What’s Up?! – October 2016

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.

Family/Friend Time:

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.

Mom came to visit for a weekend! It was fun to spend quality time with her!
Mom came to visit for a weekend! It was fun to spend quality time with her!

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!

Run for the Roses is always better with friends!
Run for the Roses is always better with friends!

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!

The Iron Hippie getting close to the finish of the IMT Des Moines Marathon...I'm so proud of him only 5 weeks post Ironman Wisconsin
The Iron Hippie getting close to the finish of the IMT Des Moines Marathon…I’m so proud of him only 5 weeks post Ironman Wisconsin!

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!”

Being Inspired:

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!

These ladies not only inspire me, but encourage me and light my fire! <3
These ladies not only inspire and encourage me, but also light my fire! Time to chase my dreams so I can one day be in this photo too! Photo credit: Jay Prasuhn

How was your month of October? What were your highlights for October?

My Passion for Endurance Sport

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…
This smile sums up my race day experience!!
This smile sums up how I feel about endurance sports!!

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?

Ironman Wisconsin Weekend

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.

Race morning in front of the Capitol.
Race morning in front of the Capitol.

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.

Morning clothes bags set up
Morning clothes bags set up
Swim start/exit arch
Swim start/exit arch
Race morning...who is ready to swim?!?!?!
Race morning…who is ready to swim?!?!?!

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.

A beautiful morning for an Ironman floating swim start
A beautiful morning for an Ironman floating swim start
Who's going to be an Ironman today?!?!?!?!
Who’s going to be an Ironman today?!?!?!?!

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.

The women volunteers in T1
The women volunteers in T1

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?

101 Things…

I couldn’t resist…I decided to link up with Erin, Katie, Leslie, Jen, Kristen who have posted 101 (or 100) things about themselves. Here is 101 things about me…

