I’ve been working to harbor an “Attitude of Gratitude” in 2018, which is sometimes harder than it should be! There is SO much to be grateful for everyday and I reflect on that before bed every night. The hard part is finding gratitude in every moment throughout the day…especially when faced with challenges, struggles, and negativity.
Since November is typically the month of gratitude and we are embarking on Thanksgiving week, I decided to take some time to reflect on what I have done to include more gratitude in my life.
You may have noticed during my monthly “What’s up?!” blog posts, a gratitude section this year. This is a great way to reflect on each month and be grateful for the things that have stood out as positive and uplifting!
Each night before crawling into bed, I reflect on the day. Writing down all of the things I am grateful for that day in my gratitude journal. This is a great way to focus on all of the positives (even the little things) that happen throughout the day. It has also caused me to focus more on the positives and gratitude moments throughout the day as they occur.
I am constantly reminding myself to be grateful even during the struggles. When I catch myself encountering a struggle, I try to shift my mindset and make myself much more aware of the positives that I’m experiencing in those moments.
I am also working to be more mindful and present throughout each day. Focusing on the 5 senses + how I feel in the moment + what I think at different moments in time throughout each day.
All of these things have helped me harbor an “attitude of gratitude” this year. I truly believe we can not have enough gratitude for all of the amazing people, experiences, memories + things in our lives! I’ve chosen to embrace gratitude this year and find good in everything! Some moments are more of a struggle than others, but even when things are tough, there is something to be grateful for! Sometimes we just have to get out our magnifying glass and look a little harder for the good. 😉
There have been so many amazing moments so far in 2018!! Here is just a snapshot of the things I am grateful for this year:
How do you live with an attitude of gratitude?! How do you focus on gratitude in every moment…even when faced with challenges and struggles?!
It has been 6 weeks since Ironman Wisconsin!! During these 6 weeks, I have been giving my body some much needed TLC and recovery. I have done VERY little in the way of exercise…4 bike rides, 3 runs, 1 swim, and 2 strength training sessions to be exact.
I have had a couple of massages to help loosen up the body and get it ready for another Ironman beating and also taken some salt baths to relax and help me recover.
I was hoping to get some hot yoga in and a few swims during this time, but other things have managed to take precedence over these two outings. We’ve spent a lot of time with friends and family during these 6 weeks.
I’ve meet with some personal training clients, managed to get some appointments taken care (haircut, dogs to the vet, Mojo into the shop to get a shifter cable fixed, etc.), had dinner get togethers with friends, and have managed to chew up all of the “free time” I thought I would have. It always amazes me how I can spend 20 hours a week training (on top of a 40+ hour a week job), but when I have down time to “relax,” my time always gets filled with miscellaneous things!
I’ve cheered my fave and many friends onto more 1/2 marathon and marathon finish lines…
We have made lots of yummy food and enjoyed our down time. My mind is definitely ready to start working out on a more regular basis again, and I think my body is ready as well! I’m looking forward to starting a swim focused block this week! I’m planning to follow it up with a bike focused block to round out my off season.
What does your post BIG race look like for recovery? If you do Ironman races, how long do you take off before you ease back into training again?
Wow! Just Wow! This pretty much sums up my race! It was exactly 5 years after my first Ironman race, which also happened to be 9/11 and at Wisconsin. The tribute to those first responders and military personnel who have sacrificed their lives and continue to risk their lives is always special at Ironman Wisconsin on 9/11. This year was no different, but the weather surely was…it was PR weather and that is just what I had on this course, by over 40 minutes! Here’s how my day unfolded…
Swim // 1:23:10
I made my way into the water with plenty of time to float in my wetsuit, listen to the sounds of race morning, and enjoy the sunrise over Lake Monona. While the National Anthem was being sung, a fire boat was spraying water in salute to the 9/11 victims + first responders and military personnel…both past and present.
