What’s Up?! – July 2016

I realize it is now August and I am a bit late with my July update, but life has been crazy, fun, and fast! So here is what I’ve been up to in July…


We did a lot of BIG training in July! We did three rides that were over 100 miles each (one was 125 miles with 6847 feet of climbing on the Ironman Wisconsin bike course), we swam a 2.4 mile open water race, and we spent the last weekend of July in Madison training on the Ironman Wisconsin course (more on this amazing weekend soon)…so much crazy to be had!





We had a lot of fun celebrating our anniversary by racing the Okoboji Triathlon and spending time with our twin nieces, while teaching them to ride their bikes without training wheels! We also had a blast celebrating the Iron Hippie’s birthday with a century ride and pool party with friends! So much fun was also had with neighbors and friends throughout the month!

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
The twins got new helmets and baskets for their bikes (although Isabella's wasn't installed here) for learning to ride their bikes!
The twins got new helmets and baskets for their bikes (although Isabella’s wasn’t installed here) for learning to ride their bikes!




Summer has flown by! I can’t believe there are only 17 days before school starts back up and only 40 days until #IMWI! Where has time gone?! Isn’t there a button I can push to slow down time?!


How was your month of July? What were your July highlights?!

6 weeks ’til #IMWI: IMWI training camp

The theme for this week…IMWI training camp. We did our own Ironman Wisconsin training camp during the latter part of the week.


I started the day with some house chores before running a few errands. When I came home from running errands, I pulled two new pairs of shoes out of the closet…time to start breaking them in for the big dance in September!! I decided to do my one hour of strength training at home today instead of going to the gym. I did this late morning before doing yard work…picking up dog droppings, pulling weeds, and mowing the lawn. It was finally “cool” enough to mow the lawn…and it is actually turning green again, so it needed to be mowed. When the Iron Hippie got off work, we did our 75 minute trainer ride of power intervals before cooking dinner with our neighbor.IMG_4780




I started my day by taking my girls on a short walk around the neighborhood before hopping on my bike for a ride. I love 2 wheels + the open roads + my new Coeur Sports Zele tri kit! Hello #stylishspeed and #noangrykitty 🙂 After my ride I took Mojo down to Kyle’s Bikes…she wasn’t shifting from the big ring to the little ring and she didn’t act like she even wanted to. While that is ok for riding around here, it is not ok for our Ironman Wisconsin training camp this coming weekend where there are LOTS of hills. Turns out she needed a new shifting cable. Kyle is da bomb!! He installed the new cable and sent me on my way 🙂 I picked up our CSA, cleaned vegetables, ate leftovers, conversed with a friend for over an hour, and was in bed shortly after 8 pm.





We started the day with a 75 minute run that included 8 x 1/4 mile hill repeats. I was super pumped to execute this run so well! Repeats 1 & 2 (1 mile) were at a 9:12/mile pace, repeats 3 & 4 were at a 9:06/mile pace, repeats 5 & 6 were at an 8:53/mile pace, and repeats 7 & 8 were at an 8:39/mile pace. I was stoked…an soaked!! 😉 After a quick change, we jumped in the pool for a short (1200 meter) swim set. After refueling and cleaning up, I met 2 clients for personal training sessions. I packed for our upcoming Ironman Wisconsin training camp weekend before heading to get a massage at 2:15. After my massage I met the Iron Hippie across town so he could do the ride I did yesterday and then I met a friend for dinner. I capped the evening off with some more packing before bed.




This peanut butter pie was AH-MAZ-ING, but I did have a kale + quinoa + salmon salad (equally AH-MAZ-ING) before indulging in this little beauty!


We started the day with an hour of strength and core work at the gym before going to the pool for 2800 meters of #swimlove! After refueling and cleaning up, I continued to pack, finish laundry, clean the house, and prepare for our Ironman Wisconsin training camp weekend. When the Iron Hippie got off work at lunch time, we finished loading the car and hit the road at about 1 pm for Madison, Wisconsin for what was to be the start of a great weekend!! When we arrived in Madison, we unloaded the car at our host home…thank you Chris for hosting us when we come up and visit!! We then went to The Great Dane for dinner…YUMMY!! After getting ready for a BIG day of training tomorrow, we went to bed for a good night’s sleep.


Play time!
Madison…here we come!!



