Happy New Year!! Cheers to an awesome 2016!!
Happy New Year!! Cheers to an awesome 2016!!
Best race experience?
Hands down…Ironman Boulder was my best race experience in 2015!! I set a bike PR with a time of 6:46:12 and an overall Ironman race PR with a time of 14:04:37. I came very close to meeting my time goal of breaking 14 hours and had a blast!! I absolutely love this course and definitely plan to do it again 🙂
I had multiple runs that were great throughout the year, but I think the most fun I had was running up Mt. Diablo in Walnut Creek, CA. This was a very challenging run, but so much fun to run some place new and different!
The Peak to Peak Highway rides, Day 1 and Day 2, in Colorado with the Iron Hippie and Allen were very challenging, but oh so much fun!! It was #bikelove like no other!! I can’t wait to get back to Colorado and ride more roads like these 🙂
Swimming with my father kayaking next to me around Lake Okoboji. I LOVE swimming in the lake where I grew up and am so lucky that my father likes to join me on my long swims 🙂
Best team race?
The Des Moines Triathlon that we did as a team was probably the most fun group workout I had this year. The Iron Hippie swam, I cycled and Allen ran in this Olympic-distance event. I pushed myself to limits on the bike that I didn’t know I had…especially only 5 weeks post Ironman Boulder.
Best recovery technique?
#recoveryisimportant and that is why I invest in the best recovery possible! Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic uses ART to help keep me healthy and Nick massages my tight muscles regularly! The two work well together…I like to refer to myself as their insurance policy since Ironman racing looks to be in our future for the next few years 😉
Best hike in Colorado?
When we were staying in Estes Park, we went on a hike up to Loch Vale Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a great adventure!!
Best offseason adventure?
Snowshoeing…this is by far one of my favorite offseason activities! The Iron Hippie and our girls always have just as much fun as I do! It is good cross training, full of fresh air and fun 🙂
Best new piece of gear?
This is SUPER easy…Coeur Sports has the best women’s tri kits and running apparel on the market!! L.O.V.E. LOVE all my Coeur gear…no chafing, seamless chamois, perfect fit, fun colors, #stylishspeed and #noangrykitty…simply AMAZING!! This year I found new love in my run capris! Not only are they unbelievably comfortable, but they fit like a glove! I love them so much that I have them in every pattern they offer and can’t wait for more design options 🙂 I love what Coeur Sports stands for, that they encourage, inspire, and promote women in sport and they represent #heartandcourage. ALL women who SBR (swim, bike, run) and/or do triathlon should wear Coeur Sports apparel…it is da BOMB!!
Best way to log my workouts?
This is another SUPER easy one…my #believetrainingjournal!! While I like to see green in Training Peaks, I much prefer writing things down by hand. I love looking back through my workouts and it is so much easier to do when they are written down. I don’t particularly like having to open up every box in Training Peaks to review my workouts, so the Believe Training Journal has been an absolute favorite this year! I love it so much that I ordered the lavender one for 2016!!
Best way to stay healthy?
This was also SUPER easy…Sound Probiotics has been keeping me healthy since March! As endurance athletes, we put ourselves at risk for a dysfunctional immune system because of the intensity and duration of our workouts. When stress, inadequate sleep, poor diet choices, cold weather, alcohol or travel are thrown into the mix, our immune system is even further suppressed. How has Sound Probiotics helped me? Sound Probiotics helps in nutrient production and absorption, helps fend off viruses, promotes the production of cytokines and mucin, and limits bad bacteria in the gut. I have experienced less fatigue and fewer sick days, which as a middle school teacher who is an endurance athlete speaks volumes! This has provided me with the opportunity for more training and better performance. I would highly recommend all endurance athletes use Sound Probiotics to stay healthy!! #soundathlete = #soundlife
Best piece of racing advice you received?
“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”
Most inspirational athlete?