When the canon went off, the most brutal swim I’ve ever participated in ensued. There was a lot of contact, there was some very unsportsmanlike conduct from participants, and many athletes who struggled to hold a straight line on the swim course. I got kicked so hard in the goggles at one point, that I was convinced I would have a black eye…I didn’t even know I was on anyone’s feet when I got hit. I saw many familiar sites while swimming that warm my heart…Monona Terrace, the condo we stay in 2 blocks from the Terrace, The Capitol Building, John Nolan Drive…so much love. As I rounded the first turn buoy, I could clearly hear lots of athletes “moo” as they rounded the corner. For those new to IMWI, this is a tradition. I was hoping the contact would subside after the first turn buoy, but it didn’t. It was present throughout the entire swim. As I eventually came into the swim finish, I was super happy to be leaving the rugby game behind me!
Swim Nutrition: Motts fruit chews and water 40 minutes before the race start
T1 // 10:32
I quickly had my wetsuit down to my butt and two AMAZING volunteers pulled it off the rest of the way. Having done this race twice before, I knew to keep my heart rate low as I ran up the helix and into transition. It was SO AWESOME to see my tribe cheering for me as I ran up the helix and into transition…Doree at wetsuit stripping, Dad, our girlfriends Sue and Michele, fellow Coeur Sports Ambassadors Erin, Kendra, and Megan, and Nick (Erin’s man)…so much love!! After quickly putting on my triathlon aero top, socks, bike shoes, helmet, and sunnies, and kissing our girlfriend Kari on the cheek, I was out the door and through transition to spend the next few hours with Mojo!
Bike // 7:28:31
The first few miles of the bike course at Ironman Wisconsin are always crowded…lots of turning, some rolling hills, and tons of spectators. I felt great as I left Madison and headed out on the stem toward Verona. I felt strong for the first loop of the bike course, but also knew I should conserve a bit as the IMWI is challenging and it can bite you on the run if you push too hard early on during the bike. I decided to ride slightly under my goal watts into Mt. Horeb and pick it up from there. I was very grateful for all of the spectators on the long climb into Mt. Horeb!! They were cheering and partying as we climbed into town!! Leaving town meant riding on Ribbon Road (Witte Road)…weeeeee!! I love this road!! So much fun!! After descending Garfoot, the course changed a bit from the well known Ironman Wisconsin loop because of road construction. This meant we missed a REALLY rough stretch of road, but we encountered a new challenge…Barlow hill. Thankfully we had climbed this in training and I knew what I was getting into. With the top of the hill tapping out at ~21% grade, I wasn’t sure if I would walk the hill because of the potential for falling off my bike due to other athletes walking/going slowly up the hill, or ride nice and STEADY up the hill to the top while trying not to let my power output get too high. With my Coeur Sports tribe hanging out on the hill and cheering us on, as well as lots of other spectators, I knew I would make it to the top sitting in my saddle and riding nice and SLOW to the top!
Shortly after Barlow, I dropped my chain on Mineral Point Road. I quickly fixed it and continued my ride through Pine Bluff and back into Verona. I was lucky to high five Dad before stopping for my bike special needs at about mile 60 and making my way back into Mt. Horeb with some headwinds fighting me a bit. This was when I stopped to regroup and refill my bike nutrition bottles for the rest of the bike ride. Next up…Ribbon Road (Witte Road)…weeee…down, up, down, up, down, up!! The second loop was different from the first…thankfully we didn’t have to relive Barlow Hill on this loop. Aside from lots of athletes screaming too quickly down hills and crashing (many getting hauled off into ambulances), the second bike loop was uneventful…well, except for getting passed by the Iron Hippie at mile 87. This is a HUGE feat for me…two years ago he passed me at mile 35 and in 2011 he passed me at mile 58. I was super pumped to have held him off this long!! He is a much stronger climber than I and with over 6000 feet of climbing, this course is ideal for hims strengths!! Returning to Verona for the second time felt so good…it was time to return to Madison with a tailwind. WAHOO!! Climbing the helix back into transition is one of the best feelings…it is time to run!! Oh wait a minute…hello bike PR on this course…you are a welcome sight!
