Racing with #heartandcourage to become #trackcatstrong in 2018

I have been so blessed + honored to be a part of the Coeur Sports ambassador team for the last 3 years! I am humbled + honored to have this AMAZING company and these empowering ladies by my side for 2018! This sisterhood of women are so strong, supportive, inspirational, #hardcoeur, uplifting, encouraging, kind, and are full of #heartandcourage!

With my 2017 racing season in the rearview mirror, I am looking forward to my 2018 racing season! I have a few races that I’ve already signed up for, a few more I’m planning to sign up for, and then there’s my late season schedule…I’m still debating on that, so that will just have to be a surprise! ūüėČ I am really excited to continue working with Coach Kelly at¬†Track Cat Fitness to help me get stronger + faster in 2018! #trackcatstrong here I come!

My tentative race plan for 2018 includes:

Drake 1/2 Marathon – April 22, 2018 (already registered for)

Hickory Grove Triathlon РMay 20, 2018

Ironman Wisconsin 70.3 РJune 10, 2018 (already registered for)

Okoboji Triathlon – July 14, 2018

Ironman Ohio 70.3 РJuly 29, 2018 (already registered for)

Okoboji 3.5 mile Swim – August 4, 2018

I have some BIG dreams that I am chasing, so I am hopeful that these races (with a few others scattered throughout the year) set me up for an even more amazing 2019 racing season! Look out 2018…I’m comin’ for ya!

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My 2016 Year in Review via Photos

January:

My first ever MRI
My first ever MRI…thankfully it was nothing serious!
Basil loves to help me foam roller after a sweaty workout!
Basil is a good helper after a sweaty workout!
I can finally reach my toes...yoga is working :)
Spending lots of time with my boyfriend…mat¬†ūüôā

February:

Some serious #runlove with my 2 faves!! Bonus = running in SHORTS in Iowa...see the snow on the ground ;)
Some serious #runlove with my 2 faves!! Bonus = running in SHORTS in Iowa…see the snow on the ground ūüėČ
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More #yogalove this month
Who's ready to race?!
Who’s ready to race?! I’m so excited to be on the Coeur Sports Ambassador Team again for 2016!!

March:

Basil and Mya are dreaming of chasing the geese and swimming!
Basil and Mya are dreaming of chasing the geese and swimming!
Family run off the bike!
Family run off the bike!
"Just one more" hill for TRJ!!
“Just one more” hill for TRJ!!
Easy recovery ride with the boys!
Easy recovery ride in the courage cave with the boys!
Starting my day with my main squeeze and a new friend in the burbs of Chicago!
Starting my day with my main squeeze and a new friend in the burbs of Chicago!

April:

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Lots of swim analyses done this month!
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Outdoor #runlove in shorts!
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First century ride in 2016!!
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#runlove with friends is the best!
Drake 1/2 marathon is in the books! Official finish time = 1:54:23
Drake 1/2 marathon is in the books! Official finish time = 1:54:23

May:

LOTS to work on this week in the pool! Thanks Coach for the stroke analysis and guidance!!
Thanks Coach Hansen for the stroke analysis and guidance!!
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Market to Market Relay fun!
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Market to Market Relay Fun!
#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon
#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon
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Challenging our principal to an inflatable race on the last day of school.
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Riding the open roads!

June:

Yoga in the park!
Yoga in the park!
#solesister + #bikelove = #perfectworld
#solesister + #bikelove = #perfectworld
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DC trip with about 20 eighth graders
Swimming with the nieces between storms.
Swimming with the nieces between storms.
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Milkman 70.3 race in Madison on a hot day!
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Our first women’s only ride…SO MUCH FUN and amazing courage in these women!!

