Staying Healthy with Sound Probiotics + Giveaway!

It is cold and flu season here in the Midwest and it is in FULL force! We have had students out of school anywhere from 3 days to almost 2 weeks with illness. Thanks to extra sleep, healthy eating, and boosting the body’s immune system with Karma Kombucha and Sound Probiotics I have stayed healthy so far this season. I started taking Sound Probiotics in March of 2015 and have noticed I have been sick MUCH LESS frequently!

As endurance athletes, we stress our bodies during hard/long workouts, which makes us more susceptible to illness and fatigue; as a middle school teacher, I am engulfed in germs on a daily basis. Combine these two factors and I am the perfect breading ground for bad bacteria and viruses.

“When the microbiome is out of balance, it can decrease energy levels, injure metabolism, and give rise to a host of other long-term health problems. It’s like a rain forest that’s been clear-cut: prone to mudslides and unable to shelter the plants, animals, birds, and insects that once thrived there. Some of the nation’s top scientists go so far as to say that unhealthy microbiomes lie at the heart of the most prevalent health issues today, like heart disease, obesity, asthma, and even cancer.” ~Joseph Hooper

Since taking Sound Probiotics daily for almost 3 years, I have been sidelined from my training due to illness only a few times. Probiotics not only benefit our immune systems, but they promote good gut health by improving nutrient production and absorption. They can also positively impact our mood and mental health.

I have been SO impressed with the state of my health while taking Sound Probiotics, that I want to share a bottle with my readers. Please comment below with why you would be a good candidate for Sound Probiotics. One lucky person will be drawn at random on February 14. This candidate will receive one bottle with a one month supply of Sound Probiotics to jump start your gut and immune health!!

I am an ambassador for Sound Probiotics, but these are my own opinions and experiences. Thanks to Sound Probiotics for contributing one bottle of Sound Probiotics for the giveaway and providing all of my readers with a 10% discount by using the code PUSHMYLIMITS at checkout!

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My 2017 Year in Review via Photos

January:

Running into 2017 with my favorite girl!
Crushing my FTP challenge = HUGE smiles!
Running ninja style when it is 2F outside!
Striving for progress, not perfection in the pool this week with a 2 second increase in my 200 yard time trial! 🙂
Doing the work and trusting the process means hay in the barn so I can start a HUGE fire on race day!
So giddy since I crushed my 5K time trial secret goal!
Pushing my limits…always!
Ironman Mont Tremblant…I’m comin’ for ya!
Snow shoeing in the woods with the Iron Hippie and my girls!

February:

Easy morning run for the first time in over a week!
It takes a lot of strength, determination, grit, resilience, perseverance, and self confidence when you have big dreams! Chase your dreams peeps!
Spin ups!
First swim in almost 3 weeks…I still have it!
Running when it is cold out can sometimes turn you blue!
As an 8th grade science teacher, I was blessed to have a student give this to me as a gift on Friday!
New 100 yard PR!
Every second counts when you go down the rabbit hole! “Alice: How long is forever? White Rabbit: Sometimes just one second!” ~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
I’m honored to be invited to share my Ironman journey with members of the community.
Swim #2 this week was SO much better than #1!
Twin Tuesday at school…Love my sole sister!
Lots of dreaming of spring swims on our walk Tuesday!
Dry needling + electric shock to get my back to cooperate!
Diving into the unknown by incorporating some speed work into my swim so I can #findfaster
Staring fear in the face!

March:

Just keep swimming!
How bad do you want it?!
Work hard for what you want!
Dancing in the water!
Spin, spin, spin!
Running with my favorite girl!
#solesister + #runlove = #happyheart
Running with my faves!
My Coeur Sports + Sound Probiotics team gear for 2016 arrived!
Lunch date at the elementary school with the twins!
Coeur Sports photo shoot at the lake with my favorite girl!
40!
Love this family!
Swimming next to my fave while crushing intervals in a different pool = #swimlove
Family fun in the water!
Birthday miles + smiles!
Snuggles with my favorite girl!
Found the worlds smallest snowman while running Tuesday!
Running with the sunrise on Wednesday morning…so cold my eyelashes froze!
Sound Probiotics = FTW DOUBLE WIN!
New Newton Kismets! YES!
With my parents and the Iron Hippie!
Reconnecting with my mat was MUCH needed!
Incredibly grateful + lucky to have my sole sister pushing me through high intensity intervals even when she isn’t right beside me!
My first ever trophy (when I’ve placed on the podium before, I’ve always earned a medal)!

