The Best of 2018

I love looking back and thinking about all of the amazing things that I’ve accomplished and all of the challenges I’ve overcome! 2018 was full of challenges, accomplishments, and FUN!! I’ve reflected for the last 5 years and now it’s time to reflect on 2018! You can look back at my previous posts if you’d like: Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, the Best of 2015, the Best of 2016, and the Best of 2017. Now its time to reminisce my faves from 2018! 🙂

Best race experience?

Ironman Ohio 70.3 was hands down my FAVORITE race this year!! I not only accomplished my #sub6orbust goal, but got to meet and race with so many of my Coeur Sports sisters + cross the finish with Steena!! It was truly one of the best race experiences I’ve ever had!! #blessed

My Coeur runneth over!! I got to meet some of the most inspirational, determined, loving ladies today!! #happycoeur Photo Credit: my fave
So grateful to have Steena by my side as I broke 6 hours, crushed goals, and achieved dreams at Ironman Ohio 70.3!! Thank you Steena for being such a strong, motivating, awesome BADASS!! Photo credit: FinisherPix

Best run?

Running with Steena at Ironman Ohio 70.3!! She ran stride for stride with me, pushing me to a 70.3 PR!! #sub6orbust

The #sub6orbust is no longer a dream!! Today I turned it into a reality thanks to Steena who ran with me!! This lady is such a strong, positive badass and I’m blessed and grateful to have had her by my side today!! Photo Credit: Danielle Worthington

Best bike?

For me, the ride that stands out the most this year is the one I learned the most from…my first 5 hour trainer ride. It was a VERY tough day for me! Physically I was pushing higher watts for longer durations than I ever had before. Mentally, I WANTED to be riding out on the open roads around the amazing #IMWI bike course, but a gut check put me on the trainer instead. In this process, I learned SO much about how STRONG I truly am both mentally and physically and what I can do when staring adversity in the face! Thanks to Ruth for keeping me going when the meltdown started! ❤

5 hours on the trainer pushed me to a whole new level…physically and mentally.

Best swim?

The first time I went sub 1:30/100 yards in the pool was this year!! While I have seen a sub 1:30/100 yards a few times since then, it has not happened often, but I’m THRILLED every time it does!!

My first 100 yard swim time that is sub 1:30!! #hardworkpaysoff

Best mental focus?

HANDS DOWN…Ironman Louisville!! What a day!! What a race!! I had to dig mentally into places I didn’t even know I had in me!! I was thrown challenge after challenge throughout the day; from Mother Nature providing us with MUCH LESS than ideal weather, to the race directors changing up the swim course 5 minutes before the race was set to start, to the traffic on the bike course that forced me to come to a complete stop (more than once) so I wouldn’t rear end the vehicle in front of me (with wet breaks I might add), to my body when my back cramped up on the run, and others I’m sure I’ve forgotten (or maybe blocked from my memory). Through all of these challenges, I fought the fight and won!! I remained focused throughout the day, stayed strong, and crossed the finish line with complete exhaustion and a smile on my face!!

This sums up my Ironman Louisville race day…cold + wet + windy + challenging + strong = success!! Photo credit: FinisherPix

Best training weekend?

My solo training weekend in Madison, Wisconsin!! I got to spend time on 2 wheels with Steena, I got to push myself out of my comfort zone, and I got to enjoy ALL. OF. THE. HILLS. on a course I LOVE!!

Hard work pays off!! Thanks to my #sub6orbust buddy Steena for pulling me up ALL. THE. HILLS On 2 loops of the #IMWI bike course!! Photo credit: GoPro 🙂

Best training compass?

Coach Kelly with Ever Racing has kept me grounded this year. There have been times this year when I overlooked my successes because I was consumed by the immediate feelings instead of the big picture. Thankfully Coach Kelly called me out on my SH!T and redirected my focus!! I would not be where I am today without her structure, focus, guidance, feedback, support, accountability, motivation + so much more! She has helped me to become a better, #everstrong athlete and person every day! I am forever grateful to her and so glad we have a strong relationship built on communication and trust!! I am excited to see how far we go in 2019!!

Best enCOEURaging moment?

Getting this text message from my sister after Ironman Louisville completely melted my heart!! I am SO excited that my 10 year old niece wants to do an Ironman with me one day in the future!! You never know who you are inspiring!!

Best nutritional find?

Infinit Nutrition has been a game changer for me this year!! Ironman Louisville was my first Ironman race that I did not bonk, have GI issues, or end up in the med tent with hyponatremia or dehydration. With 6 Ironman finish lines under my belt, I think I MAY have finally dialed in my race day nutrition!! 🙂

Best new gear?

