My 2015 Year in Review via Photos

January:

Running with the family
Running with the family
#solesistasweat
#solesistasweat
Getting some #runlove with my favorite four-legged baby girl!
Getting some #runlove with my favorite four-legged baby girl!
One of my favorite trainer workouts
One of my favorite trainer workouts

February:

#solesistasweat
#solesistasweat
Getting my Coeur Sports Ambassador gear :)
Getting my Coeur Sports Ambassador gear 🙂
Swim clinic...love to learn
Swim clinic…love to learn
#solesistasweat
#solesistasweat
#heartandcourage strong
#heartandcourage strong
Conquering Mountains
Conquering Mountains

March:

#Yogalove
#Yogalove
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Fun times with my #solesista
Birthday funday!
Birthday funday!
Bike fit love
Bike fit love
Spring break with my #solesister
Spring break with my #solesister
Fun with my nieces at the park
Fun with my nieces at the park
Playing tag with the family
Playing tag with the family
Running a 5K with my sister
Running a 5K with my sister

April:

Our own 70.3 workout day
Our own 70.3 workout day
Teaching women how to do bike maintenance
Teaching women how to do bike maintenance
#runlove with the family
#runlove with the family
Drake 1/2 Marathon fun!
Drake 1/2 Marathon fun!
Drake 1/2 Marathon fun
Drake 1/2 Marathon fun
Niece #5 was born!
Niece #5 was born!

May:

Outdoor training :)
Outdoor training 🙂
I love to ride my bicycle!
I love to ride my bicycle!
Oops...learning lessons
Oops…learning lessons
Visiting the Aerospace Engineering Department at Iowa State University
Visiting the Aerospace Engineering Department at Iowa State University
Changing a flat while the Iron Hippie watches...I'm sure many people who passed us had some thoughts about his "supervision" duties ;)
Changing a flat while the Iron Hippie watches…I’m sure many people who passed us had some thoughts about his “supervision” duties 😉
Last day of school!!
Last day of school!!
Getting my Undress in the mail and loving it!!
Getting my Undress in the mail and loving it!!

June:

First outdoor swim in 2015
First outdoor swim in 2015
Finishing the Legend 100 hand-in-hand with the Iron Hippie. Photo courtesy of Legend Endurance
Finishing the Legend 100 hand-in-hand with the Iron Hippie. Photo courtesy of Legend Endurance
Who's ready to race?!?!?!
Who’s ready to race?!?!?!
Dad (blue) and Tom (gray) figuring out how to get into their kayaks to escort me on an open water swim
Dad (blue) and Tom (gray) figuring out how to get into their kayaks to escort me on an open water swim
We are ready to ride the Tour de Cure Cedar Rapids!!
We are ready to ride the Tour de Cure Cedar Rapids!!

July:

30 miles into our 115 mile bike ride. Last big ride before Ironman Boulder
30 miles into our 115 mile bike ride. Last big ride before Ironman Boulder
Last big swim before Ironman Boulder
Last big swim before Ironman Boulder
Last long run before Ironman Boulder
Last long run before Ironman Boulder
Meeting my blog friend, Kelli, and her family :)
Meeting my blog friend, Kelli, and her family 🙂
The view off of the deck overlooking the lake in Red Feather Lakes, CO.
The view off of the deck overlooking the lake in Red Feather Lakes, CO.
The morning sunrise on the mountains at Red Feather Lakes, CO.
The morning sunrise on the mountains at Red Feather Lakes, CO.
Taking a boat ride in Red Feather Lakes, CO
Taking a boat ride in Red Feather Lakes, CO
Sunset with a double rainbow in the background (this photo does not do the real beauty justice) in Red Feather Lakes, CO
Sunset with a double rainbow in the background (this photo does not do the real beauty justice) in Red Feather Lakes, CO
We made it to Estes Park, CO!!
We made it to Estes Park, CO!!
The view of Longs Peak from our patio in Estes Park, CO.
The view of Longs Peak from our patio in Estes Park, CO.
Happy Anniversary to the Iron Hippie...what a great way to celebrate 5 years in Grand Lakes, CO ;)
Happy Anniversary to the Iron Hippie…what a great way to celebrate 5 years in Grand Lakes, CO 😉
We made it to Adam's Falls...with Allen and the Iron Hippie.
We made it to Adam’s Falls…with Allen and the Iron Hippie.
We all survived our first run at altitude :)
We all survived our first run at altitude 🙂
Three athletes ready to ride in Boulder, CO!
Three athletes ready to ride in Boulder, CO!
The view from the path around Lake Estes, CO.
The view from the path around Lake Estes, CO.
Ward, Colorado was our turn around point for the Peak to Peak Highway ride.
Ward, Colorado was our turn around point for the Peak to Peak Highway ride.
People lining the shore getting ready for the BAM OWS in Boulder, CO.
People lining the shore getting ready for the BAM OWS in Boulder, CO.
BAM OWS in Boulder, CO complete...I felt GREAT!!
BAM OWS in Boulder, CO complete…I felt GREAT!!
Stand-up paddle boarding in Lake Estes, CO :)
Stand-up paddle boarding in Lake Estes, CO 🙂
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!!
Riding the Peak to Peak Highway in Colorado
#bikelove on the Peak to Peak Highway in Colorado
We found a "sign" of back home in downtown Denver!!
We found a “sign” of back home in downtown Denver!!
Loch Lake, CO...Loving the hike!
Loch Lake, CO…Loving the hike!
Having a little fun throwing snowballs in July on our way up to Loch Vale.
Having a little fun throwing snowballs in July on our way up to Loch Vale.
"Riding" tandem in Estes Park, CO
“Riding” tandem in Estes Park, CO
Ironman Boulder...here I come!
Ironman Boulder…here I come!
Ready to race IMBoulder :)
Ready to race IMBoulder 🙂
Getting Registered for Ironman Boulder
Getting Registered for Ironman Boulder
I'm so lucky to have my family at IMBoulder to cheer me on!
I’m so lucky to have my family at IMBoulder to cheer me on!

August:

Mojo is all racked and getting a good night's rest at her temporary home so we can have fun at IMBoulder!!
Mojo is all racked and getting a good night’s rest at her temporary home so we can have fun at IMBoulder!!
My aunt, cousins and Dad came out to the Rez for the IMBoulder swim
My aunt, cousins and Dad came out to the Rez for the IMBoulder swim
Whizzing through Hygiene on the first loop...Serious #bikelove on this course!!
Whizzing through Hygiene on the first loop…Serious #bikelove on this course!!
Mom and the twins are cheering me on to the run!
Mom and the twins are cheering me on to the run!
This smile sums up my race day experience!!
This smile sums up my race day experience!!
Erin...one of my Coeur Sports teammates and my angel on race day!!
Erin…one of my Coeur Sports teammates and my angel on race day!!
My cheer squad...Love them all!!
My cheer squad…Love them all!!
Dad and Sam cheering me on down the finish shoot...yes, that blur is me :)
Dad and Sam cheering me on down the finish shoot…yes, that blur is me 🙂
Coming into the finish shoot all smiles...it was a daylight finish, but these photos don't represent that.
Coming into the finish shoot all smiles…it was a daylight finish, but these photos don’t represent that.
Visiting my sister and nieces in California
Visiting my sister and nieces in California
Sister time in Cali!
Sister time in Cali!
Running up Mt. Diablo in California
Running up Mt. Diablo in California
#solesistasweat
#solesistasweat
#bikelove with friends
#bikelove with friends

September:

Team Kecia crossed the finish line at the Des Moines Triathlon...job complete.
Team Kecia crossed the finish line at the Des Moines Triathlon…job complete.
Holy Crap! I think this is a sign that I left it all out on the bike course.
Holy Crap! I think this is a sign that I left it all out on the bike course.
Volunteering at Ironman Wisconsin...Race morning in front of the Capitol.
Volunteering at Ironman Wisconsin…Race morning in front of the Capitol.
Ironman Wisconsin Race morning...who is ready to swim?!?!?!
Ironman Wisconsin Race morning…who is ready to swim?!?!?!
The women volunteers in T1 at Ironman Wisconsin
The women volunteers in T1 at Ironman Wisconsin
Getting my Sound Probiotics Ambassador gear
Getting my Sound Probiotics Ambassador gear
Basil walking toward the Supermoon on a rural gravel road.
Basil walking toward the Supermoon on a rural gravel road.

