The Best of 2017

I love looking back and thinking about all of the amazing things that I’ve accomplished and all of the challenges I’ve overcome! I’ve reflected for the last 4 years and want to keep this trend going! You can look back at my previous posts if you’d like: Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, the Best of 2015, and the Best of 2016. Now its time to reminisce my faves from 2017! 🙂

 

My #2017bestnine on instagram is full of #heartandcourage

Best race experience?

Ironman Mont Tremblant! This was by far one of the best experiences of the year! I was blessed with a near perfect day + a PR on the day. I was so incredibly lucky to combine my race experience with an extended vacation with family + friends, which made for a really fun time!

So much coeur on this course! #bikelove

Best run?

I have been waiting to have a good run during an Ironman race for 6 years and this year, it finally happened at Ironman Mont Tremblant! I FINALLY pulled off a sub 5 hour marathon (and I know it could have been even faster without some visits to the kybo). I felt good, I felt strong, I was happy, I smiled the whole run, I really enjoyed myself, I spread coeur with others, and gave “hi-fives” to those who looked like they could use one. This run was a HUGE confidence builder for future races!

Love you Ericka! Thanks for the photo!

Best bike?

Sometimes the best rides aren’t the ones where we have the most fun, but where we learn the most. Yes, I had some seriously fun rides this summer…some solo rides, some with the Iron Hippie, some at the Track Cat Fitness Training Camp, and some on the Ironman Lake Placid + Ironman Mont Tremblant bike courses. For me, the ride that stands out the most this year is the one I learned the most from…my first solo century ride. It was a VERY tough day for me! Physically the wind BEAT. ME. UP! Mentally, I had to overcome a case of the “I can’t do this,” a case of the “I’m not strong enough,” a case of the “I’m not fast enough,” and a case of the “I’m not fueled enough” to finish. In this process, I learned so much about who I am and what I can do when staring adversity in the face!

I’m in a big build…today (Friday) adversity had me sitting on the side of the road in tears with 10 miles to go. I had lots of thoughts and choices while sitting under the tree. I chose to get back on Mojo and continue to chase my dreams! As Coach Kelly says, “it is supposed to feel like that and that this is what it takes. :)” First solo century is in the books!

Best Swim?

Swimming in Mirror Lake was probably one of the best experiences of the summer! It was so much fun to swim with an underwater guide wire! All lakes should be closed to motorized vehicles and have have an underwater guide wire available for swimmers!

Swimming in Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY

Best training weekend?

The Track Cat Fitness Training Camp in Stowe, Vermont at the end of July was CHALLENGING + SO. MUCH. FUN! I climbed Smuggler’s Notch. I climbed App Gap. I ran trails. I swam. In addition to all of the fun, there was community, riding, running, swimming, eating, learning, and growing as an athlete.

#trackcatstrong

Best training compass?

Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness has provided me with structure, focus, guidance, feedback, support, accountability, motivation + so much more! She has paved the yellow brick road for me this year and I am forever grateful! Standing beside me, believing in me, educating me, and helping me to become a better, #trackcatstrong athlete every day!

Loved meeting Coach Kelly + spending time with her and other amazing athletes at the Vermont Training Camp put on by Track Cat Fitness!

Best enCOEURaging moment?

Thanks to the support of Coeur Sports, Ignite Yoga, and Team Chiropractic for helping me provide a recovery clinic for women! The community! The learning! The practice! The enCOEURaging! The supporting! The love!

Learning!
Practicing!
Community!

Best recovery secret?

Wearing my CEP recovery tights as part of my work attire after a tough morning workout. Hello style + recovery! The best of both worlds!

Best tapering adventure?

Having my sister, brother-in-law, and 3 nieces vacation with us in Mont Tremblant for a few days was so much fun! We don’t get to see each other nearly enough (since they live in California and we live in Iowa), so this was a special treat!

My family from California came for a few days! #happyheart
These peeps hold 4 keys to my heart!

Best new piece of gear?

