What’s Up?! – September 2017

I can’t believe summer is in the review mirror! Where has time gone?!?!?! Here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been up to in September!

Racing:

The CyMan Sprint Triathlon was hard! I was definitely not fully recovered post Ironman Mont Tremblant and I definitely felt it! Thankfully I still put together a decent race and HAD FUN doing it!

Listening to:

My Coeur Sports teammate…Amy Farrell on running a marathon during Ironman training. Thanks to Brad Brown with the Kona Edge for this interview!

Amy Dixon is a blind triathlete who has taken on the challenge of Xterra triathlon racing! Holy inspirational! Thanks Kelsey Abbott for helping Amy share her story!

Feeling:

Stressed and overwhelmed. Work is a struggle right now. I’m grateful to work with some amazing people and have the support of an amazing husband to help get me through. I am strong. I will overcome this obstacle. It may be time for change. For now…one day at a time.

Returning to:

Normal life. After a month of vacation, we finally returned home to see our girls, return to work, and return to reality. Daily walks with our girls make us all happy!

Helping + Volunteering:

I’m so lucky to have ladies who ask me for help! I got to teach a friend (doing her first Ironman next Sunday) how to change her tire. It is so much fun to help others!

I was also lucky to get to be one of the Captains for the Women’s change at Ironman Wisconsin this year! It is always so fun to get to work with amazing volunteers + support athletes to help them achieve their dreams on race day!

Combatting:

Post Ironman Blues! I know I’ve posted about the reality of the post Ironman blues, but I am finally combatting them and back to a more normal routine that includes working out on a regular basis!

Working on my swim efficiency!
Children of the corn ūüėČ This bike was definitely my favorite workout of the month!
Running with my faves on a beautiful morning!

Overcoming Fears:

Yes…I am still working on overcoming my fear of heights. I didn’t make it to the top of the wall during this climbing session. Between lack of recovery post Ironman + my fear ruling the roost, I made it 3/4 of the way up the wall most of the times I climbed. I think it’s time to go climb again and make it to the top of the wall!

How was your month of September?! What was your favorite part of the month?!

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Seeing Green

Ladies and Gentlemen…I am finding myself again and seeing in green! I love to see green in Training Peaks! It gives me a sense of accomplishment, it gives me consistency, it gives me a stress release, it gives me joy! It means I am finding my rhythm again! I am making my heart happy, and I am less of a bear to be around. Just ask the Iron Hippie…or maybe don’t ūüėČ

Spending time with Mojo again!
Working on my swim efficiency!
First intervals since before Ironman Mont Tremblant
Pounding the pavement
Just keep swimming
Fall #bikelove in Iowa!
Children of the corn ūüėČ
Running makes most of us happy! ūüėČ
Reconnecting with my mat!
Washing away the stresses of life!
Run form focus
Sweating away the chaos, challenges, and frustrations.
“All you need is love” and a shower!
Running in the rain is so cleansing and peaceful!
Focus, focus, focus!
Brick…45 minute run, 45 minute bike, 45 minute run all before work…in the rain!
Rainy morning for a brick!

It feels good to be combatting the post Ironman blues! How do you combat the post Ironman blues?!

Post Ironman Blues

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.

Chasing down dreams on the Ironman Mont Tremblant course!

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!

Washing away the post Ironman blues!
Reconnecting with Mojo after 4 weeks away from each other. My new Coeur Sports tri kit definitely helped motivate me to ride my bike!

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.

Running with my faves on a beautiful morning!
Finally adding a little intensity back to the training! It felt SO GOOD!!

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?

1 week ’til #IMMT: Northeast + Canada Trication Part 3

Hello race week! Where did you come from?! I Have been awaiting your arrival for so long! Now that you are here, I’m kind of wishing time would slow down a bit so we could savor this a bit longer!

We made it to Mont Tremblant last Monday and have filled our week with tapering workouts, family time, and relaxation.

Swim: 2187 yards

We got to swim in one of the most cleanest, nicest pools ever in Mont Tremblant! Why can’t we have an indoor facility like this in Ames?!

Bike: 31.5 miles

Riding in our condo thanks to the rain outside.
Putting in some work, but alas the storms showed up and cut our work a bit short for this ride!

Run: 14.7 miles

Getting my happy on with my last double digit run done before race day in this beautiful place!
These running/biking trails are spectacular!
Running with my fave for a few miles to shake out the legs post massage.

