Strong Girls = Strong World

“I encourage you to join me in embracing YOUR body, maximizing and celebrating your own strengths, letting go of the “imperfections,” and making the most of the incredible body you already have.”  ~Kara LaPoint

If you are a woman, have a mother, sister, daughter, niece, aunt, or any woman in your life that you love and care about, Kara’s blog post on fitspiration is a MUST read!! After reading this blog post, I was inspired to embrace myself and encourage others to embrace themselves!! We are our own unique selves and we should not compare ourselves to others. We all have AMAZING bodies that allow us to do so many wonderful things and it is time to embrace that, not be critical of it!!

I want my nieces to grow up feeling confident in their skin, being thankful for their health, and loving the adventures their bodies take them on!! After all, STRONG GIRLS = STRONG WORLD 🙂

We are a family of STRONG GIRLS!!
We are a family of STRONG GIRLS!!

My body is healthy and perfect for all of the adventures I’ve had and those yet to come:

Acting like a 6 year old is sometimes more costly than one might think...
Acting like a 6 year old and jumping on a trampoline = FUN!!
IMG_3511
I have swam thousands and thousands of miles over my lifetime and I can’t wait to swim thousands and thousands more!!
IMG_3713
I love to ride my bicycle…even during a tough time trial!!
Having fun at a cyclocross race!!
I love the challenge and fun of a cyclocross race!!
This smile sums up my race day experience!!
Running and racing makes me happy!! The smile says it all 🙂
Color Run Fun with the FAM :)
Color Run Fun with the FAM 🙂
IMG_4436
I have crossed lots of finish lines…some of them once seemed impossible. I get giddy thinking of all the finish lines I have yet to cross!!
IMG_0550
I love to play in the snow!!
IMG_3380
Some finish lines that I’ve crossed have been much more challenging than others. This was a tough day, but knowing I overcame challenges was AMAZING!!
Stand-up paddle boarding in Lake Estes, CO :)
I love being on the water!! Stand-up paddle boarding is so much fun!!
Taking a break from the riding and doing a little core work in Ward!!
Who says adults can’t have fun?!?! Taking a break mid ride to have some fun and work the core is perfect!!
Hiking up to Loch Vale.
I love being in nature and hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park makes my heart happy!!
Coming into the finish shoot all smiles...it was a daylight finish, but these photos don't represent that.
Another finish line crossed and a PR was achieved!!
IMG_4868
Spending time in the saddle with family is the best way to spend the afternoon!!
IMG_6698
Snowy adventures with my girls = #happyheart
IMG_7490
Love me some hot yoga!! Stretching and sweating = da bomb!!

What awesome adventures has your body taken you on? How do you help promote self confidence and gratitude in girls of all ages?

Advertisements

Looking Back at 2015 to Move Forward in 2016

I can’t believe the first week of December has already came and went!! With less than 1 month to the start of 2016, it is time to reflect on 2015. It is good to look at the past (taking a look at what went well and what needs improvement) before planning for the future.  I have taken some time to reflect and evaluate my 2015 journey so I can set S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2016.

IMG_6258

USA Triathlon posted a great article that I used to help me evaluate my 2014 training and racing season before trying to plan for 2015. I found this reflection very beneficial and thought I would use the same questions to reflect on my 2015 season so I can better plan for 2016.

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

-My goals were clear and attainable: smile and have fun at Ironman Boulder while pushing to break 14 hours.  I feel like I could have pushed a little bit harder to break 14 hours since my overall finish time was 14:04:37, but I did manage to smile and have fun all day long!! I love Ironman racing…it makes my heart happy 🙂

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. Photo courtesy of Finisherpix

2. What are you most proud of this season?

-I had a huge PR on the IM bike…granted Ironman Boulder was a much easier bike course than Ironman Wisconsin, but I still pulled out a bike PR!! I broke crushed my previous IM bike PR by 1:10:46. Despite a slower swim and run, I still ended up with a PR at #IMBoulder of over an hour (which obviously came mostly from my bike split). I am happy and confident that I could have aimed higher at #IMBoulder…especially on the swim and run.

Whizzing through Hygiene on the first loop...Serious #bikelove on this course!!
Whizzing through Hygiene on the first loop…Serious #bikelove on this course!! Photo courtesy of my cousin Justin

-I am happy that I conquered a new distance by racing the Legend 100 on a very challenging day. I didn’t let the rough waters, wind and hills, or brutal heat and humidity prevent me from crossing the finish line.

