What’s Up?! – January 2018

How is the first month of 2018 already in the rearview mirror?! It seems like the start of the new year was just yesterday! Here is a look at what the month had in store for me:

Training:

This month my training was hit or miss thanks to an illness shortly after the start of the year and most recently the inability to turn my head. Thankfully I am back to feeling 100% and am ready to regain consistency in February! I did establish a racing schedule for 2018 that I am SUPER PUMPED about! I’ve let myself fully recover from my 2017 racing season and am SO ready to start rebuilding the engine for a stronger + fun filled 2018!

Celebrating the end of the #batcapchallenge on January 1!
First power test of 2018! Grateful for a healthy body! I’m ready to work hard and rebuild my fitness + surpass 2017!
So grateful to run with my fave + get some fresh air before the freezing temps return!

Swim: 8500 yards
Bike: 127 miles
Run: 24.8 miles
Totals: 20 hours & 53 minutes

Family:

We were so blessed to have our twin nieces (and my sister) come stay with us for a weekend early in January so we could attend their swim meet. The twins convinced the Iron Hippie to make a cake from scratch when they came to visit us. The recipe used was one the twins found on the internet and was a bit dry…it needs some love! We also got to spend some time back home home with family for the Okoboji Winter Games.

The twins are ready for their swim meet!
The cake is done!
Date night! #balance
Me and my fave listening to Damon Dotson!
Snowshoeing adventures with my fam!
Lunch with the twins at their school!
Putting puzzles together with the twins!
Winter wonderland with Dad + my fave!
Catching up with my “baby brother” at home home!

Reading:

My Weight Has Nothing to Do with How Good a Runner I Am by Allie Kieffer is a MUST READ! Wow! Body image plagues society! As an endurance athlete not on the skinny side, I often feel that I should lose weight to perform better…not because I think I am overweight, but because I see + hear what society says about being “skinnier.” I am STRONG! Stronger now than I have ever been…my swim times are dropping, my FTP on the bike is climbing, and my run times have gotten faster during the marathon of my Ironman races. If I were to lose weight, I may perform better, but I may also lose this strength. That is not a risk I am willing to take. It is time for society to change! The negative body image stereotyping MUST go, we need to focus on nutrient dense foods (count the colors not calories people), and we need to be grateful for what our bodies do for us! “As women, we shared more similarities than differences: We are all perseverant, powerful, confident, and healthy. And, dare I say it, strong.” #strongisthenewskinny

2017: A Year of Rediscovering Joy where Amelia shares how she rediscovered joy as she overcame injury. “True joy and true gratitude does not come from the victory – it comes from the pursuit of the achievement.”

The Champion Mindset: An athlete’s Guide to Mental Toughness by Joanna Zeiger is a great read! To race at your best, you have to not only train the body, but also the mind. Zeiger takes you through her “own personal journey from a struggling novice swimmer to Olympian and World Champion.”

Listening to:

The Find Your Awesome Podcast with Olympian Samantha Livingston…WOW!!! I SO connected to what Samantha and Kelsey discussed in this podcast!!! I have SO many perfectionist tendencies that I am trying to shed and leave behind. “Perfection is driven by the fear of what people will think.” I will continue to work to shed these perfectionist tendencies. I don’t want to live in fear of what other people think or what I think that they think!

The Find Your Awesome Podcast with Professional Triathlete Amber Ferreira is a must listen to! Kelsey Abbott interviews Amber and learns more about Amber’s “pro career to date, her love of racing up mountains, her mindset, resiliency and heart. We dig into her current project—recovering from stage 3 adrenal fatigue. Amber Ferreira is a professional triathlete, a physical therapist and a multisport coach. She’s the 2014 Ironman Lake Placid Champion and the two-time US National Snowshoe champion. She’s also a heart-driven, spunky human who loves to dream big and loves to laugh.”

Pumped For:

My 2018 race schedule! I am SO excited to be racing Ironman Wisconsin 70.3, Ironman Ohio 70.3, and Ironman Louisville as my long distance races this year! The Ironman has become my lifestyle! I love the Ironman distance! I love the feels that come with training + racing ALL. DAY. LONG! I love the excitement crossing the Ironman finish line brings so many people! I love the challenges that each new Ironman journey + race brings! I LOVE IRONMAN!

Grateful For:

-My body allowing me to push it to new levels, but also accepting the recovery I give it to perform stronger + better in the future.

-A snow day + a few days with 2 hour delays to start this month at school. I’m not a fan of having to make up the snow days, but it is always nice to have a break from school from time to time. Oh…and the 2 hour delays we don’t have to make up! 🙂

-The most supportive husband ever! I’m so grateful the Iron Hippie is willing to support me on my #IMLou journey! This will be the first Ironman race I participate in with him as sherpa + spectator extraordinaire!

-Dr. Chris Feil with Team Chiropractic for helping me overcome my “whiplash” symptoms from the car accident I was NEVER in. We have no idea how it happened!

-Nick Morton with Vitality Massage for keeping me on the train moving forward thanks to my biweekly massages!