Bike Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, top, and aero top, Specialized Transition Bike (Mojo), Specialized S-Works Evade Helmet, Smith Optics PivLock Arena Sunnies, Specialized bike shoes
Bike Nutrition: Osmo Hydration (3 bottles with 210 calories per bottle), Chex only from Chex mix, Motts fruit Chews, water
T2 // 6:06
The volunteers in Madison are AMAZING!! Have I mentioned this already?! After hearing Dad cheer me on and handing Mojo over to a volunteer, I ran into transition to grab my run bag and then was blessed to get to hug our girlfriend Michele (she was directing men and women to different changing rooms) as I ran into T2. My blessings didn’t end here, our girlfriend Sue helped me quickly strip off my aero top, switch my socks and shoes, drink my Karma Kombucha Ginger Orange, and sent me out the door to run.
Run // 5:25:52
My run started off great! I felt good, strong, relaxed, and ready to rock this course! I love this run course and was so pumped to get to cheer my Coeur Sports teammie on to 3rd place pro female as I was approaching mile 2. Way to go Katie…so proud of you!! As I entered Camp Randall shortly before mile 3, the Iron Hippie was leaving, so I knew I was only about 0.25 miles behind him. Could I catch him?! I have before! He also noticed I wasn’t far behind him and we both stepped on the gas…apparently his gas was a bit more than mine, because I didn’t catch him. Other than walking through the aid stations, I kept cruising to Observatory Hill, where I had intentionally planned to walk. I chatted with a few other athletes as we climbed to the top and then I started running again down the other side. I ran up State Street receiving lots of love from people I didn’t even know, and headed back out toward Lake Mendota. The Base Performance tent that was along the lake shore trail was loud and amazing!! So full of energy and kept me going strong!! At about mile 10, I was headed back toward the finish area (only to have to go back out for loop 2). This is when my stomach decided to start cramping up. I wished I had more Karma Kombucha Ginger Orange to help settle my stomach, but I had to settle for Coca-Cola and orange slices to break up the mess. I gave Dad a quick hug on State Street, saw Erin and Nick by the Capitol, headed into the finish shoot, only to turn around a cone and head back out for loop #2.
I stopped briefly at my run special needs bag long enough to wipe my face off with a wet rag and then keep moving. Ahhh…it feels so good to wipe the salt and sweat from my face at the halfway point of the marathon!! It wasn’t nearly as fast as the first few miles, but I was still moving forward…running when I could and walking when I had to. Finally by about mile 17 my stomach started to come around and I finally felt like I could run a bit more than I had been the last 7 miles. That is the good part about Ironman…when things go bad, they will eventually turn around and become good again at some point….even if it happens when you cross the finish line. As I came back toward the Capitol for the last time, I knew my goal of breaking 14 hours was not going to happen, but I also knew I would PR this course and not just by a little bit!
Run Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, top, visor, and race belt, Brooks Pure Flow shoes
Run Nutrition: grapes, orange slices, Coca-Cola, chicken broth, water, Base Salt
Overall Finish // 14:34:11
Seeing Dad, our girlfriends Sue and Michele, and my college friend Chris at the finish line was priceless! I blew them all kisses and was in tears as I crossed the finish line of Ironman #4. Hello Ironman Wisconsin PR by 41:45 🙂 Being caught by a good friend (thank you Doug) at the finish line, who escorted me through the finish area and made sure I found my family and friends made my day complete!
We arrived in Madison mid afternoon, checked into Ironman, went to the athlete meeting, checked into our condo guest suite, and unloaded All. The. Gear. Once we were settled in our condo and our girlfriends arrived, we went out to dinner at Salvatore’s Tomato Pies and had the most AMAZING pizza ever…Fig and Bacon with balsamic red wine reduction, Vegetarian with beet pesto, and El Mapache Loco…Delish!! We stopped by the grocery store on our way back to the condo.
We woke up and swam with our girlfriends in Lake Monona. The water was a little warmer than I’d hoped for, but was still wetsuit legal. We did a short 10 minute shake out run before meeting our friend Kristen to help her with Ironman registration…Sunday is her first full Ironman…Go Kristen GO!! We got lunch at Ian’s pizza, cleaned up, loaded our gear bags and spent the afternoon relaxing. We made an amazing dinner with our girlfriends…fresh Alaskan fish, green beans from our CSA, salad from our CSA, and quinoa. It was the perfect relaxing evening!
