Racing Ironman Mont Tremblant with Coeur

“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do – this is what it’s all about.” ~PattiSue Plummer, US Olympian

Grab your favorite beverage, kick up your feet, and enjoy what is a really long race report! ūüôā

Pre-Race:

The alarm went off at 3 am, but I was already laying awake. I didn’t sleep well at all, which was a first for me, but thankfully it didn’t seem to impact my day. After eating my pre-race breakfast of muesli + peanut butter + Pure Clean Beet Powder + frozen mixed berries with a Karma Kombucha, I donned my Coeur Sports race kit and prepared for the day by reading my pre-race quote from Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox before heading to the race start.

My pre-race ritual…read Swimming to Antarctica while drinking my Karma Kombucha!

We arrived at parking lot #2 by 4:30 am, which made it easy to find a place to park that would be convenient for after the race to get all of our gear loaded up. We walked to the transition area, dropped off our bike and run special needs bags, and waited until 5 am for body marking and the transition area to open. After body marking, I had bike support fill my tires, lubed up the chain (it had rained on Saturday after Mojo was racked for the night and I wanted to make sure my chain was greased back up), filled my water bottle, put my bike bottles on my bike, got my Garmin on my bike and started, saw Erika and gave her a pre-race hug, put my salty balls in my T1 bag, and hit the kybo up one more time before heading to the swim start.

Ready to race!

At the swim start, I got into my Roka wetsuit, ate part of a granola bar and two Pure Clean Beet’ums, drank down some water, dropped off my morning clothes bag, got another hug from Erika, and made my way to the water for the swim warm-up. As I was exiting the water from the swim warm-up, a lady came up to me and gave me a hug and we shared good luck wishes to each other. I have no idea who this lady was because we were both wearing wetsuits, swim caps, and goggles, but I am grateful for the pre-race hug, so thank you to whomever you were! It was this point that I decided it didn’t matter what the day brought me, I was going to race with Coeur (French for heart) for the entire day! I am going to share my coeur, but also fill my coeur up throughout the entire day!

The Iron Hippie and I making our way to the water.

After the Canada National Anthem and fly over, the fireworks went off and the male pros were off, followed by the female pros and then the age group athletes.

Lined up and ready to start!

Swim: 1:24:16 (average pace of 2:11/100 meters)

We lined up by the 1:15-1:20 pace sign for the swim and were soon moving into separate corrals waiting for the beep every 5 seconds to send the next group of swimmers into the water. This was the cleanest swim start I’ve ever experienced! As I entered the water, a calm came over me like I’ve never experienced before and I set out at comfortable pace. I felt solid and strong. The water temperature of 66*F was perfect…I much prefer the colder water! I had very little contact with other swimmers until buoy #6 when I swam up on a guy who couldn’t hold a straight line for nothing. He was definitely a faster swimmer than I was, but because he was zig-zagging back and forth all over the course, he swam a lot farther than he needed to. Every time I tried to pass him, I would get cut off by him again. This continued for about 3 more buoys before I finally passed him. The rest of the swim was pretty uneventful as I had very little contact with other swimmers. I had a slower swim than I’d hoped for, but also didn’t leave everything in the water. I was trying to pace myself well for the long bike + run ahead. So much coeur during the swim!

Let’s get this party started! #swimlove

T1: 10:09

There is a rather long run (300 meters) from the swim exit to transition. When I got to the transition area, I grabbed my T1 bag and quickly made my way into the women’s change tent. I was shocked at the lack of volunteers in the change tent to help the athletes. I am very self sufficient and don’t change, but for those ladies who do a full change and need help getting a dry sports bra on a wet body, they would have had to get help from other female athletes. I quickly put on my socks, bike shoes, and helmet. I loaded my pockets and put on my arm coolers and sunglasses as I ran to my bike.

Long run on the red carpet from the swim exit to transition!

Bike: 7:05:08 (average speed of 15.81 mph)

As I left transition on my bike, I saw Dad and my Aunt Linda cheering me on! I quickly mounted Mojo after the mount line and set off on the bike. Coach Kelly instructed me to dial it back and go out conservatively for the first 56 miles. I was feeling good and really wanted to hammer, but I knew I had a long day in the saddle, so I sat back and tried to keep my watts near the 130 mark. I consumed 2 salty ball every 30 minutes on the bike and NBS hydration every 20 minutes while sipping water the rest of the ride, which is exactly what I’d done in training and it worked beautifully.

Let’s go ride!

This course is essentially 2 x 2 different out and back sections. The first out and back is from the village on Montee Ryan to 117 out to Labelle, back on 117 to St. Jovite, from St. Jovite back on 117 to Montee Ryan and back to the village. There is a “no passing zone” on Montee Ryan in each direction (away from the village and toward the village). The second out and back is 10K out and 10K back on Chemin Duplessis. There is another “no passing zone” on one of the big descents on this section as we return to the village. If an athlete passes another athlete in any of these “zones,” the athlete doing the passing is automatically disqualified and removed from the course. There is plenty of climbing on this course, but in my opinion, this is much easier than Ironman Wisconsin’s bike course.

Loving this course and enjoying the beautiful views!

I felt great during the first 56 miles as I consumed my nutrition according to plan and held back my power so I could open it up during the next 56 miles (or so I thought). My only two goals were to keep my power at 130 watts or less and not get lapped by the professional triathletes racing. I had to remind another athlete of the “no passing zone” leaving the village on Montee Ryan as we were headed to 117, since he attempted to start passing me, but backed off when I reminding him of the no passing zone. I also wanted to go faster in this section, but there was an athlete in front of me that I had to stay behind on the descent to avoid a DQ. As I made my way out to Labelle, I was in awe of the beautiful scenery around me. Sure there were hills to climb, ¬†but there were also some amazing descents to enjoy. As I made my way to St. Jovite, I just soaked it all in…the beauty, the spectators out cheering, and the feelings of pure joy that I was getting to ride my bicycle! I was also super pumped to have achieved both of my goals for the first 56 miles!

Two of the best spectators EVER! Thanks to Dad and Aunt Linda for cheering us on all day long! Love you both!