Today started our very own Ironman Wisconsin training camp!! I’ll have a post just on this amazing training weekend later this week. Today’s training included cycling 125 miles with 6847 feet of climbing followed by 6 miles of running off the bike before eating all of the food we could find at Pizza Ranch…





We participated in the Shoreline 2.4 mile Swim event and followed this up with running one loop (13.1 miles) of the Ironman Wisconsin run course. After eating lots of Ian’s Pizza, we went back to our host home to clean up and spend the afternoon relaxing. We grilled dinner and watched the movie Everest before hitting the pillow for a good night’s sleep before our last day in Madison.

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We woke up, loaded the car, and drove home completely exhausted, but 100% happy to have gotten the opportunity to train in Madison this weekend! We LOVE Madison and would move there in a second if we both had good jobs!! Maybe it is time to start acting on this dream…  On our way home, we stopped in Cedar Falls to have lunch with the Iron Hippie’s parents. It was good to catch up and chat in person instead of just on the phone or via email. When we arrived home, we snuggled with our girls for a few minutes before unloading the car, getting Orange Leaf (new dairy free options…YUMMY), making a pit stop at Petco, and nesting for the evening. It ended up being an unscheduled rest day, but one our bodies DEFINITELY needed!! You know you need rest when you need toothpicks to keep your eyes open!!

Weekly Totals: 21 hours & 35 minutes

Swim: 8598 yards
Bike: 180 miles
Run: 27 miles
Strength Training: 2 hours

Quote of the Week:

“Being your best is not so much overcoming the barriers other people place in front of you as it is about overcoming the barriers we place in front of ourselves. It has nothing to do with how many times you win or lose. It has no relation to where you finish in a race or whether you break world records. But it does have everything to do with having the vision to dream, the courage to recover from adversity, and the determination never to be shifted from your goals.” ~Kieren Perkins

9 weeks ’til #IMWI: do the work


Monday was a day of rest. We enjoyed some Independence Day festivities, took a nap, had dinner with our neighbors at their house, and LOVED the cooler weather we were blessed with!


We started the day with a 3100 meter swim on the long course at the pool. I was tired from the weekend’s long workouts, but still had a really decent swim despite my tired legs. It was a beautiful morning for a swim!


After teaching a fitness class at 9 am and working with a client at 10 am, I came home to run 1 hour of hills…not hill repeats, just a hilly run. When I set out for this run, the heat index was 97F, so I sweat…A LOT!


I refueled and then went to the gym for an hour of strength training. It was quiet at the gym, which was nice to have my own space.

The evening was filled with picking up our CSA, making dinner, and having our neighbors over for stuffed peppers.



There were storms in the morning, so we opted to sleep in and not go swim. It felt good to get an extra 2 hours of sleep! I met with a personal training client late morning. I was scheduled to swim, but just didn’t have it in me today, so I ate lunch, took a short nap, and got our gear ready to ride after the Iron Hippie got off work. It was another HOT day…heat index of 98F when we started riding, but thankfully we generated our own breeze since there wasn’t much wind. There weren’t many people out on the trails, which made for a great 3 hour ride!



I taught a fitness class at 9 am, met with a personal training client at 10 am, came home to eat, and then went to swim on the short course. I’m so glad I moved this swim from yesterday…it was a good swim!


While running a couple of errands on my way home, my car battery died. Thankfully I was only a 1/2 mile from home, so I walked home. I completed my brick (75 min bike intervals + 15 min run) in the heat of the day…the heat index was 93F, which wasn’t as hot as the last couple of days, but it was still hot!


After showering, a friend helped me get my car to the shop so they could change the battery, rotate my tires, and change the oil while they had it. I rounded out my evening by teaching TRX, eating dinner, and relaxing a bit before bed.


I started my day with an EASY hour on the bike. It felt GREAT to have an easy spin to start my day.


I met a personal training client late morning, and taught TRX before going to the shop to pick up my car. After lunch I took the dogs for a walk, and went to the pool to for an easy swim, which took a LOT of #grit to show up and do the work today.


I rounded out the evening with grill food for dinner, doing laundry, preparing for tomorrow’s brick, and relaxing a bit before bed.


We woke up at 6 am, ate breakfast, cleaned the house up, and procrastinated the start of our 5 hour brick. Boy was that a mistake! By the time the rubber hit the road, it was just after 10 am. It was a beautiful, sunny day with virtually no wind. This was great for our bike ride, but not so great for the run.