April:

You can sleep with your dreams or get up and work hard to turn them into reality. I really wanted to keep sleeping with my dreams Tuesday morning, but hard work won!
Tears of joy as I pushed out of my comfort zone on so many levels during my #timetrialtuesday ride!
Morning miles with friends is best!
#runlove in the misty rain! Perfect running weather!
“Celebrate good times…come on!” Some #swimlove Thursday morning!
My morning running buddy! Hill repeats this morning!
More #swimlove, that continued to work hard despite being exhausted
#tearsofjoy for finding a gear in my legs I didn’t think I had on this #timetrialtuesday
Sometimes you fall, but when you get up and keep moving, you get closer to achieving your dreams!
Boston Marathon Monday with my #solesister
So giddy! 16 watt improvement in my FTP test today means I’m over the 200 watt threshold! I never imagined I would see this day! So grateful for Coach Kelly to push me WAY out of my comfort zone and help me get stronger this season!
Aren’t I the “Best in Show”?!
Not quite the race I was hoping for, but I pushed as hard as I could all the way through! Grateful the rain held off until after I finished! Another Drake 1/2 is in the books!

May:

I have 2 students who are committed to teaching me how to do my own race day braids! Each day gets easier!
Flippin’ Friday evening with lots of #swimlove to #findfaster
Chaperoning the 8th grade dance with my #solesister
Grateful to be on 2 wheels on the open roads!
Hill repeats with the sunrise is a perfect way to start the day! #rememberingTRJ
First long solo ride on Saturday! HUGE confidence builder!
Snuggles with my favorite girl!
Lots of puppy love!
Some days you have it, and some days you don’t. Today was a “don’t” kind of day for me. Turning the page!
#saltyballs are prepped and ready for some long outdoor rides the next two days of this 3 day weekend!
Windy day on 2 wheels, but any day with my fave, Mojo, and the open roads is a great day! Lucky for me I get to do it all over again tomorrow!
“This is HUGE! Congrats. A back to back 4 hour ride is a great prep session for the Ironman build up. I’m so happy it went well and glad you do not back down in the face of adversity. You’ve evolved a lot as an athlete this year. I’m proud of you today. Good work.” ~Coach Kelly
I’m SO glad my back to back long bricks are done! All that wind made it VERY challenging!!

June: 

Basil also loves her homemade rope toy that one of my students made her!
60 miles of quiet time with Mojo, Mother Nature, and a few random strangers who wanted to chat while riding on the trail or needed help. #midwesthospitality #bikelove
What a warm + HUMID morning run!
Mojo has been blessed for Saturday’s race by Kyle…the best bike mechanic on the planet!
Morning meters in my favorite pool!
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…
Jumping for joy because the heat index is much lower today and my run was amazing as a result!
Meeting my mother in the middle of no where Iowa to pick up the twins for a couple of nights!
Helping to make dinner!
Cleaning all the fruit!
Playing games!
Visiting Iowa State University’s campus
Eating Tropical Snow
Some days you’re the bug and some days you’re the windshield. Today I was the bug. SPLAT!
Happy Fri-yay morning!
My fastest 100 miles ever in the saddle with these two!

July:

