LFG! ⚡️

“If we only take risks that make us most comfortable, we’re likely missing out on some great opportunities.”

~Amy Morin

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race at IRONMAN 70.3 Muncie on Saturday, October 1, 2022! 💙💛

  • I was SO READY to create an experience I had never had before
  • I decided ahead of time that my race plan for Ironman 70.3 Muncie was to “swim my face off, bike my legs off, and hold on for as long as I can on the run” 
  • bike drop off was Friday
  • there was no body marking
  • the water temp was 64.6F on race morning (wetsuit legal race…I wore my Roka Maverick Pro II Wetsuit)
  • this was an age group only race that started at 7:30 am
  • the swim start was self seeded based on expected swim time finish with 3 athletes sent off every 5 seconds
  • the swim was one loop
  • the air temp was 43F on race morning with a high temp of about 65F by the time I was done running
  • It was sunny and windy (about 15 mph)
  • the bike course was an out and back with one section going out and back twice before heading back to transition
  • there was an aid station about every 15 miles on the bike course
  • I created a bike PR by 6 minutes
  • the run course was one out and back with rolling hills
  • there were aid stations on the run nearly every mile with water, gatorade, gels, ice, bananas, grapes, Coke, Red Bull, chips, etc.
  • I created an overall PR by 12 minutes
  • I created a 4th place age group finish, which landed me on the podium for the first time ever at an IRONMAN event ⚡️
4th place podium 📸 Tim Fencl

Longer Version: I GOT to race at IRONMAN 70.3 Muncie on Saturday, October 1, 2022! 💙💛

The alarm went off at 4:00 am. After doing my morning routine, we got some devastating news that made me immediately decide to race for my friend Anne. I texted her and told her I was thinking of her and the family and would be racing for her. She had done the full IM Indiana in 2021 and was grateful I had reached out. We loaded the gear in the car and headed toward the race venue. I ate my smoothie in the car on the way to the venue. We were about a mile away from the race site when we heard a “thud thud, thud thud”…yep the car had a flat tire. It was about 5:15 am and PITCH BLACK outside, so we drove the one mile to the race site and got parked before trying to change the tire. This turned out to work in our favor. After parking, we tried to get the jack out to change the tire, but it wouldn’t budge…at all. It had never been removed from the car, so we didn’t realize that it had somehow expanded in the compartment where it is stored. Thankfully there were some really nice guys parked a few cars away from us who were there as spectators and had absolutely everything imaginable to help us out. We had the tire changed, everything cleaned up, and were walking to the transition area by 6 am. Through all of this, I remained calm, collected, and focused…I did not allow these circumstances to hijack my brain. This was not going to negatively impact my race. Bonus…we have a full size tire as a spare, so we could drive back to Iowa without having to get it checked out in Indiana.

So grateful for help changing our flat tire on race morning before the race even started!

When I got into transition, I set up my area with all of my bike and run gear. Since it was a very chilly morning (43F with the high expected to be around 70F after I’d finish the race), I knew I would need gloves on the bike and possibly arm warmers, so I got them ready and added them to my bike gear. (PRO TIP: If you are going to wear arm warmers, put them on ahead of time and roll them down so you can roll them up your wet arms. It is much easier than trying to tug them on wet arms.) I was racked right next to the kybos and the bike/run exit, so it was super convenient for me to empty my bladder before checking that Mojo’s tires were still full, loading Mojo with my bike bottles, and lubing up her chain. I donned my Roka Maverick Pro II Wetsuit at about 6:45 am (mostly to keep warm), ate my Skratch bar at about 7 am, and exited the transition area to head to the reservoir. I took in a gel at about 7:15 am while I lined up behind the sign for 35-37 minute swim time waiting for the start of the day.

Swim: (42:21 for 1.2 miles at 2:12/100 m average pace…7/29 F45-49, 79/228 F, 384/870 overall)

Plunging into that water was a shock to the face/system…brrrrr!! I eased into the swim by remaining calm, certain, confident, and curious. I focused on my strokes + breathing… “1, 2, breathe…1, 2, breathe…1, 2, breathe” until I reached the first buoy where I kicked up the effort. The water was super choppy and there was low fog only on the water’s surface, which made sighting the buoys a bit of a challenge at times. Despite seeing many people pull themselves out of the swim, I kept forging ahead reminding myself that I am here for it and not letting the circumstances of the swim hijack my brain. I kept my effort high while staying focused and present on doing everything I could to make sure I would be so damn proud of myself later in the day. ⚡️

📸 Tim Fencl

T1: (6:24)

It was a little bit of a jog (ahem…about 0.25 miles) from the swim exit to T1, but when I got to Mojo, I quickly removed my wetsuit (which was already down around my waist) while starting to get some peanut butter Oreos down the hatch, I slid my feet into my socks + bike shoes, struggled to get my wet hands into rolled down arm warmers and gloves, donned my helmet + sunnies, grabbed Mojo and exited T1.

Bike: (2:50:59 for 56 miles at 19.71 mph average speed…4/29 F45-49, 26/228 F, 265/870 overall)

I raced in a way I have never raced before. I intentionally planned to focus on my power output instead of going by perceived effort on the bike. In order to “bike my legs off,” I really needed to stay connected to the pedals, stay aero, and monitor my power output, so that is what I set out to do.

I was a bit chilly during those first few miles exiting the park because I was moving into the headwind, while wet with air temps close to 50F, but I immediately settled into my target watts and started warming up. I didn’t look at any other data except my power output all day long. This would prove to be a wise move…focusing only on my effort meant the data wasn’t dictating my day. Oh and those arm warmers I struggled to get on during T1…yeah, that was a waste of time because I never rolled them up my arms. With the sun shining on me, I warmed up quickly and was warm enough without them.

📸 Finisher Pix

When I got to US35, I had the wind mostly at my back. I just kept reminding myself to stay aero, stay connected to the pedals, and that I was racing for Anne. This bike course was super flat, which meant I had to be super conscious of staying on the pedals for the duration of the bike. I made it to the first u-turn on US35 which gave me a slight headwind, but honestly the wind (while sustained at 15 mph) didn’t even bother me. I just kept focusing on my power output knowing that I only had to go about 12 miles before turning around again on US35. I had “Unstoppable” by Sia on repeat in my head with the key words of “unstoppable, powerful, and confident” keeping me going strong. After the second u-turn on US35, I noticed a crash up ahead in my lane. There was one athlete on the ground with his bike way off to the side and he was not moving. Thankfully multiple volunteers + a police officer were assisting him and more emergency personnel were on the way. They directed us over into the other lane, which caused us to have to slow down a bit as we had to ride single file around the crash. I was so grateful for the volunteers, emergency personnel, and the safety of the majority of athletes out on the course. Before the third u-turn, I caught myself starting to ease off the gas a bit, so I had to remind myself that I was out there to hold this effort (power) and that is exactly what I was going to do! I was willing to push so hard on the bike that I might blow up on the run. I remained curious…I wanted to discover where my edge was.

As I made my way back into the park, I was super proud of how I had executed the bike. I stayed on the pedals, stayed aero, monitored my power output for the majority of the bike, and kept my normalized power right in the middle of my target range. I stayed present and focused while making sure my fueling and hydration were on point to set myself up for a successful run. I was so grateful for the cooler temps, my solid mental endurance, and staying safe on the bike. And, I had SO MUCH fun pushing to my edge! All of this allowed me to create a super solid bike split that I’m oh so proud of! Bonus…my normalized power and average power were only separated by 4 watts, indicative of very little coasting which only occurred at turns. Double bonus…I rolled into transition with a shiny new bike split PR by 6 minutes. ⚡️

📸 Finisher Pix

T2: (2:54)

At dismount I saw the Iron Hippie volunteering. He yelled stats at me, but all I heard was “no walking!” I REALLY had to pee, so after putting Mojo back in her spot, changing into my run shoes, and grabbing my race belt, visor, and hand held water bottle, I made a quick stop at the kybo right next to my bike to empty my bladder (boy did I have to pee 🤪). It was time to leave it out there and see where my edge was.

Run: (2:01:45 for 13.1 miles at 9:18/mile average pace…6/29 F45-49, 51/228 F, 343/870 overall)

The run course was one out and back that was super quiet. The only people we saw for all the miles were other athletes racing and volunteers at the aid stations. It was a pretty isolated course with lots of rolling hills.

📸 Finisher Pix

I typically monitor my heart rate while running, but had decided ahead of time that I would not look at any data for the run. I had no idea what my time, heart rate, or pace were…I was there to keep my effort high, hold on for as long as possible, and find my edge. I was at mile 3.5ish when the first female athlete was heading back toward the finish line. I kept reminding myself to stay connected, race for Anne, and lay this brick.

📸 Finisher Pix

I ran my heart out while hydrating and fueling solidly. I stayed connected to my effort, laying one brick at a time while racing for Anne. I was determined to not walk one step, I stayed focused on the mile I was in, and I reminded myself that I have everything I need to succeed. All of this allowed me to create something I’ve never had before! ⚡️

📸 Finisher Pix

Overall: (5:44:22…4/29 F45-49, 32/228 F, 266/870 overall)

As I ran down the red carpet with random strangers cheering for me, I was full of emotions. I had just laid one MASSIVE brick! I had left it all out on the course…my legs were trashed more than they have ever been, my heart was so full that it was overflowing, and my soul was lit up! I had truly raced from start to finish and I was SO F’ING PROUD! I created something I’ve never had before. Icing on the cake…creating a 12 minute PR and a 4th place age group finish landing me on the podium for the FIRST TIME EVER at an IRONMAN race! ⚡️

📸 Finisher Pix

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports sports bra, Coeur Sports aero top, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Maverick Pro II Wetsuit, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Motion running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies, Orange Mud hand held water bottle

this girl is on fire…literally a cooked chic

“This girl is on fire
This girl is on fire
She’s walking on fire
This girl is on fire”

~Alicia Keys

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race Ironman Des Moines on Sunday, June 12! 💙💛

  • I was SO ready to create an experience I had never had before
  • this was a “hometown” race for me (taking place 35 minutes south of our house)
  • this was my first Ironman without my husband (either racing or spectating/supporting)…see this post for more info
  • this is a one transition race with the transition area 2 miles from the finish area
  • ALL gear (bike, bike bag/gear, run bag/gear) was dropped off on Saturday
  • there was no body marking
  • the water temp was 74.9F on race morning (wetsuit legal race…I wore my Roka Maverick Pro II Wetsuit)
  • the pro men started at 5:30 am, the pro women started at 5:37 am, and the age group athletes started at 5:45 am
  • the swim start was self seeded for age group athletes based on expected swim time finish with 5 athletes sent off every 4 seconds
  • the swim was two loops with an Australian exit on each lap
  • there was a lot of pre-race talk about the swim buoys being difficult to see due to swimming directly into the sunrise, but it was a cloudy morning so we weren’t swimming into direct sunlight
  • I created an Ironman swim PR
  • there were wetsuit strippers
  • there were two volunteers in the women’s change tent for T1
  • the bike course was 1 big loop
  • there was cloud cover with a bit of rain and little wind (by Iowa standards) for the first 80 miles of the bike
  • there was a water/aid station about every 15 miles on the bike course
  • I created a solid bike split on this rolling hills course missing a bike PR by 11 minutes
  • there were a couple volunteers to help change in T2
  • the run course was 3 loops
  • the heat + humidity + lack of shade + very little breeze made for a run on the surface of the sun
  • there were aid stations on the run nearly every mile with water, gatorade, gels, ice, bananas, grapes, Coke, Red Bull, chips, etc.
  • they brought chicken broth out after dark on the run (but in my opinion it was WAY TOO HOT OUTSIDE for warm chicken broth)
  • I created an 11th place age group finish, which is my highest Ironman placement yet

