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?

Trication Part 2 – Estes Park…The Middle

Monday:

We woke up early to head to the Estes Park pool for 2400 yards of #swimlove at an elevation of 7500+ feet. I was a little winded during this swim, but once I got into a rhythm it was great!!

Estes Park Swimming Pool

Estes Park Swimming Pool

After swimming, we drove to Rocky Mountain National Park and took a short walk around Sprague Lake…ABSOLUTELY Magnificent!!

We walked the 1/2 mile loop around Sprague Lake and ventured out off the trail in a few places.

We walked the 1/2 mile loop around Sprague Lake and ventured out off the trail in a few places.

I climbed a rock and took a picture of the boys below.

I climbed a rock and took a picture of the boys below.

The view of Sprague Lake from the top of my rock.

The view of Sprague Lake from the top of my rock.

Standing on top of my rock at Sprague Lake.

Standing on top of my rock at Sprague Lake.

Two men fishing in a canoe at Sprague Lake.

Two men fishing in a canoe at Sprague Lake.

A stream just off of Sprague Lake

A stream just off of Sprague Lake

The mountains and sky reflected beautifully off of Sprague Lake.

The mountains and sky reflected beautifully off of Sprague Lake.

When we returned to our cabin, we spent about 3 hours cleaning our bikes. Mojo is MUCH happier now that she is clean and shiny!! During this time, we also did laundry…everything dries so quickly in Colorado 🙂

We spent 3+ hours cleaning bikes.

We spent 3+ hours cleaning bikes.

This is how we dry laundry in Colorado.

This is how we dry laundry in Colorado.

"A clean bike is a happy bike."

“A clean bike is a happy bike.”

After lunch, we thought we were going to do some stand up paddle boarding, but the timing wasn’t in our favor, so we’ll have to go later this week. Instead, we walked down on the strip and got a late afternoon treat…I had a caramel apple covered in Snickers and it was delightful 🙂

Caramel apple with Snicker...YUMMY!!

Caramel apple with Snicker…YUMMY!!

For dinner, we had homemade pasta and garlic bread before heading to bed early so we could get to the Boulder Reservoir early in the morning for our first open water swim (OWS) in Colorado at altitude.

Tuesday:

We woke up EARLY to drive down to the Boulder Reservoir for a 6:10 am OWS with BAM (Boulder Aquatic Masters). LOTS of the swimmers are soon to be fellow Ironman Boulder finishers, since most were chatting about the upcoming race. There were LOTS of others who just swim or are training for other races as well. It was great to have kayakers/lifeguards surrounding the 1000 meter and 750 meter buoys watching out for us while we swam. The $15 was well worth it!! It would be nice to have something like this back home. 🙂

People lining the shore getting ready for the BAM OWS.

People lining the shore getting ready for the BAM OWS.

The Iron Hippie on the left getting his swim cap on and getting ready to swim.

The Iron Hippie on the left getting his swim cap on and getting ready to swim.

It was a perfect morning for a swim and I was VERY pleasantly surprised by how good I felt despite swimming at altitude.

OWS complete...I felt GREAT!!

OWS complete…I felt GREAT!!

OWS in the Boulder Res was faster than my IMWI pace last year...hmmm...maybe IMBoulder will be a PR swim.

OWS in the Boulder Res was faster than my IMWI pace last year…hmmm…maybe IMBoulder will be a PR swim.

After the swim, we had a short run, which we did around the Res checking out where we would be staged for IMBoulder. This was the fastest run I’ve had in quite a while and I was super happy about my pace…I started easy and picked it up to sub 8:00/mile pace near the end 🙂

Short run post swim. This is the fastest run I've had in quite a while and I was super happy to show this pace at altitude!! Acclimation is paying off :)

Short run post swim. This is the fastest run I’ve had in quite a while and I was super happy to show this pace at altitude!! Acclimation is paying off 🙂

Post swim/run high...with the mountains in the background and at altitude.

Post swim/run high…with the mountains in the background and at altitude.

After our run, we showered at the Res before driving Allen to the airport in Denver. He had to fly to Las Vegas for an overnight work trip. On our way back up to Estes Park, we stopped in Lafayette at Morning Glory Cafe for an amazing breakfast!!