Strong, athletic women are the best! Summer doesn’t get much better than this!
Outdoor swimming is the best! So #grateful to have my fave at my side for so many of life’s crazy adventures!
Love these peeps!
Spending some much needed time with my sole sister!
Mojo and I spent some quality time with Mother Nature! I love the open roads on 2 wheels in Iowa!
So much fun to watch dog jumping downtown this July 4th weekend!
So happy + #grateful to finally put together a pretty solid long run despite the full sun, warm temps, + high dew point. Mother Nature put up a fight, but I won Wednesday!
I’m in a big build…today (Friday) adversity had me sitting on the side of the road in tears with 10 miles to go. I had lots of thoughts and choices while sitting under the tree. I chose to get back on Mojo and continue to chase my dreams! As Coach Kelly says, “it is supposed to feel like that and that this is what it takes. :)” First solo century is in the books!
So much fun to meet my Coeur Sports teammate Saturday and cheer her on to 1st place AG as she raced in Iowa last weekend!
Turning social media friends into real friends is so much fun!
Pure joy comes when you learn new skills! Congratulations to Maggie! She stared fear in the face and won! So proud of you Maggie!
Holding plank with 3 of my nieces on my back! They are such good help when doing my core work!
#swimlove with my fave at home home!
Tubing is part of the pre-race training plan, right?!
4 of my favorite girls swimming in the lake off the boat!
Family + Lake Okoboji = #happyheart
2nd place AG at the Okoboji Triathlon!
Enjoying Indian cuisine with our friends + being blessed with these gifts from India = #happyheart
With a really tight calf comes dry needling. Thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic for keeping me healthy and getting me in to see him right away!
Thank you Kyle for getting Mojo ready for my last big push to Ironman Mont Tremblant! You are the BEST! Kyle’s Bikes all the way!
“Never give up, and be confident in what you do. There may be tough times, but the difficulties which you face will make you more determined to achieve your objectives and to win against all the odds.” ~Marta
Wednesday’s 18 mile run was a sufferfest, but I was determined to #nevergiveup and was SO happy to be done!
Last long ride (107+ miles) in Iowa done before leaving for the NE! With an excessive heat advisory Saturday, there were a few times I felt like I was in hell, but I kept on going!
Helping my fave get some birthday miles in Sunday morning! Happy Birthday to the Iron Hippie!
Morning swim in 86*F water in La Porte, Indiana with my fave! #toohotforlapswimming
Visiting Niagara Falls with my Fave!
Climbing App Gap…5 miles of continuous climbing.
#trackcatstrong
All ready to ride and then…
Last long run before #IMMT in Stowe, Vermont…now it is time to taper and soak up all this training!
Smore’s at training camp!

August:

We’ve arrived in Lake Placid, New York!
Soaking in the beauty of Mirror Lake!
The Ice Hockey venue where Miracle on Ice took place!
The Ski jump!
Standing on the podium for the ski jump
Overcoming fears and going to the top of the ski jump to look out over Lake Placid and surrounding areas.
Swimming in Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY
A beautiful night for a free concert on the lake!
After climbing out of Jay, it was time for a little descending.
Mojo loves the views of the Ironman Lake Placid bike course!
Dinner with a new friend in Lake Placid!
This lady is AMAZING!
Big Slide Brewery has some great pizza options and some pretty tasty craft brews also!
Arriving at our condo in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada…look at this view!
Riding the gondola to the top of the hills to look out over Mont Tremblant!
The top! These views!
We got to swim in one of the most cleanest, nicest pools ever in Mont Tremblant! Why can’t we have a facility like this in Ames?!
Getting a pre-race massage at our condo. Melanie Jardot did a FANTASTIC job. HIGHLY recommend her for massage if you are in need of one in Mont Tremblant!
Running with my fave for a few miles to shake out the legs post massage.
My family from California came came for a few days! #happyheart
Love these three monkeys!
Family snuggles
We went to the top on the gondola again!
Getting ready to ride the luge in the summer!
Putting in some work, but alas the storms showed up and cut our work a bit short for this ride!
Enjoying a beer by the fire after babysitting the nieces so my sister and brother-in-law could enjoy a date night!
These peeps hold 4 keys to my heart!
Tandem in Quebec!
Snuggles at the lake!
Love these peeps!
Pre-race swim prep!
Riding Chemin Duplessis in Mont Tremblant…such a beautiful bike course!
Meeting Erika, my Coeur Sports teammate!!
Swimming to the coffee boat on the swim course!
So grateful to have Dad and Aunt Linda come spend time with us in Mont Tremblant and cheer us on to PRs on race day!
What a stunning sunset view from our condo!
Mojo is racked and ready for an epic adventure tomorrow!
The Iron Hippie and I making our way to the water.
Let’s go ride!
Two of the best spectators EVER! Thanks to Dad and Aunt Linda for cheering us on all day long! Love you both!
So much coeur on this course! #bikelove
Loving this course and enjoying the beautiful views!
Love you Ericka! Thanks for the photo!