Because we started later in the day, we didn’t get done until around 3:30 pm. After unloading our gear, cleaning up, refueling, and eating dinner with our neighbor, we hopped on the bikes to ride downtown to cheer on the athletes running the local 5K & 10K races. There was quite the turnout despite the heat. I was overjoyed to see so many young kids running the 5K!! #activeyouth


We got home at about 9 pm, regrouped for tomorrow’s workout and hit the pillow for a good night’s sleep.


We woke up at 6 am, ate breakfast, and let the rubber hit the road for our planned 5 hour brick shortly after 7 am. We checked the radar before we left and knew we would be cutting it close to get the whole brick complete before Mother Nature blessed us with some much needed rain (of course in the form of severe weather), so we had a neighbor on standby to come and pick us up if needed. We easily got the first 20 miles in and then checked the radar and my Dark Sky app again…”rain starting in 40 minutes”…we will keep going and see where we end up. We were able to out cycle the storm for about 3 hours (which was much longer than the predicted 40 minutes…since we kept moving farther south away from the storms). We did not get rained on, but decided to call it quits when thunder and lightning started to close in on us. I’m not opposed to riding in the rain, but I’m not going to ride in lightning. Not quite the 4 hours that was planned, but better than nothing.

Look at those storms coming!!
Look at those storms coming!!
Keep riding away from the storms!!
Keep riding away from the storms!!

It wasn’t even 5 minutes after we pulled into the Casey’s where George was going to pick us up, that the sky’s opened up and the rain fell…hard! Thank you George for coming to get us and letting us get almost 3 hours in the saddle!

When we got home and unloaded our gear, I changed into dry clothes, ate some food, and then set out for my “brick” run. Since it wasn’t directly off the bike, I’m not sure it counts as a brick run, but it was the best we could do with the conditions we had for today. It was VERY humid and warm as the sun started to make its appearance. When this hour run was done, I was SPENT and thankful my body held up for another solid week of training.

Bring on the recovery week…but first fires, grilling food over the fire pit, and s’mores!

Our neighbor cooking food over the fire :)
Our neighbor cooking food over the fire 🙂

Weekly Totals: 19 hours & 52 minutes

Swim: 7760 yards
Bike: 192 miles
Run: 20 miles
Strength Training: 1 hour & 45 minutes

Quote of the Week:

“Just do the damn work.” ~Bruce Gemmell

11 weeks ’til #IMWI: recovery week

After racing the Wisconsin Milkman 70.3 Triathlon last Sunday (you can find my race report here), this week was all about recovery!


Most of Monday was spent traveling home from Madison and eating all the food! I don’t know what it is about a race that makes me crave potato skins (not the chips in a bag, but real potato skins that are found on the appetizer menu in some restaurants), but it happened again today! On our way home from Madison, we stopped in Cedar Falls for some potato skins to satisfy my craving. We got home at about 2 pm, unloaded the car, and took an hour nap before gearing up for our Ladies only bike ride. I was so grateful to Coeur Sports and Kyle’s Bikes for their support to make this event so successful!! Yay for encouraging more women in cycling, helping them gain confidence on their bike and on the roads, and helping them learn basic bike maintenance!!



Tuesday was a complete day of rest (in terms of workouts), but full of lots of errands, house chores, grocery shopping, paying bills, etc.


Wednesday was another complete day of rest. After working with a personal training client in the morning, I went for a walk with a friend and the dogs, and then spent the afternoon updating Training Peaks for the next build period of our training and blogging. It was a great day and finally felt like I was on summer break 😉


After meeting with two personal training clients in the morning, I spent most of my afternoon on the Team Vardo training calendar for the coming year. I did take a break to walk the dogs and clear my mind. When the Iron Hippie came home from work, we had an easy hour ride before going to TRX.



I taught two group fitness classes and met a personal training client in the morning and then spent my afternoon finishing the Team Vardo training calendar for the coming year. When the Iron Hippie came home from work, we got ready for Saturday’s brick workout and went to bed early so we could get up early to hit the roads before the heat of the day on Saturday.


We woke at 4:30 am to start riding at 5:30. Our plan was to ride a 30+ mile loop and end up back home to feed and potty the dogs, and have our friend Allen join us for the last 50 miles. As we came back into Ames after the first 30 miles, the sky looked a bit ominous, so we checked the radar. Lucky for us, it appeared to be going north of us and would miss us, so we rolled out for our second loop. 83 miles of #bikelove done before noon was awesome, especially since it was a hot and humid day. After eating lots of food, showering, and napping, we relaxed in the air condition. We went to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants for dinner, and spent the evening relaxing in the a/c.