I'm in love with their food...I wish they were closer to Estes Park :)

I’m in love with their food…I wish they were closer to Estes Park 🙂

Avocado toast with a side of bacon.

Avocado toast with a side of bacon.

Once back at the cabin, we put all of our swim gear out on the patio to dry (wetsuits, swim suits, tri kits, etc.) before laying down for a much needed nap. When I woke up, I went outside to bring in all of our swim gear and it was SOAKED! It had apparently poured during our nap and all of our gear was more wet than when we put it out there post trip to Boulder. We left it all outside, hoping it would dry.

We had an early dinner at Mama Rosa’s in Estes Park and then walked around the downtown area checking out the local shops and buying a few things.

Caprese Salad for an appetizer

Caprese Salad for an appetizer

Salad

Salad

Shrimp in marinara sauce over noodles and a side of garlic bread

Shrimp in marinara sauce over noodles and a side of garlic bread

Sitting on the patio next to the stream for dinner = perfect!!

Sitting on the patio next to the stream for dinner = perfect!!

It was early to bed to try and soak up the sleep during the taper 😉

Wednesday:

We woke up, went to the grocery store before everyone else did (that is definitely the way to go), came back to the cabin to make breakfast smoothies and then walked 2 miles down to the Estes Park Marina so I could rent a stand up paddle board and the Iron Hippie could rent a kayak. The last time I went stand up paddle (SUP) boarding was in Coeur d’Alene in 2012. I LOVE stand up paddle boarding…maybe it is time to invest in my own board 🙂 It was a very windy morning, which made for a rough ride…lots of whitecaps on the lake. It was still a lot of fun, but I think we need to go back and do this again when it is a calmer day…I’d love to be out there longer than 30 minutes!!

A snake slithered across the path right in front of us as we walked around Lake Estes to the marina.

A snake slithered across the path right in front of us as we walked around Lake Estes to the marina.

Lots of wind and whitecaps made stand up paddle boarding more like "kneel paddle boarding"

Lots of wind and whitecaps made stand up paddle boarding more like “kneel paddle boarding”

Finally able to stand...for a little bit :)

Finally able to stand…for a little bit 🙂

After our 2 mile walk back to the cabin, we made some lunch, did some laundry and cleaned up before heading down to Denver to meet the Iron Hippie’s sister for the afternoon and evening. We had US Thai for dinner and followed this up with a short stroll along Sloan’s Lake.

I LOVE Thai food!!

I LOVE Thai food!!

Thai curry = da bomb!!

Thai curry = da bomb!!

A walk along the path at Sloan's Lake.

A walk along the path at Sloan’s Lake.

The Iron Hippie and his sister look a lot alike!!

The Iron Hippie and his sister look a lot alike!!

Another view of our walk along Sloan's Lake.

Another view of our walk along Sloan’s Lake.

We found a "sign" of back home in downtown Denver!!

We found a “sign” of back home in downtown Denver!!

Then we picked Allen up from the airport at ~8:30. This made for a late night getting back to our cabin.

Thursday: (Happy Birthday to the Iron Hippie Today)

We slept in this morning, made some breakfast, loaded our bikes into the car and drove to Nederland (or Ned as the locals call it). Once in Nederland, we rode a different section of the Peak to Peak Highway up to Ward. You can check out my complete blog post on this section of the Peak to Peak Highway here.

Taking a break from the riding and doing a little core work in Ward!!

Taking a break from the riding and doing a little core work in Ward!!

High above the trees!!

High above the trees!!

We relaxed at the cabin for the remainder of the day, grilling dinner and enjoying some down time before turning in early for the night, since there are more adventures to be had tomorrow 🙂

5 weeks ’til Ironman Boulder

Today marks the start of our LAST build week before the taper for Ironman Boulder…time flies when we’re having fun!!

Swim: 7196 yards

Swimming brought me highs and lows this week. The highlight was my 2.6 mile open water swim in Okoboji on Tuesday with Dad kayaking next to me. It was so peaceful and enjoyable.

Lake Okoboji...my playground!!

Lake Okoboji…my playground!!

Feeling so great after 2.6 miles of open water swimming at an average pace of 1:52/100 yards.

Feeling so great after 2.6 miles of open water swimming at an average pace of 1:52/100 yards.

