Attitude of Gratitude

I’ve been working to harbor an “Attitude of Gratitude” in 2018, which is sometimes harder than it should be! There is SO much to be grateful for everyday and I reflect on that before bed every night. The hard part is finding gratitude in every moment throughout the day…especially when faced with challenges, struggles, and negativity.

Since November is typically the month of gratitude and we are embarking on Thanksgiving week, I decided to take some time to reflect on what I have done to include more gratitude in my life.

  1. You may have noticed during my monthly “What’s up?!” blog posts, a gratitude section this year. This is a great way to reflect on each month and be grateful for the things that have stood out as positive and uplifting!
  2. Each night before crawling into bed, I reflect on the day. Writing down all of the things I am grateful for that day in my gratitude journal. This is a great way to focus on all of the positives (even the little things) that happen throughout the day. It has also caused me to focus more on the positives and gratitude moments throughout the day as they occur.
  3. I am constantly reminding myself to be grateful even during the struggles. When I catch myself encountering a struggle, I try to shift my mindset and make myself much more aware of the positives that I’m experiencing in those moments.
  4. I am also working to be more mindful and present throughout each day. Focusing on the 5 senses + how I feel in the moment + what I think at different moments in time throughout each day.

All of these things have helped me harbor an “attitude of gratitude” this year. I truly believe we can not have enough gratitude for all of the amazing people, experiences, memories + things in our lives! I’ve chosen to embrace gratitude this year and find good in everything! Some moments are more of a struggle than others, but even when things are tough, there is something to be grateful for! Sometimes we just have to get out our magnifying glass and look a little harder for the good. 😉

There have been so many amazing moments so far in 2018!! Here is just a snapshot of the things I am grateful for this year:

Supporting our twin nieces at their swim meet!
Home home with my fave!!
Snowshoeing adventures with my fam!
Birthday lunch date with my #solesister
3 of my favorite little bunnies!
Traci, we love you! So grateful to have amazing friends at work!
SO grateful for the best neighbor anyone could ask for! #lovemyneighbor
“Right now” was pure joy for 50 miles on two wheels with my fave! I was so happy to be outside riding on the open roads!
Meeting up with my Coeur Sports sister, Michelle at the Kansas City Triathlon!
Turning social friends into real friends!! So grateful to meet Beth in person!!
So grateful I got to meet up with Steena, my Coeur Sports sister!! Love this beautiful, badass lady!!
I did a thang! The #flatlander703 was the TOUGHEST race I’ve ever done, but I learned A LOT and got 1st place overall!! Thanks to my fave for the award ceremony and making me feel special!!
Incredibly grateful that my fave walked away from a solo bicycle accident with lots of road rash and NO head injury (despite cracking his helmet in 2 places). Wear your helmet people!! It saves lives!!
So grateful for my friend Robin!! She surprised me with the perfect motivational gift from Hawaii…an #IMWC visor (don’t worry…it doesn’t say finisher or have a date on it…she made sure of that)!! Thank you!! Thank you!! Thank you!!
So grateful that I got to spend the morning with my colleague at the Accel Triathlon cheering on my fave and friends!!
Love these peeps!! So grateful to have them in my life!!
So grateful for Kyle at Kyle’s Bikes!! His race day blessing means Mojo is ready to roll!!
My Coeur runneth over!! I got to meet some of the most inspirational, determined, loving ladies today!! #happycoeur
I’m riding cloud nine after setting a PR at Ironman Ohio 70.3 and finally breaking 6 hours, but I’m not sure it would have happened without Steena by my side. This girl is the definition of #heartandcourage and I’m so grateful for her!! Her strength, positivity, selflessness, and uplifting spirit are just a few of the wonderful things about her!! Thank you Steena for all you did to help me achieve my dream!! Love you girl!! “PRs are better with friends!!”
So grateful to have Steena by my side as I broke 6 hours, crushed goals, and achieved dreams at Ironman Ohio 70.3!! Thank you Steena for being such a strong, motivating, awesome BADASS!!
This guy! There aren’t enough words! Thank you for your support! Thank you for believing in me! Thank you for encouraging me to chase my dreams! Thank you for motivating me when I lack self-motivation! Thank you for pushing me to do and be my best! Thank you for loving and choosing me! Thank you! I’m so blessed and grateful to have you by my side on this journey! Love you!
Hard work pays off!! Thanks to my #sub6orbust buddy Steena for pulling me up ALL. THE. HILLS On 2 loops of the #IMWI bike course!!
Grateful to spend the afternoon at the state fair with these fun peeps listening to Brett Eldredge live in concert!
Basil turned 6 years old on Monday…I love these two SO MUCH!!
All of these amazing volunteers helped us keep T1 in check on #IMWI race morning. I’m so grateful for their help!!
Grateful for the OneBrainWellness Self Defense clinic to learn how to defend myself against an attacker!!
So grateful to have this crazy group of colleagues to work with!!
So grateful to briefly chat with Elaina at mile 26 of the Twin Cities Marathon!!
So grateful to briefly chat with my Coeur Sports sister, Kendra (and meet little Ralphie <3) at mile 8.5 of the Twin Cities Marathon!!
Getting to meet up with a few of my Coeur Sports sisters in Louisville was so much fun!! This team of uplifting, encouraging, supportive women is where it’s at!!
My cheer squad on the second loop at #IMLou!! Tim, Abbie, and Dad (left to right) chasing me up the hill into LaGrange! I made it back to them!
The finish line is the best feeling after such a physically and mentally challenging day! #IMLou
LOVE these two smiling faces!!
Grateful to get to see my cousin and cheer on his wife at the Des Moines Marathon!!
Grateful for my colleagues!! The #7dwarfs #spookoutdrugs during Red Ribbon Week at school!!
The Coeur Sports 2019 ambassador team…I’m SO grateful to be representing the BEST brand + sisterhood in endurance sport!!
So thankful to have this guy by my side in life!!

How do you live with an attitude of gratitude?! How do you focus on gratitude in every moment…even when faced with challenges and struggles?! 

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#IMLou Race Report…Explore!

