I’ve been asked why I put forth so much time + effort to volunteer at races when I’m not a participant. That is such an easy answer…I do it because I LOVE IT! I LOVE supporting other, I LOVE the energy that surrounds race day, and I LOVE seeing the joy radiate from the athletes when they achieve something they once thought was impossible. I LOVE watching them cross that finish line and all the emotions that come with it!
Last weekend, I volunteered to be the captain of the women’s change area at Ironman Wisconsin and a few myths came about throughout the day that I want to take a few minutes to dispel.
“I didn’t know that the volunteers moved all of our gear. I thought paid Ironman employees did all of this and that it was just magically done when we finished the race.” As an athlete, our race fees do not pay for all the moving around of our gear, directing of traffic (yes some officers get paid for this, but the volunteers on course don’t), and handing out water + food on the course; even the staff in the medical tent are volunteers.
“I thought our race fees went to paying for people to work the even like you.” I am not paid. The captains of different areas are also volunteers. We are not paid for the time we spend emailing all of our volunteers, coordinating all of our volunteers, running the area we are volunteering in, and making all of the decisions we have to make throughout the day (no matter how difficult they may be to keep athletes safe)…but I wouldn’t change it for the all the money in the world!
“If you don’t get paid, do you at least get a free entry into a race?” The captains of different areas are not given a free entry into a future event. We are given a free shirt, cap, and lanyard…nothing more. We do this because we LOVE supporting others, LOVE the race day atmosphere, and LOVE seeing the smiles on so many faces when we get to help athletes throughout the day.
Remember to thank a volunteer when you are racing. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to do what you love (or it would cost so much more)!
The Okoboji Triathlon was my favorite race this year! It was special to race with The Iron Hippie on our Anniversary and get cheered on by our twin nieces at the finish line!
There weren’t many runs that stood out as belonging at the top of the pile this year, but the most fun I had while running was at the Market to Market Relay. I got to run with friends All. Day. Long!
Riding 3 loops of the Ironman Wisconsin bike course…was a challenging day full of 6847 feet of climbing over 125 miles. This ride gave me a lot of confidence for Ironman Wisconsin race day!
The Okoboji 3.5 mile swim was not wetsuit legal, but it was a great experience for me to swim LONG with my father kayaking beside me!! I love swimming in my playground…Lake Okoboji!!
Best NEW racing experience?
This was a tough one! I had two new race experiences this year…Market to Market Relay and the Hickory Grove Duathlon. While both experiences were new, fun, and challenging (in their own way), the duathlon rocked this category! I was challenged in ways I hadn’t experienced before, had a BLAST, and got to race with my #solesister!
Best encouraging moment?
This year I was blessed to have the support from Coeur Sports and Kyle’s Bikes to help me start a women’s only ride in central Iowa. It was fun to enCOEURage other women in sport and help them make gains on the bike and in their self confidence! #strongwomen #heartandcourage
Best recovery technique?
#recoveryisimportant and that is why I invest in the best recovery possible! Nick with Vitality Massage helps keep me injury free. I like to refer to myself as his insurance policy since Ironman racing looks to be in our future for the next few years😉
Best offseason adventure?
Family time, which included:
Best new piece of gear?
This is SUPER EASY!! The Coeur Sports Zele Aero Triathlon Kit…it is the most comfortable, breathable, stylish, aerodynamic kit on the market!! I’m hopeful for more amazing designs in 2017!! #stylishspeed
Best way to log my workouts?
This is another SUPER easy one…my #believetrainingjournal!! While I love 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 Compete Training Journal for 2017!!
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, 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?
I read this before every big race. It is so motivating and reminds me 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?
I can’t pick just one…so many of my Coeur Sports teammates have inspired me this year!! There were many Coeur women who raced with #heartandcourage in Kona at the Ironman World Championships, other ladies had podium finishes at various races they competed in, many ladies 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 2017!!
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 2016 year!! What are your “bests” from 2016?!
I can’t believe the first week of December has already came and went!! With only a few weeks to the start of 2017, it is time to reflect on 2016. 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 2016 journey so I can set S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2017.
USA Triathlon posted a great article that I have used to help me evaluate my 2014 and 2015 training and racing seasons before trying to plan for 2015 and 2016. I have found this reflection very beneficial and thought I would use the same questions to reflect on my 2016 season so I can better plan for 2017.