Longer Version: I GOT to race Ironman Des Moines on Sunday, June 12 at home in Des Moines, Iowa! 💙💛

The alarm went off at 2:30 am. After letting the dogs out, changing into my race kit, and doing all of my morning rituals I made my way to Des Moines. On the way down, I consumed my breakfast smoothie in the car to get my calories in. I drove to the parking garage closest to the finish line and hopped on one of the first shuttle buses to Water Works Park where transition was. When I got to the transition area, I dropped off my bike special needs bag, put bike and run nutrition in each of my gear bags that I would pick up in T1 and T2, emptied my bladder, checked that Mojo’s tires were still full, loaded Mojo with my bike bottles, lubed up her chain, got some squeezes from some of my Coeur Sports teammates, ate my banana at about 4:45 am, and exited the transition area to head to the lake. When I got to the lake, I dropped off my run special needs and morning clothes bags at the designated drop off areas before donning my Roka Maverick Pro II Wetsuit, and taking in a gel at about 5:15 am. I lined up behind the sign for 1:10-1:20 swim time and as we made our way toward the shore, I saw Dad and Isabella (my niece) so I got quick hugs over the gate, and then found my friend Michelle. It was so great to see her, squeeze her, and chat with her before starting our day.

So awesome to see my Coeur Sports teammate, Venus, on our way into transition.

Swim: (1:14:50 for 2.4 miles at 1:56/100 m average pace…14/28 F45-49, 82/208 F, 402/867 overall)

I eased into the swim by remaining calm, certain, confident, and curious. I focused on my strokes + breathing… “1, 2, breathe…1, 2, breathe…1, 2, breathe” until I reached the first buoy where I kicked up the effort a few notches and found my groove. The water was a bit warm with the wetsuit on, so I found myself pulling the top of my wetsuit open a few times throughout the swim to let some water in to help cool me off. As we swam along the south side of the course, we were supposed to be swimming into direct sunlight due to the sunrise, but gratitude moment: yay for a cloudy morning, so there wasn’t much sun shining in our eyes to make sighting the buoys extra difficult. As we rounded the corner to head to the first Australian exit, the contact with others really started to pick up, but gratitude moment: contact with others in the water doesn’t bother me. I am a strong and confident endurance swimmer. The Australian exit provided a wonderful opportunity to get some extra water in the system (there was an aid station on the peninsula) since we knew the temperature dial would be cranked up later in the day. The second loop there was much less contact, except for the one encounter I had swimming directly into a SUP that was right in the swim path because the water support person wasn’t paying attention…she apologized profusely as I swam away toward the next buoy.

I remained calm, certain, confident, and curious during a full contact swim. I focused on laying one brick at a time while keeping my effort high, which allowed me to create a shiny new swim PR. ⚡️

T1: (10:23)

It was a little bit of a jog (ahem…about 0.5 miles) from the swim exit to T1, but when I got to the change tent with my T1 bag, I quickly started to get my 4 peanut butter Oreos down the hatch, changed into my bike shoes, donned my helmet + sunnies, threw some water down the shoot, and ran to grab Mojo.

Bike: (6:29:13 for 112 miles at 17.4 mph average speed…12/28 F45-49, 73/208 F, 454/867 overall)

The one massive loop bike course gave us the perfect amount of challenge with rolling hills and a bit of a headwind as we returned to transition, but honestly I didn’t even notice the winds as they were relatively calm by Iowa standards.

As I headed out of transition and looped my way through Water Works Park, I settled into the ride making sure to check in with myself physically and mentally to set myself up for a successful ride. I immediately started fueling + hydrating like it was my job…because let’s be honest…with the humidity + heat to come later in the day, it was my job on this day!

Having previously ridden the majority of the course with my friend Michelle, I knew where all of the rough road surfaces, hills, and turns were. Making our way to Redfield, I was focused on fueling every 5 miles, continuously hydrating, and having so much fun! Gratitude moment: yay for the cloud cover and the little bit of rain to help keep us cool for as long as possible.

As we turned south out of Redfield, I knew we had a much longer stretch to the next turn and it might mentally get to people. This is where I really started to focus on remaining in aero, staying connected to my effort, and I magnified the fun factor…singing out loud while riding is a specialty of mine (just maybe don’t ride too close so your hearing isn’t damaged 🤪)!

Turning east to head into Winterset, I could feel that headwind people later complained about just a bit, but it was nothing like what Iowa is typically known for, so I was loving it! Gratitude moment: yay for the clouds still hanging around!

Alright…north to Cummings road. Here we go! Cummings road…this is where the fun begins! 🤪 At about mile 75, my friend Steve whizzed by me and then the clouds started to break up letting the sun start to REALLY warm things up! Yay…there is my Coeur Sports teammate Courtney! You are crushing it girl! Keep going! I made my way up the “big climb” (they are all relative right?!?!), through Norwalk, and onto Army Post Road where the Piedmontese Beef Challenge took place between about miles 98-103. I had zero desire to burn a bunch of matches on this stretch, so I kept my focus on fueling and hydrating like a boss all the way into transition!

I stayed connected to my effort while staying in aero for the majority of the bike. I made sure my fueling and hydration were on point to set myself up for a successful run (because I knew the run was going to be toasty). I was so grateful for the minimal winds, cloud cover, and just the right amount of rolling terrain. And, I had SO MUCH fun! All of this allowed me to create a super solid bike split that I’m oh so proud of! I rolled into transition missing a PR bike split by 11 minutes…this IMDSM course had over 2000 more feet of elevation gain than the course where I hold my current PR bike split (IMArizona). ⚡️

T2: (8:50)

Ryan and Julie were volunteering in T2 when I arrived. Ryan took Mojo from me as I dismounted. I grabbed my T2 bag and made my way into the change tent. As I was changing my socks and spraying my feet with Skin Slick, Michelle came into T2! We chatted as we both changed and made our way out of the tent and toward the start of the run. I made a quick stop to empty my bladder (boy did I have to pee 🤪), chatted with Julie as I ran to the exit, hugged Char, and set out on the run.

Run: (5:50:43 for 26.2 miles at 13:30/mile average pace…15/28 F45-49, 109/208 F, 480/867 overall)

I immediately felt that heat + humidity slap me in the face. My goal was to hold back at the start of the run and keep a solid + strong effort throughout the entire run while only walking through aid stations to ensure proper fueling and hydration. Quickly into the run I knew I needed to change my goal. New goal: to give my best while surviving the run + not needing medical/an ER visit.

The run course was a 3 loop course, which was awesome because we got to see spectators so many times! During the first loop, I kept my pace steady and focused on the mile I was in. I continually asked myself, “how is my effort?” so that I wasn’t pushing too hard early on. I took in my nutrition and hydration as planned. At every aid station, I was pouring water on my head, shoving ice down my bra, and pouring two cups of water down the hatch. I saw many friends on the out and back sections, so getting/giving high fives, thumbs up, cheers, “love ya”, and encouragement kept me going. There were mist arches to run through, fire hydrants spraying water, kids with water guns, and lots of attempts to help cool the athletes, because shade was sparse. The number of athletes I saw laying down at aid stations, sitting on park benches/curbs, and receiving medical help was crazy. Gratitude moment: I’m not one of them. When I got to downtown, I saw one of my high school friends and got to say a quick “hi” while running by. Near the turn around, I saw Dad and Isabella. It was so nice to see family and friends.

At the start of loop #2 I was running when I could and sprinkling in walk breaks to keep the core temp as low as possible. I was constantly checking in with “how is my effort?” to remind myself to not burn too many candles. I continued to hydrate and fuel according to plan which helped me stay strong and determined to finish this race. As I covered more miles, more walking ensued while I stayed connected to laying one brick at a time. I continued to fuel and hydrate as planned and cooling myself down with all of the ice I could get my hands on. During this loop I saw Alex by the lake. He biked next to me briefly and tried to call Tim so I could chat with him, but when Tim didn’t answer I jogged off while Alex stayed by the lake to support others. Getting back downtown, I had the love and support of Dad, Isabella, Laylah (Isabella’s twin sister), and Sarah (my sister) at the turn around. I kept smiling, focusing on laying the brick I was in, and staying connected to giving my best to cross another finish line. Every time I was able to get ice I had a gratitude moment: ahhh…this feels SO good!

Setting out on loop #3 was wonderful! I knew everything I was seeing and experiencing was for the last time and that brought some relief in the almost unbearable conditions (a friend posted that the heat index was still 94F at 6:05 pm…I don’t want to know what it was at 2 pm when I started the run 🤪). I kept fueling and hydrating like a boss and at about mile 18 I really had to pee, so I knew I was doing a good job staying hydrated while running on the surface of the sun. Coming into downtown for the last time was such a welcome sight. Making the turn around the cone but this time heading into the finish shoot instead of out for another loop was even better!

I smartly paced my run while running on the surface of the sun, hydrating and fueling solidly, and staying connected while laying one brick at a time. Smiling from start to finish, soaking up the hometown cheers, and reminding myself that I have everything I need to succeed allowed me to persevere and get to that red carpet! ⚡️

Overall: (13:53:58…11/28 F45-49, 80/208 F, 434/867 overall)

As I ran down the red carpet in my first ever daylight finish with the cheers of family, friends, and random strangers surrounding me, I was full of emotions. I was SO drained, but also SO F’ING PROUD! I executed a solid race that allowed me to cross the finish line of Ironman #9 on an incredibly tough day! Icing on the cake…knowing I had given my best on this day while creating an 11th place age group finish (my highest AG finish placement yet in an Ironman race)! ⚡️

Pure relief and completely drained

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports sports bra, Coeur Sports aero top, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Maverick Pro II Wetsuit, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Motion running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies, Orange Mud hand held water bottle

bumpy ride

“The course doesn’t make it hard, the athlete does.”

~Unknown

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race Tri Clear Lake Olympic distance triathlon Saturday, May 28! 💙💛

  • the air temp at the race start was about ~60*F with mostly clear skies and strong winds (sustained at 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph throughout the race)
  • the water temp was 61F
  • the swim start was a wave start
  • the majority of the road surfaces on the bike course are smooth
  • there was no water/aid station on the bike (as is pretty typical for shorter distance triathlons)
  • there were four self-serve aid stations on the run (volunteers were filling cups, but not handing them out)
  • volunteers took our timing chips off of us after we crossed the finish line and put medals around our necks
  • there were little insulated bags with deli sandwiches and chips for each athlete
  • there were individually wrapped cookies to select from for each athlete
  • there was plenty of beverage options (water, different flavors of soda, chocolate milk, and beer)
  • there were lots of door prizes that were given away
  • spoiler alert:
I GOT to play at Tri Clear Lake and do a little speed work in the midst of IRONMAN training. I’m SO DAMN PROUD of my effort, my execution, and my mental endurance.