September:

Helping a fellow triathlete (soon to be Ironman athlete) learn to change her tire before race day!
Rock climbing…still working on overcoming my fear of heights!
The many volunteers in T1 at Ironman Wisconsin!
Giving back! I LOVE this sport!
Washing away the post Ironman blues!
Running with my faves on a beautiful morning!
Spirit Run with my 2 favorite colleagues!
CyMan Sprint Triathlon…OUCH!
CyMan Sprint Triathlon…this hurts SO bad!
Fall #bikelove in Iowa!
Children of the corn 😉

October:

Running makes most of us happy! 😉
Dr. Chris Feil with Team Chiropractic educating the ladies at the recovery clinic co-sponsored by Coeur Sports and Ignite Yoga!
Practicing yoga with this amazing community of women at the recovery clinic co-sponsored by Coeur Sports, Ignite Yoga, and Team Chiropractic!
This amazing community of women learning, practicing, and loving at the recovery clinic co-sponsored by Coeur Sports, Ignite Yoga, and Team Chiropractic!
Reconnecting with my mat!
“All you need is love” and a shower!
Focus, focus, focus!
Brick…45 minute run, 45 minute bike, 45 minute run all before work…in the rain!
You’re never too old to sit on your mama’s lap!
Watching Iowa State beat Oklahoma!
The dogs love swimming in the lake!
Snuggles with 3 of my most favorite ladies!
Running with my favorite girl along the lake!
Dreaming of warmer days and lots of swimming (by both of us)!
Swim time trial day!
Bike power challenge!
2 mile time trial at the track!
Running with friends is always best!
Swim stroke refinement thanks to Coach Hansen!
Trying to multitask by grading and riding my bike at the same time!
Running with girlfriends is always fun…even when Mother Nature has decided that winter would show up a few months early!

November:

Wrapping up a full week of work + parent teacher conferences by running with my favorite girl!
Running the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon with these two crazy kids was so much fun!
So humble + honored to have this AMAZING company and these empowering women by my side in 2018!
First successful intervals since IMMT!
3800 yards of #chlorinetherapy is my longest swim since IMMT!
Running is always better with four-legged fur babies!
Some rides are easier than others. Like in life, the challenges help us grow. I must have grown a LOT on this ride!
Speed development on this #sundayrunday meant 100 yard repeats at the track!
Tempo Trainer M3 Ramp Test had me like…holy crap!
Crushing my bike intervals!
Getting stronger as I #findfaster in the water!
#sundayrunday with these two amazing running buddies!
Early morning miles with my favorite girl! I’m so lucky to have such an amazing running companion!
Starting my 4 day Thanksgiving weekend with #chlorinetherapy + #swimlove!
Basil loves our evening walks!
So grateful for these amazing people in my life + morning miles! #friendsgiving
The boys carving the turkey for our #friendsgiving feast!
The Iron Hippie’s parents came to visit for Small Business Saturday!
Family dog walks at dusk are the best!
Working to #findfaster as I chase my dreams!
So much #bikelove on my longest ride since #IMMT
Good morning! What a beautiful sunrise!
“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” ~Harriet Stowe
Finishing off November with my favorite girl!

December:

Getting back into the gym to build strength!
Running with my two faves!
One of the best swims I’ve had in a while!
Dreaming of Kona and the sunshine!
Dreaming of Kona while I watch the Ironman World Championships!
Kona love for this swim!
#runlove with my favorite girl!
Putting puzzles together is a favorite holiday tradition!
Celebrating my sole sister’s birthday with these amazing ladies!
#runlove with my favorite girl!
Dancing with my favorite girl in the kitchen!
Playing in the water is a must!
Holiday cheers with the Iron Hippie’s sister + brother-in-law.
Merry Christmas!
Christmas Day sunset over the frozen lake at home home! #lakeokoboji
Making cookies with our twin nieces at Christmas.
Crushing our #batcapchallenge the last week of December!
Pedicures with my #solesister
Evening snowshoeing with my favorites!
Making snow angels in the dark!
Windchill temps of -32*F means we bundle up to shovel snow!
New Years Eve swimming!!

The Best of 2017

I love looking back and thinking about all of the amazing things that I’ve accomplished and all of the challenges I’ve overcome! I’ve reflected for the last 4 years and want to keep this trend going! You can look back at my previous posts if you’d like: Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, the Best of 2015, and the Best of 2016. Now its time to reminisce my faves from 2017! 🙂

 

My #2017bestnine on instagram is full of #heartandcourage

Best race experience?

Ironman Mont Tremblant! This was by far one of the best experiences of the year! I was blessed with a near perfect day + a PR on the day. I was so incredibly lucky to combine my race experience with an extended vacation with family + friends, which made for a really fun time!

So much coeur on this course! #bikelove

Best run?

