Happy New Year!! Cheers to an awesome 2016!!
Happy New Year!! Cheers to an awesome 2016!!
I can’t believe the first week of December has already came and went!! With less than 1 month to the start of 2016, it is time to reflect on 2015. It is good to look at the past (taking a look at what went well and what needs improvement) before planning for the future. I have taken some time to reflect and evaluate my 2015 journey so I can set S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2016.
USA Triathlon posted a great article that I used to help me evaluate my 2014 training and racing season before trying to plan for 2015. I found this reflection very beneficial and thought I would use the same questions to reflect on my 2015 season so I can better plan for 2016.
1. In hindsight, were your goals for the season clear and attainable?
-My goals were clear and attainable: smile and have fun at Ironman Boulder while pushing to break 14 hours. I feel like I could have pushed a little bit harder to break 14 hours since my overall finish time was 14:04:37, but I did manage to smile and have fun all day long!! I love Ironman racing…it makes my heart happy 🙂
2. What are you most proud of this season?
-I had a huge PR on the IM bike…granted Ironman Boulder was a much easier bike course than Ironman Wisconsin, but I still pulled out a bike PR!! I
broke crushed my previous IM bike PR by 1:10:46. Despite a slower swim and run, I still ended up with a PR at #IMBoulder of over an hour (which obviously came mostly from my bike split). I am happy and confident that I could have aimed higher at #IMBoulder…especially on the swim and run.
-I am happy that I conquered a new distance by racing the Legend 100 on a very challenging day. I didn’t let the rough waters, wind and hills, or brutal heat and humidity prevent me from crossing the finish line.
3. What would I like to duplicate next year?
-I would like to continue training without a coach for 2016. I think I will be looking to have a coach again sometime in the future, but through self-coaching, I have learned to listen to my body more…take breaks when I need them, push harder when I can, and recover more wisely than I once did. When I had a coach, I did whatever was in Training Peaks without listening to what my body wanted and needed. When/if I go back to having a coach, I will need to keep the balance of listening to my coach and my body.
-I would like to maintain my cycling fitness. I have gotten so much stronger and faster on the bike, which I would love to reap the benefits of in 2016. With Ironman Wisconsin’s bike course being more technical than Ironman Boulder’s I can definitely benefit from carrying this cycling fitness into 2016!
-I incorporated more mental training and focus into my training and racing this year. I reaped rewards from this on race day when tough moments arose. I definitely want to continue to focus on mental training in 2016 and incorporate it into my training plan everyday instead of only the last month of training before a big race.
4. What frustrated or disappointed you the most this season?
-Ending up with hypnatremia again post IMBoulder. I thought I had my nutrition dialed in, but I was obviously wrong in thinking this…
5. What do you not want to happen again next year?
-I want to avoid nutritional failure again as was mentioned in the previous question. Race day is always so much more enjoyable and rewarding when your nutrition is spot on.
-I also want to avoid injuries. I have been trying to overcome some muscle stiffness and imbalances post IMBoulder. I want to get to the injury free zone and remain there for 2016. I would love to be able to race a 70.3 distance event…hard…prior to Ironman Wisconsin in 2016!!
6. What did you learn by going through these experiences?
-I need to figure out where I can have a sweat test done to determine what electrolytes and in what quantities I sweat them out (not just water loss). This will allow me to better prevent hyponatremia. Knowing the quantities of the electrolytes that I sweat out will help me take in the proper doses of electrolytes for my body needs.
-I need to be sure to incorporate proper strength training, stretching, and foam rollering into my weekly schedule and post workouts so I don’t get injured again. In getting reacquainted with my mat, I have found that hot yoga helps me stretch my muscles deeper. This means I need to incorporate more hot yoga into my weekly training plan. It is a good thing I love hot yoga!!