“Of course we all have our limits, but how can you possibly find your boundaries unless you EXPLORE as far and as wide as you possibly can? I would rather fail in an attempt at something new and uncharted than safely succeed in a repeat of something I have done.” ~Ericka Hachmeister

Each race tells a story and gives lessons about triathlon and life. Ironman Louisville was definitely NOT a repeat of something I have ever done and was quite the story with so many lessons learned! Sit back with your favorite beverage and enjoy what was the absolute toughest day I’ve ever had! It is quite the lengthy account of my day, so if you want the short version, you’ll miss out on so much, but just scroll to “Overall” at the bottom of the post.

Pre-Race:

On race morning, I woke to rain, air temperatures of 40*F, and higher winds than I what were predicted. I ate my muesli, drank my Karma Kombucha, and read my pre-race paragraph from “Swimming to Antarctica” by Lynne Cox before putting on my race gear and heading out the door.

“Be calm; focus on what you are doing 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.”

Once we parked the car, we hung out in the warm, dry environment for about 30 extra minutes before venturing out in the cold rain + wind. During this time, I decided to weasel my way into my wetsuit inside of the car. If you’ve ever tried to put on a wetsuit when you are wet, it is NOT easy!! It wasn’t exactly “easy” weaseling my way into my wetsuit in the front car seat either…

Struggling into my wetsuit in the dry car.

After putting on my wetsuit, it was time to make my way down to transition to put my bike bottles on my bike, reduce my tire pressure a bit (thanks to the wet roads), get body marked (thankfully this was under a bridge so I could get my wetsuit back on easily), and then head down to the swim start.

Transition…who’s ready to race in the rain + cold?!

It was a 0.9 mile walk from transition to the swim start. During this time, I drank one bottle of my Infinit bike nutrition to get some extra calories in before the swim. Once at the swim start, I lined up behind the 1:10-1:20 sign as I anticipated a 1:12-1:15 swim time for my 2.4 mile swim. As we waited for the swim start, my feet started to freeze and I really had to pee. Since it was still raining, I decided let it flow and guess what?!?! IT WARMED MY TOES!! This would later prove to be a great decision as the amount of time we were to stand and wait was extended from about 30 minutes to more than an hour. At 7:2o am, they let the pro men into the water for a practice swim. This was when the race director realized the swim course was going to have to be shortened because the pro men could not swim upstream due to the strong current. This meant that the race start would be pushed back by at least 35 minutes. Once the age group athletes got word that we were now only swimming 0.9 miles downstream and wouldn’t be starting until 8:10 (instead of the 7:35 am scheduled start time), the buzz + hype started. Athletes were upset that they wouldn’t be doing the full Ironman distance. Athletes said things like, “If Ironman’s mantra is ‘Anything is possible,’ then they should allow us to try the full swim.” I could have easily allowed myself to get sucked into all of the buzz and drama that was going on, but instead reminded myself that even though I’d trained for the 2.4 mile swim, it was time to accept the change and focus on getting to the run. Yes, I knew that a 112 mile bike stood between the swim and the run, but with the adverse conditions, my goal was to get to the run.

Spraying down with SBR Sports Tri Slide before zipping up the wetsuit. Thankfully I was under a bridge to stay dry at this point.

As we made our way to the docks, I joked with Dave Kappas (the race announcer since Mike Reilly was in Kona) about floating on our backs down river with a pool floaty and a cup holder for an exotic drink. As we slowly made our way down to the docks, the chatter continued, my feet became numb, and the anxiety of spending the rest of my day cold + wet built.

Swim: 16:19 for 0.9 mile (1:02/100 yards); 39/113 W40-44; 228/601 W; 949/2034 Overall

Finally it was my turn to jump off of the dock and into the water. Before jumping into the water, we were told there were 6 buoys we should keep on our left (in other words, stay to the right of the buoys and to the left of the kayakers). As I jumped into the water, the 69*F water temperature felt SO WARM!! Ahhh…finally my feet would warm up!! I saw the 1st buoy and kept it to my left, but as I was approaching the 2nd buoy, I realized it was no longer attached to the anchor at the bottom of the Ohio River. Instead, it was drifting downstream and toward the center of the river (it kept moving right), so I decided to try to hold my line. The kayakers were yelling at us telling us to go to the right of the buoy. I stopped swimming just long enough to tell them the buoy was not attached and was floating away. A couple of them took off after the buoy and others just kept shouting at us trying to tell us where to go as the next buoy had also previously been separated from the anchor. Others were trying to keep us to the right of the bridge pillar as all kinds of logs and debris had built up between the pillar and the shore. They didn’t want us swimming into a log jam. Thank you volunteers!! Trying to hear what people are shouting at you with your head in the water is nearly impossible, so I did my best to hold my line and keep swimming. I swam past one gentleman floating on his back taking advantage of the strong current in the water. As I continued to swim, I realized that only 3 of the 6 buoys we were supposed to swim to the right of were actually properly placed for us to swim past. The other 3 buoys had to be captured and hauled to shore by kayakers because they became detached from the anchors. As I approached the swim exit, more kayakers were shouting. I briefly stopped swimming so that I could hear what they were shouting. “Don’t overshoot the swim exit!”Apparently people had overshot the swim exit and kayakers had to haul them back upstream because the current was too strong for them to swim back upstream to the swim exit that they’d missed. I continued on and as I was within 100 yards from the swim exit, the smell of sewer drifted over us. I SERIOUSLY thought I was going to puke in the river! It was ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING! While it was still raining and cold, I was very glad to have the first part of the day behind me.

One lone swim buoy out in the Ohio River!!

T1: 12:15

I quickly pulled down my wetsuit and had a couple of amazing volunteers strip it off of me before running my way into the transition area to bundle up before heading out on the bike.

Warmest part of the day…DONE!!

