The Best of 2016

After posting the Best of 2013, the Best of 2014, and the Best of 2015 I decided it would be fun to look back through 2016 and reminisce my faves🙂

Best race experience?

The Okoboji Triathlon was my favorite race this year! It was special to race with The Iron Hippie on our Anniversary and get cheered on by our twin nieces at the finish line!

Getting low fives from my nieces at the Okoboji Triathlon. Photo by Sarah Riley

Getting low fives from my twin nieces at the Okoboji Triathlon. Photo by Sarah Riley

Best run?

There weren’t many runs that stood out as belonging at the top of the pile this year, but the most fun I had while running was at the Market to Market Relay. I got to run with friends All. Day. Long!

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Best bike?

Riding 3 loops of the Ironman Wisconsin bike course…was a challenging day full of 6847 feet of climbing over 125 miles. This ride gave me a lot of confidence for Ironman Wisconsin race day!

Looking down Barlow...this doesn't do it justice since you can't see the bottom!

Looking down Barlow (a 21% climb)…this doesn’t do it justice since you can’t see the bottom!

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Best swim?

The Okoboji 3.5 mile swim was not wetsuit legal, but it was a great experience for me to swim LONG with my father kayaking beside me!! I love swimming in my playground…Lake Okoboji!!

3.5 mile Okoboji Swim with Dad kayaking next to me

3.5 mile Okoboji Swim with Dad kayaking next to me

Best NEW racing experience?

This was a tough one! I had two new race experiences this year…Market to Market Relay and the Hickory Grove Duathlon. While both experiences were new, fun, and challenging (in their own way), the duathlon rocked this category! I was challenged in ways I hadn’t experienced before, had a BLAST, and got to race with my #solesister!

#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon

#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon

Best encouraging moment?

This year I was blessed to have the support from Coeur Sports and Kyle’s Bikes to help me start a women’s only ride in central Iowa. It was fun to enCOEURage other women in sport and help them make gains on the bike and in their self confidence! #strongwomen #heartandcourage

Ladies Night!

Ladies Night!

Best recovery technique?

#recoveryisimportant and that is why I invest in the best recovery possible! Nick with Vitality Massage helps keep me injury free. I like to refer to myself as his insurance policy since Ironman racing looks to be in our future for the next few years😉

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Best offseason adventure?

Family time, which included:

Ice skating with our nieces!

Ice skating with our nieces!

Jumping on trampolines is a much tougher workout than I thought it would be!

Jumping on trampolines with family over Thanksgiving weekend!

Best new piece of gear?

This is SUPER EASY!! The Coeur Sports Zele Aero Triathlon Kit…it is the most comfortable, breathable, stylish, aerodynamic kit on the market!! I’m hopeful for more amazing designs in 2017!! #stylishspeed

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Best way to log my workouts?

This is another SUPER easy one…my #believetrainingjournal!! While I love to see green in Training Peaks, I much prefer writing things down by hand. I love looking back through my workouts and it is so much easier to do when they are written down. I don’t particularly like having to open up every box in Training Peaks to review my workouts, so the Believe Training Journal has been an absolute favorite this year! I love it so much that I ordered the Compete Training Journal for 2017!!
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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, 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?

I read this before every big race. It is so motivating and reminds me 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?

I can’t pick just one…so many of my Coeur Sports teammates have inspired me this year!! There were many Coeur women who raced with #heartandcourage in Kona at the Ironman World Championships, other ladies had podium finishes at various races they competed in, many ladies met goals, and all are working hard to achieve their dreams. My inspiration cup runneth over!! I am so pumped to be a part of this amazing team again in 2017!!

I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2017 Ambassador Team...Such a #hardcoeur group of women that I'm overjoyed to be a part of!!

I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2017 Ambassador Team…Such a #hardcoeur group of women that I’m overjoyed to be a part of!!

These ladies not only inspire me, but encourage me and light my fire! <3

These ladies not only inspire me, but encourage me and light my fire! ❤

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 2016 year!! What are your “bests” from 2016?!

Ironman Wisconsin: Gratitude for My Tribe

I have so much to be grateful for!! I am beyond grateful that my body is healthy and allows me to push it to limits I would have never thought possible 5 years ago, but I can’t do it alone!! People often think of Ironman racing as an individual sport, but there are SO many people who have helped me on my journey and I couldn’t do it without their support!!

