What’s Up?! – February 2018

I’m so excited that March is here! March typically means spring in the Midwest, and I’m ready for it! I’m ready to get outside and soak up some sunshine + the longer daylight hours!

Training:

Despite getting sick with strep throat at the end of the month, I had some amazing breakthroughs this month!

Soaring after a breakthrough swim session!
Head down giving it everything I have!
My longest run since November that I finished with this amazing sunset!

Swim: 22,150 yards
Bike: 154 miles
Run: 63.8 miles
Monthly Totals: 29:51:49 + core + strength

Watching + Being Inspired by:

The Olympic Athletes! The U.S. women who are role models for young ladies and grown ladies…WOW!! So inspired by these amazing ladies! “I want them to know it’s ok to be girly with your sparkles and your glitter and its also ok to be very competitive and be totally fierce on the race course and to be able to push you body hard and not worry about what it looks like just think about what your body can do. And I really want that message to come across because I think it’s really important to be comfortable in your own skin and see sports as something that lifts you up and empowers you.” ~Jessie Diggins

If you haven’t watched this yet, you really should!

Reading:

You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero is a MUST READ! Jen helps you “identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want. Create a life you totally love!”

What to do When You Love/Hate Your Sport by Carrie Cheadle helps bring balance between having fun and your ego. Sure we all need our “ego to help push us, to drive us to do better, but not sabotage our performance.” Sometimes we need to “just go out and play,” so put the ego on the shelf and reconnect with the joy that brought you to your sport in the first place!

Nail Your Triathlon Goals in 2018 (by Setting the Right Ones) by Bethany Rutledge gives us 5 tips for a stellar 2018 season. Prioritize your workouts and use the winter months to focus on improving your weaknesses. Choose performance over outcomes by picking goals based on variables that you can control as much as possible. Work backwards from your big goal for the season to figure out what you should be doing between now and then. Be specific and choose a goal with specific metrics that you can measure. Think in terms of big pay off by putting your time and effort into areas that will give you a huge bang for your buck.

Listening to:

The Find Your Awesome Podcast with Professional Triathlete Dede Griesbauer by Kelsey Abbott is AMAZING! Dede became a professional triathlete at age 35! She will be 48 years old this year and still racing as a professional triathlete…how awesome is that?!?! Two key nuggets that Dede mentioned that resonate with me in sport and life are “Living in the past is only going to hold you back in the future” and “Love has to be what drives you.”

The Find Your Awesome Podcast with Mindset Coach Jordana Jaffe by Kelsey Abbott is spot on! She really gets you thinking about what does feeling good mean to you. Does your ego feeling good really make YOU feel good? Does social media really make YOU feel good? “The line in the sand between social media that inspires and enlightens and social media that kind of drowns you is unclear sometimes.”

Stop apologizing for being you by Kelsey Abbott…YES! THIS! “If you are apologizing for being you, knock it off!” Challenge yourself to be you, to shine bright, and to be love. ❤

Looking forward to:

Spring! More specifically, spring break! With a week left before spring break, I am looking forward to 10 days away from the classroom, doing some spring cleaning, refocusing my training, and decompressing before the last push to summer break!

Being healthy! Since I am still taking meds for strep throat (only one day left), I am looking forward to being healthy, feeling good, and chasing dreams!

Grateful for:

Fresh show + friends!

Snowshoe adventures!

Puppy snuggles!

Snuggles with my favorite girl!

Having amazing peeps in my tribe keeping me healthy!

Sound Probiotics + Karma Kombucha help keep my gut healthy when taking meds for strep throat.

The Iron Hippie…my rock! He helps me be the best version of myself every day. I know I don’t say it nearly enough…thank you for all of your love, support, and help in life! Thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone to help me become a better person!

Enjoying life with my fave!

How was your month of February?! What are you looking forward to?! What are you grateful for?!

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Staying Healthy with Sound Probiotics + Giveaway!

It is cold and flu season here in the Midwest and it is in FULL force! We have had students out of school anywhere from 3 days to almost 2 weeks with illness. Thanks to extra sleep, healthy eating, and boosting the body’s immune system with Karma Kombucha and Sound Probiotics I have stayed healthy so far this season. I started taking Sound Probiotics in March of 2015 and have noticed I have been sick MUCH LESS frequently!

As endurance athletes, we stress our bodies during hard/long workouts, which makes us more susceptible to illness and fatigue; as a middle school teacher, I am engulfed in germs on a daily basis. Combine these two factors and I am the perfect breading ground for bad bacteria and viruses.

“When the microbiome is out of balance, it can decrease energy levels, injure metabolism, and give rise to a host of other long-term health problems. It’s like a rain forest that’s been clear-cut: prone to mudslides and unable to shelter the plants, animals, birds, and insects that once thrived there. Some of the nation’s top scientists go so far as to say that unhealthy microbiomes lie at the heart of the most prevalent health issues today, like heart disease, obesity, asthma, and even cancer.” ~Joseph Hooper

Since taking Sound Probiotics daily for almost 3 years, I have been sidelined from my training due to illness only a few times. Probiotics not only benefit our immune systems, but they promote good gut health by improving nutrient production and absorption. They can also positively impact our mood and mental health.

I have been SO impressed with the state of my health while taking Sound Probiotics, that I want to share a bottle with my readers. Please comment below with why you would be a good candidate for Sound Probiotics. One lucky person will be drawn at random on February 14. This candidate will receive one bottle with a one month supply of Sound Probiotics to jump start your gut and immune health!!

I am an ambassador for Sound Probiotics, but these are my own opinions and experiences. Thanks to Sound Probiotics for contributing one bottle of Sound Probiotics for the giveaway and providing all of my readers with a 10% discount by using the code PUSHMYLIMITS at checkout!