The day before I had put on my race gear, took a cold shower, and went out on the bike in 38*F air temperature to test if my race gear would be warm enough. Brrrr!! Through this test, I had a really good idea of what to wear on the bike though!! I stepped into my aero top, tugged on two pair of arm warmers, slipped my toes into plastic bags, pulled my socks on overtop, slid my feet into my shoes, grabbed my extra Infinit bike nutrition and shoved it in my aero top, donned my helmet and clear goggles as I ran to my bike. As I exited T1, I saw my Coeur Sports teammate Lia cheering me on! Thanks Lia!

Running to the bike…ready to ride in the rain!!

Bike: 7:03:05 for 112 miles (15.88 mph); 41/113 W40-44; 244/601 W; 1196/2034 Overall

As I started rolling out of town, I was cold (42*F), wet, and I decided to ride on feel alone. This was not going to be a “normal” 112 mile Ironman bike ride, so trying to maintain my prescribed watts with wet roads and wet brakes went out the window in the first mile.

Rolling out of transition ready to be cold and wet for the rest of the day!!

The headwind was strong. Not as strong as I’m used to when riding on the open roads in central Iowa, but stronger than the 5-10 mph that The Weather Channel said it should be. Combining that with the cold and wet conditions, just poured salt in the wound. “Just put your head down and get to LaGrange so you can see Tim, Dad, and Abbie! EXPLORE!”

I’m riding along the river, although you can’t really see it in the background thanks to Mother Nature’s unique sense of humor.

As I turned onto the loop, I saw a few athletes standing on the side of the road with their bikes leaned up against a fence. They were SO cold that they were shivering uncontrollably. I told them they should get on their bikes and keep moving to try to stay warm, but they said they were waiting for the sag vehicle to come and pick them up. They had decided that their day was done. I rode on. OMG…my feet are so cold that they are numb!! I really have to pee…I’ve never peed on the bike before…maybe I should try on the next downhill. Ahhh…that feels SO GOOD!! OH and my feet are warm!! I may have to do this more often!! Well that didn’t last…cold feet again. UGH!! Shortly after this point, I saw Tim as I was climbing up the hill into LaGrange. He was cheering for me (and all of the other athletes), ringing the cowbell, and encouraging us to keep going. He told me Dad and Abbie were up ahead. After passing him, I started crying. “This is SO HARD!! STOP IT!! You have done harder things!! EXPLORE!!” (lie #1 to myself) I pedaled on through the hot corner in LaGrange with a smile on my face as random strangers cheered me on. I completely missed seeing Dad and Abbie on that first loop. After leaving town, it became pretty desolate. There were only a couple of places where spectators were out on the course cheering us on, but not many. Thankfully when I turned left, I was blocked by a wall of trees and I had a break from the wind. Who cares if I have to climb a hill or two?!?! I don’t!! I love climbing!! I’m just happy to have a temporary reprieve from the rain and wind (don’t worry…it didn’t last)!!

Taking advantage of the temporary break in the rain and wind!! Climb baby climb!!

And then the rain and drizzle started back up and I passed a sign on the side of the road that said, “Mother Nature is a whore!” I smiled and nodded. Yep! “Mother Nature, why do you hate us?!?! STOP CRYING! I feel AMAZING! EXPLORE!” (lie #2 to myself) Oh…time to warm up the feet again! That feels so good! Just get back to Tim, Dad, and Abbie!! Keep pedaling!! UGH…my feet are frozen again! Grandma’s hill…check! Pee on the bike…check! Guys in speedos cheering us on the rain…check! Pee on the bike…check! Road sign that says “Louisville 33″…check! “Why can’t I have only 33 miles back to Louisville?!?! STOP!! I feel good, I knew that I would, now! I feel good, I knew that I would, now! So good, so good, I got you!” (as I sang James Brown out loud…lie #3 to myself) Just get back to Tim, Dad, and Abbie!! Here is the split…I REALLY wish I were going back into town instead of starting the loop again! EXPLORE! Here we go again! Warm those feet up again momentarily…check! Oh…here is LaGrange! Bike special needs pit stop…swap out the bottles and move on…check! Just keep pedaling to Tim, Dad, and Abbie! Oh look…

My cheer squad on the second loop!! Tim, Abbie, and Dad (left to right) chasing me up the hill into LaGrange! I made it back to them!

Ok…Here we go again!! One more loop!! Just finish the bike and get to the run!! There are those random strangers cheering me on at the hot corner in LaGrange!! Thank you for still being out here. Finally I get to turn left again to enjoy the area without wind!! Let’s climb some more!!

Here we go again!! Loop 2 will lead me back to Louisville!!

Thankfully I get to descend and pee again to warm my feet!! A guy in an IronWorx Multisport kit passed me saying, “Hey…Do you know Steena?!” I responded with, “I do! Love her!” He said, “She is the best!” before riding on down the road. Oh look…there is the sign saying, “Mother Nature is a whore” and guess what?!?! It’s still raining + cold!! Go figure!! Just keep smiling!! You’re AWESOME!! EXPLORE!!” (lie #4 to myself) I really wish my feet would stay warm longer than 10 seconds when I pee on them!! “I don’t know if I can do this anymore. I’m so cold + wet! Why can’t Mother Nature give us a break?! STOP WITH THE NEGATIVITY!! You are doing awesome!! Just get to the run!! EXPLORE!!” (more lies…how many exactly by this point is beyond me as I’m sure I missed a few) Grandma’s hill…here we go again!! Last time up this B*TCH!! “OH SH*T!! Mojo…why did you drop your chain at the bottom of the hill?!?! UGH!! OK…Single leg spinning…you can do this!! You’ve done worse!! There you go! Clip that other foot in and get to the top!” Grandma’s hill for the last time…check! Pee on the bike…check! Guys in speedos cheering us on the rain…where are you?!?! Pee on the bike…check! Road sign that says “Louisville 33″…check! FINALLY I get to go back to Louisville and I get to enjoy the tailwind since I fought a headwind on the way out of Louisville! “Wahoo! Let’s rocket home! Right hand turn back to Louisville…wait a minute…where is that tailwind I was supposed to enjoy?!?! Why do you hate us Mother Nature?!?! WHY?!?! Push on!! You have less than 20 miles home!! Just get to the run!! EXPLORE!!” Pee on the bike…check! “Wait a minute…why are there so many cars on this road?! HOLY SH*T!! I have to stop so I don’t rear end that car…OH NO…wet brakes…Mojo, please STOP!! PLEASE STOP!! THANK YOU!! This is insane!! Why are there so many cars on our roads?!?! I’ve never had this much traffic to dodge during an Ironman before. Someone could seriously get hurt out here. This is not safe! Just get back to town! Go figure…brake on the descent so I have to start from a stopped position to climb the hill. STUPID CARS!! ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT…You GET to do this! Be safe and enjoy the last few miles! You are feeling great! EXPLORE!!” (How many lies is this?!?!) Pee on the bike…check! “Oh…there is the Ohio River…that means I’m getting close to transition!! Look…there are the bridges!! Wahoo!! I made it!!” This was my 2nd fastest Ironman bike split in tough conditions!! Boom!!

