2021 week 36: bittersweet

Last week we prepped for nearly 2 weeks off from work and had loads of fun in Madison, Wisconsin around Ironman Wisconsin race weekend. Since 2010, we have been in Madison the weekend after Labor Day every year (minus last year…hello Covid) for Ironman Wisconsin. We have volunteered, raced, spectated, cheered, supported, and loved every minute of what feels like a hometown race. We are sad to see the race date change to June starting in 2022 as we will no longer be surrounded by the IMWI experience. With the Ames Triathlon on the same weekend in June, our priorities will be elsewhere. Leaving Madison this time was bittersweet. Here is a flavor of week 36!

Quote of the week:

“Life can be bittersweet, but only you control the sugar.”

~Michelle Parsons

Swim: 0 yards

Sadly I didn’t get any swimming in last week. The timing of life and the pool schedule just didn’t mix.

Bike: 109 miles

Friday we got to ride on the Ironman Wisconsin bike course. I didn’t have working batteries, so I don’t have data to show for our ride, but sometimes those are the best rides! Ride free! We had to take a detour in the first 5 miles as part of the bike course is being resurfaced. This allowed us to climb new peaks and descend into new valleys. It was a fun new challenge! Oh…and that hill climb on Kollath made Barlow feel like a vacation for those of you familiar with the Barlow climb. 😳

Challenge yourself! The more fires you experience, the more fireproof you become! 🔥

Run: 24.8 miles

Saturday morning we ran on a large part of the IMWI run course. This is such a fun course. Running down State Street and along Lake Mendota…so many wonderful memories from racing here in years past.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~George Bernard Shaw

Creating calm, peace, gratitude, and joy along Lake Mendota Saturday morning with my fav before the excitement and whirlwind of volunteering/spectating at IMWI.

Strength Training: 15 minutes of core strength daily

Weekly Totals: 12 hours & 40 minutes
30 minutes of yoga

Attitude of Gratitude:

“As you have bigger goals, you have to be willing to expand on your belief for the next future version. Be clear about who you are, what you want to be, who the future you is. How does that future person act, think, feel?! PRACTICE that over and over and over!” ~ Vanessa Faye Foerster

Grateful for more miles to PRACTICE how my future self acts, thinks, and feels on race day! ⚡️⚡️⚡️#LFG #fun #gratitude #joy
Squeeze me! Squeeze me! Normatec Recovery
Thank you Nick for working out the kinks so I can take time off work to play! Vitality Massage Ames
Getting to drink Karma Kombucha…OMG! YAAASSSSSS!!
So many shenanigans with my fav on the IMWI bike course.
Meeting up with my Coeur Sports sisters!
I have been in the change tent at Ironman Wisconsin since 2010 except for years I raced (2011, 2014, and 2016) and last year (hello Covid). See ya later Ironman Wisconsin! 🐮 ❤️
Ian’s pizza is a MUST when in Madison!
Sunday was bittersweet as it marks the end of a chapter. With the race moving to June in 2022, it is time to pass the Captain badge off to the next amazing Women’s Change Tent Captain. 🐮 ❤️

What were your highlights from week 36 of 2021?!

2021 weeks 34 and 35: new adventure

The last two weeks we took on a whole new adventure…we became pseudo parents to our 13 year old twin nieces. Mad respect to all you parents juggling everyday and to those of you flying solo, you deserve an award! Their mother (my sister) has taken a new job here at the university and she started yesterday. By having the twins live with us for the last 2 weeks, they were able to start the school year down here instead of transferring schools 1.5 weeks into the school year. This was definitely the best decision for them and we are excited to have them live by us permanently so we can spend more time with them. Since the last two weeks were full of other responsibilities, I am wrapping the last two weeks into one post.

Quote of the week:

“Say yes to new adventures.”

~Unknown

Swim:
Week 34: 6500 yards
Week 35: 5800 yards

Thursday, September 2 I almost didn’t show up for my swim. I was intimidated by the workout. I was tired from Wednesday’s long run. I was carrying extra fatigue from life. It was a cool day and I knew I’d be cold after swimming outdoors. I had a whole list of excuses.

I decided to show up for myself. I reminded myself I’ve done this workout many times before. I reminded myself that I set goals on purpose and with purpose. I decided to stop comparing my current self to my past self. I decided that the paces don’t matter as long as I’m giving my best effort. I decided to take advantage of one of the last outdoor swim opportunities of the season. I decided to be present in this moment/this interval.

Changing my thoughts to be intentional changed the outcome of this swim. 100s to failure or 20×100 whichever came first turned out to be 20 strong, solid, consistent 100s! Intentional thinking works!

  • Warm up:
    • 300 swim (20 sec rest)
    • 200 pull (20 sec rest)
    • 100 kick (20 sec rest)
    • 100 easy (20 sec rest)
  • Main set:
    • Swim as many 100s HARD as possible. The pace should be +/- 3 seconds from the average of the first 5 x 100s (20 seconds rest). If you successfully complete 20 x 100, move on to the cool down
  • Cool down:
    • 200 any stroke
Thank you Vanessa Faye Foerster for teaching me the mental skills to learn from failure, believe in me, own my successes, and achieve the unimaginable! ⚡️⚡️⚡️ #LFG

Bike:
Week 34: 69.8 miles
Week 35: 110 miles

Sunday, September 5 we got outside on two wheels for the first time in far too long! I needed those 80 miles on the open roads with my fav + sunshine more than I ever expected!