The Best of 2017

I love looking back and thinking about all of the amazing things that I’ve accomplished and all of the challenges I’ve overcome! I’ve reflected for the last 4 years and want to keep this trend going! You can look back at my previous posts if you’d like: Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, the Best of 2015, and the Best of 2016. Now its time to reminisce my faves from 2017! 🙂

 

My #2017bestnine on instagram is full of #heartandcourage

Best race experience?

Ironman Mont Tremblant! This was by far one of the best experiences of the year! I was blessed with a near perfect day + a PR on the day. I was so incredibly lucky to combine my race experience with an extended vacation with family + friends, which made for a really fun time!

So much coeur on this course! #bikelove

Best run?

I have been waiting to have a good run during an Ironman race for 6 years and this year, it finally happened at Ironman Mont Tremblant! I FINALLY pulled off a sub 5 hour marathon (and I know it could have been even faster without some visits to the kybo). I felt good, I felt strong, I was happy, I smiled the whole run, I really enjoyed myself, I spread coeur with others, and gave “hi-fives” to those who looked like they could use one. This run was a HUGE confidence builder for future races!

Love you Ericka! Thanks for the photo!

Best bike?

Sometimes the best rides aren’t the ones where we have the most fun, but where we learn the most. Yes, I had some seriously fun rides this summer…some solo rides, some with the Iron Hippie, some at the Track Cat Fitness Training Camp, and some on the Ironman Lake Placid + Ironman Mont Tremblant bike courses. For me, the ride that stands out the most this year is the one I learned the most from…my first solo century ride. It was a VERY tough day for me! Physically the wind BEAT. ME. UP! Mentally, I had to overcome a case of the “I can’t do this,” a case of the “I’m not strong enough,” a case of the “I’m not fast enough,” and a case of the “I’m not fueled enough” to finish. In this process, I learned so much about who I am and what I can do when staring adversity in the face!

I’m in a big build…today (Friday) adversity had me sitting on the side of the road in tears with 10 miles to go. I had lots of thoughts and choices while sitting under the tree. I chose to get back on Mojo and continue to chase my dreams! As Coach Kelly says, “it is supposed to feel like that and that this is what it takes. :)” First solo century is in the books!

Best Swim?

Swimming in Mirror Lake was probably one of the best experiences of the summer! It was so much fun to swim with an underwater guide wire! All lakes should be closed to motorized vehicles and have have an underwater guide wire available for swimmers!

Swimming in Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY

Best training weekend?

The Track Cat Fitness Training Camp in Stowe, Vermont at the end of July was CHALLENGING + SO. MUCH. FUN! I climbed Smuggler’s Notch. I climbed App Gap. I ran trails. I swam. In addition to all of the fun, there was community, riding, running, swimming, eating, learning, and growing as an athlete.

#trackcatstrong

Best training compass?

Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness has provided me with structure, focus, guidance, feedback, support, accountability, motivation + so much more! She has paved the yellow brick road for me this year and I am forever grateful! Standing beside me, believing in me, educating me, and helping me to become a better, #trackcatstrong athlete every day!

Loved meeting Coach Kelly + spending time with her and other amazing athletes at the Vermont Training Camp put on by Track Cat Fitness!

Best enCOEURaging moment?

Thanks to the support of Coeur Sports, Ignite Yoga, and Team Chiropractic for helping me provide a recovery clinic for women! The community! The learning! The practice! The enCOEURaging! The supporting! The love!

Learning!
Practicing!
Community!

Best recovery secret?

Wearing my CEP recovery tights as part of my work attire after a tough morning workout. Hello style + recovery! The best of both worlds!

Best tapering adventure?

Having my sister, brother-in-law, and 3 nieces vacation with us in Mont Tremblant for a few days was so much fun! We don’t get to see each other nearly enough (since they live in California and we live in Iowa), so this was a special treat!

My family from California came for a few days! #happyheart
These peeps hold 4 keys to my heart!

Best new piece of gear?

This was SUPER easy! We had some REALLY HOT + HUMID summer days this year, which forced me out of my comfort zone as I became a part of the #sportsbrasquad! I absolutely love the Coeur Sports sports bras! Not only are they super cute, functional, and comfortable, but they also have a hidden pocket that is perfect for carrying keys, nutrition, or ice!

So happy + #grateful to finally put together a pretty solid long run despite the full sun, warm temps, + high dew point. Mother Nature put up a fight, but I won Wednesday! #sportsbrasquad

Best way to stay healthy?

This was also SUPER easy…Sound Probiotics has been keeping me healthy since March 2015! As endurance athletes, we put ourselves at risk for a dysfunctional immune system because of the intensity and duration of our workouts. When stress (life, work, or otherwise), inadequate sleep, poor diet choices, cold weather, alcohol or travel are thrown into the mix, our immune system is even further suppressed. How has Sound Probiotics helped me? Sound Probiotics helps in nutrient production and absorption, helps fend off viruses, promotes the production of cytokines and mucin, and limits bad bacteria in the gut. I have experienced less fatigue and fewer sick days, which as a middle school teacher who is an endurance athlete speaks volumes! This has provided me with the opportunity for more training and better performance. I would highly recommend all endurance athletes use Sound Probiotics to stay healthy!!

IMG_5891
#soundathlete = #soundlife #winningtakesguts

Best piece of racing advice you received?

Hello race morning! Time to drink my Karma Kombucha, eat my muesli, and get inspired to do and be my best as I embark on the race ahead:

“Be calm; focus on what you are going to do. Don’t get distracted, don’t get overwhelmed, take it all as it comes. You are ready for this; you’ve prepared for years. This is it, your time to shine. Go forth with all your powers. Go forth with everything in you. Make it work.” ~Lynne Cox, “Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer”

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Most inspirational athlete?