T2: 10:26

After I handed Mojo off to a volunteer, ran to get my run gear bag, and made my way into the women’s change tent, I knew I needed some information. A volunteer came to help me and I immediately asked, “What is the current windchill and what time of day is it?” She responded with, “Let me look. It is 4:30 pm and the current windchill is 53*F. How can I help you get out on the run?” She helped me exchange my bike nutrition for run nutrition in my pockets, filled my hand held bottle with water (it already had Infinit run formula in the bottle), and helped me pack up my bike gear (don’t worry…I made sure to put my socks and bike shoes in the bag myself so she didn’t have to touch the urine filled gear…although the rain probably washed them clean). I kept one pair of arm warmers and swapped out my gloves for a dry pair (not really sure why since it was still raining) before heading out of transition and onto the run.

Run: 5:30:52 for 26.2 miles (12:37 min/mi); 49/113 W40-44; 281/601 W; 1225/2034 Overall

I finished the bike!! Let’s run!! Ugh…I can’t feel my feet…how long is this going to last?! Oh well…maybe it is best that I can’t feel my feet for now!! Oh…There’s Dad and Abbie! Abbie asked, “How are you feeling.” I responded with, “Good, but I can’t feel my feet. They’re numb from the cold.” As I kept going, I saw Tim just up the street.

Time to get this marathon started!

Only monitor the heart rate screen…perfect! I am right where I need to be! I’m feeling good! Nice and steady! Forget about the rain…that clearly isn’t going to change! One foot in front of the other! I’m actually feeling a bit warm for the first time since the swim…arm warmers off. Should I throw them or keep them?! I’ll keep them until the second loop to make sure I don’t need them later on. Oh look!! There is Katie Thomas! I bet she’s coming into the finish. “Go Katie go!” She replied with, “You’ve got this Kecia” as she gave me a high five. Just the motivation I needed at this point to keep going. Oh volunteer at the corner…YOU are the best! “Remember your why! Things are going to get tough out there. Remember your why!” He was so right! Heart rate…check! Ugh…I have to pee again! How many times am I going to pee today?! I don’t want that in my run shoes, so kybo it is! That is so much better! Ok…here we go…one foot in front of the other!! There is my Coeur Sports teammate Michelle! “Good work Michelle! You’re doing awesome!” She also cheered me on as we gave each other a high five in passing. Oh…there is the guy from Madison in the IronWorx Multisport kit that passed me on the bike! “Hey there! You are the one that passed me on the bike correct?” He said, “Yes, that was me! So you know Steena!” I said, “Yes! Her and John both! They are great people! I’m Kecia by the way.” “I’m Andrew.” I said, “Steena and I ran together on at Ironman Ohio 70.3 and she helped me achieve a sub 6 hour finish! When it got tough, she gave me this Fellow Flower that I’m wearing. I’m so grateful for them!” He said, “Yes, they just did Ironman Wisconsin.” I said, “Yes! They did awesome! I am the captain of the women’s change area in Wisconsin, so I picked up their gear and bikes and took it to their car for them.” He said, “They are so much fun! Well, I’m going to walk for a bit, so run strong! If you see my wife, Heidi, up ahead, she has a red Fellow Flower in her hair.” I replied with, “I’ll look for her! I’m sure I’ll see you again before the day is done.” Heart rate…check! Keep running strong! Finally…the turn around! Ugh…I have to pee again! Why do I have to pee so much?! Oh…I bet I’m peeing so much because I’m not sweating! I’m glad there are kybos every mile on the run course. Ok…here we go again…one foot in front of the other! Keep going strong and keep the heart rate in check. Oh…I can feel my feet again! They finally aren’t numb from the cold! Wahoo! Heart rate…check! Yes! I made it back to Churchill Downs! Oh…there is Tim out on the bike! He asked, “How are you feeling?” I said, “Good. I’m keeping my heart rate in check.” He said, “I’m going to yo-yo with you back to the turn around” as he rolled ahead. It was about this time that I started to feel a lot of added tension in my back. Just keep moving forward and focus on your form!

There is Tim! Keep putting one foot in front of the other!

There is that amazing volunteer on the corner. He knows just what to say to keep us going! “You have to make it to me 4 times today. That last time, I’ll send you home. Don’t give up! I WANT to see you again!” Oh look!! There is Andrea! We have been social media friends for years and I finally get to give her a high five in person! “Go Andrea Go!” That was a great way to lift my spirits! What was that?! Some guy was yelling at us as he was trying to sleep on the sidewalk by the church. He definitely wasn’t cheering us on either. Hmmm…this is a little sketchy! Ok…there is Tim again. Keep making your way to the turn around! Ugh…I have to pee again! I’ll go in the next Kybo. There, that feels so much better! I’m glad Tim is out here to keep me going right now. “Kecia, I’m going to get your gear when we get to the turn around and I’ll see you later.” I responded with, “Ok. Thank you!”

Make it to the turn around!