1. In hindsight, were your goals for the season clear and attainable?
-My goals were clear and attainable: smile and have fun at Ironman Wisconsin while pushing to break 14 hours. I feel like I could have pushed a little bit harder to break 14 hours, especially on the run. My overall finish time was 14:34:11, 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 great training weekend on the Ironman Wisconsin course at the end of July. I rode 125 miles on the bike course with 6847 feet of climbing followed by an hour run…it was hard challenging, but gave me the confidence I needed for race day! The day after this big monster workout, I participated in a 2.4 mile open water swim event that was not wetsuit legal. This continued to build my confidence for my upcoming 3.5 mile open water swim that would also not be wetsuit legal. I followed this swim with running one loop (13.1 miles) of the Ironman Wisconsin run course. This weekend was a HUGE confidence builder!!
3. What would I like to duplicate next year?
-I have gotten so much stronger and faster on the bike, and I would love to see my cycling fitness continue to grow in 2017!! With Ironman Mont Tremblant’s bike course having 5900 feet of climbing, I can use this developed strength and cycling fitness to carry me through this hilly course in 2017!!
4. What frustrated or disappointed you the most this season?
-I didn’t have the run I was hoping for at Ironman Wisconsin this year. I know I can run a 4:45:00 marathon off the bike, but haven’t been able to make this happen yet.
-The 70.3 distance event I did in Madison in June was HOT and I didn’t have the race I was hoping for. I had spent the week before my race in DC, so I didn’t properly acclimate to the heat and humidity that Mother Nature bestowed on us on race day in the Midwest. The positive…I still finished (without ending up in the medical tent) despite Mother Nature’s bad attitude.
-Not having a nutritionally sound race at Ironman Wisconsin. I wasn’t hyponatremic by the end, but I was well on my way. I have to find a way to figure out this nutrition!
5. What do you not want to happen again next year?
-I want to have a solid nutritional experience in 2017 at Ironman Mont Tremblant…Ironman Wisconsin 2014 is the only long race I have felt good nutritionally.
-I want to avoid having a flat run at the end of Ironman Mont Tremblant. I definitely want to put together a solid race…strong and solid swim, followed by a strong and solid bike, followed by a strong and solid run!
6. What did you learn by going through these experiences?
-I’ve learned that it is time to mix things up and seek help! I have had the same flat training for the last couple of years, and it is time to make some changes! It is also time to figure out this nutrition so that I set myself up for a great race at IMMT! This is why I’ve hired Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness to help me make dreams come true!
7. What decisions did you make that were empowering for you?
-I felt empowered by stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things! Racing in a relay with friends and a duathlon were first time experiences for me this year. I am happy to say that they are both experiences that I want to do again!
-I also felt empowered by empowering other women in endurance sport through our women’s only rides this year! I finally made the time to help other women feel more confident on their bike and it. Was. Awesome! The smiles and confidence these women exhibited spoke volumes to how they felt!
8. What habits seemed to hold you back from achieving your potential?
-I need to overcome the fear of being uncomfortable. I am always afraid to leave it all out there…whether it is during a training session or 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! This year is all about #courageovercomfort and pushing my limits both in training and racing!
9. What decisions should you make in order to have your best triathlon year ahead?
-I have decided to hire a coach for 2017 and I am super excited about it! With Coach Kelly’s knowledge, guidance, encouragement, and support, I hope to have the best year yet! I will also 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! I’m confident Kelly and I will work well together to help make this all happen! 🙂 2017 is the year of #courageovercomfort as I push myself to new limits!
My 2017 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?
I wrapped up last week with a run test, but that wasn’t the end of my testing…hello FTP test on the bike and swim time trial.
I had planned to get up early to complete my run and strength training before work so that I could have a free evening, but sleep took precedence. When I woke up at 4 am and knew that I could complete both workouts after work in plenty of time, I decided to go back to sleep for 2 more hours. After a full day of work, I went home, ran and completed my strength training.
I had a FTP test on the bike to start my Tuesday! I was very excited, yet nervous to see how much bike fitness I’d lost since Ironman Wisconsin. The bad news…I lost more bike fitness than I’d hoped. The good news…I didn’t lose as much bike fitness as I thought I had. The even better news…Coach Kelly says that my power results for my 5 minute and 20 minute tests indicate that I am “well balanced in your abilities. This balance you already have is good news in my opinion! : )”
After a full day of work, I met with a friend who is signing up for her first Ironman in 2017. She picked my brain about all things Ironman from a first timer’s perspective and it was so much fun! I’m super excited for her and her 2017 journey! It is so fun to share my passion with others!
I started my day with some #swimlove. I love chlorine therapy in the morning! It is the perfect way to wake up 🙂
After a full day of work and running a few errands on my way home, I hopped on the bike for an easy recovery ride!
Good morning run on our first frigid morning of the season…hello -8F windchill! I think this means treadmill time!