Dig in and go for it today because you have no idea what tomorrow will bring you! ⚡️⚡️⚡️ #LFG

Run:
Week 34: 9.19 miles
Week 35: 24.8 miles

Wednesday, August 25 I GOT to run/walk with my niece, Isabella, for the first 2.5 miles. It was 99F outside, so we took it easy and walked when we needed to. After dropping her off at home and drinking all the water, I headed out to complete the last 4.5 miles solo. It was so nice to GET to run with her! I’m definitely looking forward to more of these adventures in the future.

Turn your fears into new adventures and uncertainty into curiosity. Be open to creating the story of your goals and dreams. ⚡️

Change can be scary, but it can also be exciting. Feel all the feelings and then direct your thoughts towards the feelings that serve you! ⚡️

Strength Training: 15 minutes of core strength daily

Weekly Totals:
Week 34: 9 hours & 12 minutes
30 minutes of full body strength training
Week 35: hours & minutes
55 minutes of full body strength training

Attitude of Gratitude:

Thankful I got to swim, bike, and run today!
So excited to have these two live a few miles away from us!
Happy belated birthday to one of our favorite people! So glad we got to celebrate you, Marjorie! Oh…and thanks for making your own cake. 🤪
I love all the snuggles with our baby girl! 🐶🥰
Dog party?! Yes please! Just a few of our neighborhood friends! 🐶🥰
Another great day of swim, bike, run love!
Grateful that I can find a way to knockout a 16 mile run amongst the chaos. Thanks to the Iron Hippie for his support in all of this!
Teaching these two how to ride the city bus!
Jersey was SO happy to get to play volleyball!
Happy 9th birthday to our sweet Basil! Oh…don’t fool yourself, she has a bit of sass in her too, but we love all of her sweetness and sassiness! 🐶🥰
Getting my squeeze on in my Normatec Recovery boots after 80 miles of #bikelove.

What were your highlights from weeks 34 & 35 of 2021?! What new adventures have you said yes to lately?!

“if you are an Olympian go around me”

“If you are an Olympian, go around me.”

~volunteer on the run course

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race the Bluff Creek Olympic-distance Triathlon on Sunday, August 15, 2021! 💙💛

  • this is a small local race
  • parking is about 1/2 mile from transition
  • the air temp was in the low 60s by race start, sunny, very low humidity, and very little wind
  • the water temp was ~77F so I wore my Roka swimskin
  • the swim course this year was changed so shuttles would not be needed to transport athletes around the lake for the swim start
  • the swim start was self seeded with 1 athlete entering the water approximately every 3-4 seconds
  • the swim was out and back twice with buoys on the left
  • the bike has two big climbs of Twister hill (where the movie Twister was filmed)
  • there were no water/aid stations on the bike, which is typical for a 24.8 mile bike course
  • the run course is two out and backs with a decent hill climb done twice
  • there were aid stations on the run with water and Gatorade
  • there was food and beverage options available at the finish, but I didn’t go scope it out, so I don’t know what was offered

Longer Version: I GOT to push myself to the 2nd overall female place on Sunday (with first place going to professional triathlete, Jess Smith)!

We had a 40 minute drive from home on Saturday morning to the race site. It was a BEAUTIFUL morning with temps in the upper 50s/low 60s…drastically different from Wednesday where the heat index topped out at 106F. When we arrived at Don Williams Recreation Area, we got all of our gear ready at the car before hauling it to the transition area. We had completed packet pick up on Saturday at a local bike shop, so when wee arrived at transition, we got body marked and put everything in transition at our spots. I used the kybo before setting up my transition area. Once my area was set, I chatted with friends and former students before getting my Roka swimskin on and heading to the boat ramp for the athlete meeting.

Getting to squeeze and race with my Coeur Sports sistas!

Swim: (34:19 for 1500 meters at 2:17/100 m average pace)

We self seeded on the boat ramp for how confident and fast we thought we’d swim, so I stayed toward the front of the line of Olympic distance triathletes. When it was my turn, I dove into the water. I felt so strong and confident as I made my way to the first turn buoy. The water felt really warm, so I was grateful to have the swim skin on and not a wetsuit. As I made my way around the first turn buoy, I was swimming directly into the sunlight. This made it a bit challenging to site, but I did a great job of swimming straight. There were some athletes in front of me swimming on the wrong side of the buoys after making their way around the 2nd turn buoy, so I collided head on with them. They apologized as I forged on. After turning around the 2nd swim buoy, the sun was no longer in my eye and I was able to quickly and easily make my way back to the 1st turn buoy (which would be turn buoy #3). As I approached this turn buoy, the traffic became much more congested as the sprint triathletes were making their way into the water and around the turn buoy. We had the sprint triathletes in the mix with us until about the 1/2 way point back into the sun toward the 2nd turn buoy (which would be turn buoy #4), but then the traffic thinned out for a bit. I easily and quickly made my way around the 4th swim buoy and headed back to the boat ramp. At about that 1/2 way point we encountered more traffic again as the slower sprint triathletes made their way around their turn buoy and toward the boat ramp. It was nice to have the big swim exit arch to site off of at the boat ramp.