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

3. What would I like to duplicate next year?

-I would like to continue training without a coach for 2016. I think I will be looking to have a coach again sometime in the future, but through self-coaching, I have learned to listen to my body more…take breaks when I need them, push harder when I can, and recover more wisely than I once did. When I had a coach, I did whatever was in Training Peaks without listening to what my body wanted and needed. When/if I go back to having a coach, I will need to keep the balance of listening to my coach and my body.

-I would like to maintain my cycling fitness. I have gotten so much stronger and faster on the bike, which I would love to reap the benefits of in 2016. With Ironman Wisconsin’s bike course being more technical than Ironman Boulder’s I can definitely benefit from carrying this cycling fitness into 2016!

Nailing my intervals on the trainer! #bikelove
Nailing my intervals on the trainer! #bikelove

-I incorporated more mental training and focus into my training and racing this year. I reaped rewards from this on race day when tough moments arose. I definitely want to continue to focus on mental training in 2016 and incorporate it into my training plan everyday instead of only the last month of training before a big race.

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

-Ending up with hypnatremia again post IMBoulder. I thought I had my nutrition dialed in, but I was obviously wrong in thinking this…

This is post medical tent...I didn't feel so good.
This is post medical tent…I didn’t feel so good. Photo courtesy of S. Bierbaum

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

-I want to avoid nutritional failure again as was mentioned in the previous question. Race day is always so much more enjoyable and rewarding when your nutrition is spot on.

-I also want to avoid injuries. I have been trying to overcome some muscle stiffness and imbalances post IMBoulder. I want to get to the injury free zone and remain there for 2016. I would love to be able to race a 70.3 distance event…hard…prior to Ironman Wisconsin in 2016!!

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

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

-I need to figure out where I can have a sweat test done to determine what electrolytes and in what quantities I sweat them out (not just water loss). This will allow me to better prevent hyponatremia. Knowing the quantities of the electrolytes that I sweat out will help me take in the proper doses of electrolytes for my body needs.

-I need to be sure to incorporate proper strength training, stretching, and foam rollering into my weekly schedule and post workouts so I don’t get injured again. In getting reacquainted with my mat, I have found that hot yoga helps me stretch my muscles deeper. This means I need to incorporate more hot yoga into my weekly training plan. It is a good thing I love hot yoga!!

#Yogalove
#Yogalove

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

-I felt empowered by incorporating more mental training into my race preparation for IMBoulder this year. I laid out goals, reasons for each goal, a visualization plan, and mantra for each part of my Ironman race day experience. On race day when things got tough, I had the tools in my toolbox to help me through those tough moments. I definitely reaped rewards for my mental training and focus on race day!!

Pre race planning
Pre race planning

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

-I did not incorporate enough recovery into my training. I need to incorporate more recovery techniques into my everyday training/workout routine so that I remain healthy and injury free. Foam rollering, ART, massage, hot yoga, and stretching need to be a part of my everyday training post workout.

-I need to overcome the fear of being uncomfortable. I am always afraid to leave it all out there…whether it is a training session or during a race. Where is that balance between being uncomfortable and able to successfully finish and being uncomfortable and failing? It is time for me to find out. It is time for me to get really uncomfortable and learn to feel truly comfortable with the uncomfortable!

It is time to start living my dream instead of living my fear!
It is time to start living my dream instead of living my fear!

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

-I need to incorporate more recovery techniques into my everyday training plan to keep me healthy and injury free. I need to train smarter…while incorporating speed and hill workouts on the bike is important, I also need to focus on balance and not pushing hard with every workout. I want to improve my bike split at Ironman Wisconsin from my previous 2 IMWI experiences (in 2011 and 2014) and I believe training smarter will help me achieve this. It is time to bring back the speed!! I want to get my run faster, so I’ll need to incorporate more speed work on the run and practice running some of my longer runs at a faster pace than I have in the last few years. I also need to focus on believing in myself and my training more…not just the superficial believing, but the deep underneath the surface at the very core of my being believing! 🙂

My 2016 S.M.A.R.T. goals will come in a few weeks time. Stay tuned…

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

Ironman Boulder Race Report: I did it again!

Sunday was an epic day!! I absolutely LOVE race day!! It doesn’t matter if I’m racing or spectating…the energy in the air is AMAZING and unlike anything you’ll experience anywhere else!!

I’ll try to keep this post relatively short, although it is a race report 😉 I had great hopes of breaking 14 hours for my overall finish time, but knew that my ultimate goals were to smile, have fun, embrace the entire day and push my limits for this race on this day. Here is how the day went down:

Pre-Race:

Sunday morning the alarm clock went off at 2:30 am for the start of a long and glorious day!! I quickly jumped in the shower (yes, I know I was going to race and get all stinky, but a shower wakes me up and helps get me ready for racing), ate my cream of rice cereal (with fresh blueberries and Pure Clean Beet Powder), drank my Karma Kombucha and read my pre-race visualization/mantras/quotes before heading out the door to the Boulder High School where I would drop my special needs bags and board a bus to the Boulder Rez with all other athletes and spectators.

