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!!

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I have swam thousands and thousands of miles over my lifetime and I can’t wait to swim thousands and thousands more!!

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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 🙂

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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!!

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I love to play in the snow!!

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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!!

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Spending time in the saddle with family is the best way to spend the afternoon!!

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Snowy adventures with my girls = #happyheart

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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?

Is Fear Holding Me Back?

So many of my Coeur Sports Teammates and triathlon friends push themselves to their maximum limit while racing. I’ve seen them punch their ticket to Kona, achieve goals and fulfill dreams. While I have pushed myself to hyponatremia twice while racing, I have never pushed myself so hard in a race that I wanted to collapse shortly after crossing the finish line. Why?!?!?! I think it comes down to fear. Deep down inside, I think I might be scared of the “pain” I will have to endure along the way. Scared of the unknown…especially on race day. Can my body handle it? What if I end up with hyponatremia again? What if I end up injured? Can I mentally handle it? Just how bad will it “hurt?” How long will I have to recover post race? What if I push myself to my limits and then don’t reach my goals/dreams? What if I push myself to my limits, but find it just isn’t as fun as I thought it would be? What if I push myself so hard that I don’t finish the race? What if? What if?? What if???

Fear is something I try to remove from my vocabulary, but I think it has crept in without me realizing it and has a stronger hold on me than I want to admit. Fear may be holding me back a bit when it comes to racing and really achieving my dreams. When I am at my most vulnerable, I find that I let that fear and doubt creep in and take over my once confident demeanor.

When I am racing I want to achieve success and really want to push myself to my maximum, but then fear creeps in…do I really want to endure the pain that comes with this level of success? Achieving success isn’t easy, whether it is in sport, at work, at home, etc. But working hard to achieve success is what makes it so enjoyable. So how do I keep the fear at bay?

With Ironman Wisconsin on the calendar for 2016 as my “A” race, my training and racing plan is going to be focused around speed and pushing my limits to their maximum. While I am INCREDIBLY nervous about leaving everything on the table, I am also VERY excited about finding out just how far I can push myself! 2016 will be the year that I learn to push past the fear and dig deep to see just how far I can go!

It is time to start living my dream and stop living my fears!

It is time to start living my dream and stop living my fears!

Does fear hold you back? How far do you push yourself while training and racing? How do you measure success?

Quiet the Chatter

“Your mind is your greatest power. Use it well.” ~Unknown

Sometimes during a workout or race, our minds start to have this internal banter with themselves…it’s like the devil is sitting on my right shoulder screaming negativity in my right ear and the angel is sitting on my left shoulder whispering positive come backs in my left ear.

Keep going-Just Quit

D: “You don’t really want to do this workout, so just don’t do it.”

A: “You will feel so much better after you complete the workout, so get it done!”

D: “This is hard. Just quit.”

A: “This should be hard, but I will be stronger. Don’t quit.”

D: “I am too slow.”

A: ” Keep working hard and I will get stronger and faster.”

D: “I can’t hold that power/pace.”

A: “Yes, I can. I am strong. I am tough.”

D: “I’m hungry. I need to stop.”

A: “I can survive for just another couple of minutes and then I can eat.”

D: “Why am I doing this?”

A: “I love to play and swim/bike/run is my playground! I feel AMAZING when I’m done.”

D: “I’m tired.”

A: “I should be tired, but I am strong enough to get through this workout.”

D: “You should just stop because these stomach cramps are BAD!”

A: “They will go away eventually. That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” (Thanks to my mother for this constant reminder…)

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How we deal with this internal banter can make us stronger or weaker. I hear the devil, but choose to listen to the angel. I try to make sure that I have a positive comeback for every negative thought that creeps into my mind. Sometimes it takes me a while to twist the negative into the positive, but that is what I focus on until those negative thoughts float away and positive ones take their place.

I have learned to expect the chatter to show up while training and racing. The devil voice in my head has tried to lure me to a more comfortable situations and environments. It often tries to undermine the angel. At times, it is my own worst enemy. But this voice has also made me stronger, tougher, resilient, more persistent and determined. It has taught me to better identify and manage what is pain and what is discomfort. It has taught me how to overcome obstacles and adversity. It has taught me to believe in me. When I embrace the chatter, I take control of the things within my control and let the rest go.