There are so many that I can’t pick just one! My Coeur Sports sisters inspire me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! I’ve also been SUPER inspired this year by friends who finished their first Ironman. By friends who attempted their first Ironman, but didn’t meet cutoffs. By people who fight disease and keep training + racing. By people who challenge themselves and try something new. By people I haven’t met yet and people I see everyday! There are far to many people who inspire me to pick just one!

Best support crew?

Hands down…Dad and my Aunt Linda! These two helped us load our car with ALL. THE. GEAR. from our 4 week vacation the day before our race. They were up EARLY on race morning to help us get to transition. They were patient with the process of all of the race morning shenanigans. They were in all of the right places at all of the right times during the race. They helped us get our gear after the race. They cheered, photographed, and spread love to us and other athletes throughout a REALLY long day! There are not enough hugs and kisses for each of you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Love you both so much!

Two of the best spectators EVER! Thanks to Dad and Aunt Linda for cheering us on all day long! Love you both!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

Courage over comfort, believe, fun!!

Tell me about your 2017 year!! What are your “bests” from 2017?!

Racing Ironman Mont Tremblant with Coeur

“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do – this is what it’s all about.” ~PattiSue Plummer, US Olympian

Grab your favorite beverage, kick up your feet, and enjoy what is a really long race report! 🙂

Pre-Race:

The alarm went off at 3 am, but I was already laying awake. I didn’t sleep well at all, which was a first for me, but thankfully it didn’t seem to impact my day. After eating my pre-race breakfast of muesli + peanut butter + Pure Clean Beet Powder + frozen mixed berries with a Karma Kombucha, I donned my Coeur Sports race kit and prepared for the day by reading my pre-race quote from Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox before heading to the race start.

My pre-race ritual…read Swimming to Antarctica while drinking my Karma Kombucha!

We arrived at parking lot #2 by 4:30 am, which made it easy to find a place to park that would be convenient for after the race to get all of our gear loaded up. We walked to the transition area, dropped off our bike and run special needs bags, and waited until 5 am for body marking and the transition area to open. After body marking, I had bike support fill my tires, lubed up the chain (it had rained on Saturday after Mojo was racked for the night and I wanted to make sure my chain was greased back up), filled my water bottle, put my bike bottles on my bike, got my Garmin on my bike and started, saw Erika and gave her a pre-race hug, put my salty balls in my T1 bag, and hit the kybo up one more time before heading to the swim start.

Ready to race!

At the swim start, I got into my Roka wetsuit, ate part of a granola bar and two Pure Clean Beet’ums, drank down some water, dropped off my morning clothes bag, got another hug from Erika, and made my way to the water for the swim warm-up. As I was exiting the water from the swim warm-up, a lady came up to me and gave me a hug and we shared good luck wishes to each other. I have no idea who this lady was because we were both wearing wetsuits, swim caps, and goggles, but I am grateful for the pre-race hug, so thank you to whomever you were! It was this point that I decided it didn’t matter what the day brought me, I was going to race with Coeur (French for heart) for the entire day! I am going to share my coeur, but also fill my coeur up throughout the entire day!

The Iron Hippie and I making our way to the water.

After the Canada National Anthem and fly over, the fireworks went off and the male pros were off, followed by the female pros and then the age group athletes.

Lined up and ready to start!

Swim: 1:24:16 (average pace of 2:11/100 meters)

We lined up by the 1:15-1:20 pace sign for the swim and were soon moving into separate corrals waiting for the beep every 5 seconds to send the next group of swimmers into the water. This was the cleanest swim start I’ve ever experienced! As I entered the water, a calm came over me like I’ve never experienced before and I set out at comfortable pace. I felt solid and strong. The water temperature of 66*F was perfect…I much prefer the colder water! I had very little contact with other swimmers until buoy #6 when I swam up on a guy who couldn’t hold a straight line for nothing. He was definitely a faster swimmer than I was, but because he was zig-zagging back and forth all over the course, he swam a lot farther than he needed to. Every time I tried to pass him, I would get cut off by him again. This continued for about 3 more buoys before I finally passed him. The rest of the swim was pretty uneventful as I had very little contact with other swimmers. I had a slower swim than I’d hoped for, but also didn’t leave everything in the water. I was trying to pace myself well for the long bike + run ahead. So much coeur during the swim!

Let’s get this party started! #swimlove

T1: 10:09

There is a rather long run (300 meters) from the swim exit to transition. When I got to the transition area, I grabbed my T1 bag and quickly made my way into the women’s change tent. I was shocked at the lack of volunteers in the change tent to help the athletes. I am very self sufficient and don’t change, but for those ladies who do a full change and need help getting a dry sports bra on a wet body, they would have had to get help from other female athletes. I quickly put on my socks, bike shoes, and helmet. I loaded my pockets and put on my arm coolers and sunglasses as I ran to my bike.

Long run on the red carpet from the swim exit to transition!

Bike: 7:05:08 (average speed of 15.81 mph)

As I left transition on my bike, I saw Dad and my Aunt Linda cheering me on! I quickly mounted Mojo after the mount line and set off on the bike. Coach Kelly instructed me to dial it back and go out conservatively for the first 56 miles. I was feeling good and really wanted to hammer, but I knew I had a long day in the saddle, so I sat back and tried to keep my watts near the 130 mark. I consumed 2 salty ball every 30 minutes on the bike and NBS hydration every 20 minutes while sipping water the rest of the ride, which is exactly what I’d done in training and it worked beautifully.

Let’s go ride!