2 weeks to IMDSM #LFG ⚡️

Longer Version: With the strong winds, I knew this was going to be a bumpy ride, but I was so stoked to play and test my fitness in an Olympic distance triathlon on Saturday, May 28! We parked about 2 blocks from the transition area, which was super convenient. We walked to packet pick-up (by transition), got checked-in, picked up our timing chips, then walked back to the car to get all of the stickers on the bikes + helmets and headed to transition for body marking and to set up our spots.

Choppy + Cold water = LFG!

As we were setting up our transition area, they made the announcement that the water temp was 61*F and that it was only one degree warmer than wetsuit mandatory, so wetsuits were STRONGLY encouraged. After setting up my transition area, chatting with the USAT official (whom we’ve gotten to know from doing/directing local races), doing the neoprene shimmy in my Roka wetsuit, and taking in a gel, I was ready for a practice swim. Easing my way out into the water from the beach was a bit shocking, but not nearly as shocking as putting my face in the water. Hello brain freeze! I did a few bobs in the water to get my face and brain use to the cold water. I swam almost completely out to the first buoy as the water was pretty choppy and I wanted to make sure sighting and breathing wouldn’t be much of an issue with the rough waters. I found my Coeur Sports sisters, Jess and Char, and we made our way over to the start area after listening to the National Anthem and pre-race announcements.

Chatting with the USAT official pre-race

Swim: (27:52 for “1500 m” at 1:51/100 m average pace…2/5 F45-49, 12/47 F, 66/162 overall)

I lined up at the front of our swim wave because that’s where I belong. As previously mentioned, the water temp was 61F with serious chop due to the strong winds, but that didn’t stop me from having an amazing swim! I swam a straight line, I remained strong, confident, and certain in the water, and put out a solid effort. ⚡️ Oh…and I put 1500 m in quotation marks above, because this was the advertised race distance, but I think the buoys may have been blown in closer to shore making the distance closer to 1200 m as this is what multiple people reported their Garmin recorded (mine recorded 1318 yards).

Let’s get this party started!

T1: (2:47…2/5 F45-49, 15/47 F, 60/162 overall)

As I exited the swim, the boat ramp was VERY slick with algae growing on it, so I cautiously walked up out of the water until my feet hit dry ground. I got my wetsuit off just below my hips and removed my goggles + swim cap as I was running to my transition spot so that when I arrived to my bike, I could quickly get my legs out of my wetsuit. As I was putting on my socks + bike shoes, I realized I had forgotten to take my Roka sunnies out of my transition bag, so I wasted a few seconds digging for them. I donned my helmet and Roka sunnies, grabbed Mojo, and off we went!

Bike: (1:16:24 for 24.8 miles at 19.5 mph average speed…1/5 F45-49, 5/47 F, 56/162 overall)

After crossing the mount line and getting on Mojo, we cruised our way out of town (with some turns here and turns there). This course was a relatively flat course, so I just put the hammer down and went. I didn’t look at my power output/speed/cadence at all during this ride. I was so grateful to be racing that I only focused on playing and having fun. As I played chase trying to catch different people in front of me, I kept asking myself if I could go just a little bit harder in that moment. Racing from a place of gratitude and fun removed all of the pressure, which set me up for success as I cruised into T2.

HOLD ON! This is going to be a bumpy ride (thanks to the STRONG winds)!

The bike was amazing! Yes, I was nearly blown off the road multiple times (hello 30 mph winds with gusts up to 40 mph), but staying aero, strong, and confident allowed me to have the fastest bike split in my AG. ⚡️

Cruising into T2 with focus, determination, and a new bike split PR for the Oly distance!

T2: (1:27…1/5 F45-49, 7/47 F, 29/162 overall)

I quickly racked Mojo, changed into my running shoes, grabbed my visor + race belt, and put these on while running out of T2.

Run: (49:16 for “6.2 miles” at 7:57/mile average pace…2/5 F45-49, 8/47 F, 60/162 overall)

This run was ~1.5 miles out and back that Olympic distance athletes got to do twice. It was fun to see other athletes and cheer them on. During the run, I continued to race from a place of fun + gratitude. I kept asking myself if I could go just a little bit harder. I spotted Mark (someone I typically see at the pool at least once a week) and had the goal of keeping him in my sights. Just after the 1/2 way point, I passed him. With about a half mile to go, he passed me back and I just focused on keeping up with him and staying strong through the finish. Oh…and I put 6.2 miles in quotation marks above, because this was the advertised race distance, but I think the turn around may have been inaccurately located as multiple people reported their Garmin recorded closer to 5.9 miles.

Don’t lose Mark!

That wind on the bike felt amazing on the run! I remained strong, confident, and present in the mile I was in while chasing down one athlete after another all the way to the finish line! ⚡️

Overall: (2:37:46…2/5 F45-49, 7/47 F, 49/162 overall)

Testing my fitness by doing an Olympic distance triathlon at the culmination of peak Ironman training was AMAZING! I’m SO DAMN PROUD of my effort, execution, and mental endurance! Taking 2nd place in my AG, setting a new bike split PR, run split PR, and overall PR for the Oly distance (previous was 2:49:04) was icing on the cake! #LFG ⚡️

Who’s ready to quadruple this in 2 weeks?!

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports triathlon aero top, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Women’s Maverick X Wetsuit, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Gravity running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies

the best of 2021

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 8 years and now it’s time to reflect on 2021! You can look back at my previous posts if you’d like: the Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, the Best of 2015, the Best of 2016, the Best of 2017, the Best of 2018, the Best of 2019, and the Best of 2020. Now its time to reminisce my favs from 2021! 🙂

Best race experience?

The Ironman 70.3 World Championship isn’t the “best race experience” because it was easy and everything went according to plan on race day (wait…does that ever happen?!). Nope! It was the “best race experience” because it challenged me in ways I’ve NEVER been challenged before. The challenging terrain + Mother Nature’s crazy attitude forced us to “rise to it” on race day like I’ve never had to do before. It was definitely a race to remember! If you missed the recap of this epic race, this is one you definitely want to catch up on! Here is the link. Sit back and enjoy what can only be described as crazy! ***Secretly I want to do it all again with the same conditions, on the same course. 🤪

📸 Finisher Pix

Best race performance?

I was  R E A D Y  for Ironman Arizona! I was  R E A D Y  to toe the start line. I was  R E A D Y  to challenge myself. I was  R E A D Y  to put it all together and create a performance I had never had before. And that is
E X A C T L Y  what I did! I created an experience I’ve never had and it was  A M A Z I N G! I had an overall PR of 52 minutes, finishing in 12:44:56. #LFG
⚡️⚡️⚡️

Sure, this was my best Ironman performance physically, but it was also my best Ironman performance from my mental endurance performance and that is what I’m the most damn proud of! ⚡️⚡️⚡️

I was SO DAMN PROUD to have created a shiny new PR by 52 minutes! ⚡️

I’m grateful for the privilege to race, for the privilege to challenge myself in new ways, for the privilege to run down another red carpet, and for the privilege to cross another finish line! ⚡️⚡️⚡️

Best run?

The Drake 1/2 Marathon was one where I completely pushed myself out of my comfort zone and RACED! I had no idea if this would be my last race of the year (hello Covid) and I was not going to leave anything out on the course just in case things went backwards. Crossing that finish line brought tears to my eyes! Full race recap here.

Squeee!! I GOT to cross a start line and a finish line of an IRL race!!

Best bike?

I had a lot of great bike rides this year, but the ones that speak to me as being the “best” from 2021 were the last two century+ bike rides that I did in preparation for IMAZ. The temps had dropped, the winds were high, and I had to bundle up in all of the gear to stay warm. I almost took these rides to the trainer, but I’m SO glad I opted to ride outside instead. These rides gave me a great mental boost (as well as physical boost) going into Ironman Arizona!


Decide…I decided 100+ miles on the bike (+ 1 hour run off the bike) was going to be AMAZING! I was determined to keep a positive attitude, be gritty, and to persevere! I wasn’t going to let Mother Nature win. She tried to push me around a bit (hello wind), but I won this round!

I GET to do this! So much gratitude for the strength of my body + mind, the support from my #1, my safety on the open roads, the beautiful fall day, and the gorgeous fall foliage.

Best swim?

We FINALLY made it home home to visit my parents last summer (it had been nearly 2 years since we were last home…hello Covid). Thank you vaccines! When we were home, Dad drove the boat beside us (on more than one occasion) so we could swim a 5K in West Okoboji Lake. Getting to swim in the open water, see the bottom of the lake while swimming (because the water is so clear), and having my #1 beside me was amazing! Having Dad’s support was icing on the cake!

Seize the opportunity!

Best finish line?

Twin Lakes Sprint Triathlon when I took the overall female win! I never imagined myself breaking the tape at any race. I’m sooo thrilled to have had such an awesome experience! Here is the link for my race recap.

GETTING to break the tape as I take 1st overall female! ⚡️⚡️⚡️

Best surprise?

Getting a roll down slot to Ironman 70.3 World Championships in St. George, Utah was the best surprise of the year! I was shocked when I got the email that I had earned a roll down slot from racing Ironman 70.3 Des Moines. I had a great race in Des Moines in spite of the nearly 3 hour weather delay + shortened bike, but my performance didn’t put me in the top 14 in my age group (which is how many slots were awarded), so I didn’t expect to get a slot. Thankfully some ladies who were faster than me had either already qualified at a different race or didn’t want to go to Worlds, so I got a slot and it was quite the epic adventure!

WUT?! I got a roll down slot to Ironman 70.3 World Championships! #soexcited

Best mental endurance compass?

I had the AMAZING opportunity and pleasure to work with Vanessa Faye Foerster for 24 weeks this year. She teaches athletes how to build mental endurance by “dropping the self doubt + fueling the self confidence.” The journey she helped me create this year was challenging, enlightening, fun, and worth every penny! What I have learned has not only boosted my racing performance, but it has also elevated my personal life. I am so grateful for her guidance to push me out of my comfort zone to level up into the zone where I cultivate the life I want to live. #LFG ⚡️

This amazing, beautiful human helped me transform my self belief from superficial belief to belief down to my core. ⚡️ THANK YOU VANESSA! ❤️

Best enCOEURaging moment?

The Ames Triathlon was back in action this year after a year off (thank you Covid). What a great race! It is so fun to see people achieve their goals and do things they once thought were impossible. If you want to experience the Ames Triathlon for yourself, come to Ames in June 2022! You won’t be disappointed!

Who’s ready to race?! We are ready to get this party started! Photo credit: Dave Mable

Best new gear?

The Coeur Sports Wind Vest has been AMAZING for getting outside and riding on those chilly fall days! Signing up for an Ironman that took place in November meant I had to bundle up to get my 100 mile rides done outside…because let’s be honest…riding 100 miles in the basement is definitely not as much fun as riding outside!