This was SUPER easy! We had some REALLY HOT + HUMID summer days this year, which forced me out of my comfort zone as I became a part of the #sportsbrasquad! I absolutely love the Coeur Sports sports bras! Not only are they super cute, functional, and comfortable, but they also have a hidden pocket that is perfect for carrying keys, nutrition, or ice!

So happy + #grateful to finally put together a pretty solid long run despite the full sun, warm temps, + high dew point. Mother Nature put up a fight, but I won Wednesday! #sportsbrasquad

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 (life, work, or otherwise), 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?

Hello race morning! Time to drink my Karma Kombucha, eat my muesli, and get inspired to do and be my best as I embark on the race ahead:

“Be calm; focus on what you are going to do. Don’t get distracted, don’t get overwhelmed, take it all as it comes. You are ready for this; you’ve 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.” ~Lynne Cox, “Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer”

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Most inspirational athlete?

There are so many that I can’t pick just one! My Coeur Sports sisters inspire me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! I’ve also been SUPER inspired this year by friends who finished their first Ironman. By friends who attempted their first Ironman, but didn’t meet cutoffs. By people who fight disease and keep training + racing. By people who challenge themselves and try something new. By people I haven’t met yet and people I see everyday! There are far to many people who inspire me to pick just one!

Best support crew?

Hands down…Dad and my Aunt Linda! These two helped us load our car with ALL. THE. GEAR. from our 4 week vacation the day before our race. They were up EARLY on race morning to help us get to transition. They were patient with the process of all of the race morning shenanigans. They were in all of the right places at all of the right times during the race. They helped us get our gear after the race. They cheered, photographed, and spread love to us and other athletes throughout a REALLY long day! There are not enough hugs and kisses for each of you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Love you both so much!

Two of the best spectators EVER! Thanks to Dad and Aunt Linda for cheering us on all day long! Love you both!

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 2017 year!! What are your “bests” from 2017?!

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What’s Up?! – November 2017

November was full of ups and downs, but I’m choosing to remember the positives, so here they are!

Training:

I finally had a successful month of training…I met my November challenge! 10 minutes of core strength every day for the entire month + an entire month of seeing green in Training Peaks! Bonus…NO eating out + NO alcohol for the month of November = Boo-yay!

Getting stronger as I #findfaster in the water!
So much #bikelove on my longest ride since #IMMT
So grateful for these amazing people in my life + morning miles! #friendsgiving

Swim: 31,400 yards (17.84 miles)
Bike: 188 miles
Run: 75.9 miles

“Racing”:

The Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon…I ran with Tim and Robin. So much fun to run strong and with friends on a course that could definitely result in a PR some day when I’m not coming off of Ironman season!

Running the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon with these two crazy kids was so much fun!

Listening to:

Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow is an interview with Susan Lacke about her book, which is a tribute to the friendship she had with Carlos. He was not only her mentor, but also her colleague, role model, friend, and a continuous fighter. “Even when you’re scared, you do the thing. You show up, face your fears, and you keep going.”

Dr. Grace Liu: How to Build a Warrior Gut, Common and Solvable Gut Issues in Athletes, and More is an interview full of loads of valuable information! I’m so happy to hear amazing things about Sound Probiotics from Dr. Grace Liu in this interview! I am a HUGE proponent of Sound Probiotics! As a middle school teacher + endurance athlete, I am constantly exposed to germs and my body is under varying forms of stress. Taking Sound Probiotics daily for over 2 years now has drastically decreased the illnesses I’ve had! I feel better + stronger + more energetic with Sound Probiotics in my corner! #soundathlete

Time to Start Planning Your 2018 Season with Lost in Transition is a great podcast reminding you to reflect on 2017 to better plan for 2018! It is important to have a healthy mix of outcome + process goals when planning for future seasons. When planning your season, you should consider the course terrain, travel, cost, community, time of year, etc.

Dog walks:

We are so lucky to have a golf course nearby that closes for the winter. Basil thinks it is her own personal playground!

Basil having fun on our evening dog walk!