July:

4th of July Century ride
4th of July Century ride
#bikelove with amazing people!
#bikelove with amazing people!
Outdoor #swimlove
Outdoor #swimlove
Women's only ride #2 for the year!
Women’s only ride #2 for the year!
Teaching the twins how to ride their bikes without training wheels!
Teaching the twins how to ride their bikes without training wheels!
Swimming with 2 of my favorite girls!
Swimming with 2 of my favorite girls!
Getting low fives from my nieces at the Okoboji Triathlon. Photo by Sarah Riley
Getting low fives from my nieces at the Okoboji Triathlon. Photo by Sarah Riley
The Iron Hippie's Birthday Century Ride
The Iron Hippie’s Birthday Century Ride
Pool Shenanigans post birthday century ride!
Pool Shenanigans post birthday century ride!
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128 miles on the Ironman Wisconsin bike course…EXCELLENT training weekend!
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2.4 mile open water swim event in Madison
This is what happy looks like after a successful Ironman Wisconsin training camp!
This is what happy looks like after a successful Ironman Wisconsin training camp!

August:

Running through the jungle on a sweltering day!
Running through the jungle on a sweltering day!
3.5 mile Okoboji Swim with Dad kayaking next to me
Okoboji 3.5 mile Swim with Dad kayaking next to me
Outdoor pool swimming is coming to an end.
Outdoor 50 meter pool swimming is coming to an end.
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Running with friends is always best!
Outdoor #bikelove
Outdoor #bikelove
Taking a trip down the slide at the pool!
Taking a trip down the slide at the pool!
#runlove with my faves!
#runlove with my faves!
Date night!
Date night!

September:

Countless laps next to my fave!
Countless laps next to my fave!
Race prep while I watch the Ironman 70.3 Worlds Championship!
Race prep while I watch the Ironman 70.3 Worlds Championship!
Swimming with family in Lake Monona
Swimming with family in Lake Monona
Meeting my Coeur Sports teammies
Meeting my Coeur Sports teammies
Ironman Wisconsin race day! Photo credit: Doree Harding
Ironman Wisconsin race day! Photo credit: Doree Harding
Ironman Wisconsin #bikelove Photo credit: Erin Klegstad
Ironman Wisconsin #bikelove Photo credit: Erin Klegstad
Running strong! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
Running strong at Ironman Wisconsin! Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

October:

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!
Run for the Roses fun!
Run for the Roses fun!
Love this little family of mine!
Love this little family of mine!
Spectating the IMT Des Moines Marathon!
Spectating the IMT Des Moines Marathon!
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
#bikelove in my fall playground!
#bikelove in my fall playground!
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I registered for Ironman Mont Tremblant for 2017!!
These ladies not only inspire me, but encourage me and light my fire! <3
So happy to cheer on my Coeur Sports Teammates as they take on Ironman World Championships in Kona. These ladies not only inspire me, but encourage me and light my fire! ‚̧

November:

I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2017 Ambassador Team...Such a #hardcoeur group of women that I'm overjoyed to be a part of!!
I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2017 Ambassador Team…Such a #hardcoeur group of women that I’m overjoyed to be a part of!!
I'm excited to have hired Kelly Hardiaris with Track Cat Fitness as my new coach!!
I’m excited to have hired Kelly Hardiaris with Track Cat Fitness as my new coach!!
Hot yoga...a date with my mat is always better with friends!!
Hot yoga…a date with my mat is always better with friends!! #yogalove
Washing away the negativity of the month.
Washing away the negativity of the month. #swimlove
Running with friends and THIS. BEAUTIFUL. SUNRISE!
Running with friends and THIS. BEAUTIFUL. SUNRISE! #runlove
Running with my sole sister and Basil makes the world a better place!
Running with my #solesister and Basil makes the world a better place! #runlove
My twin nieces had their first swim meet this month!
My twin nieces had their first swim meet this month!
Proud Aunt!
Proud Aunt!
We are Godparents! Baptism for the twins.
We are Godparents! Baptism for the twins.
Ice skating with our nieces!
Ice skating with our nieces!
Starting Thanksgiving with friends and morning miles!
Starting Thanksgiving with friends and morning miles!
Thankful for this tribe!
Thankful for this tribe!
4 generations of #strongwomen
4 generations of #strongwomen
Jumping on trampolines is a much tougher workout than I thought it would be!
Jumping on trampolines is a much tougher workout than I thought it would be!
Yay!! Mojo is home after surgery!! Now it is time to get to work!!
Yay!! Mojo is home after surgery!! Now it is time to get to work!!