Strength Training: 10 minutes of core most days

Weekly Totals: 5 hours & 54 minutes

Weekly Positives:

Crossing the border into Canada!
Arriving at our condo…look at this view!
Riding the gondola to the top of the hills to look out over Mont Tremblant!
The top! These views!
This amazing pizza…I’m dreaming about it!
Getting a pre-race massage at our condo. Melanie Jardot did a FANTASTIC job. HIGHLY recommend her for massage if you are in need of one in Mont Tremblant!
My family from California came came for a few days! #happyheart
Love these three monkeys!
Family snuggles
We went to the top on the gondola again!
Getting ready to ride the luge in the summer!
Riding into the village…that is the Ironman tent in the background!
Taking a quick gander at the Ironman Village as it gets set up!
Enjoying a beer by the fire after babysitting the nieces so my sister and brother-in-law could enjoy a date night!

Quote of the Week:

My heart is full of happiness, love, and gratitude!

National #GetUpDay

February 1 is National #GetUpDay founded by U.S. Figure Skating to provide a platform for people around the country to celebrate Get Up stories and urge others to Get Up also. It is an opportunity to share inspiring stories of perseverance; when we’ve fallen, we pick ourselves back up and keep striving to achieve our goals and dreams.

Here’s my story of perseverance:

In January of 2004, my world was turned upside down when my ex-husband and I finalized our divorce. I was lost…technically I was lost long before the divorce, but didn’t realize it until the divorce was finalized. As I faced the “Y” in the road in front of me, I had choices as to which route I wanted to take my life and I had no idea which route to take. I was not an athlete. I was not passionate about anything. I was simply going through the motions of life. With no place to turn, I decided to sign up to run a 5K in October of 2004. It was SO HARD!! I felt so much pain throughout that run, but the pain I felt running made me temporarily forget¬†the pain I was enduring in my everyday life.

After this 5K, I decided to sign up for a 20K training program in the spring of 2005. I met fun, inspiring, and amazing people. I finished my 20K race. I signed up for a fall marathon. I crossed the start line and then the finish line of the Chicago Marathon in October of 2005. I had finally found myself and my passion! I wanted more finish lines! I was hooked!

team-12-4
Meeting new friends, finding my passion, and figuring out my path in life through running!

Fast forward to July of 2006…I met the Iron Hippie at a group run. We would chat at group runs, became friends, and went on our first official date on New Year’s Eve in 2006. I continued to run marathons and had the dream of one day qualifying for and running the Boston Marathon. With the help of the Iron Hippie, I qualified for the Boston Marathon at the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee, Wisconsin¬†in October of 2008! In April of 2010, I crossed the start line and finish line of my 9th marathon, the Boston Marathon, with a HUGE smile on my face! I had fulfilled my dream!

Hello Boston Marathon Finish Line! I'm so happy to meet you!
Hello Boston Marathon Finish Line! I’m so happy to meet you! (Yes, I took a camera with me and took pictures all along this iconic course to remember and celebrate my day!)

In July of 2010, the Iron Hippie and I were married. I had an even BIGGER smile on my face on our wedding day! We continued to train and run marathons, but I had also gotten into triathlon racing. I loved the variety both in training and racing!

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Fast forward to 2011 when I decided to try my first Ironman…I was in a lot of pain and discomfort on race day as it did not go as I had planned. I was so sick (with hyponatremia) that I don’t remember the last 8 hours of my race. I don’t remember crossing the finish line (though I know I did as I have pictures and video footage of my finish). I took a couple of years off from Ironman racing, but continued to do triathlons of varying distances.

The Iron Hippie and me after crossing the finish line of our first Ironman race at Ironman Wisconsin on September 11, 2011 :)
The Iron Hippie and me after crossing the finish line of our first Ironman race at Ironman Wisconsin on September 11, 2011 ūüôā

In 2013 I decided it was time to compete in another Ironman race in 2014. So, I signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2014. My only goal for this race…to finish + remember the ENTIRE¬†race. I did just that! When I crossed that finish line, I was SO happy! I enjoyed + remembered my entire day! My passion for endurance sport was only magnified by this experience!