After an amazing night of sleep, we took the dogs for a walk and then relaxed most of the day. It was a VERY hot and humid day, so staying in the a/c was a necessity for most of the day. We made homemade pizza for lunch, I tracked friends racing at different Ironman races, caught up on some blogs, and went to hot yoga at 4 pm. It felt SO AMAZING to reconnect with my long lost boyfriend…mat!!


Weekly Totals: 10 hours & 16 minutes

Swim: Nothing, Zilch, Nada
Bike: 113 miles
Run: Nothing, Zilch, Nada
Strength Training: 1:30:00
Hot Yoga: 1:30:00

Quote of the Week:

“I think recovery from anything is honestly the most badass thing a person can do.” ~Anonymous

12 weeks ’til #IMWI: race week + travel

The focus for this week…Milkman 70.3 Triathlon + more travel!!


After finally getting caught up on sleep from my DC trip, I woke up, cleaned the house, ran a couple of errands, packed, and loaded the car to head to Mom and Dad’s for a couple of days. Thankfully the Iron Hippie had some comp time to burn before the end of June and was able to go with me on this short trip. We encountered some pretty severe storms on the trip northwest. After getting to Mom and Dad’s we grabbed some dinner, chatted with Mom (Dad was on a work trip) and hit the hay.


We woke up with intentions of running, but it was POURING rain with thunder and lightening, so we waited it out and ran later than we originally planned. Thankfully there was a break in the rain so we could run and swim with our twin nieces before the next round of storms came through. This time Mother Nature wasn’t so forgiving. We had tornadoes go through the area shortly after we arrived at the public library with the twins. Thankfully one of their 1st grade teachers and her dog were at the library promoting Puppy Tales (a reading program in the schools where the children read to dogs), so the twins cuddled in for some reading and puppy snuggles during the storms. When we returned back to Mom and Dad’s we found the only damage was a lot of debris everywhere and a tree that was uprooted and fell away from the house. Mother Nature helped them save money, because they were going to have this Ash tree taken down later this year anyway because of the ash borer.

Running with the Iron Hippie around lake Okoboji...being on the water makes my heart happy!!
Running with the Iron Hippie around lake Okoboji…being on the water makes my heart happy!!
Swimming with the nieces between storms.
Swimming with the nieces between storms.
Sitting in the shelter at the public library with the nieces, Isabella's teacher, and her classroom dog, A
Sitting in the shelter at the public library with the nieces, Isabella’s teacher, and her classroom dog, Anders
Uprooted ash tree in my parent's backyard.
Uprooted ash tree in my parent’s backyard.


We woke up, packed the car and traveled home. We arrived home just in time for our pre-race massages and dinner with our neighbors.

Prerace massage
Prerace massage


This was the only full day this week that I’d be home, so I did some house chores, went for a ride with my sole sister, packed for race weekend, went for our first open water swim of the season, and taught TRX.





After taking the dogs to the farm for a long weekend, I went to Kyle’s Bikes to get a blessing of the bikes before our race! Kyle takes such good care of us! I am forever grateful to have the best bike mechanic ever in my corner!! 🙂 When I got home, I loaded the car just in time for the Iron Hippie to come home from work so we could hit the road for Madison. It is about a 4 hour drive to Madison and the car knows the way 😉 When we arrived, we went straight to packet pick up and the athlete meeting for the Milkman 70.3 Triathlon before heading to our host home (thanks to my dear friend Chris for hosting us this weekend) and getting dinner at the Great Dane in Fitchburg.





We went to Olin Park for a morning swim in Lake Monona, where I met one of my Coeur Sports teammates, Jenn!! She is so inspiring and her weight loss journey is AMAZING!! After our swim, the Iron Hippie and I grabbed breakfast at Marigold Kitchen (one of the best places on the square in Madison) before driving the bike course for the race. We then returned to our host home to shower and get our bike and gear ready for the race. After we dropped off our bikes in transition, we hit the grocery store so we could make some home cooking for our evening meal. We spent the afternoon/evening eating food and watching movies with our feet up. It was the perfect pre-race afternoon/evening!!







Today was race day!! I was a bit nervous going into this race since I had a very unconventional taper and it was supposed to be a hot summer day. I typically don’t do well with heat, but I knew if I altered my race plans and raced more conservatively, I would finish. I was so blessed to get to meet up with Jenn and Mandy (both Coeur Sports teammates) before the start of our day. They are both such amazing, fun, and inspiring women!! To give you a taste of our day, it was HOT…92F hot by the end of my “run.” I’ll have a complete post on my race experience later this week 😉 After the race, we relaxed with friends in the shade for a bit before heading back to our host home for a shower, air conditioning, pizza for dinner, and more movie watching with the feet up.