This course is essentially 2 x 2 different out and back sections. The first out and back is from the village on Montee Ryan to 117 out to Labelle, back on 117 to St. Jovite, from St. Jovite back on 117 to Montee Ryan and back to the village. There is a “no passing zone” on Montee Ryan in each direction (away from the village and toward the village). The second out and back is 10K out and 10K back on Chemin Duplessis. There is another “no passing zone” on one of the big descents on this section as we return to the village. If an athlete passes another athlete in any of these “zones,” the athlete doing the passing is automatically disqualified and removed from the course. There is plenty of climbing on this course, but in my opinion, this is much easier than Ironman Wisconsin’s bike course.

Loving this course and enjoying the beautiful views!

I felt great during the first 56 miles as I consumed my nutrition according to plan and held back my power so I could open it up during the next 56 miles (or so I thought). My only two goals were to keep my power at 130 watts or less and not get lapped by the professional triathletes racing. I had to remind another athlete of the “no passing zone” leaving the village on Montee Ryan as we were headed to 117, since he attempted to start passing me, but backed off when I reminding him of the no passing zone. I also wanted to go faster in this section, but there was an athlete in front of me that I had to stay behind on the descent to avoid a DQ. As I made my way out to Labelle, I was in awe of the beautiful scenery around me. Sure there were hills to climb,  but there were also some amazing descents to enjoy. As I made my way to St. Jovite, I just soaked it all in…the beauty, the spectators out cheering, and the feelings of pure joy that I was getting to ride my bicycle! I was also super pumped to have achieved both of my goals for the first 56 miles!

Two of the best spectators EVER! Thanks to Dad and Aunt Linda for cheering us on all day long! Love you both!

Each of these out and back sections is done twice. So during the second 56 miles I was ready to cruise, but Mother Nature had increased the winds a bit. I stopped at the first aid station to refill my NBS hydration bottles before fighting some headwinds on the way out to Labelle. Thankfully it was only about 12 miles of fighting the headwind while climbing to Labelle…riding in Iowa means a LOT of windy training rides, so I was ready for this! Mentally I got into a bit of a negative funk as I was struggling physically…not just with the headwinds while climbing, but I felt a bit depleted nutritionally despite nailing my nutrition plan to this point. Once I turned around in Labelle, the tail wind was a blessing and I stopped at the aid station just outside of Labelle to eat a banana and use the kybo…I just can’t make myself pee on the bike while riding. I felt good and strong as I made my way to St. Jovite and was rejuvenated by the crowds and the fact that I was heading back to the village for the final push on the bike course. The 10K out on Chemin Duplessis was tough, but I settled into my easiest gear and steadily climbed my way to the turn around. I was so happy to have ridden the whole course (there were some people who walked their bikes up some of the steeper hills) while staying in my saddle (I never climbed out of the saddle…wahoo). I kept my power and heart rate in check, which would hopefully benefit me on the run! Lots of coeur on the bike!

So much coeur on this course! #bikelove

T2: 5:47

I quickly handed Mojo over to an amazing volunteer who returned her to her spot and removed my helmet on my way to the change tent. I also unzipped my speed top as I knew I wanted to run in the tri top I was wearing under my speed top. I grabbed my T2 bag, stripped my top, changed my socks and shoes, grabbed my nutrition visor, and race belt. I put my race belt and visor on while exiting T2. I made my way to the kybo to pee one more time before starting the run.

Run: 4:51:26 (average pace of 11:07 min/mile)

I felt so strong at the beginning of my run, but having run countless stand alone marathons and 4 marathons at the end of Ironman races, I knew it may not last, so I decided to ride this wave for as long as I could while keeping my pace in check. I broke the marathon into ~8 x 5K segments. I started off easy as I made my way through the first 5K of the run, which is rolling hills. I was so pumped to see one of my Coeur Sports teammates, cheering me on during this section of the run! Thanks for the love Ericka!

Love you Ericka! Thanks for the photo! #runlove

Once I hit the bike path, I knew I had just over a 5K to the turn around. We had done some training runs on this section of the course, so I knew it would be flat and very quiet with few spectators…mostly other athletes + the sounds of our own footfalls. I was still feeling good, so I just kept ticking away the kilometers (everything is in kilometers in Canada). I was taking in water at every aid station, bananas and oranges at nearly every aid station, and my Motts fruit chews every 30 minutes. At mile 4, I HAD to visit the kybo…well, this was a first! I’ve never had this problem during a race before! After a quick stop, I was back to running and spreading all the coeur I could on the course…I hope this lifted others up as much as it lifts me up to spread the love! On my way to the turn around, I saw another Coeur Sports Teammate, Erika, and the Iron Hippie, both running strong! I made it to the turn around, knocking out just over another 5K and was still feeling strong, which I was super stoked about. The only walking I had done to this point was through the aid stations to eat and drink and up the big hills. I decided at this point that I would continue to run (with the exceptions of the aid stations and the bigger hills) at least through the half marathon and re-evaluate how I was feeling. I had never had an IM marathon feel this good, so I just rode the wave and went with it! At about mile 8, I needed to visit the kybo again…ugh! Feeling much lighter, I was still running strong! 😉 Onward…to the end of the bike path and through the rolling hills back to the village! It was so much fun to see Dad and Aunt Linda in the village (as well as all of the other spectators) and know that I was still feeling strong and ready to rock the second half of the marathon!

Yep…Still running strong!

With 4 of my 5Ks behind me, it was time to buckle down! The new goal…make it through the next 2 x 5K distances while still running and feeling strong and then re-evaluate. I continued to knock of the kilometers, spread coeur, see Erika and the Iron Hippie on the run, and made my way to the 19 mile point before needing to visit the kybo again…this time I had to wait a bit for an open one, but I knew I COULD NOT make it to the next one without a mess down my legs, so I waited just a few minutes. After lots of relief, I was back to running strong! I was starting to feel the fatigue, but with just over 6 miles this is where I knew I needed to kick in the mental game, stay focused, continue to run as long as I could, spread more coeur, and enjoy the ride to the finish line! As I made my way to mile 24, I could hear Mike Reilly bringing people home to the Ironman Mont Tremblant finish line and I was so excited to hear him call me across that finish line!