My Normatec Recovery boots are da bomb diggity!! They have helped me recover from intense training + provided Basil with an inflatable pillow 😉 We are both in love with them and use them often!!

“I love my inflatable pillow Mama” ~Basil
So grateful for Normatec! #recoveryisimportant

Best supportive role?

Chasing my fave around while he ran the Twin Cities Marathon the week before I raced Ironman Louisville. I am SO PROUD of the hard work, dedication, perseverance, and PR race that he put up!! High five (or ten) to my fave!!

SO FREAKING PROUD of my FAVE!! HE CRUSHED IT!! Setting a new PR in a time of 3:33:05 at the Twin Cities Marathon!! 🙂

Best way to stay healthy?

Obviously eating healthy + sleep are super important, but to help me get a better understanding of how I can recover smarter, I decided to monitor my blood work with the help of Inside Tracker. I have learned so much about different biomarkers + how they can impact my training, recovery, sleep, etc. Knowledge is power!!

#blooddontlie

Best piece of racing advice you received?

I know this has been my best piece of racing advice for a few years, but that is because I have not found anything better to remind me of my race day “job” and what I need to do to achieve success. Race day can be a mixed bag (hello Ironman Louisville), but this advice works no matter what the conditions and the day bring:

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

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Most inspirational athlete?

There are so many that I can’t pick just one! Everyone is on their own, unique journey and I am inspired by them all. My Coeur Sports sisters inspire me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! I’ve also been SUPER inspired this year by friends who finished their first Ironman. By friends who attempted their first Ironman, but didn’t meet cutoffs. By friends who did their first triathlon this year. By people who have survived an accident and are still training + racing. By people who fight disease and keep training + racing. By people who challenge themselves and try something new. By people I haven’t met yet and people I see everyday! There are far too many people who inspire me to pick just one!

Best support crew?

Hands down…Tim, Dad and my sister, Abbie! These three pushed me through during some VERY challenging times at Ironman Louisville. They were up EARLY on race morning to help me get to transition. They were patient with the process of all of the race morning shenanigans…even in the cold + rain + wind. They were in all of the right places at all of the right times during the race encouraging me (and SO many others) to keep moving forward when it would have been SO. MUCH. EASIER to throw in the towel and call it a day. Tim got all of my race gear while I was out on the run to save time. They cheered, photographed, and spread love to me and other athletes throughout a REALLY long day! There are not enough hugs and kisses for each of you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Love you all so much! I couldn’t have gotten to this finish line without your unwavering encouragement and support!!

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

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

Strong, courage, believe, fun!!

Tell me about your 2018 year!! What are your “bests” from 2018?!

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Aligning My Actions with My Goals

My focus in 2018 has been on better aligning my actions with my goals. It’s no secret…I have a dream of someday qualifying for the Ironman World Championships in Kona. To get myself closer to this dream, I set goals for myself at the start of each season and again before each race. Sometimes I achieve success by reaching these goals and other times I fall short, but I always learn something that can better prepare me for the next training session or race.

I was on a mission this year to achieve my #sub6orbust goal at Ironman Ohio 70.3. Thanks to Steena for running stride for stride with me during the entire 13.1 mile run and pushing me those last two miles so I could achieve my goal!

The #sub6orbust is no longer a dream!! Today I turned it into a reality thanks to my Coeur Sports teammate/sister, Steena, who ran with me!! This lady is such a strong, positive badass and I’m blessed and grateful to have had her by my side today!!

I also set myself up to go sub 13 hours at Ironman Louisville. While I didn’t achieve this goal, I am confident that if conditions and circumstances were different on that day, I definitely would have.

This sums up my Ironman Louisville race day…cold + wet + windy + challenging + strong = success!! Photo credit: Finisher Pix

What have I done to better align my actions with my goals this year?