110+ miles is a long time to be in your own head. Good thing I know the words to a lot of songs or make up my own words and can sing at the top of my lungs because Mother Nature doesn’t care what I sound like! 🤣🤪

Seriously though…this wind vest is AMAZING! It kept me warm while allowing me to carry all the nutrition, and has reflective strips on it for better visibility.

Best way to stay healthy?

Get vaccinated! The end (no comments on this necessary…I will delete them).

I’m boosted! #getvaccinated (not up for debate…I’ll delete your comments)

Best piece of racing advice you received?

“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 in her book “Swimming to Antarctica”

Most inspirational athlete?

Chris Nikic crossed the Ironman Florida finish line in November of 2020 becoming the first person with Down Syndrome to become an Ironman. He believes you can achieve more by creating a habit to get 1% better than you were yesterday. He has since crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon. He is gearing up for the Ironman World Championships in Kona in 2022, so let’s all cheer him on!

Best support crew?

I am so damn lucky to have the amazing support of my #1! He has supported me not only on race day(s), but day in and day out throughout my entire journey. I am forever grateful to have him on this journey with me. ❤️ you!

My #1! SO grateful for you! ❤️ you!

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

PROUD + gratitude + fun + joy

Tell me about your 2021 year!! What are your “bests” from 2021?!

ready + create

“You are READY, trust the work you have done!”

~Ironman Arizona Team

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race Ironman Arizona on Sunday, November 21! 💙💛

  • I was SO ready to create an experience I had never had before, and that is EXACTLY what I did!
  • this is a one transition race
  • ALL gear (bike, bike bag/gear, run bag/gear) was dropped off on Friday
  • the water temp was 64.2F on race morning (wetsuit legal race…I wore my Roka Maverick Pro II Wetsuit)
  • there were no pro athletes at this race, so age group athletes started at 6:45 am
  • the swim start was a self seeded based on expected swim time finish with 5 athletes sent off every 4 seconds
  • the swim was one big loop with very choppy water, but I focused on my effort
  • there was a lot of talk about the swim buoys being difficult to see due to swimming directly into the sunrise, but it was a cloudy morning so we weren’t swimming into direct sunlight
  • I created an Ironman swim PR
  • there were wetsuit strippers
  • there were a few volunteers to help change in T1
  • the bike course was 3 loops
  • there was a strong headwind climbing out of town on the Beeline Highway to the turnaround, which meant an amazing tailwind on the descent to town
  • there were three water/aid stations on each loop of the bike course
  • I created an Ironman bike PR
  • there were a few volunteers to help change in T2
  • the run course was 3 loops
  • there were aid stations on the run nearly every mile with water, gatorade, gels, ice, bananas, grapes, Coke, Red Bull, etc.
  • they brought chicken broth out during my last loop in the run
  • I missed an Ironman run PR by less than 6 minutes
  • I created a 52 minute overall Ironman PR
I was R E A D Y to toe the start line. I was R E A D Y to challenge myself. I was R E A D Y to put it all together and create a performance I had never had before. And that is E X A C T L Y what I did! I created an experience I’ve never had and it was A M A Z I N G! I had an overall PR of 52 minutes, finishing in 12:44:56. #LFG ⚡️⚡️⚡️

I’m grateful for the privilege to race, for the privilege to challenge myself in new ways, for the privilege to run down another red carpet, and for the privilege to cross another finish line!

Longer Version: I GOT to race Ironman Arizona on Sunday, November 21 in Tempe, Arizona! 💙💛

The alarm went off at 3:30 am. After doing all of my morning rituals and consuming my breakfast smoothie, we made our way to the transition area (we drove to the parking garage closest to transition). There was an amazing spectator willing to tote all of my stuff to transition for me in his wagon so that I didn’t have to carry it from the parking garage to transition. Thank you random stranger! When I got to the transition area, it wasn’t open quite yet, so I walked my run special needs and bike special needs bags over to the designated drop off area before making my way back to the transition area. I put bike and run nutrition in each of my gear bags that I would pick up in T1 and T2, emptied my bladder, aired up Mojo’s tires, loaded Mojo with my bike bottles, lubed up her chain, helped a friend from back home do the same to his bike, squeezed another friend from back home, and exited the transition area. I got love from random puppies, ate my Skratch bar at 5:45, donned my Roka Maverick Pro II Wetsuit, took in a gel at 6:15, and made my way to the swim start. As I lined up behind the sign for 1:15-1:20 swim time, I found my friend Lil. It was so great to see her, squeeze her, and chat with her before starting our day.

Swim: (1:16:14 for 2.4 miles at 1:58/100 m average pace…22/89 F40-44, 100/480 F, 510/1928 overall)

I eased into the swim by remaining calm and focused on my strokes + breathing… “1, 2, breathe…1, 2, breathe…1, 2, breathe.” At the first turn buoy I kicked the effort up a few notches and found my groove. The water was a bit choppy, but gratitude moment: thankfully choppy water isn’t a problem for me. As we swam along the back of the course, we were supposed to be swimming into direct sunlight due to the sunrise, but gratitude moment: yay for a pretty cloudy morning, so there wasn’t much sun shining in our eyes to make sighting the buoys extra difficult. I spent the majority of the swim staying in the moment, playing chase, having fun, and focusing on my effort. My effort was right where I wanted it to be, which allowed me to create a swim PR! ⚡️

Who had fun during that swim?! THIS GIRL!!! ⚡️
📸 credit: Finisher Pix

T1: (8:13)

It was a little bit of a jog from the swim exit to T1, but when I got to the change tent with my T1 bag, I quickly started to get my 4 peanut butter Oreos down the hatch, changed into my bike shoes, donned my helmet + sunnies, and ran to grab Mojo.

Oh yeah! I created that swim PR! ⚡️
📸 credit: Erika or my #1 (I don’t really know who snapped this one)

Bike: (6:18:11 for 112 miles at 17.8 mph average speed…23/89 F40-44, 116/480 F, 739/1928 overall)

The three loop bike course gave us the perfect amount of challenge + fun! We got the challenge of climbing into the headwind on the way out of town, but once we reached the turn around, we got to rocket back to town thanks to the descent and tailwind…SO FUN!

During the first loop, I settled into the ride while taking in all of the scenery, noticing landmarks I could use to get me through the 18+ mile stretch to the turnaround, and fueling + hydrating like it was my job…because let’s be honest…it was my job on this day! Cheers to and from Vanessa as we went in opposite directions! Once I made it to the turnaround on the first loop, I had so much fun rocketing back to town. Sure, the road surfaces were a little bumpy, but the descent + tailwind were AMAZING!!

In my element + taking it all in! ⚡️
📸 credit: Finisher Pix

As I cruised back into town, I saw Dad and Aunt Patty out on the bike course. They convinced a group of random strangers to cheer for me. It was a great boost of energy in that moment! At the turnaround in town, I was greeted by cheers from my #1, my good friend Erika, and OJ. So much gratitude for my support crew!

Getting some cheers from OJ! ⚡️
📸 credit: my #1

Here we go…lap two! Wait a minute…where did this wind come from? I thought the winds were supposed to be less than 10 mph all day…that’s clearly not the case. Oh well…gratitude moment: good thing I’ve done this before and train in headwind all the time in Iowa! This is my kind of challenge! As I got to the Beeline Highway, I focused on getting to the next landmark to get me to the turnaround (it’s only 4 miles to the Gilbert Road, it’s only 4 miles to the mountain, it’s only 2 miles to the turnaround). I played chase and commented to other athletes I passed (and athletes who passed me), “it’s a good thing there isn’t any headwind today!” They didn’t think I was funny. 🤪 I sang songs out loud: “I feel good,” “Life is a highway,” “This girl is on fire,” and “I won’t back down”…sorry to those athletes who heard me and wondered where that screeching was coming from! 🤪 Cheers to and from Leslie as we were going in opposite directions…I’m going to try and catch her! And just like that, we were at the turnaround! Cheers to Lil as we were going in opposite directions. Gratitude moment: AWWWW YEAH! That tailwind + descent is AWESOME! LFG! ⚡️

I saw Dad and Patty on my way back into town and then saw my #1, Erika, and OJ at the turnaround in town, but this time they were joined by our good friends Jeff and Deb. Oh the cheers! Thanks support crew!

LFG! ⚡️
📸 credit: Finisher Pix

Here we go…last lap! I caught up with Leslie on my way out to the Beeline Highway. We chatted for a bit and then we each continued on our separate ways to the turnaround. The wind hadn’t died down, so I again focused on making it to one landmark at a time while singing, smiling, and enjoying every minute of this ride. As I rounded the cone at the turnaround, I thanked the volunteers and put the hammer down all the way back to town. Oh…and that last loop was faster than loop #2. BOOM! ⚡️

I spent the majority of the bike staying in the moment, playing chase, and focusing on my effort. My effort and focus were right where I wanted them to be. I rolled into transition creating a bike PR by almost 30 minutes. ⚡️

I had SO MUCH FUN on this bike course! ⚡️
📸 credit: Finisher Pix

T2: (4:59)

An amazing volunteer took Mojo from me as I dismounted. I grabbed my T2 bag and made my way into the change tent. As I was changing my shoes, the Women’s Change Captain was talking to me saying how I looked familiar. I told her I was the Women’s Change Captain at Ironman Wisconsin and we worked together this year as she was a co-captain for gear bags in Wisconsin. I thanked Joanna as she took my bag while I set out for the run, but not before a quick stop to empty my bladder (boy did I have to pee 🤪).

Here we go! Time to run!
📸 credit: my #1

Run: (4:57:21 for 26.2 miles at 11:21/mile average pace…30/89 F40-44, 163/480 F, 734/1928 overall)

My goal was to hold back at the start of the run and keep a solid + strong effort throughout the entire run while only walking through aid stations to ensure proper fueling and hydration. In all of my Ironman races in the past, I have started out too fast causing lots of walking in later parts of the marathon. This time I wanted to make sure I wasn’t burning too many candles at the start of my run so that I had candles to burn in the later parts of the marathon. I saw my #1 and Erika immediately after I exited transition and set out on the run. They let me know I had a massive PR on the bike and asked how I was feeling for the run. And guess what?! I was feeling AMAZING!! This is what I had trained for! This is where the fun begins!

Running strong and feeling good! ⚡️
📸 credit: Finisher Pix

The run course was also a 3 loop course, which was awesome because we got to see spectators so many times! During the first loop, I kept my pace steady and focused on the mile I was in. I continually asked myself, “how is my effort?” so that I wasn’t pushing too hard early on. I took in my nutrition and hydration as planned. I saw Dad and Patty at about mile 3 and then saw my #1 and Erika between miles 5 and 6 twice. As I made my way to mile 7, I felt my stomach gurgling, so I made a quick Kybo stop to 💩 and headed on my way back around the lake to start loop #2.