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Ironman Wisconsin 2014

Not only have I persevered through the roller coaster ride¬†that is life, but I have also persevered through the difficult times that training and racing have bestowed on me. I’ve had bad training sessions. I’ve had bad races…even a DNF. I’ve been injured…resulting in a DNS. I’ve overcome mechanical issues. I’ve overcome physical obstacles. I’ve overcome mental barriers. Through each of these struggles, I’ve persevered.

This smile sums up my race day experience!!
This smile sums up my race day at Ironman Boulder 2015!!
Blowing kisses to my tribe at the finish line! Photo Credit: Michele Dziaba
Blowing kisses to my tribe at the finish line of Ironman Wisconsin 2016!

I continue to dream and chase what lights my fire. I have a dream…qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona. I will continue to work hard and persevere until I one day cross the start line and finish line of the Ironman World Championships in Kona!

I dream of seeing the Ironman World Championships finish line in Kona!
I dream of seeing the Ironman World Championships finish line in Kona!!

What’s your inspiring story of perseverance? How do you get back up when you fall?

Interviewing Coaches

Despite my disappointment in the recent elections, I’m confident 2017 is going to be a great year! I turn 40 and I want to chase my dreams! So, I’ve decided to hire a coach to help me get closer to achieving my dreams! This means I’ve been interviewing coaches and I’ve learned a LOT in the process!

Before I share what I’ve learned, let’s back up this train just a bit…I had a coach from January of 2010 – May of 2014. I am forever grateful to her for getting me across the finish line of many races, including my first 70.3 and first Ironman, and for all of the knowledge and encouragement she bestowed on me in that time.

I decided to cut ties with her when I realized I was often injured and overtrained. Having to make the decision to pull out of a 70.3 race in June of 2014 due to injury about killed me was very hard on me mentally, but I knew this was the right decision if I was going to set myself up for success and get to the start line of my Ironman race in September.

I decided to self coach and see where I could take myself. I took myself from a 16:15:00 at Ironman Wisconsin 2011 to a 15:15:56 at Ironman Wisconsin 2014. In 2015 I put up a 14:04:37 at Ironman Boulder and this year I had a 14:34:11 at Ironman Wisconsin. I have seen improvements in my training and racing because of my passion, hard work, dedication, determination, and commitment to the sport. I feel like I have plateaued a bit, and have decided to seek the expertise, guidance, and support from a coach.

I had no idea I’d learn so much in the process of hiring a coach! Some of the best advise that I received via social media was to listen to the questions that the coaches ask me and make sure our communication styles match. If they have no questions, they probably aren’t super invested in their athletes and might not be the right coach for me. If they have questions, what kind of questions are they asking? What is their focus?

I am seeking a coach who is hands-on and minds-on. Someone who is passionate about coaching, but even more passionate about helping ME become a better athlete. Someone who has the education AND¬†experience to help me train smart. Someone who is knowledgable, motivating, supportive, and not committed to so¬†many athletes that they can’t provide me with the attention I am paying them for. Someone who will push me and isn’t afraid to use tough love when training me. Someone who communicates effectively, who is honest and trustworthy, but also listens to me and makes adjustments to my plan if life happens or problems arise. Someone who is not all business, but also likes to have fun. Someone who cares about and is invested in ME!

I wrote out¬†a list of questions that¬†each of the prospective coaches answered via email. This did help me narrow down my prospects. Some¬†answers to these questions I received felt very formal and impersonal; I felt like the answers¬†were what they thought I wanted to hear.¬†Because of this, I decided to give some of them a call to get a better idea of how we would fit together as we develop an athlete/coach relationship. After all, that is what I’m seeking…a relationship.

So…what did I ask each of the prospective coaches? Via email, I asked the following questions:

  1. What is your coaching philosophy?
  2. What is your coaching resume/experience?
  3. Since you are not a local coach, how will you help me improve form and make recommendations for improvement?
  4. I am looking to maintain balance between life (work, family, social) and training. How will you help me achieve this?
  5. How will you help me get stronger & faster without risking injury/overtraining?
  6. How will you help me physically reach my goals/dreams? Mentally?
  7. How many athletes have you coached to a Kona qualification? What experience do you have in coaching athletes to Kona qualification or 70.3 Worlds qualification?
  8. I have struggled with hyponatremia/nutrition in some of my previous Ironman races. How will you help me overcome this for future races?
  9. Will you customize my workouts based on “feel,” data (power/heart rate), or both?
  10. What are your coaching packages and prices? What do your coaching packages provide me with?