I can’t pick just one…so many of my Coeur Sports teammates have inspired me this year!! Kristin, Erin and Jen fought hard to qualify for their first Ironman World Championships. Can you say inspirational? Amy won Ironman Lake Placid and Sonja won Ironman Lake Tahoe…first women overall at each of their races. Hello inspiration?!?! There were many Coeur women who raced in Kona at the Ironman World Championships, others had podium finishes at various races they competed in, many met goals and all are working hard to achieve their dreams. My inspiration cup runneth over!! I am so pumped to be a part of this amazing team again in 2016!! #heartandcourage
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?
Fun, Believe, Dream Big
Tell me about your 2015 year!! What are your “bests” from 2015?
Race Week…WHAT?!?!?!?!?! Well, time moves forward even when we wish it would slow down. I have LOVED my trication in Colorado and would have loved for time to stand still during these last 2 weeks so I could enjoy more of Colorado. BUT…I am SUPER excited for race day and am looking forward to pushing myself to new limits!!
This last week involved a lot of training at an altitude higher than Boulder, which hopefully means we have been acclimating well and are race ready!!
Swim: 4.44 miles
Most of our swimming this week was done at the Boulder Rez. The water temperature has been hovering in the low 70s. We have been doing some rain dances in hopes that it cools the water off in the Boulder Rez just a bit before Sunday. I had two really good swims in the Boulder Rez and am confident this will transfer to a great race!!
Bike: 48.8 miles
We had 2 bike rides this week. The first was on the Peak to Peak Highway from Nederland to Ward to celebrate the Iron Hippie’s birthday and back and the second ride was the “blue loop” of the Ironman Boulder bike course. Both of these rides were AMAZING and filled me with LOTS of #bikelove
Run: 10.6 miles
We had one short run down in Boulder, but our last longish run occurred at an elevation of 7500+ feet. It was fun to go fast on the short run in Boulder and see how much I could push myself to determine how well I’ve acclimated. I felt really good about my runs this week, which have really boosted my confidence for race day 🙂
Strength Training: 1 hour & 20 minutes of core work
Monday morning we went for a walk around Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), which was BEAUTIFUL and so peaceful!!
Wednesday morning I went stand up paddle boarding. I LOVE SUP boarding and only wish the water would have been a bit flatter…
We spent Friday morning hiking in RMNP up to Loch Vale and back (between 5 & 6 miles round trip). It was a BEAUTIFUL morning!! I can’t believe how green all of Colorado is right now…
Weekly Totals: 9 hours and 11 minutes
We made it to the single digit countdown for race day…
Free lunch at Mary’s Market thanks to Lululemon…
We enjoyed some time with the Iron Hippie’s sister in downtown Denver…
How was your week? What races do you have that are coming up?
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!!
After swimming, we drove to Rocky Mountain National Park and took a short walk around Sprague Lake…ABSOLUTELY Magnificent!!
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 🙂
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 🙂
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.
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. 🙂
It was a perfect morning for a swim and I was VERY pleasantly surprised by how good I felt despite swimming at altitude.
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 🙂
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!!
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.
It was early to bed to try and soak up the sleep during the taper 😉
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!!
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.
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.
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 🙂
Sunday we rode the Peak to Peak Highway from Raymond, CO to Ward, CO and back. You can experience this part of the Peak to Peak Highway through my eyes by reading my blog post.
Yesterday (Thursday), we decided to ride a different section of the Peak to Peak Highway…Nederland (or Ned as the locals call it) to Ward and back. This was a slightly longer ride (only by 2 miles each way), but some of the steeper climbs in this section of the highway were MUCH longer.
We started at the Park and Ride in Nederland, which is a perfect place to start if you are driving to the Peak to Peak Highway and not doing the loop the locals do that starts/ends in Boulder (a ~60 mile loop that includes part of the Peak to Peak Highway).