Each of these out and back sections is done twice. So during the second 56 miles I was ready to cruise, but Mother Nature had increased the winds a bit. I stopped at the first aid station to refill my NBS hydration bottles before fighting some headwinds on the way out to Labelle. Thankfully it was only about 12 miles of fighting the headwind while climbing to Labelle…riding in Iowa means a LOT of windy training rides, so I was ready for this! Mentally I got into a bit of a negative funk as I was struggling physically…not just with the headwinds while climbing, but I felt a bit depleted nutritionally despite nailing my nutrition plan to this point. Once I turned around in Labelle, the tail wind was a blessing and I stopped at the aid station just outside of Labelle to eat a banana and use the kybo…I just can’t make myself pee on the bike while riding. I felt good and strong as I made my way to St. Jovite and was rejuvenated by the crowds and the fact that I was heading back to the village for the final push on the bike course. The 10K out on Chemin Duplessis was tough, but I settled into my easiest gear and steadily climbed my way to the turn around. I was so happy to have ridden the whole course (there were some people who walked their bikes up some of the steeper hills) while staying in my saddle (I never climbed out of the saddle…wahoo). I kept my power and heart rate in check, which would hopefully benefit me on the run! Lots of coeur on the bike!

So much coeur on this course! #bikelove

T2: 5:47

I quickly handed Mojo over to an amazing volunteer who returned her to her spot and removed my helmet on my way to the change tent. I also unzipped my speed top as I knew I wanted to run in the tri top I was wearing under my speed top. I grabbed my T2 bag, stripped my top, changed my socks and shoes, grabbed my nutrition visor, and race belt. I put my race belt and visor on while exiting T2. I made my way to the kybo to pee one more time before starting the run.

Run: 4:51:26 (average pace of 11:07 min/mile)

I felt so strong at the beginning of my run, but having run countless stand alone marathons and 4 marathons at the end of Ironman races, I knew it may not last, so I decided to ride this wave for as long as I could while keeping my pace in check. I broke the marathon into ~8 x 5K segments. I started off easy as I made my way through the first 5K of the run, which is rolling hills. I was so pumped to see one of my Coeur Sports teammates, cheering me on during this section of the run! Thanks for the love Ericka!

Love you Ericka! Thanks for the photo! #runlove

Once I hit the bike path, I knew I had just over a 5K to the turn around. We had done some training runs on this section of the course, so I knew it would be flat and very quiet with few spectators…mostly other athletes + the sounds of our own footfalls. I was still feeling good, so I just kept ticking away the kilometers (everything is in kilometers in Canada). I was taking in water at every aid station, bananas and oranges at nearly every aid station, and my Motts fruit chews every 30 minutes. At mile 4, I HAD to visit the kybo…well, this was a first! I’ve never had this problem during a race before! After a quick stop, I was back to running and spreading all the coeur I could on the course…I hope this lifted others up as much as it lifts me up to spread the love! On my way to the turn around, I saw another Coeur Sports Teammate, Erika, and the Iron Hippie, both running strong! I made it to the turn around, knocking out just over another 5K and was still feeling strong, which I was super stoked about. The only walking I had done to this point was through the aid stations to eat and drink and up the big hills. I decided at this point that I would continue to run (with the exceptions of the aid stations and the bigger hills) at least through the half marathon and re-evaluate how I was feeling. I had never had an IM marathon feel this good, so I just rode the wave and went with it! At about mile 8, I needed to visit the kybo again…ugh! Feeling much lighter, I was still running strong! ūüėČ Onward…to the end of the bike path and through the rolling hills back to the village! It was so much fun to see Dad and Aunt Linda in the village (as well as all of the other spectators) and know that I was still feeling strong and ready to rock the second half of the marathon!

Yep…Still running strong!

With 4 of my 5Ks behind me, it was time to buckle down! The new goal…make it through the next 2 x 5K distances while still running and feeling strong and then re-evaluate. I continued to knock of the kilometers, spread coeur, see Erika and the Iron Hippie on the run, and made my way to the 19 mile point before needing to visit the kybo again…this time I had to wait a bit for an open one, but I knew I COULD NOT make it to the next one without a mess down my legs, so I waited just a few minutes. After lots of relief, I was back to running strong! I was starting to feel the fatigue, but with just over 6 miles this is where I knew I needed to kick in the mental game, stay focused, continue to run as long as I could, spread more coeur, and enjoy the ride to the finish line! As I made my way to mile 24, I could hear Mike Reilly bringing people home to the Ironman Mont Tremblant finish line and I was so excited to hear him call me across that finish line!

Thanks to Beth, my Track Cat teammate, for capturing this finish line photo from the live feed!

Overall: 13:36:44 = 43 of 86 F40-44, 237 of 461 Females, and 1169 of 1816 Overall

It was a beautiful day for racing in Mont Tremblant! The weather was near perfect…a high of 77*F on race day with winds picking up later in the day. This is the first Ironman race that I feel like I executed it the way it should be executed! I finally nailed my nutrition (despite the kybo visits), I was mentally and physically strong, and I had a PR on the distance by almost 30 minutes! I set myself up for a run that I was FINALLY able to actually run and It. Felt. Amazing! Moving up 514 places on the run was a dream! I left some of my coeur on that course, but I took so much more with me! For this, I am very grateful!

Gratitude:

I am SO grateful to my tribe for helping me get to the finish line! My parents, Aunt Linda, my sisters and their families, my friends and family, Jeff & Deb, Nick with¬†Vitality Massage (my massage therapist), Melanie with Massotherapie Sportive (my massage therapist in Mont Tremblant), Chris with Team Chiropractic (my ART Chiropractor), Kyle at Kyle’s Bikes, Coeur Sports + my Coeur teammates, Sound Probiotics, Roka Sports, and Newton Running. A special thanks to Coach Kelly at Track Cat Fitness for setting me up for success, making me #trackcatstrong, and helping me achieve a new PR. To my fave, my #1…the Iron Hippie…you are my rock and I’m so grateful that we are on this crazy journey together! Thank you!

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Liberty Triathlon “70.3” Race Report: Adversity Adventure

Hmmm…I have so many thoughts about this race, but I should probably start at the beginning. Be prepared for a LONG report about the sh*t show…errrr…adversity adventure that was the Liberty Triathlon “70.3” race! Grab your favorite beverage and dessert to enjoy while you get a feel for my experience.

When the Iron Hippie and I decided to sign up for the Liberty Triathlon 70.3 race, we were waffling back and forth between the Liberty Triathlon 70.3 and Ironman Wisconsin 70.3. We raced Ironman Wisconsin 70.3 last year (when it was non-branded) and knew it was a GREAT race, but had heard good things about Liberty Triathlon as well. We opted for the cheaper race…Liberty Triathlon 70.3 (remember this for later…you get what you pay for).