Bike: 186 miles

This week was FULL of rain, which means we ended up having to do a LOT of trainer rides this week. Thankfully Saturday was a picture perfect day for our long ride. To get our long miles in, we took part in the Eastern Iowa Tour de Cure to raise money for diabetes. You can expect a full report in a day or two. If you would like to donate to a great cause, please do so here.

Riding through Iowa's beauty!!

Riding through Iowa’s beauty!!

Finished!!

Finished!!

Run: 31.5 miles

We had a couple of long runs this week and many shorter ones off the bike. I was blessed to get to run one of my long runs around West Lake Okoboji. It is always so peaceful to run along the lake…

Finishing up a 10+ mile run along Lake Okoboji...so peaceful!!

Finishing up a 10+ mile run along Lake Okoboji…so peaceful!!

I made sure to run both of my long runs in the afternoon heat to remind my body what it feels like to run during the heat of the day…

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Strength Training: 1 hour & 45 minutes

Weekly Totals: 21 hours & 46 minutes

Last Week’s Highlights:

I went home to visit Mom and Dad early this week. It is always nice to go home…see family, swim in the lake and relax.

Playing memory with my twin 7 year old nieces.

Playing memory with my twin 7 year old nieces.

I also had a massage on Friday to work through some tight muscles before starting our final build week…

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Recovery is important!!

This Week’s Focus:

Complete all of my scheduled workouts, focus on mental training and enjoy time with friends.

How was your week? What were the highlights of your week?

Really?!?!?!?! That just happened…

Tuesday morning I was very fortunate to have Dad and a family friend (Tom) kayak next to me while I swam in the lake where I grew up. It was so awesome!! As soon as I started swimming, I felt free and at peace. I LOVE open water swimming!! I was able to see the bottom of the lake for the majority of the swim…fish, seaweed, mossy covered rocks, blocks with chains attached to buoys…Bob Ross could have created many amazing masterpieces from the bottom of Lake Okoboji!! 2.6 miles later, I felt amazing and so thankful that I am able to have these awesome #swimlove experiences…

Lake Okoboji...my playground!!

Lake Okoboji…my playground!!

Dad (blue) and Tom (gray) figuring out how to get into their kayaks.

Dad (blue) and Tom (gray) figuring out how to get into their kayaks.

Tom is in his kayak ready for me to swim.

Tom is in his kayak ready for me to swim.

Dad is getting in his kayak

Dad is getting in his kayak

Feeling so great after 2.6 miles of open water swimming at an average pace of 1:52/100 yards.

Feeling so great after 2.6 miles of open water swimming at an average pace of 1:52/100 yards.

All done swimming...how do we get out of these things?!?!?!

All done swimming…how do we get out of these things?!?!?!

Wednesday morning, I was supposed to complete the following swim workout in the pool…

Warm-up: 200 swim, 4 x 50 (25 drill, 25 swim)
Main Set: 200 moderate to fast
60 sec rest
800 as 4 x 200
(200’s on 4:00- so swim faster than 4:00/200yards to get rest, leave on the 4 min interval- this should be HARD!)
60 sec rest
800 as 4 x 200 again (repeat like above)
200 easy
Cool-down: 200 easy with drills

I have successfully completed this workout many times before, but before I start, I psych myself out. EVERY. TIME. How can I swim 2.6 miles in open water remaining calm, relaxed and having fun, but I get intimidated by 200s in the pool?!?!?!?! Grrr

This was an intimidating place...

This was an intimidating place…

Do you have workouts that intimidate you? How do you overcome these feelings and get yourself mentally back on track so you can successfully complete your workout?

Okoboji 3.5 Mile Open Water Swim

With Ironman Wisconsin just around the corner, the Iron Hippie and I decided that the Okoboji 3.5 Mile Open Water Swim event last Saturday would be a great practice, training and allow us to gauge where our swim is at for race day.

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Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum

With the event being in Okoboji, I love that we can stay at Mom and Dad’s and have all of the amenities of home.  We arrived on Friday evening just in time for a home cooked meal.  After dinner, we unloaded our car, laid out our swim gear for morning and let the head hit the pillow.

The alarm clock went off at 5 am Saturday morning.  We ate breakfast, changed and then set out to drop off a car at Pikes Point State Park (the finish).  Since this is a point to point swim, we would need a vehicle to transport us back to the start (on the opposite side of the lake) to pick up the truck.