Family and Friends…

I am so blessed to have the most amazing and supportive family! Dad made the trip to Madison to cheer us on since he was in the area for work earlier in the week. He has kayaked beside me while I swim (both in training and swim racing), keeping me safe and on track. My sister and twin nieces cheered me on at the finish line of the Okoboji Triathlon earlier this year as well. Mom has had many tasty meals ready for us to consume after workouts and has cheered me on to 2 Ironman finish lines over the years. My sole sister has joined me on bike rides and runs throughout my training and has encouraged and motivated me to do and be my best! Our girlfriends Sue and Michele are amazing! I’m so grateful for their support and encouragement of us and our crazy lifestyle! My Coeur Sports Teammies have been inspiring and motivating me virtually for 2 years now. I was super lucky to have a few of them out on the course cheering me on (and many others on) in person…so much fun to see them all over the course! My family and friends are always inquiring about how my training is going and what race I am doing next. I am a lucky girl to have their support!!

Thanks to Dad and Tom for being our kayak support for the 3.5 mile Okoboji open water swim event!

Thanks to Dad and Tom for being our kayak support for the 3.5 mile Okoboji open water swim event!

#solesister + #bikelove = #perfectworld

#solesister + #bikelove = #perfectworld

My Sponsors…

Coeur Sports is hands down the best women’s SBR (swim/bike/run) brand on the market!! They have created #stylishspeed that keeps my girly bits happy…even while covering 140.6 miles. #noangrykitty here!! As a Coeur Sports ambassador, I get the privilege of being a part of an AMAZING team of women who are supportive, inspirational and genuinely full of #heartandcourage! I am so lucky to get the opportunity to enCOEURage more women in endurance sport, experience the ups and downs they encounter while on their journey and witness their joy when they reach new finish lines!! Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!

I am forever grateful for Kyle and the Kyle’s Bikes crew, who have kept Mojo happy throughout training and on race day! You are always there for me when I frantically call or text, so thank you for talking me off a ledge and immediately getting Mojo fixed up when she has a mechanical issue!! Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!

So glad two of my favorite worlds have collided! :)

So glad two of my favorite worlds have collided…Kyle’s Bikes and Coeur Sports! 🙂

Sound Probiotics has been keeping me healthy and on track for almost 2 years. Before taking Sound Probiotics, I would end up sick during the taper and often times once or twice during training…especially since I teach middle schoolers and am always surrounded by germs. Thanks to Sound Probiotics for my #happygut, enhanced immunity and better recovery throughout my training and racing experience!! After all, #winningtakesguts!

Karma Kombucha has been a daily staple in my diet since it’s birth…5 years now! They help keep my gut happy and healthy everyday! Drinking my booch before starting the marathon during Ironman Wisconsin definitely helped set me up for a great run!

So grateful to Karma Kombucha and Sound Probiotics for keeping me healthy while I train hard and start a new school year!

So grateful to Karma Kombucha and Sound Probiotics for keeping me healthy while I train hard and race harder!

One of the many perks of being a Coeur Sports ambassador is getting support from other amazing companies as well. Roka Sports, Smith Optics and Base Performance are three of the companies that have helped make my training and race experience so awesome!! Ironman Wisconsin was a wetsuit legal swim, so I donned my Maverick Elite wetsuit and my X1 goggles!! The Roka wetsuit works with my body instead of against it, making each swim stroke feel easy!! I absolutely LOVE the Roka goggles!! If you haven’t tried them, you definitely should…they are the BEST!! This year I tried the Smith Optics PivLock Arena sunnies and ABSOLUTELY love them!! What a game changer on the bike and run!! Speaking of game changer…Base Salt has definitely helped me better prevent hyponatremia (which I’ve experienced during 2 of my 5 Ironman races). Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU to you all!!

My Triathlon Peeps…

I am one of the luckiest ladies around! I have a slew of support, inspiration, and motivation from my triathlon people…both in person and virtually! Thank you to all of the people who called, texted, emailed, Facebook messaged me, tweeted me, commented on my blog posts, commented on my Instagram pictures and tracked my progress both while training and on race day! You all ROCK!!

Nick has been keeping my body well recovered through massage for almost 3 years. He knows all of my problem areas and knows just what to do to keep my body (and ultimately my mind) happy and healthy! Thank you Nick for restoring the damage I do as I swim/bike/run my way to countless finish lines! Vitality Massage is definitely where recovery is at!!

The Iron Hippie…

My fave has been by my side for millions of swim strokes and the countless views as we’ve covered thousands and thousands of miles on two wheels and pounding the pavement. You are my #1 cheerleader and have supported me on this crazy journey of life and the even crazier journey of triathlon. I love you and am forever grateful for your love and support. What crazy journey should we take on next?!?!?!?