We woke up and took the bikes for a quick spin to make sure everything was in working order before the rain started to fall. We did a short swim (in the rain) and then relaxed for the rest of the morning before taking our bikes and gear to transition at 11 am. We followed this up with some lunch from Ian’s Pizza and then took a short nap before I was blessed to meet some of my Coeur Sports teammies who were in Madison to race and spectate. After dinner, it was time to put the feet up, and let the head hit the pillow.
I’ve done the work! I’m ready! It’s time to rock Ironman Wisconsin!
Hello race week! You’ve come by so quickly! It seems that we signed up for Ironman Wisconsin just yesterday and now we are heading to Madison for race weekend!
Since it was Labor Day, we got to sleep in, although sleeping in for us is only 6:30 am…After breakfast, we took the dogs for a walk, followed it up with 30 minutes of core, and then really started packing for Ironman Wisconsin weekend! At 10:30 am, we took a break and went for our last outdoor pool swim this year…it is so sad that the pool is now closed 😦 After lunch, it was time for more packing of ALL. THE. GEAR!!! I love racing long, but man alive it requires a lot of gear! We were mostly done packing by about 2:30 pm, so I spent the rest of the afternoon writing sub plans for my upcoming absences from work, while watching NCIS reruns…feet up, dog snuggles, and relaxing while getting some work done. After dinner, I vacuumed, cleaned up and prepared for a 2 day work week! While vacuuming, the vacuum canister did fall over on my bare foot and I now have a rather large bruise on the top of it. I think it will be ok come race day, but lots of pampering of my foot until then!
We slept in, got ready for work, and had a full day of work. After work, it was time for a pre race massage! Nick takes such good care of us…THANK YOU NICK!! I picked up our CSA, and then the Iron Hippie and I went out for our pre race meal of all. The. Sushi. YUM!! After taking the dogs for a walk, it was bed time!
We slept in again this morning, got ready for work, and enjoyed the last day of work for the week. I could get used to 2 day work weeks and 5 day weekends…what is wrong with that?! After work, I met two clients for personal training and then continued packing for our big dance! Oh…and our Sound Probiotics arrived! Thanks for keeping our guts and immune systems happy and healthy!! #winningtakesguts 🙂
Time to travel to Madison!
2016 Totals to get me to Ironman Wisconsin: 17 days, 19 hours, 3 minutes & 49 seconds
Swim: 80.75 miles Bike: 3232 miles Run: 476 miles Strength Training: 63 hours
Quote of the week:
“Good things come to those who work their asses off and never give up.”
The theme this week was focus…It took all I had to remain focused every day at work so that I wasn’t thinking about Ironman Wisconsin! This race is definitely occupying most of my mental energy 😉
We woke up early to ride and decided we would benefit from 2 extra hours of sleep, so we went back to bed. After the extra sleep, we got ready for our day and set off for a full day of work. After work was 30 minutes of core and an easy hour ride.
We woke up, got ready for work, and headed out the door. After a full day of work, we went to the pool for an easy swim. It was a beautiful evening for a swim!
We woke up early to do a short (30 minute) run before work. It was a great morning for a run! After a full day of work, we hopped on the trainer for a 90 minute trainer ride with 2×20 minutes in zone 3 to test ourselves for race day. I was also super pumped to have my new Coeur Sports gear show up in the mail…WAHOO!!
Today was a rest day due to a crazy schedule. After a full day of work, I met with a personal training client before quickly eating dinner and heading back to school for “back to school night.” By the time I got home, I caught up with the Iron Hippie…we have big changes coming our way that we needed to discuss (more on this to come).
Today was another rest day. This one wasn’t planned. I had an EXHAUSTING day at school. It was picture day, and all students get their pictures taken during science class, so I walked every class (6 of them) down to the auditorium for their pictures. I probably easily walked 2 miles within the building, but the management of students (most of which was 6th graders) was mentally taxing. I was supposed to swim after work, but my body said “eat and sleep,” so that is exactly what I did.
We woke up to swim for the last time on the 50 meter long course this summer. What a sad day! After our swim, we hopped on the trainer for an easy hour ride and followed this up with 30 minutes of core work. Basil thought I needed some “coaching” while I did my core work!! After eating lunch, we did dishes, laundry, grocery shopping (I really miss doing this during the week like I do all summer long), vacuumed the house, and then relaxed while watching the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!