Looking forward to:

Winter break! The countdown is on! We are inside 20 days until we get a much needed break + time with family! I will also be completing an BSC swim challenge the last week in December, which I am super excited + nervous about! If nerves weren’t involved, it wouldn’t be a challenge right?!

Excited for:

Racing with #heartandcourage + these empowering and inspirational Coeur Sports sisters again in 2018!

So humble + honored to have this AMAZING company and these empowering women by my side in 2018!

How was your month of November?! What are you excited for?!

Okoboji Triathlon 2017 Race Report

This is just a few weeks late, but better late than never! I raced the Okoboji Triathlon on July 15 and it was so much fun to go short, fast, hard, and have my family cheering for me on bike and run course! This race has a special place in my heart as I get to go home, home to race! It is unique, because it is between the sprint and Olympic distance.

Who’s ready to race?! We are!

Swim: 960 yards in 17:37 (1:50/100 yards average pace)

The women 40+ were in the last swim wave, so I had lots of people to pass during the entire event. Once I settled into my swim pace, I started pacing many people in the previous waves. This swim was about 1 minute faster than last year without a wetsuit this year.

Gear: Coeur Sports tri kit, Roka Viper Elite swim skin, Roka X1 Light Vermilion goggles, SBR tri slide

T1: 2:57

After exiting the swim, there is about a 200 yard run up to transition. I thought I was being super speedy in transition, but apparently I wasn’t as fast as I thought I was! My transition time was a bit slower than last year.

Bike: 18 miles in 54:10 (19.9 mph average speed)

I quickly settled in on the bike and began to climb right away. I was very aware of surrounding athletes and was SUPER pumped that not one athlete passed me on the bike! The last 6 miles of the bike is full of short, punchy hill climbs, and I was ready to punch back! With about 1.5 miles left to ride, I saw my sisters, nieces, and Dad on the course cheering me on!

Gear: Coeur Sports tri kit, Specialized Transition bike, Specialized Evade bike helmet, Specialized bike shoes

Nutrition: Breakthrough Nutrition – NBS Hydration

T2: 1:11

I quickly racked my bike, changed my shoes, and took off on the run!

Run: 4.5 miles in 38:48 (8:37 min/mile average pace)

I’ve run this course many times and knew there were many rolling hills, so I didn’t push as hard out of T2 as I probably should have and could have. About 1 mile into the run I was passed by the only female who passed me for the entire run (this cost me 1st in my age group and 10th overall female). I should have hung onto her to see what my body was capable of, but I let her go. With about 1.5 miles to the finish line, I again saw my sisters, nieces, and Dad. I was revived with their high-5s and cheers! I allowed that to carry me all the way to the finish line!

Gear:Coeur Sports tri kit, Newton Kismets

Nutrition: Motts fruit snacks

Overall: 1:54:40 2nd age group (F40-49) and 11th overall female finish

2nd place AG at the Okoboji Triathlon!

I am super grateful to my amazing family and husband, to Coach Kelly at Track Cat Fitness for helping be come #trackcatstrong this year, to my sponsors Coeur Sports, Roka Sports, Sound Probiotics, Breakthrough Nutrition, and Kyle’s Bikes, and to Dr. Chris Feil with Team Chiropractic and Nick at Vitality Massage for keeping me healthy! It takes a village and I’m incredibly grateful for mine!

19 weeks ’til #IMMT: confidence

Last week my focus was on building self-confidence. Confidence as an athlete is all about believing in your abilities to achieve your athletic goals. With Coach Kelly’s help, last week I focused on more self-confidence…more believing in my abilities…more believing in me! The week started a bit rocky as I was lacking motivation and I’m not sure why, but it sure turned around quickly! I had many workouts in each discipline that boosted my self-confidence throughout the week!

Swim: 9100 yards

I finally started to see some swim pacing consistency last week! I’ve struggled with pacing in the water probably since I was a baby. I always start off too fast and then end up slowing down and finding a pace that I can swim all day long. It is good to finally get some consistency with my pacing in the water! Pacing in the water is a great way to build my confidence for race day.

