25 weeks ’til #IMMT: looking fear in the face

I’m not 100% yet, but I have made #progress with my recovery and being #fearless this week!

Swim: 5200 yards

I had two really good swims this week. During my second swim, I was able to put some intensity into my swim without any issues with my back. It felt SO good to finally be getting a good workout in! #progress

Not fast, not far, and my form still needs work, but I was swimming pain free!
Not fast, not far, and my form still needs work, but I was swimming pain free!
Diving into the unknown by incorporating some speed work into my swim so I can #findfaster
Diving into the unknown by incorporating some speed work into my swim so I can #findfaster

Bike: 25.9 miles

I had 3 bike rides this week with 2 adding some intensity again…z3, but it was still some intensity! The good news is they were all pain free!

Incorporated some intensity into this ride...5x1 minute in Z3 was pain free!
Incorporated some intensity into this ride…5×1 minute in Z3 was pain free!
Recovery spin post swim...2 workouts in one day with no pain = BLISS!
Recovery spin post swim…2 workouts in one day with no pain = BLISS!
Workout #2 for the day with more intensity + pain free! :)
Workout #2 for the day with more z3 intensity + pain free! 🙂

Run: 2 miles

I was finally able to run on Sunday for the first time in over 2 weeks. It wasn’t far, it wasn’t fast, but it was pain free and I was running! I had to stare at the treadmill for a while to build up the courage to finally press the start button, but I’m so glad I did!

Staring fear in the face!
Staring fear in the face! #fearless

Strength Training:

I haven’t had much strength training other than the exercise Dr. Chris has given me and rebuilding some core strength. I am hopeful that this coming week will change all of that and I’ll be able to slowly build my strength training back up again.

Weekly Totals: 5 hours & 15 minutes

Weekly Positives:

Dr. Chris Feil with Team Chiropractic and Rehabilitation and Nick Morton with Vitality Massage worked wonders on me this week! I was finally able to run after more than 2 weeks sans running!

Dry needling + electric shock to get my back to cooperate!
Dry needling + electric shock to get my back to cooperate!

Thanks to the 70+F weather early in the week, I got to dream with my girls about spring/summer!

Lots of dreaming of spring swims on our walk Tuesday!
Lots of dreaming of spring swims on our walk Tuesday!

We had a very special delivery this week…Barnana! Hello #potassiumboost + whole food nutrition!

Barnana deliver!
Barnana deliver!

Tuesday was twin day at school and who better to be my twin, than my #solesister?!?!?!

Twin Tuesday at school...Love my sole sister!
Twin Tuesday at school…Love my sole sister!

Quote of the Week:

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

26 weeks ’til #IMMT: setback + motivation

I had a setback this week that was quite literally a pain in the back! I carried laundry up the stairs and managed to tweak my back in such a way that I am undergoing treatment + active release therapy from Dr. Chris Feil at Team Chiropractic and Rehabilitation. Really?! Laundry?! Yep…I don’t even have a good story to go with this injury! Thankfully Dr. Chris thinks I should be close to 100% by the end of this week. I really hope he’s right! I have goals to achieve and dreams to chase! While this is killing me, I WILL heal before I jump back into training and risk re-injury. This is yet another lesson in patience! Thanks to Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness for keeping me mentally sane, adjusting my training plan, nad keeping me focused on doing what I can through this injury process!

Swim: 3800 yards

My first swim to test the back was Thursday after work. I swam 1500 yards (with about 500 being pull) and I found that my back was nagging through most of the swim. Sunday’s swim went much better! 2300 yards with very few niggles in my back 🙂

First swim to test the back
First swim to test the back
Swim #2 this week was SO much better than #1!
Swim #2 this week was SO much better than #1!

Bike: 41 miles

Wednesday I rode easy for 45 minutes with a nagging back. It was still pretty sore. Friday I rode 1 hour trying to stay mostly in z2. This felt much better than Wednesday, but I still had some issues with my back that started about 40 minutes into the ride. Sunday I rode for 90 minutes trying to keep in z2 for a full 60 minutes without having my back tighten up and I am so happy that I was able to achieve this! While my back is still not 100%, I have definitely made progress this week and am getting closer and closer to 100% every day!

First easy ride...smiling because I'm back in the saddle (even with a little pain)!
First easy ride…smiling because I’m back in the saddle (even with a little pain)!
Trying to stay in z2 without back pain
Trying to stay in z2 without back pain
Yes! Ended the week with a 90 minute ride with 1 full hour solidly in z2!
Yes! Ended the week with a 90 minute ride with 1 full hour solidly in z2!