Countless laps next to my fave!

Countless laps next to my fave!

Many miles on two wheels with my fave!

Thousands of miles on two wheels with my fave!

Pounding the pavement for hundreds of miles with my fave!

Pounding the pavement for hundreds of miles with my fave!

Ironman Wisconsin Training Weekend

Thursday afternoon we set out for Madison, Wisconsin at about 1 pm for our own training camp weekend. We absolutely LOVE Madison and would move there in a heartbeat if we had good jobs…Maybe it is time to start working on making this dream become a reality!

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After arriving at our host home (thank you Chris for your wonderful hospitality and friendship!!), we grabbed dinner at the Great Dane in Fitchburg and prepared for a LONG day of exercising on Friday.

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Friday we set out to ride “the IMWI loop” 3 times. We parked at the Park and Ride on Old County Highway PB and were wheels on at 6:30 am. Our only goal was to finish the 3 loops, so we didn’t set any record breaking speeds. The first part of the loop was pretty uneventful. We made it through Mt. Horeb and out to Witte Road (which we refer to as ribbon road). After descending Garfoot, we encountered some light rain as we entered Cross Plains. This is where we encountered our first snafu…road construction. We stopped to look at a map and figure out how to get around the construction. During this time, a local man (out walking) told us we could “go through the construction. Bikes go through there all the time.” So, we decided to head that direction and we would turn back around if needed. It had stopped raining by the time we got to the construction site. We stopped and talked with the construction crew and told them we were from out of town and what the local man had told us. The crew leader told us we could get through this time, but we should take an alternative route the next two times through. She also told us there was a state trooper sitting farther up the road writing tickets to people who didn’t abide by the “Road Closed” signs, but we wouldn’t be going that direction. We thanked them and continued on. We made our way up the three bitches…Old Sauk Pass, Timberline (AKA…Cell Tower Hill), and Midtown, then back into Verona. Loop #1 was a success…41 miles done!!

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Ribbon Road!!

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The view at the top of Garfoot.

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Having fun on the first loop!!

This is when we learned of the new Ironman Wisconsin bike course because the road construction is supposed to continue through the middle of October. Thanks to SBR with Rocket Bikes in Verona for posting this information on Facebook for us to refer to!

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The new IMWI bike course

So loop#2 would be different from the first one. How different?! Let’s find out! The first part of the course is the same through Mt. Horeb, out to Witte Road and down Garfoot. This is where things change. Instead of going into Cross Plains, we now turn right on Observatory Road. I have experience with roads in Wisconsin labeled “Observatory Road” and none of them are easy climbs, but the views are usually spectacular!

No easy climb follows a sign that says "Observatory Road"!

No easy climb follows a sign that says “Observatory Road”!

We quickly turned off of Observatory Road and onto Barlow…this is where things got tough…real tough! Barlow is no joke! It is about 2 miles of hill climbs in a step format. This is when the rain started again…just in time for us to start climbing. It starts off gradual, and then builds to 17% and continues to build to about 21% at it’s steepest point. I wanted to get off my bike and walk up the hill and cry, but I saw my “Believe” tattoo on my arm and forged ahead. Thankfully we only do this hill one time for Ironman Wisconsin. I’m certain there will be people who walk this hill on race day and others who burn themselves up on this hill for the remainder of the day. As this loop continues, the road surfaces are decent (not like Stagecoach road for those of you familiar with that rough surface) and there are more hills on Maurer shortly before climbing Midtown…it is Wisconsin where hills are a expected! We then made our way back into Verona and to the Park and Ride so we could reload our bottles and fuel. Loop #2 was done and a success…about 86 miles done!

Looking down Barlow...this doesn't do it justice since you can't see the bottom!

Looking down Barlow…this doesn’t do it justice since you can’t see the bottom!

We set off for Loop #3, which would be a bit different from the first two. The first part of the loop is the same as the others, so we made our way to Mt. Horeb and out onto Witte Road, were we took a short break to get off the bike and refuel before continuing on our way.

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After leaving Witte Road, this time we turned right on Mineral Point Road and immediately climbed a decent sized hill. This loop meets up with the later part of loop #2 that we did today and continues on the same route as that loop. The same hills on Maurer lead into Midtown and back into Verona. We didn’t encounter any rain this loop, and arrived back to the car with 125 miles and 6847 feet of climbing. We quickly put the bikes in the car, changed our shoes and set off for an hour run around Verona (not on the IMWI race course).