After a full day of work, I worked with two personal training clients and then taught TRX before eating dinner and crawling into bed for the last day of my work week.
Good morning #chlorinetherapy on this cold morning (-3F windchill)! I really wanted to pull the covers up over my head when the alarm went off and stay in bed with my dreams, but I decided to get up and work hard during my swim time trial to turn my dreams into a reality instead!
After a run test last Saturday + bike test Tuesday + swim test this morning, I had a much needed massage after work! OUCH!
I woke up to an endurance ride and strength session in my Coeur Sports Kona kit…after all, #IMKona is going to air on NBC this afternoon. #dreambelieveachieve
After getting a Karma Kombucha delivery (12 cases) to our house, I went for a 25 minute run in my new Hoka One One Claytons in the snow. I think I’ll be a Clifton girl as I felt some rubbing in the arches of both feet during such a short time. I’ve heard this is a common problem with this model.
I spent the afternoon watching #IMKona on NBC and then traveling to Kyle’s Bikes to pick up the Iron Hippie’s bike that was getting some TLC! We spent the evening relaxing and enjoying quality family time.
I woke up so grateful for a good night’s sleep and warm enough temps that I could run outside again today. After running to the grocery store before all the post church goers, I went to the pool and had a much better swim than I expected! It was fun to play in the pool afterwards also…this is what I do to keep my swims fun!
After swimming, I came home with swim brain…yep, I tried to fill my water bottle with the lid still on it. It didn’t work very well! I ate a granola bar, changed clothes, and went out for my run. With the snow we’ve gotten in the last couple of days, I decided to take my run to the golf course to prevent slipping and to have fun running with my girl and our friends’ dog (the Golden).
After running, it was time to Eat. All. The. Food. I was so hungry!! I enjoyed some quiet, relaxing time most of the afternoon as the Iron Hippie went to an ISU basketball game with a friend. At 4 pm, I joined my Coeur Sports Ambassadors for a conference call. These amazing women are so inspirational and enCOEURaging!! I’m so pumped for 2017!! After my conference call, we prepped food for the coming week and relaxed before bed.
Week 2 with Coach Kelly is in the books and a success!!
Weekly Totals: 10 hours & 16 minutes
Swim: 6700 yards Bike: 42.9 miles Run: 14.6 miles Strength Training: 1 hour & 55 minutes + 10 minutes of core work daily
Quote of the Week:
“Small daily – seemingly insignificant – improvements and innovations lead to staggering achievements over time.” ~ Robin Sharma
After Ironman Wisconsin (9/11/16), I took a lot of time off…both physically and mentally. During this time I decided to hire Kelly as my coach to help me achieve big goals at Ironman Mont Tremblant in 2017. This was week 1 of a new chapter in my book as I started training with Coach Kelly!! After having my training train derailed for the last couple of months, it felt great to have the train stop, pick me up, get back on its tracks, and move in the forward direction. The best part…having someone else tell me what to do!! Thanks Coach!! So what did my first week of this new chapter look like?! Here’s a snapshot of my week…
I had every intention of getting up and working out Monday morning, but I had a Thanksgiving hangover, and I don’t mean from alcohol…it was a family hang over. I LOVE my family and am SO grateful and happy they came to visit us over Thanksgiving break, but I was exhausted on Monday morning. As a result, Monday morning was a sleep in. After a full day of work, I hit the gym for my strength training session.
The day started with morning miles with my girl! I love running with her and am so lucky to have an early morning running partner who is reliable, dependable, and keeps me safe! When we got home, I quickly vacuumed the house before getting ready for work. After a full day of teaching, I hit the pool for some chlorine therapy.
The Iron Hippie and I both had swims, so we decided to go in the morning and see just how busy the pool is on a Wednesday morning. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as busy as we thought it would be 🙂 After a full day of teaching, I came home to intervals on Mojo! This was the first time I’ve REALLY ridden her since Ironman Wisconsin and it took a lot of self talk…#courageovercomfort and #nevergiveup!!
It was another early morning run with my girl! I’m so grateful to have her to keep me company, push me to run faster, and keep me safe! After we returned home, I vacuumed the house before getting ready for a full day of science education meetings with my colleagues. My brain was complete MUSH by the end of the day! I met with two different personal training clients after work and then rounded out my day with teaching TRX.
Today was a rest day! After yesterday’s brain mushing session, I needed this rest day today! After a full day of teaching, I ran a couple of errands, prepared dinner, and cleaned fresh produce for the coming week. After dinner and cleaning up the kitchen, I was in bed reading by 7:30 pm with lights out at 8:15 pm. I was exhausted!