December:

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#chlorinetherapy + #swimlove with the Iron Hippie!!
2 mile time trial with the track all to myself!!
2 mile time trial with the track all to myself!!
FTP test...not where I want to be, but better than where I thought I was.
FTP test…I’m not where I once was, but I’m recovered and ready to work hard to surpass where I once was!!
Working hard to turn my dreams into a reality with some #chlorinetherapy
When you wask up to negative wind chills and want to stay in bed with your dreams, but get up and work hard during your swim time trial to turn those dreams into a reality instead! #swimlove #chlorinetherapy
Running on trails along the river = #runlove
Running on trails along the river = #runlove
Z5 intervals on the bike were super tough, but it felt good to push my limits in a new way and come out stronger as a result!
Z5 intervals on the bike were super tough, but it felt good to push my limits in a new way and come out stronger as a result!
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When it is FREEZING cold outside, it is time to run on the mill and dream of the tropics in my Coeur Sports Tropical Punch kit!
Running the golf course with my girl + bonus #puppylove
Running the golf course with my girl + bonus #puppylove
I did make it all the way to the top and then didn't want to let go...but I did! #fearless
Climbing to new heights is VERY scary for someone who is afraid of heights…but I did! #fearless
Tree pose on a tree trunk...this is much harder in jeans than yoga pants!
Tree pose on a tree trunk…this is much harder in jeans than yoga pants!

I’m thankful¬†for all of the great experiences, adventures, and joy in 2016! Cheers to an even better 2017!

What’s Up?! – August 2016

August has been full of all kinds of fun, chaos, and tapering!

Fun:

The month of August started with the Okoboji 3.5 mile swim. I was so lucky to have Dad kayak next to me while I just kept swimming! Later in the month, the twins came for a visit. We spent the day at the aquatic center and then got ice cream before they left for home.

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Chaos:

I started school on August 19 and the students started on the 24th. This meant I spent a lot of time running errands to stock up on all kinds of supplies before the school year started, I made hundreds of zucchini muffins, and I loaded the freezer with homemade food that just needs to be reheated. I also spent time in my classroom getting ready for the new year, while finishing up our training load for Ironman Wisconsin.

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Tapering:

We began to taper for Ironman Wisconsin, which was good and bad. I always forget that school starting and tapering for Ironman Wisconsin go well together on paper, but in reality I really want to be training more at the start of the school year when the stress level rises. With the taper comes more time to spend with my fave and start packing for Ironman Wisconsin…neither of which release the stress that comes with the start of the school year like intense training does…sorry honey!

Date night!
Date night!

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How was your month of August? What were your highlights for the month?

Okoboji 3.5 Mile Open Water Swim Event 2016

The Okoboji 3.5 mile open water swim event is the perfect lead up to Ironman Wisconsin. With only 5 weeks until race day, this is a good test of our swim fitness and mental strength since it is a point to point swim.

5 am alarm clock so we could get this swim party started! We immediately dropped a car off at Pikes Point State Park at 5:15 am, came home, ate breakfast, changed into our swim gear, and went to pick up Tom on our way to Gull Point State Park.

When we got to Gull Point State Park, Dad and Tom had to do some minor kayak repair so the vessel will stay afloat and hopefully not take on too much water.

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Duct tape fixes everything!

We then hauled the kayaks to the beach, picked up our race packets, and went back to the truck to leave any gear we wouldn’t need for the swim. Mom graciously drove the truck around the lake to Pikes Point State Park so we would be able to load the kayaks at the end of our event and not have to drive back over to Gull Point State Park to get the truck before loading the kayaks (this is what we did in 2014…while it worked, it took a lot longer).

Photo credit: Iowa Great Lakes Association
Photo credit: Iowa Great Lakes Association
Photo credit: Iowa Great Lakes Association
Photo credit: Iowa Great Lakes Association

We listened to the race announcements, put the kayaks into the water, did a little pre-race swimming, and waited for the “go” so we could swim to our kayak.