125 miles and 6847 feet of climbing later...

125 miles and 6847 feet of climbing later…

We ran on some beautiful trails and had to loop back to the car for some nutrition part way through the run so we could continue on…HUNGRY!! When the hour was up, I was so happy to have 125 tough miles on the bike followed by 6 miles of running under my belt!! I loved running in my new Coeur Sports Zele kit!! #stylishspeed and super comfy!!

Happy to be done with a tough and awesome training day!

Happy to be done with a tough and awesome training day!

Saturday we started the day with the Shoreline 2.4 mile open water swim in Lake Monona. It was a small event, with lots of support. The race was a 1.2 mile loop (the original IMWI swim course) that the 2.4 mile swimmers did twice before exiting the water. The water was about 79F, so it was not wetsuit legal, but optional. The Iron Hippie and I opted for no wetsuit. If it were race day, we wouldn’t wear our wetsuit, so we might as well practice without it today. I was a bit worried about how my body would hold up today after such a BIG workout yesterday, but I was completely comfortable in the water! The back side of the rectangle was a bit choppy, but nothing that caused me to panic. This wasn’t my fastest swim, but it wasn’t my slowest either…with no wetsuit and a very tired body, I was pleased with my efforts. I finished at the EXACT same time as the Iron Hippie (we saw each other as we turned the last swim buoy and swam it in together) in a time of 1:42:27. That put me at 14/20 in my age group, 43/56 women, and 98/117 overall.

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We followed this swim up with running one loop of the IMWI run course (13.1 miles). It was a beautiful morning for a run! We had to make a few creative route adjustments because we can’t run in Camp Randall football stadium until race day since it is closed to the public and we opted to not run around the Capitol square on the return back to the car because of the VERY LARGE and amazing Farmer’s Market.

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IMWI run course

We did walk up Observatory Drive and we periodically walked to drink from our hand held water bottles, but otherwise we kept moving. It felt really good to have this run done and our own Ironman Training Camp complete! We had thought about riding one more loop of the bike course on Sunday, but we were so exhausted we decided sleep was much more important before driving back home.

This is what happy looks like after a successful Ironman Wisconsin training camp!

This is what happy looks like after a successful Ironman Wisconsin training camp!

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Love him!!

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Not our fastest run, but I definitely felt I could have kept going, and possibly even faster than this. Let’s put that to the test on race day!

It is always awesome to get to train on the race course (even though we have done this race 2 other times before and have trained on it many times in years past). This was a huge confidence builder for race day in just over 5 weeks! I LOVE the challenge of the Wisconsin course…and it IS challenging!! Madison will always have my heart!!

Have you ever done a training camp? If so, what was your favorite part? 

6 weeks ’til #IMWI: IMWI training camp

The theme for this week…IMWI training camp. We did our own Ironman Wisconsin training camp during the latter part of the week.

Monday:

I started the day with some house chores before running a few errands. When I came home from running errands, I pulled two new pairs of shoes out of the closet…time to start breaking them in for the big dance in September!! I decided to do my one hour of strength training at home today instead of going to the gym. I did this late morning before doing yard work…picking up dog droppings, pulling weeds, and mowing the lawn. It was finally “cool” enough to mow the lawn…and it is actually turning green again, so it needed to be mowed. When the Iron Hippie got off work, we did our 75 minute trainer ride of power intervals before cooking dinner with our neighbor.IMG_4780

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Tuesday:

I started my day by taking my girls on a short walk around the neighborhood before hopping on my bike for a ride. I love 2 wheels + the open roads + my new Coeur Sports Zele tri kit! Hello #stylishspeed and #noangrykitty 🙂 After my ride I took Mojo down to Kyle’s Bikes…she wasn’t shifting from the big ring to the little ring and she didn’t act like she even wanted to. While that is ok for riding around here, it is not ok for our Ironman Wisconsin training camp this coming weekend where there are LOTS of hills. Turns out she needed a new shifting cable. Kyle is da bomb!! He installed the new cable and sent me on my way 🙂 I picked up our CSA, cleaned vegetables, ate leftovers, conversed with a friend for over an hour, and was in bed shortly after 8 pm.