The key is to acknowledge the devil, but only listen to the angel. I have to rise up above myself, my doubts and my fears. Learning from the negative devil is key to my success. I expect to have moments in my journey that are awesome, but I expect to have even more that challenge me and push me to become a better version of myself. I know the devil will be screaming the loudest when I am at my weakest and am the most uncomfortable, but I have the ability and control to overcome those moments and outlast them. Eventually they will either dissipate or I will outlast them by completing the workout/race.

I’ve found the best way to manage the chatter is to keep moving forward toward my goals or the end of the workout/race…whichever comes first. If you keep moving forward, you might just surprise yourself with what you accomplish. Anything is possible if you quiet the negative chatter!!

Who do you listen to more during your workouts and races…the devil or the angel? How do you turn the negative into the positive?

Racing in 2015

It has taken me a bit of time to solidify my 2015 racing calendar, but this is what I’ve decided on…

Elkhart Time Trial Series – April, May, June, July and August (one Thursday evening each month) in 2015

  • I did race the Elkhart Time Trial once in 2014, but I am looking forward to racing the Time Trial Series more consistently this year.   IMG_3713

Drake 1/2 Marathon – April 26, 2015

  • I’ve raced this many times in the past and am not super thrilled with the new route, but it is close to home and gives me a running race to test my run strength before my tri season really starts up.

Legend Tri 100 – June 7, 2015

  • This will be an automatic PR for me when I cross the finish line. I have not finished a 100 mile triathlon before. I am really looking forward to this event since I have raced the 70.3 mile distance at this venue twice and loved it!!

Accel Olympic Triathlon – June 14, 2015

  • This will be a new event for me. I am excited to get the opportunity to race an Olympic distance triathlon before Ironman Boulder. I love the distance and am thrilled to have the opportunity to go fast 🙂

Eastern Iowa Tour de CURE – June 27, 2015

  • This will also be a new event for me this year. While it is not a race, it will be a great training day and opportunity to ride 75 miles on relatively protected streets and for a great cause!!

Ironman Boulder – August 2, 2015

  • This will be my 3rd Ironman race, but the first time I’ll be racing in Boulder. I am pumped to be taking a 3 week vacation out in Colorado prior to the race to acclimate, relax and train a little.

Des Moines Triathlon – September 6, 2015

  • Since the Hy Vee Triathlon is no more, I will be participating in the first ever Des Moines Triathlon on Labor Day weekend. I am planning on doing the Olympic distance race and seeing what my body has left with only a few weeks post #IMBoulder 😉

Runner’s Flat 50K – October 10, 2015

  • Last year we participated in this event for its inaugural year, but only ran the 10 mile distance. This year I am going to attempt my first ever 50k and am looking forward to having something a bit more challenging to train for post #IMBoulder.

    Approaching the first aid station

    Approaching the first aid station on the 10 mile course

While I am sad to be missing some of my favorite local events this summer, I am super pumped to attempt some new events and challenges in 2015!!

What fun races do you have planned for 2015?

How do you eat your grapefruit???

The Iron Hippie and I eat our grapefruit VERY differently, but we aren’t the only ones.  We actually had a conversation with 3 of our closest friends to see how they eat their grapefruit…lo and behold…we all eat our grapefruit differently.

  • The Iron Hippie peels the whole grapefruit and eats each segment separately.
  • M peels the whole grapefruit and eats it in quarter sections.
  • A buys the grapefruit already peeled, segmented and stored in grapefruit juice.
  • K cuts the grapefruit in half and uses a grapefruit spoon to segment each piece out.
  • I cut the grapefruit in half, use a knife to cut around the inside of each segment and scoop each piece out with a spoon.  I then squeeze all the juice out of each half of the grapefruit into my bowl and drink the juice.  YUMMY!!