October:

Signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2016!
Signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2016!
300+ 8th grade students ready for the AMS Spirit Run!
300+ 8th grade students ready for the AMS Spirit Run!
Fall #bikelove is the best :)
Fall #bikelove is the best 🙂
Date night with the Iron Hippie as we work on our strength training
Date night with the Iron Hippie as we work on our strength training
Finding some motivation with my #IMWI finisher medal and race bib on the wall next to me as I ride
Finding some motivation with my #IMWI finisher medal and race bib on the wall next to me as I ride
Lots of #heartandcourage as I heal up from bursitis of the my left knee
Lots of #heartandcourage as I heal up from bursitis of the my left knee
Taking the dogs for a swim
Taking the dogs for a swim
Nailing my intervals on the trainer! #bikelove
Nailing my intervals on the trainer! #bikelove
Dry needling to assist my healing...thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic
Dry needling to assist my healing…thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic
Getting our #solesista tattoos :)
Getting our #solesista tattoos 🙂
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This ink will be my constant reminder while training and racing to #believe in myself, my abilities and my training!!

November:

Enjoying some outdoor #bikelove in November in Iowa...short sleeves and shorts!
Enjoying some outdoor #bikelove in November in Iowa…short sleeves and shorts! WHAT?!?!?!
Century ride in November in Iowa...this amazing weather is unheard of!!
Century ride in November in Iowa…this amazing weather is unheard of!!
I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2016 Ambassador Team...Such a badass group of women that I'm overjoyed to be a part of!!
I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2016 Ambassador Team…Such a badass group of women that I’m overjoyed to be a part of!!
My fitness article on "Giving thanks in an active lifestyle" was a big hit this month ;)
My fitness article on “Giving thanks in an active lifestyle” was a big hit this month in our local magazine 😉
Girl's night out with some running friends...so much fun :)
Girl’s night out with some running friends…so much fun 🙂
Outdoor #bikelove lasted through November 14 this year!!
Outdoor #bikelove lasted through November 14 this year!!
Pleasantly surprised with a Passion Planner from one of my colleagues.
Pleasantly surprised with a Passion Planner from one of my colleagues.
Winter greeted us with a LOT of snow (7.6 inches) for the first snow fall of the season.
Winter greeted us with a LOT of snow (7.6 inches) for the first snow fall of the season.
Romping and snowshoeing with friends
Romping and snowshoeing with friends
Riding a motorized animal because I can :)
Riding a motorized animal just because I can 🙂
Spending an afternoon with Mom and Grandma.
Spending an afternoon with Mom and Grandma.

December:

"Believe, Endure, Achieve" will be my mantra for 2016. It will remind me to #believe in all that I am and to #endure and overcome challenges throughout my journey so I can #achieve big dreams! #dreambig #meaningfulmantras
Thank you to Simone for my wonderful bracelet!! “Believe, Endure, Achieve” will be my mantra for 2016. It will remind me to #believe in all that I am and to #endure and overcome challenges throughout my journey so I can #achieve big dreams! #dreambig #meaningfulmantras
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Looking back at 2015 to move forward in 2016 #goalsetting
Yahoo!! So pumped for my new Roka Sports wetsuit!!
Yahoo!! So pumped for my new Roka Sports wetsuit!!
Taking part in Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching's #rttc10dayroutine Challenge and developing a routine that has helped me #believe in myself deep underneath the surface at the very core of my being. 1. Start my "Believe" playlist...time to get down and jam! 2. Take a couple of swigs of Karma Kombucha Orange Ginger..."I #believe I can fly" 3. Listen to my pep talk (previously recorded) while I pull on my workout gear..."Don't stop believing" 4. Grab my lucky charm from Tonja and head out the door..."In a world of ordinary mortals, you are a Wonder Woman!" 5. Stand on the front step in power pose for 30 seconds because...I am Wonder Woman!
Taking part in Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching’s #rttc10dayroutine Challenge and developing a routine that has helped me #believe in myself deep underneath the surface at the very core of my being.
1. Start my “Believe” playlist…time to get down and jam!
2. Take a couple of swigs of Karma Kombucha Orange Ginger…”I #believe I can fly”
3. Listen to my pep talk (previously recorded) while I pull on my workout gear…”Don’t stop believing”
4. Grab my lucky charm from Tonja and head out the door…”In a world of ordinary mortals, you are a Wonder Woman!”
5. Stand on the front step in power pose for 30 seconds because…I am Wonder Woman!
Finally reconnecting with my mat after 9 months off.
Finally reconnecting with my mat after 9 months off…#yogalove
Running on a beautiful cold morning.
Running on a beautiful cold morning with 2 of my faves!
Grandma Annie continues to show up at Christmas and surprise us all with her awesomeness...Our hideous pajama pants were a family favorite this year!
Grandma Annie continues to show up at Christmas and surprise us all with her awesomeness…Our hideous pajama pants were a family favorite this year!
Snowshoeing in the offseason!!
Snowshoeing in the offseason!!
Basil loves playing in the snow!! #happyheart
Basil loves playing in the snow!! #happyheart
Love my sole sister!!
Love my sole sister!!
Girls night out!! Lots of laughs!! :)
Girls night out!! Lots of laughs!! 🙂
My new Cobb Cycling V-Flow saddle :)
My new Cobb Cycling V-Flow saddle 🙂
Fun times with family!!
Fun times with family!!

Happy New Year!! Cheers to an awesome 2016!! 

xoxo

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The Best of 2015

After posting the Best of 2013 and the Best of 2014, I decided it would be fun to look back through 2015 and reminisce my faves 🙂

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 🙂

Coming into the finish shoot all smiles...it was a daylight finish, but these photos don't represent that.
Coming into the finish shoot all smiles…it was a daylight finish, but these photos don’t represent that.

Best run?

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!

Running up Mt. Diablo in California
Running up Mt. Diablo in California
I made it to the top and looked out over the city.
I made it to the top and looked out over the city.

Best bike?

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 🙂

Riding the Peak to Peak Highway in Colorado
Riding the Peak to Peak Highway in Colorado
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!!
I pulled us all up the mountain.
I pulled us all up the mountain.
On top of the world...or maybe just Colorado at elevation 9200+ feet.
On top of the world…or maybe just Colorado at elevation 9200+ feet.

Best swim?

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 🙂

Dad is getting in his kayak
Dad is getting in his kayak
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.

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.

Holy Crap! I think this is a sign that I left it all out on the bike course.
Holy Crap! I think this is a sign that I left it all out on the bike course.
Team Kecia crossed the finish line at the Des Moines Triathlon...job complete.
Team Kecia crossed the finish line at the Des Moines Triathlon…job complete.

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 😉

This rehab is the best there is!
This rehab is the best there is!
Dry needling to assist my healing...thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic
Dry needling to assist my healing…thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic

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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!!

Hiking up to Loch Vale.
Hiking up to Loch Vale.
Having a little fun throwing snowballs in July on our way up to Loch Vale.
Having a little fun throwing snowballs in July on our way up to Loch Vale.
Loch Lake...so peaceful and magnificent!
Loch Lake…so peaceful and magnificent!

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 🙂

Snowshoeing is the perfect offseason cross training activity! The dogs love it too!
Snowshoeing is the perfect offseason cross training activity! The dogs love it too!

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!!

Basil likes to help me foam roller in my AMAZING Coeur Sports run capris :)
Basil likes to help me foam roller in my AMAZING Coeur Sports run capris 🙂

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!!

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LOVE this journal!
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Reviewing my workouts in my Believe Training Journal

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

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#winningtakesguts

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”

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Most inspirational athlete?

I can’t pick just one…so many of my Coeur Sports teammates have inspired me this year!! KristinErin 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

I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2016 Ambassador Team...Such a badass group of women that I'm overjoyed to be a part of!!
I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2016 Ambassador Team…Such a badass group of women that I’m overjoyed to be a part of!!

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?