I have been waiting to have a good run during an Ironman race for 6 years and this year, it finally happened at Ironman Mont Tremblant! I FINALLY pulled off a sub 5 hour marathon (and I know it could have been even faster without some visits to the kybo). I felt good, I felt strong, I was happy, I smiled the whole run, I really enjoyed myself, I spread coeur with others, and gave “hi-fives” to those who looked like they could use one. This run was a HUGE confidence builder for future races!

Love you Ericka! Thanks for the photo!

Best bike?

Sometimes the best rides aren’t the ones where we have the most fun, but where we learn the most. Yes, I had some seriously fun rides this summer…some solo rides, some with the Iron Hippie, some at the Track Cat Fitness Training Camp, and some on the Ironman Lake Placid + Ironman Mont Tremblant bike courses. For me, the ride that stands out the most this year is the one I learned the most from…my first solo century ride. It was a VERY tough day for me! Physically the wind BEAT. ME. UP! Mentally, I had to overcome a case of the “I can’t do this,” a case of the “I’m not strong enough,” a case of the “I’m not fast enough,” and a case of the “I’m not fueled enough” to finish. In this process, I learned so much about who I am and what I can do when staring adversity in the face!

I’m in a big build…today (Friday) adversity had me sitting on the side of the road in tears with 10 miles to go. I had lots of thoughts and choices while sitting under the tree. I chose to get back on Mojo and continue to chase my dreams! As Coach Kelly says, “it is supposed to feel like that and that this is what it takes. :)” First solo century is in the books!

Best Swim?

Swimming in Mirror Lake was probably one of the best experiences of the summer! It was so much fun to swim with an underwater guide wire! All lakes should be closed to motorized vehicles and have have an underwater guide wire available for swimmers!

Swimming in Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY

Best training weekend?

The Track Cat Fitness Training Camp in Stowe, Vermont at the end of July was CHALLENGING + SO. MUCH. FUN! I climbed Smuggler’s Notch. I climbed App Gap. I ran trails. I swam. In addition to all of the fun, there was community, riding, running, swimming, eating, learning, and growing as an athlete.

#trackcatstrong

Best training compass?

Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness has provided me with structure, focus, guidance, feedback, support, accountability, motivation + so much more! She has paved the yellow brick road for me this year and I am forever grateful! Standing beside me, believing in me, educating me, and helping me to become a better, #trackcatstrong athlete every day!

Loved meeting Coach Kelly + spending time with her and other amazing athletes at the Vermont Training Camp put on by Track Cat Fitness!

Best enCOEURaging moment?

Thanks to the support of Coeur Sports, Ignite Yoga, and Team Chiropractic for helping me provide a recovery clinic for women! The community! The learning! The practice! The enCOEURaging! The supporting! The love!

Learning!
Practicing!
Community!

Best recovery secret?

Wearing my CEP recovery tights as part of my work attire after a tough morning workout. Hello style + recovery! The best of both worlds!

Best tapering adventure?

Having my sister, brother-in-law, and 3 nieces vacation with us in Mont Tremblant for a few days was so much fun! We don’t get to see each other nearly enough (since they live in California and we live in Iowa), so this was a special treat!

My family from California came for a few days! #happyheart
These peeps hold 4 keys to my heart!

Best new piece of gear?

This was SUPER easy! We had some REALLY HOT + HUMID summer days this year, which forced me out of my comfort zone as I became a part of the #sportsbrasquad! I absolutely love the Coeur Sports sports bras! Not only are they super cute, functional, and comfortable, but they also have a hidden pocket that is perfect for carrying keys, nutrition, or ice!

So happy + #grateful to finally put together a pretty solid long run despite the full sun, warm temps, + high dew point. Mother Nature put up a fight, but I won Wednesday! #sportsbrasquad

Best way to stay healthy?

This was also SUPER easy…Sound Probiotics has been keeping me healthy since March 2015! As endurance athletes, we put ourselves at risk for a dysfunctional immune system because of the intensity and duration of our workouts. When stress (life, work, or otherwise), inadequate sleep, poor diet choices, cold weather, alcohol or travel are thrown into the mix, our immune system is even further suppressed. How has Sound Probiotics helped me? Sound Probiotics helps in nutrient production and absorption, helps fend off viruses, promotes the production of cytokines and mucin, and limits bad bacteria in the gut. I have experienced less fatigue and fewer sick days, which as a middle school teacher who is an endurance athlete speaks volumes! This has provided me with the opportunity for more training and better performance. I would highly recommend all endurance athletes use Sound Probiotics to stay healthy!!