Thanks to Beth, my Track Cat teammate, for capturing this finish line photo from the live feed!

Overall: 13:36:44 = 43 of 86 F40-44, 237 of 461 Females, and 1169 of 1816 Overall

It was a beautiful day for racing in Mont Tremblant! The weather was near perfect…a high of 77*F on race day with winds picking up later in the day. This is the first Ironman race that I feel like I executed it the way it should be executed! I finally nailed my nutrition (despite the kybo visits), I was mentally and physically strong, and I had a PR on the distance by almost 30 minutes! I set myself up for a run that I was FINALLY able to actually run and It. Felt. Amazing! Moving up 514 places on the run was a dream! I left some of my coeur on that course, but I took so much more with me! For this, I am very grateful!

Gratitude:

I am SO grateful to my tribe for helping me get to the finish line! My parents, Aunt Linda, my sisters and their families, my friends and family, Jeff & Deb, Nick with Vitality Massage (my massage therapist), Melanie with Massotherapie Sportive (my massage therapist in Mont Tremblant), Chris with Team Chiropractic (my ART Chiropractor), Kyle at Kyle’s Bikes, Coeur Sports + my Coeur teammates, Sound Probiotics, Roka Sports, and Newton Running. A special thanks to Coach Kelly at Track Cat Fitness for setting me up for success, making me #trackcatstrong, and helping me achieve a new PR. To my fave, my #1…the Iron Hippie…you are my rock and I’m so grateful that we are on this crazy journey together! Thank you!

Liberty Triathlon “70.3” Race Report: Adversity Adventure

Hmmm…I have so many thoughts about this race, but I should probably start at the beginning. Be prepared for a LONG report about the sh*t show…errrr…adversity adventure that was the Liberty Triathlon “70.3” race! Grab your favorite beverage and dessert to enjoy while you get a feel for my experience.

When the Iron Hippie and I decided to sign up for the Liberty Triathlon 70.3 race, we were waffling back and forth between the Liberty Triathlon 70.3 and Ironman Wisconsin 70.3. We raced Ironman Wisconsin 70.3 last year (when it was non-branded) and knew it was a GREAT race, but had heard good things about Liberty Triathlon as well. We opted for the cheaper race…Liberty Triathlon 70.3 (remember this for later…you get what you pay for).

Pre-Race:

We finally received an email from the race director Thursday (our race was Saturday). This was rather late correspondence in my opinion, but at least I knew I was actually registered!

Liberty Triathlon – It’s getting hot in here!
Race day is coming up and it’s looking to be a hot one! Due to the expected temp on Saturday, we are allowing participants to transfer from the Long course to the Olympic course free of charge. Please email us at info@finalstretch to transfer your distance.

We will also have ice water and towels at the waters stops for participants to cool off.”

I had no intentions of transferring to the Olympic distance event, so I ignored it, packed my bags and was ready to leave Friday morning. I checked my email Friday morning before packing up All. The. Gear. for two athletes into the vehicle. We had an updated message from the race director:

Liberty Triathlon – Note from the Race Director
Changes due to Weather for Liberty Triathlon

Do to the 103 plus extreme heat index for Saturday there is going to be changes to the timetable for the Long Course participants. This change is not only for the athletes but all the volunteers that will be out on the course helping direct runners and manning the water stops.

Olympic will stay the same.

Long Course

1. Swim will be the same
2. Bike will be the same
3. You must be in from the bike no later than 12:30 pm to continue on the run
4. If you get in from the bike from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, you will be required to run the 6.2 mile (10K) run course. This is so that all runners are in from the run by no later than 2:00 pm when the heat index gets very high.

Thank you everyone for your understanding with this difficult weather situation.

Questions: email info@finalstretch.com

What?! NOOOO!! With wave starts, this did not offer an equal opportunity for ALL athletes! Since my swim wave was not scheduled to go off until 7:45 am, I would have to finish the 1.2 mile swim + 56 mile bike in 3:45…doable, but with the extreme heat we should be conserving energy to avoid dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. I immediately emailed the race director and asked them to consider starting the race earlier (even 7 am would give us an additional 30 minutes) to allow more time for all athletes to have a fair shake at meeting this 11:30 am cut off. Here was their response:

“We’ve considered it. Due to other factors including permits, set up, police, volunteers, medical staff, and out of town athletes, we are not able to start the race any earlier.”

In actuality, they could have applied for an emergency change in the permits, but they didn’t want to mess with it. I get it (not really)…so I emailed them again and asked them if they would consider combining swim waves since they were encouraging people to switch from the long course to the Olympic course. Nope…not happening:

“We will not be combining swim waves. If enough people switch to the Olympic course, we will shorten the time between waves from 3 minutes to 2 or 2.5 minutes between waves to get people in the water sooner.”

Ok, so they are not willing to make accommodations for athletes to make this a fair experience for ALL athletes. Now the question is do I stick to my race plan knowing I will likely miss this time cut-off, or do I put the hammer down and try to make the time cut-off?! I decided to wait to talk to Coach Kelly about this until after I had checked in at packet pick-up to make sure there weren’t any more changes being made (good thing I waited…more changes to come).