  1. I work hard! I #showup and give everything I have at that moment for each workout. Staying present + focused on the current interval, current workout, and current mindset/attitude.
  2. I recover harder! I make sure to properly rehydrate and refuel immediately post workout, sit in my Normatec Recovery boots, get a massage every 2 weeks (thanks Nick with Vitality Massage), see Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic as niggles arise, and prioritize sleep by getting at least 8 hours EVERY night! Consuming Breakthrough Nutrition’s Goodnight formula + magnesium before bed also helps me get some solid REM + deep sleep.
  3. I #trainthebrain…I think this has brought me the most success and what I am the most proud of in 2018!! When faced with adversity, I overcame!! I truly am SO much stronger than I ever thought!! Focusing on an attitude of gratitude, keeping positive, and smiling through the pain/discomfort in training and racing has brought me huge success this year!!
  4. I eat healthy!! I stick with whole foods as much as possible and save indulgences for rare occasions!! 🙂
  5. I communicate with Coach Kelly (giving her meat is ALWAYS better than bare bones)!! I’m so grateful when she calls me out on my SH!T and makes me reflect and think about my training, my mindset, my training/life/work balance, etc.!! #everstrong
  6. #courageovercomfort…when you step out of your comfort zone, this is where the magic happens!! There has been sweat (lots of sweat), pain, blood, blisters, chaffing, black toenails, and tears (LOTS of tears…Thanks Ruth for pulling me out of some low places while on the trainer) in training this year. Overcoming this discomfort often requires lots of courage to push outside of my comfort zone, but it is TOTALLY worth it!! #magic
  7. Attitude of gratitude…focusing on ALL things to be grateful for during highs and lows. There is always something to be grateful for…even when you are deep in the pain cave and riding the struggle bus. I have intentionally been finding things to be grateful for during training + racing. Gratitude has taken me so much farther than I ever thought possible.
  8. #believe…when you truly believe deep down to the depths of your soul, you can accomplish ANYTHING!!

What additional tips do you have to better align your actions with your goals?! What have you done to better align your actions with your goals this year?! What can you do to better align your actions with your goals in 2019?! 

3 weeks ’til #IMLou – knocking out the workouts

With last week in the rear view mirror, I only have one more big week before the taper for #IMLou begins!!

Swim: 6500 yards

3K swim…what a great way to start the day!!
Capping off the week with more yards in the pool!

Bike: 74.4 miles

Easy recovery spin on the bike!
LONG, focused ride on the trainer…leg crusher!!
Recovery ride post long run!!

Run: 27.3 miles

Treadmill miles with speed work!
Starting Friday off right…with my fave by my side for some morning miles!!
Knocking out the workouts one at a time!
Running with such a #happydog makes me have a #happyheart!! #basillovesrunning
Following the run plan!!

Strength Training: 10 minutes of core strength almost daily  

Weekly Totals: 13 hours & 34 minutes

Quote of the Week:

“When it gets tough, put on your boxing gloves.” ~unknown

Attitude of Gratitude:

The sunrise was so stunning!!
Grateful to Nick at Vitality Massage for keeping me healthy!!
Love the Coeur Sports Kona kit design!!
Only one way to refuel post long workouts…SUSHI!!
Grateful to have my legs squeezed by my Normatec boots post long + tough workouts!
Race numbers are here for IMLou!! I’m so grateful my body and mind allow me to do this crazy + fun sport!!

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

What’s Up?! – August 2018

Where in the world does time go?! How is it possible that we are back in school, I’ve started my 15th year of teaching, and summer is in the rearview mirror?! I’ve been teaching longer than my students have been alive…AND…this year one of our new colleagues was a student of mine 15 years ago when she was in 8th grade!! I am officially old! LOL 😉 Here is a brief look at what August had in store for me…

Training:

Show up and do the work…you’ll always be glad you did!
I am grateful for my fave! He came out to check on me and take pics while I was riding on Saturday. Love my support crew + cheerleader!
Grateful to have these two motivate me for some #sundayrunday hill repeats!!

Swim: 46,260 yards (26.28 miles)
Bike: 381 miles
Run: 87.1 miles
Monthly Totals: 57 hours

Training Camp:

I went up to Madison for a solo training camp to put in miles on more hilly terrain. It definitely made me stronger + I got to spend Friday on two wheels with my Coeur Sports teammate, Steena!! Love this lady!! After cycling two loops of the IMWI bike course on Friday, I did a short 30 minute run off the bike. On Saturday, I rode 1 loop of the bike course + part of the stem and then did another 30 minute run off the bike. On Sunday I ran 1 loop of the IMWI run course. I didn’t get any swimming in as the lake wasn’t safe for swimming due to higher blue green algae + bacteria levels. During Saturday’s bike ride, I was tapped by a car. The driver was on her phone when her front right bumper tapped my left handlebar pushing me off the road as she was pulling out onto the road where I was riding straight. I’m still not sure how I stayed upright as I slid down the grassy ditch, but I did. There were thousands of riders out on the course that Saturday and others witnessed what happened. Thankfully both Mojo and I were unharmed. Unfortunately it isn’t illegal to be on your phone while driving in the state of Wisconsin, but it should be!! Be safe out there and stay off your phones while driving!! Regardless of Saturday’s mishap, I gained some great fitness and had fun!! I learned a lot about how strong + resilient I am and that when I show up and do the work, I never regret it!!