WOW!! Race day is only 1 week away!! How did it get here so quick?!?!?! We woke up to do our last brick before race day. After cleaning up and eating, it was time to get our bikes cleaned and race tires on. Unfortunately while cleaning Mojo, the wind blew my bike and the stand over. This caused my derailleur to shift into my wheel, so we had to make an unexpected trip to Kyle’s Bikes. Kyle was out of the shop today, but I am grateful that Anthony was able to fix my bike up and send us on our way! After finishing with both bikes, it was time to eat dinner, clean up the garage, and get ready for bed.
Weekly Totals: 9 hours & 25 minutes
Swim: 4577 yards Bike: 70.6 miles Run: 10.3 miles Strength Training: 1 hour
Hello TAPER! It is crazy that you are already here! It seems like yesterday we signed up for Ironman Wisconsin and now we are in the taper…where does time go?!?!
We slept in this morning, and it felt SO good!! I started my day by walking the dogs and doing some laundry before teaching a fitness class at 9 am. After the fitness class, I did my own full body strength training before getting on the trainer for 75 minutes of interval work. After my trainer ride, I ate lunch, cleaned up, and continued to do laundry, before meeting with a personal training client at 3 pm. At 5 pm I had a much needed massage before eating dinner, finishing up some laundry, and heading to bed early.
Hello rest day! It’s been a while since we’ve last met! After taking the dogs for a walk, I did a little “back to school shopping” before eating lunch and spending the afternoon in my classroom getting ready for the coming year. At 4:30 pm, I picked up our CSA before the Iron Hippie and I went to sushi for dinner. We relaxed at home for the evening watching the Olympics before bed.
We woke up this morning to swim, but it was storming, so we went back to bed. After waking up and getting ready for the day, I met with a personal training client at 8 am. I ran multiple errands, ate lunch with a friend, and spent the afternoon working in my classroom. I spent the evening crafting for bulletin boards in my classroom while watching the Olympics. I love the Olympics, but I’m ready for them to be over so I can get back to a normal schedule that doesn’t suck me into watching television all evening 😉
With this being my last day of freedom summer, we opted to sleep in this morning. When we got up, I went and picked up eggs from our local farmer, vacuumed the entire house, did laundry, met a personal training client at 9 am, and then ran some errands. After lunch, I spent the afternoon at the hospital with my sole sister and her husband. She was having surgery to have her meniscus repaired. I came home just in time to eat dinner and then go teach TRX. After TRX, I got sucked into more of the Olympics…good thing there are only a few more days of the Olympics this year!
Hello first day of school! We had a full day of professional development today…lots of meetings! After work, I went home to let the dogs out and then the Iron Hippie and I met my colleagues for “Friday after class” even though we didn’t have students yet. When we came home, I got sucked into more of the Olympics…go figure 😉
After waking up, we opted to watch the women’s Olympics triathlon and take care of some things at home…balance the checkbook, pay bills, run to the grocery store, make 15 dozen zucchini muffins, make homemade chicken noodle soup, and make peanut butter chicken with rice. After spending most of the morning and early afternoon in the kitchen, we ran a couple of errands, took the dogs for a walk, and biked downtown to the brewery with our neighbor for a couple of beers. We came home, enjoyed some dinner, and spent some time around the campfire with another neighbor.
This morning we ran to the grocery store for some ingredients we would need for this evening’s dinner that we were making for my sole sister and her family. We came home, made some breakfast and watched the mens Olympics marathon before cleaning our house and doing lots of laundry. We decided to take the dogs for a walk because it was such a BEAUTIFUL day!! The Iron Hippie had some wood to cut up, so I ran a couple of errands…lesson learned! DO NOT GO TO GET SUPPLIES THE DAY BEFORE IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY STARTS CLASSES FOR THE YEAR!! There were people EVERYWHERE…driving into concrete barriers, nearly hitting pedestrians in parking lots, and not paying any attention to others in the stores. After returning home, unloading the car, showering, preparing food, and blogging for a bit, we went to my sole sister’s home for dinner. It was the perfect relaxing evening!! We came home and prepared for the coming week. Next week is back to reality with a full work week, getting back to training a bit more than almost none, and learning to balance life, training, and work all over again!