I made it to the turn around, saw Dad and Abbie, stopped briefly at my run special needs bag to pick up some SBR Sports, Inc. Skin Slick to spray down my arm pits that were feeling like they might have some chafing started. I told the lady that if anyone needed my long sleeved tech shirt to please give it to them (since they throw away our special needs bags after the race…we don’t get them back). It was time to head back out for the last leg of the marathon. Ugh…my back is getting tighter. EXPLORE! Just get to mile 14! Heart rate…check! Mile 14…check! Just get to mile 15! Heart rate…check! Mile 15…check! Just get to mile 16! I have to pee again…this is getting annoying, but I have to keep drinking my calories! Ok…where’s the kybo…there…that’s better! Here we go again…oh no…my back is SCREAMING at me! EXPLORE! Ok…do what you can to keep moving forward. Walk for a bit and then jog as long as you can. Just get to mile 16! Brrr…I’m starting to get cold again. Time to put the arm warmers back on! I’m glad I kept them! Oh…there is Michelle! “Finish strong girl! You’re doing awesome!” Ok…one foot in front of the other! Mile 16…check! Just get to mile 17! Focus on your form. EXPLORE! Come on back…don’t lock up on me just yet! I have a few more miles to get to the finish line! Mile 17…check! Just get to mile 18! I have to pee again! Mile 18…check! Kybo…check! As I stepped out of the kybo, my back spasmed and almost brought me to my knees. Ok…walk for a bit. Just keep moving forward to mile 19 and get to that turn around! Ok…let’s try to jog easy. EXPLORE! Little by little make your way to the finish line. You haven’t come all this way today to quit now. Keep moving forward. Mile 19…check! The turn around…check! Mile 20…check! Kybo…check! Just keep walking/jogging to the finish line! Mile 21…check! There’s Andrew! “Go Andrew!” He asked, “How much farther to the turn around?!” I responded with, “You have a ways to go yet. Finish strong!” I couldn’t remember if he had 1 mile or 2 miles to the turn around and I didn’t want to give him inaccurate information. That is the worst as an athlete! I have to pee again! Mile 22…check! Kybo…check! Oh no…my back is just not going to let me run right now. I’ll try again in a bit. EXPLORE! Nope…still no such luck. Ok…less than 4 miles left. You can walk it home from here. Churchill Downs…check! Mile 23…check! I made it back to the amazing volunteer on the corner. “Time to send me home,” I said as I passed by him. “Way to go! You’ve got this! Finish strong!” As I rounded the corner, I saw another lady walking in front of me. As I approached her, I asked her how her day was going. She said she’d had better. This was her 11th Ironman and this has been her most challenging day yet. She was also walking because her back had locked up, but sadly she was just approaching the turn around and had to go back out for a second loop. We decided that we thought we were having back issues because of the cold temperatures. She said she was going to stop to stretch out her back, so I continued on. Mile 24…check! Just keep walking! Mile 25…check! I have to pee again! I should probably go before I go through the finish chute…it always takes so long to get through there and to a kybo. I’ll go at the next one! Kybo…check! Mile 26…check! Lia! Thank you for being out here! It’s time to shuffle as best I can to make it look like I’m running (that’s pathetic). There’s the finish chute! I can’t believe I made it here. This was truly the toughest day I’ve ever had. Tears…nope, not yet! There is Abbie and Dad! Love you guys! That finish line!

Giving Dad and Abbie a “high five” in the finish chute with my run bottle in hand! Love you both!

Finish: 13:12:58 

The finish line is the best feeling after such a physically and mentally challenging day!

Overall:

I have no idea how many “lies” I actually told myself so I would keep going and not quit. I was determined to find my way to the finish line and was willing to dig deep to do so. I’ve never had to dig so deep mentally to achieve the finish line in anything until now. This day pushed me way out of my comfort zone and beyond what I ever thought possible. Even over a week later, I still don’t know how I overcame all of the challenges that the day presented to make it to the finish line, but I did!! It is the finish line that I’m the most proud of…not because I achieved my goal time, not because it was the perfect day, not because I nailed my race day goals, not for so many reasons one might typically think of. I am most proud of this finish line because I adjusted on the fly to overcome all of the challenges throughout the day and I gave EVERYTHING I had and MORE mentally to reach that finish line.

I’m so proud to be crossing the finish line of Ironman #6!!

Lessons Learned:

  1. I am SO MUCH STRONGER than I give myself credit for. When the rubber meets the road, I rise to the challenge.
  2. #trainthebrain…you CAN do anything you put your mind to. On race morning, I was determined to do everything within my power to get to the finish line of Ironman #6. I had to mentally dig deep into places I didn’t even know I had in me. I’m so grateful that I had the mental strength, grit, determination, perseverance, and fortitude, to push my limits and cross the finish line of Ironman #6!!
  3. Be prepared for the unexpected. Pack everything…including the kitchen sink…when traveling to a race. You never know just what you might need on race day!
  4. There are so many great people in this world!! Camaraderie occurs during times of struggle and the way that athletes, volunteers, and spectators came together to help and support each other during Ironman Louisville 2018 was so encouraging.
  5. Triathlon lessons = life lessons
  6. Stepping outside of one’s comfort zone is where the magic happens!!
  7. It takes a village!! While I’m the one to cross the finish line, I couldn’t do it without support. I’m beyond grateful for my village!!

Attitude of Gratitude:

  1. My #1…This year Tim and I have had completely different races and training plans. He has stepped up and done so much to make sure I got my workouts done, I was refueled properly, and the home front was in check. I couldn’t do this without him! This finish line is just as much his as mine! Thank you and love you more than you know Tim!! ❤
  2. My support crew…Thank you for keeping me going!! There were many times I thought about giving up, but as soon as I saw you all, I was overcome with joy, love, and determination to keep going. Thank you and love you!! ❤
  3. Coach Kelly…Your guidance, support, belief in me, training plan, and challenges prepared me physically and mentally for a day I never anticipated I would ever have. Thank you for making me #trackcatstrong and ready to conquer any challenge!! ❤
  4. Camilla…Thank you for cheering me on, catching me at the finish line, escorting me to the massage tent, and making sure I had met back up with my crew!! You are amazing!! ❤
  5. Coeur Sports…This brand…I am beyond grateful to Kebby Holden and Hailey Manning for connecting me with some of the most amazing, supportive, encouraging, and inspirational women!! I am truly blessed!! I had so many of these amazing women with me in spirit on race day!! Bonus…the Coeur Sports gear is the best out there!! After being cold + wet ALL. DAY. LONG. I had ZERO chaffing and #noangrykitty!!
  6. SBR Sports, Inc…Thank you for your support this season!! The Skin Slick and Tri Slide made my race day + training so much better!!
  7. Infinit Nutrition…Thank you for helping me find a nutrition solution that FINALLY worked for me after nutritional failure after 5 Ironman races!! Thank you for overnighting my bike nutrition when my first bag arrived damaged just days before we were leaving for Louisville!!
  8. Kyle’s Bikes…Thank you for always giving Mojo the BEST care!! I always know we are in good hands when you have our backs!!
  9. Nick with Vitality Massage…Thank you for keeping me healthy and ready to race + watching our fur babies when we are off playing for multiple weekends throughout the year!!
  10. Chris with Team Chiropractic…Thank you for keeping me healthy and race ready + working on my back post Ironman Louisville!!
  11. Steena…Thank you for my Fellow Flower to remind me throughout the run to remain resilient, full of grit, strong, and focused on forward motion!! ❤

What’s Up?! – September 2018

It seems like just yesterday I signed up for Ironman Louisville and now I’m less than 10 days from race day. How does that happen?! Time just keeps flying by!! Fall has arrived and brought with it MUCH cooler temps (almost like we went from summer to winter without the fall temps) and the changing leaves…both of which I enjoy!! I’m not a fan of the decreased amount of daylight hours, but we don’t have any other option than to endure it.

Training:

V is for victory!! I nailed my swim session with my second 1200 yard split being 4 sec/100 yards faster than my first 1200 yard split!!
Riding 5 hours on the trainer staring at Lake Monona…I so wanted to be on the IMWI bike course, but my gut told me not to and I listened to it. (I had 3×5 hour trainer rides this month…hello mental toughness!!)
+ 9 afternoon miles = 17 strong miles Wednesday!!

Swim: 39,000 yards (22.16 miles)
Bike: 443 miles
Run: 114 miles
Monthly Totals: 69 hours & 48 minutes

Race Ready:

After crushing my 90 minute run/1 hour bike intervals/1 hour run back to back to back Sunday, the hay is in the barn!! I’m #IMLou race ready!! It’s time to TAPER!!

Run #1
Bike Intervals
Run #2

Reading:

Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory by Deena Kastor is a MUST READ!! There are so many great insights for how positive thought, positive visualization, and gratitude changed Deena’s career. What a STRONG + INSPIRATIONAL woman!! I am working to implement these into my training and racing plan as well, knowing that it will take time to fully implement!! “Building a mind so strong would take years of effort and discipline, but it would propel Kastor to the pinnacle of running—to American records in every distance from the 5K to the marathon—and to the accomplishment of earning America’s first Olympic medal in the marathon in twenty years.”

Listening to:

I listened to Kona Kamps episodes with Noga Ruttenberg and Megan Pennington. I LOVE listening to Lilias and David interview these amazing women!! They are SO inspiring and down to earth!!

Grateful for:

Basil turned 6 years old on Monday…I love these two SO MUCH!!
All of these amazing volunteers helped us keep T1 in check on IMWI race morning. I’m so grateful for their help!!
So grateful to have Nick with Vitality Massage keeping me healthy and ready for the next workout!
Grateful that Hardcoeur Coaching recognized my #sub6orbust goal at IMOhio 70.3 was achieved. They sent me some goodies as a “congratulations” gift!!
Only one way to refuel post long workouts…SUSHI!!
Grateful to have Dr. Chris keeping me on track at Team Chiropractic with only 3 weeks left until #IMLou!!
Thank you Kyle for putting a new chain on Mojo and giving her your race day blessing!!
Grateful for the OneBrainWellness Self Defense clinic to learn how to defend myself against an attacker!!

How was your month of September?! What were you grateful for last month?! 

2 weeks ’til #IMLou – Taper Time

It’s TAPER TIME!! I’m so glad to have made it to this point!! With the completion of last week’s workouts comes the taper for Ironman Louisville and I’m ready for it!! The hay is in the barn and I’m looking forward to lighting it on fire in 2 weeks!!

Swim: 10,300 yards

V is for victory!! I nailed my swim session with my second 1200 yard split being 4 sec/100 yards faster than my first 1200 yard split!!
Playing around in the pool after putting in some work!!
It’s Flippin’ Friday!! Doing somersaults in the water after swimming Friday morning!

Bike: 101 (trainer) miles

Alternating between Z2 and Z3 was a struggle, but I did it!!
5 hours on the trainer for the last time this year!! 🙂
After crushing my 90 minute run/1 hour bike intervals/1 hour run back to back to back Sunday, the hay is in the barn!! I’m #IMLou race ready!! It’s time to TAPER!!

Run: 32.5 miles

8 morning miles with Basil (2 of those with my fave too)!! #basillovesrunning
+ 9 afternoon miles = 17 strong miles Wednesday!!
After crushing my 90 minute run/1 hour bike intervals/1 hour run back to back to back Sunday, the hay is in the barn!! I’m #IMLou race ready!! It’s time to TAPER!! (Run #1)
After crushing my 90 minute run/1 hour bike intervals/1 hour run back to back to back Sunday, the hay is in the barn!! I’m #IMLou race ready!! It’s time to TAPER!! (Run #2)

Strength Training: 10 minutes of core strength almost daily  

Weekly Totals: 16 hours & 47 minutes

Quote of the Week:

“Bring on the taper!! It’s TAPER TIME!!” ~ME 🙂

Attitude of Gratitude:

Grateful to have Dr. Chris keeping me on track at Team Chiropractic with only 3 weeks left until #IMLou!!
These two…love them and our nightly dog parties in our bed!!
Thank you to Kyle at Kyle’s Bikes for putting a new chain on Mojo and giving her your race day blessing!!
Grateful for the OneBrainWellness Self Defense clinic to learn how to defend myself against an attacker!!