So, what’s my point???  That’s easy…how you eat your grapefruit is symbolic of training and racing and here are my reasons why:

  1. The variety of gear (wetsuits, goggles, bikes, helmets, bike shoes, apparel, running shoes, etc.) available to athletes allow them to be comfortable (or as comfortable as possible) while training and racing.
  2. There are many different training plans and coaches that individuals use to help them arrive at the start line happy and healthy.
  3. Everyone has their own unique journey.
  4. All athletes are at different fitness levels, so a workout that pushes one person may be very easy for another or vice versa.
  5. Individuals have different mental capacities…some THINK they CAN’T, some THINK they CAN and others KNOW they CAN.
  6. Methods of recovery can vary from person to person…ice baths, foam rollers, massages, stretching, yoga, naps, amino recovery tablets, protein shakes, etc.
  7. People have different plans for race day execution…different pre-race routines, different nutrition plans, different race strategies, different mental focus, etc.
  8. Race day goals are different for everyone…some just want to finish and others have time goals.

Since we are all unique individuals, we may eat grapefruit our grapefruit very differently, and have many different ways to cross the finish line of whatever race we choose to take part in.  The ultimate outcome is hopefully the same for everyone…eat grapefruit and cross the finish line.

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So…How do you eat your grapefruit???

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Week #4 (Base Training) Totals:

Swim:  4400 yards

Bike:  41 miles (only two rides this week 😦 )

Run:  13.2 miles

Strength Training:  2 hours & 15 minutes

Hot Yoga:  2 hours & 30 minutes

Week #4 in the green 😉

Strengths vs. Weaknesses

My main focus for 2014 is Ironman Wisconsin.  I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses when it comes to triathlon training and racing.

Strengths:  Swimming and Running

Swimming…Growing up on Lake Okoboji, I have been swimming since I was VERY young.  I am not the fastest swimmer, but I am consistent…I can swim at a steady, comfortable pace for hours.  I know swimming is a strength of mine, but I still have plenty of room for growth and I definitely want to get faster in the water.

Running…In 2004 I ran my first race.  I definitely wasn’t fast, I had no idea what to expect and I had no idea where my running would take me.  But, over the course of nearly 10 years, I have gotten stronger and faster.  I want to continue to get stronger, more powerful and faster on the run so that I will have a strong finish at Ironman Wisconsin 2014!!

Weaknesses:  Biking and Mental Focus

Biking…I am definitely not a strong cyclist, but I work hard on every ride to push myself to be faster, stronger, more powerful and more confident on the bike.  In 2014, I will get out and ride more in all kinds of conditions and with people who will push me to become a stronger and more confident cyclist.  The more I ride, the stronger and more confident I will become.

Mental Focus…When I first started training and racing, mental focus was not even on my radar.  I really haven’t spent much time on mental training until this last year.  In 2013, I spent quite a bit of time on mental preparation and it really paid off.  I felt stronger, I had multiple PRs and I had fun in the process.  In 2014, I will spend time everyday mentally preparing and building confidence in myself to be the best I can be!!

I am determined to work hard and spend more time in 2014 making my weaknesses morph into strengths 🙂

weakness morph to strength

As an athlete, what weaknesses would you like to see morph into strengths???

Goals and Wishes for 2014

I met with Coach Julie in early November to discuss my 2014 racing calendar.  We discussed many topics, but I am putting some of the highlights out for the public to help hold me accountable during 2014.

2014 Races:

Racing Goals:

  • Get my nutrition spot on for IRONMAN Wisconsin
  • Break 14 hours at IRONMAN Wisconsin
  • Break 6 hours at IRONMAN Kansas 70.3
  • Run the Drake 1/2 Marathon in 1:45:00 or faster
  • To have fun training and racing
  • To get my mental training spot on for ALL of my races

Racing Wishes:

  • I would be ecstatic if I broke 13 hours at IRONMAN Wisconsin
  • I would be ecstatic if I broke 5:45:00 at IRONMAN Kansas 70.3
  • I would be ecstatic if I broke 1:40:00 at the Drake 1/2 Marathon
Goodbye 2013...Hello 2014!!

Goodbye 2013…Hello 2014!!

What are your goals and wishes for 2014???