  1. I grew up on West Lake Okoboji in northwest Iowa.
  2. My parents had a hotel right on the lake until I was in 7th grade.
  3. My first “job” was cleaning toilets at the hotel.
  4. I swam everyday all summer long every year of my youth.
  5. I had new friends all the time…every time a new family came to stay at the hotel, I had new friends to play with 😉
  6. I have 2 younger sisters with only 40 months separating my youngest sister from me.
  7. My parents are saints to have raised 3 teenage girls all at the same time…no thanks!
  8. Both of my grandmothers are identical twins.
  9. My mother-in-law is a twin.
  10. My sister has twins.
  11. We will not be having children…I don’t want quadruplets.
  12. I love being an aunt!! Spoil them and send them on their way 😉
  13. I have 4 nieces with another on the way…due in April 😉
  14. I love SBR…it makes me happy!
  15. I am a Coeur Sports Ambassador for 2015.
  16. I am passionate about endurance sport.
  17. I hope to break down barriers and help more women grow to love and participate in endurance sport.
  18. I am a dog mamma to two beautiful black labs…Mya and Basil.
  19. The Iron Hippie and I met while running.
  20. The Iron Hippie and I both participate in endurance sport.
  21. I have ran 11 stand alone marathons.
  22. I have finished 2 Ironman races.
  23. Karma Kombucha is my favorite beverage.
  24. I love to write things down…I not only keep track of my workouts in Training Peaks online, but I also write everyone down by hand. There is something about hand writing thoughts, workouts, ideas, etc.
  25. I love country music.
  26. Running with Basil off leash makes my heart happy…she has so much fun!
  27. I was a high school cheerleader.
  28. This is ironic since I seriously lack coordination.
  29. The boys basketball team made it to state and I was lucky enough to cheer at the state tournament (even though we didn’t make it past the first game).
  30. I love avocados!
  31. I drive a 2012 Toyota Rav4 and I love it!
  32. Mojo is my favorite ride (Specialized Transition)…we have the perfect chemistry!!
  33. I love our Vitamix…Thanks Mom & Dad for a great Christmas gift!
  34. I’ve traveled all over Italy and Venice was my favorite city.
  35. I love to read a book every night before bed…an actual book, not something online or on a kindle.
  36. I hate shopping.
  37. Unless I am shopping for workout apparel/gear.
  38. I love to cook, but not bake.
  39. I think I could be vegetarian, except I could never give up fish.
  40. I love sushi…my mouth is watering for it right now.
  41. I am currently snowed in at my parents place and may not make it home before work tomorrow…bummer 😉
  42. I love watching NCIS episodes…we keep watching them over and over and over.
  43. I got a new winter coat for Christmas from my in-laws.
  44. My last winter coat was 17 years old.
  45. I’d rather spend my money on workout apparel/gear than a new winter coat 😉
  46. I am definitely a Mac girl…no PC here 😉
  47. My mother is the sports fan and my father is the decorator…role reversals 😉
  48. I love Basil snuggles!
  49. Clean sheets are one of my favorite things!
  50. Running along Lake Shore Drive in Okoboji is one of my favorite places to run.
  51. I love Madison, Wisconsin and would love to live there someday!
  52. It was really hard to get to 51 things about me…only 50 more 😉
  53. Yellow is my favorite color…it is a happy color 🙂
  54. I love homemade sweet potato and kale pizza on gluten-free crust.
  55. I won’t burn candles…I witnessed a house fire and someone died due to a burning candle.
  56. I could not live without fruits and vegetables…LOVE THEM!!
  57. I’ve often thought about going on the show Survivor, but could not live without my toothbrush and toothpaste.
  58. I love hot yoga and my yoga mat!!
  59. With the current windchill temperatures of -10F, I am dreaming of hot yoga.
  60. I just told my boss I wouldn’t be at work tomorrow because I am not putting my life in danger by driving home in this horrible storm.
  61. I’ve always wanted to swim with the dolphins.
  62. I am more of an introvert than an extrovert.
  63. I have no problem going to the movie or out to dinner by myself.
  64. I need to work on being more social with family and friends.
  65. I like to #DreamBig
  66. I find happiness and joy from overcoming obstacles I didn’t think were possible.
  67. I enjoy the freedom to do what I want, when I want.
  68. Honeycrisp apples are the best!
  69. I can’t stand coffee.
  70. My body does not respond well to caffeine.
  71. I would rather rent a movie, than go to the movie theatre.
  72. I am happiest when I am on my bike.
  73. Growing up, I never went skinny dipping in the lake.
  74. I did go skinny dipping in the pool at my parents house.
  75. I want to go to Bora Bora.
  76. My dad’s mother’s twin sister, Velma, lived with us while I was growing up.
  77. She always made treats for us…cookies, peanut brittle, candies, cakes, pies, etc.
  78. The 4th of July is my favorite holiday.
  79. Only because we spend the whole day on our bikes…usually doing a century ride 😉
  80. I worked at The Ritz in Okoboji growing up.
  81. This job exposed me to more than you could ever know.
  82. I can not stand to have long fingernails.
  83. I cut them every Sunday.
  84. I love snail mail!
  85. I played the piano for a couple of years growing up.
  86. I wish I still played the piano.
  87. I also wish I played the acoustic guitar.
  88. I can not sing, but I like to listen to music.
  89. I love having smoothies after a tough workout.
  90. I am a creature of habit…I follow the same routine in the shower everyday.
  91. My biggest pet peeves: cover your mouth when you sneeze, flush the toilet when you use it, wash your hands after you blow your nose and wash your hands after you use the toilet…GERMS=YUCK!!
  92. Daisies are my favorite flower.
  93. I don’t like the Iron Hippie spending money on flowers…they just die.
  94. I’d rather have him save the money and spend it on workout apparel/gear I can enjoy longer 😉
  95. I don’t go anywhere without my water bottle.
  96. I slept 14 hours last night.
  97. Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks.
  98. We make it in a pot on the stove almost everyday.
  99. I love grapefruit!
  100. So does Basil 😉
  101. I love snowshoeing.

Best Race Memories

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.

Copper Creek Run

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…

Chrissie and Me IM Kansas 70.3

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…

Finishers medal around my neck!!  70.3 miles in 6:05:53...that is nearly a 27 minute PR!!
Finishers medal around my neck!! 70.3 miles in 6:05:53…that is nearly a 27 minute PR!!

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!!

