2020 has slowed me way down and forced me to step back, look at where I’m currently at, and think about where I really want to go in the future. As things started to shut down earlier in the year, I was able to maintain my motivation for a few months, but as more and more races were cancelled, more and more of our privileges were removed, and more and more of the world fell apart, my motivation fell off a steep cliff. Thankfully I have created habits over the years that have allowed me to commit to living a healthy lifestyle where exercise is at the front and center even when motivation is lacking.
With all of the uncertainty in 2020, I have been thinking a lot lately about motivation vs. commitment. I view motivation as an emotion or feeling which ebbs and flows as my mood or thoughts change. Motivation is that internal fire; it keeps things fun and enjoyable. In comparison, I view commitment as the actions or behaviors that are done on a daily basis to help me accomplish a goal or set myself up to achieve success. Commitment is the internal drive and dedication to not settle for the current status quo; it is the investments (thanks to Gwen Jorgensen for reframing “sacrifices” into investments” for me) we make to stay focused on the task at hand despite the many distractions that pop up. I find I often rely more on commitment than motivation to get out the door, but when I’m in the moment, the motivation kicks in…hello fun factor!
I enjoy feeling a sense of mastery, feeling a sense of accomplishment, and feeling a sense of purpose. These are all connected to my sense of commitment. I am always working to do better and be better than yesterday. This year, I have been following Chris Nikic and his journey to the Ironman Florida finish line. Chris is the first person with Down Syndrome to cross the Ironman finish line.
He is breaking down barriers and showing the world that anything IS possible. His mantra: Get 1% better than yesterday. That takes a whole lot of commitment with a little bit of motivation sprinkled in. Chris has set a 1% better challenge for each of us:
YOU get 1% better everyday for 30 days
Help someone else do the same
Let’s all take on the challenge Chris has given us! Be committed to yourself. Show up for yourself. Be committed to getting 1% better than you were yesterday. You are worth it!
Last weekend I participated in my third Ironman Virtual Race. I was supposed to run the Des Moines Women’s 1/2 Marathon (DSMWHM) on Sunday, but as you probably guessed, it was cancelled. The race director and organizers sent us our swag and finisher medal suggesting that we run the race virtually, so I knew I had to run a 1/2 marathon to earn my medal. This fit in well with the IMVR5. I decided to run the 5K and bike the 56 miles on Friday after the official time began and figured I’d run the 1/2 marathon on Sunday sandwiching a 75+ mile bike ride with my fave in on Saturday. Flexibility became the name of the game as plans changed on Saturday morning when we woke up to rain in the area. I ran the 1/2 marathon on Saturday morning and we went for our 75+ mile bike ride on Sunday instead.
As with the previous two IM virtual races, I wanted to really push myself with each leg of this race and see where my fitness is. I am grateful for the opportunity to break out my Coeur Sports team kit anytime I can this year!
5K run – 24:28 (7:51/mile average pace)
90 K bike – 2:41:12 (20.9 mph average speed)
21K run – 1:54:30 (8:44/mile average pace)
I’m grateful for the Ironman VR5 OPPORTUNITY. It was an opportunity to “race” hard and compare my fitness to where I was a few weeks ago on the same courses. I’m so grateful for a strong + healthy body, a strong mind, and the opportunity to do this “race” over a couple of days instead of doing all of these disciplines consecutively! I kept reminding myself to push hard, dig deep, be grateful that I GET to do this, and know that I’ll get to cross a real finish line again one day! 💛💙🤍
I won’t be participating in the IM virtual races anymore. I am disappointed that they are changing the format. I realize there are people who want to be competitive with these events, but there are also many people who are using these “races” as a way to stay motivated and feel somewhat normal in these uncertain times. It would be nice if they had “for competition” and “for fun” options when registering so that people who don’t want to be competitive can continue to do these in a way that challenges and motivates them. Cheating is something I will never understand and to me, it makes even less sense to cheat on a virtual race.
This weekend is the IMVR6 and it is an “Olympic” distance event again. Are you going to participate?
Last weekend I participated in my second Ironman Virtual Race. I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to participate or not as I had been having some left hip tightness/soreness while running last week, so I decided I would head out for the 3K run and see how it felt before deciding just how far to push. If it was bothering me, I was going to take a DNF for this “race” and do a long ride instead. Thankfully it didn’t bother me, so I was able to race strong!
I treated this as a real life race doing each discipline back to back in the 3K run/40K bike/10K run format with as little transition time as possible. I did both of my runs outside and rode on the trainer indoors. I wanted to really push myself with this race and see where my fitness is. I am grateful for the opportunity to break out my Coeur Sports team kit!