The sun is just starting to rise as we drop off a transport vehicle at Pike's Point State Park

The sun is just starting to rise as we drop off a transport vehicle at Pike’s Point State Park

We arrived at Gull Point State Park (the starting location) at about 6:30 am with just enough time to carry the kayak to the water, watch the sunrise over the water, check in at the registration table, get into our wetsuits and hear the race announcements before the start of the race.

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Beautiful sunrise at Gull Point State Park

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Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum:  Getting my wetsuit on

Each swimmer needs to have their own kayak/canoe escort for this swim.  Some AMAZING friends (Allen and Lora) would be canoeing next to the Iron Hippie and my father would be kayaking next to me.  Our escorts were MUCH more nervous than we were 🙂

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Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum:  Kayaks lined up ready for “Go” time

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Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum: Allen and my father ready to escort us across the lake

We were not considering this to be a race, just an open water swim practice session.  When the horn blew, we hung back for a minute to allow all of the congestion in the water to sort itself out.  With 35 swimmers and their escorts, the water was a bit congested at the start.

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Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum

Once we got moving, I had little contact with others.  It was a perfect morning…there was no wind, a hazy sky, air temps in the upper 60s, water temps were in the low 70s, the water was smooth as glass…we couldn’t have asked for a better morning!!

I set out with the hope of completing this 3.5 mile swim between 2:00:00 and 2:15:00.  I stopped swimming a couple of times along the way…the first time was to chat with the Iron Hippie, Allen and Lora as we caught them and the second was to drink some water (not from the lake) and eat a few Honey Stinger Chews.Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 7.47.56 AM

I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the time passed and how clear the water was.  I could see the bottom of the lake for nearly the first full mile and the last half mile.  I had lots of thoughts throughout the swim, but they were all happy.  I kept thinking about how lucky I am to get the opportunity to swim across the lake and have my dad at my side.  I’m not sure he was as happy…this was his first time in a kayak and he wasn’t super comfortable.

When I approached the shore at Pike’s Point State Park, I was shocked when they announced my swim time…1:49:33!!  After looking at the Garmin results, it wasn’t as impressive as I thought since it was only 3.1 miles instead of the 3.5 miles that was advertised.  I didn’t even care…it was a PR for me, since this was the longest I’d ever swam at one time.  I finished 17th out of 35 participants and was very pleased to have passed the 2.4 mile mark sub 1:30:00 (this was my swim time at IMWI in 2011).  We are definitely ready for the IMWI swim!!

Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum:  The Iron Hippie and I successfully finished our "race"

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

What is the farthest you have swam?  Have you ever participated in an event that was short of the advertised distance?  If so, how did you feel about it?

Head vs. Heart…Who Will Win???

Yesterday I had made the decision to adjust my goals for this weekend’s race, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized this still might not be the best decision for my body, for successfully setting myself up for my “A race” and my mental state.

I went out to our local “swamp” to get one last open water swim in before heading to Lawrence and encountered one slight snag…without the wetsuit, the knee is VERY angry.  I didn’t even make it to the first buoy before I decided to be done.

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Since the water temperature in Clinton Lake can hover around 76.1F (the water temperature where the wetsuit is no longer allowed), this could pose a problem for the 1.2 mile swim.

I had a BIG decision to make.  Do I go to Lawrence hoping my knee isn’t so angry on race day so I can at least start the race?  Do I go to Lawrence without any gear so I can only spectate?  Do I stay at home and not put myself in a predicament where I might change my mind last minute and decide to give the race a try or worse…have a negative attitude because I’m not racing (this wouldn’t be good for the Iron Hippie and Allen who are racing)?  How will participating in this race help me get closer to the finish line at IRONMAN Wisconsin?

do today closer to tomorrow

This was all I needed to remind me that my A race is IMWI.  So in this battle, the head won.  I NEED to focus on getting 100% healthy.  I NEED to slowly ease back into run training, so I don’t set myself back further.  I NEED to make smart decisions to successfully toe the start line of IMWI.  I NEED to stay home and not put myself in a predicament where I might change my mind and start the race.  I NEED to stay home so I am not surrounding others who are racing with negative energy.

It sucks when the head and the heart don’t align.  What decisions have you had to make when the head and heart don’t align?

head vs heart