Thanks for the free race photos Milkman Triathlon!! 🙂

Weekly Totals: 9:23 (these totals include my race distances and times)

Swim: 3168 yards
Bike: 75.1 miles
Run: 17.1 miles
Strength Training: none

Quote of the Week:

“Courage over comfort”…my mantra

How do you alter your race plans due to an unconventional taper or weather?

13 weeks ’til #IMWI: DC trip

The theme of this week was chaperoning 26 great eighth grader students on a trip to DC. This was my first time visiting DC, and it was a whirlwind!


Late morning, I went with my sole sister on an “easy, recovery ride,” that turned out to be much more challenging thanks to the 20-30 mph winds on the return trip home. I spent the rest of the afternoon packing for our trip to DC and then attended a meeting with the parents of the students who were traveling with us at 6 pm.

Smiling Sole Sisters, despite some serious headwind 🙂


I went out for one last long ride before our trip and taper for my 70.3 race. It was such a nice day and I really enjoyed my time on two wheels. 75 miles later, my heart was very happy!! After picking up our CSA produce, showering, and finalizing my packing, I was in bed by 7 pm. Tomorrow would be a VERY early morning…even for me! 😉



3 am wake up call to get to the airport by 4:15 am. We flew through Atlanta and arrived in DC at about noon (eastern time). As soon as we landed, we were off and running…so much to see and so little time to see it all!! We had a very full day that included the Washington Monument, the American History Museum, National Archives, WWII Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial. We didn’t get to the hotel until almost 10 pm.

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After a very short night of sleep (at least for me), we were back to sight seeing for day #2! It was another full day visiting the White House, the Capitol Building, the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, Mt Vernon (George Washington’s home/farm), and capped the evening off with the Alexandria Ghost Tours.

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After another short night, day #3 was another very full day. We went to Arlington National Cemetery, Iwo Jima Monument, National Museum of Natural History, National Air and Space Museum, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Roosevelt Memorial, and Jefferson Monument.

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The last day of our trip started with a visit to the zoo, before lunch, a visit through airport security, and finally returning home very late. I walked into my door at 11:42 pm.

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Today was a day of rest…lots of rest!! I woke up at 9 am, ate breakfast and laid down for a nap at 11 am. I woke up shortly after 2 pm, and stayed inside for the remainder of the afternoon, because it was HOT, HUMID, and MISERABLE outside. At 8 pm it was time to go back to bed for a solid night of sleep! I ended up sleeping 22 of the last 30 hours…I think I’m rested up after this trip!

Weekly Totals: 5 hours & 50 minutes (not including core and walking around DC)
Swim: Nada, nothing, zilch
Bike: 94.2 miles
Run (AKA Walking around DC): 37+ miles of walking around DC in 3.5 days
Strength Training: 10 minutes of core daily

Quote of the Week:

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.”  ~Lin Yutang

15 weeks ’til #IMWI: Grit

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

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


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


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



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

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

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


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



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

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


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



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




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


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




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


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

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

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


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

103 miles of #bikelove on a BEAUTIFUL day!
30 minute run at an 8:39/mile average pace off of a century ride…I’ll take that!!

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

Weekly Totals: 18 hours & 24 minutes

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

Quote of the Week:

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

16 weeks ’til #IMWI: work, work, work

The theme of last week was definitely work. Not the kind of hard work you put into your training, but the long hours put into your job that can be mentally draining. I came to the realization that working 55 hours and only exercising 3 hours in a week is MUCH more exhausting than working 40 hours and exercising 18 hours! Thankfully last week was a planned recovery week, there are only 5 days left of school with the students, grades were due this morning, and there is little grading left to do for this coming week. I am beyond grateful for the help and support of the Iron Hippie, especially during weeks when I have a few extra balls that I am trying to juggle!


Today was a rest day! After the really big training week last week, we knew we would be taking today off of exercise and our bodies were thankful for the rest. Today was a really long day at work, so when I came home, I hibernated in the bedroom listening to TedTalks, reading, and trying to relax for most of the evening.



We did not have a morning workout planned, so we slept in. After a full day of work, I decided it would be best to skip my evening workout and spend my evening grading. Not ideal, but I had a LOT of grading that needed to be done. Thankfully the Iron Hippie ran some errands for me so I could keep working through dinner.