IMG_3610
“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

We were on the first bus to the Boulder Rez, which gave us plenty of time for body marking, filling water bottles on the bike, adding to my T1 bag and hitting the loo before getting ready for the swim. We did find out that the water temperature was 78.1F, so it was not a wetsuit legal swim, but it was wetsuit optional. This meant it was time to make decisions…Should I wear my wetsuit knowing the water temp was a bit warm for it, that I would have to start at the back of the pack and that I wouldn’t be eligible for Age Group Awards or Kona Qualification? Should I go without the wetsuit knowing that there would be a lot of people wearing wetsuits that would probably catch and pass me on the swim and I would probably be more comfortable temperature wise? Hmmm…No wetsuit it is!

Body marking complete...time to race!!
Body marking complete…time to race!!
We are ready to swim...not a wetsuit legal swim.
We are ready to swim…not a wetsuit legal swim.

Eventually Dad, my aunt Linda, my cousin Neal and his wife Kathy and Lora, Sam and Sara (Allen’s wife and 2 daughters) showed up at the Boulder Rez. This was a good distraction from what was to come…

My aunt, cousins and Dad came out to the Rez for the swim
My aunt Linda, cousin Neal and his wife Kathy and Dad came out to the Rez for the swim
Dad and I race morning.
Dad and I race morning.

Eventually, I lined up in the middle of the people hoping to swim between 1:16:00 and 1:30:00. I knew that if I were wearing my wetsuit I could easily swim 1:20:00 (which was my swim goal), but wasn’t sure how not wearing my wetsuit would impact my swim.

After the Star Spangled Banner was played, the cannon went off and we all rolled into the water and the swim began.

Swim:

HOLY PHYSICAL CONTACT!!!! This swim had the most physical contact I’ve ever had in a swim before. It resembled a washing machine full of clothes, where the people were the clothes. I was hoping that after the first turn buoy the physical contact would dissipate, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I just kept reminding myself to “just keep swimming” and to stay “straight, fluid and relax” throughout the swim. This worked in my favor…I never had a moment of panic during the swim and when someone would grab my leg, I would just kick really hard and get away from them and then find my groove again. Eventually I was on my return to dry land and it was a very welcome sight 🙂

Swim exit...I am the one in the red swimsuit.
Swim exit…I am the one in the red swimsuit under the arch.

Swim Time: 1:32:21 (2:23/100 m)…This 12 minutes slower than my goal swim time and was my slowest Ironman swim. I am certain my swim time would have been faster with a wetsuit

Division Rank: 83/142

Gender Rank: 361/558 (women finishers)

Overall Rank: 1479/2010 (total finishers)

Gear: TYR swimsuit, Roka X1 Goggles (Dark Amber/Gold Mirror)

Nutrition: Goldfish crackers, Osmo Nutrition Preload and 6 Chocolate covered Barnanas before the swim

T1: 

I was able to run past the wetsuit strippers, grab my gear bag and run into the women’s change tent, where Melissa (who also happened to have the Coeur Sports Courage design tri kit) helped me change and get on my way. It was quite a long run from the women’s change tent to our bikes and then to the mount line.

Time to go ride my bicycle!
Time to go ride my bicycle!

T1 Time: 9:02…this was almost 6 minutes faster than my goal T1 time

Bike:

I decided to start my ride nice and easy since the first 7 miles are a gradual uphill climb. Lots of people passed me in this section, but I just let them go. I knew that if they went out too hard, I would catch them. This bike course is two loops with the first loop being done twice before going onto the second loop. I found my groove and just rode my heart out, but kept my watts in check so that I would have energy left for the next 2 loops. I backed off the power just a bit on Nelson Road, since it is a gradual climb. Anytime we went west (toward the mountains), we were climbing…even when it didn’t look like it. As I entered Hygiene, I didn’t expect to see anyone I knew because my Dad, aunt Linda, cousin Neal and his wife Kathy as well as Lora, Sam and Sara had waited until we exited the water out at the Boulder Rez before boarding a bus and heading back to town. I was pleasantly surprised to see my cousin Justin, his wife Jennifer, their son Jacob and Neal and Kathy’s daughter Elizabeth in Hygiene waiting for us. I zipped right past them because I wasn’t expecting to see anyone I knew on this loop. I continued on and saw Mike and Stacey, friends of ours, on Nelson Road before eventually starting the second loop.