When you leave Ned, you IMMEDIATELY start a rather STEEP climb!! Most of the climbs on this ride were either 4-5% grade or 8-10% grade. There wasn’t much in between. There was 1500+ feet of climbing in the first 12 miles (Ned to Ward), with the last 600 feet of climbing occurring in the return trip. Just for comparison, the section we rode from Raymond to Ward was mostly around 7%, with a few steeper sections and 1800+ feet of climbing in those first 10 miles.
Around mile 4, we had a very LONG climb at a 10% grade. This one mile stretch took us 9:19 to climb (I’ll let you know how quickly we descended this same mile in a little bit)…long, slow slugfest. There were a few sections of the climb that appeared to be descents, but were actually false climbs instead…so misleading.
The views along the way were magnificent!
We stopped in Ward at the Utica Street Market for a quick break, a snack and some mid ride fun…
After our break, we hopped back on the saddle for a much easier return trip to Ned. We of course had to stop along the way and take some pictures of the view…
Oh…that mile climb that took us 9:19 to ascend…it took us 1:43 to descend WITH the breaks on…so much fun, but definitely a challenging ride!!
This section of the Peak to Peak Highway had a few more potholes than the stretch of highway between Raymond and Ward, but it wasn’t anything you couldn’t successfully avoid. If you ride this stretch of road later in the day, be careful…the winds REALLY pick up through the valleys and on top of the mountain, so be sure to keep both hands on the handlebars!!
Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend this bike ride if you get to this area of Colorado!!
Sunday morning, the Iron Hippie, Allen and I rode from Raymond, CO to Ward, CO via the Peak to Peak Highway. I don’t recall ever having #bikelove quite like this…don’t get me wrong, I’ve had MANY rides that I’ve truly loved, but this one beat them all hands down!!
We drove from Estes Park to Raymond (~23 miles), where we parked at the Raymond Store. After unloading the bikes and preparing to ride, we were off.
We immediately started climbing our way out of Raymond, but it wasn’t anything too taxing just yet. There was no traffic on this rode and lots of people walking their dogs right down the middle of the road. Perfect for cycling 🙂
At almost 2 miles, we turned onto the Peak to Peak Highway. Early Sunday morning, the Peak to Peak Highway had very little traffic and nice wide shoulders for cyclists. I was pleasantly surprised by the motorists who did pass us and how respectful they were. We did pull over a couple of times on the shoulder of the rode on our ascent to Ward, but these stops didn’t last long.
When we arrived in Ward, we were shocked to see SO MANY other cyclists!! We knew this was a popular stretch of road for the locals to ride, but we didn’t realize just how popular it was.
We chatted it up with some local cyclists for a bit before climbing out of Ward…10+% climb was challenging, but fun! Once we made it out of town, it was all downhill (with a small bump at about 4 miles from Ward) back to Raymond.
We climbed just over 2000 feet with climbs ranging between 7 and 10%. It is just over a 10 mile climb from Raymond to Ward. Many of the locals have a 60 mile loop that they ride from Boulder and they pass through Ward and Raymond. With Ironman Boulder right around the corner, we decided 60 miles might be a bit too far and opted for the shorter ride. We are thinking of possibly riding the out and back stretch of the Peak to Peak Highway from Nederland to Ward later this week…if we do, I’m sure there will be another #bikelove post 🙂
When we returned to Raymond, we transition to a short 20 minute run. By this time, the Raymond Store was open, so we chatted it up with the owner who does his own woodworking to keep himself busy. The Iron Hippie was wearing a sweatshirt that just had an “I State” on it in cardinal and gold. The store owner immediately knew it was Iowa State. He was a super nice man and if you are ever in the very small town of Raymond, CO, you should definitely pay him a visit!!
I absolutely LOVED this bike ride and hope to definitely do it again sometime!! If you are ever in this part of Colorado, I would highly recommend riding the Peak to Peak Highway!!
Have you ever been visiting someplace new and decided to ride a route that you knew nothing about? How did it turn out?