Work for it Wednesday started with #swimlove as I continue to #findfaster in the water!
“Celebrate good times…come on!” Some #swimlove Thursday morning!
More #swimlove, that continued to work hard despite being exhausted

Bike: 66.4 miles

I saw HUGE gains last week on the bike! I don’t think I have EVER seen watts above 350 on the bike (even for 1 second), but last week I had multiple bike interval sessions that pushed me WAY out of my comfort zone and on Thursday, I was able to hold 412 watts for 15 seconds. Say what?!?! That’s unheard of!! I’ve had to overcome some mental challenges to get stronger physically, but it is totally worth it!! I’m incredibly proud of myself for digging deep during this bike block and pushing myself to new limits. I’m also incredibly grateful to Coach Kelly for challenging me…she saw potential in me that I hadn’t yet seen in myself and I’m forever grateful to her for helping me achieve this potential! I’m getting more #trackcatstrong + confident everyday!

Thanks to Coeur Sports for pushing me through some tough intervals! “the dream is free. the making it a reality costs extra. make it happen.”
Spinning it out with my fave after work…look hard and you might find the Iron Hippie in this photo 😉
Watts I’ve never seen before + bonus interval (oops!) = CONFIDENCE BOOSTER + SERIOUS #bikelove
When the challenge in front of you is bigger than you’re capable of today, you put your head down, work super hard to try to rise to the challenge, and leave a puddle of sweat the size of the Pacific Ocean on the floor under you!

Run: 17.5 miles

I was blessed to get to run with a friend twice last week! It is so nice to get to share my #runlove with others! I am also super excited to have built confidence on my run! Sunday I had a 10 mile run. The first 5 miles were at a pretty comfortable pace, but then I decided to pick up the pace and see what I had left in my legs (they were already completely EXHAUSTED from the week) to see what pace I could hold for the end of my run. Not only did I negative split the last 5 miles, but I also clocked some pretty speedy times (for me) this late in a run. My last 5 run splits = 9:28, 9:04, 8:56, 8:43, and 8:20. Say what?!?! I finished my 10 mile run on completely EXHAUSTED legs with an 8:20 min/mile pace…I’m still in shock!

My morning running buddy! Hill repeats this morning!
Got to run with my fave off the bike on Saturday. There was more in my legs than I thought!
Grateful to have company for the first 5 miles of my long run! Thanks Robin for joining me!

Strength Training: 1 hour & 50 minutes + 10 minutes of core strength daily

I had some good strength training sessions this week that helped me identify muscle imbalances in my body…guess that means it is time to get to work to overcome these imbalances!

Weekly Totals: 13 hours & 1 minute

Weekly Positives: 

I got educated on everything NBS during a conference call on Monday night! I’m so grateful to Breakthrough Nutrition for keeping me hydrated and recovered this year! If you are looking to try a new sports hydration, give Breakthrough Nutrition a try and use code WELOVESNBS at check out for 10% off your order!

I received snail mail…the best snail mail!!

Snail mail is the best when Coeur Sports and Barnana show up on my doorstep on the same day!

The 2017 Coeur Team was updated to their website! I’m so pumped to be part of this amazing team in 2017! This team of ladies has heart! If you see us at a race, come and get a hi-5 or a hug!

#heartandcourage

I had some quiet time…salt + bubble baths are the best!!

#recoveryisimportant

Snuggles with my baby girl! I’m so lucky to have the best fur babies!

#happyheart

Quote of the Week:

“The quickest way to acquire self-confidence is to do exactly what you are afraid to do.”

What’s Up?! – March 2017

The month of March was SO much better than February!! I wasn’t sick or injured at all! Whoop! Whoop! Here’s a look at what I’ve been up to…

Training:

My training was SO much more productive and focused than February! And that makes me happy! I had a swim time trial…my CSS (critical swim speed) increased 3 seconds per 100 yards! Hello small gains in the water! I had a FTP challenge on the bike this month, where I had an increase of 10 watts over my last challenge! Hello HUGE gains on the bike! I also finished the year with a 10K road race, where I came SO close to breaking my PR from 2008! The best part…I wasn’t even rested for this race, so I can only imagine what I could have done on rested legs! HUGE hugs to Coach Kelly, with Track Cat Fitness, for challenging me on so many levels, pushing me WAY out of my comfort zone, and making me #trackcatstrong this year!