Whizzing through Hygiene on the first loop...Serious #bikelove on this course!!
Whizzing through Hygiene on the first loop…Serious #bikelove on this course!!

 

I took it nice and easy the first few miles of the second loop…again that gradual climb. I also took it easy on Nelson Road and stopped at the bike special needs station on Nelson to restock my stores before moving my way into Hygiene. This time I knew I was going to stop and chat with my family, since they should all be there. And they were!!

IMG_4629
“Hey” How’s your day?!?!?!?!
Stopping to say "Hi" in Hygiened :)
Stopping to say “Hi” in Hygiened 🙂
Chatting it up with the family in Hygiene
Chatting it up with the family in Hygiene
Wetting down my arm coolers while I update the fam on my day.
Wetting down my arm coolers while I update the fam on my day.
Smiles for all...even at mile 70 on the bike.
Smiles for all…even at mile 70 on the bike.
Hello Justin! Thanks for taking pictures :)
Hello Justin! Thanks for taking pictures 🙂
I'm still leading the boys and I have to keep my lead, so I'm off!!
I’m still leading the boys and I have to keep my lead, so I’m off!!
Getting some speed and power as I roll out of Hygiene!!
Getting some speed and power as I roll out of Hygiene!!
Getting back into the groove after my stop in Hygiene.
Getting back into the groove after my stop in Hygiene.
Mom and Dad on the bike course in Hygiene
Mom and Dad on the bike course in Hygiene

I continued on my way, saw Mike and Stacey on Nelson Road again and then made my way to the third and final loop on the bike course. I knew there were a few longer and steeper climbs on this loop, which I took nice and easy before making my way back into Boulder. I knew my family would be on the side of the road at about mile 110, so I decided to stop again. They informed me that I was leading the boys and that I should “Go, Go, Go!” They told me to beat them and sent me on my way. It was all downhill into T2!

Riding away from the family at mile 110...time to get on to the run!
Riding away from the family at mile 110…time to get on to the run!
Mom and the twins are cheering me on to the run!
Mom and the twins are cheering me on to the run!
Riding away from the family at mile 110
Riding away from the family at mile 110
Riding away from the family at mile 110
Riding away from the family at mile 110

Bike Time: 6:46:12 (16.54 mph)…I was almost 15 minutes faster than my goal pace.

Division Rank: 77/142

Gender Rank: 326/558 (women finishers)

Overall Rank: 1514/2010 (total finishers)

Stops on the bike: I stopped twice on the bike to chat with my family, I stopped at every aid station to refill my bike bottles and spray down my arm coolers and I stopped once to pee at mile 100.

Gear: Coeur Sports Ambassador tri kit, Coeur Sports SuperNova Cycling Jersey, Coeur Sports Arm Coolers, Specialized bike shoes, Specialized Transition Bike, Bell Helmet, Tifosi Sunglasses, Garmin 910XT

Nutrition: 3.5 bottles of Osmo Active Hydration, lots of goldfish crackers, 1 package of Honey Stinger Chews

T2:

It was a really long run from bike dismount until when the volunteers took my bike and I got my bag to change. As soon as I entered the change tent, Erin, my Coeur Sports teammate, grabbed me and helped me change. It was so amazing to get to meet her in person!! She is an amazing woman and I truly wish we lived closer…I know we would become such great friends!! She filled my water bottle with water and ice (which was the best. thing. ever.) and sent me out on the run.

T2 Time: 8:57

Run:

The run starts with a gradual descent, which made it easy to start out a little faster, but what goes down, must go up. Just like the bike course, anytime we were running west (toward the mountains), we had a gradual uphill climb and anytime we were going east we had a gradual descent. When you look at my run splits, you can see where these transitions occur. I had a run goal in mind, but decided to throw it out the window and just have fun, but push myself a little bit so that it wasn’t a walk. I decided I’d only walk the aid stations and the uphills (not the false flats, but the short, steeper climbs that were a part of the course). I took in nutrition at every aid station…sometimes it was grapes, sometimes oranges…sometimes coke, sometimes no coke, but ALWAYS water. I was so lucky to have family and many friends out there to check in with. Every time I stopped near my family, they would tell me I was still in front of the boys and that I should “Go, Go, Go!!”

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!!
You want me to pose with my peeps :)
You want me to pose with my peeps 🙂
This smile sums up my race day experience!!
This smile sums up my race day experience!!
My cheer squad...Love them all!!
My cheer squad…Love them all!!
Pulling a Michael Jordan while I run :)
Pulling a Michael Jordan while I run 🙂
Run focus!!
Run focus!!
Having fun on the run!!
Having fun on the run!!