Thanks to Dad and Tom for being our kayak support for this event!
Thanks to Dad and Tom for being our kayak support for this event!
Photo Credit: Tom Gustafson
Photo Credit: Tom Gustafson
Photo Credit: Tom Gustafson
Photo Credit: Tom Gustafson

For the first half mile, I could easily see the bottom of the lake and was so grateful that I wasn’t swimming in the sludge in the lake in Rio. I had leaky goggles and had to occasionally flip over onto my back and adjust them. Dad and I would chat a bit before I would flip back over and continue swimming. I knew the half way point would be when we got to the 3rd buoy (there were 5 total) which was off the point by Manhattan Beach Resort.

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When we got to the 5th swim buoy, I did some breast stroke swimming so I could chat with Dad for a minute.

Me: “Dad, did you know that if you fart in your swimskin the bubbles get trapped and rotate from one hip to the other as you swim?”
Dad: “No, I didn’t know that,” as he chuckled.

From this point on, I pushed myself and kept telling myself “courage over comfort” is how you get the job done! Dad said I did pass a few swimmers in this stretch and he could tell my pace had picked up a bit because he had to paddle a bit more. Finishing strong is a great way to finish! Such a fun morning…3.5 miles is a LONG way to swim!

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Finish time: 2:07:13

Gear: Roka Sports Viper Elite Swim Skin, Roka Sports X1 Goggles, Tri Slide, Speedo swim suit

What is the farthest you’ve swam in open water? Have you ever done a point to point swim?

My Swim Essentials

After having just completed the Shoreline 2.4 mile swim in Madison last Saturday and gearing up for the Okoboji 3.5 Mile Open Water Swim tomorrow, I thought it would be fitting to share with you my swim essentials.

  1. Roka Sports X1¬†Goggles…these fit my face just perfectly, don’t leak and protect¬†my eyes as the sun rises over the water. The light vermilion color is perfect for sighting the orange and yellow buoys! ¬†¬†DCIM100GOPROG0015204.
  2. Roka Sports Wetsuit…this is my open water swim preference if the water temperature is below 76F. The sleeves are super comfortable and allow for a nice, fluid swim stroke. ¬†¬†DCIM100GOPROGOPR4690.
  3. Roka Sports Swimskin…if the water temperature is not wetsuit legal, I will opt for the swimskin so that I can wear my tri suit underneath it with minimal drag. The bright colors on the backside of the swimskin also make it super easy for others to see me when swimming! So much better than just the typical black color!IMG_5123
  4. Body Glide and Tri Slide…you can’t have enough antichaffing lube to keep you happy!
  5. New Wave Swim Buoy…this is awesome for open water swim practice! You not only improve your visibility with it, but you also can carry flip flops, car keys, cell phone, etc. in the dry bag compartment instead of leaving them on the shore.
  6. Swim Tools…Pull Buoy, Fins, Paddles, Kickboard, ankle band
  7. Swim Ear…I refer to this as ear dry and for me it is a MUST!¬† My ear canals are shaped just right wrong to prevent water from draining from them and instead allow the water to sit in my ears and cause ear infections if I don’t get the water out shortly after my swim.

What are your swim essentials?

Looking Back to Move Foward

It is often a good idea to look back at what you did (both well and in need of improvement) before planning for the future.  A couple of weeks ago I took some time and evaluated my 2014 journey to help me set S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2015.

USA Triathlon posted a great article that I used to guide my evaluation of my 2014 training and racing season before trying to plan for my 2015 season.

1. In hindsight, were your goals for the season clear and attainable?

-My goals were clear and attainable: not have nutrition failure at Ironman Wisconsin, remember my whole day at IMWI and smile throughout the race. ¬†I feel like I could have been more successful with the nutrition since I had stomach issues on the bike, but the fact that a was able to adjust to these issues and continue to move forward, I’m very happy with. ¬†I feel as though I successfully achieved remembering my whole day and smiling throughout IMWI, so that was a huge bonus.

Feeling good as I run down the finish shoot.  Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.
Feeling good as I run down the finish shoot. Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.

2. What are you most proud of this season?

-I had a huge PR on the IM swim (just shy of 10 minutes). I had a successful run at IMWI cutting almost 90 minutes off my run time. I was able to overcome the obstacle of a cramped stomach on the bike during IMWI and ended up with a PR at IMWI (just shy of 1 hour). I am happy and confident that I could have aimed higher at IMWI without having a coach for the last half of my training season.