Run: Zero, Zilch, Nada

Thanks to my recent pain in the back, I did no running last week. 😦

Strength Training: 

The only strength training I did was what Dr. Chris recommended, which wasn’t much, but it was something.

Weekly Totals: 4 hours + 35 minutes

Weekly Positives:

I had some special deliveries this week from some amazing companies that I LOVE! I heart my Coeur Sports gear and my Breakthrough Nutrition! If you want to try Stacy Sims sports nutrition, please use WELOVESNBS to enjoy 10% off Breakthrough Nutrition!

New Coeur Sports gear!
New Coeur Sports gear! Super happy heart!
Breakthrough Nutrition...serious love!
Breakthrough Nutrition…serious love!

Getting better slowly with the help of Dr. Chris Feil at Team Chiropractic and Rehabilitation.

Getting back on track with the help from Dr. Chris Feil...getting better every day = #progress!
Getting back on track with the help from Dr. Chris Feil…getting better every day = #progress!

I’m honored to be invited to share my Ironman journey with our community. It was so much fun to talk triathlon, inspire others, and be inspired by others at Mary Greeley Medical Center’s Motivational Morning on Saturday morning! Thanks to Coeur Sports, Sound Probiotics, and SBR Sports, Inc. for supplying some goodies to hand out to the participants!

I'm honored to be invited to share my Ironman journey with members of the community.
Talking triathlon
Goodies!
Goodies!
More Goodies!
More Goodies!

Quote of the Week:

“Your “job” as a serious athlete right now and my job as coach is for you to get healthy.” Coach Kelly…Thanks for the reminder Coach! 😉

How was your week? What positives made your week better?

Currently // January 2016

Training

January started with this…

My first ever MRI
My first ever MRI
I could get use to wearing scrubs...Super comfy!!
I could get use to wearing scrubs…Super comfy!!

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

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

Reading

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

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

Recovery

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

Thanks to Dr. Chris for all for the active release therapy...even when it hurts!
Thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic for all for the active release therapy…even when it hurts!
Basil loves to help me foam roller after a sweaty workout!
Basil loves to help me foam roller after a sweaty workout!
I can finally reach my toes...yoga is working :)
I can finally reach my toes…yoga is working 🙂

Learning

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

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

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Balance

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

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Coloring is a stress relief and a work in progress 😉

Quote of the Week

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

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

My 2015 Year in Review via Photos

January:

Running with the family
Running with the family
#solesistasweat
#solesistasweat
Getting some #runlove with my favorite four-legged baby girl!
Getting some #runlove with my favorite four-legged baby girl!
One of my favorite trainer workouts
One of my favorite trainer workouts

February:

#solesistasweat
#solesistasweat
Getting my Coeur Sports Ambassador gear :)
Getting my Coeur Sports Ambassador gear 🙂
Swim clinic...love to learn
Swim clinic…love to learn
#solesistasweat
#solesistasweat
#heartandcourage strong
#heartandcourage strong
Conquering Mountains
Conquering Mountains

March:

#Yogalove
#Yogalove
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Fun times with my #solesista
Birthday funday!
Birthday funday!
Bike fit love
Bike fit love
Spring break with my #solesister
Spring break with my #solesister
Fun with my nieces at the park
Fun with my nieces at the park
Playing tag with the family
Playing tag with the family
Running a 5K with my sister
Running a 5K with my sister

April:

Our own 70.3 workout day
Our own 70.3 workout day
Teaching women how to do bike maintenance
Teaching women how to do bike maintenance
#runlove with the family
#runlove with the family
Drake 1/2 Marathon fun!
Drake 1/2 Marathon fun!
Drake 1/2 Marathon fun
Drake 1/2 Marathon fun
Niece #5 was born!
Niece #5 was born!

May:

Outdoor training :)
Outdoor training 🙂
I love to ride my bicycle!
I love to ride my bicycle!
Oops...learning lessons
Oops…learning lessons
Visiting the Aerospace Engineering Department at Iowa State University
Visiting the Aerospace Engineering Department at Iowa State University
Changing a flat while the Iron Hippie watches...I'm sure many people who passed us had some thoughts about his "supervision" duties ;)
Changing a flat while the Iron Hippie watches…I’m sure many people who passed us had some thoughts about his “supervision” duties 😉
Last day of school!!
Last day of school!!
Getting my Undress in the mail and loving it!!
Getting my Undress in the mail and loving it!!