Swim Totals: 14.1 miles
Bike Totals: 234 miles
Run Totals: 54.2 miles

#TimeTrialTuesday resulted in a 10 watt improvement in my FTP!
That moment when you look up at the clock and realize you’ve beat your goal 200 yard time trial time by just over 3 seconds!
Ran my way to 3rd on a hilly 10K course with a finish time of 50:32…only 1:41 off my PR from 2008 (on the same course)!

Reading:

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is a very moving book. Louisa Clark is living a simple and comfortable life when she loses her job. She takes a much needed job working for Will Traynor who was in an accident and is now wheelchair bound. He is bossy, crabby, and used to being the center of the universe. Louisa’s life changes on so many levels throughout this amazing story.

How Bad Do You Want It: Motivation vs. Commitment by Carrie Cheadle gets you thinking about the differences between motivation and commitment. Do you have desire + drive to stay motivated? Are you so committed that you have determination + dedication? Do you feel like you HAVE to complete your workout or do you feel lucky that you GET to complete your workout? If you want more insight on how motivation + commitment can help you achieve your goals, this is a must read!

Do This Now: Mental Training Homework on Getting Unstuck by Carrie Cheadle is great if you are seeking change! Maybe you’re seeking change in your personal life. Maybe it is time to make a change professionally. Maybe you want change in your sport. What ever it is, now is the time to change! Now is the time to “Do Something Different!”

Listening to:

Conor Dwyer is an Olympic gold medalist who talks about how hard work in swimming has gotten him so much farther than someone with talent who doesn’t work hard. A hard worker definitely trumps someone who wastes their talent! So inspiring!

Celebrating:

Turning 40! I’m super pumped about turning 40! I’ve heard this is one of the greatest decades of our lives and I’m excited to finally be here to experience it! I’m also super excited to be the youngest one in my age group as I race and push myself to new levels this year! 😉

40!

Getting my Coeur Sports 2017 Team gear…This kit! This Team! I absolutely LOVE EVERYTHING Coeur Sports stands for! As a Coeur Sports ambassador, I am a beacon of the Coeur mission: to inspire + encourage other women, to welcome questions from women + other athletes of all abilities + backgrounds, to be a good sport…even if my race didn’t go as planned, have fun…even if in pain, during bad weather, or when my spirit unicorn doesn’t show up to guide my way, and to give a hi-5! If you see me or one of my sisters in one of these amazing kits this year, PLEASE come chat with us! We’d LOVE to give you a hi-5 (or even a hug), answer questions, and cheer you on! I’ll even share my spirit unicorn with you! Cheers to an amazing 2017 full of lots of #heartandcourage + chasing dreams!

#Fearless check-in:

My intention for 2017 is to become more fearless! So…how have I been doing with this? I feel like I was much more successful during January, but I’ve still made some progress on becoming more fearless in March. In my personal life, I have not had a drop of alcohol in 2017 = WIN! I am still working on facing those things that truly scare me, but this has required me to take baby steps because some of these things have a REALLY TIGHT hold on me. I am also really working on not letting others opinions of me bother me, but this is very challenging since it too has a TIGHT hold on me. How do you get those tight holds to let you go?!?! At work, we have started a new unit that I have never taught before thanks to our newly adopted standards. As a result, I am much less knowledgable than I am comfortable with. This has challenged me to be more #fearless at work, because I have had to openly admit that I often “don’t know” all of the answers. SCARY! I have made some BIG gains while training this month! This has caused me to have to stare fear in the face and stretch WAY out of my comfort zone! I also pushed myself HARD during my 10K road race…so hard that at about mile 4 self-doubt started to infiltrate my thoughts. How long can I keep pushing myself at this pace?! I’m feeling tired…what if the wheels fall off?! I can’t believe how hard this is…what if I work this hard and I don’t reach my goal?! I’m so proud of myself for changing the negative channel in my head and pushing myself hard all the way through the finish chute! While I’ve made some progress, I still have a LOT more progress to make, but don’t we all?! I’m a continuous work in progress!