Pre-Race:

We finally received an email from the race director Thursday (our race was Saturday). This was rather late correspondence in my opinion, but at least I knew I was actually registered!

Liberty Triathlon – It’s getting hot in here!
Race day is coming up and it’s looking to be a hot one! Due to the expected temp on Saturday, we are allowing participants to transfer from the Long course to the Olympic course free of charge. Please email us at info@finalstretch to transfer your distance.

We will also have ice water and towels at the waters stops for participants to cool off.”

I had no intentions of transferring to the Olympic distance event, so I ignored it, packed my bags and was ready to leave Friday morning. I checked my email Friday morning before packing up All. The. Gear. for two athletes into the vehicle. We had an updated message from the race director:

Liberty Triathlon – Note from the Race Director
Changes due to Weather for Liberty Triathlon

Do to the 103 plus extreme heat index for Saturday there is going to be changes to the timetable for the Long Course participants. This change is not only for the athletes but all the volunteers that will be out on the course helping direct runners and manning the water stops.

Olympic will stay the same.

Long Course

1. Swim will be the same
2. Bike will be the same
3. You must be in from the bike no later than 12:30 pm to continue on the run
4. If you get in from the bike from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, you will be required to run the 6.2 mile (10K) run course. This is so that all runners are in from the run by no later than 2:00 pm when the heat index gets very high.

Thank you everyone for your understanding with this difficult weather situation.

Questions: email info@finalstretch.com

What?! NOOOO!! With wave starts, this did not offer an equal opportunity for ALL athletes! Since my swim wave was not scheduled to go off until 7:45 am, I would have to finish the 1.2 mile swim + 56 mile bike in 3:45…doable, but with the extreme heat we should be conserving energy to avoid dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. I immediately emailed the race director and asked them to consider starting the race earlier (even 7 am would give us an additional 30 minutes) to allow more time for all athletes to have a fair shake at meeting this 11:30 am cut off. Here was their response:

“We’ve considered it. Due to other factors including permits, set up, police, volunteers, medical staff, and out of town athletes, we are not able to start the race any earlier.”

In actuality, they could have applied for an emergency change in the permits, but they didn’t want to mess with it. I get it (not really)…so I emailed them again and asked them if they would consider combining swim waves since they were encouraging people to switch from the long course to the Olympic course. Nope…not happening:

“We will not be combining swim waves. If enough people switch to the Olympic course, we will shorten the time between waves from 3 minutes to 2 or 2.5 minutes between waves to get people in the water sooner.”

Ok, so they are not willing to make accommodations for athletes to make this a fair experience for ALL athletes. Now the question is do I stick to my race plan knowing I will likely miss this time cut-off, or do I put the hammer down and try to make the time cut-off?! I decided to wait to talk to Coach Kelly about this until after I had checked in at packet pick-up to make sure there weren’t any more changes being made (good thing I waited…more changes to come).

The 3+ hour commute to the race site was uneventful. After checking out the lake and checking into our hotel, it was time to go to packet pick-up (which was at our hotel). While waiting in line, the first lady said there was another change to the 11:30 time cut-off. We now had to finish the 1.2 mile swim, the 56 mile bike, and get to 3.1 miles on the run by 11:30 in order to be able to continue for the full 13.1 miles. I IMMEDIATELY spoke up! “This is not what the email said and they have NOT communicated this with the athletes in any email. This is not acceptable!” The lady at the 2nd table knew many of the athletes in the line were frustrated. She called the race director for clarification and relayed his new decision to us:

We actually had until 3.1 miles on the run to catch the sag bike that would leave transition with the last cyclist to arrive into T2 at 11:30. If you are a strong runner, this will give you an opportunity to continue even if you get into T2 after the 11:30 time. This also meant if you were not a strong runner, you may get passed by the sag bike even if you made the 11:30 time cut into T2…HELLO SH*T SHOW!!!

Grrr…now it is time to call Coach Kelly! After eating Mexican food at El Azteca in Plymouth, MN, I relayed all of this information to Coach Kelly and said, “What do I do? Do I put the hammer down and try to make the time cut-off, or do I stick to my race plan?” Coach was LIVID with the decisions the race director had made. This was not only unfair to all athletes, it encouraged athletes to push harder and risk dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke on a day when we should be conserving a bit more than normal. Since this was not my “A” race for 2017, I was told to stick to the race plan and if I didn’t make the 11:30 time cut-off or catch the bike, it would still be a good training day…hello 97F heat index and 20-25 mph sustained winds with gusts up to 35 mph from the SSW.

Ok…I have a plan and know what I need to do.

I received the BEST email from my Coeur Sports tribe:

“WISHING YOU ALL KINDS OF GOODNESS ON RACE DAY!!
Rumor has it you have a race coming up.
Well, the Coeur Cowbell Team is ringing their bell (virtually, because otherwise the neighbors get annoyed) for you!
We hope your race is all that you wished for and more.
Heart and Courage my friend!
Let us know how it went!”

I told you this would be a long post, but I’m finally to race day! ūüôā

Race Day:

The alarm went off at 3:45 am. After eating my typical pre-race breakfast (muesli + peanut butter + Pure Clean Beet Powder and Karma Kombucha), donning my beautiful Coeur Sports race kit, and loading the car with all the gear, it was time to travel the 30 minutes to Lake Rebecca.

The sh*t show continued when we got to the race site…we could set up our transition area where ever we wanted, no one was making announcements, (What was the water temperature? Was the water wetsuit legal?), and no one seemed to know where body marking was. There was no one working the entrances to the transition area, so anyone could enter (including spectators). I’ve experienced this at smaller local races, but NEVER at a 70.3 event!

Mojo is ready for a fun day on a new playground!

After setting up our transition area and relaxing at the car for a bit, it was time to put on the wetsuit (I had found the one and only USAT referee earlier who said the water was wetsuit legal) and head to the lake for a short pre-race swim and the pre-race informational meeting on the shore at 7:15 am. Thankfully I saw my Coeur sister, Megan, before the race and she gave me a quick hug. This is just what I needed to calm the climbing nerves. We were reminded of the changes to the time cut-offs, told there would be ice, wet rags, water, and heed at every aid station on the run. We were also informed that there would be 2 minutes between wave starts instead of the original 3 minutes. After the National Anthem, it was time to line up on the beach for the race start. One more quick hug on the beach from Megan and we were ready for the swim!