7. What decisions did you make that were empowering for you?
-I felt empowered by incorporating more mental training into my race preparation for IMBoulder this year. I laid out goals, reasons for each goal, a visualization plan, and mantra for each part of my Ironman race day experience. On race day when things got tough, I had the tools in my toolbox to help me through those tough moments. I definitely reaped rewards for my mental training and focus on race day!!
8. What habits seemed to hold you back from achieving your potential?
-I did not incorporate enough recovery into my training. I need to incorporate more recovery techniques into my everyday training/workout routine so that I remain healthy and injury free. Foam rollering, ART, massage, hot yoga, and stretching need to be a part of my everyday training post workout.
-I need to overcome the fear of being uncomfortable. I am always afraid to leave it all out there…whether it is a training session or during a race. Where is that balance between being uncomfortable and able to successfully finish and being uncomfortable and failing? It is time for me to find out. It is time for me to get really uncomfortable and learn to feel truly comfortable with the uncomfortable!
9. What decisions should you make in order to have your best triathlon year ahead?
-I need to incorporate more recovery techniques into my everyday training plan to keep me healthy and injury free. I need to train smarter…while incorporating speed and hill workouts on the bike is important, I also need to focus on balance and not pushing hard with every workout. I want to improve my bike split at Ironman Wisconsin from my previous 2 IMWI experiences (in 2011 and 2014) and I believe training smarter will help me achieve this. It is time to bring back the speed!! I want to get my run faster, so I’ll need to incorporate more speed work on the run and practice running some of my longer runs at a faster pace than I have in the last few years. I also need to focus on believing in myself and my training more…not just the superficial believing, but the deep underneath the surface at the very core of my being believing! 🙂
My 2016 S.M.A.R.T. goals will come in a few weeks time. Stay tuned…
Have you looked backward so you can plan for the future? What did you learn?
This year I have a GREAT group of 8th graders and I am lucky to enjoy going to work everyday…well, let’s be honest…it is work and there are days that are not always full of rainbows and unicorns, but I do love it most days 😉
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown…Making yourself vulnerable is the “most accurate measure of courage.” While I have not finished this read, it is one I would HIGHLY recommend!! “…we realize that to live with courage, purpose, and connection – to be the person whom we long to be – we must again be vulnerable. We must take off the armor, put down the weapons, show up , and let ourselves be seen.”
Post IMBoulder, we lost focus on our training for 9 weeks before we found ourselves again. Since getting back to training (which we LOVE), we have had to find that balance again between training, family time, friend time, cleaning/housework, work, blogging, etc. I do tend to thrive and be most efficient with my time when I have more on my plate. When there is less downtime, there is less time for distractions 😉
I am SO excited to be training again! I love having a big goal on the calendar and something to work toward. Hello Ironman Wisconsin 2016…I am so happy to see you on my schedule and even happier to be seeing green in Training Peaks again 🙂
The changing seasons…Autumn is my favorite season! The cooler temperatures, the changing colors and the fewer daylight hours…well that last one I can do without. I do prefer the longer daylight hours 😉 Fall is definitely in the air and I am finding joy in all it has to offer!
Looking back through my Believe Training Journal has been rewarding, inspiring and motivating for me. It gives me the desire to want to work hard and chase dreams 🙂
Lots of friends have been killing their fall races!! It has been so much fun to get to cheer them on in person and remotely!! They too have inspired me to work hard and chase dreams 🙂
Quote of the week
“We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.” ~John Dewey
What have you been up to lately? What is your favorite season and why? Any good reads lately? What/Who inspires you to do and be your best?
This last weekend we had a VERY productive weekend! It made coming back to work so nice to know we were ready for our week!
After work I went to the grocery store quick to get a couple of items for the weekend and stopped by the post office to mail a gift to a friend before arriving home at about 4:45 pm. We ate an early dinner and then started deep cleaning our house. This time around it was a “move everything” kind of cleaning so it takes us a lot longer than just your typical weekly cleaning. After cleaning the house for a couple of hours, I went to bed.