Photo courtesy of Lora Bierbaum
Photo courtesy of Lora Bierbaum

-I am happy that I conquered the Okoboji 3.5 mile open water swim and set a new PR.

Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum:  The Iron Hippie and I successfully finished our 3.5 mile swim "race"
Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum: The Iron Hippie and I successfully finished our 3.5 mile swim “race”

-I am happy that I was able to consume solid foods on the bike this year (although I was more successful at this during training than on race day) and that Osmo Nutrition was able to help me successfully stay hydrated during training and racing. ūüôā

3. What would I like to duplicate next year?

-I would like to continue training without a coach and incorporate the same 3 big brick days that we completed last year into this year’s training plan for Ironman Boulder. ¬†I feel like the 3.5 mile swim helped my swim at IMWI and would like to do a LONG¬†open water swim in mid June (maybe even going back up to Okoboji and having Dad kayak next to me while I swim the same route). ¬†I would like to do more of the Elkhart Time Trial bike races to incorporate more speed work into my cycling. ¬†I would also like to continue working on incorporating more solid foods into my nutrition plan while hydrating with Osmo Nutrition to try to prevent all nutrition failures at Ironman Boulder.

4. What frustrated or disappointed you the most this season?

-Getting injured early in my racing season caused me to miss the Drake 1/2 Marathon in late April and Ironman Kansas 70.3 in early June. I’m glad I took the time to properly heal, but wish I would have backed down as soon as I started to feel injured instead of pushing through and making things worse. I am also disappointed that I did not work harder on the bike by incorporating more speed work and hills into my training. The bike was my biggest struggle on race day.

5. What do you not want to happen again next year?

-I want to avoid injuries and actually complete a 70.3 race prior to Ironman Boulder in 2015. I also don’t want my bike split to get slower (as it did in 2014).

6. What did you learn by going through these experiences?

-I need to be sure to do proper strength training that impacts all areas so I don’t get injured again. I have also found that I respond best to having two weeks intense training followed by one recovery week (instead of the typical 3 weeks intense training and 1 week recovery), so I would like to continue with that training plan. ¬†I also need to make¬†sure that I have at least one rest day a week. I sometimes struggle with this as I just want to go, Go, GO.

7. What decisions did you make that were empowering for you?

-I felt empowered when we decided to drop coaching and self coach. This allowed me to figure out that my body responds best to 2 weeks of hard effort followed by a recovery week.  This realization also empowered me to do what I need instead of what works best for the general triathlete. By self-coaching, we were also empowered to keep Monday evenings free of workouts so we could focus on our relationship, things that needed to be done at home and spending time with friends.

-I felt empowered when I made the decision to detour on the IMWI bike course to get some orange juice from the gas station for my cramped stomach. I also felt empowered when I made the decision to use Osmo Nutrition for my hydration since it worked so magically for me.

Still Smiling...photo courtesy of Finisherpix
Still Smiling…photo courtesy of Finisherpix

8. What habits seemed to hold you back from achieving your potential?

-I definitely ate too many foods that were processed and fewer whole foods immediately post exercise. In doing so, this caused me to consume more calories than I needed. I have also found that my body responds best to less grains and dairy foods, but I ate these in larger quantities than I should have during the 2014 training season.

-My body responds best to going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning. I found myself sleeping in later on the weekends, which would throw off my sleep schedule and cause me to be more tired at different times of the day and days of the week.

-I definitely did not incorporate enough mental training into my 2014 season. In years past, I’ve spent about 5-10 minutes every night visualizing success at races, coming up with affirmations and positive self talk to get me through challenges I may face at different points during a race.

9. What decisions should you make in order to have your best triathlon year ahead?

-I need to eat healthy, whole, unprocessed foods and keep a consistent sleep schedule…even on the weekends. I need to be sure to get a rest day every week, while maintaining 2 weeks of intense training followed by 1 week recovery as an overall training plan. I need to incorporate speed workouts and more hills on the bike, so I can improve my bike split at Ironman Boulder. I also need to focus on believing in myself and my training more. ūüôā

Stay tuned for my 2015 goals…

Have you looked backward so you could plan for the future? What did you learn?