These waters look much calmer than they actually were when we got into them!

Swim: 51:10 for 1.2 miles at 2:26/100 yard pace

The first wave (Elites/Athenas/Clydesdales) was supposed to start at 7:30 am, but it was delayed because of other athletes swimming back to shore from their warm-up. So…my swim wave (women 40+) started at 7:42 am (3 minutes before the originally scheduled time). With the winds already at 20 mph, the lake was very choppy, and we were swimming straight into the chop on the way to the turn around buoys. It was rough! Hello first open water swim of the year…yep…on race day! I started out trying to swim with bilateral breathing, but that was short lived. I couldn’t get in a rhythm that allowed me to breathe and not consume 1/2 of the lake water because of the waves crashing back into my face. Like all of the other swimmers, I fought my way to the turn around buoys,¬†and then got a free ride on the waves back to transition. Throughout the entire swim, I just kept telling myself to enjoy the adversity adventure that was just beginning! Learn from it, grow from it, and keep moving forward! This was officially my slowest swim time on a 1.2 mile distance EVER!

T1: 2:27

After quickly making my way to my bike, getting a random stranger out of the way of my bike (he was just hanging out in the transition right in front of my transition area…not sure what he was doing in there), stripping out of my wetsuit, throwing on my helmet, socks, and bike shoes, I was out of the transition area and on the bike!

Bike: 3:16:09 for 56 miles at 17.1 mph average speed

The first 10-12 miles were straight SSW into the headwind that had picked up since the swim start. The winds were now closer to 22-25 mph sustained winds, with gusts up to 35 mph and boy could we feel it! Let the adversity adventure continue! Mojo and I just buckled down, found our groove, and sang our way to the turn. Once we turned, the cross wind was SO strong that I got blown off the road twice! I screamed out loud that I wish I weighed about 100 pounds more so I would stay on the road (but later found out from the Iron Hippie that the extra weight didn’t help him either…). Only a few short miles to the turn and a tailwind! Hello 25+ mph speeds climbing up a hill in my most challenging gear…you are a VERY welcome sight! Unfortunately we had to do the loop again, so back into the headwind we went! Let the singing commence…

  • “I feel good”
  • “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
  • “Full throttle, wide open, you get tired and you don’t show it, dig a little deeper when you think you can’t dig no more, that’s the only way I know”
  • “Vanilla ice ice baby”…I was dreaming of ice and cold temperatures at this point as the outdoor temps were really climbing
  • “I saw the sign”…HELLO HWY 10 sign + tailwind all the way back to transition! What a welcome sign!

I also may have startled other athletes by screaming “Wahoo! St. Bonifacius you are a welcome sight! No more headwind!” Hee!! Hee!! Let the adversity adventure continue!

T2: 1:41

After cruising into transition and learning that I was between 1 and 2 miles behind the sag bike (it was after 11:50 am), I decided to leave my hydration bottle in transition and run hard for the 10K that I was going to be forced to run.

Run: 1:01:17 for a 10K at an average pace of 9:53/mile

As I exited transition, I ran into my Coeur sister Megan! She stopped at the loo, and I continued on my way! I was pushing a bit harder than I should have been. My heart rate was high…too high! I periodically walked to get my HR back to a respectable beat. I took in Base Salt and water at every aid station, but there was NO ice or rags at any of the aid stations on the run like the race director said there would be. Let the adversity adventure continue! Then at mile 2, I caught the sag bike. What?! How did I catch him? I decided to walk for a minute and ask the athlete how I had caught up with him. In briefly chatting with him, I learned that he had decided to walk the entire first 5K to give as many of the women an opportunity to make the decision to run the 1/2 marathon if they wanted to since our swim waves started so late. I thanked him for allowing me to make this decision and ran on. Shortly after this, I saw the Iron Hippie heading back and quickly learned he was only doing the 10K by choice. As I ran to the 5K mark, I did some thinking and data analysis…could I run the full 1/2 marathon? Yes, but I had no hydration with me (I left it in transition remember?!), there was no ice or rags at the aid stations, it was HOT and only getting hotter, and this was not my “A” race. Coach Kelly told me to not end up dehydrated, with heat stroke, with heat exhaustion, or hyponatremic…it would prolong my recovery. Based on all of the data I had in my arsenal, I opted to turn around and only do the 10K run. As I crossed the finish line, I was happy with my decision to turn around, but was immediately disappointed because there was no water at the finish line for the athletes. SERIOUSLY?! What an adversity adventure…or is it a sh*t show?!

Since it doesn’t say “70.3” on it, I guess I can keep it.

Overall: 5:12:43 for 63.4 miles

I set a PR on a new distance (since I didn’t do the official 70.3)…63.4 miles. I got to meet some amazing new athletes and ladies decked out in Coeur tri kits. I overcame a lot of adversity that was mostly out of my control. I learned that you get what you pay for! I’m disappointed that the race director did not make the time cut-offs equal for all participants and I’m very disappointed in the lack of care for the athletes at this race. Many athletes were in the med tent at the end of the race…likely because they pushed too hard in the heat and wind to make time cut-offs, but not having ice and rags/sponges at the aid stations on the run definitely didn’t help. I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed. The timing company was separate from the racing company. They were very angry with how things were handled as well. All athletes who ran the 10K were disqualified…whether they were forced to only run the 10K (because of the rule the race director implemented) or because they chose to. I ended up spending about 30 minutes helping the timing company figure out who had actually run the full 1/2 marathon in all of the age groups before the award ceremony, because the man in charge of the timing was VERY frustrated! If someone were to pay for my entry into this race in the future, I would turn it down. I want to support smaller, local races, but not at the expense of the athletes and their safety!

The heat index was 97F with sustained winds of 22-25 mph and gusts up to 35 mph. It was a rough day! Not what we’ve trained for, but we each set a new PR since we did a new distance…

Well, that’s a wrap! My adversity adventure or sh*t show…

Wisconsin Milkman Triathlon: Race Report

Last Sunday was the inaugural¬†Wisconsin Milkman 70.3 Triathlon in Madison. This was my “B” race for the year, where I was hoping to PR and get a good feel for where my training has taken me so far this year. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans…

Saturday:

Saturday morning we had a great swim practice!! We chatted it up with friends and I was lucky to meet one of my Coeur Sports Teammates, Jenn, in person!! She is so inspiring and on an amazing journey!!

