What’s Up?! – January 2018

How is the first month of 2018 already in the rearview mirror?! It seems like the start of the new year was just yesterday! Here is a look at what the month had in store for me:

Training:

This month my training was hit or miss thanks to an illness shortly after the start of the year and most recently the inability to turn my head. Thankfully I am back to feeling 100% and am ready to regain consistency in February! I did establish a racing schedule for 2018 that I am SUPER PUMPED about! I’ve let myself fully recover from my 2017 racing season and am SO ready to start rebuilding the engine for a stronger + fun filled 2018!

Celebrating the end of the #batcapchallenge on January 1!
First power test of 2018! Grateful for a healthy body! I’m ready to work hard and rebuild my fitness + surpass 2017!
So grateful to run with my fave + get some fresh air before the freezing temps return!

Swim: 8500 yards
Bike: 127 miles
Run: 24.8 miles
Totals: 20 hours & 53 minutes

Family:

We were so blessed to have our twin nieces (and my sister) come stay with us for a weekend early in January so we could attend their swim meet. The twins convinced the Iron Hippie to make a cake from scratch when they came to visit us. The recipe used was one the twins found on the internet and was a bit dry…it needs some love! We also got to spend some time back home home with family for the Okoboji Winter Games.

The twins are ready for their swim meet!
The cake is done!
Date night! #balance
Me and my fave listening to Damon Dotson!
Snowshoeing adventures with my fam!
Lunch with the twins at their school!
Putting puzzles together with the twins!
Winter wonderland with Dad + my fave!
Catching up with my “baby brother” at home home!

Reading:

My Weight Has Nothing to Do with How Good a Runner I Am by Allie Kieffer is a MUST READ! Wow! Body image plagues society! As an endurance athlete not on the skinny side, I often feel that I should lose weight to perform better…not because I think I am overweight, but because I see + hear what society says about being “skinnier.” I am STRONG! Stronger now than I have ever been…my swim times are dropping, my FTP on the bike is climbing, and my run times have gotten faster during the marathon of my Ironman races. If I were to lose weight, I may perform better, but I may also lose this strength. That is not a risk I am willing to take. It is time for society to change! The negative body image stereotyping MUST go, we need to focus on nutrient dense foods (count the colors not calories people), and we need to be grateful for what our bodies do for us! “As women, we shared more similarities than differences: We are all perseverant, powerful, confident, and healthy. And, dare I say it, strong.” #strongisthenewskinny

2017: A Year of Rediscovering Joy where Amelia shares how she rediscovered joy as she overcame injury. “True joy and true gratitude does not come from the victory – it comes from the pursuit of the achievement.”

The Champion Mindset: An athlete’s Guide to Mental Toughness by Joanna Zeiger is a great read! To race at your best, you have to not only train the body, but also the mind. Zeiger takes you through her “own personal journey from a struggling novice swimmer to Olympian and World Champion.”

Listening to:

The Find Your Awesome Podcast with Olympian Samantha Livingston…WOW!!! I SO connected to what Samantha and Kelsey discussed in this podcast!!! I have SO many perfectionist tendencies that I am trying to shed and leave behind. “Perfection is driven by the fear of what people will think.” I will continue to work to shed these perfectionist tendencies. I don’t want to live in fear of what other people think or what I think that they think!

The Find Your Awesome Podcast with Professional Triathlete Amber Ferreira is a must listen to! Kelsey Abbott interviews Amber and learns more about Amber’s “pro career to date, her love of racing up mountains, her mindset, resiliency and heart. We dig into her current project—recovering from stage 3 adrenal fatigue. Amber Ferreira is a professional triathlete, a physical therapist and a multisport coach. She’s the 2014 Ironman Lake Placid Champion and the two-time US National Snowshoe champion. She’s also a heart-driven, spunky human who loves to dream big and loves to laugh.”

Pumped For:

My 2018 race schedule! I am SO excited to be racing Ironman Wisconsin 70.3, Ironman Ohio 70.3, and Ironman Louisville as my long distance races this year! The Ironman has become my lifestyle! I love the Ironman distance! I love the feels that come with training + racing ALL. DAY. LONG! I love the excitement crossing the Ironman finish line brings so many people! I love the challenges that each new Ironman journey + race brings! I LOVE IRONMAN!

Grateful For:

-My body allowing me to push it to new levels, but also accepting the recovery I give it to perform stronger + better in the future.

-A snow day + a few days with 2 hour delays to start this month at school. I’m not a fan of having to make up the snow days, but it is always nice to have a break from school from time to time. Oh…and the 2 hour delays we don’t have to make up! 🙂

-The most supportive husband ever! I’m so grateful the Iron Hippie is willing to support me on my #IMLou journey! This will be the first Ironman race I participate in with him as sherpa + spectator extraordinaire!

-Dr. Chris Feil with Team Chiropractic for helping me overcome my “whiplash” symptoms from the car accident I was NEVER in. We have no idea how it happened!

-Nick Morton with Vitality Massage for keeping me on the train moving forward thanks to my biweekly massages!

Coach Kelly’s flexibility this month as life threw me a couple of curve balls!

-Being a SBR Sports Inc Ambassador for 2018! I absolutely LOVE the TRISWIM, TRISLIDE and SKINSLICK products to remove chlorine and keep me chafe + blister free during training, racing, and snowshoeing! These products are a dream!

How was your month of January?! What are you pumped up about?! What are you grateful for?!

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Ironman Louisville I’m coming for ya!

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!

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 😉 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?!

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 😉

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 😉
Running makes most of us happy! 😉
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 🙂

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?