My first ever trophy (when I’ve placed on the podium before, I’ve always earned a medal)!

How was your month of March? What were your March highlights? What are you excited for?

21 weeks ’til #IMMT: come back stronger

Such a good week to test my fitness in all three disciplines…swim + bike + run = fun!!

Swim: 5300 yards

Tuesday I had a CSS (critical swim speed) test. I was so excited to beat my goal time for the 200 yard swim (after already completing a 400 yard TT) by just over 3 seconds! Saturday’s swim was super challenging! I created a lot of training stress with my bike workouts last week and it showed in Saturday’s swim. While I wanted to throw my tempo trainer on the deck at the end of the pool and call it quits, I am a fighter. So instead, I kept pushing hard, trying to meet my goal swim times, and I didn’t quit!

That moment when you look up at the clock and realize you’ve beat your goal 200 yard time trial time by just over 3 seconds!
Sometimes you have to fight through the challenging workouts to achieve your dreams. This was one of those workouts!

Bike: 73.5 miles

I had 2 rides this week that took me WAY out of my comfort zone. And. It. Was. AWESOME! There were a few times when it was super tough and my mind ventured to the negative side, but I immediately changed the channel back to positive thoughts. I also had a couple of easier rides as well…one ride was in zone 1 and the second was in zone 2.

Incredibly grateful + lucky to have my sole sister pushing me through high intensity intervals even when she isn’t right beside me!
Bored on my recovery ride, but grateful for an easy spin on the bike!
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” ~John A. Shedd
Took my ship WAY out of the harbor and into uncharted waters!
Steady zone 2 ride!

Run: 11.1 miles

I had an amazing run on Wednesday followed by a 10K road race on Sunday. On Sunday I did an easy warm up for about 1.4 miles and then decided to see what my body was capable of despite having gone hard this week on the bike. I decided on my way to the race that I was hoping for a sub 52 minute 10K with a secret goal of sub 50 minutes. This wouldn’t quite give me a PR (and even on the same course), but I have been in the middle of a bike block, so running hasn’t been the focus lately. I didn’t quite hit my secret goal, but I’ll definitely take 50:32 on a hilly course!

Grateful to feel like I was running on borrowed legs! Feeling light + fast = #runlove
Ran my way to 3rd on a hilly 10K course with a finish time of 50:32…only 1:41 off my PR (on the same course)! Love, Love, LOVE the new Coeur Sports kit! 🙂 #heartandcourage
My first ever trophy (when I’ve placed on the podium before, I’ve always earned a medal)! Thanks Coach Kelly for pushing me + believing in me! #trackcatstrong

Strength Training: 1 hour & 55 minutes + 10 minutes of core daily

I had some good variety in strength training throughout the week. My highlight though was doing yoga at home for the first time ever! I had some help…er…watchful eyes thanks to the dogs!

Yoga at home for the first time ever…the dogs are sleeping on the couch!

Weekly Totals: 10 hours & 59 minutes

Weekly Positives:

  1. I set a new CSS for my swim!
  2. I pushed myself WAY out of my comfort zone on the bike and met the goals of each workout!
  3. I crushed my 10K without resting for it and was only 1:41 off my 10K PR pace!
  4. My body worked so hard this week and allowed me to push it to new levels!
  5. I did yoga without going to a class! This is progress people!

Quote of the Week:

“How could you think you are weak, when every time you break, you come back stronger than before?” ~r.m. drake

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 faves🙂

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 years😉

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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

DCIM100GOPROG0015600.

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:

“Be calm; focus on what you are going to do. Don’t get distracted, don’t get overwhelmed, take it all as it comes. You are ready for this; you’ve 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.” ~Lynne Cox, “Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer”

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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 “bests” from 2016?!