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Wednesday:

We started the day with a 75 minute run that included 8 x 1/4 mile hill repeats. I was super pumped to execute this run so well! Repeats 1 & 2 (1 mile) were at a 9:12/mile pace, repeats 3 & 4 were at a 9:06/mile pace, repeats 5 & 6 were at an 8:53/mile pace, and repeats 7 & 8 were at an 8:39/mile pace. I was stoked…an soaked!! 😉 After a quick change, we jumped in the pool for a short (1200 meter) swim set. After refueling and cleaning up, I met 2 clients for personal training sessions. I packed for our upcoming Ironman Wisconsin training camp weekend before heading to get a massage at 2:15. After my massage I met the Iron Hippie across town so he could do the ride I did yesterday and then I met a friend for dinner. I capped the evening off with some more packing before bed.

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This peanut butter pie was AH-MAZ-ING, but I did have a kale + quinoa + salmon salad (equally AH-MAZ-ING) before indulging in this little beauty!

Thursday:

We started the day with an hour of strength and core work at the gym before going to the pool for 2800 meters of #swimlove! After refueling and cleaning up, I continued to pack, finish laundry, clean the house, and prepare for our Ironman Wisconsin training camp weekend. When the Iron Hippie got off work at lunch time, we finished loading the car and hit the road at about 1 pm for Madison, Wisconsin for what was to be the start of a great weekend!! When we arrived in Madison, we unloaded the car at our host home…thank you Chris for hosting us when we come up and visit!! We then went to The Great Dane for dinner…YUMMY!! After getting ready for a BIG day of training tomorrow, we went to bed for a good night’s sleep.

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Play time!

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Madison…here we come!!

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Friday:

Today started our very own Ironman Wisconsin training camp!! I’ll have a post just on this amazing training weekend later this week. Today’s training included cycling 125 miles with 6847 feet of climbing followed by 6 miles of running off the bike before eating all of the food we could find at Pizza Ranch…

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Saturday:

We participated in the Shoreline 2.4 mile Swim event and followed this up with running one loop (13.1 miles) of the Ironman Wisconsin run course. After eating lots of Ian’s Pizza, we went back to our host home to clean up and spend the afternoon relaxing. We grilled dinner and watched the movie Everest before hitting the pillow for a good night’s sleep before our last day in Madison.

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Sunday:

We woke up, loaded the car, and drove home completely exhausted, but 100% happy to have gotten the opportunity to train in Madison this weekend! We LOVE Madison and would move there in a second if we both had good jobs!! Maybe it is time to start acting on this dream…  On our way home, we stopped in Cedar Falls to have lunch with the Iron Hippie’s parents. It was good to catch up and chat in person instead of just on the phone or via email. When we arrived home, we snuggled with our girls for a few minutes before unloading the car, getting Orange Leaf (new dairy free options…YUMMY), making a pit stop at Petco, and nesting for the evening. It ended up being an unscheduled rest day, but one our bodies DEFINITELY needed!! You know you need rest when you need toothpicks to keep your eyes open!!

Weekly Totals: 21 hours & 35 minutes

Swim: 8598 yards
Bike: 180 miles
Run: 27 miles
Strength Training: 2 hours

Quote of the Week:

“Being your best is not so much overcoming the barriers other people place in front of you as it is about overcoming the barriers we place in front of ourselves. It has nothing to do with how many times you win or lose. It has no relation to where you finish in a race or whether you break world records. But it does have everything to do with having the vision to dream, the courage to recover from adversity, and the determination never to be shifted from your goals.” ~Kieren Perkins

19 Weeks ’til #IMWI: Recovery + Race Time

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

Monday:

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

Strength training in the sun!

Strength training in the sun!

Recovery ride in the sun!

Recovery ride in the sun!

Snail mail delivery from Coeur Sports + Sound Probiotics = LOVE!!

Snail mail delivery from Coeur Sports + Sound Probiotics = LOVE!! #noangrykitty #stylishspeed #soundathlete

Tuesday:

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

Wednesday:

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

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

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

Thursday:

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

Recovery ride on a cold and dreary day!

Recovery ride on a cold and dreary day!

Friday:

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

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

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

Saturday:

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

Who's ready to run a cold + soaking wet + windy 1/2 marathon? We are!

Who’s ready to run a cold + soaking wet + windy 1/2 marathon? We are!

Are we really going to do this?!

Are we really going to do this?!

Unofficial stats...I guess I tried to dodge a LOT of puddles ;)

Unofficial stats…I guess I tried to dodge a LOT of puddles since I was only supposed to have run 13.1 miles 😉

Drake 1/2 marathon is in the books! Official finish time = 1:54:23

Drake 1/2 marathon is in the books! Official finish time = 1:54:23

Sunday:

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

Basil says, "Mama, will you please get off your bike and come cuddle with me?"

Basil says, “Mama, will you please get off your bike and come cuddle with me?”