June:

First outdoor swim in 2015
First outdoor swim in 2015
Finishing the Legend 100 hand-in-hand with the Iron Hippie. Photo courtesy of Legend Endurance
Finishing the Legend 100 hand-in-hand with the Iron Hippie. Photo courtesy of Legend Endurance
Who's ready to race?!?!?!
Who’s ready to race?!?!?!
Dad (blue) and Tom (gray) figuring out how to get into their kayaks to escort me on an open water swim
Dad (blue) and Tom (gray) figuring out how to get into their kayaks to escort me on an open water swim
We are ready to ride the Tour de Cure Cedar Rapids!!
We are ready to ride the Tour de Cure Cedar Rapids!!

July:

30 miles into our 115 mile bike ride. Last big ride before Ironman Boulder
30 miles into our 115 mile bike ride. Last big ride before Ironman Boulder
Last big swim before Ironman Boulder
Last big swim before Ironman Boulder
Last long run before Ironman Boulder
Last long run before Ironman Boulder
Meeting my blog friend, Kelli, and her family :)
Meeting my blog friend, Kelli, and her family 🙂
The view off of the deck overlooking the lake in Red Feather Lakes, CO.
The view off of the deck overlooking the lake in Red Feather Lakes, CO.
The morning sunrise on the mountains at Red Feather Lakes, CO.
The morning sunrise on the mountains at Red Feather Lakes, CO.
Taking a boat ride in Red Feather Lakes, CO
Taking a boat ride in Red Feather Lakes, CO
Sunset with a double rainbow in the background (this photo does not do the real beauty justice) in Red Feather Lakes, CO
Sunset with a double rainbow in the background (this photo does not do the real beauty justice) in Red Feather Lakes, CO
We made it to Estes Park, CO!!
We made it to Estes Park, CO!!
The view of Longs Peak from our patio in Estes Park, CO.
The view of Longs Peak from our patio in Estes Park, CO.
Happy Anniversary to the Iron Hippie...what a great way to celebrate 5 years in Grand Lakes, CO ;)
Happy Anniversary to the Iron Hippie…what a great way to celebrate 5 years in Grand Lakes, CO 😉
We made it to Adam's Falls...with Allen and the Iron Hippie.
We made it to Adam’s Falls…with Allen and the Iron Hippie.
We all survived our first run at altitude :)
We all survived our first run at altitude 🙂
Three athletes ready to ride in Boulder, CO!
Three athletes ready to ride in Boulder, CO!
The view from the path around Lake Estes, CO.
The view from the path around Lake Estes, CO.
Ward, Colorado was our turn around point for the Peak to Peak Highway ride.
Ward, Colorado was our turn around point for the Peak to Peak Highway ride.
People lining the shore getting ready for the BAM OWS in Boulder, CO.
People lining the shore getting ready for the BAM OWS in Boulder, CO.
BAM OWS in Boulder, CO complete...I felt GREAT!!
BAM OWS in Boulder, CO complete…I felt GREAT!!
Stand-up paddle boarding in Lake Estes, CO :)
Stand-up paddle boarding in Lake Estes, CO 🙂
Taking a break from the riding and doing a little core work in Ward!!
Taking a break from the riding and doing a little core work in Ward!!
Riding the Peak to Peak Highway in Colorado
#bikelove on the Peak to Peak Highway in Colorado
We found a "sign" of back home in downtown Denver!!
We found a “sign” of back home in downtown Denver!!
Loch Lake, CO...Loving the hike!
Loch Lake, CO…Loving the hike!
Having a little fun throwing snowballs in July on our way up to Loch Vale.
Having a little fun throwing snowballs in July on our way up to Loch Vale.
"Riding" tandem in Estes Park, CO
“Riding” tandem in Estes Park, CO
Ironman Boulder...here I come!
Ironman Boulder…here I come!
Ready to race IMBoulder :)
Ready to race IMBoulder 🙂
Getting Registered for Ironman Boulder
Getting Registered for Ironman Boulder
I'm so lucky to have my family at IMBoulder to cheer me on!
I’m so lucky to have my family at IMBoulder to cheer me on!