Saturday morning we woke up at 6:20 am to go to the gym. I decided to rekindle the fire for swimming. This was the first time back in the pool since #IMBoulder and it felt AMAZING! Definitely can’t wait to get back in the pool for some more #swimlove 🙂
After my swim, we met friends for breakfast and then headed back home for more productivity. We finished cleaning the upstairs, washed the windows inside and out (even cleaned the screens) and then decided to get the courage cave ready for trainer season (I’ve changed the name of the trainer room to be more positive…thanks Kristen for the name change). We then cleaned up and went to a grill out/fire pit night with my sole sister…so much fun!
After breakfast, we filed all of the papers in the office and reorganized our lives again. We then hung some posters and decorated the courage cave a bit more before heading downtown for the Octagon Arts Festival. We were only downtown for about an hour, but the dogs loved walking around and meeting other dogs…they didn’t care much for all of the art displays, but I definitely enjoyed it 🙂
On our way home, we stopped and picked up a couple of bags of mulch and dirt to do some yard work. We had to move dirt around one of our basement window wells to prevent rain water from flowing into the basement through the window when it rains. Thankfully we don’t have a finished basement, but we still don’t want water in the basement, so hopefully this will help. We also put mulch around the trees in our front yard.
Finally it was time to clean up and do some food prep…I love taking time on the weekend to prepare healthy foods for the week. It is always nice to know what we are going to have for meals throughout the week and know that they are healthy choices.
After cleaning up the kitchen, we decided to go for a drive to the country to watch the #supermoon, but I just couldn’t stay up long enough to see the color change…
#productivityrocks and we are all set to have an amazing week!
How was your weekend? What did you do last weekend? Do you ever have weekends that are all about productivity?
We woke up early to head to Boulder for our last BAM OWS at 6 am in the Boulder Rez. I was so lucky to meet my Coeur Sports team mate Rebecca at this OWS and am super blessed that she delivered a special shirt for me to Boulder from Kebby and the gang at Coeur Sports. I am part of such an amazing team!!
After the swim, The Iron Hippie had some bike issues, so we went for an easy 20 minute shake our run. We then showered at the Rez before going to Ironman registration. It is always fun to get the Ironman wrist band and all of our race bags!!
After registration, we went to Louisville Cyclery to get the Iron Hippie’s bike fixed, checked into our host home in Boulder at about noon, grabbed a quick sandwich, went back to the Boulder High School for the the athlete meeting at 2 pm, got some ice cream to cool off and then went back to Louisville to pick up the Iron Hippie’s bike.
We then went to the house that my parents have rented for their stay in Boulder and enjoyed some time with them before going to Pearl Street for dinner. We ate at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner since we had a large party and knew that we could get basic meals there.
We slept in and went to the Boulder Rez at about 10 am for an hour bike ride before getting groceries. We dropped off the groceries at my parents house before heading back to our home stay so we could shower and pack our gear bags.
After all was ready, we went over to my parents house and made a homemade pasta meal while we sat around chatting. It was a nice and relaxing evening, with an early to bed to end the day.
What a whirlwind of a day…we woke up to go swim at the Rez, but the line of traffic was too long and we couldn’t get to the gates before 8:15 (which was the time cutoff apparently, even though it was advertised until 9 am), so we weren’t allowed to swim until 9 am on the short course. We did a little swimming and then test rode our bikes to make sure everything was working well before we put our bikes and bike gear bags into T1 at the Boulder Reservoir.
We then drove to the Boulder high school where we dropped our run gear bag at T2 and then grabbed some lunch at Lyfe Kitchen before going back to our home stay for a shower.
We went to my parents house to chat for a couple of hours before going back to our home stay, eating a plain meal (plain chicken and a plain baked potato) for dinner and then EARLY to bed. With a 2:30 am alarm, 6 pm bed time it was…
Sunday was race day. I’ll have a completely separate post for my race day.