1 week ’til Ironman Boulder

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!!

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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!!

OWS complete...I felt GREAT!!
OWS complete…I felt GREAT!!
Funny that we swim by a sign that says "No Swimming No Wading"
Funny that we swim by a sign that says “No Swimming No Wading”

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

We are all still together...
We are all still together…
Some of the BEST cookies around are at the Utica Store in Ward, but be sure to bring cash...they do not accept cards and have no ATM.
Some of the BEST cookies around are at the Utica Store in Ward, but be sure to bring cash…they do not accept cards and have no ATM.
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 with the mountains in the distance.
High above the trees with the mountains in the distance.
We're all good...just riding our bikes :)
We’re all good…just riding our bikes 🙂
The Iron Hippie was full of shenanigans after assisting Allen with his bike.
The Iron Hippie was full of shenanigans after assisting Allen with his bike.

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 🙂

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.
Last run at an elevation of 7500+ feet!!
Last run at an elevation of 7500+ feet!!

Strength Training: 1 hour & 20 minutes of core work

Other Activities:

Monday morning we went for a walk around Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), which was BEAUTIFUL and so peaceful!!

The mountains and sky reflected beautifully off of Sprague Lake.
The mountains and sky reflected beautifully off of Sprague Lake.
I climbed a rock and took a picture of the boys below.
I climbed a rock and took a picture of the boys below.
Standing on top of my rock at Sprague Lake.
Standing on top of my rock at Sprague Lake.

Wednesday morning I went stand up paddle boarding. I LOVE SUP boarding and only wish the water would have been a bit flatter…

Finally able to stand...for a little bit :)
Finally able to stand…for a little bit 🙂
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”

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…

Hiking up to Loch Vale.
Hiking up to Loch Vale.
The Iron Hippie hiking along on the trail.
The Iron Hippie hiking along on the trail.
Just keep climbing the trail.
Just keep climbing the trail.
Eating an apple by Loch Lake.
Eating an apple by Loch Lake.
A beautiful waterfall on the descent.
A beautiful waterfall on the descent.
Loch Lake...so peaceful and magnificent!
Loch Lake…so peaceful and magnificent!
Having a little fun throwing snowballs on our way up to Loch Vale.
Having a little fun throwing snowballs on our way up to Loch Vale.

Weekly Totals: 9 hours and 11 minutes

Weekly Highlights:

We made it to the single digit countdown for race day…

We are now onto single digits for the countdown to IMBoulder!!
We are now onto single digits for the countdown to IMBoulder!!

Free lunch at Mary’s Market thanks to Lululemon…

These sweet ladies from Lululemon bought our lunch for us!!
These sweet ladies from Lululemon bought our lunch for us!!

We enjoyed some time with the Iron Hippie’s sister in downtown Denver…

The Iron Hippie and his sister look a lot alike!!
The Iron Hippie and his sister look a lot alike!!
We found a "sign" of back home in downtown Denver!!
We found a “sign” of back home in downtown Denver!!

How was your week? What races do you have that are coming up?

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 🙂

Peak to Peak #bikelove – Part 2

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.

Peak to Peak Highway is a great place to ride your bike :)
Peak to Peak Highway is a great place to ride your bike 🙂

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).

This is where we started from.
This is where we started from.

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.

Elevation profile from Ned to Ward and back...2146 feet of climbing overall.
Elevation profile from Ned to Ward and back…2146 feet of climbing overall.

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 boys agreeing that this is a challenging ride...especially when we come from flat land.
The boys agreeing that this is a challenging ride…especially when we come from flat land.
Just a small glimpse of the easier grade behind me.
Just a small glimpse of the easier grade behind me.

The views along the way were magnificent!

Off in the FAR, FAR, FAR distance between the peaks, there is what we know call the "flat land" in Colorado...where Ironman Boulder will take place.
Off in the FAR, FAR, FAR distance between the peaks (in the hazy area), there is what we know call the “flat land” in Colorado…where Ironman Boulder will take place.
One of the many beautiful views during our ride.
One of the many beautiful views during our ride.