August:

Mojo is all racked and getting a good night's rest at her temporary home so we can have fun at IMBoulder!!
Mojo is all racked and getting a good night’s rest at her temporary home so we can have fun at IMBoulder!!
My aunt, cousins and Dad came out to the Rez for the IMBoulder swim
My aunt, cousins and Dad came out to the Rez for the IMBoulder swim
Whizzing through Hygiene on the first loop...Serious #bikelove on this course!!
Whizzing through Hygiene on the first loop…Serious #bikelove on this course!!
Mom and the twins are cheering me on to the run!
Mom and the twins are cheering me on to the run!
This smile sums up my race day experience!!
This smile sums up my race day experience!!
Erin...one of my Coeur Sports teammates and my angel on race day!!
Erin…one of my Coeur Sports teammates and my angel on race day!!
My cheer squad...Love them all!!
My cheer squad…Love them all!!
Dad and Sam cheering me on down the finish shoot...yes, that blur is me :)
Dad and Sam cheering me on down the finish shoot…yes, that blur is me 🙂
Coming into the finish shoot all smiles...it was a daylight finish, but these photos don't represent that.
Coming into the finish shoot all smiles…it was a daylight finish, but these photos don’t represent that.
Visiting my sister and nieces in California
Visiting my sister and nieces in California
Sister time in Cali!
Sister time in Cali!
Running up Mt. Diablo in California
Running up Mt. Diablo in California
#solesistasweat
#solesistasweat
#bikelove with friends
#bikelove with friends

September:

Team Kecia crossed the finish line at the Des Moines Triathlon...job complete.
Team Kecia crossed the finish line at the Des Moines Triathlon…job complete.
Holy Crap! I think this is a sign that I left it all out on the bike course.
Holy Crap! I think this is a sign that I left it all out on the bike course.
Volunteering at Ironman Wisconsin...Race morning in front of the Capitol.
Volunteering at Ironman Wisconsin…Race morning in front of the Capitol.
Ironman Wisconsin Race morning...who is ready to swim?!?!?!
Ironman Wisconsin Race morning…who is ready to swim?!?!?!
The women volunteers in T1 at Ironman Wisconsin
The women volunteers in T1 at Ironman Wisconsin
Getting my Sound Probiotics Ambassador gear
Getting my Sound Probiotics Ambassador gear
Basil walking toward the Supermoon on a rural gravel road.
Basil walking toward the Supermoon on a rural gravel road.

October:

Signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2016!
Signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2016!
300+ 8th grade students ready for the AMS Spirit Run!
300+ 8th grade students ready for the AMS Spirit Run!
Fall #bikelove is the best :)
Fall #bikelove is the best 🙂
Date night with the Iron Hippie as we work on our strength training
Date night with the Iron Hippie as we work on our strength training
Finding some motivation with my #IMWI finisher medal and race bib on the wall next to me as I ride
Finding some motivation with my #IMWI finisher medal and race bib on the wall next to me as I ride
Lots of #heartandcourage as I heal up from bursitis of the my left knee
Lots of #heartandcourage as I heal up from bursitis of the my left knee
Taking the dogs for a swim
Taking the dogs for a swim
Nailing my intervals on the trainer! #bikelove
Nailing my intervals on the trainer! #bikelove
Dry needling to assist my healing...thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic
Dry needling to assist my healing…thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic
Getting our #solesista tattoos :)
Getting our #solesista tattoos 🙂
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This ink will be my constant reminder while training and racing to #believe in myself, my abilities and my training!!

November:

Enjoying some outdoor #bikelove in November in Iowa...short sleeves and shorts!
Enjoying some outdoor #bikelove in November in Iowa…short sleeves and shorts! WHAT?!?!?!
Century ride in November in Iowa...this amazing weather is unheard of!!
Century ride in November in Iowa…this amazing weather is unheard of!!
I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2016 Ambassador Team...Such a badass group of women that I'm overjoyed to be a part of!!
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!!
My fitness article on "Giving thanks in an active lifestyle" was a big hit this month ;)
My fitness article on “Giving thanks in an active lifestyle” was a big hit this month in our local magazine 😉
Girl's night out with some running friends...so much fun :)
Girl’s night out with some running friends…so much fun 🙂
Outdoor #bikelove lasted through November 14 this year!!
Outdoor #bikelove lasted through November 14 this year!!
Pleasantly surprised with a Passion Planner from one of my colleagues.
Pleasantly surprised with a Passion Planner from one of my colleagues.
Winter greeted us with a LOT of snow (7.6 inches) for the first snow fall of the season.
Winter greeted us with a LOT of snow (7.6 inches) for the first snow fall of the season.
Romping and snowshoeing with friends
Romping and snowshoeing with friends
Riding a motorized animal because I can :)
Riding a motorized animal just because I can 🙂
Spending an afternoon with Mom and Grandma.
Spending an afternoon with Mom and Grandma.

