October wasn’t quite the month I was hoping for, but my body got the rest and recovery that it needed. Here are some of my highlights from October.
Mom came down and spent a weekend with us. It was fun to relax, eat good food, and visit Reiman Gardens while she was here.
I got to run with my sole sister at the Run for the Roses 5K, although that only lasted for the first mile since she was so much faster than me. She is so strong and speedy!
Chasing My Fave:
The Iron Hippie ran the Des Moines Marathon, so I took my bike down and chased him around the course! It was fun to cheer him on to another finish line!
Reading, Reading, Reading:
Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown is a MUST READ! Wow! The obstacles these 9 men had to overcome to make it to the 1936 Berlin Olympics is not only inspiring, but also unthinkable! All of this happening as Hitler was starting his attempt to take over the world without the world knowing it. So many things that are hard to wrap my brain around, but the boys never gave up, fought for their spot on the US Olympic team, worked hard and overcame obstacles to chase their dreams!
Tri Marni’s recent blog post really hit home with me! As I’ve been dreaming of qualifying for Kona and working hard to achieve these dreams, her words reminded me to never give up! “Every athlete has a great performance inside him/herself but it takes time and patience to get the best out of yourself. And even if you think you achieved your “best race ever”, there’s probably another better race in you that you will experience down the road – so long as you don’t give up. Stay dedicated. Keep developing yourself as an athlete. If you believe you have what it takes, chase your dreams, fall in love with the process and have a lot of fun along the way.” I definitely plan to continue to “chase my dreams, fall in love with the process and have a lot of fun along the way” this coming year! #dreambelieveachieve
Carrie Cheadle’s recent blog post also really hit home with me! Because I have that lingering dream of qualifying for Kona, her words encourage me to take risks. “Give yourself permission to make wrong decisions. If you never risk making mistakes you’ll never perform to your potential. Trust. Believe. Jump!”
My Coeur Sports Teammies have been inspiring me for the last 2 years! Watching them chase their dreams as they conquered Kona, Louisville, Maryland, and North Carolina lit my fire even more to chase my dreams and turn them into reality! 2017…I’m comin’ for ya!
How was your month of October? What were your highlights for October?
It is no secret…I love endurance sport! The question to ask would be where did this passion come from? I did not grow up participating in sports…unless you consider cheerleading a sport. My parents were not athletic role models. My sisters did not participate in sports. So, where did this passion for endurance sports come from?
In 2004, I went through a divorce and made a drastic decision…I was going to run the Dam to Dam 20K race. I was not a runner. I was determined that I was going to run 12.4 miles. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?! It turns out my mind knew something my body didn’t…I started running and I was hooked! You could say I transformed into Forrest Gump just a bit…I ran that 20K and then decided I was going to run a marathon and then a few more marathons. After crossing the finish line of multiple marathons, it was time to try a sprint-distance triathlon. I grew up swimming, I knew how to ride a bike (although my bike at the time was definitely not a bike to race with) and I had been running consistently for a few years. Crossing that finish line of my first sprint-distance triathlon was amazing! I was on cloud nine and was riding the endorphin train! I decided it was time to take on a more challenging distance, so I opted for an Olympic-distance triathlon before trying my cards at a half-Ironman distance triathlon. But why stop there?!?!?! How about the Ironman-distance triathlon???? Could I do it? Again I thought, “WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?!?!” But after crossing that finish line, I was hooked!
So what hooked me in endurance sport?
As a life-long-learner, I find satisfaction in trying to solve a problem. How do I become a better athlete? What have I learned from my mistakes? How have I grown into a better person through all of this?
The variety in training and racing…I love not doing the same thing every day. Finding balance in life is sometimes difficult, but triathlon gives me balance in my workout schedule and prevents monotony.
I thrive on pushing myself to new limits…I want to see just how far I can go and what I can do. Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is always something I push myself to try and achieve.
Overcoming challenges is so rewarding…when I do something that once seemed impossible, the feelings of self-worth, self-confidence, satisfaction, pride, and happiness are beyond amazing!