We stopped in Ward at the Utica Street Market for a quick break, a snack and some mid ride fun…

Ward, Colorado was our turn around point for the Peak to Peak Highway ride.
Ward, Colorado was our turn around point for the Peak to Peak Highway ride.
Utica Street Market in Ward loves it's cyclists. If you are in the area, stop in and support this great little shop!! Be sure to bring cash...they don't accept cards and have no ATM.
Utica Street Market in Ward loves it’s cyclists. If you are in the area, stop in and support this great little shop!! Be sure to bring cash…they don’t accept cards and have no ATM.
We stopped in Ward at the Utica Store and Vitali greeted us...she was so sweet!!
We stopped in Ward at the Utica Street Market and Vitali greeted us…she was so sweet!!
Some of the BEST cookies around are at the Utica Store in Ward, but be sure to bring cash...they do not accept cards and have no ATM.
Some of the BEST cookies around are at the Utica Street Market in Ward, so be sure to bring cash!! It is definitely worth the $$
Taking a break from the riding and doing a little core work in Ward!!
Taking a break from the riding to do a little core workout in Ward!!
The Iron Hippie getting his shot at the hula hoop
Because who doesn’t hula hoop mid ride on their birthday?!?!?!?! Yes…today was the Iron Hippie’s birthday!!
Allen taking his turn with the hula hoop. It is amazing the difference having the correct size hula hoop can make...it is so much easier than using a child's hula hoop!!
Allen taking his turn with the hula hoop. It is amazing the difference having the correct size hula hoop can make…it is so much easier than using a child’s hula hoop…right Allen?!?!?!

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…

We were high above the trees!!
We were high above the trees!!
Another view looking out over the trees.
Another view looking out over the trees.
High above the trees!!
High above the trees, with a lot less oxygen and we are still smilin’!!
High above the trees with the mountains in the distance.
High above the trees with the mountains in the distance.

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!!

Peak to Peak #bikelove

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.

Raymond, Colorado is where we started the Peak to Peak Highway trek.
Raymond, Colorado is where we started the Peak to Peak Highway trek.
The Raymond Store has an AWESOME owner who treats cyclists right!! Stop in if you make it to Raymond and say, "Hi" to him!!
The Raymond Store has an AWESOME owner who treats cyclists right!! Stop in if you make it to Raymond and say, “Hi” to him!!

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 🙂

The boys climbing out of Raymond toward the Peak to Peak Highway.
The boys climbing out of Raymond toward the Peak to Peak Highway.
Happy girl on a bike made for some serious #bikelove
Happy girl on a bike made for some serious #bikelove

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.

Climbing, climbing and more climbing.
Climbing, climbing and more climbing.
I pulled us all up the mountain.
I pulled us all up the mountain.
Climbing on the Peak to Peak Highway
Climbing on the Peak to Peak Highway

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.

Ward, Colorado was our turn around point for the Peak to Peak Highway ride.
Ward, Colorado was our turn around point for the Peak to Peak Highway ride.
We were at the top of the hill looking down through the trees to the town of Ward. Climbing out of Ward was a 10+% grade at one point.
We stopped at the top of the hill looking down through the trees to the town of Ward. Climbing out of Ward was a 10+% grade at one point.
Utica Street Market in Ward loves it's cyclists. If you are in the area, stop in and support this great little shop!!
Utica Street Market in Ward loves it’s cyclists. If you are in the area, stop in and support this great little shop!! Be sure to bring cash…they don’t accept debit/credit.
The Utica Street Market has bike pumps for cyclists if needed.
The Utica Street Market has bike pumps for cyclists if needed.
Utica Street Market has Skratch and water ready for cyclists to refill their water bottles.
Utica Street Market has Skratch and water ready for cyclists to refill their water bottles.

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.

On top of the world...or maybe just Colorado at elevation 9200+ feet.
On top of the world…or maybe just Colorado at elevation 9200+ feet.
All smiles as we made it to the top...the mountains in the background were beautiful!!
All smiles as we made it to the top…the mountains in the background were beautiful!!
The boys starting their 10 mile descent back to Raymond.
The boys starting their 10 mile descent 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 🙂

Ward (green) to Raymond (red)
Ward (green) to Raymond (red)

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?