“You can’t do passion halfway. Living your passion means you’re all in. You trust your heart and trust your gut wherever it takes you.” ~Joe Plumeri
My heart speaks swim/bike/run! It brings me calm, it brings me joy, it builds self confidence, it often teaches me something new, it breeds discipline, it connects me with others, it forces me to be more courageous, it allows me the freedom to mess up & still end up ok, it provides me an outlet, it makes me stronger (physically, mentally & emotionally), it fills me with gratitude, it helps me become a better version of myself, and SO much more!
I believe the purpose of my life is to be fearlessly authentic and passionate, to empower others, and inspire others to LIVE + PLAY BIG so they can be their best self and chase their dreams with their whole heart. When I live my purpose and live my passion, I have more heart, energy, and enthusiasm for what I am doing and those around me. I feel ALIVE! I’m so grateful for this life!
Part of living my passion is to live with a FULL heart, and LOADS of PURE JOY + GRATITUDE! The joy doesn’t come from crossing the finish line…although it does feel good to finally put the breaks on at the end of the really long day of IRONMAN racing. The pure joy + full heart comes from the reflection on how I got there. The journey. All the chlorine therapy. Each pedal stroke. Every step. The strength developed. The challenging workouts and the easy ones. The hard work. The recovery/nutrition/training balance. The obstacles I overcame. Staring at the same walls. Whatever Mother Nature threw my way. The self doubt. The mental strength I created. The gratitude I discovered in the good times and the bad times. The determination. The early mornings. The risks. The long hours on the bike. The persistence. The Basil miles. The balancing of life + training. The sacrifices. The daily grind. The resilience in getting back up when I got knocked down. The lows that I survived and the highs that I reveled in. The failures I learned from. The courage to be me and share with others. The freedom to do it my way. The success I accomplished. The entire journey; not simply the destination.
I am going to continue to follow my heart and live my passion in 2020 as it leads me on a new + exciting IRONMAN journey!
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!
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 4 years and want to keep this trend going! You can look back at my previous posts if you’d like: Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, the Best of 2015, and the Best of 2016. Now its time to reminisce my faves from 2017! 🙂
Best race experience?
Ironman Mont Tremblant! This was by far one of the best experiences of the year! I was blessed with a near perfect day + a PR on the day. I was so incredibly lucky to combine my race experience with an extended vacation with family + friends, which made for a really fun time!
I have been waiting to have a good run during an Ironman race for 6 years and this year, it finally happened at Ironman Mont Tremblant! I FINALLY pulled off a sub 5 hour marathon (and I know it could have been even faster without some visits to the kybo). I felt good, I felt strong, I was happy, I smiled the whole run, I really enjoyed myself, I spread coeur with others, and gave “hi-fives” to those who looked like they could use one. This run was a HUGE confidence builder for future races!
Sometimes the best rides aren’t the ones where we have the most fun, but where we learn the most. Yes, I had some seriously fun rides this summer…some solo rides, some with the Iron Hippie, some at the Track Cat Fitness Training Camp, and some on the Ironman Lake Placid + Ironman Mont Tremblant bike courses. For me, the ride that stands out the most this year is the one I learned the most from…my first solo century ride. It was a VERY tough day for me! Physically the wind BEAT. ME. UP! Mentally, I had to overcome a case of the “I can’t do this,” a case of the “I’m not strong enough,” a case of the “I’m not fast enough,” and a case of the “I’m not fueled enough” to finish. In this process, I learned so much about who I am and what I can do when staring adversity in the face!
Swimming in Mirror Lake was probably one of the best experiences of the summer! It was so much fun to swim with an underwater guide wire! All lakes should be closed to motorized vehicles and have have an underwater guide wire available for swimmers!
Best training weekend?
The Track Cat Fitness Training Camp in Stowe, Vermont at the end of July was CHALLENGING + SO. MUCH. FUN! I climbed Smuggler’s Notch. I climbed App Gap. I ran trails. I swam. In addition to all of the fun, there was community, riding, running, swimming, eating, learning, and growing as an athlete.