I love the feeling of success…when I finish a tough workout, when I cross the finish line of a race, when I conquer my fears, when I do the impossible.
I thrive on structure…having races on the calendar gives structure to my racing, having workouts in Training Peaks gives structure to my weeks and months, having structure gives me focus.
The fun factor brings a smile to my face and my heart…
I am beyond blessed and lucky to be a part of the Coeur Sports team again in 2016. I share the same mission as Coeur Sports. Our mission is to share our passion with other women and enCOEURage them to participate in endurance sports. I want all women to love endurance sports as much as I do! I want to see women’s triathlon, swimming, cycling, and running grow into epic numbers! I want to inspire more women to experience the happy heart that I experience when I SBR!
I. Love. Endurance. Sports! What is your favorite endurance sport? What hooked you in endurance sports? How do you share your passion for endurance sports with others?
Sunday, September 13 was Ironman Wisconsin. We have been going to Madison for Ironman Wisconsin weekend since 2010…on the years we are not racing, we volunteer and help out the athletes racing. It is such an amazing experience…surrounded by inspiration, motivation, positive energy, like-minded people, drive, determination, passion, courage, bravery, fortitude and a multitude of other positive and uplifting feelings and emotions.
This year, our intentions were to volunteer at the “Morning Clothes Bags” area and then cheer on friends throughout the day. On Saturday, a friend of ours (Kari is the co-captain for the women’s change “tent”…both T1 and T2) asked me if I could help her out in T1 and T2. The captain of the women’s change tent is fighting stage 4 cancer and is in a LOT of pain. She made the decision not to come to the race venue on Sunday, so Kari needed help. I knew I had to step up and spend my whole day volunteering instead of going out on the course and cheering on friends. Kari needed me (since she was taking on the role of captain on race day) and I knew all of the women athletes would benefit from having me in T1 and T2. Sometimes being flexible is necessary.
When we volunteer, we wake up just as early as we do when we are racing. We made our way to the swim start area by 5 am on Sunday morning to help set up the “Morning Clothes Bags” area and get ready for all of the athletes to make their way to the swim start.
As the athletes came down the helix to the swim start, I was yelling, “Bag drop to your left.” Many athletes in the past have gotten down to the swim start and have not dropped off their morning clothes bag, so I was trying to prevent this from happening this year by letting them know they were passing the morning clothes bag area on their way to the swim start. Needless to say, I was nearly hoarse by the swim start, but I had MANY thankful athletes. Most even told me they could hear me as they were walking down the helix, so I guess my “teacher voice” paid off on race morning 🙂
At 6:45, I quickly made my way up the helix to view the swim start from the top of Monona Terrace and then made my way into the women’s change “tent” for T1.
T1 is ALWAYS INSANE…so many athletes coming through at about the same time and all needing help changing and getting ready for the bike. This typically leads to one volunteer trying to help 5 (or more) athletes at a time. All athletes need to cross the timing mat into T1 by 9:20 am. This gives them 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete the 2.4 mile swim. For some athletes that do not make this time cut-off, the volunteers take on the role of counselor. Thankfully, this did not happen in the women’s change tent on Sunday morning.
After sending over a 1000 women out on the bike, we moved and organized their T1 bags putting them in numerical order so their T2 and morning clothes bags could be attached to them before athletes/sherpas could pick them up after 6 pm.
At 11 am, I grabbed a quick bite to eat at The Great Dane, went back to our home stay to shower and then made my way back to Monona Terrace by 1 pm to prepare for T2. The afternoon change is never as crazy as the morning change. The women are more spread out in the afternoon, so we typically have one volunteer to one athlete…on a rare occasion, 2 athletes to 1 volunteer.
The athletes are in a much different head space coming off of the bike than they are when they exit the water. Volunteers in T2 become cheerleaders, motivators and counselors more frequently than they do in T1. Some athletes are still in great shape (both physically and mentally) coming in off the bike and are ready to go run a marathon. This is when the volunteers take on the role of cheerleader and continue to feed positive energy to the athletes as they go out for their run. Some athletes come off their bike so exhausted that they don’t want to go on. This is when the volunteers take on the role of motivator, reminding the athletes why they are here and encouraging them to continue on. Other athletes don’t make the bike cut-off of 5:30 pm and are told their day is done before they come in to T2. This is when the volunteers take on the role of counselor, listening to their story, giving them a shoulder to cry on and reminding them that they are NOT a failure.