I stopped at the run special needs at the half way point so I could change my socks and shoes to keep my feet happy. I knew I could make a daylight finish if I just kept moving forward…it would be close, but I could do it!

Run Time: 5:28:05 (12:31/mi average pace)…I missed my goal by an hour, but had fun along the way

Division Rank: 67/142

Gender Rank: 272/558 (women finishers)

Overall Rank: 1234/2010 (total finishers)

Gear: Coeur Sports Ambassador tri kit, Coeur Sports Visor, Road Runner Socks, Newton Kismets, Asics Gel-Nimbus 16s, Tifosi Sunglasses, Garmin 910XT

Nutrition: grapes, oranges, coke, water

Finish Line:

I did make a daylight finish, although the finish photos don’t really show that. I was so ecstatic…I was done.

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.
A strong finish down the finish shoot.
A strong finish down the finish shoot.
Finished...official time was 14:04:37
Finished…official time was 14:04:37
I finished my day with #heartandcourage
I finished my day with #heartandcourage

Finish Time: 14:04:37…I missed my goal by 4:38, but I had fun and set a new PR by 1:11:19

Post Race:

I was so blessed to have Erin catch me at the finish line and escort me through everything…finisher medal, finisher hat and cap collection, timing chip removed, finisher photo, food and then to my family. She was my angel for sure!!

I didn't eat any of the food in my hands.
I didn’t eat any of the food in my hands.
I'm so thankful to have such an amazing support system!!
I’m so thankful to have such an amazing support system!!

About 20 minutes after finishing, I became really light headed and dizzy. My mother told me to go to the medical tent, so I listened to her. They took my vitals and made me drink a NASTY salty liquid and a bottle of water. Shortly after that, my muscles started contracting like I had Parkinson’s Disease. They moved me to a room with beds and wrapped me in a mylar blanket. This is when my angel showed up…ERIN 🙂 My nurse showed back up and told me to eat 2 small packages of gummy bears…my taste buds DID NOT want them!! Erin told me to swallow them like pills, so I did. Eventually my muscles stopped contracting and a doctor showed up to check on me. He told me I was hyponatremic and asked if I had experience with this…HERE WE GO AGAIN!! I was hyponatremic after my Ironman Wisconsin 2011 race…I DID IT AGAIN!! He eventually released me and I laid in the grass for quite a while before Lora walked me to the car.

This is post medical tent...I didn't feel so good.
This is post medical tent…I didn’t feel so good.

Photo Credit: Cousin Neal and his wife Kathy, Cousin Justin, Lora, Finisher Pix

At this point, I REALLY had to pee, but decided I could make it back to our home stay. Thankfully the Iron Hippie was in a good state and could drive us back to our home stay.My stomach had shutdown and did not absorb any of the liquid the medical tent told me to drink, so when I got out of the car, EVERY liquid I had in my body left…I projectile vomited ALL. THE. LIQUID. Did you know that when your muscles contract to vomit they also contract and cause you to pee yourself?!?!?! Yes, you read that correctly, as I projectile vomited I also peed myself. Thankfully I was in the driveway and NOT indoors. When I was done, the Iron Hippie said, “That. Was. Awesome.” Despite the post race medical issues, this was one of the best days of my life!! I met most of my goals:

  1. Have fun! I definitely had a LOT of fun!!
  2. Smile…I think the photos do a great job of showing the continuous smile on my face 🙂
  3. Embrace the entire day…I did a great job of this! Even when things got dark (which surprisingly didn’t happen too often) I embraced it and continued to move forward.
  4. Go sub 14 hours on the day…I missed this goal by 4:38. If I wouldn’t have stopped to chat with family and friends, go to the restroom and change my socks/shoes at run special needs, I probably would have met this goal. This small time difference wasn’t worth not having fun, so I would say it was a successful day.

Overall Thoughts on the Day:

This was a PR by 1:11:19 and I had a BLAST!! I’m already thinking about the next one, but I promised the Iron Hippie that I wouldn’t do an Ironman in 2016 😉

Oh…the Iron Hippie cut his hair…You won’t even recognize him. I may have to come up with a new name for him…

So much for keeping this race report short…

IMG_4666

I have many thank yous, which will be in the next blog post 🙂

2015 S.M.A.R.T. Goal for my “A” Race

Many people start the new year with “New Year’s Resolutions” and most of those people quit trying to keep these resolutions within the first month of the new year. According to the Huffington Post, only about 13% (1 in 8) of people who set New Year Resolutions successfully keep their resolutions for one year. This is why I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions…instead, I set S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based) goals.

I evaluated my 2014 journey, which allowed me to reflect on successes and failures throughout the year. Being truthful with myself and my 2014 journey, has helped me set S.M.A.R.T. goals for my 2015 training and racing season.