***Side note…the timing mat for the swim exit was actually up at transition, so my slower time/pace is reflective my swim + a decent run to get to the timing mat.

T1: (1:29)

As I exited the water, I got my swimskin off just below my hips, removed my goggles + swim cap, and ran all the way through transition since my bike was right next to bike exit. When I arrived at my transition spot, I stripped off my swimskin, put on my socks + bike shoes, donned my helmet and sunnies, grabbed Mojo, and off we went!

Bike: (1:21:34 for 24.8 miles at 18.2 mph average speed)

After crossing the mount line and getting on Mojo, we cruised our way out of Don Williams Recreation Area. This course was nothing like Saturday’s super flat course! We had some rolling hills before reaching the first big climb at about mile 7. Those rollers primed the legs for what was to come. As we were climbing Twister Hill for the first time, a few of us were chatting a bit (people I was passing and those passing me) about how beautiful the weather was…and some complained about how big and steep this hill was, but I didn’t let their negative chatter impact me. I LOVE A CHALLENGE! At the top of the climb, it was time to put the hammer down and work to make gains on the people I saw in front of me. After all, playing chase on the bike lights my fire! I got to cheer on my Coeur Sports sister (and professional triathlete), Jess Smith, as she was making her way back to Twister Hill for the last time. There were some more rolling hills before making it to the turn around at mile 12.4 and again after the turn around as we made our way back to Twister Hill. Before making it back to Twister Hill for the second time, I got to cheer on my Coeur Sports sister, Sarah, as she had just crested the top of Twister Hill. I asked her if she liked that climb and she relayed that she wasn’t a fan. Who ever said Iowa was flat clearly hasn’t experienced Twister Hill. 🤪 As I was going down Twister Hill the second time, I saw an athlete walking up the hill with his bike…that’s how big/steep of a climb it is. I powered my way back up the climb and was making my way back toward transition when our friend Steve passed me with about 2 miles to go on the bike. I was determined to keep him in my sites as we approached Don Williams Recreation Area. I absolutely LOVE a good challenge! I had SO MUCH FUN on this course! I was smiling and giddy the whole time!

LFG! ⚡️
Photo credit: Dave Mable

T2: (0:40)

As I came into T2, saw the Iron Hippie walking on the road near bike dismount, so I knew he was done with his sprint race. I yelled “hi” at him as I rolled into the bike dismount and ran into the transition area. I quickly racked my bike, dropped my helmet, changed into my Newton running shoes, grabbed my visor + race belt, and ran out of T2. I had only seen a couple of women in front of me on the bike course, so I wanted to hunt them down! I knew I would never catch Jess Smith…hello professional triathlete…but the rest of them were my rabbits to chase down!

Run: (52:04 for 6.2 miles at 8:24/mile average pace)

As we exited T2, we ran on trails through the wooded area that eventually spit us out on to the paved campground roads. This route had a mix of sun, shade, flats, hills, and spectators in the campground + lots of fun! I could see our friends Mindy and Steve in front of me. It was time to chase them down! Mindy and I chatted briefly as I passed her. Just after mile 1, I took water from the aid station…thank you ISU Physics club! The ISU Physics club had brought volunteers out in full force and it was fun to see a bunch of them on the course. After the aid station, I put the hammer down on the slight climb to catch Steve who was just ahead of me. I caught up to him just before the turn around out in the campground. We chatted as we ran together briefly and then I forged ahead. I took in water at the aid station again before climbing my way up the steep hill. I tapped into my intentional thinking to not allow myself to walk…”I set goals on purpose and with purpose. I like a good challenge. This is good prep for worlds. Just keep running.”

As I came to the turn around, the volunteer at the cone said, “if you are an Olympian go around me. If you are finishing, turn right.” I smiled big as I rounded the cone to head back out for lap two. I again grabbed water at the aid station on the dam, made my way to the turn around out at the campground, back to the aid station for water before climbing the steep hill for the last time. I kept the intentional thinking strong and focused…”I set goal on purpose and with purpose. I like a good challenge. This is good prep for worlds. Just keep running.”

This time when I got to the volunteer at the cone saying, “if you are an Olympian go around me. If you are finishing, turn right,” I got to turn right back through the wooded area toward the finish line. This is where I saw Dave Mable who briefly ran with me for some video footage before I got to that finish line.

So much heart and courage running into that 2nd place finish!
Photo credit: Dave Mable

Overall: (2:50:07…2/16 Female, 35/81 overall)

I am SOOOO incredibly grateful for a strong body and mind! I never would have dreamed that I would ever get 2nd overall female at an Olympic distance triathlon the day after taking 1st overall female at a sprint triathlon, but here I am…and it feels AMAZING!