We woke up early for a 75 minute sweatfest on the bike. Intervals, #bikelove, and #solesistasweat was the perfect combination to start my day! After another long day of work, I came home to another evening of grading. When the end of the school year is near, there can be a lot of grading to do.



I had more grading to do, so I arrived at school at 6 am to start another long day at school. The students were testing their solar ovens outside today. It is fun to spend the day outside, but lack of structure is sometimes hard for the students, which means a lot of additional “classroom” management required of me. I was exhausted by the end of the day. I came home and continued to work for my part time jobs (writing fitness articles for our local paper and teaching TRX for our Parks and Rec department). After teaching TRX, we had an unplanned visit from some close friends. It was fun to have them just stop by unannounced!


With the students doing their egg drop today and more grading to do, I got to work at 6 am again to set up for the egg drop and get as much grading done before students arrived as possible. Another day out of the classroom, meant another long and draining day of having to be mentally “on” all day. After school, I came home and continued to grade and post grades until 7 pm. I was FINALLY caught up on all the grading and it felt AMAZING!! Having worked 55 hours and only exercising 2 hours this week, I decided it was time to relax and let my mind go somewhere else for a while.



I was able to sleep in this morning with nothing on the schedule, so I took complete advantage of it! At about 7:30 am, I finally planted my feet to the floor and decided to start my day. I paid bills, balanced the checkbook (am I the only one who still does this?!), ran a bunch of errands, did some house chores, picked up my race packet (did I mention I am doing my first duathlon EVER tomorrow?!), and read some more of my book while the Iron Hippie worked some overtime hours. We went to a high school graduation celebration in the evening, then spent the rest of the evening getting ready for my duathlon in the morning.


I’ll have a more detailed race recap for you on my duathlon, but let’s just say I had a BLAST doing what I love, had a podium finish, and got to race with my #solesister…WIN!! After the race, it was all about refueling. I followed this up with some girl time with a friend, some down time at home, and regrouping for the coming week.

#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon
#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon

Weekly Totals: 3 hours & 25 minutes (Never mind the 55 hours at work…that was so much more draining!!)

Swim: Nothing, Zilch, Nada 😦
Bike: 33.5 miles
Run: 4.0 miles
Strength Training: 45 minutes

Quote of the Week:

“All work and no play is not good for the soul.” ~Felix Sabates

19 Weeks ’til #IMWI: Recovery + Race Time

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


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

Strength training in the sun!
Strength training in the sun!
Recovery ride in the sun!
Recovery ride in the sun!
Snail mail delivery from Coeur Sports + Sound Probiotics = LOVE!!
Snail mail delivery from Coeur Sports + Sound Probiotics = LOVE!! #noangrykitty #stylishspeed #soundathlete


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


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

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


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

Recovery ride on a cold and dreary day!
Recovery ride on a cold and dreary day!


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

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


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

Who's ready to run a cold + soaking wet + windy 1/2 marathon? We are!
Who’s ready to run a cold + soaking wet + windy 1/2 marathon? We are!
Are we really going to do this?!
Are we really going to do this?!
Unofficial stats...I guess I tried to dodge a LOT of puddles ;)
Unofficial stats…I guess I tried to dodge a LOT of puddles since I was only supposed to have run 13.1 miles 😉
Drake 1/2 marathon is in the books! Official finish time = 1:54:23
Drake 1/2 marathon is in the books! Official finish time = 1:54:23


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

Basil says, "Mama, will you please get off your bike and come cuddle with me?"
Basil says, “Mama, will you please get off your bike and come cuddle with me?”
LOTS to work on this week in the pool! Thanks Coach for the stroke analysis and guidance!!
LOTS to work on this week in the pool! Thanks Coach for the stroke analysis and guidance!!

Weekly Totals: 8 hours & 44 minutes

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

Quote of the Week:

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

20 weeks ’til #IMWI: Bouncing Back

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


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




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

“I am Michael Phelps!”
CSA produce is a sure sign of spring!


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




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



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

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


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

Still smilin’ at mile 89 = serious #bikelove
Our shadows were growing longer as we got closer to home.
No speed records here, but 100 miles in the saddle on April 23 in central Iowa…we’ll take it!!


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


#runlove with Robin!
Breakfast burritos for lunch!
Healthy Streets Ames has some new mascots!
Walking with our dog friends!



Weekly Totals: 17 hours & 47 minutes

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

Quote of the Week:

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