Best training compass?
Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness has provided me with structure, focus, guidance, feedback, support, accountability, motivation + so much more! She has paved the yellow brick road for me this year and I am forever grateful! Standing beside me, believing in me, educating me, and helping me to become a better, #trackcatstrong athlete every day!
Best enCOEURaging moment?
Thanks to the support of Coeur Sports, Ignite Yoga, and Team Chiropractic for helping me provide a recovery clinic for women! The community! The learning! The practice! The enCOEURaging! The supporting! The love!
Best recovery secret?
Wearing my CEP recovery tights as part of my work attire after a tough morning workout. Hello style + recovery! The best of both worlds!
Best tapering adventure?
Having my sister, brother-in-law, and 3 nieces vacation with us in Mont Tremblant for a few days was so much fun! We don’t get to see each other nearly enough (since they live in California and we live in Iowa), so this was a special treat!
Best new piece of gear?
This was SUPER easy! We had some REALLY HOT + HUMID summer days this year, which forced me out of my comfort zone as I became a part of the #sportsbrasquad! I absolutely love the Coeur Sports sports bras! Not only are they super cute, functional, and comfortable, but they also have a hidden pocket that is perfect for carrying keys, nutrition, or ice!
Best way to stay healthy?
This was also SUPER easy…Sound Probiotics has been keeping me healthy since March 2015! As endurance athletes, we put ourselves at risk for a dysfunctional immune system because of the intensity and duration of our workouts. When stress (life, work, or otherwise), 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!!
Best piece of racing advice you received?
Hello race morning! Time to drink my Karma Kombucha, eat my muesli, and get inspired to do and be my best as I embark on the race ahead:
“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?
There are so many that I can’t pick just one! My Coeur Sports sisters inspire me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! I’ve also been SUPER inspired this year by friends who finished their first Ironman. By friends who attempted their first Ironman, but didn’t meet cutoffs. By people who fight disease and keep training + racing. By people who challenge themselves and try something new. By people I haven’t met yet and people I see everyday! There are far to many people who inspire me to pick just one!
Best support crew?
Hands down…Dad and my Aunt Linda! These two helped us load our car with ALL. THE. GEAR. from our 4 week vacation the day before our race. They were up EARLY on race morning to help us get to transition. They were patient with the process of all of the race morning shenanigans. They were in all of the right places at all of the right times during the race. They helped us get our gear after the race. They cheered, photographed, and spread love to us and other athletes throughout a REALLY long day! There are not enough hugs and kisses for each of you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Love you both so much!
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Courage over comfort, believe, fun!!
Tell me about your 2017 year!! What are your “bests” from 2017?!
Near the end of October I talked with Coach Kelly about where I was and where I wanted to be. We decided that setting a challenge for the month of November would be a great way to get back on the right track. So an entire month of:
10 minutes of core daily
seeing green in Training Peaks for the entire month
no eating out
no alcohol consumption
It was beyond time to get back into my 10 minutes of daily core strength routine…plus I knew seeing green for a full month in Training Peaks would be just the kick in the shorts I needed to relieve stress, regain my confidence, and get that positivity train moving forward again! This was something that hadn’t happened since before Ironman Mont Tremblant…4 months to be exact! No eating out and no alcohol consumption would not only be better for us, but it would also save us money! Challenges make us stronger, so I’ve decided to set a challenge for myself each month for the rest of the school year to keep me motivated and on track.
I started out November with a bit of a head cold, so I was forced by Coach Kelly to skip the “optional” workouts to give myself a little extra rest. Thankfully my body responded beautifully to the extra sleep + TLC!
Monthly Totals: 51 hours & 7 minutes
Swim: 31,400 yards (17.84 miles)
Bike: 188 miles
Run: 75.9 miles
Strength Training: 13 hours & 5 minutes (this included my 10 minutes of core strength every day of the month)
Finding faster in the pool! I have dropped my CSS by 3 seconds (on the 100 yard distance)!
