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?

My Passion for Endurance Sport

It is no secret…I love endurance sport! The question to ask would be where did this passion come from? I did not grow up participating in sports…unless you consider cheerleading a sport. My parents were not athletic role models. My sisters did not participate in sports. So, where did this passion for endurance sports come from?

In 2004, I went through a divorce and made a drastic decision…I was going to run the Dam to Dam 20K race. I was not a runner. I was determined that I was going to run 12.4 miles. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?! It turns out my mind knew something my body didn’t…I started running and I was hooked! You could say I transformed into Forrest Gump just a bit…I ran that 20K and then decided I was going to run a marathon and then a few more marathons. After crossing the finish line of multiple marathons, it was time to try a sprint-distance triathlon. I grew up swimming, I knew how to ride a bike (although my bike at the time was definitely not a bike to race with) and I had been running consistently for a few years. Crossing that finish line of my first sprint-distance triathlon was amazing! I was on cloud nine and was riding the endorphin train! I decided it was time to take on a more challenging distance, so I opted for an Olympic-distance triathlon before trying my cards at a half-Ironman distance triathlon. But why stop there?!?!?! How about the Ironman-distance triathlon???? Could I do it? Again I thought, “WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?!?!” But after crossing that finish line, I was hooked!

So what hooked me in endurance sport?

  • As a life-long-learner, I find satisfaction in trying to solve a problem. How do I become a better athlete? What have I learned from my mistakes? How have I grown into a better person through all of this?
  • The variety in training and racing…I love not doing the same thing every day. Finding balance in life is sometimes difficult, but triathlon gives me balance in my workout schedule and prevents monotony.
  • I thrive on pushing myself to new limits…I want to see just how far I can go and what I can do. Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is always something I push myself to try and achieve.
  • Overcoming challenges is so rewarding…when I do something that once seemed impossible, the feelings of self-worth, self-confidence, satisfaction, pride, and happiness are beyond amazing!
  • I love the feeling of success…when I finish a tough workout, when I cross the finish line of a race, when I conquer my fears, when I do the impossible.
  • I thrive on structure…having races on the calendar gives structure to my racing, having workouts in Training Peaks gives structure to my weeks and months, having structure gives me focus.
  • The fun factor brings a smile to my face and my heart…
This smile sums up my race day experience!!

This smile sums up how I feel about endurance sports!!

I am beyond blessed and lucky to be a part of the Coeur Sports team again in 2016. I share the same mission as Coeur Sports. Our mission is to share our passion with other women and enCOEURage them to participate in endurance sports. I want all women to love endurance sports as much as I do! I want to see women’s triathlon, swimming, cycling, and running grow into epic numbers! I want to inspire more women to experience the happy heart that I experience when I SBR!

I. Love. Endurance. Sports! What is your favorite endurance sport? What hooked you in endurance sports? How do you share your passion for endurance sports with others?

Currently // January 2016

Training

January started with this…

My first ever MRI

My first ever MRI

I could get use to wearing scrubs...Super comfy!!

I could get use to wearing scrubs…Super comfy!!

I have had some knee pain since September. After months of no running, lots of active release therapy, and a cortisone shot in my knee, Doctor Warme wanted to make sure we weren’t missing something before training for Ironman Wisconsin started up. Good news…everything looks healthy and happy, which means I have continued active release therapy and have been able to start running again! I am happy to say that the train I fell off of last month picked me back up and I am on cruise control!! Lots of green in Training Peaks this month 🙂 #happyheart

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The first 4 mile run I’ve had since September…pain-free makes it even better!! Wahoo 🙂

Reading

Dr. G recently wrote about why we need to Ditch the Psychological Safety Net. We need to stop making excuses and self-handicapping, which does us “no good when it comes to building a champion mindset for sport performance.” A great read for all athletes!

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls is a true story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms. It is an outstanding read!

Recovery

There has been lots of active release therapy this month to heal the leg and release the tension around the knee. I’ve incorporated hot yoga into my schedule every week, I take an epsom salt bath every week and foam roller like a crazy woman! All of this has allowed me to run the farthest I’ve run since September…4 whole pain-free miles on the treadmill 🙂

Thanks to Dr. Chris for all for the active release therapy...even when it hurts!

Thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic for all for the active release therapy…even when it hurts!

Basil loves to help me foam roller after a sweaty workout!

Basil loves to help me foam roller after a sweaty workout!

I can finally reach my toes...yoga is working :)

I can finally reach my toes…yoga is working 🙂

Learning

I am taking the Living Brave Semester with Brene Brown this semester, so I am also re-reading Daring Greatly and Rising Strong for this class. “Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable or to dare greatly. Based on twelve years of pioneering research, Dr. Brené Brown dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and argues that it is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage. Daring Greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where “never enough” dominates and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of getting criticized or feeling hurt. But when we step back and examine our lives, we will find that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as standing on the outside of our lives looking in and wondering what it would be like if we had the courage to step into the arena—whether it’s a new relationship, an important meeting, the creative process, or a difficult family conversation. Daring Greatly is a practice and a powerful new vision for letting ourselves be seen.”

I am learning how to be more vulnerable…remove my protective armor and expose my feelings, thoughts and emotions, even when I have zero control over the outcome. I am working on finding the courage to show up and be seen in different aspects of my life. This is challenging, but I know I will be a better person through this work. “Courage over comfort” is my mantra.

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Balance

I’ve been spending a little less time on social media and a bit more time coloring. I can release stress and create a pretty picture at the same time 😉

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Coloring is a stress relief and a work in progress 😉

Quote of the Week

“To uncover your true potential you must first find your own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them.” ~Picabo Street

How was your January? What is your favorite recovery technique? How do you keep balance in your life? 

2016 Intentions

Happy New Year everyone!!

Last year I set “intentions” instead of “resolutions” for 2015. I wasn’t as good at checking in on these intentions as I should have been. I decided to put my intentions in writing for this year and be more diligent at checking my progress throughout the year. So here are my intentions for 2016:

  1. #Believe…I had this same intention last year and made some serious progress, but I still have lots of room for even more progress. I have #BigDreams! The only way to achieve these dreams is to believe in myself, my training and my abilities on race day. A sub 13 hour race at Ironman Wisconsin on September 11, 2016 would get me a bit closer to achieving those big dreams, so I will be focusing on action and execution during 2016. After all…  Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 2.19.10 PM
  2. Break down barriers…I had this intention last year as well and am carrying this intention with me into 2016. Why??? Because it is time to get more women in endurance sport, whether that is triathlon, swimming, running, cycling, or even cross country skiing!! Why endurance sport?!?!?!? It is fun, it is rewarding and it allows me to challenge myself in a way that nothing else can. I would love to share those experiences and my passion for endurance sport with other women in 2016!! In 2016 I will be starting a women’s only cycling group in Ames, where we will meet once a week to ride, learn and have fun!! If you are in this area and want to join us, please let me know!!
  3. Be present…I also had this intention last year and continue to struggle with it, so I am taking it with me into 2016. I always find myself thinking about what is next instead of focusing on the here and now. I need to slow down, find time to laugh (out loud) every day, enjoy every moment and be present.  Be Present
  4. Find Balance…I do a fairly good job of balancing work, home and training, but I definitely need to incorporate more balance, especially with the emotions I direct at myself…less stress, more fun, less anxiety, more joy, less anger, more happiness, less destruction, more self confidence, less negativity, more positivity!! This intention will probably be the one I struggle with the most and will take some serious focus and reflection throughout the year to make progress.

As with any intentions that we set, it is important to remember that baby steps will make the most difference and allow long term change and success. With these intentions, I gladly welcome 2016 and the fresh start 🙂 Cheers to 2016!!

xoxo

What are your intentions for 2016?

Currently // November

Training

November was the month of #bikeblocktraining and cycling 7 times throughout the week really paid off. My FTP test was on Thanksgiving morning and found that #hardworkpaysoff 🙂 My previous FTP test was on October 5 where my normalized power was 160 watts for my 20 minute TT. In just under 8 weeks, my new FTP test results on November 26 produced a normalized power of 176 watts for my 20 minute TT. I’ll take the 16 watt improvement! The best part?!?!?!?! This is only 1 watt less than my FTP test during peak training before Ironman Boulder. I am pumped for what this might mean for the 2016 season!!

FTP test is the perfect start to Thanksgiving day!