Gratitude moment: my first two loops of the run were before the sun went down! ⚡️
📸 credit: Finisher Pix

As I made it back to the transition area to start loop 2, I again saw my #1 and Erika. They cheered me on and gave me updates for where I was against my competitors. I was still feeling really good and keeping a steady pace. My stomach felt extremely full; I kind of wanted to vomit so that I wouldn’t have a sloshy stomach, but apparently my body wanted to hold on to all that liquid. At about mile 10.5, I saw OJ for the first time and she was FULL of cheers! She asked how I was doing and I told her I was keeping a steady pace + constantly checking in with “how is my effort?” to remind myself to not burn too many candles. I continued to hydrate and fuel according to plan which helped me stay strong and energized. I saw Dad and Patty again at about mile 12 and then crossed over to the other side of Tempe Town Lake where OJ was like “Where’s Waldo” out on the course. She had her bike, so she was able to bounce all over the place cheering me on and keeping me motivated. I again saw my #1 and Erika around mile 14 and then saw OJ again before heading back around to the other side of the lake to start loop #3.

Surprise! OJ found me! 🤪
📸 credit: OJ

I saw my #1 and Erika near the transition area. They asked how I was feeling (the answer…GREAT!) and told me they would see me at the finish as they were going to get my bike + gear and take it to the car so we wouldn’t have to do it after the race. I thanked them and powered on. OJ continued to bounce around the course cheering me on, which I really appreciated. At about mile 18, my body decided it was done with gels, so I switched to eating grapes at the aid stations. I still had plenty of energy and was feeling strong, just couldn’t choke down one more gel. As I made my way to the other side of the lake for the last time, I was surprised to see my #1 and Erika at about mile 23. Tim told me he would give me an update on where I was against my competitors when I crossed the timing mat and came back to them, but I told him I didn’t want one. I was in such a good mental space that I didn’t want to fracture that in any way by adding pressure to myself knowing where I was against other women in my age group. I just wanted to continue to love this race and enjoy every moment of it!

Creating the day of my dreams! ⚡️
📸 credit: Finisher Pix

I was overcome with gratitude for having such an amazing race from start to finish as I made my way back around the lake toward the finish line! For the first time ever, I executed my run goal perfectly! I had SO much support out on the run course, which made it extremely easy to stay in the present mile and tick off each mile one at a time. While my pace slowed a bit during the 2nd and 3rd loops, my effort was still as high as it had been throughout the swim and the bike. I created a run performance I had only dreamed of and finished just about 6 minutes short of a run PR. ⚡️

Overall: (12:44:56…23/89 F40-44, 117/480 F, 622/1928 overall)

Lots of emotions! ⚡️
📸 credit: Finisher Pix

As I ran down the red carpet into the spotlights with the cheers of family, friends, and random strangers surrounding me, I was full of emotions. I had created a race experience that fell together like nothing I had experienced before and it was MAGICAL! I had created the race experience of my dreams! I was SO F’ING PROUD as I crossed that finish line in 12:44:56 creating a shiny new PR by 52 minutes! ⚡️

I was SO DAMN PROUD to have created a shiny new PR by 52 minutes! ⚡️
📸 credit: Finisher Pix

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports sports bra, Coeur Sports aero top, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Maverick Pro II Wetsuit, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies, Orange Mud hand held water bottle

rise to it

“The land of endurance is calling – rise to it.”

~Ironman 70.3 World Championship marketing

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race Ironman 70.3 World Championships on Saturday, September 18! 💙💛

  • I had the will to try and the belief it was possible so I got to achieve my dreams by racing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships
  • this is a two transition race
  • ALL gear (bike, bike bag/gear, run bag/gear) was dropped off on Friday
  • shuttle buses shuttled all athletes and spectators out to Sand Hollow Reservoir on race morning
  • the water temp was 78.3F (non-wetsuit race…I wore my Roka swimskin)
  • the pro men, pro women, and para athletes started first, followed by all of the age group men by age group waves, and then the age group women by age group waves
  • I was in the first women’s wave and started that started at 8:58 am MT
  • the swim start was a self seeded within our age group 10 athletes sent off every 15 seconds
  • the swim was the beautiful and the calm before the storm…quite literally
  • there were no volunteers to help change in T1
  • you had to put all of your stuff in your T1 bag and give it to a volunteer so your gear would be transported to T2
  • the bike was interesting…lightening, dust storm, hail, rain, wind (gusting up to 40 mph), cloudy, torrential downpour
  • there were four water/aid stations on the bike
  • there were no volunteers to help change in T2
  • the sun came out on the run and got HOT AF…we were in the desert after all
  • there were aid stations on the run nearly every mile with water, gatorade, gels, ice, bananas, oranges, Coke, Red Bull, etc.
  • there was a buffet line with pizza or a chicken salad, chips, bananas, and a few beverage options

Longer Version: I GOT to race Ironman 70.3 World Championships on Saturday, September 18 in St. George, Utah! 💙💛

Reminders for the day!

We got on a shuttle at about 6:45 am from near the finish area to Sand Hollow Reservoir. Once we arrived at the Reservoir, I had plenty of time to go potty, get my tires aired up, and my bike bottles on Mojo. I helped a fellow Coeur Sports sister air up her tires and then consumed some extra calories while waiting for my swim wave. At about 8:10 am, I noticed our swim sign was moving toward the front of the swim line, so I put my Roka swimskin on and made my way into the starting coral with the other F40-44 athletes. I was a bit worried as I didn’t see Steena, but knew that our wave was moving, so I needed to move also. Eventually Steena made her way to me and we chatted while we waited for our swim wave to actually start the swim. We commented that it was a bit warm standing in the sun waiting…hind sight is 20/20 for what was to come! 😜

Swim: (42:36 for 1.2 miles at 2:12/100 m average pace…146/225 F40-44, 789/1254 F, 2434/3441 overall)

I entered the water on the far left, instead of along the buoy line. As I dived into the water, I immediately thought, “WOW! This water is clear and cool!” It wasn’t actually as cool as I prefer, but it felt cool after standing in the sun waiting to start the swim. I found my rhythm and made my way toward the line of buoys by the 5th buoy. There wasn’t much contact (if any) as I swam past slower swimmers in front of me. When I turned to breathe, I soaked in the absolutely gorgeous views. When I rounded the first turn buoy, I started passing slower athletes in different colored swim caps from the waves before me. I made my way through the swim arch (timing device), rounded turn buoy #2, and headed for the shore. With about 500 meters to go, I started getting passed by faster athletes in swim waves behind me. I tried to jump on the feet of a few of them to get as much free speed as possible, but they were much faster and I was unable to stick with them. I felt strong + solid during the swim giving my best on this day! “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

📸 Finisher Pix

T1: (5:38)

As I exited the water, I noticed the black sky off in the distance and said, “Oh shit!” I got my swimskin off just below my hips, removed my goggles + swim cap, and ran to my gear bag. I quickly stripped off my swimskin, put on my socks + bike shoes, stuffed all my swim gear in my bag, grabbed my helmet and sunnies and started running to meet Mojo at her spot. I dropped my gear bag off to some wonderful volunteers and donned my helmet and sunnies as I ran to get Mojo. I quickly grabbed Mojo, and ran a REALLY long way to the bike exit. Once at the mount line, we were off!

I may have drank too much water during the swim. 🤪
📸 John Cirves

Bike: (3:39:25 for 56 miles at 15.3 mph average speed…200/225 F40-44, 1142/1254 F, 3290/3441 overall)

I was excited to get on the bike and rise to the challenge that the Ironman 70.3 St. George terrain would provide. It is notoriously hilly including a 4 mile climb up Snow Canyon National Park at mile 40ish of the 56 mile bike course, but I was excited for the challenge! “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

At about mile 6, I noticed lightening off in the distance + those black skies getting closer and closer to me. I thought, “Oh no! That’s not good! What is going to happen to those poor ladies in the water swimming right now?!” I put my head down and pushed on reminding myself that I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships! At about mile 8, the winds picked up out of no where blowing tumble weeds across the road and creating a big dust storm. The next thing I knew, ladies in front of me were getting blown right off the road on their bikes into the ditch. I held on to Mojo for dear life and continued to move forward. “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

📸 Finisher Pix

At about mile 10, the rain + hail started and the winds weren’t letting up. I laughed a bit, as I remembered the slogan for this race was “rise to it” and Mother Nature was giving us a bit more to rise to. I was a bit nervous about the speed with which other athletes were flying past me in aero on these slick roads with the wind blowing us sideways, but I kept focusing on myself and what I could control as I pushed on. My biceps, triceps, and forearms were SO tired and sore from the death grip I was giving Mojo. “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

Eventually Mother Nature adjusted her attitude a bit to give us a temporary break before I started climbing Snow Canyon. While climbing the 4 miles up Snow Canyon, I just kept soaking up the views! It was so gorgeous! I anticipated the climb up Snow Canyon to be more challenging than it actually was. The whole climb, I just kept repeating… “Rise to it! I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!” When I crested the top of Snow Canyon, I knew I could have pushed a little harder up that climb, so I decided to really hammer on the 8% descent back into town and to transition. “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

📸 Finisher Pix

With about 2 miles to go, Mother Nature threw another challenge our way. She turned the faucet on full speed creating a torrential downpour. I couldn’t see much of anything, so all I could do was laugh out loud and ask, “What is next?!” as I wheeled into transition. “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

📸 The Iron Hippie

T2: (3:22)

I was SOOOOO glad to be on two feet! Just getting through that bike in one piece was a HUGE WIN! I handed Mojo off to an amazing volunteer who put her in her new spot in T2. I grabbed my gear bag + took off my helmet on my way to the changing area. During this time, the torrential downpour quit and a nice steady rain persisted. I quickly took off my shoes and socks…I was SO grateful I put a dry pair of socks in my run bag. I pulled my visor, race belt, and handheld water bottle out of my gear bag, then shoved my helmet bike shoes, and soaked socks in the bag. I handed my gear bag off to a wonderful volunteer who took it to be with Mojo and put my race belt + visor on while running out of T2.

📸 The Iron Hippie

Run: (2:19:54 for 13.1 miles at 10:50/mile average pace…179/225 F40-44, 955/1254 F, 3010/3441 overall)

📸 Finisher Pix

As I exited T2, the Iron Hippie told me I was 6 minutes down from Laura (a friend of mine from back home that I often see at the races). After looking at the run profile, I knew the first 4 miles of the run would be a continuous climb, so I settled in…hello glutes and hammies! By about mile 2 the skies opened up and the sun came out in full force and got HOT AF…welcome to the desert! This is what I had trained for…full sun + heat! “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

📸 Finisher Pix

I focused on monitoring my HR for the duration of the run. When it jumped above 160 bpm, I would take a short walk break until it fell back below 140 bpm. When I got to mile 4, I was feeling strong and ready for the descent back into town. I had no idea just how steep of a descent it would be…hello quad burner! “I GET to race in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!”

📸 The Iron Hippie

As I made my way to the roundabout for lap two, the Iron Hippie updated me that I was now 3 minutes behind Laura and that I could totally catch her. I felt so strong heading into that second lap, so I knew I could catch her. I continued monitoring my HR following my run/walk strategy, which worked beautifully because at about mile 9, I finally caught up with Laura. I walked with her for a minute so we could chat. I told her to finish strong and continued on. At about mile 10.5 I quit monitoring my HR and left it all out there pushing myself to the limit all the way to the finish line.