That 2nd place medal at Bluff Creek
Photo credit: The Iron Hippie

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports sports bra, Coeur Sports aero top, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Viper x2 Short Sleeve Swimskin, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies

2021 week 33: getting back on track

Last week I had more of a recovery week than was planned. I ended up tweaking my lat/trap area on my left side moving heavy furniture at work, which needed a bit of rest before I could get back into training (and turn my head again without pain). Thanks to Dr. Chris for getting me in right away on Tuesday and again on Wednesday to work through the tweak. By the end of the week, I was back to training again and ready for some bigger workouts back in Okoboji at home home.

Quote of the week:

“Never quit. If you stumble get back up. What happened yesterday no longer matters. Today’s another day so get back on track and move closer to your dreams and goals.”

~Unknown

Swim: 5503 yards

Sunday I got to do a long swim! Dad drove the boat on the lake while the Iron Hippie and I swam. I settled in to this swim early and just focused on 500 yards at a time. Before we knew it, we were at the 1/2 way point and ready to turn around. We hadn’t noticed that the wind was picking up until we were about 3500 yards in to our swim. By this point, the chop on the lake was challenging and the waves made from other boats created some turbulent waters.

Rough waters make for stronger merpeople! 5K swim Sunday morning in choppy waters. ⚡️⚡️⚡️

Bike: 0 miles

Sadly I didn’t get any bike miles last week. Dr. Chris wanted me to avoid the bike until the lat/trap was completely healed as being in aero likely would have aggravated it making the healing process take even longer.

Run: 20.4 miles

I had a hill repeat run last week, but my running highlight was running 14 miles back home home on a really hilly route. The first 5 miles were a family affair with the Iron Hippie, Basil, and Jersey, while the last 9 miles were a solo adventure where I sought out all the hills!

“Be a hill seeker. Most of us try to avoid hills, but what’s so good about flat? Think about it: flat tire, flat hair, flat returns, and -the ultimate- flatlining. Life happens on the hills. They’re opportunities to prove to yourself that you’re stronger than you ever imagined. If you never attempt the ascent, you’ll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side!” ~unknown

What a beautiful morning to seek out all the hills!* So grateful for 5 family miles + 9 solo miles at home home to help me get stronger for Worlds! ⚡️⚡️⚡️

Strength Training: 15 minutes of core strength daily

Weekly Totals: 7 hours & 37 minutes
30 minutes of yoga

Attitude of Gratitude:

Thank you Dr. Chris with Team Chiropractic and Rehabilitation of Ames for getting me back on track! Dry needling isn’t my fave, but it works!
All the snuggles!
Even more snuggles!
This crazy travel companion has to stand the whole time she’s in the car! It’s a good thing we love her so much!
These are my peeps! Love them all so much!
5 family miles at home home was the best way to start our Saturday!
Thanks Dad, Isabella, and Laylah for boating next to us to keep us safe while we swam!
I love to be on the water!

What were your highlights from week 33 of 2021?!

sprinting to the overall female win

“An overall title is one of the biggest things you can win in our sport.”

~Lindsey Vonn

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race the Twin Lakes Sprint Triathlon on Saturday, August 14, 2021! 💙💛

  • this is a small local race
  • the air temp was in the mid 50s by race start, sunny, very low humidity, and very little wind
  • the water temp was ~77F so I wore my Roka swimskin
  • the swim was a 750 m swim distance
  • the swim start was numerical entry based on bib number with 1 athlete entering the water approximately every 3-4 seconds
  • the swim was a triangle-ish shape with buoys on the left
  • the bike was FLAT
  • there were no water/aid stations on the bike, which is typical for a 12.4 mile bike course
  • there were aid stations on the run with water only
  • there was a buffet line with sandwiches, fruit, and a few beverage options at the finish
  • the finish line is on the opposite side of the lake from transition, so you take the shuttle back to the transition area (a truck pulls a big open air cart for people to ride on)

Longer Version: I GOT to push myself to the overall female win on Saturday!

We had a 90 minute drive from home on Saturday morning to the race site. It was a BEAUTIFUL morning with temps in the low 50s…drastically different from Wednesday where the heat index topped out at 106F. When we arrived at the Twin Lakes State Park, we used the restrooms, picked up our packet, got everything set in transition, and hung around transition waiting until the athlete meeting (which happened at transition…not the beach).

Look at this gorgeous sunrise that greeted us on Saturday morning.

I put on my Roka swimskin before the athlete meeting, listened to the National Anthem and prayer, then made my way down to the beach for the swim start. Once at the beach, we were given some brief instructions for the swim course before lining up.

Swim: (17:35 for 750 meters at 2:20/100 m average pace)

We lined up on the beach in numerical order based on our bib number. When it was my turn, I dove into the water. I felt so strong and confident as I swam past many of the people in front of me. The water felt really warm, so I was grateful to have the swim skin on and not a wetsuit. As I made my way around the last turn buoy to head into the shore, it was difficult to site as there was no swim arch to look for. Thankfully the volunteers were all donning bright neon yellow shirts, which stood out well against the natural backdrop.

***Side note…the timing mat for the swim exit was actually up at transition, so my slower time/pace is reflective of my swim + a decent run to get to the timing mat.

SOOOO ready! LFG ⚡️

T1: (1:17)

As I exited the water, I got my swimskin off just below my hips, removed my goggles + swim cap, and ran all the way through transition since my bike was right next to bike exit. When I arrived at my transition spot, I stripped off my swimskin, put on my socks + bike shoes, donned my helmet and sunnies, grabbed Mojo, and off we went!