Getting my medal and a hug from Chrissie Wellington at the finish line of USA Triathlon Olympic-distance Age Group National Championships.
Getting my medal and a hug from Chrissie Wellington at the finish line of USA Triathlon Olympic-distance Age Group National Championships.

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.

I made it...the finish line of the Boston Marathon :)
I made it…the finish line of the Boston Marathon 🙂  The view from my camera that I took pictures from all day long.

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 🙂

Yahoo!!  Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.
Yahoo!! Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.

What are some of your best racing memories?

Remembering Boston…Through My Eyes

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).

I decided I would wait to run the Boston Marathon in April of 2010.  I had already signed up to run a few more marathons at the start of 2009…Rock ‘N Roll Arizona Marathon in January, Green Bay Marathon in May and Grandma’s Marathon in June.  Holding off to run the Boston Marathon in 2010 would probably be the best option.

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…

The day before the race at the expo picking up my race number.
The day before the race at the expo picking up my race number.
Our friend Mike and I getting ready to go catch a bus out to Hopkinton...it is way too early for this!!
Our friend Mike and I getting ready to go catch a bus out to Hopkinton…it is way too early for this!!
Boarding the bus out to Hopkinton
Boarding the bus out to Hopkinton
Mike and I on the bus out to Hopkinton...there is no turning back now!!
Mike and I on the bus out to Hopkinton…there is no turning back now!!
Time to head to my corral...
Time to head to my corral…
Time to get this party started!!
Let’s get this party started!!
And we're off...
And we’re off…
Free Hugs were offered along the course...I couldn't turn that down ;)
Free Hugs were offered along the course…I couldn’t turn that down 😉
A Mardi Gras float on the race course...yes they were throwing beads down to the runners.
A Mardi Gras float on the race course…and yes they were throwing beads down to the runners.
Wellesley Girls College...oh boy can they scream!!  Ear plugs would have been a good investment for this stretch.  You could hear them scream a mile away!!
Wellesley Girls College…oh boy can they scream!! Ear plugs would have been a good investment for this stretch. You could hear them scream a mile away!!
At the summit of Heartbreak Hill...was that a hill?!?!?!?!  I didn't even notice :)
Nearing the summit of Heartbreak Hill…was that a hill?!?!?!?! I didn’t even notice 🙂
A completely green spectator...that must have been difficult to see through.
A completely green spectator…that must have been difficult to see through.
Finally...the infamous "Citgo" sign near the finish line.
Finally…the infamous “Citgo” sign near the finish line.
WAHOO...only one mile left ;)
WHOOP, WHOOP…only one mile left 😉
I made it...the finish line of the Boston Marathon :)
I made it…the finish line of the Boston Marathon 🙂
A volunteer putting my race medal around my neck at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
A volunteer putting my race medal around my neck at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
2010 Boston Marathon Finisher's Medal
2010 Boston Marathon Finisher’s Medal

Have you run the Boston Marathon?  If so, what was your favorite part of the race?


Week #15 Totals:

Swim:  6600 yards

Bike:  79.7 miles

Run:  30.3 miles

Strength Training:  2 hours & 15 minutes

Hot Yoga:  1 hour

Week #15 in the green 😉

Learning from my Mistakes

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.

So…What happened?

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?

  1. Too much water can be a very bad thing.
  2. Many of the symptoms of hyponatremia and dehydration are the same, which can make proper diagnosis difficult.
  3. I did not have enough sodium in my nutrition plan on race day at IMWI 2011.
  4. I need to develop a different nutritional plan for IMWI 2014.
  5. I need to practice with a variety of fuel sources.

mistakes are progress

What will I do differently in 2014?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!!

Errors are stepping stonesWhat struggles have you encountered while racing and how have you overcome them?

2013 Had Ups and Downs

Like most years, 2013 was a roller coaster ride.  There were ups and downs.  Luckily I had more ups than downs 🙂

Let’s start with the lows, so I can end 2013 on a high note!!