The 3+ hour commute to the race site was uneventful. After checking out the lake and checking into our hotel, it was time to go to packet pick-up (which was at our hotel). While waiting in line, the first lady said there was another change to the 11:30 time cut-off. We now had to finish the 1.2 mile swim, the 56 mile bike, and get to 3.1 miles on the run by 11:30 in order to be able to continue for the full 13.1 miles. I IMMEDIATELY spoke up! “This is not what the email said and they have NOT communicated this with the athletes in any email. This is not acceptable!” The lady at the 2nd table knew many of the athletes in the line were frustrated. She called the race director for clarification and relayed his new decision to us:

We actually had until 3.1 miles on the run to catch the sag bike that would leave transition with the last cyclist to arrive into T2 at 11:30. If you are a strong runner, this will give you an opportunity to continue even if you get into T2 after the 11:30 time. This also meant if you were not a strong runner, you may get passed by the sag bike even if you made the 11:30 time cut into T2…HELLO SH*T SHOW!!!

Grrr…now it is time to call Coach Kelly! After eating Mexican food at El Azteca in Plymouth, MN, I relayed all of this information to Coach Kelly and said, “What do I do? Do I put the hammer down and try to make the time cut-off, or do I stick to my race plan?” Coach was LIVID with the decisions the race director had made. This was not only unfair to all athletes, it encouraged athletes to push harder and risk dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke on a day when we should be conserving a bit more than normal. Since this was not my “A” race for 2017, I was told to stick to the race plan and if I didn’t make the 11:30 time cut-off or catch the bike, it would still be a good training day…hello 97F heat index and 20-25 mph sustained winds with gusts up to 35 mph from the SSW.

Ok…I have a plan and know what I need to do.

I received the BEST email from my Coeur Sports tribe:

“WISHING YOU ALL KINDS OF GOODNESS ON RACE DAY!!
Rumor has it you have a race coming up.
Well, the Coeur Cowbell Team is ringing their bell (virtually, because otherwise the neighbors get annoyed) for you!
We hope your race is all that you wished for and more.
Heart and Courage my friend!
Let us know how it went!”

I told you this would be a long post, but I’m finally to race day! 🙂

Race Day:

The alarm went off at 3:45 am. After eating my typical pre-race breakfast (muesli + peanut butter + Pure Clean Beet Powder and Karma Kombucha), donning my beautiful Coeur Sports race kit, and loading the car with all the gear, it was time to travel the 30 minutes to Lake Rebecca.

The sh*t show continued when we got to the race site…we could set up our transition area where ever we wanted, no one was making announcements, (What was the water temperature? Was the water wetsuit legal?), and no one seemed to know where body marking was. There was no one working the entrances to the transition area, so anyone could enter (including spectators). I’ve experienced this at smaller local races, but NEVER at a 70.3 event!

Mojo is ready for a fun day on a new playground!

After setting up our transition area and relaxing at the car for a bit, it was time to put on the wetsuit (I had found the one and only USAT referee earlier who said the water was wetsuit legal) and head to the lake for a short pre-race swim and the pre-race informational meeting on the shore at 7:15 am. Thankfully I saw my Coeur sister, Megan, before the race and she gave me a quick hug. This is just what I needed to calm the climbing nerves. We were reminded of the changes to the time cut-offs, told there would be ice, wet rags, water, and heed at every aid station on the run. We were also informed that there would be 2 minutes between wave starts instead of the original 3 minutes. After the National Anthem, it was time to line up on the beach for the race start. One more quick hug on the beach from Megan and we were ready for the swim!

These waters look much calmer than they actually were when we got into them!

Swim: 51:10 for 1.2 miles at 2:26/100 yard pace

The first wave (Elites/Athenas/Clydesdales) was supposed to start at 7:30 am, but it was delayed because of other athletes swimming back to shore from their warm-up. So…my swim wave (women 40+) started at 7:42 am (3 minutes before the originally scheduled time). With the winds already at 20 mph, the lake was very choppy, and we were swimming straight into the chop on the way to the turn around buoys. It was rough! Hello first open water swim of the year…yep…on race day! I started out trying to swim with bilateral breathing, but that was short lived. I couldn’t get in a rhythm that allowed me to breathe and not consume 1/2 of the lake water because of the waves crashing back into my face. Like all of the other swimmers, I fought my way to the turn around buoys, and then got a free ride on the waves back to transition. Throughout the entire swim, I just kept telling myself to enjoy the adversity adventure that was just beginning! Learn from it, grow from it, and keep moving forward! This was officially my slowest swim time on a 1.2 mile distance EVER!

T1: 2:27

After quickly making my way to my bike, getting a random stranger out of the way of my bike (he was just hanging out in the transition right in front of my transition area…not sure what he was doing in there), stripping out of my wetsuit, throwing on my helmet, socks, and bike shoes, I was out of the transition area and on the bike!

Bike: 3:16:09 for 56 miles at 17.1 mph average speed

The first 10-12 miles were straight SSW into the headwind that had picked up since the swim start. The winds were now closer to 22-25 mph sustained winds, with gusts up to 35 mph and boy could we feel it! Let the adversity adventure continue! Mojo and I just buckled down, found our groove, and sang our way to the turn. Once we turned, the cross wind was SO strong that I got blown off the road twice! I screamed out loud that I wish I weighed about 100 pounds more so I would stay on the road (but later found out from the Iron Hippie that the extra weight didn’t help him either…). Only a few short miles to the turn and a tailwind! Hello 25+ mph speeds climbing up a hill in my most challenging gear…you are a VERY welcome sight! Unfortunately we had to do the loop again, so back into the headwind we went! Let the singing commence…

  • “I feel good”
  • “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
  • “Full throttle, wide open, you get tired and you don’t show it, dig a little deeper when you think you can’t dig no more, that’s the only way I know”
  • “Vanilla ice ice baby”…I was dreaming of ice and cold temperatures at this point as the outdoor temps were really climbing
  • “I saw the sign”…HELLO HWY 10 sign + tailwind all the way back to transition! What a welcome sign!

