phelps, but it sure felt much better than last week! #courageovercomfort After work, I went and picked up our CSA from a local producer and then we went out for an evening run. I really struggled with this run for the first 15 minutes. Once I started to do the interval work, I immediately started to think of all those people I know who can’t run and reminded myself that I *get* to run. I started running for them. This run ended up being one of the best runs I’ve had in a long time!

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“I am Michael Phelps!”

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CSA produce is a sure sign of spring!

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#heartandcourage

Wednesday:

After a 4 am alarm clock, we hopped on the bikes in the garage for a 90 minute sweat session before work. I looked like the bag lady carrying All. The. Bags. Down the block to my car. I had my purse, lunch pail, backpack, shower caddy, and swim bag. After work, it was back to the pool for 2600 yards of more #swimlove in a cold pool! Loved the temperature, even though most of the kids in swim lessons had blue lips!

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Thursday:

6 am alarm clock meant 10 hours of sleep! It felt GLORIOUS! After a full day of work, I had an eye brow wax and then we rode for an easy hour on the bike before teaching TRX at 6:15 pm.

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Friday:

Another sleep in day, which meant 9 more hours of sleep! YIPPEE!! After work, it was an easy recovery swim, followed by running a couple of errands and doing our grocery shopping for the week…NEVER go to the grocery store right after swimming without a grocery list! While everything I purchased was healthy, it was not good on the budget ūüėČ We had some down time and dog snuggles before an early bedtime to cap of the evening.

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I was told by another swimmer that I looked “like candy” in my suit. I told her I’d be much sweeter after swimming and washing away the stress and drama from the week. It worked!

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Reading + dog snuggles = LOVE

Saturday:

We woke up at 6 am so we could go on a long ride, but unfortunately it was very foggy and was only in the mid 40sF. We decided we weren’t going to start our ride until after 10 am to let the fog burn off and the temperatures rise; this gave me time to do some core work, make cream of rice with fresh strawberries and beet powder for breakfast, clean up the kitchen, and do some laundry. We ended up rolling out of our driveway (they opened up our street at about 9 am this morning) at about 10:30 am for a long ride. We didn’t really know how far we would ride, but did know that we wanted to get in at least 3 hours in the saddle. The first 41 miles were all head and cross wind at ~20 mph…It. Was. Tough. More mentally, than physically. At mile 47, we had a decision to make…go straight home with the wind at our backs for a total of 70 miles, or endure more cross wind to add on some mileage and get to the trail system. We opted for the cross wind and trail. When we got to mile 61, we had another decision to make…go straight home for a total of 77 miles, or endure more cross winds and add on some mileage so we could end up with 100 miles for the day. We opted for the cross wind and 100 mile day. It didn’t set any speed records for this century ride, but we did set a record for the earliest century ride in the calendar year. Memorial Day weekend was our earliest century ride before today. When we got home, we refueled, cleaned up, and relaxed.

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Still smilin’ at mile 89 = serious #bikelove

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Our shadows were growing longer as we got closer to home.

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No speed records here, but 100 miles in the saddle on April 23 in central Iowa…we’ll take it!!

Sunday:

We woke up at 5:30 am to get our long run done. We finished just shy of 10 miles and it is always so much fun with friends! After our run, we refueled, cleaned house, did laundry, and got ready for the week before having breakfast for lunch with our neighbors at 1 pm. Shortly before 2 pm, we walked downtown with the dogs for Healthy Streets Ames. The dogs had a blast! There were so many kids downtown and lots of them wanted to pet the girls, which meant dog kisses! We got home shortly before 4 pm and relaxed for a bit while the dogs napped. Then it was time for pizza and fro-yo before an early bedtime!

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#runlove with Robin!

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Breakfast burritos for lunch!

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Healthy Streets Ames has some new mascots!

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Walking with our dog friends!

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Weekly Totals: 17 hours & 47 minutes

Swim: 7500 yards
Bike: 150 miles
Run: 17.3 miles
Strength Training: 2 hours & 15 minutes

Quote of the Week:

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” ~Willie Nelson