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After swimming, the Iron Hippie and I grabbed breakfast¬†at one of our favorite spots in Madison, Marigold’s Kitchen, before driving the bike course for our event to check out the road surfaces and terrain.

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Goat cheese and zucchini omelette…YUMMY!!

After driving the course, we showered at our host home (HUGE shout out to my wonderful friend Chris for hosting us!!), got our bikes and gear ready for Sunday, and then it was time to put Mojo in transition for the evening.

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We grilled food at Chris’s house and watched movies with our feet up all afternoon and early evening. An early morning wake-up call means lights out by 7:30 pm.

Pre-race:

We woke at 3:30 am, showered (yes, I know I’m going to get into a lake and then get all sweaty, but it’s my thang…wash away the negative and be ready for a great day!), inhaled breakfast (cream of rice with blueberries and Pure Clean beet powder, and Osmo hydration), gathered our gear, drove to the Alliant Energy Center, and took the shuttle bus to the race start. After getting my transition area set up, I found Jenn and another Coeur Sports teammate, Mandy. We chatted, wished each other a great day, and made our way down to the swim start.

Jenn, myself, and Mandy representing Coeur Sports and ready to race!
Jenn, myself, and Mandy representing Coeur Sports and ready to race!

Swim:

The first swim wave started at 7:00 am, but my wave didn’t start until 7:32 am. With only 4 waves after me, I was toward the back of the pack.¬†When the horn sounded, I walked quite a ways out (the water was REALLY shallow in this area) before starting to swim). Once I started swimming, I only hit the bottom with my hand a few times before finding my groove. It was a pretty uneventful swim for me…I was relaxed and kept a pretty straight swim line for the duration of my swim. I definitely felt like I could have easily doubled this pace…maybe that means I should have swam a bit harder!

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Swim Gear: Coeur Sports tri kit, Coeur Sports arm coolers, Roka Maverick Pro wetsuit, Roka X1 Goggles in light vermillion

Nutrition: Nature Valley Oats ‘n Honey granola bar and 2 packets of Mott’s Medley’s fruit flavored snacks about 30 minutes before my swim

Swim Time: 41:00 for 1.2 miles (1:56/100 yards)

T1:

Yay for¬†wetsuit peelers!!¬†Hello¬†LONG run to transition…when I got to my spot, I quickly put on my cycling jersey, helmet, shoes, grabbed my bike, and was off.

T1 Time: 5:29

Bike:

The first few miles were on a trail and were rather crowded, but opened up more by mile 5 when we got to the roads. I was lucky to get to see the Iron Hippie and good friend Kathy during those first few miles!! Yay for biking with friends…even if it was short lived!! Most of the road surfaces were rough, but there were lots of terrain changes to make up for it…I LOVE hills!! After going through Oregon and Paoli (south of Madison), we climbed a big¬†hill with spectacular views from the top…Observatory Hill Road. The temps were definitely climbing, so I decided to slow my pace just a bit to make this race about survival instead of putting myself in the medical tent (which I’ve been known to do more often than one should). This course was very rolling in nature and simulated the Ironman Wisconsin bike course beautifully!

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Bike Gear: Coeur Sports tri kit, Coeur Sports cycling jersey, Coeur Sports arm coolers, Mojo (Specialized Transition Bike), Specialized Ember road shoes, Specialized Evade helmet, Tifosi sunglasses, Garmin 920xt

Nutrition: Chex Mix (2 single serve packages), 2 bottles of Osmo hydration, and water

Bike Time: 3:25:14 for 56 miles (16.4 mph)

T2:

As I rolled into transition, it was HOT! I quickly transitioned into my run shoes, drank more liquids, and headed out on the run.

T2 Time: 4:06

Run:

HOLY HOTNESS!! Within the first mile, I decided this would be a run/walk adventure. It was a suffer fest for most of the athletes around me…some even decided they would walk the entire 13.1 miles. Thankfully there was some shade on the run course (although there were long stretches of sun as well) and lots of people who lived on the course were¬†out with garden hoses, squirt guns, and sprinklers. At every aid station, I drank¬†two glasses of water, licked my Base Salt, and dumped a 1/2 cup of ice in my bra top, and 1/2 cup of ice in the front of my shorts as I continued to slog my way to the finish line. I chatted with people when I could, ran when I could, walked when I couldn’t. Thankfully with about 3 miles to go, I saw one of my former students on the run course cheering me on. He randomly appeared throughout the last 3 miles encouraging me. Thanks Zach for the shout outs on such a hot day!!

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Run Gear: Coeur Sports tri kit, Coeur Sports race belt, Brooks Pure Flow running shoes, Tifosi sunglasses, Garmin 920xt

Nutrition: 6 packets of Mott’s Medley’s fruit flavored snacks, Base Salt, and water

Run Time: 2:45:36 for 13.1 miles (12:38/mile)

Finish:

It was an uphill run to the finish shoot, where I finished with a time of 7:01:23…an hour slower than I had hoped, but on a day when the temperature was in the mid 90s with no cloud cover, I’m happy to say that I finished what I started and didn’t end up in the med tent.

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Overall:

This was a great inaugural race!! There isn’t much that could be done about the weather, but the race organizers were prepared for it. They had plenty of water, ice, volunteers, and medical support. The swim was shallow at the start and there were a lot of weeds in the water, but the water was relatively clear farther out from the shore. The road surfaces were a bit rough on the bike course, but there wasn’t much traffic on them and the intersections were controlled well. The run was a relatively shady route (as shady as you can get in that area), with plenty of aid stations. Definitely a race I will be doing again sometime in the future; hopefully on a much cooler day!

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**Thanks to Focal Flame Photography and Race Day Events, LLC for free race photos!! SO AWESOME!!

Sole Sisters Rock the Du

Sunday morning I was blessed and lucky to get to race our first ever duathlon along side my sole sister! She inspires me, believes in me, and encourages me to be the best version of myself everyday! I am forever grateful that our paths crossed and can’t imagine my life without her in it!

