After Ironman Wisconsin 2011 (my first Ironman), I decided I would NEVER do another Ironman. That was one of the HARDEST things I’d ever done and I wanted to let it rest. I was certain I was one and done! These thoughts lasted about 2 years and then I decided I wanted to have a happier Ironman finish (not necessarily a faster finish time, but finishing in a better physical + medical state). So, in 2013 I signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2014. I had so much FUN + finished HEALTHY! This is when I realized that Ironman could be a lifestyle for me. I have come to learn that I am better suited to long distance racing. I love testing my body physically + mentally and for me, there is a spiritual component to training and racing. It is one of those things that you have to “experience for yourself.”
Since Ironman Wisconsin 2014 (swim, bike, run race reports), I have raced Ironman Boulder 2015 (race report), Ironman Wisconsin 2016 (race report) and Ironman Mont Tremblant 2017 (race report). After Ironman Mont Tremblant, I thought I wanted to take a break from Ironman training + racing in 2018. I was WRONG! I thought I wanted to focus on getting faster at the shorter distances, including the 70.3 distance. And I do! I am excited to work on this goal in 2018! I want to get substantially faster at the 70.3 distance, but as I’ve sat with this idea for the last 5 months, I’ve come to realize that the Ironman lifestyle + race really makes me happy! I want to be true to myself + follow my heart + dream big + have fun in 2018! For me, that includes an Ironman in 2018! I find so much joy in the pursuit of the Ironman finish line!
So…after lots of thought, conversations with the Iron Hippie and Coach Kelly, I’ve followed my heart and signed up for Ironman Louisville in 2018!
There are many people that put Ironman on their “bucket list” and when they cross the finish line, they never do another one. In my opinion, they are missing out. Each finish line is a different journey with different lessons learned. The body and mind get challenged in new and different ways each time. The Ironman lifestyle allows you to experience so much more with each and every Ironman experience. I want to ride this wave and enjoy the Ironman lifestyle as long as my body + mind allow me to!
With that…cheers to another journey to an Ironman finish line with more chasing dreams + following my heart + having FUN in 2018!
Many people start the new year with “New Year’s Resolutions” and most of those people quit trying to keep these resolutions within the first month of the new year. According to the Huffington Post, only about 13% (1 in 8) of people who set New Year Resolutions successfully keep their resolutions for one year. This is why I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions…instead, I set intentions and S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based) goals.
I evaluated my 2015 journey, which allowed me to reflect on successes and failures throughout the year. Being truthful with myself and my 2015 journey, has helped me set S.M.A.R.T. goals for my 2016 “A” race.
When setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, it is important that they are:
Specific…having precise goals stated in terms of performance.
Measurable…being able to determine if the goal has been accomplished.
Attainable…setting high, but realistic and achievable goals.
Relevant…setting a goal that is important to YOU and NOT because a friend or family member has a similar goal.
Timely…having a specific time frame for completing the goal.
My “A” race for 2016 is Ironman Wisconsin on September 11. My time goal for this race is sub 13 hours…
What does this mean for a time goal for each discipline of the race? Swim = 1:15-1:20 (I swam 1:21:52 in 2014 at Ironman Wisconsin); Bike = 7:00:00…or less (I biked 8:15:12 in 2014 and 7:56:58 in 2011 at Ironman Wisconsin and I biked 6:46:12 in 2015 at Ironman Boulder on a much easier course); Run = 4:30:00-4:45:00 (I ran 5:15:32 in 2014 at Ironman Wisconsin and 5:28:05 in 2015 at Ironman Boulder); With transitions, this could be close…can I do it? ABSOLUTELY!
Why do I have a sub 13 hour goal? While it would be awesome to set a new PR (and sub 13 hours would be a PR by over an hour), I really want to push my limits and see what I can actually do. I have BIG DREAMS and a sub 13 hour Ironman would get me one step closer to fulfilling these #BigDreams.
What steps am I going to take to get there?
I am going to focus most of my efforts on the bike to improve my bike strength. Incorporating more power focused workouts on the bike into my training plan will definitely help me build the bike strength I am seeking to conquer this hilly course.
I am also going to incorporate more brick runs off the bike to teach my legs to run strong when they are tired.
I am going to run my long runs at a faster pace. In the past I’ve been trying to maintain a 10 min/mile average pace, but I feel that if I can focus on a faster pace, that I will set myself up for a faster marathon at the end of Ironman.
I am going to follow a well laid out training plan making sure it includes proper strength training and recovery to help prevent injuries.
I am going to continue to incorporate mental training into my training plan so that I continue to teach myself to #believe in me, my abilities and my training.