📸 Finisher Pix

Overall: (6:50:54…192/225 F40-44, 1051/1254 F, 3148/3441 overall)

📸 Finisher Pix

This race was a celebration! I was so grateful to be racing on the Ironman 70.3 World stage with some of the best athletes in the world. This race challenged me in SO many ways forcing me to “rise to it!” I am beginning to learn that I am strongest when given the most challenging circumstances…hello IMLou 2018 AND I preform my best when I remove internal pressure + expectations while focusing on the present moment. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! I am beyond grateful that my body + mind showed up to play at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships! Oh…and when can we do this again (with the EXACT same conditions)?! 😜

📸 Finisher Pix

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports sports bra, Coeur Sports aero top, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Viper x2 Short Sleeve Swimskin, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies, Orange Mud hand held water bottle

“if you are an Olympian go around me”

“If you are an Olympian, go around me.”

~volunteer on the run course

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race the Bluff Creek Olympic-distance Triathlon on Sunday, August 15, 2021! 💙💛

  • this is a small local race
  • parking is about 1/2 mile from transition
  • the air temp was in the low 60s by race start, sunny, very low humidity, and very little wind
  • the water temp was ~77F so I wore my Roka swimskin
  • the swim course this year was changed so shuttles would not be needed to transport athletes around the lake for the swim start
  • the swim start was self seeded with 1 athlete entering the water approximately every 3-4 seconds
  • the swim was out and back twice with buoys on the left
  • the bike has two big climbs of Twister hill (where the movie Twister was filmed)
  • there were no water/aid stations on the bike, which is typical for a 24.8 mile bike course
  • the run course is two out and backs with a decent hill climb done twice
  • there were aid stations on the run with water and Gatorade
  • there was food and beverage options available at the finish, but I didn’t go scope it out, so I don’t know what was offered

Longer Version: I GOT to push myself to the 2nd overall female place on Sunday (with first place going to professional triathlete, Jess Smith)!

We had a 40 minute drive from home on Saturday morning to the race site. It was a BEAUTIFUL morning with temps in the upper 50s/low 60s…drastically different from Wednesday where the heat index topped out at 106F. When we arrived at Don Williams Recreation Area, we got all of our gear ready at the car before hauling it to the transition area. We had completed packet pick up on Saturday at a local bike shop, so when wee arrived at transition, we got body marked and put everything in transition at our spots. I used the kybo before setting up my transition area. Once my area was set, I chatted with friends and former students before getting my Roka swimskin on and heading to the boat ramp for the athlete meeting.

Getting to squeeze and race with my Coeur Sports sistas!

Swim: (34:19 for 1500 meters at 2:17/100 m average pace)

We self seeded on the boat ramp for how confident and fast we thought we’d swim, so I stayed toward the front of the line of Olympic distance triathletes. When it was my turn, I dove into the water. I felt so strong and confident as I made my way to the first turn buoy. The water felt really warm, so I was grateful to have the swim skin on and not a wetsuit. As I made my way around the first turn buoy, I was swimming directly into the sunlight. This made it a bit challenging to site, but I did a great job of swimming straight. There were some athletes in front of me swimming on the wrong side of the buoys after making their way around the 2nd turn buoy, so I collided head on with them. They apologized as I forged on. After turning around the 2nd swim buoy, the sun was no longer in my eye and I was able to quickly and easily make my way back to the 1st turn buoy (which would be turn buoy #3). As I approached this turn buoy, the traffic became much more congested as the sprint triathletes were making their way into the water and around the turn buoy. We had the sprint triathletes in the mix with us until about the 1/2 way point back into the sun toward the 2nd turn buoy (which would be turn buoy #4), but then the traffic thinned out for a bit. I easily and quickly made my way around the 4th swim buoy and headed back to the boat ramp. At about that 1/2 way point we encountered more traffic again as the slower sprint triathletes made their way around their turn buoy and toward the boat ramp. It was nice to have the big swim exit arch to site off of at the boat ramp.

***Side note…the timing mat for the swim exit was actually up at transition, so my slower time/pace is reflective my swim + a decent run to get to the timing mat.

T1: (1:29)

As I exited the water, I got my swimskin off just below my hips, removed my goggles + swim cap, and ran all the way through transition since my bike was right next to bike exit. When I arrived at my transition spot, I stripped off my swimskin, put on my socks + bike shoes, donned my helmet and sunnies, grabbed Mojo, and off we went!

Bike: (1:21:34 for 24.8 miles at 18.2 mph average speed)

After crossing the mount line and getting on Mojo, we cruised our way out of Don Williams Recreation Area. This course was nothing like Saturday’s super flat course! We had some rolling hills before reaching the first big climb at about mile 7. Those rollers primed the legs for what was to come. As we were climbing Twister Hill for the first time, a few of us were chatting a bit (people I was passing and those passing me) about how beautiful the weather was…and some complained about how big and steep this hill was, but I didn’t let their negative chatter impact me. I LOVE A CHALLENGE! At the top of the climb, it was time to put the hammer down and work to make gains on the people I saw in front of me. After all, playing chase on the bike lights my fire! I got to cheer on my Coeur Sports sister (and professional triathlete), Jess Smith, as she was making her way back to Twister Hill for the last time. There were some more rolling hills before making it to the turn around at mile 12.4 and again after the turn around as we made our way back to Twister Hill. Before making it back to Twister Hill for the second time, I got to cheer on my Coeur Sports sister, Sarah, as she had just crested the top of Twister Hill. I asked her if she liked that climb and she relayed that she wasn’t a fan. Who ever said Iowa was flat clearly hasn’t experienced Twister Hill. 🤪 As I was going down Twister Hill the second time, I saw an athlete walking up the hill with his bike…that’s how big/steep of a climb it is. I powered my way back up the climb and was making my way back toward transition when our friend Steve passed me with about 2 miles to go on the bike. I was determined to keep him in my sites as we approached Don Williams Recreation Area. I absolutely LOVE a good challenge! I had SO MUCH FUN on this course! I was smiling and giddy the whole time!

LFG! ⚡️
Photo credit: Dave Mable

T2: (0:40)

As I came into T2, saw the Iron Hippie walking on the road near bike dismount, so I knew he was done with his sprint race. I yelled “hi” at him as I rolled into the bike dismount and ran into the transition area. I quickly racked my bike, dropped my helmet, changed into my Newton running shoes, grabbed my visor + race belt, and ran out of T2. I had only seen a couple of women in front of me on the bike course, so I wanted to hunt them down! I knew I would never catch Jess Smith…hello professional triathlete…but the rest of them were my rabbits to chase down!

Run: (52:04 for 6.2 miles at 8:24/mile average pace)

As we exited T2, we ran on trails through the wooded area that eventually spit us out on to the paved campground roads. This route had a mix of sun, shade, flats, hills, and spectators in the campground + lots of fun! I could see our friends Mindy and Steve in front of me. It was time to chase them down! Mindy and I chatted briefly as I passed her. Just after mile 1, I took water from the aid station…thank you ISU Physics club! The ISU Physics club had brought volunteers out in full force and it was fun to see a bunch of them on the course. After the aid station, I put the hammer down on the slight climb to catch Steve who was just ahead of me. I caught up to him just before the turn around out in the campground. We chatted as we ran together briefly and then I forged ahead. I took in water at the aid station again before climbing my way up the steep hill. I tapped into my intentional thinking to not allow myself to walk…”I set goals on purpose and with purpose. I like a good challenge. This is good prep for worlds. Just keep running.”

As I came to the turn around, the volunteer at the cone said, “if you are an Olympian go around me. If you are finishing, turn right.” I smiled big as I rounded the cone to head back out for lap two. I again grabbed water at the aid station on the dam, made my way to the turn around out at the campground, back to the aid station for water before climbing the steep hill for the last time. I kept the intentional thinking strong and focused…”I set goal on purpose and with purpose. I like a good challenge. This is good prep for worlds. Just keep running.”

This time when I got to the volunteer at the cone saying, “if you are an Olympian go around me. If you are finishing, turn right,” I got to turn right back through the wooded area toward the finish line. This is where I saw Dave Mable who briefly ran with me for some video footage before I got to that finish line.

So much heart and courage running into that 2nd place finish!
Photo credit: Dave Mable

Overall: (2:50:07…2/16 Female, 35/81 overall)

I am SOOOO incredibly grateful for a strong body and mind! I never would have dreamed that I would ever get 2nd overall female at an Olympic distance triathlon the day after taking 1st overall female at a sprint triathlon, but here I am…and it feels AMAZING!

That 2nd place medal at Bluff Creek
Photo credit: The Iron Hippie

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports sports bra, Coeur Sports aero top, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Viper x2 Short Sleeve Swimskin, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies

sprinting to the overall female win

“An overall title is one of the biggest things you can win in our sport.”

~Lindsey Vonn

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race the Twin Lakes Sprint Triathlon on Saturday, August 14, 2021! 💙💛

  • this is a small local race
  • the air temp was in the mid 50s by race start, sunny, very low humidity, and very little wind
  • the water temp was ~77F so I wore my Roka swimskin
  • the swim was a 750 m swim distance
  • the swim start was numerical entry based on bib number with 1 athlete entering the water approximately every 3-4 seconds
  • the swim was a triangle-ish shape with buoys on the left
  • the bike was FLAT
  • there were no water/aid stations on the bike, which is typical for a 12.4 mile bike course
  • there were aid stations on the run with water only
  • there was a buffet line with sandwiches, fruit, and a few beverage options at the finish
  • the finish line is on the opposite side of the lake from transition, so you take the shuttle back to the transition area (a truck pulls a big open air cart for people to ride on)

Longer Version: I GOT to push myself to the overall female win on Saturday!

We had a 90 minute drive from home on Saturday morning to the race site. It was a BEAUTIFUL morning with temps in the low 50s…drastically different from Wednesday where the heat index topped out at 106F. When we arrived at the Twin Lakes State Park, we used the restrooms, picked up our packet, got everything set in transition, and hung around transition waiting until the athlete meeting (which happened at transition…not the beach).

Look at this gorgeous sunrise that greeted us on Saturday morning.

I put on my Roka swimskin before the athlete meeting, listened to the National Anthem and prayer, then made my way down to the beach for the swim start. Once at the beach, we were given some brief instructions for the swim course before lining up.

Swim: (17:35 for 750 meters at 2:20/100 m average pace)

We lined up on the beach in numerical order based on our bib number. When it was my turn, I dove into the water. I felt so strong and confident as I swam past many of the people in front of me. The water felt really warm, so I was grateful to have the swim skin on and not a wetsuit. As I made my way around the last turn buoy to head into the shore, it was difficult to site as there was no swim arch to look for. Thankfully the volunteers were all donning bright neon yellow shirts, which stood out well against the natural backdrop.

***Side note…the timing mat for the swim exit was actually up at transition, so my slower time/pace is reflective of my swim + a decent run to get to the timing mat.

SOOOO ready! LFG ⚡️

T1: (1:17)

As I exited the water, I got my swimskin off just below my hips, removed my goggles + swim cap, and ran all the way through transition since my bike was right next to bike exit. When I arrived at my transition spot, I stripped off my swimskin, put on my socks + bike shoes, donned my helmet and sunnies, grabbed Mojo, and off we went!