Getting stronger on the bike! Hello bike intervals…I’ve missed you! You make me work, but you also make me stronger!
Running at varying paces…a mix of track work + hilly runs for speed development and sloooow runs have been a theme this month!
Rebuilding my strength…full body and core has been amazing for my swimming, cycling, and running!
Eating home cooked meals has been better for me nutritionally and saved us money! 🙂
No alcohol has been better for my mental state, better for me nutritionally, and has saved us money! 🙂
I’ve overcome a lot of adversity this month in many areas of my life.
I’m focusing on the positives!
I am healthier and happier…I’m finding myself again! Healthy + Happy is key! 🙂
Successfully completing the November challenge will set me up perfectly for my December swim challenge at the end of the month…30K yards in 7 days?! Yep, I’m going for the BSC swim cap!! 🙂
Five weeks post Ironman Mont Tremblant, I tackled the CyMan Sprint Triathlon. There is a HUGE difference in pain level between Ironman racing and Sprint Triathlon racing! The sprint hurt…a LOT! Way more than Ironman!
We arrived early, set up transition, and then waited for over 2 hours for the start of the sprint race.
Since the race was in small town Iowa, one of my colleagues (who is also a dear friend) came to cheer us on. It was so nice to have her spectating! She was in all of the right places! 🙂
Swim: 16:45 for 750 yards
This was the most DISGUSTING water I’ve EVER swam in! It was so thick and dark that I couldn’t see anything. The water was wetsuit legal, but only by a few degrees, so I opted to swim in my Roka Viper Elite Swim Skin which was the prefect decision for this water.
We started with a floating start. There was no real place to “start” so all of the ladies in the water were chatting (as we waited for the air horn to go off) about moving closer and closer to the first turn buoy and see just when the announcers called us back, but no one was brave enough to lead the way. 😉 There were very few ladies, so I had zero physical contact in the water. I got in a groove and just kept swimming. My swim time was slower than I’d hoped for, but I also think the swim distance may have been longer than the advertised 750 yards.
I quickly transitioned to the bike. Mojo and I were off before I knew it!
Bike: 46:51 for 12 miles (my Garmin said 13.9 miles for actual distance)
Uh Oh! My legs decided to not show up for the party right from the beginning. This was going to be a challenge, but thankfully it would be a short challenge! I had made the decision to go as hard as I could and hold on for as long as I could. Since my legs weren’t having it, going hard wasn’t as hard as I’d hoped. The plus side…my Coeur Sports one pice racing suit was SO comfortable! Smooth as butter + #noangrykitty = WIN!
As the temperatures climbed, I drank my NBS hydration, thanked all of the volunteers, pushed past people, and just kept riding as hard as I could!
T2: 52 seconds
I quickly changed into my run shoes and was out on the run.
Run: 29:13 for a 5K run
Yep! The legs decided they weren’t showing up for the run either. It was already close to 90*F heat index when I started the run, and I just couldn’t get the legs to turn over like I wanted. I kept running and doing what I could to keep moving forward, but my legs were in full on protest mode! At about 1.5 miles into the run, I saw a friend in passing who should have been in front of me, so I asked him how it was going only to learn he had been stung by a bee and had to sit in the ditch on the bike waiting for an epipen (the one triathlon he didn’t carry his own with him). Grateful he was ok!
Shortly before mile 2, I saw Rachel and was so happy to be that much closer to done! Now to get back around the lake and to the finish line!
This was not the performance I had hoped for, but any day I *get* to swim/bike/run is a great day! I’m grateful this was a short distance event so I didn’t have to feel *off* all day long! Apparently my body needed a bit more time to recover from Ironman Mont Tremblant before trying to go hard at the sprint distance!
The post Ironman blues are REAL and they are awful! I had a big goal on the horizon…one that I put lots of time, energy, focus, passion, heart, and courage into. I achieved that goal. I crossed the finish line of Ironman Mont Tremblant and I did so setting a shiny new PR! It is natural to feel a loss…to feel depressed with that goal no longer on the horizon and nothing to take its place.