Hard work pays off!! Thanks to my #sub6orbust buddy Steena for pulling me up ALL. THE. HILLS On 2 loops of the #IMWI bike course!!

Reading:

Gratitude in Motion: A True Story of Hope, Determination, and the Everyday Heroes Around Us by Colleen Kelly Alexander is SO INSPIRING!! This women…her grit…her tenacity…her resilience…WOW!! Just WOW!! “It was a beautiful fall day in Connecticut when Colleen Kelly Alexander, a lifelong athlete, rode her bike home from work. She had survived both a diagnosis of lupus and brain surgery, had a fulfilling career, and was married at last to the love of her life. Everything was good as she coasted along, meeting the eyes of a truck driver as he approached the stop sign beside her. He didn’t stop. The truck hit Colleen, running over her lower body with front and back tires and dragging her across the pavement. As she bled out in the street, nearby strangers surrounded her and the driver attempted to get away. An EMT herself, Colleen knew she had to stay awake. “I’ve just been reconnected with my soulmate,” she told the medic. “We want to have a baby. I can’t die now. Please don’t let me die.” Five weeks in a coma and twenty-nine surgeries later, Colleen survived. Rather than let the trauma and PTSD control her life, she became determined to find a way to make something positive from her pain. She decided she’d run again and dedicate her race medals to the everyday heroes around us, including the medical staff and blood donors who saved her life. Since then Colleen has run fifty races and completed forty triathlons, including four half-Ironman events. Now a spokesperson for the Red Cross, Colleen shares her incredible inspirational story to encourage others to take that first step forward.”

Listening to:

I finally got caught up on Ironwomen Podcasts when I was driving home from my solo training camp in Madison. Jennifer Pharr Davis is so fun to listen to! She shared about “her record breaking experiences on the Appalachian Trail, the specific challenges she faced, and how she managed the lows and highs of her incredible efforts.” Sarah Thomas “holds the record for longest current neutral swim EVER! She shares the hardships and challenges of marathon swimming, her battle with cancer, and what drives her to do these long swims.”

I listened to Kona Kamps episodes with Kristin Louderback and Kiah Wheeler while cleaning the house. These women are SO inspiring!!

Grateful for:

Grateful that Kim showed up for my Women’s only triathlon clinic. Since she was the only one to show up, she got 2 hours of one-on-one attention and lots of gifts!! 🙂
Celebrating with Dad back at home home!
Snow cones with the twins!! Yummy!!
So grateful that I got to stay with my college friend, Christina, and her girl, Gracie, in Madison at my solo training camp!
Making fitness + pushing myself in Madison on the #IMWI bike course!
So many homegrown tomatoes from our garden! I am grateful to get to go outside and eat from the garden!
Today was my 15th first day of teaching!!
I have the best Coeur Sports teammates!! Thank you Ruth!!
90 miles of #bikelove and chasing Anne for 55 of those miles on a very hot + humid day = DONE!!
This! I am so grateful for my Normatec boots + home cooked meal that my fave made after a long day of swim + bike + run!

How was your month of August?! What were you grateful for last month?! Have you ever done a solo training camp?! If so, what did you learn?!

7 weeks ’til #IMLou – back to reality

Last week I was reintroduced to reality…it is apparently time to go back to school. This means reestablishing routines, balancing life and training, and figuring out the “new normal.”

Swim: 10,453 yards

Putting in some work during this tough #timetrialtuesday swim!!
My 15th first day of school started with a long early morning swim!!
#swimlove in the 50 meter pool = DONE!!

Bike: 116 miles

#timetrialtuesday helped me move my way off of the struggle bus and into a Rolls Roys!!
My 15th first day of school ended with some #bikelove + #basillove!!
90 miles of #bikelove and chasing Anne for 55 of those miles on a very hot + humid day = DONE!!

Run: 26 miles

Morning hill repeats with Basil!! Basil got compliments on her glow-in-the-dark collar this morning. Sad we are losing daylight, but grateful for the cooler temps so my running buddy can join me!!
Happy Friday!! Running in the mist with Robin was a great way to start the day!!
#sundayrunday was 16 soggy + gross miles thanks to the 72*F dew point!! Thanks for running 5 of those miles with me Robin!!

Strength Training: 10 minutes of core strength daily  

Weekly Totals: 16 hours & 22 minutes

Quote of the Week:

“Back to life. Back to reality.” ~Soul II Soul

Attitude of Gratitude:

Hanging with some colleagues…back to work!
Today was my 15th first day of teaching!!
I have the best Coeur Sports teammates!! Thank you Ruth!!
Grateful for recovery in my Normatec Recovery boots!!