All athletes need to be off the bike (which is 112 miles) by 5:30 pm, and we had a few women who did not make this cut. As a result, I had to step into the role of counselor for a bit before getting their gear bags for them and directing them back to their bike for pick up. After all athletes left the change area, we tied all of the athlete’s T2 bags to the morning clothes and T1 bags so that athletes and/or sherpas could start picking up their gear shortly after 6 pm. Unfortunately we weren’t ready right at 6 pm…the men always have a MUCH bigger mess than the women, so we had to help them get organized. 😉
Once our shift was over, I had to run some lost and found items to the information tent near the finish shoot and return some timing chips to the finish line for athletes that withdrew or did not make the time cut-offs throughout the day. At about 7 pm, I finally made my way back to the condo we were staying at to eat some leftover Thai food for dinner. It was at this point that the Iron Hippie and I decided we would be driving home Sunday night instead of waiting until Monday morning. Our logic was…all of the athletes we had come to cheer on had already crossed the finish line, so if we stayed up until midnight, we might as well sleep in our own bed and have all day Monday to regroup at home instead of spending half of the day driving back. Without further thought, we loaded the Rav and hit the road, pulling into our driveway shortly after midnight.
I LOVE Ironman Wisconsin and plan to go there to race or volunteer/cheer every year that I am physically able! If you have not volunteered at an Ironman event, I HIGHLY recommend it! The energy is amazing 🙂
Do you have a race/event that you love to be a part of every year (racing and/or volunteering)? If so, what is it? Why do you take part in this event?
What is the furthest you’ve traveled to volunteer/spectate at a race?
This Sunday marks the 10 year anniversary of my first race. I have raced hundreds of races ranging in distance from 5K to marathon and sprint triathlon to Ironman over the last 10 years. I decided to take a minute and share with you my top 10 race memories.
10. Crossing the finish line at the Run for the Roses 5K in 2004. This was my first race and I was unsure if I would actually survive the short 3.1 mile distance. It is fun to look back and see how far my training, racing and mental fortitude have come in the last 10 years.
9. Crossing the finish line at the Dam to Dam 20K in 2005. This was the farthest I had ever pushed myself. I had no idea where I would go with endurance sport, but when I crossed this finish line, I was hooked…I found my passion.
8. Crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon in 2005…my first marathon. I had just conquered something I would have never suspected that I could or would ever do.
7. Crossing the finish line at the Copper Creek Sprint Triathlon in 2009. This was my first triathlon and I had found a new passion….I could combine my love of swimming, cycling and running and still challenge myself in endurance sport.
6. Crossing the finish line at Ironman Kansas 70.3 in 2010…my first 70.3 triathlon. I had found my favorite triathlon distance!! I love triathlon and this distance was far enough that I had to train for it, but short enough that it didn’t consume all of my spare time. I LOVED meeting Chrissie Wellington for the first time after I finished as well…
5. Crossing the finish line at Ironman Kansas 70.3 2013 in 6:05:53…I set a new PR by 26:51. WOW!! I was super pumped to be so close to breaking the 6 hour barrier for the 1/2 Ironman distance. I’ve got my eyes set on breaking the 6 hour barrier…
4. Crossing the finish line at the USA Triathlon Olympic-Distance Age Group National Championships in 2013. Not only did I set a new PR, but I had a blast and got to meet Sister Madonna Buder on the course. She is such an inspiration!!
3. Crossing the finish line at the Boston Marathon was so much fun. I had worked so hard to get to Boston that running it for fun was definitely the best reward.