Bike: (34:58 for 12.4 miles at 21.3 mph average speed)

After crossing the mount line and getting on Mojo, we cruised our way out of Twin Lakes State Park. This course is SUPER flat! We rode completely around the lake twice before returning to the transition area at Twin Lakes State Park. This was a small race field, so I didn’t get to play chase like I normally would, but I did pick off the only female athlete to beat me out of the water. This course was SO MUCH FUN! I was smiling and giddy the whole time!

T2: (0:41)

As I came into T2, I quickly racked my bike, dropped my helmet, changed into my Newton running shoes, grabbed my visor + race belt, and ran out of T2. I suspected I was in first place and wanted to make my lead even bigger!

Run: (25:55 for 3.16 miles at 8:13/mile average pace)

As we exited T2, I put on my visor + race belt. We were directed to run on the paved trail that goes around the lake. This was such a nice running route. It had areas of sun and areas of shade, but the surface was top notch! I had a little bit of stomach cramps on the run, so I felt like I was holding back effort wise just a little bit, but I kept my pace solid and strong. I passed a couple of men back on the run (who had passed me toward the end of the bike) as I made my way to the finish line.

GETTING to break the tape as I take 1st overall female! ⚡️⚡️⚡️

Overall: (1:20:29…1/13 Female, 6/47 overall)

I am SOOOO incredibly grateful for a strong body and mind! I never would have dreamed that I would ever stand on the top step of the podium by taking the overall female win, but here I am…and it feels AMAZING!

This was my first time stepping up on the top step of a podium to take the overall female win! Photo credit: The Iron Hippie

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports tank top with built in shelf bra, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Viper x2 Sleeveless Swimskin, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies

2021 week 32: challenge yourself

Last week I got to challenge myself in a whole new way with some back to back racing over the weekend. I raced a local sprint triathlon on Saturday and followed it up with a local Olympic-distance triathlon on Sunday. I pushed hard in both races. Saturday I finished 1st overall female (with only 5 men finishing before me) and Sunday I finished 2nd overall female (with the only female finishing before me being a professional triathlete). I will have race reports up soon, so stay tuned!

Key takeaways:
-I GET to do this sport
-I GET to decide how I show up
-I set goals on purpose and with purpose
-I LOVE a good challenge
-I am incredibly grateful that my body allows me to do this
-smile and ALWAYS have fun
⚡️⚡️⚡️

Quote of the week:

“Challenge yourself; it’s the only path that leads to growth.”

~Morgan Freeman

Swim: 2506 yards

The only swimming I did last week was while racing.

SOOOO ready! LFG ⚡️

Bike: 37.2 miles

The only biking I did last week was while racing. Saturday’s race was super flat, but Sunday I got to climb Twister Hill (where the movie Twister was filmed) twice. Anyone who thinks Iowa is flat should come climb Twister Hill with me! 🤪

LFG! ⚡️
Photo credit: Dave Mable

Run: 15.5 miles

I did do a hill repeat run on Monday last week, but then didn’t run again until race weekend. It was good to save the legs a bit to see just how hard I could push them. Saturday’s race was super flat, but Sunday I got to climb a big hill twice. It was good physical and mental training for Ironman 70.3 Worlds coming up next month!

So much heart and courage running into that 2nd place finish!
Photo credit: Dave Mable

Strength Training: 15 minutes of core strength daily

Weekly Totals: 7 hours & 16 minutes
30 minutes of full body strength training

Attitude of Gratitude:

I love all the snuggles! 🥰🐶
So grateful to Nick with Vitality Massage for getting me race ready!
Look at this gorgeous sunrise that greeted us on Saturday morning.
This was my first time stepping up on the top step of a podium to take the overall female win!
Photo credit: The Iron Hippie
Taking 1st at the Twin Lakes Sprint Triathlon on Saturday! 🥳
Getting to squeeze and race with my Coeur Sports sistas!
That 2nd place medal at Bluff Creek
Photo credit: The Iron Hippie
Taking 2nd at the Bluff Creek Olympic-distance Triathlon on Sunday! 🥳
Thanks to the ISU Physics club for volunteering at the Bluff Creek Triathlon on Sunday!
Photo credit: The Iron Hippie

What were your highlights from week 32 of 2021?! Have you ever raced back to back?! If so, what did you learn?!

2021 week 31: seek challenges

Last week I got back into structured training as I build into these next 5 weeks toward Ironman 70.3 World Championships and 14 weeks to Ironman Arizona. It feels good to be pushing my limits again and challenging myself in new ways.

Quote of the week:

“Only when we seek challenges can we hope to find the best in ourselves.”

~Robert Rodriguez

Swim: 8796 yards

Thursday when I got in the water to complete my swim, I felt so sluggish and had thoughts that this swim was not going to go as planned. I decided to change my focus to my effort and form because I set goals on purpose and with purpose. I will always fight until I achieve my goals. Thursday required a little more fight and a lot more focus, but it totally paid off with each set faster than the last.