How was your week? What were you grateful for last week?! Any tips for reestablishing routines after a vacation?!

8 weeks ’til #IMLou – struggle bus

Last week I rode the struggle bus…technically it started the week before, but it only got worse last week. I’m lacking motivation, lacking self confidence, feeling overweight, feeling overwhelmed, and I’m definitely not ready to start my first day back to school tomorrow. I want off the struggle bus…or maybe it is time to drive the bus instead of being a passenger on it!

Swim: 21,902 yards

Show up and do the work…you’ll always be glad you did!
The struggle bus is real…sometimes I ride it longer than I’d like, but I’m still putting in the work.
Saturday started with 4400 meters as a passenger on the struggle bus.

Bike: 87.5 miles

Easy spinning post run to loosen up the legs!
An hour easy spin…just moving the legs.
After riding the struggle bus in the pool Saturday morning, I got to ride 71.9 miles. This is where I started to transition from a passenger on the struggle bus to the captain…I’m not in full control of the bus just yet, but I’m getting closer!! This Coeur Sports kit is magical…complete 180 degrees from the morning swim!!

Run: 22.1 miles

Finding the sunshine among the storms during my long run!
Saturday’s run off the bike was HOT + HUMID, but I nailed the plan and was super happy to finish strong!!
Grateful to have these two motivate me for some #sundayrunday hill repeats!!

Strength Training: 10 minutes of core strength almost daily  

Weekly Totals: 14 hours & 11 minutes

Quote of the Week:

“I no longer want to be a passenger on the struggle bus. I want to drive the bus, so it is time to turn in my passenger card for the captain’s license!” ~ME

Attitude of Gratitude:

Much needed after a big training weekend. Thanks Nick at Vitality Massage for helping me stay healthy and active!
Grateful to spend the afternoon at the state fair with these fun peeps listening to Brett Eldredge live in concert!
A ray of sunshine during a rain storm!
So many homegrown tomatoes from our garden! I am grateful to get to go outside and eat from the garden!
Grateful that Dr. Chris Feil was able to get me in to see him. He thinks I’m not balanced…LOL!! (I think we already knew that!!)
A clean house! After spending my “rest day” deep cleaning the house in preparation for the start of a new school year, I am grateful it is done!
I am grateful for my fave! He came out to check on me and take pics while I was riding on Saturday. Love my support crew + cheerleader!
This! I am so grateful for my Normatec boots + home cooked meal that my fave made after a long day of swim + bike + run Saturday!
I sleep so much better after my Breakthrough Nutrition Goodnight drink!! Mmmmm

How was your week? What were you grateful for last week?! What tricks do you have for turning in your passenger card for a captain’s license of the struggle bus?!

9 weeks ’til #IMLou – Done!

I’m a bit behind in posting this…

Last week was full of adventure! I took myself to Madison, Wisconsin at the end of the week to do my own training camp. Thanks to Coach Kelly for putting together a challenging weekend for me! I learned so much and overcame lots of challenges! It wasn’t perfect, but it added a lot of volume to my training and I’m grateful my body was open to the challenge.

Swim: 6673 yards

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” ~Woody Allen
Why? Know your why. Remember your why. Why do you do what you do?! I love triathlon because:
-I love feeling free!
-I love how super fantabulous I feel when I overcome a challenge that once seemed too daunting to surpass!
-I love the community + people I get to meet!
-I can!

Bike: 144 miles

Criss cross applesauce…nailed my Z3/Z4 20 minute working set on the bike!!
Hard work pays off!! Thanks to my #sub6orbust buddy Steena for pulling me up ALL. THE. HILLS On 2 loops of the #IMWI bike course!! She’s so ready to crush #IMWI this year!!
Making fitness + pushing myself in Madison on the #IMWI bike course!

Run: 25.3 miles

Jazz hands to celebrate an easy morning run!
Running off the bike on day 1 of my solo training camp in Madison.
Run off the bike on day 2 of my solo training camp in Madison
I finally ran up Observatory hill without walking on the #IMWI run course! One loop done in pretty miserable conditions!

Strength Training: 30 minutes of full body strength + 10 minutes of core strength daily  

Building strength for #IMLou!!

Weekly Totals: 18 hours & 1 minute

Quote of the Week:

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” ~Nelson Mandela

Attitude of Gratitude:

I love this sweet pea!!
So grateful that I got to stay with my college friend, Christina, and her girl, Gracie, in Madison at my solo training camp!
Normatec recovery boots are a MUST when putting in all of the hard work!

How was your week? What were you grateful for last week?! Have you ever done a solo training camp?! What did you learn?!