Bike: (34:58 for 12.4 miles at 21.3 mph average speed)

After crossing the mount line and getting on Mojo, we cruised our way out of Twin Lakes State Park. This course is SUPER flat! We rode completely around the lake twice before returning to the transition area at Twin Lakes State Park. This was a small race field, so I didn’t get to play chase like I normally would, but I did pick off the only female athlete to beat me out of the water. This course was SO MUCH FUN! I was smiling and giddy the whole time!

T2: (0:41)

As I came into T2, I quickly racked my bike, dropped my helmet, changed into my Newton running shoes, grabbed my visor + race belt, and ran out of T2. I suspected I was in first place and wanted to make my lead even bigger!

Run: (25:55 for 3.16 miles at 8:13/mile average pace)

As we exited T2, I put on my visor + race belt. We were directed to run on the paved trail that goes around the lake. This was such a nice running route. It had areas of sun and areas of shade, but the surface was top notch! I had a little bit of stomach cramps on the run, so I felt like I was holding back effort wise just a little bit, but I kept my pace solid and strong. I passed a couple of men back on the run (who had passed me toward the end of the bike) as I made my way to the finish line.

GETTING to break the tape as I take 1st overall female! ⚡️⚡️⚡️

Overall: (1:20:29…1/13 Female, 6/47 overall)

I am SOOOO incredibly grateful for a strong body and mind! I never would have dreamed that I would ever stand on the top step of the podium by taking the overall female win, but here I am…and it feels AMAZING!

This was my first time stepping up on the top step of a podium to take the overall female win! Photo credit: The Iron Hippie

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports tank top with built in shelf bra, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Viper x2 Sleeveless Swimskin, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies

grieving the race I trained for

“Grief is real because loss is real. Grief is the healing process that ultimately brings us comfort in our pain.”

~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race Ironman 70.3 Ohio on Sunday, July 25! 💙💛

  • this is a two transition race, so both our bike and run bag/gear were dropped off on Saturday
  • there was a short delay (~30 minutes) because of backed up traffic…shuttle buses couldn’t get to the park
  • the water temp was 77.4F (wetsuit optional…Roka swimskin was worn for me)
  • the swim start was a self seeded with 3 athletes sent off every 4 seconds
  • the swim was cloudy, but not rainy
  • if you put all of your stuff in your T1 bag, they transported everything to T2 for you so you didn’t have to go back out to the park to get your swim stuff
  • the bike was also cloudy, but not rainy
  • the air was VERY thick (high humidity)
  • there were three water/aid stations on the bike
  • it was a VERY soupy day with the dew point at 72, very little wind, and the temp at 95F when I finished the run
  • I had to rally on the run to finish as I was in physical distress
  • there were aid stations on the run nearly every mile with water, gatorade, gels, ice, bananas, etc.
  • the sun came out on the run cranking the furnace up to high
  • there was a buffet line with burgers, chicken burritos, chips, bananas, and a few beverage options…but the best were shots of pickle juice!
Whew! That was rough!
Photo credit: FinisherPix

Longer Version: I GOT to race my first 70.3 distance race since July 2018.

We had some storms roll through in the overnight hours on Saturday, but thankfully it was all out of the area in time for the race start on Sunday morning.

We arrived at Delaware State Park where the swim and T1 are located by about 4:45 am. Plenty of time for me to potty, get my transition area set up, and put everything back in the car that I didn’t need before the race start at 6:30 am. At about 6:10 am, I put my Roka swimskin on only to find out about 20 minutes later that we would be delayed a bit as there was a traffic jam causing the shuttle buses bringing athletes to the park to be stuck in traffic.

Swim: (41:02 for 1.2 miles at 2:07/100 m average pace…35/114 F40-44, 173/593 F, 600/1871 overall)

After the National Anthem, I lined up at the back of the 33-35 minute swim start field. I knew if I was having a solid day 35 minutes would be achievable. I was near my friends, Steena and John, as we entered the starting corrals. When the beep sounded for me to start, I was off. This swim is basically a big triangle with two right hand turns.

The goal was to swim straight and gamify this swim by chasing down athletes in front of me. I did a really good job of swimming straight and staying close to the buoys. I was surprised at how little swim traffic was next to the buoys. This was the best place to be for this swim. I had very little contact with others and didn’t swim extra yardage. WIN #1! I can also say I did a really good job of gamifying the swim. I played chase! I passed people in the water. I felt strong and confident as I checked in on my effort multiple times throughout this swim. WIN #2!

Swim felt good!
Photo credit: FinisherPix

T1: (4:21)

As I exited the water, I got my swimskin off just below my hips, removed my goggles + swim cap, and ran all the way through transition since my bike was right next to bike exit. The positive of having my bike right next to bike exit…I didn’t have to run with my bike all the way through the transition area and around other athletes. The negative…I had to run barefoot throughout transition and that surface was not friendly on the bare feet. When I arrived at my transition spot, I stripped off my swimskin, stuffed all of my swim gear in my T1 bag (so it would be transported to the finish area for pick up later in the day), put on my socks + bike shoes, donned my helmet and sunnies, grabbed Mojo, and off we went!

Stripping off the swim skin…see that rough pavement?! Ouchie on the bare feet!
Photo credit: The Ironhippie

Bike: (2:57:52 for 56 miles at 18.80 mph average speed…47/114 F40-44, 202/593 F, 872/1871 overall)

After crossing the mount line Mojo and I cruised our way out of Delaware State Park. This course is SUPER flat! It was a big loop that took us north out of the park for about 18 miles before we turned east and the road surfaces turned to chip seal. The goal for this ride was to stay in aero, play chase, have fun, be grateful, and hammer. I did a great job of this for the first ~30 miles. WIN #3! And then…

Riding strong…for now.
Photo credit: FinisherPix

At about mile 30, my body began to enter distress mode…I was seeing double. No idea what actually caused it, but I have a theory (which was out of my control). I did my best, kept my head in the game, and kept moving forward. I took in my calories every 5 miles and continued to sip water (since it was SO HUMID). I rode in aero when I felt it was safe for me to do so. My mental game was strong, so it was disappointing to have my body in physical distress. I made the decision to get to T2 and evaluate what I needed to do at that point.

Getting water…although there was so much in the air I was probably taking it in with every breath. You can see how thick the air is in this pic.

T2: (4:45)

As I came into T2, I staggered a bit as I ran with my bike through transition to my spot. I quickly racked my bike and nearly fell over when I bent down to change into my Newton running shoes. Thankfully another athlete offered to help hold me up while I changed my socks and shoes. I thanked the other athlete for his help, grabbed my visor + race belt + hand-held water bottle, and walked out of T2 trying to evaluate if I would actually be able to run.

Run: (2:54:58 for 13.1 miles at 13:22/mile average pace…71/114 F40-44, 343/593 F, 1199/1871 overall)

As I exited T2, I waited until I was out of the tunnel under the stadium to try to run. I was able to run for a short while before the bouncing became too much causing me to resort to walking. At the first aid station, one of the kind volunteers filled my water bottle so that I would have plenty of fluids with me at all times. I continued walking until just past the 1 mile mark where I tried to run again in a downhill section. I quickly realized this wasn’t a good idea and returned to walking.

I saw the Ironhippie at about the 1.5 mile mark. He asked what was going on and I told him. All I wanted to do was lay down in the ditch and throw up (I didn’t feel full or nauseous, but the double vision was making me motion sick). He told me I had to decide how I wanted my day to end and that there was an aid station just ahead at the 2 mile mark. He suggested I walk to the next aid station, take in Coke (to help with the feeling of wanting to throw up) and re-evaluate. I debated the Coke thing…as caffeine and my body are not friends, but in the end, I took a couple of sips of Coke at the 2nd aid station. The Ironhippie was on his bike, so he would check in with me, and then ride ahead a bit before checking in with me again. I continued to walk and eventually started sobbing. I was sobbing because I didn’t know if I should continue or pull the plug. I was sobbing because my mental game was strong, but physically my body was in distress. I was sobbing because I was not able to physically execute the race I had trained for. I was sobbing because the race I know exists inside me was not going to happen on this day. I was sobbing because I had to decide how I wanted my day to end. I was sobbing because…loss is real.

How can one grieve something they never had?! I grieved the race I trained for. Grieved the anticipation of the joy I wanted to feel crossing that finish line knowing I put it all out there. Grieved the anticipation of what could have been a different outcome.

It’s ok to take time to feel the emotions. How you feel is yours and no one has the right to tell you how to feel, what to feel, or how long to feel it. “Grief is real because loss is real. Grief is the healing process that ultimately brings us comfort in our pain.” ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

What better way to heal from the pain of this loss than to hop back on the saddle and prepare for Ironman 70.3 World Championships! ⚡️ #LFG

It was while I was sobbing that I got passed by two of my Coeur Sports teammies. Thank you Heidi for the slap on the ass + encouragement and to Melissa for the support. I continued walking past mile 3 where I eventually started to notice my double vision getting better. Let’s be clear it wasn’t gone, but the two images I would concentrate on became closer together. I decided to try and run at this point. It worked for a bit, but then I needed to walk as my HR skyrocketed (remember how I said caffeine and my body are not friends…yep this is what happens when I consume caffeine). My goal for this run was to monitor my HR and not let it get out of Z3 while running for the first 10 miles. With the addition of caffeine in my system, it was a run/walk combo from this point on to get me to the finish line. HR monitoring = WIN #4!

The silver lining was that I got to meet new friends on the run course, take some steps with Coeur Sports teammates that I wouldn’t otherwise have gotten to be with, and cross another finish line. WIN #5!

I finally got to meet Mike Ergo in person!
Photo credit: The Ironhippie
I got to run some steps with my Coeur Sports teammate, Yoli. (That smile = fake it ’til you make it)
Photo Credit: The Ironhippie
I got to walk some steps with my Coeur Sports sister, Akira. So much love for this girl! (That smile = only 1.5 miles to the finish line…I can do this!)
Photo credit: Dylan

I’m grateful for a strong mind to get me to that finish line. Grit, determination, mental fortitude, and relentless perseverance were my secret weapon on Sunday.

So grateful for my #1!!
Photo credit: Kimra Sutton
Coming back into the stadium for the finish.
Photo credit: FinisherPix
Fake it ’til ya make it!
Photo credit: FinisherPix

Overall: (6:42:58…71/114 F40-44, 343/593 F, 1199/1871 overall)

I have mixed emotions after having crossed this finish line. I am so incredibly grateful to have had the privilege to race, that I crossed another finish line, and that my mind was so strong. But the grief is real. I am sad for what could have been. I am sad I was not able to execute the race I had trained for and the race I know exists inside me. This race does not define me and will not hold me back. Onward to Ironman 70.3 World Championships! ⚡️ #LFG

Whew! Glad that’s over!
Photo credit: FinisherPix

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports sports bra, Coeur Sports aero top, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Viper x2 Short Sleeve Swimskin, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies, Orange Mud hand held water bottle

privilege

“Racing is a privilege and nothing is guaranteed. Putting myself in discomfort is a privilege.”