LOTS to work on this week in the pool! Thanks Coach for the stroke analysis and guidance!!

LOTS to work on this week in the pool! Thanks Coach for the stroke analysis and guidance!!

Weekly Totals: 8 hours & 44 minutes

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

Quote of the Week:

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

What’s Up?! – April 2016

It is hard to believe that we only have 4 more weeks of school before summer break! Where has the time gone?! April has been a whirlwind, but here is what I’ve been up to:

Training:

Hello Spring!! I’ve missed you!! I’m so glad you’ve shown up so I can FINALLY get outside for more of my workouts!! Although today, the weather has turned back to cold, rainy, and gloomy for the weekend. As a matter of fact, the predicted weather for tomorrow morning’s Drake 1/2 Marathon race is 44F with 25 mph winds and 95% chance of rain. Oh…what to wear?! I have had some good training weeks (here and here) and lots of fun in the process!! We recently did a century ride. Why?! Because we could…no other reason. It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t on the calendar, it just kind of happened. It definitely wasn’t our fastest century ride, but the first century ride of 2016 is in the books!

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Running has been going well. Little by little, I have been seeing improvements in my run times off of the bike. I am hoping this continues.

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Training hasn’t been all peaches and cream. I have been getting some swim coaching, and it has been challenging. Tough. Uncomfortable. I am hoping that one day soon the uncomfortable becomes comfortable, but until then, I will keep working hard and hope that one day (hopefully soon) I will have a swim stroke as beautiful and efficient as Michael Phelps.

Swim Analysis

Where is my catch?!

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Playing in the pool…trying to keep things fun!

Reading:

Elite Minds: Creating the Competitive Advantage by Stan Beecham is a really easy read that gives insight into the process of developing a world-class mind in business and sport. I’m learning how fear is holding me back, what I can do to overcome this fear, and that I can’t do it on my own. I consider myself to be a very independent person and often try to achieve success on my own. I’m learning that I can’t achieve success without the help and support of others. It is good to ask for and receive help! It is not a sign of weakness. It is time for me to change my mindset! Success is also important on overcoming my fears. It is time to figure out why those fears exist and overcome those fears aside to achieve dreams and success!

Inspired By:

Brene Brown is a researcher + storyteller who studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. I’ve been taking her Living Brave Semester coursework since January. I can’t even begin to share how much I’ve learned, how much I’ve grown, and how sad I am going to be when this class is over. If you haven’t been exposed to Brene’s work, I highly recommend you watch this Ted Talk or read this article.

Courage

Loving:

All of the fun new Coeur Sports designs in the triathlon and cycling gear! Hello #stylishspeed and #noangrykitty in amazing and fun designs!!

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Crew Design

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Mixed Tape Design

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Hapuna Design

Looking Forward To:

With only 4 more weeks of school, I am definitely looking forward to summer break. Being a school teacher doesn’t have many perks, but the summer off is a definite perk that I look forward to every year!

What new reads do you recommend? What are you loving right now? What are you looking forward to?

Racing with Heart and Courage in 2016

Wow, just WOW!! I am honored to be representing Coeur Sports again in 2016 as part of their ambassador team!!

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

I am overjoyed to be a part of this badass group of strong, courageous women who encourage women in sport and inspire me to be the best version of myself everyday!! They challenge me to #dreambig, #pushmylimits and to even push past them on occasion 🙂

Not only do I love Coeur Sports’s apparel (hello #stylishspeed, seamless chamois and #noangrykitty), but I love what this amazing company and the people behind it stand for: community, kindness, strength, positive sportsmanship, giving back (1% of sales go to the Challenged Athlete Foundation), #heartandcourage, and encouraging more women to lead a life of health and fitness.

Coeur Sports, founder Kebby Holden, and co-founder Hailey Manning stand for these Coeur values and aren’t afraid to #dreambig, while positively impacting the world around them. They put #heartandcourage into everything they do – while racing, training and behind the scenes.

I am beyond excited to represent a brand that embraces strong women and be a part of this badass group of courageous women who are full of #heartandcourage!

And Now…My tentative race schedule for 2016:

St. Louis 1/2 Marathon – April 10, 2016

Drake 1/2 Marathon – April 30, 2016

Tour de Cure Central Iowa 75 mile ride – June 11, 2016

Wisconsin Milkman Triathlon – June 19, 2016

Okoboji Triathlon – July 16, 2016

My “A” Race is: Ironman Wisconsin – September 11, 2016

2016 is going to be an FANTABULOUS year!!