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! 🙂
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!!
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”
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!
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?!
As a triathlete, I’ve learned the importance of recovery…active recovery, massages, compression, yoga…it is all so important in keeping me healthy + active! I LOVE going to Ignite Yoga for hot yoga classes…the community, the practice, the instructors, the heat. Sometimes after 2-4 hours of swim/bike/run before yoga, my body needs a good stretch without the added heat. After sweating so much during swim/bike/run workouts, sweating buckets during yoga isn’t always the best idea.
Here are a few of my favorite yoga videos:
Yoga for Triathletes: Post-Training Practice is a 30 minute session that is perfect for after a swim, bike, or run. You get a great stretch in multiple ranges of motion to work on imbalances we develop while always moving forward.
Yoga for Athletes: Enhance your Performance is an hour long session that helps open tight areas that hinder performance, improve range of motion, and helps you recover faster. This is more of a workout than simply stretching, but is definitely doable after an hour swim, bike, or run workout.
Yoga for Athletes: IT Band and Hips is just over 50 minutes. Since IT band syndrome is a common injury for runners and cyclists, this session provides a lot of great stretches to open up the tight IT bands, hips, glutes, and hamstrings.
Daily Decompression is just over 20 minutes. It helps you decompress your spine, increase mobility, and relax your mind. This is a great, short session that can be done any time of day.
Grounding and Centering Yoga Flow is a 40 minute session that focuses on the present. This is a great session to bring you back to your home base.
Currently I am incorporating yoga into my weekly routine once a week. I would love to figure out a way to add in one of the shorter sessions a 2nd time throughout each week, since I know how important recovery is to keep me healthy + active!
I’m sure there are MANY other great yoga sessions out there! Do you spend time on your mat at home? If so, what yoga resources do you use to guide your practice?
October has come and gone and I’m so ready for November! Here’s a snapshot of what I’ve been up to:
My training this month was a bit hit or miss. I did get some good training sessions in and am very grateful to Coach Hansen for taking some time to help me work on my swim stroke.
Swim: 3.98 miles
Bike: 79.9 miles
Run: 61.4 miles
I’m not sugar coating things…this school year has been tough. This has been the most stressful year of teaching I’ve had in my 14 years. I’m grateful that the first quarter is behind us! Only 3 more to go!
We went home and saw family at the beginning of October. It was so nice to get to spend time with family, get snuggles, and get some lake lovin’!
Just not now…really struck home with me! I have had a lot of the “just not now” moments this month and am reminding myself that these moments won’t last. Thankfully!
Lauren Parker Update: Resilience Personified…Wow, just wow! Lauren was in a bicycle accident just weeks before she was to race Ironman Australia, which caused her to break her back, leaving her with a 1% chance of ever walking again. She is full of determination, drive, and commitment!
Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe by Becky Wade…Becky was the recipient of the Watson Fellowship in 2012. After a successful college running career, she packed four pairs of running shoes and took off on a one year journey to learn from diverse running communities around the world.
IronWomen Podcasts…I have listened to so many of these amazing + inspirational podcasts lately that I can’t pick just one! You should do as I have and listen to them all!
Find Your Awesome Podcasts…I have listened to most of these and am very grateful to Kelsey for the inspiration + awesomeness!
What to do after triathlon season ends by Lost in Transition…I love that they refer to the “off season” as the “out season.” Just because we aren’t racing, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be training. The “out season” refers to being out of the racing season, but still training. Lana talks about things we can do in the out season to prepare us for the coming season.
Some winter challenges + the 2018 season! I’m SO excited for a few challenges I have in November, a swim challenge I am going to do in December and my race plan in 2018!
How was your month of October?! What are you looking forward to?!