~ME

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race Ironman “70.3” Des Moines IN REAL LIFE on Sunday, June 20! 💙💛

  • logistically, things were spread WAY OUT and there was a LOT of walking before and after the race
  • athletes had to park about 1.5 miles from transition area and walk in
  • there was nearly a 3 hour delay from the original start time due to storms (with thunder and lightening)
  • the swim was 1.2 miles, the bike was 27.1 miles, and the run was 13.1 miles (the bike was shortened due to road closure permits not being able to be extended)
  • transition opened at 8:45 am and was spaced out normally (pre-Covid)
  • by 9:00 am they were already walking athletes down to Gray’s Lake
  • the walk from transition to the swim start was about 1 mile
  • the water temp was 78.3 (wetsuit optional…I wore my Roka swimskin)
  • the swim start was self seeded with 3 athletes sent off every 3 seconds
  • the swim was cloudy, but not rainy
  • it was 0.58 miles from the swim exit to T1
  • the roads for the 27.1 mile bike were smooth with rolling bumps (hills)
  • there was one water/aid station on the bike somewhere between mile 15 and 20
  • the run was HOT AF with full sun and SO HUMID after the morning rains…felt like we were running on the surface of the sun
  • there were aid stations on the run nearly every mile with water, gatorade, gels, ice, bananas, cookies, etc.
  • there was a buffet line with burgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, chips, bananas, and lots of beverage options at the finish
  • there was a 2 mile walk (or shuttles would take masked athletes only…no spectators/volunteers) back to transition to get gear and then another 1.5 mile walk back to the parking lot
Stepping onto the red carpet was a privilege! ⚡️
Photo credit: FinisherPix

Longer Version: I GOT to race my first “70.3” distance race since July 2018.

Saturday night we got notification that the race start would be delayed one hour due to the strong possibility of thunderstorms, so we got to sleep in an extra hour on race morning. Since we live about 40 miles from the race, we stayed at home. Sleeping in your own bed before a big race (and crazy day) is priceless! We were up by 4 am and on the road by 5 am. At about 5:15 am as we were driving south and watching the MAGNIFICENT lightening show, we received notification that we were further delayed, to stay in a sheltered location, and to wait for further updates to come by 7:30 am.

Once we arrived at the parking lot, we listened to music, danced a little (as much as you can in a car), and chilled listening to the rain + thunder as we continued to watch an amazing lightening show. We joked that we haven’t had rain in over month and Mother Nature chose race day to finally bless us with a little rain (not nearly enough to even turn the grass from brown to green, but hey…we’ll take what we can get). As we were waiting in the Volunteer parking lot (the Iron Hippie was kayak support again for this race), a volunteer came by in the pouring rain and gave him a breakfast sandwich. Such a great way to take care of the volunteers.

Here we wait! So grateful for the amazing communication from the race committee as they prioritized safety while trying to get as much of the race in as possible.

We eventually left the parking lot and headed to a gas station to use the restrooms and then decided to park in the athlete parking lot (as it was paved…not gravel…and was a closer walk to transition).

At 7:23 am we received notification that transition would open at 8:45 am and the race would start at 9:30 am for the professional athletes with the age group athletes starting at 9:40 am. The Iron Hippie had to be to the water by 8:00 am, so he headed out shortly after this announcement. I did some last minute fueling and race prep before making my way to transition. I was incredibly conscious of not getting sucked into the mind drama of the surrounding athletes…so much complaining about things out of our control. Hey folks…we GET to race today! Privilege! ⚡️ I put everything inside of the garbage bag so that it would stay mostly dry until I was ready for it at my transition location.

Garbage bags to keep things as dry as possible.

I hit the Kybo one more time, donned my Roka swimskin, and made my way to the swim line up in transition. There was about a one mile walk from transition to the swim start during which time it quit raining. Once we were at the swim start, I used the Kybo one last time and then got in line for the swim start.

Swim: (42:25 for 1.2 miles at 2:12/100 m average pace…58/168 F40-44, 225/828 F, 875/2352 overall)

After the National Anthem, the professional men were off, followed by the professional women 5 minutes later. When the age group athletes started at 9:40 am, athletes were sent off every 3 seconds. I felt strong and confident in the water, passing lots of green swim caps along the way. I didn’t have much congestion in the water, which made me feel good about where I had self seeded. As we made our way around the last swim buoy, the chop on the water was very noticeable! I think the winds had picked up quite a bit. It was great to plant my feet on the ground and make the long trek to Mojo.

I felt strong in the water as I passed lots of green swim caps. Privilege! ⚡️
Photo credit: FinisherPix

T1: (7:06)

T1 was 0.58 miles long…hence the LONG transition time! As I exited the swim, and ran up onto the trail toward transition, I got my swimskin off just below my hips as I was running, stopped quick to strip it all the way off so I didn’t have to run in it, and removed my goggles + swim cap while I continued running to my transition spot. I put on my socks + bike shoes, donned my helmet and clear glasses, threw my run nutrition in my (wrong) pockets, grabbed Mojo, and off we went!

Let’s do this! ⚡️
Photo Credit: Elaina Wild

Bike: (1:21:36 for 27.1 miles at 20.19 mph average speed…46/168 F40-44, 204/828 F, 1065/2352 overall)

The sky was a bit ominous at the start of the bike, but the clouds parted and really heated things up.
Photo credit: Ruth Rickey

After crossing the mount line and getting on Mojo, we cruised our way out of Water Works. The majority of the road surfaces were SO smooth! Shortly after starting the ride, the clouds separated and the sun came out. I wished I would have put my Roka SL-1X sunnies out in transition instead of my clears, but I couldn’t change it, so I went with it. I saw about 5 people riding who had forgotten to take their swimskin all the way off in T1. I also passed a lady on a B cycle bike cruising along. She was killing it!

Enjoying the privilege of racing! ⚡️
Photo Credit: FinisherPix

It was an out and back course that was shortened to 27.1 due to the delayed start and not being able to extend road closure permits. Being an out and back course was a great way to cheer on friends who were also racing. I didn’t look at my power output/speed/cadence at all during this ride. I was so grateful to be racing that I only focused on playing and having fun. As I played chase trying to catch different people in front of me, I kept asking myself if I could go just a little bit harder in that moment. I felt SO strong on this bike ride, which put me in a great mental state heading back into T2.

This was a super fast and fun ride where I really pushed myself! Privilege! ⚡️
Photo credit: FinisherPix

T2: (2:49)

I quickly racked my bike, changed into my Newton running shoes, grabbed my visor + race belt + hand-held water bottle, and exited T2.

Run: (2:11:10 for 13.1 miles at 10:01/mile average pace…45/168 F40-44, 212/828 F, 857/2352 overall)

As I exited T2, I knew I would have to be smart about my pacing and monitor my HR as it was HOT + HUMID…Like running on the surface of the sun HOT!

This run was a 2 loop course. Shortly after leaving Water Works and entering the trails around Gray’s Lake, I saw the Iron Hippie. He had just finished up with swim support and was going to load the kayak onto the car. It was nice to see him as I started the run. After seeing him, I was adjusting my tri top + race belt when I noticed that I didn’t have any of my run nutrition with me. I had put 3 gels in my tri top pocket in T1 before heading out on the bike. (I always take my run nutrition with me on the bike so that I can’t accidentally forget it in T2 when my brain becomes more foggy.) I know not to put my gels in my tri top pockets because they are not snug enough to hold them safely, but for whatever reason I didn’t put them in my tri shorts while in T1 and I lost all of them somewhere out on the bike course without my knowing. So here I am out on the run course with no run nutrition while running on the surface of the sun. Oh…and those Roka sunnies I wished I’d had on the bike, now I was really wishing I’d had them on the run! I knew there was nothing I could do to change the fact that I had no run nutrition nor Roka sunnies, so I let those negative thoughts go and reminded myself that I GET to race today. When I approached the first aid station, I looked to see what was offered so I could problem solve before needing nutrition at mile 3.5/4…bananas…that became my fuel for the rest of the day. Thank you Ironman for providing fuel out on the run course!

Here we go! ⚡️
Photo credit: The Iron Hippie

It was fun to see other athletes and cheer them on. After I turned around the first cone, I saw a Coeur Sports teammate, Michelle, making her way out to the first turn around. “Love you Michelle!” Shortly after mile 2, I saw another one of my Coeur Sports teammates, Jess (also a pro triathlete). She was on her second loop and running for a top 10 finish amongst the pro women. It was great to cheer for her! I continued to race from a place of fun + gratitude and reminded myself that it was a privilege to GET to race today. I took in water at every aid station and sipped from my water bottle throughout the run to stay hydrated. At mile 4 I took in about 3/4 of a banana (that was all I could get down the hatch before having entering the last trash zone). This is where Jess passed me as she was at mile 11. GO JESS GO!

There wasn’t much shade on this run course. As I was climbing up over the bridge by MLK Parkway heading toward downtown, I could feel my HR really climbing. When I looked down at my HR, it was nearing 170 bpm. My goal was to keep my HR between 155-165 for the duration of the run, so I knew I needed to take a quick walking break to let my HR come back down just a bit.

Downtown felt like a sauna, but there were so many cheers downtown from people I knew and strangers I didn’t. What a great distraction from that heat! After turning around the cone downtown to head back out for loop #2, I saw a sign that made me giggle… “Dig deeper than a kid going for boogers.” Thank you random stranger for that boost!

Run felt like we were running on the surface of the sun, so I raced smart and got it done. Privilege! ⚡️
Photo credit: FinisherPix

At about mile 7, I hammered down another 3/4 of a banana to get in the calories. It was shortly after this that I needed to let my HR come down a bit, so I walked and helped a fellow athlete by carrying her water bottle while she adjusted her onesie. I trudged on and eventually saw the Iron Hippie again before briefly walking with another friend on the bridge of Gray’s Lake to encourage and support her for just a minute before continuing on. The second half of the run had more walk breaks, but I kept them short as I reminded myself often that I am here to do my best. I have goals, which I set on purpose and with purpose.

At mile 10, I took in another 3/4 of a banana and continued to mostly run with short walking stints toward the finish. Making the last turn toward the finish chute was the best feeling in the world! I tried to pick up my pace just a bit as I hit the red carpet, but my legs immediately cramped and said, “Nope! We’ll get you across the finish at this pace, but don’t you dare try to go any faster!”

I GOT the privilege of racing and stepping onto that red carpet for the first time in 23 months! ⚡️

Overall: (4:25:05…34/168 F40-44, 156/828 F, 773/2352 overall)

I am incredibly grateful that I had the privilege to race on Sunday! I am super happy with how the day unfolded, the adjustments I made throughout the day to get to that red carpet, and the challenges I overcame to get to this finish line. I have some things to improve on before the next one, but this experience at Ironman “70.3” Des Moines lit a fire under my ass. The fires are burning HOT inside of me for what is to come!

I’m so grateful for races, finish lines, friends, and the privilege we were given on Sunday! ⚡️
Photo credit: The Iron Hippie

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports triathlon tank with shelf bra, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Women’s Viper Swimskin, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Orange Mud hand held water bottle