December:

"Believe, Endure, Achieve" will be my mantra for 2016. It will remind me to #believe in all that I am and to #endure and overcome challenges throughout my journey so I can #achieve big dreams! #dreambig #meaningfulmantras
Thank you to Simone for my wonderful bracelet!! “Believe, Endure, Achieve” will be my mantra for 2016. It will remind me to #believe in all that I am and to #endure and overcome challenges throughout my journey so I can #achieve big dreams! #dreambig #meaningfulmantras
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Looking back at 2015 to move forward in 2016 #goalsetting
Yahoo!! So pumped for my new Roka Sports wetsuit!!
Yahoo!! So pumped for my new Roka Sports wetsuit!!
Taking part in Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching's #rttc10dayroutine Challenge and developing a routine that has helped me #believe in myself deep underneath the surface at the very core of my being. 1. Start my "Believe" playlist...time to get down and jam! 2. Take a couple of swigs of Karma Kombucha Orange Ginger..."I #believe I can fly" 3. Listen to my pep talk (previously recorded) while I pull on my workout gear..."Don't stop believing" 4. Grab my lucky charm from Tonja and head out the door..."In a world of ordinary mortals, you are a Wonder Woman!" 5. Stand on the front step in power pose for 30 seconds because...I am Wonder Woman!
Taking part in Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching’s #rttc10dayroutine Challenge and developing a routine that has helped me #believe in myself deep underneath the surface at the very core of my being.
1. Start my “Believe” playlist…time to get down and jam!
2. Take a couple of swigs of Karma Kombucha Orange Ginger…”I #believe I can fly”
3. Listen to my pep talk (previously recorded) while I pull on my workout gear…”Don’t stop believing”
4. Grab my lucky charm from Tonja and head out the door…”In a world of ordinary mortals, you are a Wonder Woman!”
5. Stand on the front step in power pose for 30 seconds because…I am Wonder Woman!
Finally reconnecting with my mat after 9 months off.
Finally reconnecting with my mat after 9 months off…#yogalove
Running on a beautiful cold morning.
Running on a beautiful cold morning with 2 of my faves!
Grandma Annie continues to show up at Christmas and surprise us all with her awesomeness...Our hideous pajama pants were a family favorite this year!
Grandma Annie continues to show up at Christmas and surprise us all with her awesomeness…Our hideous pajama pants were a family favorite this year!
Snowshoeing in the offseason!!
Snowshoeing in the offseason!!
Basil loves playing in the snow!! #happyheart
Basil loves playing in the snow!! #happyheart
Love my sole sister!!
Love my sole sister!!
Girls night out!! Lots of laughs!! :)
Girls night out!! Lots of laughs!! 🙂
My new Cobb Cycling V-Flow saddle :)
My new Cobb Cycling V-Flow saddle 🙂
Fun times with family!!
Fun times with family!!

Happy New Year!! Cheers to an awesome 2016!! 

xoxo

The Best of 2015

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

Best race experience?

Hands down…Ironman Boulder was my best race experience in 2015!! I set a bike PR with a time of 6:46:12 and an overall Ironman race PR with a time of 14:04:37. I came very close to meeting my time goal of breaking 14 hours and had a blast!! I absolutely love this course and definitely plan to do it again 🙂

Coming into the finish shoot all smiles...it was a daylight finish, but these photos don't represent that.
Coming into the finish shoot all smiles…it was a daylight finish, but these photos don’t represent that.

Best run?

I had multiple runs that were great throughout the year, but I think the most fun I had was running up Mt. Diablo in Walnut Creek, CA. This was a very challenging run, but so much fun to run some place new and different!

Running up Mt. Diablo in California
Running up Mt. Diablo in California
I made it to the top and looked out over the city.
I made it to the top and looked out over the city.

Best bike?