Smart Goal

When setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, it is important that they are:

  1. Specific…having precise goals stated in terms of performance.
  2. Measurable…being able to determine if the goal has been accomplished.
  3. Attainable…setting high, but realistic and achievable goals.
  4. Relevant…setting a goal that is important to YOU and NOT because a friend or family member has a similar goal.
  5. Timely…having a specific time frame for completing the goal.

My “A” race for 2015 is Ironman Boulder on August 2. My time goal for this race is sub 14 hours…

Ironman Boulder

  • What does this mean for a time goal for each discipline of the race? Swim = 1:15-1:20 (I swam 1:21:52 in 2014 at Ironman Wisconsin); Bike = 7:00:00…or less (I biked 8:15:12 in 2014 and 7:56:58 in 2011 at Ironman Wisconsin); Run = 4:30:00-4:45:00 (I ran 5:15:32 in 2014 at Ironman Wisconsin)
  • Why do I have a sub 14 hour goal? While it would be awesome to set a new PR (and sub 14 hours would be a PR by over an hour), I really want to push my limits and see what I can actually do, even if it is at a higher altitude. I have BIG DREAMS and a sub 14 hour Ironman would get me one step closer to fulfilling these #BigDreams.      IMG_0973
  • What steps am I going to take to get there? I am going to focus most of my efforts on the bike to improve my bike strength. Incorporating more power focused workouts on the bike into my training plan will definitely help me build the bike strength I am seeking. I am also going to incorporate more brick runs off the bike to teach my legs to run strong when they are tired. I am going to follow a well laid out training plan making sure it includes proper recovery. I am going to continue to incorporate strength training into my training plan to prevent injuries. I am going to continue to incorporate mental training into my training plan so that I continue to teach myself to #believe in me, my abilities and my training.

I am expecting some challenges along the way…after all, it wouldn’t be an Ironman if there weren’t challenges. One of the biggest challenges we will encounter is going from an altitude of 956 feet in central Iowa to an altitude of 5430 feet in Boulder, Colorado. Thankfully, we have a plan to help diminish the effects such a drastic change in altitude can have on a person…we are going to arrive in Colorado on Saturday, July 11 and start at an altitude of just over 8,000 feet to acclimate for a few weeks. This will give us 3 full weeks to acclimate (as best we can) to the higher altitude before race day…who doesn’t love a 3 week vacation leading up to a big race?!?!?!?!

What is your “A” goal for 2015? Have you made this goal a S.M.A.R.T. goal?

The Best of 2014

After posting the Best of 2013 last year, I decided it would be fun to look back through 2014 and reminisce my faves 🙂 The idea came from Abby over at Change of Pace who links up with Miss Zippy. If you haven’t checked them out yet, you definitely should!!

Best race experience?

Ironman Wisconsin was definitely my best race experience of 2014.  I overcame obstacles, set a swim PR with a time of 1:21:52, an Ironman run PR with a time of 5:15:32, and an overall Ironman race PR with a time of 15:15:56.  I met my race goals and had a near perfect day, while having a lot of fun!!

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.

Best run?

I have ran on the trails near our house many times over the years, but I had never run a trail race until this year.  One month after Ironman Wisconsin, the Iron Hippie and I ran a 10 mile trail race in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  We had a blast!!  I love running in the woods where you have to keep your focus or this will happen…

It wouldn't be a trail race if someone didn't eat dirt ;)
It wouldn’t be a trail race if someone didn’t eat dirt 😉

Best bike?

The best bike of the year was post Ironman Wisconsin.  The Iron Hippie and I decided to go ride at McFarland Park through the prairie and wooded areas.  While we weren’t racing or completing a hard training ride, it was fun to ride our cross bikes on different terrain than we are use to.  Being out in the fresh air surrounded by nature without many people around while on our bikes was AWESOME!!

IMG_0100

Best swim?

The best swim of the year was definitely the Okoboji 3.5 mile point to point swim.  I immediately set a PR simply by finishing this distance, but it was also a lot of fun to have Dad in a kayak next to me while I swam.  I finished the 3.5 miles in a time of 1:49:33 🙂

Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum...Allen and Dad were our support crew.
Photo courtesy of L. Bierbaum…Allen and Dad were our support crew.
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”

Best brick workout?

The best brick workout of the year was our last big brick workout on August 16th.  We rode 112 miles in just under 7 hours and then ran 9 miles at a 10 min/mile pace (which was our goal pace for race day).  It was a near perfect workout and it gave me the confidence that would guide me to a successful race at Ironman Wisconsin.

IMG_4319

Best group workout?