We woke up early to go down to Ironman Village to get some finisher gear.
We then went back to our home stay and took a nap before loading the car and leaving Boulder by 1 pm. We made it to Kearney, Nebraska where we stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn Express and grabbed a bite to eat. All I wanted for dinner was potato skins, so we went to Applebee’s thinking they would have them. Nope. I was so tired and hungry that I started to cry. I don’t think the poor server knew what to do with me. The Iron Hippie looked online for a place that served potato skins. Did you know that if you google potato skins in Kearney, Nebraska, you won’t get any results?!?!?!?! We ended up leaving Applebee’s (I did leave the server $2 for my meltdown) and going to the Chicken Coop where I was super happy with my potato skins!!
We woke up at 5:30 am, ate some breakfast and went back to bed until almost 9 am. We were obviously tired…we showered, loaded up what little we took into our hotel room and hit the road at 10 am. We finally arrived home at 3:30 pm. I was so happy to see my girls!!
I guess this means it is time to come back to reality and normal…whatever that is!! I already miss Colorado and want to go back!!
I am all registered…
We attended the athlete briefing…
The gear bags are packed and Mojo is ready to do some work…
Mojo and my gear are dropped off…
And now we rest…2:30 am alarm clock tomorrow is early!! 🙂
I’m ready to race you tomorrow Ironman Boulder!!
You can track me tomorrow at ironman.com and click the athlete tracker. I am race number 865…see you on the flip side!!
We woke up early to head to the Estes Park pool for 2400 yards of #swimlove at an elevation of 7500+ feet. I was a little winded during this swim, but once I got into a rhythm it was great!!
After swimming, we drove to Rocky Mountain National Park and took a short walk around Sprague Lake…ABSOLUTELY Magnificent!!
When we returned to our cabin, we spent about 3 hours cleaning our bikes. Mojo is MUCH happier now that she is clean and shiny!! During this time, we also did laundry…everything dries so quickly in Colorado 🙂
After lunch, we thought we were going to do some stand up paddle boarding, but the timing wasn’t in our favor, so we’ll have to go later this week. Instead, we walked down on the strip and got a late afternoon treat…I had a caramel apple covered in Snickers and it was delightful 🙂
For dinner, we had homemade pasta and garlic bread before heading to bed early so we could get to the Boulder Reservoir early in the morning for our first open water swim (OWS) in Colorado at altitude.
We woke up EARLY to drive down to the Boulder Reservoir for a 6:10 am OWS with BAM (Boulder Aquatic Masters). LOTS of the swimmers are soon to be fellow Ironman Boulder finishers, since most were chatting about the upcoming race. There were LOTS of others who just swim or are training for other races as well. It was great to have kayakers/lifeguards surrounding the 1000 meter and 750 meter buoys watching out for us while we swam. The $15 was well worth it!! It would be nice to have something like this back home. 🙂
It was a perfect morning for a swim and I was VERY pleasantly surprised by how good I felt despite swimming at altitude.
After the swim, we had a short run, which we did around the Res checking out where we would be staged for IMBoulder. This was the fastest run I’ve had in quite a while and I was super happy about my pace…I started easy and picked it up to sub 8:00/mile pace near the end 🙂
After our run, we showered at the Res before driving Allen to the airport in Denver. He had to fly to Las Vegas for an overnight work trip. On our way back up to Estes Park, we stopped in Lafayette at Morning Glory Cafe for an amazing breakfast!!
Once back at the cabin, we put all of our swim gear out on the patio to dry (wetsuits, swim suits, tri kits, etc.) before laying down for a much needed nap. When I woke up, I went outside to bring in all of our swim gear and it was SOAKED! It had apparently poured during our nap and all of our gear was more wet than when we put it out there post trip to Boulder. We left it all outside, hoping it would dry.
We had an early dinner at Mama Rosa’s in Estes Park and then walked around the downtown area checking out the local shops and buying a few things.