Sure it didn’t help that post Ironman Mont Tremblant we IMMEDIATELY drove 1200+ miles home and then I started back to work IMMEDIATELY with kids. It doesn’t help that this year has been and will continue to be a bit of a challenge in comparison to previous years, but the let down that comes with crossing the finish line of an Ironman is real. Yes, I rode cloud nine for about a week…who wouldn’t…I had a great race day and a PR on top of it! But then the blues set in and the last 9 months of focus went down the drain…I don’t have that big goal on the horizon staring me in the face forcing me to workout. I know it sounds crazy, especially since I truly LOVE swim/bike/run, but post Ironman the body needs a break…both physically and mentally. So…I listen and give my body the rest it needs. With that rest comes some depression…the post Ironman blues.
The last 5 weeks have gone by pretty quickly and I can’t believe I have swam a few times, ran ran a few times, and biked a few times…nothing consistent, nothing routine. Last Saturday, I finally felt like I was finding myself again…I let the water wash away the post Ironman blues and reconnected with Mojo! It felt amazing to be moving again! It wasn’t easy, but it was good to be moving again!
Not only did I complete 2 workouts on Saturday, I also completed 3 workouts on Sunday! A run with my two faves, a trainer ride with some intensity, and a short strength training session.
Then this last week, I was sidelined with unexpected craziness with work. Sure, I got in a few workouts. Not at all what I was hoping for, but some people and things are WAY more important that completing a workout.
I’ve overcome the post Ironman blues 4 times before. How? I’m not really sure. Signing up for future races has helped in the past, but I typically sign up for those races later in the year when I’m actually ready to train again. Sure I’ve signed up for a race or two for next year, but they are so far away that I don’t feel the need to be training for them just yet. So…for now, I just put one foot in front of the other and take it one day at a time. I know the post Ironman blues will subside yet again…with time!
Have you experienced the post Ironman blues? If so, how did you combat them?
Wow! What a month! What a truly AMAZING month! It filled my coeur (heart) with pure love, joy, and happiness!
Ironman Mont Tremblant was so much fun! A great venue, a great day, beautiful weather, patience, and following my coeur lead me to a near perfect race execution and a shiny new PR. You can experience my day via my race report.
Due to racing Ironman Mont Tremblant, there wasn’t much training done in August. The little training we did do was in beautiful places…Lake Placid, NY and Mont Tremblant, Quebec!
Swim: 12.5 miles
Bike: 260 miles
Run: 51 miles
Family + spending the majority of August on vacation (we left July 25 and didn’t return home until August 22) = #happyheart
Rejuvenated! Spending a month on vacation was a great way to see new places, refill my heart, and prepare for the coming school year.
The Voice of Ironman Mike Reilly is an incredible podcast! It is so amazing to hear about Ironman from his perspective. The finish lines, the atmosphere, the energy!
Own Your Awesome Podcast with Amy Dixon is so inspirational! Amy lost her sight, but gained so much more as a result. Amy is a blind triathlete who recently became the first women to complete an Xterra triathlon. She is a paratriathlete who will be competing at Worlds in Rotterdam in September and has her heart set on on the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. She is a motivational speaker and when you listen to her, you will know why!
Work…yes, the dreaded 4 letter word for a teacher at the end of summer vacation! I am very grateful to have such a good job with summers off to enjoy time with family and friends! The beginning of the year is so exhausting, but I will be back into a consistent routine soon enough!
Looking forward to:
The changing seasons…I love summer, but I also love the beautiful fall colors and adventures with my fave and our girls in the snow! I’m looking forward to the opportunities that fall and winter bless us with (remind me of this in February when I’m ready for it to be summer again)! I am also looking forward to returning to a consistent routine. It has been fun to have a break from this routine, but I am definitely ready to have routine and normalcy (for us) back in our lives!
How was your month of August? What were your August highlights? What are you looking forward to?