Coach Kelly’s flexibility this month as life threw me a couple of curve balls!

-Being a SBR Sports Inc Ambassador for 2018! I absolutely LOVE the TRISWIM, TRISLIDE and SKINSLICK products to remove chlorine and keep me chafe + blister free during training, racing, and snowshoeing! These products are a dream!

How was your month of January?! What are you pumped up about?! What are you grateful for?!

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Ironman Louisville I’m coming for ya!

After Ironman Wisconsin 2011 (my first Ironman), I decided I would NEVER do another Ironman. That was one of the HARDEST things I’d ever done and I wanted to let it rest. I was certain I was one and done! These thoughts lasted about 2 years and then I decided I wanted to have a happier Ironman finish (not necessarily a faster finish time, but finishing in a better physical + medical state). So, in 2013 I signed up for Ironman Wisconsin 2014. I had so much FUN + finished HEALTHY! This is when I realized that Ironman could be a lifestyle for me. I have come to learn that I am better suited to long distance racing. I love testing my body physically + mentally and for me, there is a spiritual component to training and racing. It is one of those things that you have to “experience for yourself.”

Since Ironman Wisconsin 2014 (swim, bike, run race reports), I have raced Ironman Boulder 2015 (race report), Ironman Wisconsin 2016 (race report) and Ironman Mont Tremblant 2017 (race report). After Ironman Mont Tremblant, I thought I wanted to take a break from Ironman training + racing in 2018. I was WRONG! I thought I wanted to focus on getting faster at the shorter distances, including the 70.3 distance. And I do! I am excited to work on this goal in 2018! I want to get substantially faster at the 70.3 distance, but as I’ve sat with this idea for the last 5 months, I’ve come to realize that the Ironman lifestyle + race really makes me happy! I want to be true to myself + follow my heart + dream big + have fun in 2018! For me, that includes an Ironman in 2018! I find so much joy in the pursuit of the Ironman finish line!

So…after lots of thought, conversations with the Iron Hippie and Coach Kelly, I’ve followed my heart and signed up for Ironman Louisville in 2018!

 

There are many people that put Ironman on their “bucket list” and when they cross the finish line, they never do another one. In my opinion, they are missing out. Each finish line is a different journey with different lessons learned. The body and mind get challenged in new and different ways each time. The Ironman lifestyle allows you to experience so much more with each and every Ironman experience. I want to ride this wave and enjoy the Ironman lifestyle as long as my body + mind allow me to!

With that…cheers to another journey to an Ironman finish line with more chasing dreams + following my heart + having FUN in 2018!

The Best of 2017

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

 

My #2017bestnine on instagram is full of #heartandcourage

Best race experience?

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

So much coeur on this course! #bikelove

Best run?

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

Love you Ericka! Thanks for the photo!

Best bike?

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

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

Best Swim?

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

Swimming in Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY

Best training weekend?

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

#trackcatstrong

Best training compass?

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

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

Best enCOEURaging moment?

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

Learning!
Practicing!
Community!

Best recovery secret?

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

Best tapering adventure?

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

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

Best new piece of gear?

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

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

Best way to stay healthy?

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

IMG_5891
#soundathlete = #soundlife #winningtakesguts

Best piece of racing advice you received?

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

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

IMG_3610

Most inspirational athlete?

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

Best support crew?

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

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

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

Courage over comfort, believe, fun!!

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

Boo-Yay!

Near the end of October I talked with Coach Kelly about where I was and where I wanted to be. We decided that setting a challenge for the month of November would be a great way to get back on the right track. So an entire month of:

  • 10 minutes of core daily
  • seeing green in Training Peaks for the entire month
  • no eating out
  • no alcohol consumption

It was beyond time to get back into my 10 minutes of daily core strength routine…plus I knew seeing green for a full month in Training Peaks would be just the kick in the shorts I needed to relieve stress, regain my confidence, and get that positivity train moving forward again! This was something that hadn’t happened since before Ironman Mont Tremblant…4 months to be exact! No eating out and no alcohol consumption would not only be better for us, but it would also save us money! Challenges make us stronger, so I’ve decided to set a challenge for myself each month for the rest of the school year to keep me motivated and on track.

I started out November with a bit of a head cold, so I was forced by Coach Kelly to skip the “optional” workouts to give myself a little extra rest. Thankfully my body responded beautifully to the extra sleep + TLC!