The best group workout was our second 100 mile bike ride on July 6.  Since it was a holiday weekend, we decided to take advantage of the extra vacation day and get outside to ride.  It was fun to have a few additional friends join us for a long day!!

 

IMG_3951

Best new piece of gear?

This is SUPER easy…my new Coeur Sports tri kits!!  L.O.V.E. LOVE my Coeur tri kits…no chafing, seamless chamois, perfect fit, fun colors, #stylishspeed…simply AMAZING!!  I love them so much, that I have 4 of them…shh, don’t tell the Iron Hippie 😉  I love what Coeur Sports stands for and represents…#heartandcourage.  ALL women who SBR (swim, bike, run) and/or do triathlon should wear Coeur Sports apparel…it is da BOMB!!

IMG_3906 IMG_3918

Approaching the finish line of Ironman Wisconsin 2014.  Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.
Approaching the finish line of Ironman Wisconsin 2014. Photo courtesy of Finisherpix.

Best hydration find?

This is another SUPER easy one…Osmo Nutrition!!  Because “Women are Not Small Men” there is a product line specifically for women.  Osmo Nutrition kept me properly hydrated during my hundreds of hours of training and racing this year.  I experienced one of the worst nutrition failures at Ironman Wisconsin 2011 and I am pleased to say that Osmo Nutrition worked perfectly for me and hydration failure was not an option at Ironman Wisconsin 2014!!

IMG_3170

Best piece of racing advice you received?

“Just one more” ~Tim Jenks

This quote was with me during many training workouts and on race day as I had to do just one more loop on the bike, or climb Observatory hill just one more time. He will be missed, but never forgotten!

Most inspirational athlete?

She is not known around the world, but this year a former student quickly became the most inspirational athlete to me.  Olivia was with her twin brother on a bicycle training ride when he tragically lost his life in June because he was struck by a vehicle.  Olivia had the heart and courage to race a few short weeks later in the Junior Elite Triathlon they were training for.  She was first out of the water and finished 9th overall (out of 75 participants) qualifying her for the National competition.  I am so proud of her!!

IMG_4067
OJ finishing strong!!
IMG_4066
Timothy Jenks was remembered at the Junior Elite Triathlon he was training for. He was given race #1 and his transition area was set up with his running shoes.

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

Epic, Fun, Inspirational

Tell me about your 2014 year!!

My First Trail Race

Saturday I had my first go at running a trail race.  It was the inaugural event and we chose to participate in the 10+ mile distance in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  I love to run in the woods, but had never experienced a trail race before, so this would be a first.  I was really excited!!

We drove over the morning of (~80 miles) and arrived at about 7:15 am.  Our arrival time was perfect…we could pick up our race number and then head to the start line to watch the 50K and 20 mile runners head out on their adventure.

The 50K/20 mile trail race start line.
The 50K/20 mile trail race start line.
Scott (the race director) leading the runners for the first mile of the race to the off road trails.
Scott (the race director) riding a cruiser bike and leading the runners for the first mile of the race to the off road trails.

After the long distance runners embarked on their day, we changed into our running attire, put our post run change of clothes into the car (which was parked right at the finish area) and ventured to the start line for our race.  I decided to go with my Coeur Chevron Tri Kit, arm warmers and gloves since it was 40F at race start.

Ready to run our first trail race.
Ready to run our first trail race.

The first mile of the course is on paved trails.  We entered the woods via Virgin Trail and began our single track race adventure.

Virgin Trail in Cedar Fall, Iowa
Virgin Trail in Cedar Fall, Iowa (photo courtesy of Runner’s Flat 50K Trail Run)

It didn’t thin out as much as I had hoped (although with only about 90 participants in the 10 mile event, it wasn’t super crowded) and when we entered the woods, I was the pace setter for about 6 other runners.  This was a lot of pressure on someone who is new to trail running and not entirely sure how to pace for a 10+ mile trail run.  I ran faster than planned for the first 3.5 miles, but I was ok with this pace…for now 😉

Approaching the first aid station
Approaching the first aid station (photo courtesy of Runner’s Flat 50K Trail Run)

Shortly before we exited the woods briefly for our first aid station (3.5 miles in), the lead pack of runners from the 50K and 20 mile distances passed us in the woods.  They were running around a 7:00/mile pace, which is smokin’ fast for me when I’m not in the woods…WOW!!  The crowds started to thin out at the first aid station, so when we went back into the woods, there were just a few us running together.  Overall, it was a really flat run (with only a few short climbs), but there were lots of twists and turns through the woods, not allowing our focus falter.  During the next 3 miles, I just kept thinking, “How awesome is this that I get to run in the woods and with such natural beauty?!?!?!  What a beautiful day!!!!”