The Peak to Peak Highway rides, Day 1 and Day 2, in Colorado with the Iron Hippie and Allen were very challenging, but oh so much fun!! It was #bikelove like no other!! I can’t wait to get back to Colorado and ride more roads like these 🙂

Riding the Peak to Peak Highway in Colorado
Riding the Peak to Peak Highway in Colorado
Taking a break from the riding and doing a little core work in Ward!!
Taking a break from the riding and doing a little core work in Ward!!
I pulled us all up the mountain.
I pulled us all up the mountain.
On top of the world...or maybe just Colorado at elevation 9200+ feet.
On top of the world…or maybe just Colorado at elevation 9200+ feet.

Best swim?

Swimming with my father kayaking next to me around Lake Okoboji. I LOVE swimming in the lake where I grew up and am so lucky that my father likes to join me on my long swims 🙂

Dad is getting in his kayak
Dad is getting in his kayak
Lake Okoboji...my playground!!
Lake Okoboji…my playground!!
Feeling so great after 2.6 miles of open water swimming at an average pace of 1:52/100 yards.
Feeling so great after 2.6 miles of open water swimming at an average pace of 1:52/100 yards.

Best team race?

The Des Moines Triathlon that we did as a team was probably the most fun group workout I had this year. The Iron Hippie swam, I cycled and Allen ran in this Olympic-distance event. I pushed myself to limits on the bike that I didn’t know I had…especially only 5 weeks post Ironman Boulder.

Holy Crap! I think this is a sign that I left it all out on the bike course.
Holy Crap! I think this is a sign that I left it all out on the bike course.
Team Kecia crossed the finish line at the Des Moines Triathlon...job complete.
Team Kecia crossed the finish line at the Des Moines Triathlon…job complete.

Best recovery technique?

#recoveryisimportant and that is why I invest in the best recovery possible! Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic uses ART to help keep me healthy and Nick massages my tight muscles regularly! The two work well together…I like to refer to myself as their insurance policy since Ironman racing looks to be in our future for the next few years 😉

This rehab is the best there is!
This rehab is the best there is!
Dry needling to assist my healing...thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic
Dry needling to assist my healing…thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic

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Best hike in Colorado?

When we were staying in Estes Park, we went on a hike up to Loch Vale Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a great adventure!!

Hiking up to Loch Vale.
Hiking up to Loch Vale.
Having a little fun throwing snowballs in July on our way up to Loch Vale.
Having a little fun throwing snowballs in July on our way up to Loch Vale.
Loch Lake...so peaceful and magnificent!
Loch Lake…so peaceful and magnificent!

Best offseason adventure?

Snowshoeing…this is by far one of my favorite offseason activities! The Iron Hippie and our girls always have just as much fun as I do! It is good cross training, full of fresh air and fun 🙂

Snowshoeing is the perfect offseason cross training activity! The dogs love it too!
Snowshoeing is the perfect offseason cross training activity! The dogs love it too!

Best new piece of gear?

This is SUPER easy…Coeur Sports has the best women’s tri kits and running apparel on the market!!  L.O.V.E. LOVE all my Coeur gear…no chafing, seamless chamois, perfect fit, fun colors, #stylishspeed and #noangrykitty…simply AMAZING!!  This year I found new love in my run capris! Not only are they unbelievably comfortable, but they fit like a glove! I love them so much that I have them in every pattern they offer and can’t wait for more design options 🙂 I love what Coeur Sports stands for, that they encourage, inspire, and promote women in sport and they represent #heartandcourage.  ALL women who SBR (swim, bike, run) and/or do triathlon should wear Coeur Sports apparel…it is da BOMB!!

Basil likes to help me foam roller in my AMAZING Coeur Sports run capris :)
Basil likes to help me foam roller in my AMAZING Coeur Sports run capris 🙂

Best way to log my workouts?

This is another SUPER easy one…my #believetrainingjournal!! While I like 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 lavender one for 2016!!

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LOVE this journal!
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Reviewing my workouts in my Believe Training Journal

Best way to stay healthy?

This was also SUPER easy…Sound Probiotics has been keeping me healthy since March! 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!! #soundathlete = #soundlife

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#winningtakesguts

Best piece of racing advice you received?

“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!! KristinErin and Jen fought hard to qualify for their first Ironman World Championships. Can you say inspirational? Amy won Ironman Lake Placid and Sonja won Ironman Lake Tahoe…first women overall at each of their races. Hello inspiration?!?! There were many Coeur women who raced in Kona at the Ironman World Championships, others had podium finishes at various races they competed in, many 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 2016!! #heartandcourage

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

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

Fun, Believe, Dream Big

Tell me about your 2015 year!! What are your “bests” from 2015?