“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” ~Harriet Beecher Stowe ⚡️🔥
  • Warm up:
    • 200 swim
    • 200 drills
  • Main Set:
    • 4×50 descending (10 sec rest)
    • 3x[100 (10 sec rest), 200 (15 sec rest), 300 (20 sec rest)] Descending sets (each set should be faster than the previous set
    • 100 kick
    • 300 pull
  • Cool Down:
    • 200 any stroke

Bike: 166 miles

Saturday and Sunday I rode on the trainer to climb ALL of the HILLS! Saturday I rode 70 miles and covered just over 5500 feet of elevation gain on The Mega Pretzel route on Zwift. Sunday I rode 68 miles and covered just over 4500 feet of elevation gain on The Pretzel route on Zwift. That is 10,000+ feet of climbing in 118 miles and buckets of sweat in 2 days. What a great way to prep for Ironman 70.3 World Championships!

I’d have to ride only hill repeats for days to get that kind of elevation gain here! 🤣

Run: 24.9 miles

Monday I ran hill repeats. I was going to do this before work, but with the poor air quality due to the smoke in the air from the Canadian wildfires, I decided that doing it after noon (when the air quality was to improve a bit) would be a wiser option. Bonus…it would also be a bit warmer and a gorgeous afternoon…nothing like the heat we had last week! There was still smoke in the air, so I probably should have done the hill repeats on the treadmill, but I just couldn’t resist the beautiful afternoon weather!

Hill repeats are in the training calendar on repeat for the next 6 weeks in preparation for all the hills in St. George at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. I love a challenge! #LFG ⚡️🔥

Strength Training: 15 minutes of core strength daily

Weekly Totals: 21 hours & 15 minutes
3×30 minutes of full body strength training
2×30 minutes of yoga

Attitude of Gratitude:

So grateful that we don’t have the wildfires here, but the smoke from those fires in our area sure make for some beautiful sunrises.
So grateful I got to spend some time with my Coeur Sports sister, Courtney, and her husband Ron while they were visiting from DC!
Thank you Nick with Vitality Massage Ames for keeping me healthy and active!
Thanks Sim for my wonderful surprise!
Cupping…ouch! Grateful it helps and gets me back on track!
Any day I GET to swim/bike/run in the same day is a great day!
Getting to run with friends in cleanish air is always better!
Getting my Normatec Recovery squeeze on with all the snuggles! 🥰🐶
My little snuggle bug! 🥰🐶

What were your highlights from week 31 of 2021?! How do you challenge yourself?!

grieving the race I trained for

“Grief is real because loss is real. Grief is the healing process that ultimately brings us comfort in our pain.”

~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race Ironman 70.3 Ohio on Sunday, July 25! 💙💛

  • this is a two transition race, so both our bike and run bag/gear were dropped off on Saturday
  • there was a short delay (~30 minutes) because of backed up traffic…shuttle buses couldn’t get to the park
  • the water temp was 77.4F (wetsuit optional…Roka swimskin was worn for me)
  • the swim start was a self seeded with 3 athletes sent off every 4 seconds
  • the swim was cloudy, but not rainy
  • if you put all of your stuff in your T1 bag, they transported everything to T2 for you so you didn’t have to go back out to the park to get your swim stuff
  • the bike was also cloudy, but not rainy
  • the air was VERY thick (high humidity)
  • there were three water/aid stations on the bike
  • it was a VERY soupy day with the dew point at 72, very little wind, and the temp at 95F when I finished the run
  • I had to rally on the run to finish as I was in physical distress
  • there were aid stations on the run nearly every mile with water, gatorade, gels, ice, bananas, etc.
  • the sun came out on the run cranking the furnace up to high
  • there was a buffet line with burgers, chicken burritos, chips, bananas, and a few beverage options…but the best were shots of pickle juice!
Whew! That was rough!
Photo credit: FinisherPix

Longer Version: I GOT to race my first 70.3 distance race since July 2018.

We had some storms roll through in the overnight hours on Saturday, but thankfully it was all out of the area in time for the race start on Sunday morning.

We arrived at Delaware State Park where the swim and T1 are located by about 4:45 am. Plenty of time for me to potty, get my transition area set up, and put everything back in the car that I didn’t need before the race start at 6:30 am. At about 6:10 am, I put my Roka swimskin on only to find out about 20 minutes later that we would be delayed a bit as there was a traffic jam causing the shuttle buses bringing athletes to the park to be stuck in traffic.

Swim: (41:02 for 1.2 miles at 2:07/100 m average pace…35/114 F40-44, 173/593 F, 600/1871 overall)

After the National Anthem, I lined up at the back of the 33-35 minute swim start field. I knew if I was having a solid day 35 minutes would be achievable. I was near my friends, Steena and John, as we entered the starting corrals. When the beep sounded for me to start, I was off. This swim is basically a big triangle with two right hand turns.

The goal was to swim straight and gamify this swim by chasing down athletes in front of me. I did a really good job of swimming straight and staying close to the buoys. I was surprised at how little swim traffic was next to the buoys. This was the best place to be for this swim. I had very little contact with others and didn’t swim extra yardage. WIN #1! I can also say I did a really good job of gamifying the swim. I played chase! I passed people in the water. I felt strong and confident as I checked in on my effort multiple times throughout this swim. WIN #2!