Over the phone, we socialized a bit more (getting to know each other personally is also important to me) and I asked a few additional questions while trying to get to know each of my prospective coaches:

  1. After Ironman Boulder, I ended up in the med tent and the doctor who met with me suggested that I have a sweat test done because of how salty I was and because I was experiencing early signs of blacking out again (this happened at IMWI 2011). I haven’t been able to find a place that does a sweat test in the Midwest (including the University of Iowa, which is a medical university). How will¬†you help me overcome this problem?
  2. My husband is looking to hire a coach as well (he is talking with a coach who is more local). We are two very different people. I am VERY much an introvert, he is an extrovert. I am very goal-oriented and typically race with a time goal in mind. He races to have fun. If we were both on the Biggest Loser, I would be motivated by Jillian, while he would be motivated by Bob. Our relationship probably works so well because we are so different. We have been training together and competing in the same races for nearly 7 years now. Are you willing to work with me so that we can have a couple of workouts each week that are the same type of workout (maybe a trainer ride on Monday that we could both do, knowing that the workout would be very different; doing our long ride together for safety; doing a run together each week) so we can still train together on occasion and spend time together?
  3. For safety and convenience, we try to do our long rides and maybe a 2nd longer ride outside each week (even in the summer). Are you willing to work with me to make this happen? I really do prefer riding the trainer for anything under 2 hours for safety and convenience.

It was so nice to get to talk with each of my prospective coaches to get to know them a bit better and place a voice with their face!! If you are thinking of hiring a coach to help you get closer to achieving your dreams, spend time to find the right coach for you!! What kind of coach do you want…someone who is “high touch” or someone who is more “hands off”? What kind of relationship do you want with your coach? What do you want from your coach? What do you want to pay for? Do you want a coach who is local that you can see in person, or is an online coach able to meet your needs?

I’m hoping to¬†have my final decision made by the end of this week. Stay tuned to see who I go with for a coach in 2017! ūüėČ

Have you interviewed coaches? If so, how did you go about hiring him/her? What would you recommend for people looking to hire a coach?

2016 Intentions Check In #3

Where has time gone?! It is hard to believe that 3/4 of 2016 is already behind us! It seems like just yesterday I was sitting down to write about my intentions for 2016! 2017 will be here before we know it!

  1. #Believe…I have made progress with this intention, but still have room for growth. I think this is one area I will ALWAYS¬†have room for growth. When things get tough in training, work, or life, I have turned to¬†#courageovercomfort¬†to bring me focus, help me overcome obstacles, and remind me to believe in myself throughout 2016. #courageovercomfort¬†has helped me many times to find focus and redirect my self confidence to where it should be…to a place where I #believe in myself and my abilities much more than I used to. “Bravery means believing in yourself when nobody else does.” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†img_6190
  2. Break down barriers…I am pleased as punch to have our ladies only bike rides so well attended this summer! We managed to have one ride each in June, July, and August.¬†Thanks so much to Coeur Sports and Kyle’s Bikes for their support to help make this event 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!! I am definitely looking forward to hosting many more ladies only rides in 2017!! ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†IMG_3720¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†IMG_4134
  3. Be present…I continue to really struggle with this one! I have a VERY hard time focusing on the here and now. I often find myself thinking about the past or the future. I wish I could say my¬†30 days of meditation in July happened, but unfortunately they did not. I’m still hopeful to make this happen before 2016 is over and out. Yoga always seems to help me find presence, but I have not had much of this in my schedule in the last few months due to ramped up Ironman training. Now that I am in the offseason, I have time to reacquaint myself with “mat,” my boyfriend. Tomorrow we have a date and I can’t wait!
  4. Find Balance…I set out to find balance more with the emotions that I direct at myself than other parts of my life. Thanks in part to my Living Brave Semester with Brene Brown, I have been doing a much better job of focusing in on how I am feeling, why I am feeling a certain way, giving myself permission to be human, and how to forgive myself for being human and making mistakes. I am pleased that I’ve been able to keep these habits in play even though the class has concluded. Now, it is time to find balance between life, training, work, and fun in the offseason.

Did you set goals or intentions for yourself for 2016? If so, have you checked in with these goals or intentions lately? What progress are you making toward achieving your goals or intentions?