Looking Back at 2015 to Move Forward in 2016

I can’t believe the first week of December has already came and went!! With less than 1 month to the start of 2016, it is time to reflect on 2015. It is good to look at the past (taking a look at what went well and what needs improvement) before planning for the future.  I have taken some time to reflect and evaluate my 2015 journey so I can set S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2016.

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USA Triathlon posted a great article that I used to help me evaluate my 2014 training and racing season before trying to plan for 2015. I found this reflection very beneficial and thought I would use the same questions to reflect on my 2015 season so I can better plan for 2016.

1. In hindsight, were your goals for the season clear and attainable?

-My goals were clear and attainable: smile and have fun at Ironman Boulder while pushing to break 14 hours.  I feel like I could have pushed a little bit harder to break 14 hours since my overall finish time was 14:04:37, but I did manage to smile and have fun all day long!! I love Ironman racing…it makes my heart happy 🙂

Coming into the finish shoot all smiles...it was a daylight finish, but these photos don't represent that.
Coming into the finish shoot all smiles…it was a daylight finish, but these photos don’t represent that. Photo courtesy of Finisherpix

2. What are you most proud of this season?

-I had a huge PR on the IM bike…granted Ironman Boulder was a much easier bike course than Ironman Wisconsin, but I still pulled out a bike PR!! I broke crushed my previous IM bike PR by 1:10:46. Despite a slower swim and run, I still ended up with a PR at #IMBoulder of over an hour (which obviously came mostly from my bike split). I am happy and confident that I could have aimed higher at #IMBoulder…especially on the swim and run.

Whizzing through Hygiene on the first loop...Serious #bikelove on this course!!
Whizzing through Hygiene on the first loop…Serious #bikelove on this course!! Photo courtesy of my cousin Justin

-I am happy that I conquered a new distance by racing the Legend 100 on a very challenging day. I didn’t let the rough waters, wind and hills, or brutal heat and humidity prevent me from crossing the finish line.

Finishing the Legend 100 hand-in-hand with the Iron Hippie. Photo courtesy of Legend Endurance
Finishing the Legend 100 hand-in-hand with the Iron Hippie. Photo courtesy of Legend Endurance

3. What would I like to duplicate next year?

-I would like to continue training without a coach for 2016. I think I will be looking to have a coach again sometime in the future, but through self-coaching, I have learned to listen to my body more…take breaks when I need them, push harder when I can, and recover more wisely than I once did. When I had a coach, I did whatever was in Training Peaks without listening to what my body wanted and needed. When/if I go back to having a coach, I will need to keep the balance of listening to my coach and my body.

-I would like to maintain my cycling fitness. I have gotten so much stronger and faster on the bike, which I would love to reap the benefits of in 2016. With Ironman Wisconsin’s bike course being more technical than Ironman Boulder’s I can definitely benefit from carrying this cycling fitness into 2016!

Nailing my intervals on the trainer! #bikelove
Nailing my intervals on the trainer! #bikelove

-I incorporated more mental training and focus into my training and racing this year. I reaped rewards from this on race day when tough moments arose. I definitely want to continue to focus on mental training in 2016 and incorporate it into my training plan everyday instead of only the last month of training before a big race.

4. What frustrated or disappointed you the most this season?

-Ending up with hypnatremia again post IMBoulder. I thought I had my nutrition dialed in, but I was obviously wrong in thinking this…

This is post medical tent...I didn't feel so good.
This is post medical tent…I didn’t feel so good. Photo courtesy of S. Bierbaum

5. What do you not want to happen again next year?

-I want to avoid nutritional failure again as was mentioned in the previous question. Race day is always so much more enjoyable and rewarding when your nutrition is spot on.

-I also want to avoid injuries. I have been trying to overcome some muscle stiffness and imbalances post IMBoulder. I want to get to the injury free zone and remain there for 2016. I would love to be able to race a 70.3 distance event…hard…prior to Ironman Wisconsin in 2016!!

Dry needling to assist my healing...thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic
Dry needling to assist my healing…thanks to Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic

6. What did you learn by going through these experiences?

-I need to figure out where I can have a sweat test done to determine what electrolytes and in what quantities I sweat them out (not just water loss). This will allow me to better prevent hyponatremia. Knowing the quantities of the electrolytes that I sweat out will help me take in the proper doses of electrolytes for my body needs.