I am going to focus on my nutrition and figure out how to overcome the hyponatremia issues I’ve experienced in the past. I am still seeking a place to have a a sweat test done where they measure the electrolytes that I sweat out; this information will help me prevent hyponatremia in future events.
I am expecting some challenges along the way…after all, it wouldn’t be an Ironman if there weren’t challenges. The most challenging part of Ironman Wisconsin for me, in the past, has been nutrition and the 6156 feet of climbing throughout the bike course. I am looking forward to overcoming these challenges and pushing myself to new limits at Ironman Wisconsin on September 11, 2016!!
What is your “A” goal for 2016? Have you made this goal a S.M.A.R.T. goal?
After posting the Best of 2013 and the Best of 2014, I decided it would be fun to look back through 2015 and reminisce my faves 🙂
Best race experience?
Hands down…Ironman Boulder was my best race experience in 2015!! I set a bike PR with a time of 6:46:12 and an overall Ironman race PR with a time of 14:04:37. I came very close to meeting my time goal of breaking 14 hours and had a blast!! I absolutely love this course and definitely plan to do it again 🙂
I had multiple runs that were great throughout the year, but I think the most fun I had was running up Mt. Diablo in Walnut Creek, CA. This was a very challenging run, but so much fun to run some place new and different!
The Peak to Peak Highway rides, Day 1 and Day 2, in Colorado with the Iron Hippie and Allen were very challenging, but oh so much fun!! It was #bikelove like no other!! I can’t wait to get back to Colorado and ride more roads like these 🙂
Swimming with my father kayaking next to me around Lake Okoboji. I LOVE swimming in the lake where I grew up and am so lucky that my father likes to join me on my long swims 🙂
Best team race?
The Des Moines Triathlon that we did as a team was probably the most fun group workout I had this year. The Iron Hippie swam, I cycled and Allen ran in this Olympic-distance event. I pushed myself to limits on the bike that I didn’t know I had…especially only 5 weeks post Ironman Boulder.
Best recovery technique?
#recoveryisimportant and that is why I invest in the best recovery possible! Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic uses ART to help keep me healthy and Nick massages my tight muscles regularly! The two work well together…I like to refer to myself as their insurance policy since Ironman racing looks to be in our future for the next few years 😉
Best hike in Colorado?
When we were staying in Estes Park, we went on a hike up to Loch Vale Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a great adventure!!
Best offseason adventure?
Snowshoeing…this is by far one of my favorite offseason activities! The Iron Hippie and our girls always have just as much fun as I do! It is good cross training, full of fresh air and fun 🙂
Best new piece of gear?
This is SUPER easy…Coeur Sports has the best women’s tri kits and running apparel on the market!! L.O.V.E. LOVE all my Coeur gear…no chafing, seamless chamois, perfect fit, fun colors, #stylishspeed and #noangrykitty…simply AMAZING!! This year I found new love in my run capris! Not only are they unbelievably comfortable, but they fit like a glove! I love them so much that I have them in every pattern they offer and can’t wait for more design options 🙂 I love what Coeur Sports stands for, that they encourage, inspire, and promote women in sport and they represent #heartandcourage. ALL women who SBR (swim, bike, run) and/or do triathlon should wear Coeur Sports apparel…it is da BOMB!!
Best way to log my workouts?
This is another SUPER easy one…my #believetrainingjournal!! While I like to see green in Training Peaks, I much prefer writing things down by hand. I love looking back through my workouts and it is so much easier to do when they are written down. I don’t particularly like having to open up every box in Training Peaks to review my workouts, so the Believe Training Journal has been an absolute favorite this year! I love it so much that I ordered the lavender one for 2016!!
Best way to stay healthy?
This was also SUPER easy…Sound Probiotics has been keeping me healthy since March! As endurance athletes, we put ourselves at risk for a dysfunctional immune system because of the intensity and duration of our workouts. When stress, inadequate sleep, poor diet choices, cold weather, alcohol or travel are thrown into the mix, our immune system is even further suppressed. How has Sound Probiotics helped me? Sound Probiotics helps in nutrient production and absorption, helps fend off viruses, promotes the production of cytokines and mucin, and limits bad bacteria in the gut. I have experienced less fatigue and fewer sick days, which as a middle school teacher who is an endurance athlete speaks volumes! This has provided me with the opportunity for more training and better performance. I would highly recommend all endurance athletes use Sound Probiotics to stay healthy!! #soundathlete = #soundlife
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, “Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer”
Most inspirational athlete?