It was early to bed to try and soak up the sleep during the taper 😉
We woke up, went to the grocery store before everyone else did (that is definitely the way to go), came back to the cabin to make breakfast smoothies and then walked 2 miles down to the Estes Park Marina so I could rent a stand up paddle board and the Iron Hippie could rent a kayak. The last time I went stand up paddle (SUP) boarding was in Coeur d’Alene in 2012. I LOVE stand up paddle boarding…maybe it is time to invest in my own board 🙂 It was a very windy morning, which made for a rough ride…lots of whitecaps on the lake. It was still a lot of fun, but I think we need to go back and do this again when it is a calmer day…I’d love to be out there longer than 30 minutes!!
After our 2 mile walk back to the cabin, we made some lunch, did some laundry and cleaned up before heading down to Denver to meet the Iron Hippie’s sister for the afternoon and evening. We had US Thai for dinner and followed this up with a short stroll along Sloan’s Lake.
Then we picked Allen up from the airport at ~8:30. This made for a late night getting back to our cabin.
Thursday: (Happy Birthday to the Iron Hippie Today)
We slept in this morning, made some breakfast, loaded our bikes into the car and drove to Nederland (or Ned as the locals call it). Once in Nederland, we rode a different section of the Peak to Peak Highway up to Ward. You can check out my complete blog post on this section of the Peak to Peak Highway here.
We relaxed at the cabin for the remainder of the day, grilling dinner and enjoying some down time before turning in early for the night, since there are more adventures to be had tomorrow 🙂
I’m so excited to start training again, but this time at altitude…7596 feet is where I have laid my head every night since we arrived in Estes Park!!
Thursday: Happy 5th Anniversary to the Iron Hippie 😉
I started my day watching the sunrise over the mountain on the patio at our cabin, while drinking my Karma Kombucha…can you say #perfectstarttotheday?!?!?!?! WOW!!
We followed this up with a drive through Rocky Mountain National Park to Grand Lake, where we had breakfast at an amazing little cafe, followed by a walk along the lake.
After breakfast and a short walk along the lake, we loaded back into the car and drove to the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park so we could hike up to Adam’s Falls…
On the return back to Estes Park, we made one stop at the Continental Divide.
When we returned to Estes Park, I relaxed for a little bit before doing an hour of strength training at the cabin. At about 5:00 pm, the Iron Hippie, Allen and I went for a run around Estes Park. I was VERY pleasantly surprised at how good I felt at 7500+ feet elevation. This was just the attitude adjustment that I needed!! This was some serious #runlove 🙂
After our run, we cooked taco meat for taco salads…the perfect post workout meal!! Then it was time to clean up dinner and dishes, get ready for our bike ride on the Ironman Boulder bike course Friday morning and let my head hit the pillow for a good night’s sleep.
After breakfast, we loaded up our bikes into the car and headed to Boulder to ride the first ~40 miles of the Ironman Boulder bike course. Can I just say…I’m in love with the first loop (the red loop) of the bike course (which is also happens to be the 2nd loop of the bike course)?!?!?! Serious #bikelove here 🙂 I’m planning to ride the 3rd loop of the bike course next Saturday, and I can’t wait!! I hope I love it just as much!!
We stopped in Hygiene at Mary’s Market to refill our water bottles. This is the most bicycle friendly place I think I’ve ever been (well…except for the Kyle’s Bikes of course). It is truly AMAZING!! They cater to cyclists in so many unique ways…I really hope it is packed on IMBoulder race day!!
