the best of 2021

I love looking back and thinking about all of the amazing things that I’ve accomplished and all of the challenges I’ve overcome! I’ve reflected for the last 8 years and now it’s time to reflect on 2021! You can look back at my previous posts if you’d like: the Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, the Best of 2015, the Best of 2016, the Best of 2017, the Best of 2018, the Best of 2019, and the Best of 2020. Now its time to reminisce my favs from 2021! 🙂

Best race experience?

The Ironman 70.3 World Championship isn’t the “best race experience” because it was easy and everything went according to plan on race day (wait…does that ever happen?!). Nope! It was the “best race experience” because it challenged me in ways I’ve NEVER been challenged before. The challenging terrain + Mother Nature’s crazy attitude forced us to “rise to it” on race day like I’ve never had to do before. It was definitely a race to remember! If you missed the recap of this epic race, this is one you definitely want to catch up on! Here is the link. Sit back and enjoy what can only be described as crazy! ***Secretly I want to do it all again with the same conditions, on the same course. 🤪

📸 Finisher Pix

Best race performance?

I was  R E A D Y  for Ironman Arizona! I was  R E A D Y  to toe the start line. I was  R E A D Y  to challenge myself. I was  R E A D Y  to put it all together and create a performance I had never had before. And that is
E X A C T L Y  what I did! I created an experience I’ve never had and it was  A M A Z I N G! I had an overall PR of 52 minutes, finishing in 12:44:56. #LFG
⚡️⚡️⚡️

Sure, this was my best Ironman performance physically, but it was also my best Ironman performance from my mental endurance performance and that is what I’m the most damn proud of! ⚡️⚡️⚡️

I was SO DAMN PROUD to have created a shiny new PR by 52 minutes! ⚡️

I’m grateful for the privilege to race, for the privilege to challenge myself in new ways, for the privilege to run down another red carpet, and for the privilege to cross another finish line! ⚡️⚡️⚡️

Best run?

The Drake 1/2 Marathon was one where I completely pushed myself out of my comfort zone and RACED! I had no idea if this would be my last race of the year (hello Covid) and I was not going to leave anything out on the course just in case things went backwards. Crossing that finish line brought tears to my eyes! Full race recap here.

Squeee!! I GOT to cross a start line and a finish line of an IRL race!!

Best bike?

I had a lot of great bike rides this year, but the ones that speak to me as being the “best” from 2021 were the last two century+ bike rides that I did in preparation for IMAZ. The temps had dropped, the winds were high, and I had to bundle up in all of the gear to stay warm. I almost took these rides to the trainer, but I’m SO glad I opted to ride outside instead. These rides gave me a great mental boost (as well as physical boost) going into Ironman Arizona!


Decide…I decided 100+ miles on the bike (+ 1 hour run off the bike) was going to be AMAZING! I was determined to keep a positive attitude, be gritty, and to persevere! I wasn’t going to let Mother Nature win. She tried to push me around a bit (hello wind), but I won this round!

I GET to do this! So much gratitude for the strength of my body + mind, the support from my #1, my safety on the open roads, the beautiful fall day, and the gorgeous fall foliage.

Best swim?

We FINALLY made it home home to visit my parents last summer (it had been nearly 2 years since we were last home…hello Covid). Thank you vaccines! When we were home, Dad drove the boat beside us (on more than one occasion) so we could swim a 5K in West Okoboji Lake. Getting to swim in the open water, see the bottom of the lake while swimming (because the water is so clear), and having my #1 beside me was amazing! Having Dad’s support was icing on the cake!

Seize the opportunity!

Best finish line?

Twin Lakes Sprint Triathlon when I took the overall female win! I never imagined myself breaking the tape at any race. I’m sooo thrilled to have had such an awesome experience! Here is the link for my race recap.

GETTING to break the tape as I take 1st overall female! ⚡️⚡️⚡️

Best surprise?

Getting a roll down slot to Ironman 70.3 World Championships in St. George, Utah was the best surprise of the year! I was shocked when I got the email that I had earned a roll down slot from racing Ironman 70.3 Des Moines. I had a great race in Des Moines in spite of the nearly 3 hour weather delay + shortened bike, but my performance didn’t put me in the top 14 in my age group (which is how many slots were awarded), so I didn’t expect to get a slot. Thankfully some ladies who were faster than me had either already qualified at a different race or didn’t want to go to Worlds, so I got a slot and it was quite the epic adventure!

WUT?! I got a roll down slot to Ironman 70.3 World Championships! #soexcited

Best mental endurance compass?

I had the AMAZING opportunity and pleasure to work with Vanessa Faye Foerster for 24 weeks this year. She teaches athletes how to build mental endurance by “dropping the self doubt + fueling the self confidence.” The journey she helped me create this year was challenging, enlightening, fun, and worth every penny! What I have learned has not only boosted my racing performance, but it has also elevated my personal life. I am so grateful for her guidance to push me out of my comfort zone to level up into the zone where I cultivate the life I want to live. #LFG ⚡️

This amazing, beautiful human helped me transform my self belief from superficial belief to belief down to my core. ⚡️ THANK YOU VANESSA! ❤️

Best enCOEURaging moment?

The Ames Triathlon was back in action this year after a year off (thank you Covid). What a great race! It is so fun to see people achieve their goals and do things they once thought were impossible. If you want to experience the Ames Triathlon for yourself, come to Ames in June 2022! You won’t be disappointed!

Who’s ready to race?! We are ready to get this party started! Photo credit: Dave Mable

Best new gear?

The Coeur Sports Wind Vest has been AMAZING for getting outside and riding on those chilly fall days! Signing up for an Ironman that took place in November meant I had to bundle up to get my 100 mile rides done outside…because let’s be honest…riding 100 miles in the basement is definitely not as much fun as riding outside!

110+ miles is a long time to be in your own head. Good thing I know the words to a lot of songs or make up my own words and can sing at the top of my lungs because Mother Nature doesn’t care what I sound like! 🤣🤪

Seriously though…this wind vest is AMAZING! It kept me warm while allowing me to carry all the nutrition, and has reflective strips on it for better visibility.

Best way to stay healthy?

Get vaccinated! The end (no comments on this necessary…I will delete them).

I’m boosted! #getvaccinated (not up for debate…I’ll delete your comments)

Best piece of racing advice you received?

“Be calm; focus on what you are going to do. Don’t get distracted, don’t get overwhelmed, take it all as it comes. You are ready for this; you’ve prepared for years. This is it, your time to shine. Go forth with all your powers. Go forth with everything in you. Make it work.”

~Lynne Cox in her book “Swimming to Antarctica”

Most inspirational athlete?

Chris Nikic crossed the Ironman Florida finish line in November of 2020 becoming the first person with Down Syndrome to become an Ironman. He believes you can achieve more by creating a habit to get 1% better than you were yesterday. He has since crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon. He is gearing up for the Ironman World Championships in Kona in 2022, so let’s all cheer him on!

Best support crew?

I am so damn lucky to have the amazing support of my #1! He has supported me not only on race day(s), but day in and day out throughout my entire journey. I am forever grateful to have him on this journey with me. ❤️ you!

My #1! SO grateful for you! ❤️ you!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

PROUD + gratitude + fun + joy

Tell me about your 2021 year!! What are your “bests” from 2021?!