Part of the 10 mile trail run course (photo courtesy of The Runner's Flat 50K Trail Run)
Part of the 10 mile trail run course (photo courtesy of The Runner’s Flat 50K Trail Run)

We approached the 2nd aid station at about mile 7.5, where we loaded up with water (The Iron Hippie downed some Coca Cola as well), before heading back into the woods.  At this point, my focus faltered just a bit.  I commented to the Iron Hippie that I hadn’t seen a pink flag recently.  Before the race started, Scott (the race director) told us we should see pink flags on our right throughout the whole race.  If we didn’t see a pink flag within a minute, we might be off course and may want to back track to see if we missed a turn somewhere.  I jumped a log and looked up to see if there was a pink flag off in the distance.  When I looked up, I tripped over a sapling stump and went down…HARD.  I was very grateful that I still had my gloves on to help break the fall.  The Iron Hippie said it was a great fall and that I did a good job of trying to roll out of it 😉  It didn’t feel like I rolled through anything though.

It wouldn't be a trail race if someone didn't eat dirt ;)
It wouldn’t be a trail race if someone didn’t eat dirt 😉

The last 3 miles were pretty uneventful as we ran back to the finish.  Since this was our first trail race, we set a PR as we crossed the finish line in 1:41:21.  I placed 44th out of 92 participants, 15th out of 47 women, and 8th out of 23 in my age group.  I’m pleased with these results since it was only 4 weeks post Ironman and my body is still a bit tired.  I know that with more training and better recovery post Ironman, I could have definitely done better.  Next time, I’ll be better trained, more rested and hopefully not fall 😉  I am already looking for the next trail race.

Have you ever run a trail race?  What is your favorite part about trail running?

2013 Had Ups and Downs

Like most years, 2013 was a roller coaster ride.  There were ups and downs.  Luckily I had more ups than downs 🙂

Let’s start with the lows, so I can end 2013 on a high note!!

Downs:

  • Superior Man Triathlon, August 25: DNF (Did Not Finish)
  • Grandpa died September 9 (just 6 days shy of turning 96 years young): While I am very sad that he is gone, I am happy that he lived such a monumental life and is now reunited and dancing with Grandma.
  • I fell into a mental slump after my DNF in August and really struggled to find self-control again.  Every workout I did was a challenge both physically and mentally and I lost focus for a while.
  • I injured my right shin after the Indianapolis Marathon and had to go though physical therapy.  As it turns out, it was caused by my back on my left side…go figure.
  • I got sick, strep throat, severe sinus infection and the beginning stages of pneumonia, in the middle of December (just before winter break).

Ups:

  • Bringing in the New Year with a New Year’s Day “5K” race
  • Little Rock Marathon, March 3: While this wasn’t a PR for me, I was very happy breaking the 4 hour barrier and had a fantabulous weekend with friends!!
  • Drake 1/2 Marathon, April 28:  While this wasn’t a PR for me, I did get to help a friend find the inner strength to push herself when it got challenging and finish the race.
  • Ironman Kansas 70.3, June 9:  I set a PR with a time of 6:05.53 (shaving 26.51 off this distance)
  • Lake Geode Olympic Distance Triathlon, July 13:  I set another PR with a time of 2:53.40 (shaving 11.46 off this distance)
  • Okoboji Triathlon, July 20:  Another PR with a time of 1:55.07 (shaving 3.00 off this odd distance triathlon)
  • Olympic Distance Triathlon Age Group Nationals, August 10:  I broke the PR I set at Lake Geode one month earlier and set a new PR with a time of 2:49.03 (shaving 4.37 off my Lake Geode time)
  • The Iron Hippie and I renovated our back yard…regrading the  slope of land, installing a new fence, putting in a fire pit with a small patio around it and seeding the lawn.  We still have some work to do, but the yard already looks 100% better than when we bought the house.
  • Signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2014, September 9:  I will again be competing in Ironman Wisconsin on September 7, 2014.  I am excited to train and race at that level again!!
  • I was blessed to spend time with family (both immediate and extended) when we celebrated Grandpa’s life.
  • Indianapolis Marathon, October 19:  I ran my 2nd fastest marathon to date and finished in 3:56.42.  While I didn’t qualify for Boston like I originally hoped, I did execute a near perfect race given the circumstances of the day.
  • I was blessed to create MANY amazing memories with family and friends in 2013!!
  • Finished off they year happy, healthy and ready to start IRONMAN training 🙂
Successful 2013 = 6 medals and 1 trophy
Racing Success in 2013 = 6 medals and 1 trophy…I’m looking forward to many more “ups” in 2014!!!

What were some of your ups and downs of 2013?