In the last 4 miles of the bike ride, the winds picked up and the temperature soared to 92F. I hope race day conditions are cooler and less windy, but if they aren’t, we are ready!! After loading the bikes, we drove downtown to have some lunch and then rode our bikes to a local bike shop to get an extra pedal washer for my right pedal. I was having a bit of some knee pain after this ride, and Kyle (my amazing bike fitter) said I needed to put another washer between my crank and pedal. Unfortunately, Allen was having issues with his seat post and couldn’t sit on his saddle and the bike shop couldn’t help us, so we rode off to another shop…who also couldn’t help us. UGH!!! At this point, we called Kyle again and he told Allen what to do, so we made a few more stops in Boulder before heading back up the mountain to Estes Park. Upon our arrival to the cabin, we made dinner, showered, cleaned up and walked around Estes Park before hitting the hay. It was a beautiful night!!
I woke up shortly before 6 am, ate breakfast and then at 7 am we all set out for a 2 hour run around Estes Park. I was a little nervous going into this run, because it was double the distance of my Thursday run and I am at 7500+ feet of elevation, but I just took it one step at a time and had a fabulous run at a faster pace than Thursday, which I was pleasantly surprised by!! I basically ran by myself,
leaving the boys in the dust which was really good mental training for IMBoulder race preparation. And. I. Felt. Great!! I couldn’t have asked for a better run…and at altitude!!
After doing some core work, refueling and showering, I did lots of laundry. Thankfully our cabin has laundry facilities (actually below our cabin) and we can do as much laundry as we need. The Iron Hippie’s sister and brother-in-law came up to visit us from Denver, so we had a fun afternoon of just chatting and relaxing in Estes Park. It was great not to have to drive anywhere, since the last few days we had been in the car quite a bit 😉
I ate leftovers for dinner and then walked around Estes Park, ate a cookie as big as my face and drank tea while relaxing by the stream for a while before turning in early to bed.
After 10 hours of sleep, I woke up ready to ride! We ate some breakfast, loaded up the bikes and drove to Raymond, CO for a shorter ride on the Peak to Peak Highway. This was absolutely, without a doubt, my favorite bike ride EVER!! If you are ever near Raymond or Ward, Colorado, I HIGHLY recommend this ride!!
We did a short run off the bike in Raymond before heading back to Estes Park…with a short detour to Glen Haven for some amazing cinnamon rolls!!
We cleaned up and grabbed an early dinner and some ice cream (it was National Ice Cream Day after all) before hitting the hay early for another exciting day in Estes Park 🙂
I’ll have the middle part of our Estes Park trip up on the blog later this week. 🙂
This week has been a busy week, but I’m feeling really good about where my #IMBoulder training is at and really excited about the warmer weather that is suppose to be just around the corner. Can you say…WARMER WEATHER…YES PLEASE?!?!?!?!?! There is talk that this coming Tuesday should be 61F for a high (that is 79F warmer than the feel like temperature yesterday morning)…HEAT WAVE 🙂
Ok…Kecia…refocus…my #FaveWorkout this week involved one hour of #bikelove #intervals on Monday…
Trainer: 3×9 minutes Over/Under Intervals
Warm-up: 10 min including 2×1 minute 100+rpm
3×9 minutes (2 min 8/10 effort, 1 min 9/10 effort, 2 min 8/10 effort, 1 min 9/10, 2 min 8/10, 1 min 9/10)
4 min recovery
15 minutes Easy Ride
Those 9 minute sets were a LOT more challenging than I thought they’d be…OUCH!! This is how I’ll make #progress 😉
What was your favorite workout this week?
It has taken me a bit of time to solidify my 2015 racing calendar, but this is what I’ve decided on…
Elkhart Time Trial Series – April, May, June, July and August (one Thursday evening each month) in 2015
Drake 1/2 Marathon – April 26, 2015
Legend Tri 100 – June 7, 2015
Accel Olympic Triathlon – June 14, 2015
Eastern Iowa Tour de CURE – June 27, 2015
Ironman Boulder – August 2, 2015
Des Moines Triathlon – September 6, 2015
Runner’s Flat 50K – October 10, 2015
While I am sad to be missing some of my favorite local events this summer, I am super pumped to attempt some new events and challenges in 2015!!
What fun races do you have planned for 2015?