I can’t pick just one…so many of my Coeur Sports teammates have inspired me this year!! Kristin, Erin and Jen fought hard to qualify for their first Ironman World Championships. Can you say inspirational? Amy won Ironman Lake Placid and Sonja won Ironman Lake Tahoe…first women overall at each of their races. Hello inspiration?!?! There were many Coeur women who raced in Kona at the Ironman World Championships, others had podium finishes at various races they competed in, many met goals and all are working hard to achieve their dreams. My inspiration cup runneth over!! I am so pumped to be a part of this amazing team again in 2016!! #heartandcourage
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Fun, Believe, Dream Big
Tell me about your 2015 year!! What are your “bests” from 2015?
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 post was inspired by Korrie over at Korrie’s Triathlon Diary. If you haven’t checked her out yet, you should!
There have been MANY ups and down during my career in endurance sport. Setting goals, crushing them and having many achievements along the way. There have also been many disappointments and setbacks along the way, but every up and down has made me a stronger athlete…both mentally and physically. The roller coaster of life is what makes our journey so much more rewarding.
Best Inspiring Movie – “Rudy”
I just love this movie! On top of being an inspirational movie, it makes me feel good 🙂
There is nothing better than a smoothie after a good, hard workout. My favorite combination is kale, Pure Clean beet powder, Osmo Recovery, frozen raspberries, cinnamon, avocado, and water. This is pure deliciousness and provides lots of nutrients to refuel me 🙂
Best Time of Day – Definitely before 6 am in the morning
Getting up at 4 am to complete an early morning workout sets me up for a great day. Once my feet are on the floor it is go time and there is nothing better than starting my day with endorphins to get me physically and mentally ready to conquer my day.
Best Day of the Week for Training – Sunday
#SundayFunday is the best day of the week! Lately we have been going on a long ride, just because we can and enjoying every minute of it!
Best Road Cycling Route – Ames, Elkhart, High Trestel Trail, Slater, and back to Ames
I have many routes that I love more than this one, but unfortunately they are not in central Iowa where we live. This is a simple 50 mile route on roads that aren’t heavily trafficked or have a bike lane and about 10 miles of this route is on a paved trail, which gets us off the roads.
Best Workout Partner – The Iron Hippie
I am so lucky and thankful to have my husband join me on my crazy adventures! He has been by my side through the ups and downs and supports me, encourages me and challenges me to be the best version of myself and the best athlete that I can be.
Best 4 legged running partner – Basil
Basil LOVES to run and is so happy when she gets to chase rabbits and squirrels 😉 Even if we don’t feel like running, she is ALWAYS up for a run!!
Coeur Sports as the absolute best triathlon kit on the market…no chafing, seamless chamois, perfect fit, fun colors, #stylishspeed and #noangrykitty…simply AMAZING!! I love what Coeur Sports stands for, that they encourage, inspire, and promote women in sport and they represent #heartandcourage. ALL women who SBR (swim, bike, run) and/or do triathlon should wear Coeur Sports apparel…it is da BOMB!!
As we move into the winter doldrums, I thought this is a perfect time to focus on the good things that surround us.
What are your BESTs? What things boost your mood and training during the winter doldrums?
While I have completed every distance from 5K to marathon and from sprint triathlon to IRONMAN, I still have room for growth…I lack patience. Especially when I can’t train/race because of an injury. Yes…I did it again…I am injured. Thankfully this is a minor injury and it is the offseason, so I have time to properly heal up strong before Ironman Wisconsin training officially starts.
As an 8th grade science teacher, I extinguish my stores of patience during the school days. As a result, when it comes time for my endurance sport, I am not as patient as I could/should be. Endurance sport is my stress relief. When I can’t train and race, I get more anxious and stressed.
I have been fighting a minor knee injury (Pes Anserine Bursitis), which was most likely caused by my exceptionally tight left hamstring. Like every time I am fighting an injury, this too has been a lesson in patience. Healing from injuries generally takes time…I don’t like how much time healing takes. When I am injured, I want to have immediate results…heal me now and get me back out the door.
Normally I would be totally happy being told that I have to ride my bicycle or swim and strength train, but because I can’t run pain free, that seems to be all I want to do. UGH! Thankfully Dr. Chris is treating on my leg with ART (Active Release Therapy) and trying to get me back to full speed.
So what does one do when she is forced to swim and ride her bicycle? Work on getting stronger, find #bikelove, find #swimlove and proper recovery 🙂
Since I am not allowed to run for a while, I’ve decided to do some block training to get me through the offseason. This is not something I’ve done before, but I am actually looking forward to it. For the next 4 weeks, I’ll have a bike focus. I won’t skimp on the strength training, and I’ll have a swim or two, but the main focus will be on cycling. I’m excited to see my FTP results at the end of this 4 week bike focus 🙂
How do you speed up your recovery when injured? Have you ever done a block-focused training? If so, how did it go?