3K run – 14:26 (7:36/mile average pace)
40 K bike – 1:10:16 (21.3 mph average speed)
10K run – 52:04 (8:22/mile average pace)
Total 2:16:44 (Overall 2917/14506…top 20.1%; Women 279/4231…top 6.59%; F40-44 63/930…top 6.77%)
I’m grateful for the Ironman VR4 OPPORTUNITY. It was an opportunity “race” hard. I found my limits and pushed past them as I overcooked my chicken on the 3K run + 40K bike before giving everything I had left on the 10K run. I’m so grateful for a strong + healthy body, a strong mind, and random strangers cheering me on when I needed it most! I kept reminding myself to push hard, dig deep, be grateful that I GET to do this, and know that I’ll get to cross a real finish line again one day! 💛💙🤍
Strongly considering this weekend’s “70.3” IMVR race, but breaking it up because I REALLY want to go for a LONG bike ride outside on Saturday. So I would likely do the 5K run + 90K bike tomorrow and run the 21K on Sunday. Are you in for this distance?
Last weekend I decided to drink the Kool-Aid and participate in my first Ironman Virtual Race. I was holding off because I figured it was just another way for Ironman to gain a profit, BUT the races are FREE! They definitely look different than racing in real life. Here are some of the differences:
When you think of Ironman, you typically think swim/bike/run, but these races are duathlons instead of triathlons. That means NO SWIM! For those of you that don’t know how to swim or the swim scares you, these virtual races (VR) are for you! They follow a run/bike/run format.
You create your own routes. You can do the entire race indoors on the treadmill and trainer. You can do the entire race outdoors running and biking on the trails/streets around you. You can do the entire race by combining indoor and outdoor experiences like I did.
There are no competitors around you. You can’t rely on other athletes to push you. You have to push yourself.
There are no spectators and fans cheering for you. I highly recommend telling your neighbors that you are racing. Maybe they will go outside and cheer you on from a safe distance. If they have kids, they can make signs, which gives them something to do at home.
Your transition times are not added to your overall finish time. Only the times for each discipline of the race are added to your overall time for the race. In real life races, any time you spend changing, fueling, etc. between disciplines is added to your overall finish time.
You have 2.5 days to complete all three disciplines, so they don’t have to be done back to back. If you are unsure about how your body will hold up to complete each discipline one right after the other, you can spread them out. Each discipline of the race must be completed between 6 pm GMT on Friday and 11:59 pm GMT on Sunday. If you want to do one discipline on Friday, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday, you can. If you want to do them all back to back like a race in real life, YOU CAN!
You can do the disciplines in whatever order you prefer. In a real race, you have to do the disciplines in a specific order. With the VR, you can do them as it works for you. If you want to do all of the running disciplines first and then bike, you can. If you want to bike first and then run, you can. If you want to do it like a real life race (run/bike/run), YOU CAN! It is completely up to you!
I treated this as a real life race doing each discipline back to back in the run/bike/run format with as little transition time as possible. I did both of my runs outside and rode on the trainer indoors. I wanted to really push myself with this race and see where my fitness is.
1.5 K run – 7:05 (7:30/mile average pace)
20 K bike – 35:47 (21.0 mph average speed)
5K run – 24:47 (7:58/mile average pace)
Total 1:07:39 (Women 658/6245…top 10.5%; F40-44 127/1326…top 9.6%)
I’m grateful for the Ironman VR3 to push myself and wear my Coeur Sports race kit! I kept reminding myself to push hard, dig deep, be grateful that I GET to do this, and know that I’ll get to cross a real finish line again one day…even if it doesn’t look promising in 2020. Racing doesn’t define me, but it sure is FUN! 💛💙🤍
Who’s joining me for this weekend’s “Olympic distance” IMVR race?
2020 is filling up fast and I’m super excited to toe the line at some new + repeat race events, experience some big training weekends with others, and have so much fun as I swim/bike/run + #celebrate EVERYTHING in 2020!
I have some BIG goals for some of these races, which I’ll share with you in another post (or multiple posts). Ultimately, I plan to #CELEBRATE the highs and lows, the peaks and valleys, the successes and challenges of my journey to each finish line + life! Throughout 2020, I will be focusing on having more fun, more joy, more action, more play, more dancing, more laughter and #CELEBRATE every part of each chapter that I write this year!
The chapters at the end of 2020 have some gaps in it that I know will fill in, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what I’ll fill them in with. We’ll see what I can find to add to the months of September, October, November, and December as the year progresses.
Cheers to a fun 2020!! What does 2020 have in store for you?!
“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!
IRONMAN Louisville was last Sunday and earlier in the year, I had committed to racing it. With the roller coaster ride of life this year, I decided after IRONMAN Lake Placid that I would not be racing Louisville this year. In the last few weeks, I have been second guessing my decision…torn between knowing what is best for me in this moment and leaning into my heart’s desire to race. It was probably a good idea that we didn’t take our bikes to Louisville.
We decided to go to Louisville and experience IRONMAN from a completely new perspective (to us). This would be the first race day that were not participating or volunteering rather spectating and cheering on the athletes who were racing. We got to spend the weekend enjoying the company of friends, meeting new friends, and experiencing Louisville completely differently than we did last year. This weekend was exactly what I needed. It brought me insight, perspective, clarity, peace, joy, fun, and more laughter than I can remember experiencing in one weekend…possibly ever.