I was so tired that I slept until 6:10 am! I guess my body needed it 😉 After eating a quick snack I went to the Iowa State outdoor track for my 2 mile time trial run. I have a mental block when I am at the track…it is a GREAT facility, but this is where I ran for week after week after week after week about 2 years ago when I was injured. After running circles with the white line between my feet for about 2 months, this beautiful track left a negative taste in my mouth. Today I had doubts in my head, but I immediately went into self talk mode…courage over comfort! Never give up! I am strong! I am tough! I am FAST! So the best part about this run?! I had the track to myself for the entire hour I was there! Ha ha! I know what you’re thinking…NO, it didn’t take me an hour to run 2 miles! I was hoping to run each mile at 8:00/mile or faster, but I’m just not quite there yet and that’s OK! I’m happy to be where I’m at! After all, I’ve taken nearly 3 months off of training. After a 20 minute warm up, my first mile was at 8:10/mile and my second mile was 8:05/mile. Hello negative splits!! After cooling down until I had ran an hour, I went to the gym for some strength training. After eating all the food I could find (not really…just muesli) when I got home, we did some house work before I went to the gym for some chlorine therapy! Guess what?! I had the pool to myself for my entire swim! I think that was the theme of the day…first the track to myself, then the pool to myself (no…I didn’t have the gym to myself for strength training, but the room I was in I had to myself for a good portion of my workout). After eating all the food I could find (this time, it was true!), we spent the evening relaxing with friends.
We woke up to snow…on the ground…for the first time this season! Thankfully the ground was still warm enough that the roads and sidewalks weren’t ice covered…just slushy. After an easy 75 minute ride, I ate some food, got ready for the coming week, chatted with Coach Kelly on the phone for almost an hour, and then went for a short and easy afternoon run in our winter wonderland. I rounded out the week with an epsom salt soak, laundry, and relaxing to soak up all of my hard work this week and get ready for more testing this coming week…bike FTP and swim tests are scheduled for the coming week…eek! I’m so happy and grateful to have Coach Kelly write this new chapter with me!
Weekly Totals: 9 hours & 25 minutes
Swim: 5100 yards Bike: 31.5 miles Run: 17.1 miles Strength Training: 2 hours & 30 minutes + 10 minutes of core work daily
Quote of the Week:
“Today I close the door on the past, open the door to the future, take a deep breath, step on through and start a new chapter in my life.” ~Anonymous
October wasn’t quite the month I was hoping for, but my body got the rest and recovery that it needed. Here are some of my highlights from October.
Mom came down and spent a weekend with us. It was fun to relax, eat good food, and visit Reiman Gardens while she was here.
I got to run with my sole sister at the Run for the Roses 5K, although that only lasted for the first mile since she was so much faster than me. She is so strong and speedy!
Chasing My Fave:
The Iron Hippie ran the Des Moines Marathon, so I took my bike down and chased him around the course! It was fun to cheer him on to another finish line!
Reading, Reading, Reading:
Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown is a MUST READ! Wow! The obstacles these 9 men had to overcome to make it to the 1936 Berlin Olympics is not only inspiring, but also unthinkable! All of this happening as Hitler was starting his attempt to take over the world without the world knowing it. So many things that are hard to wrap my brain around, but the boys never gave up, fought for their spot on the US Olympic team, worked hard and overcame obstacles to chase their dreams!
Tri Marni’s recent blog post really hit home with me! As I’ve been dreaming of qualifying for Kona and working hard to achieve these dreams, her words reminded me to never give up! “Every athlete has a great performance inside him/herself but it takes time and patience to get the best out of yourself. And even if you think you achieved your “best race ever”, there’s probably another better race in you that you will experience down the road – so long as you don’t give up. Stay dedicated. Keep developing yourself as an athlete. If you believe you have what it takes, chase your dreams, fall in love with the process and have a lot of fun along the way.” I definitely plan to continue to “chase my dreams, fall in love with the process and have a lot of fun along the way” this coming year! #dreambelieveachieve
Carrie Cheadle’s recent blog post also really hit home with me! Because I have that lingering dream of qualifying for Kona, her words encourage me to take risks. “Give yourself permission to make wrong decisions. If you never risk making mistakes you’ll never perform to your potential. Trust. Believe. Jump!”
My Coeur Sports Teammies have been inspiring me for the last 2 years! Watching them chase their dreams as they conquered Kona, Louisville, Maryland, and North Carolina lit my fire even more to chase my dreams and turn them into reality! 2017…I’m comin’ for ya!
How was your month of October? What were your highlights for October?