A 4 am wake up allowed me plenty of time to make the breakfast of champions (cream of rice with raspberries and Pure Clean Beet Powder and a Karma Kombucha), pack up the last of my race day essentials, load up the car, and be ready to leave by 5 am. The Iron Hippie was volunteering, so he rode with us to the race venue.

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Breakfast of Champions!

Once we arrived to the race, I could tell Tonja’s nerves were really starting to kick in. While she has participated in every running distance from 5K to Marathon, she has never participated in¬†a duathlon or triathlon and had no idea what to expect. Heck, she has only been on her bike once this year, and it was last Wednesday morning before our race. I kept reminding her that there was nothing to be nervous about…we were there to have fun! We unloaded the car, got her race packet, set up transition and then relaxed in the car to warm our toes until race start.

Matching tats and socks...T must be my #solesista
Matching tats and socks…Tonja must be my #solesista
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Bikes are racked and we are ready to race!

At about 7:30, we decided to check our transition one more time, hit the kybos, and ventured to the start for the pre-race announcements. Tonja was REALLY nervous by this point, but I knew once we got going the nerves would subside. We decided we were going to run the first 0.9 miles together and exit transition together. My role was to prevent her from going out too fast on the first run. She was going to try to keep me in view on the bike, but we both decided to race our own race once out on the bike. As we lined up at the start, we gave each other a hug, a few encouraging words, and we were off.

Lined up and ready to start! Thanks to the Iron Hippie for all of the photos throughout the day!
Lined up and ready to start! Thanks to the Iron Hippie for all of the photos throughout the day!

The first 0.9 miles were on cinder trail, grass, and dirt. Not ideal footing, but we ran side by side and I occasionally reminded T to hold back on this run to set ourselves up for a solid bike and another run. We ran out about 0.45 miles, ran around a cone, and then ran back to transition. Run time = 7:47 (8:39/mile average pace)

T1 time = 1:42

The bike course is 15.5 miles that consists of 3 loops of just over 5 miles each. Once we passed the mount line, we took off! Tonja and I separated pretty quickly, but that is only because I have a LOT more experience on the bike. During the first loop, I went hard, but my main focus was to figure out the bike loop. I learned where the hills were, where the Iron Hippie was cheering/volunteering, where the out and back was (cheering Tonja on as we passed each other…she was doing great!), where we go onto the 2nd/3rd loops or return to transition, where I could drink, where I had to be careful on a turn, etc. On lap 1 at the out and back section, I counted the ladies doing the duathlon that were in front of me (there was also a triathlon and aqua/bike race going on at the same time)…there were only 2 ladies in front of me! #courageovercomfort The 2nd and 3rd loops were so much more fun and I pushed myself even harder on these loops. Now that I knew what to expect, it was time to put the hammer down. #courageovercomfort #courageovercomfort #courageovercomfort was repeated over and over and over in my head while I raced. By lap 2, I could see the 2nd place lady in front of me. #courageovercomfort As we started the 3rd lap, I passed the 2nd place lady and made my way comfortably into 2nd place. Thankfully there wasn’t much wind on the ride, but I knew that wouldn’t be good on the run since the sun was out and the day was heating up rather nicely. Bike time = 50:19 (18.5 mph average speed)

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Thanks to the Iron Hippie for taking pics while I was riding!!

T2 time = 54 seconds

As I exited T2, the 3rd¬†place lady (the one that I had just passed) had just come into transition. I told that she had a nice bike leg and thanked her for pushing me to work really hard on the bike. The last run was a 5K run (3.1 miles) and I was right…it had heated up quite nicely. The first mile was mostly on cinder trail, grass and dirt and went the same direction as the first¬†run that we started the duathlon with. There was an aid station at mile 1, which is where we exited the grassy area and started running on the roads…straight up hill. It was at this point that I was passed by another lady participating in the duathlon. I told her she was doing awesome and to keep working hard as she passed. I knew I was now in 3rd place, but this only made me work harder. #courageovercomfort I could see the first place duathlon lady and knew that I could catch her. My goal was to catch her by mile 2, which is where the Iron Hippie was volunteering. I ended up catching her at about mile 1.5. I told her she was doing great and that it was super hard to catch her! I encouraged her to keep going hard and finish strong! When I saw the Iron Hippie just past the 2 mile mark, he told me I was 40 seconds behind the 1st place female and to give it all I had. Little did he know I was already pushing as hard as I could. At this point, we were back in a grassy area with some cinder trails all the way to the finish line. There was VERY LITTLE¬†shade, it was hot, and I was giving it EVERYTHING I had. #courageovercomfort I was so happy to finally see the finish line!! Run time = 26:48 (8:39/mile average pace)…I guess you can say that I was consistent ūüėČ

Overall Finish: 1:27:29
1st Place Age Group
2nd Place Female Overall
11th Place Overall

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These lovely ladies made me work for this AG win!!
#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon
Tonja got 2nd place in her age group at her first ever duathlon!! So proud of her!!

This race challenged me in many ways, but was also very fun!! I consider anytime I get to run and bike while racing and encouraging others a win!!

19 Weeks ’til #IMWI: Recovery + Race Time

How are we all of a sudden only 19 weeks away from Ironman Wisconsin?!?! This was not a typical week for us. We had 2 full rest days, lots of recovery, and a 1/2 marathon race to cap off the week.

Monday:

After waking up with an upset stomach, I decided to stay home from work. I¬†think it might have been the yummy, yet excessive roasted garlic on the amazing pizza from last night. I knew I had a lot of work that could be done from home, so I did that for most of the morning. Around lunch time, I started to feel much better, so I took my strength training outside to sweat out the remaining garlic. It was a beautiful afternoon and I should have been working outside, but I stayed indoors for my afternoon work session.¬†When the Iron Hippie got home, we rode our bikes outside in the sun for an easy recovery ride. It was a great snail mail day! I received goodies from both Coeur Sports and Sound Probiotics today…WAHOO!!

Strength training in the sun!
Strength training in the sun!
Recovery ride in the sun!
Recovery ride in the sun!
Snail mail delivery from Coeur Sports + Sound Probiotics = LOVE!!
Snail mail delivery from Coeur Sports + Sound Probiotics = LOVE!! #noangrykitty #stylishspeed #soundathlete

Tuesday:

Since it was a recovery week, we opted to have Tuesday be a rest day. We slept in, had a full day of work, I had a personal training client, and then went out for an amazing sushi dinner. Why didn’t I take a picture of the amazing sushi?! We ran a few errands after dinner and were ready for bed by 7 pm.