With the cancelled swim, we made it to the watch a bit of the time trial bike start before heading out to LaGrange where we set up a party on hill as the athletes enter town. We cheered and spectated there for nearly 4 hours before heading back to Louisville to cheer and spectate on the run course.
This is what my weekend in Louisville looked like:
Louisville (and friends) thanks for all of the memories and laughter!
“Courage is found in unlikely places.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien
I recently mentioned to my counselor that I felt I had been doing Ironman for all of the wrong reasons and that I was feeling pressure (some self-inflicted and some unintentionally inflicted on me by others), which made my training feel like a job instead of a hobby. I want to do Ironman if it is centered around joy, fun, and gratitude. She asked, “What are the positive things that Ironman has given you?” Here is the list I came up with:
It gives me something I can control. I can’t control what happened to me as a kid, but I can control my training and racing.
It has helped me in this healing process from my past.
It allows me the freedom to mess up and it can still end up ok…a metaphor for life.
It has given me self confidence, self worth, self discipline, drive, belief in myself, and physical and mental strength I didn’t know were within me.
It has taught me resilience. I am a rubber ball and bounce back stronger and better than before.
It has helped me manage my weight.
It has helped me be more courageous in all areas of my life…including helping me open up to others about my past.
It has taught me to survive and fight for me and those I care about.
It has taught me I can do anything I put my mind to. Ironman teaches me something during every journey to every start line and on every race day. I learn things about myself. Things I didn’t know before.
It fills me with gratitude and positivity.
Ironman isn’t something you do; it is something you become. It will change you. Ironman (like life) is full of struggles and challenges; not simply on race day, but throughout the entire journey as you prepare to get to the start line. These struggles and challenges don’t define me…they mold me into a better person. Ironman allows me to find the beauty, joy, and gratitude in the tough moments.
I was reminded by my counselor to listen to my heart. Even when my heart and brain do not speak the same language, I need to listen to my heart. It knows best. My heart has been speaking to me and telling me it is time to regain control of my life, so I’ve listened.
I believe my best athletic days are in front of me, not behind me!
People have often asked why I do this crazy sport and I can honestly say that it has been a great way to emotionally deal with life. It has taught me SO much about who I am and who I want to be, but that is for another post coming soon.
After having crossed 7 Ironman finish lines, I thought I’d try to shed some light on the stages that the athlete (and often the people who live with the athlete) experience. These are what I believe to be the stages of Ironman training:
Base Fun: Everything is all rainbows and unicorns! After all, I just signed up for an Ironman and I am going to do epic sh!t! I haven’t started “officially” training yet, so I have free time and energy to be fun and do things! Who wants to go to a show or play games/cards at the brewery?! I am training, but nothing serious yet!
Build Phase: We’re having fun now! My volume is increasing, so I’m finding that I turn into a pumpkin at 7 pm most nights. Who wants to come swim/ride/run with me?! Love me a good recovery week with reduced training so I can catch up with family and friends!
Peak Training: Who has time to see anyone unless they are swimming/biking/running with me?! I work 40 hours a week, workout 16-20+ hours a week, and am still trying to maintain a happy/healthy relationship at home. Oh…and if you come to visit our house, you will likely see chamois butter in place of lotion in the bathroom, tires and spare tubes hanging from the hall tree, Body Glide and Skin Slick on the dining room table where it can be easily accessed, the Roomba vacuuming (who has time to vacuum?!), and ALL. THE. TECH. CLOTHES. Hanging on drying racks around the house (who has time to fold them and put them away?! Just pull them off and wear them so they can be washed again in a few days). This is also where I live in a constant state of hangry. Thankfully before peak training begins, we stock our freezer with food that simply needs to be heated up so we don’t have to spend much time preparing and cooking food.
Taper Crazies: Where is my race belt?! Where is my favorite race temporary tattoos?! Where is my extra Skin Slick?! Where is my swim skin?! Where are those new goggles I purchased last week?! Trying to organize and pack for race day while still working 40 hours a week and exercising 10-14 hours a week to maintain the fitness gained without over doing it is a fine line. My race plan says I should go for X power output for the bike, but I was thinking Y might be better. Stop overthinking and roll with it!
Race Week Whirlwind: Stalking and obsessing over the weather has become normal. Making sure I have packed EVERYTHING (including the kitchen sink) for ANY possible race day weather. Should I put this in my transition bag?! How easy should my shake out run be?! Oh…I forgot to order more bike nutrition. How quickly can I have this shipped to me?!
Post Race High: I am an Ironman (insert happy dance and HUGE grin). I did epic sh!t!
Ironman Blues: Now what?! I have all of this spare time on my hands and I don’t know what to do with myself. What races should I sign up for?! Maybe I’ll sign up for another Ironman. 😉
For those that live the Ironman lifestyle, or live with someone who does, what stages do you go through? Anything you would add?!
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:
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!
Swim: 8500 yards
Bike: 127 miles
Run: 24.8 miles
Totals: 20 hours & 53 minutes
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.
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 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.”
-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?!