I also may have startled other athletes by screaming “Wahoo! St. Bonifacius you are a welcome sight! No more headwind!” Hee!! Hee!! Let the adversity adventure continue!

T2: 1:41

After cruising into transition and learning that I was between 1 and 2 miles behind the sag bike (it was after 11:50 am), I decided to leave my hydration bottle in transition and run hard for the 10K that I was going to be forced to run.

Run: 1:01:17 for a 10K at an average pace of 9:53/mile

As I exited transition, I ran into my Coeur sister Megan! She stopped at the loo, and I continued on my way! I was pushing a bit harder than I should have been. My heart rate was high…too high! I periodically walked to get my HR back to a respectable beat. I took in Base Salt and water at every aid station, but there was NO ice or rags at any of the aid stations on the run like the race director said there would be. Let the adversity adventure continue! Then at mile 2, I caught the sag bike. What?! How did I catch him? I decided to walk for a minute and ask the athlete how I had caught up with him. In briefly chatting with him, I learned that he had decided to walk the entire first 5K to give as many of the women an opportunity to make the decision to run the 1/2 marathon if they wanted to since our swim waves started so late. I thanked him for allowing me to make this decision and ran on. Shortly after this, I saw the Iron Hippie heading back and quickly learned he was only doing the 10K by choice. As I ran to the 5K mark, I did some thinking and data analysis…could I run the full 1/2 marathon? Yes, but I had no hydration with me (I left it in transition remember?!), there was no ice or rags at the aid stations, it was HOT and only getting hotter, and this was not my “A” race. Coach Kelly told me to not end up dehydrated, with heat stroke, with heat exhaustion, or hyponatremic…it would prolong my recovery. Based on all of the data I had in my arsenal, I opted to turn around and only do the 10K run. As I crossed the finish line, I was happy with my decision to turn around, but was immediately disappointed because there was no water at the finish line for the athletes. SERIOUSLY?! What an adversity adventure…or is it a sh*t show?!

Since it doesn’t say “70.3” on it, I guess I can keep it.

Overall: 5:12:43 for 63.4 miles

I set a PR on a new distance (since I didn’t do the official 70.3)…63.4 miles. I got to meet some amazing new athletes and ladies decked out in Coeur tri kits. I overcame a lot of adversity that was mostly out of my control. I learned that you get what you pay for! I’m disappointed that the race director did not make the time cut-offs equal for all participants and I’m very disappointed in the lack of care for the athletes at this race. Many athletes were in the med tent at the end of the race…likely because they pushed too hard in the heat and wind to make time cut-offs, but not having ice and rags/sponges at the aid stations on the run definitely didn’t help. I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed. The timing company was separate from the racing company. They were very angry with how things were handled as well. All athletes who ran the 10K were disqualified…whether they were forced to only run the 10K (because of the rule the race director implemented) or because they chose to. I ended up spending about 30 minutes helping the timing company figure out who had actually run the full 1/2 marathon in all of the age groups before the award ceremony, because the man in charge of the timing was VERY frustrated! If someone were to pay for my entry into this race in the future, I would turn it down. I want to support smaller, local races, but not at the expense of the athletes and their safety!

The heat index was 97F with sustained winds of 22-25 mph and gusts up to 35 mph. It was a rough day! Not what we’ve trained for, but we each set a new PR since we did a new distance…

Well, that’s a wrap! My adversity adventure or sh*t show…

22 weeks ’til #IMMT: Spring Break

This week I was on spring break! That means only 11 more weeks until summer break…but who’s counting?! I had a lot of training + life balance + no stress this week. And. It. Was. SUPER FANTABULOUS!

Swim: 6200 yards

Monday I had a long swim and I was intimidated by it. Not only was it a long workout, but there was a lot of intensity built into it. I had self-doubt before the swim, but I stood at the edge of the pool and washed the self-doubt away. I changed the negative thoughts into positive ones. I went faster than expected, and CRUSHED this workout!

Erasing self-doubt before + during my swim!

Wednesday I had a tough swim. 3 x (8 x 50) with a goal speed of 46 seconds/50 and 23 seconds rest between. I hit my target for the first 2 x (8 x 50), but started to fall off during the last set. The 1st 50 of the 3rd set was slower than 46 seconds, but I nailed the 2nd one. 3 & 4 were slower than 46 seconds, so I swam the last 4 at a comfortable pace. After my power test on Tuesday, I was super happy to be able to hold onto the 46 second pace for as long as I could. Coach Kelly was happy too! “Wow! Oh, you’re going to crush that swim CSS test coming up. Wow!”

Pesky little tempo trainer!

Bike: 75.5 miles

WOW! I don’t even know how to describe how happy I am about the progress I have made on the bike and this week proved it! #TimeTrialTuesday proved to be a day of HUGE gains for me on the bike! I had an FTP challenge and I CRUSHED it! Going into the first 5 minute all out session, I was hoping to hold my power at or above 215 watts (this is the top end of my z5). I surpassed my expectations by holding 222 watts during that first 5 minutes. After a 10 minute easy spin, I then had a 20 minute FTP, where I was hoping to maintain 195 watts. I ended up pushing 197 watts for the duration and was so excited! This was the first time that I can truly say I left everything I had on the bike…so much so that when I was done, my legs were trashed! I worked so hard! I overcame self-doubt, the “pain” in my legs, and the negative thoughts that would creep into my mind. And. It. Feels. SUPER FANTABULOUS!

#TimeTrialTuesday resulted in a 10 watt improvement in my FTP!

I had an easy ride on Wednesday and followed this up with a high intensity ride on Thursday. Since I was working off of my new power numbers, this was a tough ride, but I successfully achieved each of my interval goals and that is something to smile about!