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#soundathlete = #soundlife #winningtakesguts

Best piece of racing advice you received?

Hello race morning! Time to drink my Karma Kombucha, eat my muesli, and get inspired to do and be my best as I embark on the race ahead:

“Be calm; focus on what you are going to do. Don’t get distracted, don’t get overwhelmed, take it all as it comes. You are ready for this; you’ve prepared for years. This is it, your time to shine. Go forth with all your powers. Go forth with everything in you. Make it work.” ~Lynne Cox, “Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer”

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Most inspirational athlete?

There are so many that I can’t pick just one! My Coeur Sports sisters inspire me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! I’ve also been SUPER inspired this year by friends who finished their first Ironman. By friends who attempted their first Ironman, but didn’t meet cutoffs. By people who fight disease and keep training + racing. By people who challenge themselves and try something new. By people I haven’t met yet and people I see everyday! There are far to many people who inspire me to pick just one!

Best support crew?

Hands down…Dad and my Aunt Linda! These two helped us load our car with ALL. THE. GEAR. from our 4 week vacation the day before our race. They were up EARLY on race morning to help us get to transition. They were patient with the process of all of the race morning shenanigans. They were in all of the right places at all of the right times during the race. They helped us get our gear after the race. They cheered, photographed, and spread love to us and other athletes throughout a REALLY long day! There are not enough hugs and kisses for each of you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Love you both so much!

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

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

Courage over comfort, believe, fun!!

Tell me about your 2017 year!! What are your “bests” from 2017?!

What’s Up?! – November 2017

November was full of ups and downs, but I’m choosing to remember the positives, so here they are!

Training:

I finally had a successful month of training…I met my November challenge! 10 minutes of core strength every day for the entire month + an entire month of seeing green in Training Peaks! Bonus…NO eating out + NO alcohol for the month of November = Boo-yay!

Getting stronger as I #findfaster in the water!
So much #bikelove on my longest ride since #IMMT
So grateful for these amazing people in my life + morning miles! #friendsgiving

Swim: 31,400 yards (17.84 miles)
Bike: 188 miles
Run: 75.9 miles

“Racing”:

The Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon…I ran with Tim and Robin. So much fun to run strong and with friends on a course that could definitely result in a PR some day when I’m not coming off of Ironman season!

Running the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon with these two crazy kids was so much fun!

Listening to:

Life’s Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow is an interview with Susan Lacke about her book, which is a tribute to the friendship she had with Carlos. He was not only her mentor, but also her colleague, role model, friend, and a continuous fighter. “Even when you’re scared, you do the thing. You show up, face your fears, and you keep going.”

Dr. Grace Liu: How to Build a Warrior Gut, Common and Solvable Gut Issues in Athletes, and More is an interview full of loads of valuable information! I’m so happy to hear amazing things about Sound Probiotics from Dr. Grace Liu in this interview! I am a HUGE proponent of Sound Probiotics! As a middle school teacher + endurance athlete, I am constantly exposed to germs and my body is under varying forms of stress. Taking Sound Probiotics daily for over 2 years now has drastically decreased the illnesses I’ve had! I feel better + stronger + more energetic with Sound Probiotics in my corner! #soundathlete

Time to Start Planning Your 2018 Season with Lost in Transition is a great podcast reminding you to reflect on 2017 to better plan for 2018! It is important to have a healthy mix of outcome + process goals when planning for future seasons. When planning your season, you should consider the course terrain, travel, cost, community, time of year, etc.

Dog walks:

We are so lucky to have a golf course nearby that closes for the winter. Basil thinks it is her own personal playground!

Basil having fun on our evening dog walk!

Looking forward to:

Winter break! The countdown is on! We are inside 20 days until we get a much needed break + time with family! I will also be completing an BSC swim challenge the last week in December, which I am super excited + nervous about! If nerves weren’t involved, it wouldn’t be a challenge right?!

Excited for:

Racing with #heartandcourage + these empowering and inspirational Coeur Sports sisters again in 2018!

So humble + honored to have this AMAZING company and these empowering women by my side in 2018!

How was your month of November?! What are you excited for?!

Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Saturday we ran the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon from Indianola to Carlisle. We drove down to Carlisle, picked up our race bib and t-shirt, then loaded onto a bus that would shuttle us to Indianola where we would start the race. Thankfully, the bus stayed at the race start so we could hang out on the bus to keep warm as it was perfect weather to run, but too cool, damp, and breezy to hang around outside waiting to start.

Trying to stay warm before the start of the race!

I had some decisions to make on race morning in terms of how I was going to run. Was I going to race? Take it easy? Try for consistent pacing? After a full week of teaching + parent teacher conferences, I came down with a sore throat Friday. I loaded up on all of the vitamin C, Sound Probiotics, lysine, fluids, and healthy foods I could find. I really wanted to stave off whatever was taking residence in my body. On race morning, I felt good and ready to race, but decided it would be better for me to run with the Iron Hippie and our friend, Robin. She is diabetic and her blood sugar was higher than it should have been, so I took it upon myself to be on #bloodsugarpatrol for the rest of the morning.

We started off with what felt like an easy pace checking in occasionally with Robin to see where her blood sugar levels were at. By about mile 4, her blood sugar levels were still high, but had dropped over 100 units and were trending downward, which was excellent news! At this point, I still felt good and really strong, but I took in nutrition to stay proactive instead of potentially having to be reactive later in the race.

Getting closer to the finish with every step! If you look VERY closely, you can see Robin’s pink shirt and shoes behind the Iron Hippie!

By the 10K point of the run, Robin’s blood sugar eventually flatlined in a safe range, so she took in some nutrition. We saw what appeared to be a “petting zoo” at a farm along the trail. Shortly after this, we were “cheered” on by some cows along the side of the trail. By about mile 8 our pace started to slow a bit, I took in more nutrition, and we kept pushing on! The miles kept ticking by and went by faster than I anticipated.

Running along between miles 7 and 8 with the Iron Hippie.

By mile 10, I was starting to feel it. I’m sure the bug that had taken up residence in my body wasn’t helping, but I know the other part was the distance…this was the farthest I’d run since Ironman Mont Tremblant. This is where mind over matter really kicked in. We pushed on, all of the way to the finish line and all 3 of us crossed together. Thankfully Robin’s blood sugar was on point at the finish line!

Running the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon with these two crazy kids was so much fun!

We finished in 2:05:40, which was a long way off from a PR, but it was well worth the fun with friends! This is a race that I can see us doing year after year and maybe one year setting a PR!

Who wants to be a hillbilly?!?!

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! 🙂

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! 😉 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!

4 weeks ’til #IMMT: Hot + Humid + Hell

Last week was HOT + HUMID + STICKY + GROSS! I think we got a taste of what hell is like!

Yep…Last week was VERY hot + humid! Good thing we leave soon for some cooler temps in the New England states and Canada!
Ha Ha! This doesn’t show the heat index, which was even higher…

Swim:

Monday morning meters!
Pushing myself to new limits in the pool Tuesday morning left me with a HUGE smile on my face!

Bike:

Pushing myself to new limits on this #timetrialtuesday of #triweek
We rode inside on Thursday because of an excessive heat advisory! Looking forward to cooler temps in the Northeast!
Last long ride (107+ miles) in Iowa done before leaving for the NE! With an excessive heat advisory Saturday, there were a few times I felt like I was in hell, but I kept on going!

Run:

“Never give up, and be confident in what you do. There may be tough times, but the difficulties which you face will make you more determined to achieve your objectives and to win against all the odds.” ~Marta
Wednesday’s 18 mile run was a sufferfest, but I was determined to #nevergiveup and was SO happy to be done!
Run off the bike in the excessive heat advisory on Saturday was tough, but I finished strong!
Helping my fave get some birthday miles in Sunday morning! Happy Birthday to the Iron Hippie!

Strength Training: 10 minutes of core strength daily

Weekly Totals: 17 hours & 8 minutes

Weekly Positives:

With a really tight calf comes dry needling. Thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic for keeping me healthy and getting me in to see him right away!
Thank you Kyle for getting Mojo ready for my last big push to Ironman Mont Tremblant! You are the BEST! Kyle’s Bikes all the way!
Basil says, “#winningtakesguts I’m so glad Sound Probiotics keeps you healthy mama!”
So grateful to have Nick with Vitality Massage as part of my tribe!

Quote of the Week:

“If you’re going through hell, keep going!” ~Winston Churchill