-I need to be sure to incorporate proper strength training, stretching, and foam rollering into my weekly schedule and post workouts so I don’t get injured again. In getting reacquainted with my mat, I have found that hot yoga helps me stretch my muscles deeper. This means I need to incorporate more hot yoga into my weekly training plan. It is a good thing I love hot yoga!!

#Yogalove
#Yogalove

7. What decisions did you make that were empowering for you?

-I felt empowered by incorporating more mental training into my race preparation for IMBoulder this year. I laid out goals, reasons for each goal, a visualization plan, and mantra for each part of my Ironman race day experience. On race day when things got tough, I had the tools in my toolbox to help me through those tough moments. I definitely reaped rewards for my mental training and focus on race day!!

Pre race planning
Pre race planning

8. What habits seemed to hold you back from achieving your potential?

-I did not incorporate enough recovery into my training. I need to incorporate more recovery techniques into my everyday training/workout routine so that I remain healthy and injury free. Foam rollering, ART, massage, hot yoga, and stretching need to be a part of my everyday training post workout.

-I need to overcome the fear of being uncomfortable. I am always afraid to leave it all out there…whether it is a training session or during a race. Where is that balance between being uncomfortable and able to successfully finish and being uncomfortable and failing? It is time for me to find out. It is time for me to get really uncomfortable and learn to feel truly comfortable with the uncomfortable!

It is time to start living my dream instead of living my fear!
It is time to start living my dream instead of living my fear!

9. What decisions should you make in order to have your best triathlon year ahead?

-I need to incorporate more recovery techniques into my everyday training plan to keep me healthy and injury free. I need to train smarter…while incorporating speed and hill workouts on the bike is important, I also need to focus on balance and not pushing hard with every workout. I want to improve my bike split at Ironman Wisconsin from my previous 2 IMWI experiences (in 2011 and 2014) and I believe training smarter will help me achieve this. It is time to bring back the speed!! I want to get my run faster, so I’ll need to incorporate more speed work on the run and practice running some of my longer runs at a faster pace than I have in the last few years. I also need to focus on believing in myself and my training more…not just the superficial believing, but the deep underneath the surface at the very core of my being believing! 🙂

My 2016 S.M.A.R.T. goals will come in a few weeks time. Stay tuned…

Have you looked backward so you can plan for the future? What did you learn?

Post Ironman Boulder Struggles

Sometimes the best laid plans don’t go according to plan…I am finding this out yet again. While this isn’t the first time this has happened, it is a good reminder that my body may not allow my brain to get what it wants. I had a great plan for post Ironman Boulder with a few fall races on the calendar. I am still planning to participate in these races, but I have had to make some modifications. I have been seeing Dr. Chris at Team Chiropractic for ART (Active Release Therapy) treatments on my left knee…running hasn’t been the best lately. I had no knee pain during Ironman Boulder and no knee pain during the first run post Ironman while in California, but when I came back to Iowa, my knee decided to vocalize how it really felt about me running. Let’s just say my mind and my knee are not in agreement right now. My knee screamed LOUD about how unhappy it was with me, so…

Dry needling is NOT my idea of a good time, but if it gets me running again, I'll endure the pain that comes with it!!
Dry needling is NOT my idea of a good time, but if it gets me running again, I’ll endure the pain that comes with it!!

With the Des Moines Olympic-Distance Triathlon this Sunday, Allen, the Iron Hippie and I have decided to change our individual participant status to a team status. The Iron Hippie will swim, I will bike and Allen will run. This should be a fun way for all of us to find some motivation again and hopefully keep us from further injuring ourselves…yes, I am not the only one on the injury train. 😦

I am hopeful that Dr. Chris can help get me running soon enough so that I can still participate in my fall running races, but only time will tell. Cycling doesn’t bother the knee at all, so I will do LOTS of cycling this fall, but depending on how the knee is holding up, I may have to postpone my cyclocross races, which I am VERY upset about. Come. On. Body. Cooperate. With. Me! I am VERY grateful for what it has allowed me to do and I know I should give it a break…after all, I did give it a bit of a beating through Ironman Boulder. It is just so difficult when the head and body don’t agree on what is “best” for me!! My mind NEEDS exercise, but apparently my body thinks it needs a break. UGH!

For now, I will continue to do my strength training and bike my heart out with the hope that running and swimming will find their way back into my regular workout routine…sooner, rather than later would be nice 😉

What do you do when your body and mind are not in agreement? How do you overcome struggles and setbacks in your best laid plans?