How was your week? What were you grateful for last week?! Do you enjoy the taper?!

What’s Up?! – July 2018

I want my July back!! August is flying by and I’m not ready to go back to school just yet!! I could definitely use a few more weeks of summer break before the daily grind begins back up, but alas, that isn’t going to happen. Thankfully I still have 12 days of summer break left and I’m going to soak up every moment that I can!!

Training:

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy!!
My happy place!! Life on two wheels!!
Stride for stride! Side by side! So grateful to have Steena by my side throughout the 13.1 miles at Ironman Ohio 70.3!!

Swim: 34,332 yards (19.5 miles)
Bike: 320 miles
Run: 92.3 miles
Monthly Totals: 53 hours & 51 minutes

Racing:

Ironman Ohio 70.3 was nearly perfect! Incase you missed it, my goal was to go sub 6 hours. I’m happy to report that I FINALLY achieved this goal!! Thanks to Coach Kelly for designing a plan to help me achieve this. Thanks to Steena for running the 13.1 miles with me and pushing me the last 2 miles. Thanks to my fave for being the most supportive, encouraging, motivating, loving friend and life partner I could ask for!!

I’m riding cloud nine after setting a PR at Ironman Ohio 70.3 and finally breaking 6 hours, but I’m not sure it would have happened without Steena by my side. This girl is the definition of #heartandcourage and I’m so grateful for her!! Her strength, positivity, selflessness, and uplifting spirit are just a few of the wonderful things about her!! Thank you Steena for all you did to help me achieve my dream!! Love you girl!! “PRs are better with friends!!”

Reading:

Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea is a great mystery! I typically figure out the ending before I get there, but I really didn’t see this ending coming! “Becca Eckersley was a first-year law student and daughter of a powerful attorney was brutally murdered in Summit Lake. There are no suspects. No persons of interest. Just a girl who was alive one day and dead the next. Kelsey Castle is an investigative reporter who thinks this assignment is a fluff piece at first. As Kelsey digs deeper, despite danger and warnings, she feels a growing connection to the dead girl. And the more she learns about Becca’s friendships, her love life—and her secrets—the more convinced she becomes that walking in Becca’s footsteps could lead her out of her own dark past…”

The Girl Who was Taken by Charlie Donlea is another great mystery! “The night they go missing, high school seniors Nicole Cutty and Megan McDonald are at a beach party in their small town of Emerson Bay, North Carolina. Police launch a massive search, but hope is almost lost—until Megan escapes from a bunker deep in the woods. . . . A year later, the bestselling account of her ordeal has made Megan a celebrity. It’s a triumphant story, except for one inconvenient detail: Nicole is still missing. Nicole’s older sister, Livia, a fellow in forensic pathology, expects that one day soon Nicole’s body will be found and her sister’s fate determined. Instead, the first clue comes from another body—that of a young man connected to Nicole’s past. Livia reaches out to Megan to learn more about that fateful night. Other girls have disappeared, and she’s increasingly sure the cases are connected. Megan knows more than she revealed in her book. Flashes of memory are pointing to something more monstrous than she described. And the deeper she and Livia dig, the more they realize that sometimes true terror lies in finding exactly what you’ve been looking for . . .”

Listening to:

The Coeur Sports EarSplitz Podcast interviewed Kebby Holden, Founder of Coeur Sports. This company has my heart…not simply because of the amazing clothing, but because of what they represent. I love that they encourage us to try to get more women in sport!! ❤

Grateful for:

New Roka Sports wetsuit day!! So grateful to have Roka support this crazy journey and help us #findfaster!!
So grateful that I got to spend the morning with my colleague at the Accel Triathlon cheering on my fave and friends!!
Love these peeps!! So grateful to have them in my life!!
So grateful Dr. Feil pulls out all the stops to help me achieve my goals!! Dry needling + electrolysis + electric shock treatment = progress towards #sub6orbust next week!!
So grateful for Kyle at Kyle’s Bikes!! His race day blessing means Mojo is ready to roll!!
My Coeur runneth over!! I got to meet some of the most inspirational, determined, loving ladies today!! #happycoeur
These three ladies hold a special place in my heart!!
Our Air BNB hosts were spectacular!! I’m so grateful for their hospitality, openness, and friendship!!
This lady (and her friend) were two of the most AMAZING volunteers!! So grateful for the volunteers, meeting new people, and the triathlon community!!
This guy! There aren’t enough words! Thank you for your support! Thank you for believing in me! Thank you for encouraging me to chase my dreams! Thank you for motivating me when I lack self-motivation! Thank you for pushing me to do and be my best! Thank you for loving and choosing me! Thank you! I’m so blessed and grateful to have you by my side on this journey! Love you!
So grateful to have Steena by my side as I broke 6 hours, crushed goals, and achieved dreams at Ironman Ohio 70.3!! Thank you Steena for being such a strong, motivating, awesome BADASS!!

How was your month of July?! What were you grateful for last month?!

11 weeks ’til #IMLou – race week

Last week was Ironman Ohio 70.3 race week!! I will have a separate post (maybe 2) about the race and race weekend, but here is what the week looked like.

Swim: 6600 yards

Diving into race week!! #IMOhio70point3 is this coming Sunday!!
Today we broke up 7.5 hours of driving with a little #swimlove in a new city!!

Bike: 73 miles

A short brick to alleviate some of the taper crazies!!
Easy spin on the run course with friends!!
Mojo is resting in T1!!

Run: 22.2 miles

A short brick to alleviate some of the taper crazies!!
Pre-race run = done! Time to finish the trip to Ohio and meet up with my Coeur Sports sisters!!
The #sub6orbust is no longer a dream!! Today I turned it into a reality thanks to Steena who ran with me!! This lady is such a strong, positive badass and I’m blessed and grateful to have had her by my side today!!