FTP test is the perfect start to Thanksgiving day!

I have also been able to start running again just this last week. While I am not running long or far, I am running without pain. 🙂

Running with these 2 make my heart happy!!

Running with these 2 make my heart happy!!

Reading

Carrie Cheadle is an amazing mental skills coach. Her book On Top of Your Game helped me mentally prepare for Ironman Boulder. Her most recent blog post really hit home with me!! Setting a goal and figuring out why the goal is important…not the surface why, but the “why deep underneath the surface at your very core” can help keep you motivated and focused on what is really important to you.

Planning for

2016!!! I have spent time reflecting on my 2015 racing calendar and results. This has helped me develop S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2016 (more on these in a later post). I am so excited to work hard to achieve my dreams!!

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My new #believetrainingjournal arrived just in time for 2016 🙂

Pumped about

I believe 2016 is going to be an epic year!! I have been chosen to be part of the Coeur Sports 2016 Ambassador Team. I ABSOLUTELY love these women!! They are inspirational, motivational, enCOEURaging, supportive and full of #heartandcourage 🙂

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

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

Thankful for

Family and friends! My heart and soul were full this Thanksgiving as I was surrounded by so much love! #friendsgiving

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Love my #solesista

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Jenga war is on… concentration is needed here boys!

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Jenga…don’t mess up!!

Friday morning after our #friendsgiving I woke up with a sore throat and am headed to the doctor today. While I am not a fan of being sick, I am #grateful that it is the offseason and I am not sick during peak training and race season!!

Quote of the week

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”       ~Michael Jordan

How was your month of November? How was your Thanksgiving?

Post Ironman Boulder – What’s Next???

I have spent the last 2 weeks recovering from Ironman Boulder, working out when I want, visiting family and enjoying life. Now it is time to get back to work…literally. Tomorrow marks the last day of summer vacation before I start the 2015-2016 school year on Wednesday. Here are some pictures of the last 2 weeks of my summer break/recovery time:

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I love to ride my bicycle…even 4 days post Ironman 🙂

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Post race massage…recovery is important.

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Spending time with my family. I don’t get to see this one nearly enough!

Sister time!

Sister time!

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Running up Mt. Diablo in California while visiting my sister and her family..

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#bikelove and #solesistasweat What a perfect combination!!

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Cycling is always better with friends!! #bikelove

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Running back in Iowa with LOTS of humid, thick air…I miss the mountains!!

I decided today is a great day to get back into a consistent workout routine. After all, I have dreams and I am going to continue to work hard to fulfill my dreams 🙂

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For now, I have the following races scheduled for the remainder of 2015:

This provides me with a good variety for the remainder of the year…a little bit of triathlon, a little bit of running and a little bit of cycling. Lots of fun to be had yet this year!

Do you fall out of a consistent routine during the summer months/post racing? How do you get back into a routine? How do you incorporate good variety in your training/racing while going into the off season?

Newton Kismet Review

For the last couple of years, I have been running in the Brooks Pure Flows and the Asics Gel-Nimbus…alternating between them. Every year I like to make sure that nothing has changed with my gait, which could cause the need to switch shoes, so I recently had a shoe fit from Scott Gall at the Runner’s Flat in Cedar Falls. He had me run on the treadmill at the store while he video analyzed my gait as I ran in both the Brooks Pure Flow and the Asics Gel-Nimbus. Everything looked great in these two shoes and he recommended that I not switch out of either of them. He also said that if I was interested in adding another shoe to the rotation that he would recommend the Newton Kismet, which would be a good addition for my gait.

He had me run in the Newton Kismet a bit at the store. I was in heaven! The are lightweight, they help cushion the ball of my foot as I land, and they have an upper material that is soft and breathable. I’ve also noticed that the soft upper material prevents a lot of road dirt from getting into the shoe while I run. When running with Basil (our black lab), this is a DEFINITE bonus!!

I have run every distance in them from an easy 3 miles to 16+ miles while training and I raced in them for the Drake 1/2 Marathon a few weeks ago. I love them!!

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Admiring my Newton Kismets after a long 16 mile run with legs up a wall

I’m so excited that the Newton Kismets work so well for me, that I just ordered a second pair of these amazing shoes!!

Have you tried Newton Kismets before? Love them? Not for you?