When your power numbers improve, it means you have to lower your head and work harder than you’re used to!

Saturday I had a 2 hour ride with a variety of pace changes throughout. And. It. Was. Tough! With an increase in my FTP earlier this week, it meant I had to work even harder. My mind was all in, but my legs just wouldn’t turn over and it didn’t matter how much I tried to convince them otherwise. I am INCREDIBLY grateful to Coach Kelly for understanding me, challenging me, supporting me, believing in me, and reminding me of the following: “You WILL inevitably “fail” some sessions.  You must.  If you don’t, you won’t know your limits.  What you can handle…and then go to them to expand them out further. I take your long term goals seriously, so expect to be pushed.  You’re going to need a series of mini breakthroughs to progress to high levels. Part of that will be days like this. If I give you an easier program you’ll feel good all the time for sure “crushing” every session…but as I once said to a coach… “I want to BE better, not feel better!”  :-)” I agree with Coach Kelly! I don’t want the easy road! I WANT to be challenged! I WANT to be pushed out of my comfort zone! I WANT to push my limits to find new ones! I expect to fail…that is part of the learning + growing process! I want to BE better, not just feel better!

Sometimes you ride the struggle bus, but you always grow, learn, and get stronger in the process!

Run: 18.8 miles

I am have been working on increasing my run volume this week, by running 5 days this week. Nothing super long, but running more to increase my run volume. The week started with some really cold temperatures, but thankfully warmed up a bit by the weekend! From snow on Monday to shorts and a tank top on Sunday??? Yep! Welcome to Iowa! 😉

Found the worlds smallest snowman while running Tuesday!
Running with the sunrise on Wednesday morning…so cold my eyelashes froze!
This was one of my longest run in a while!
New Newton Kismets! YES! Like butter on my feet!
Trying to get some color on this pasty white body + soak up some vitamin D!

Strength Training: 2 hours & 45 minutes + 10 minutes of core strength daily

I had some good variety in strength training this week. Tuesday was mostly core work after my FTP challenge, Thursday was full body strength and core while I taught TRX and Sunday I reconnected with my mat at yoga…MUCH NEEDED!

Reconnecting with my mat was MUCH NEEDED!

Weekly Totals: 13 hours & 36 minutes

Weekly Positives:

It was spring break week, so I got to load up on the training, get some appointments taken care of, take the occasional afternoon nap, and enjoy some downtime.

Thanks to Coach Kelly’s guidance, I have made some HUGE mental gains this week in overcoming self-doubt, changing the negative channel in my head to a positive one, and that has translated quite well to my training…HELLO 10 watt increase in my FTP + swim gains!!

This is my vision for Ironman Mont Tremblant!

Sushi with friends = perfection!

I had some amazing deliveries this week! Thanks to Breakthrough Nutrition, Karma Kombucha, and Sound Probiotics for keeping us happy + healthy!

Breakthrough Nutrition FTW!
Sound Probiotics = FTW DOUBLE WIN!

I had a massage! Thanks Nick at Vitality Massage for keeping my muscles happy + healthy!

When your massage therapist says, “You have dense muscles, which is awesome! That means you’re strong!” Thanks Nick for making a girl feel good!

Mom and Dad came to visit for the weekend. The four of us enjoyed Jersey Boys…such an AMAZING show!

Quote of the Week:

“You WILL inevitably “fail” some sessions.  You must.  If you don’t, you won’t know your limits.” ~Coach Kelly Hadiaris

Week 2 with Coach Kelly: Testing + Testing

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.

Monday:

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.

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Sunset #runlove
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Strength training with the Iron Hippie post running

Tuesday:

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! : )”

FTP test...not where I want to be, but better than where I thought I was.
FTP test…I am not where I once was, but I’m recovered and ready to work hard to surpass where I once was!! Lots of #courageovercomfort and #nevergiveup needed on this ride!!

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!

Wearing my CEP Compression tights with my dress clothes all day long.
Wearing my CEP Compression tights with my dress clothes all day long.
This! Everyone should train + race + live clean!
This! Everyone should train + race + live clean! #cleansportco

Wednesday:

I started my day with some #swimlove. I love chlorine therapy in the morning! It is the perfect way to wake up 🙂

#chlorinetherapy
#chlorinetherapy

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!

Easy spin!
Easy spin!

Thursday:

Good morning run on our first frigid morning of the season…hello -8F windchill! I think this means treadmill time!

"You aren't going to find anybody that's going to be successful without making a sacrifice and without perseverance." ~Lou Holtz
“You aren’t going to find anybody that’s going to be successful without making a sacrifice and without perseverance.” ~Lou Holtz

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.

TRX FTW!!
TRX FTW!!

Friday:

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!

Working hard to turn my dreams into a reality with some #chlorinetherapy
Working hard to turn my dreams into a reality with some #chlorinetherapy

After a run test last Saturday + bike test Tuesday + swim test this morning, I had a much needed massage after work! OUCH!

After a run test + bike test + swim test in a week's time, a massage was definitely needed! Thanks to Nick at Vitality Massage for keeping me injury free! #recoveryisimportant
After a run test + bike test + swim test in a week’s time, a massage was definitely needed! Thanks to Nick at Vitality Massage for keeping me injury free! #recoveryisimportant

Saturday:

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

Dreaming of #IMKona on this snowy morning!
Dreaming of #IMKona on this snowy morning!
Dreaming of #IMKona on this snowy morning!
Dreaming of #IMKona on this snowy morning!

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.

Running in the snow on the golf course is the best!
Running in the snow on the golf course is the best!

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.

Sunday:

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!

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Dive down and coast along the bottom!

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).

Running the golf course with my girl + bonus #puppylove
Running the golf course with my girl + bonus #puppylove
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Some solo running along the rive path! #runlove

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