Strength Training: 10 minutes of core strength almost daily  

Weekly Totals: 10 hours & 37 minutes

Quote of the Week:

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” ~T.S. Eliot

Attitude of Gratitude:

Epsom salt soaks + lavender bubble bath = FTW!!!
Thanks to Nick at Vitality Massage for helping me stay healthy, strong, and race ready!!
Love my summer morning walks with these two!!
So grateful for Kyle at Kyle’s Bikes!! His race day blessing means Mojo is ready to roll!!
Sushi!! Yes!!
What?!?! Ironman Lake Placid 2019…here we come!!
My Coeur runneth over!! I got to meet some of the most inspirational, determined, loving ladies today!! #happycoeur
My name is listed and I’m ready for race day!!
These three ladies hold a special place in my heart!!
Testing out the Normatec Recovery hip recovery system!! Definitely want to add this to my recovery arsenal!!
Grateful to have the support of such an amazing team of ladies!!
This guy!! I don’t even know where to begin!! He is my biggest supporter, favorite person, and rock!! Love him beyond words!!
Steena deserves an additional medal for pushing me into the #sub6club in the last two miles of #IMOhio70point3 on Sunday!! My fave deserves a medal for the best husband, friend, supporter, Sherpa, cheerleader, photographer, and whip cracker (that’s what he’s doing here…chasing me up the hill cracking his whip at me)!! I couldn’t have turned this dream into a reality without them!!
YES!! Sub 6 hours!! #dreambelieveachieve
This medal was definitely earned with a new PR of 5:56:20 for the 70.3 distance!!
Our Air BNB hosts were spectacular!! I’m so grateful for their hospitality, openness, and friendship!!
This lady (and her friend) were two of the most AMAZING volunteers!! So grateful for the volunteers, meeting new people, and the triathlon community!!

How was your week? What were you grateful for last week?! 

What’s Up?! – May 2018

With the end of May came the end of the school year for the students (my last day was yesterday). There were MANY times throughout this year that I didn’t think this day was ever going to come. I’m not going to sugar coat anything…this was my most challenging year ever and I just completed my 14th year teaching. I’m incredibly happy to be facing summer and a much needed break!! Here is a small glimpse of what May had in store for me!!

Training:

Fist pump because I FINALLY went under 1:30/100 yards…even if it was only one time!
“Right now” was pure joy for 50 miles on two wheels with my fave! I was so happy to be outside riding on the open roads!
13 miles as the sun came up over the horizon Wednesday morning!

Swim: 22,953 yards (13 miles)
Bike: 274 miles
Run: 80.3 miles
Monthly Totals: 49 hours & 18 minutes

First triathlon of the season:

In case you missed it, I raced the Kansas City Olympic Distance Triathlon on Mother’s Day. This was a good test to dust off the cobwebs before Ironman Wisconsin 70.3 this coming Sunday. It was a super fun race and I’m very glad I decided to put this in my training plan this year. In case you missed my race recap and want to check it out, click here.

Pre-race with one of my Coeur Sports teammates, Michelle!

Reading:

How Goal Setting and Self-Talk Will Bring Your Success in Triathlon by Seth Rose hit home with me. Let’s face it…I love learning about mindset, mental training, and goal setting, so this article was right up my alley!! So often as athletes, we focus on the outcome goals (achieving a certain time, placing in your age group, etc.). Sometimes this is good, but to really achieve the outcome goals, we need to be focusing on the process goals (getting to the race site early, keeping your hydration and nutrition in check, keeping your heart rate in check, etc.). When things get tough, it is time to pull out the self-talk. “Our confidence is fueled by what we tell ourselves, and ultimately our thoughts have a direct influence on our emotions and actions.” Two of my favorite mantras are, “courage over comfort” and “I am strong. I am tough.” I also tend to ask myself “how bad do you want it?!” multiple times while training and racing. Find a mantra (or 2) that works for you and use it in training and racing!

The One Thing Every Athlete Wants: Confidence by Carrie Cheadle is spot on!! Even the best athlete isn’t 100% confident 100% of the time! One of her favorite quotes struck home with me: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steve Furtick
WOW!!! Truth!!! Most endurance athletes want to “feel” confident, but confidence isn’t simply a feeling, it is also an action! I’m definitely looking forward to part 2 of this blog post to learn ways to increase my own self confidence!! Aren’t you?!?!

Listening to:

The Lost in Transition Podcast Diet Trends, Nutrition Myth Busting and More with Andrea Kendrick, RD is full of valuable information around sport nutrition and everyday nutrition for athletes. As a triathlete, nutrition and mental training are the 4th and 5th disciplines that are often overlooked. Professionals can definitely set you up for success, by helping you feel better + more energetic + recover better after tough sessions!!

Playing:

Sherpa Extraordinaire!! The Iron Hippie raced a local sprint triathlon. It was a brisk morning, but he did awesome!! It was SO much fun to cheer on the athletes, take pics of friends racing, and support my super awesome fave while he got to play!!

Cheering on my fave at the Hickory Grove Triathlon was so much fun!! Cold, but fun!!

Grateful for:

First open water swim of the season! I remained wetsuit hicky free thanks to the #trislide by SBR Sports, Inc.! Get some today using code KEPL18 for 20% off your next order!!
So grateful + blessed to be part of this amazing Coeur Sports team! I have met so many incredible women in sport and am excited to meet even more!! #TeamCoeur2018 #CourageTeam18
So grateful to have my fave as Sherpa/spectator extraordinaire jimmy rigging Mojo for me on race morning so I could safely ride her!!
Thanks Kyle (with Kyle’s Bikes) for fixing up Mojo and making everything right again!! #bestbikemechanic
So grateful my sister-in-law came to visit briefly!
Recovery…the 4th (or is it the 5th) discipline of Ironman training. Thanks to Nick with Vitality Massage for keeping me on track to do what I love!!
So grateful for the hard work my fave has done to get us to the point where we could plant the garden!
How do you probiotic?! So grateful to have Sound Probiotics in my tribe!! #soundathlete #winningtakesguts #nogutsnoglory Get some today using code PUSHMYLIMITS for 10% off your next order!!

How was your month of May?! What is your favorite mantra?! What were you grateful for last month?!