Swim felt good!
Photo credit: FinisherPix

T1: (4:21)

As I exited the water, I got my swimskin off just below my hips, removed my goggles + swim cap, and ran all the way through transition since my bike was right next to bike exit. The positive of having my bike right next to bike exit…I didn’t have to run with my bike all the way through the transition area and around other athletes. The negative…I had to run barefoot throughout transition and that surface was not friendly on the bare feet. When I arrived at my transition spot, I stripped off my swimskin, stuffed all of my swim gear in my T1 bag (so it would be transported to the finish area for pick up later in the day), put on my socks + bike shoes, donned my helmet and sunnies, grabbed Mojo, and off we went!

Stripping off the swim skin…see that rough pavement?! Ouchie on the bare feet!
Photo credit: The Ironhippie

Bike: (2:57:52 for 56 miles at 18.80 mph average speed…47/114 F40-44, 202/593 F, 872/1871 overall)

After crossing the mount line Mojo and I cruised our way out of Delaware State Park. This course is SUPER flat! It was a big loop that took us north out of the park for about 18 miles before we turned east and the road surfaces turned to chip seal. The goal for this ride was to stay in aero, play chase, have fun, be grateful, and hammer. I did a great job of this for the first ~30 miles. WIN #3! And then…

Riding strong…for now.
Photo credit: FinisherPix

At about mile 30, my body began to enter distress mode…I was seeing double. No idea what actually caused it, but I have a theory (which was out of my control). I did my best, kept my head in the game, and kept moving forward. I took in my calories every 5 miles and continued to sip water (since it was SO HUMID). I rode in aero when I felt it was safe for me to do so. My mental game was strong, so it was disappointing to have my body in physical distress. I made the decision to get to T2 and evaluate what I needed to do at that point.

Getting water…although there was so much in the air I was probably taking it in with every breath. You can see how thick the air is in this pic.

T2: (4:45)

As I came into T2, I staggered a bit as I ran with my bike through transition to my spot. I quickly racked my bike and nearly fell over when I bent down to change into my Newton running shoes. Thankfully another athlete offered to help hold me up while I changed my socks and shoes. I thanked the other athlete for his help, grabbed my visor + race belt + hand-held water bottle, and walked out of T2 trying to evaluate if I would actually be able to run.

Run: (2:54:58 for 13.1 miles at 13:22/mile average pace…71/114 F40-44, 343/593 F, 1199/1871 overall)

As I exited T2, I waited until I was out of the tunnel under the stadium to try to run. I was able to run for a short while before the bouncing became too much causing me to resort to walking. At the first aid station, one of the kind volunteers filled my water bottle so that I would have plenty of fluids with me at all times. I continued walking until just past the 1 mile mark where I tried to run again in a downhill section. I quickly realized this wasn’t a good idea and returned to walking.

I saw the Ironhippie at about the 1.5 mile mark. He asked what was going on and I told him. All I wanted to do was lay down in the ditch and throw up (I didn’t feel full or nauseous, but the double vision was making me motion sick). He told me I had to decide how I wanted my day to end and that there was an aid station just ahead at the 2 mile mark. He suggested I walk to the next aid station, take in Coke (to help with the feeling of wanting to throw up) and re-evaluate. I debated the Coke thing…as caffeine and my body are not friends, but in the end, I took a couple of sips of Coke at the 2nd aid station. The Ironhippie was on his bike, so he would check in with me, and then ride ahead a bit before checking in with me again. I continued to walk and eventually started sobbing. I was sobbing because I didn’t know if I should continue or pull the plug. I was sobbing because my mental game was strong, but physically my body was in distress. I was sobbing because I was not able to physically execute the race I had trained for. I was sobbing because the race I know exists inside me was not going to happen on this day. I was sobbing because I had to decide how I wanted my day to end. I was sobbing because…loss is real.

How can one grieve something they never had?! I grieved the race I trained for. Grieved the anticipation of the joy I wanted to feel crossing that finish line knowing I put it all out there. Grieved the anticipation of what could have been a different outcome.

It’s ok to take time to feel the emotions. How you feel is yours and no one has the right to tell you how to feel, what to feel, or how long to feel it. “Grief is real because loss is real. Grief is the healing process that ultimately brings us comfort in our pain.” ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

What better way to heal from the pain of this loss than to hop back on the saddle and prepare for Ironman 70.3 World Championships! ⚡️ #LFG

It was while I was sobbing that I got passed by two of my Coeur Sports teammies. Thank you Heidi for the slap on the ass + encouragement and to Melissa for the support. I continued walking past mile 3 where I eventually started to notice my double vision getting better. Let’s be clear it wasn’t gone, but the two images I would concentrate on became closer together. I decided to try and run at this point. It worked for a bit, but then I needed to walk as my HR skyrocketed (remember how I said caffeine and my body are not friends…yep this is what happens when I consume caffeine). My goal for this run was to monitor my HR and not let it get out of Z3 while running for the first 10 miles. With the addition of caffeine in my system, it was a run/walk combo from this point on to get me to the finish line. HR monitoring = WIN #4!

The silver lining was that I got to meet new friends on the run course, take some steps with Coeur Sports teammates that I wouldn’t otherwise have gotten to be with, and cross another finish line. WIN #5!