  • Superior Man Triathlon, August 25: DNF (Did Not Finish)
  • Grandpa died September 9 (just 6 days shy of turning 96 years young): While I am very sad that he is gone, I am happy that he lived such a monumental life and is now reunited and dancing with Grandma.
  • I fell into a mental slump after my DNF in August and really struggled to find self-control again.  Every workout I did was a challenge both physically and mentally and I lost focus for a while.
  • I injured my right shin after the Indianapolis Marathon and had to go though physical therapy.  As it turns out, it was caused by my back on my left side…go figure.
  • I got sick, strep throat, severe sinus infection and the beginning stages of pneumonia, in the middle of December (just before winter break).


  • Bringing in the New Year with a New Year’s Day “5K” race
  • Little Rock Marathon, March 3: While this wasn’t a PR for me, I was very happy breaking the 4 hour barrier and had a fantabulous weekend with friends!!
  • Drake 1/2 Marathon, April 28:  While this wasn’t a PR for me, I did get to help a friend find the inner strength to push herself when it got challenging and finish the race.
  • Ironman Kansas 70.3, June 9:  I set a PR with a time of 6:05.53 (shaving 26.51 off this distance)
  • Lake Geode Olympic Distance Triathlon, July 13:  I set another PR with a time of 2:53.40 (shaving 11.46 off this distance)
  • Okoboji Triathlon, July 20:  Another PR with a time of 1:55.07 (shaving 3.00 off this odd distance triathlon)
  • Olympic Distance Triathlon Age Group Nationals, August 10:  I broke the PR I set at Lake Geode one month earlier and set a new PR with a time of 2:49.03 (shaving 4.37 off my Lake Geode time)
  • The Iron Hippie and I renovated our back yard…regrading the  slope of land, installing a new fence, putting in a fire pit with a small patio around it and seeding the lawn.  We still have some work to do, but the yard already looks 100% better than when we bought the house.
  • Signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2014, September 9:  I will again be competing in Ironman Wisconsin on September 7, 2014.  I am excited to train and race at that level again!!
  • I was blessed to spend time with family (both immediate and extended) when we celebrated Grandpa’s life.
  • Indianapolis Marathon, October 19:  I ran my 2nd fastest marathon to date and finished in 3:56.42.  While I didn’t qualify for Boston like I originally hoped, I did execute a near perfect race given the circumstances of the day.
  • I was blessed to create MANY amazing memories with family and friends in 2013!!
  • Finished off they year happy, healthy and ready to start IRONMAN training 🙂
Successful 2013 = 6 medals and 1 trophy
Racing Success in 2013 = 6 medals and 1 trophy…I’m looking forward to many more “ups” in 2014!!!

What were some of your ups and downs of 2013?

Off Season

After running the Indianapolis Marathon on October 19 and not qualifying for the Boston Marathon, I seriously considered running another marathon in December.  I had some things to consider before making a final decision:

  1. Why would I be running another marathon?
  2. What if I run this marathon and don’t qualify for Boston?
  3. Can I stay mentally focused through this marathon and then immediately start my Ironman training in January?

After weighing all of these questions, I decided that I should not foster the thought of running another marathon in December and instead give myself some down time…time to recharge the batteries before going full throttle with Ironman training. What does this mean?  My “Off Season” is in full swing…hiking in the woods, getting out and riding my cross bike, taking the dogs for walks, sitting by the campfire, putting puzzles together, reading good books, chopping down trees for firewood, going to hot yoga and doing what I feel like doing instead of what I have to do.