Wednesday:

We slept in Wednesday morning, so we got a LOT of sleep, which felt really good! After a full day of work, I hopped on the trainer for some sweaty, #bikelove intervals. It was definitely a #workforitwednesday with that workout! In looking at my normalized power from various rides lately, I think I’ve lost some bike fitness over the last month. Although I haven’t done an FTP test in a while, so I don’t know if it really has dropped or not…I think it might be time to test this and see where I’m at.

Sweaty #bikelove intervals with a little Ironman motivation in the background.
Sweaty #bikelove intervals with a little Ironman motivation in the background.

Thursday:

We always sleep in on Thursday mornings, but we actually had planned to¬†get up and swim this morning. I decided against this when I woke up, since I had been up 3 times throughout the night with cramps in the arch of my left foot. Boy do those hurt!! This is not typical for me, so what was causing them?! I even had them a couple of times throughout the work day. After work, I met a personal training client, completed a 60 minute cadence ladder ride, and then went to teach TRX…guess what?! MORE CRAMPS in the left foot. UGH! ūüė¶

Recovery ride on a cold and dreary day!
Recovery ride on a cold and dreary day!

Friday:

Today was another rest day. After work I had a massage, which was poor planning on my part since I am racing a 1/2 marathon tomorrow.¬†We’ll test this tomorrow and see how it impacts me! After my massage, we made a trip to Des Moines to pick up our race packets for the Drake 1/2 Marathon in the morning. In looking at the weather for the race, I couldn’t decide what to wear. What do you wear when it is going to be 46F, 22 mph winds, and 90% chance of rain?! I knew I’d need a lot of warm clothes for after the race, so I started by picking those out first. I decided to¬†wait until morning to decide what to wear. After picking up our packets, we had Mexican food for dinner and were in bed by 9 pm.

Massage...the day before a 1/2 marathon. We'll find out tomorrow if this was a good idea or not!
Massage…the day before a 1/2 marathon. We’ll find out tomorrow if this was a good idea or not!

Saturday:

4 am wake-up followed by cream of rice with¬†Pure Clean Beet Powder¬†and frozen blueberries + Karma Kombucha prepped my engine for what was looking to be a cold, wet, windy race. Now to decide what to wear…I decided to wear my Coeur Sports racing tri kit with arm warmers. I was hoping this would be a good decision. We arrived in Des Moines about 90 minutes before the race. We figured we wouldn’t have problems finding a place to park since the weather was so crappy and we were right. We had our pick of parking spots! At about 7:00 am, we started getting ready for our race and headed to the race start at 7:15. When they started the race at 7:30 am, it was 44F, 17 mph winds, and raining on us. I decided to run with my trash bag on until I warmed up a bit, which really only lasted about 1 mile. I met a friend that I’ve known through social media at about mile 1 and ran with her for a few miles. Kristen was pushing her 13 year old cousin with Rett Syndrome in a running bob for the first time ever during the 1/2 marathon. Can you say #heartandcourage?! She is so inspiring and motivated to do what she can to help find a cure for Rett Syndrome. Eventually we got separated on the hills, but Mother Nature continued to challenge us with the weather she threw our way. I quickly realized that a massage the day before a 1/2 marathon was not my best decision, but pushed as hard as I could for the whole race. My official finish time was 1:54:23, which was an 8:44/mile average pace. I was pretty pleased with this considering my legs did NOT want to move after about mile 5 + I was freezing + I was soaked like a drowned rat! Post run, we quickly changed and ate delicious post race food at the Drake Diner before heading back home. It was time for a REALLY HOT shower and a nap, followed by chili and cornbread with friends for dinner and an early to bed.

Who's ready to run a cold + soaking wet + windy 1/2 marathon? We are!
Who’s ready to run a cold + soaking wet + windy 1/2 marathon? We are!
Are we really going to do this?!
Are we really going to do this?!
Unofficial stats...I guess I tried to dodge a LOT of puddles ;)
Unofficial stats…I guess I tried to dodge a LOT of puddles since I was only supposed to have run 13.1 miles ūüėČ
Drake 1/2 marathon is in the books! Official finish time = 1:54:23
Drake 1/2 marathon is in the books! Official finish time = 1:54:23

Sunday:

I woke up with VERY stiff and sore legs, so I hopped on the bike for an easy hour to spin out the legs a bit, followed by breakfast, and an epsom salt bath. I did a few house chores to get ready for the coming week and then met Coach Hansen at the pool for more swim analyzing and coaching. I have A LOT to work on this week in the pool!! Later in the day, we went to Ankeny to visit the bike shop and meet an amazing friend for dinner. He came into town for the Drake 1/2 marathon from the Gulf Coast. I don’t think he was quite prepared for the cold, wet, windy weather we experienced. Since he and his wife retired down south, I’ve really missed having them around, so it was super fun to catch up with him!

Basil says, "Mama, will you please get off your bike and come cuddle with me?"
Basil says, “Mama, will you please get off your bike and come cuddle with me?”
LOTS to work on this week in the pool! Thanks Coach for the stroke analysis and guidance!!
LOTS to work on this week in the pool! Thanks Coach for the stroke analysis and guidance!!

Weekly Totals: 8 hours & 44 minutes

Swim: 550 yards
Bike: 65.8 miles
Run: 13.1 miles
Strength Training: 1:45:00

Quote of the Week:

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~Dr. Seuss

How we make it work

When you and your spouse are both juggling full time jobs (40+ hour work weeks), Ironman athletes (who train 15-24 hours each week, depending on the time of year), enjoy spending time with family and friends, and still have a home life to balance and maintain, life can get hard…if you let it. Triathlete Magazine recently posted a great article on couples that train and race “together,” how it impacts their lives, and how they make it work. The irony is that the week before this article was published, the Iron Hippie and I were generating our own list of things we do each week to make our lives run more smoothly. Every couple has to find their own way and what works best for them, but these are some of the ways we make it work:

  1. Communication is key…We review our schedule daily for the next day, even though every Monday looks nearly the same as every other Monday, we take time to communicate what it will look like this week. What time will we be home? Are we working out together or separate? Who will be home at feeding time to feed the dogs? What leftovers are we having for dinner?
  2. Food preparation happens on the weekends…After our long workouts on Saturday and Sunday, we take the time to prepare food for the coming week, making sure to have plenty of leftovers so we don’t have to worry about preparing a meal after a long day of work and a tiring workout. We often freeze a lot of our meals and pull them out as we need them. Salads are one of our summertime favorites and super easy to make after an evening workout.
  3. Laundry, laundry and more laundry…With each of us producing mountains of laundry each week, it is critical that we stay on top of this. The best time saving hack we’ve found for laundry…drum roll…wash and dry laundry while we are on the trainer riding. During recovery sections of a workout, we can put the clothes in the drier and start a new load…now if we could just find a magic fairy to fold all of it and put it away…

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    All the Coeur gear!!
  4. Post workout smoothie…The Vitamix is one of the BEST inventions and time savers that we have experienced!! In the morning we throw all the fruits and veggies into the Vitamix with some Pure Clean Beet Powder and Osmo Recovery Powder. This is the perfect way to refuel post workout and it is quick and easy to prepare and clean!
  5. Prepare for the coming day the night before…The Iron Hippie and I both set out our work clothes and workout clothes for the next day the night before. We also pack our lunches and all the bags that we will need the next day. Some days I get referred to as the “bag lady” as I’m walking into or out of school by students and colleagues. It is part of what comes with this lifestyle ūüėČ
  6. Piggy backing workouts…When time permits, it is great to¬†complete workouts one after the other. This often occurs for us more on the weekends than during the weekdays, but it allows us to take fewer showers, saves us time, and often produces less laundry…BONUS!!
  7. Shop once a week for groceries and goods…Typically after our long brick on Saturdays, we run errands around town purchasing groceries and any additional supplies we will need for the coming week(s). If we go to the grocery store during the week, it is usually immediately after a workout when our stomachs are ravenous. This is NEVER¬†good for our pocket book or diet!¬†This isn't even all of it!!
  8. Riding the trainer…Living in central Iowa, we spend all winter on the trainer, but even in the summer, we choose to ride on the trainer at least twice a week. It is safer since we are not on the roads with vehicles during prime times of work commuters. We don’t have to wait at stop lights, which saves time. We are in a controlled environment so we can compare our results from one workout to another. I personally love a good trainer workout!¬†It allows me to get physically and mentally stronger on the bike by teaching me about focus, strength, and fortitude.
  9. Take workout gear to work with us…Sometimes we go straight from work to the gym for a workout, or ride our bikes from the school when the weather is nice. By packing up all of the gear we will need before work, we can experience a smooth transition to our workout without having to make the extra trip home for workout gear.
  10. Extra food is stashed everywhere…We keep extra food all over the place! We typically have Barnana bites, goldfish crackers, or Honey Stinger Chews in our swim bag, gym bag, desk drawer, car, yoga bag, on the table next to our trainers…you name it, we have probably stashed food there. Since we both workout between 15 and 24 hours a week (depending on how close race day is), we both burn through A LOT of calories! When I get hungry, there is a VERY short window before it turns hangry. Keeping food everywhere helps me prevent the hangry feeling as best as possible.
  11. We both share responsibilities…I am SUPER lucky to have a husband who can do it all (and is willing to)!! We both cook our meals, wash dishes, clean the house, do laundry, mow the lawn, shovel snow, tend to the dogs, take out the trash…there isn’t one task I can think of that we both don’t do. I’m truly blessed!!

How do you balance life and training/racing? What tricks or time saving hacks do you have to help keep you sane and on track?

My 10 Bests

This post was inspired by Korrie over at Korrie’s Triathlon Diary. If you haven’t checked her out yet, you should!

There have been MANY ups and down during my career in endurance sport. Setting goals, crushing them and having many achievements along the way. There have also been many disappointments and setbacks along the way, but every up and down has made me a stronger athlete…both mentally and physically. The roller coaster of life is what makes our journey so much more rewarding.

  • Best Inspiring Movie – “Rudy”

I just love this movie! On top of being an inspirational movie, it makes me feel good ūüôā

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txisvYZl-Tk

  • Best Courage Cave Soundtrack – “Brave” by Sara Bareillis

These words inspire me to work hard and push toward achieving my dreams:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUQsqBqxoR4

  • Best Post¬†Workout Smoothie

There is nothing better than a smoothie after a good, hard workout. My favorite combination is kale, Pure Clean beet powder, Osmo Recovery, frozen raspberries, cinnamon, avocado, and water. This is pure deliciousness and provides lots of nutrients to refuel me ūüôā

  • Best Time of Day – Definitely before 6 am in the morning

Getting up at 4 am to complete an early morning workout sets me up for a great day. Once my feet are on the floor it is go time and there is nothing better than starting my day with endorphins to get me physically and mentally ready to conquer my day.

  • Best Day of the Week for Training – Sunday

#SundayFunday is the best day of the week! Lately we have been going on a long ride, just because we can and enjoying every minute of it!

Century ride in November in Iowa...this amazing weather is unheard of!!
Century ride in November in Iowa…this amazing weather is unheard of!!
  • Best Road Cycling Route – Ames, Elkhart, High Trestel Trail, Slater, and back to Ames

I have many routes that I love more than this one, but unfortunately they are not in central Iowa where we live. This is a simple 50 mile route on roads that aren’t heavily trafficked or have a bike lane and about 10 miles of this route is on a paved trail, which gets us off the roads.

  • Best Workout Partner – The Iron Hippie

I am so lucky and thankful to have my husband join me on my crazy adventures! He has been by my side through the ups and downs and supports me, encourages me and challenges me to be the best version of myself and the best athlete that I can be.

Last long run before Ironman Boulder

  • Best 4 legged running partner – Basil

Basil LOVES to run and is so happy when she gets to chase rabbits and squirrels ūüėČ Even if we don’t feel like running, she is ALWAYS up for a run!!

That is a happy smile and a happy dog!
That is a happy smile and a happy dog!

This was, without a doubt, my favorite Ironman ever!! It was an Ironman, so there were obstacles to overcome, but it is a race I will definitely be doing again…love, Love, LOVE it!!

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

Coeur Sports as the absolute best triathlon kit on the market…no chafing, seamless chamois, perfect fit, fun colors, #stylishspeed and #noangrykitty…simply AMAZING!!¬†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!!

As we move into the winter doldrums, I thought this is a perfect time to focus on the good things that surround us.

What are your BESTs? What things boost your mood and training during the winter doldrums?