I finally got to meet Mike Ergo in person!
Photo credit: The Ironhippie
I got to run some steps with my Coeur Sports teammate, Yoli. (That smile = fake it ’til you make it)
Photo Credit: The Ironhippie
I got to walk some steps with my Coeur Sports sister, Akira. So much love for this girl! (That smile = only 1.5 miles to the finish line…I can do this!)
Photo credit: Dylan

I’m grateful for a strong mind to get me to that finish line. Grit, determination, mental fortitude, and relentless perseverance were my secret weapon on Sunday.

So grateful for my #1!!
Photo credit: Kimra Sutton
Coming back into the stadium for the finish.
Photo credit: FinisherPix
Fake it ’til ya make it!
Photo credit: FinisherPix

Overall: (6:42:58…71/114 F40-44, 343/593 F, 1199/1871 overall)

I have mixed emotions after having crossed this finish line. I am so incredibly grateful to have had the privilege to race, that I crossed another finish line, and that my mind was so strong. But the grief is real. I am sad for what could have been. I am sad I was not able to execute the race I had trained for and the race I know exists inside me. This race does not define me and will not hold me back. Onward to Ironman 70.3 World Championships! ⚡️ #LFG

Whew! Glad that’s over!
Photo credit: FinisherPix

Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports sports bra, Coeur Sports aero top, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Viper x2 Short Sleeve Swimskin, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Kismet running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies, Orange Mud hand held water bottle

2021 week 29: race week

Last week was race week for Ironman 70.3 Ohio. I will get a full race report put together, but for now, my race was not what I had trained for, but it was the race I was given. I am incredibly grateful that I got to cross another finish line and had the privilege of racing.

Quote of the week:

“There will come a day when I can’t do this. Today is not that day.”

~Unknown

Swim: 6509 yards

Raise your hand if you’re ready to race this weekend!

Bike: 95.3 miles

So grateful to get to spend time with my Coeur Sports teammate, Akira, on Saturday before the race.

Run: 18.0 miles

Running with my fave in Springfield, OH was one of my favorite runs last week.

Strength Training: 15 minutes of core strength daily (except race day)

Weekly Totals: 12 hours & 31 minutes

Attitude of Gratitude:

Thank you Vanessa for these beauties!
Thank you Nick, with Vitality Massage, for getting me race ready!
Good race juju from Coeur Sports.
My cup runneth over! So many hugs from my Coeur Sports sisters on race weekend!
Thank you to our support system! You all are the BEST…and make me smile!
We have the BEST home stay in Ohio! Thank you so much Kimra!

What were your highlights from week 29 of 2021?!

2021 week 28: no place like home

Last week I put some finishing touches on my training before Ironman 70.3 Ohio. But the highlight was that we got to go back home home to visit my parents for the first time since September 2019! So grateful for the opportunity to be back at home!

Quote of the week:

“There’s no place like home.”

~Dorthy from the Wizard of Oz

Swim: 11,180 yards

My favorite swim last week was on Saturday morning. Dad took us out on the lake and boated beside us while we swam nearly 3 miles along the shores of West Lake Okoboji. Thank you Dad! You’re the best!

Seize the opportunity!

So grateful for nearly 3 peaceful miles of #swimlove at home home in Okoboji. ⚡️🔥

Bike: 79.8 miles

Wednesday was my last big workout before beginning the taper for Ironman 70.3 Ohio. I had a triple brick on the schedule. Thanks to thunderstorms, I completed this entire workout on the trainer/treadmill.

That glow and glistening look comes with hard work and committing to the discomfort as I put some finishing touches on this bold journey to the Ohio 70.3 finish line. The hay is in the barn and I’m ready to light a massive fire this weekend! #LFG ⚡️🔥

Run: 28.0 miles

Monday I had 14 miles after work. It was humid, but thankfully not blazing hot or sunny. After a 3 mile warm up, it was time to start picking up the effort. This increase in effort led to some paces I’m very proud of! 🔥 I didn’t want to go out the door for this run…my mind just wasn’t in it. Thankfully during the warm up I was able to redirect my thinking to my intentional thoughts and ended up with a great + solid run!

“I set goals on purpose and with purpose.” ⚡️🔥

Strength Training: 15 minutes of core strength daily

Weekly Totals: 15 hours & 19 minutes
30 minutes of full body strength training
2×30 minutes of yoga

Attitude of Gratitude:

All the snuggles! 🥰
Grateful that my body allows me to do this! Triple brick in the bank! ⚡️🔥
Getting my squeeze on post triple brick. Thank you Normatec Recovery!
More snuggles! 🥰
WUT?! I got a rolldown slot to Ironman 70.3 World Championships! #soexcited 🥳
Happy early birthday to the Iron Hippie! 🥳 #firealarmwentoff
Thank you Dad for boating next to us for safety! 💙#happyheart
Being on the water is my happy place! Love, love, LOVE! 🥰
My heart is full!

Morning swim with my niece, Isabella, and the Iron Hippie in West Lake Okoboji. 💙💛
Some family miles by the lake in Okoboji before heading back home. 💙💛

What were your highlights from week 28 of 2021?!