Hike in the woods with the dogs.
Hike in the woods with the dogs.
Basil looking ahead on the trail
Basil looking ahead on the trail
Riding our cross bikes in the woods.
The Iron Hippie and me riding our cross bikes in the woods.
Looking ahead on the trail in the woods while biking.
The trail in the woods we were biking on.
Taking a break in the woods during our bike ride.
The Iron Hippie and me taking a break in the woods during our bike ride.
Beautiful night for a campfire!!
Beautiful night for a campfire!!
Yummy s'mores!!
Yummy s’mores!!
A hike in the woods.
A solitary hike in the woods.
Peaceful morning hike when I happened to come upon a small lake.
Peaceful morning hike when I happened to come upon a small lake.  What a beautiful autumn morning.
Cutting and hauling firewood for the fire pit.
The Iron Hippie and I cut and hauled firewood for the fire pit.
The steep hill that we had to climb while hauling the trees we cut down for firewood.  GREAT workout!!
One of the steep hills that we climbed while hauling the trees we cut down for firewood. GREAT workout!!
Putting puzzles together
Putting puzzles together
Basil helped us with a few of the pieces to this puzzle (hence the reason a couple are chewed up and missing)...
Basil helped us with this puzzle…hence the reason a couple of pieces are chewed up and missing…
While I've already read this series, I decided to reread it since the "Catching Fire" movie is going to be coming out soon.  A good series of books that doesn't require a lot of focus.
While I’ve already read this series, I decided to reread it since the “Catching Fire” movie is going to be coming out in theaters soon. A good series of books that doesn’t require a lot of mental focus.
I have also already read "The Help," but remembered it being a good book and decided to pull it off the shelf to reread.
I have also already read “The Help,” but remembered it being a good book and decided to pull it off the shelf to reread.
My favorite hot yoga studio!!
My favorite hot yoga studio!!

“Get Comfortable with the Uncomfortable”

Thanks to Erin for the mantra that stuck with me as I raced the Indianapolis Marathon to my 2nd fastest marathon time ever…”Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

The alarm went off at 5:30 am (although that was still 4:30 am based on central time).  While getting dressed, nourished and race ready, we took one last look at the weather for our race…43 degrees at the start with a steady rain and 10+ mph winds (that would slowly climb throughout the day).  Not ideal, but not horrible.

We loaded up on the shuttle from our hotel at 6:40 am and headed out to the race site.  Our driver got a little turned around, but we weren’t complaining because we were on a dry, warm bus.  When we finally made it to the race site, we were allowed to sit in a large canopied tent to stay dry and out of the inclement weather, which was a good thing.  The thought of standing outside in the cold and rain for just over an hour made me consider hiding out in a kybo just to stay dry.  I was much happier in the canopied tent!!

With about 20 minutes to the start of the race, I decided to drop my gear, hit the kybo and head to the start line.  With only 615 athletes running the full marathon and about 1600 people running the half marathon, it didn’t take long to get to the start area.

Trying to stay warm and dry as we wait in the tent before the race start.
Trying to stay warm and dry as we wait in the tent before the race start.
"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"...ready to race Indianapolis!!
“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”…ready to race Indianapolis!!

When the gun went off, I decided to start out strong and see how long I could hold on.  With the cold and rain, I figured the faster I got done, the sooner I’d be out of the inclement weather.  “Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.”  During the first 13 miles, I thought the course was to be flatter than it was, but there were quite a few undulations throughout this half of the race.  “Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

I crossed the 8 mile mark at just under one hour, and was starting to feel my left glute start to scream.  I’m not sure if it was the undulations or my quicker than normal pace.  “Get comfortable with the uncomfortable,” smile and keep pushing forward.  By this time, it was only lightly misting and the temperatures were nearing the mid 40s…time to strip down to my tank top and ditch my long sleeve throw away shirt (don’t worry Bill…I had arm warmers on too).

I crossed the half marathon mat at 1:53:08.  Not as fast as I was hoping for, but my upper hamstrings and glutes were SCREAMING!!  “Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” Alright…let’s push to mile 15.  Check.  Focus on the positives…I’m not in a wheelchair…My nutrition is spot on…I am executing this race almost perfectly given the conditions that I have.  Time to push to mile 18…Check.  No more rain 🙂  Mile 19.5 split…2:48:31.  Nutrition is spot on, pace is declining, upper hamstrings and glutes are SCREAMING…smiling like I’m Chrissie Wellington, I keep moving forward.  “Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

Thanks to Star Photo Imaging for the photography on the race course.
Thanks to Star Photo Imaging for the photography on the race course.

The last 10K was painful, but I kept smiling and pushing forward, finishing in a time of 3:56:42…my 2nd fastest marathon time to date!!  While I was disappointed with my finish time, I was satisfied with how I executed my race.  I stayed mentally focused and strong even when obstacles presented themselves…controlling what I could control.  The Indianapolis Marathon was about “getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.”