2. Crossing the finish line at the Lakefront Milwaukee Marathon in 2008. I qualified for the Boston Marathon with 1:13 to spare…YIPPEE!! 🙂
1. Crossing the finish line at Ironman Wisconsin 2014 after overcoming obstacles earlier in the day. The fact that I did not remember crossing the finish line in 2011 made this finish so much more rewarding 🙂
With the Boston Marathon running today, I decided to take a look back on my Boston Marathon race experience…
In October of 2008, I ran the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon with the Iron Hippie by my side. We crossed the finish line in 3:39:46, qualifying me for the Boston Marathon by 1 minute & 13 seconds (at that time, I needed 3:40:59…this was before all of the new qualifying times and new registration process).
By the time the 2010 Boston Marathon rolled around, I had made the decision to run the race just to have fun. I was going to carry a camera, take lots of pictures and not worry about trying to finish within a specific time frame. I busted my tail to get to this race, and I was going to enjoy it!!
Here is a look at the Boston Marathon through my eyes on April 19, 2010…
Have you run the Boston Marathon? If so, what was your favorite part of the race?
As many of you know, I am again training for IRONMAN Wisconsin. I participated in IRONMAN Wisconsin 2011 and crossed the finish line, but in a less than desirable state. As a result, I feel it is important to look back on my experiences from my IMWI race day in 2011 so I don’t make the same mistakes again. What was my biggest mistake??? Hyponatremia…a condition when the sodium in your blood is abnormally low. While anything can happen on race day, I don’t ever want to relive hyponatremia.
On race day, it was sunny, 84 degrees with wind speeds as high as 16 mph from the SW. While this isn’t ridiculous midwest summer weather, it was warmer than I had planned for. I drank plenty of water…a little too much actually. I didn’t take in enough salt tablets or salty foods while on the bike. I finished the race, but I don’t remember the last 90 minutes on the bike or the entire marathon (which I mostly walked…6 1/2 hours). As a matter of fact, I don’t remember much until about 1 pm the next day and what I do remember is foggy…imagine getting completely intoxicated, waking up the next morning and having spotty memories from the night before wondering if “that really happened” or if you are imagining it.
What did I learn?
Too much water can be a very bad thing.
Many of the symptoms of hyponatremia and dehydration are the same, which can make proper diagnosis difficult.
I did not have enough sodium in my nutrition plan on race day at IMWI 2011.
I need to develop a different nutritional plan for IMWI 2014.
I need to practice with a variety of fuel sources.
What will I do differently in 2014?
I will try to incorporate solid food while on the bike. In 2011, I only used liquid calories (Carbo-Pro), which did not contain much salt and I did not do a good job on race day of supplementing with salt tablets. I am starting to practice with these now while on the trainer to see how my stomach responds to them. This will give me about 7 months to practice and adjust as needed.
I will try a variety of fuel sources during training and smaller races throughout the year…I am not going to stick with only one fuel source this year.
I will develop a different nutritional plan for race day in 2014 that has multiple levels to it. My nutritional plan will have possible strategies for different weather, different moods (what I feel like consuming), etc…if plan A doesn’t work, go to plan B or C and so on. If it is hot, try this…if it is cold, try that. You get the idea 🙂
What I DO know…
I do know that I am lactose intolerant and anything with whey protein upsets my stomach, so I will need to avoid fuel sources that use whey protein.
I do know that I need more sodium than what I used in 2011. If I continue to use Carbo-Pro, I will need to supplement it with salt tablets or additional fuel sources containing sodium as Carbo-Pro does not have sodium in it.
I do know that my body does not respond well to caffeine (accelerated heart rate, excessive sweating, twitchy muscles, etc.), so I will need to find fuel sources that do not have caffeine in them.
I do know that I have struggled with solid foods on the bike in the past. For some reason, my body struggles to digest the food and it feels as though someone has put jagged rocks in my gut. I am willing and not afraid to try solid foods again and hopefully find a solution or two that will work.
I do know that I did have some success in 2013 incorporating Oreo cookies into my nutritional plan for my 1/2 IRONMAN races, so that is a starting place for 2014…
Finding a nutritional plan (with back-up options) will be an ongoing experiment for me this year…good thing I am a science teacher and enjoy a good experiment!!
What struggles have you encountered while racing and how have you overcome them?