November 1-5, 2017
November 6-12, 2017
November 13-19, 2017
November 20-26, 2017
November 27-30, 2017

Monthly Totals: 51 hours & 7 minutes

  • Swim: 31,400 yards (17.84 miles)
  • Bike: 188 miles
  • Run: 75.9 miles
  • Strength Training: 13 hours & 5 minutes (this included my 10 minutes of core strength every day of the month)

Monthly accomplishments:

  • Finding faster in the pool! I have dropped my CSS by 3 seconds (on the 100 yard distance)!
  • Getting stronger on the bike! Hello bike intervals…I’ve missed you! You make me work, but you also make me stronger!
  • Running at varying paces…a mix of track work + hilly runs for speed development and sloooow runs have been a theme this month!
  • Rebuilding my strength…full body and core has been amazing for my swimming, cycling, and running!
  • Eating home cooked meals has been better for me nutritionally and saved us money! 🙂
  • No alcohol has been better for my mental state, better for me nutritionally, and has saved us money! 🙂
  • I’ve overcome a lot of adversity this month in many areas of my life.
  • I’m focusing on the positives!
  • I am healthier and happier…I’m finding myself again! Healthy + Happy is key! 🙂

Successfully completing the November challenge will set me up perfectly for my December swim challenge at the end of the month…30K yards in 7 days?! Yep, I’m going for the BSC swim cap!! 🙂

Racing with #heartandcourage to become #trackcatstrong in 2018

I have been so blessed + honored to be a part of the Coeur Sports ambassador team for the last 3 years! I am humbled + honored to have this AMAZING company and these empowering ladies by my side for 2018! This sisterhood of women are so strong, supportive, inspirational, #hardcoeur, uplifting, encouraging, kind, and are full of #heartandcourage!

With my 2017 racing season in the rearview mirror, I am looking forward to my 2018 racing season! I have a few races that I’ve already signed up for, a few more I’m planning to sign up for, and then there’s my late season schedule…I’m still debating on that, so that will just have to be a surprise! 😉 I am really excited to continue working with Coach Kelly at Track Cat Fitness to help me get stronger + faster in 2018! #trackcatstrong here I come!

My tentative race plan for 2018 includes:

Drake 1/2 Marathon – April 22, 2018 (already registered for)

Hickory Grove Triathlon – May 20, 2018

Ironman Wisconsin 70.3 – June 10, 2018 (already registered for)

Okoboji Triathlon – July 14, 2018

Ironman Ohio 70.3 – July 29, 2018 (already registered for)

Okoboji 3.5 mile Swim – August 4, 2018

I have some BIG dreams that I am chasing, so I am hopeful that these races (with a few others scattered throughout the year) set me up for an even more amazing 2019 racing season! Look out 2018…I’m comin’ for ya!

2017 Season Review

If I had to sum up my 2017 season in one word, it would be FANTABULOUS! Sure it was full of ups and downs, but overall, it was SO. MUCH. FUN! Here are some of the ups and downs of my 2017 season:

Ran my way to 3rd on a hilly 10K course with a finish time of 50:32…only 1:41 off my PR (on the same course)!
So giddy! 16 watt improvement in my FTP test today means I’m over the 200 watt threshold! I never imagined I would see this day! So grateful for Coach Kelly to push me WAY out of my comfort zone and help me get stronger this season!
Not quite the race I was hoping for, but I pushed as hard as I could all the way through! Grateful the rain held off until after I finished! Another Drake 1/2 is in the books!
First long solo ride on Saturday! HUGE confidence builder!
“This is HUGE! Congrats. A back to back 4 hour ride is a great prep session for the Ironman build up. I’m so happy it went well and glad you do not back down in the face of adversity. You’ve evolved a lot as an athlete this year. I’m proud of you today. Good work.” ~Coach Kelly
The heat index was 97F with sustained winds of 22-25 mph and gusts up to 35 mph. It was a rough day! Not what we’ve trained for, but we each set a new PR since we did a new distance…
So giddy with today’s split run! 2×7 miles at sub 8:30 minute/mile pace left a HUGE smile on my face for run #2 today as I crushed my goal!!
So happy + #grateful to finally put together a pretty solid long run despite the full sun, warm temps, + high dew point. Mother Nature put up a fight, but I won Wednesday!
I’m in a big build…today (Friday) adversity had me sitting on the side of the road in tears with 10 miles to go. I had lots of thoughts and choices while sitting under the tree. I chose to get back on Mojo and continue to chase my dreams! As Coach Kelly says, “it is supposed to feel like that and that this is what it takes. :)” First solo century is in the books!
So much fun to meet my Coeur Sports teammate Saturday and cheer her on to 1st place AG as she raced in Iowa last weekend!
Turning social media friends into real friends is so much fun!
Pure joy comes when you learn new skills! Congratulations to Maggie! She stared fear in the face and won! So proud of you Maggie!
2nd place AG at the Okoboji Triathlon!
Loved meeting Coach Kelly + spending time with her and other amazing athletes at the Vermont Training Camp put on by Track Cat Fitness!
Climbing my way up App Gap in Vermont at the Track Cat Training Camp…That. Was. HARD!
Last long run before #IMMT in Stowe, Vermont…now it is time to taper and soak up all this training!
Swimming in Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY
This lady is AMAZING! Meeting my Coeur Sports Teammate, Amy Farrell!
Let’s get this party started! #IMMT
So much coeur on this #IMMT course! #bikelove
Love you Ericka! Thanks for the run photo at #IMMT!
CyMan Sprint Triathlon…running my way to the finish!
Running the Hillbilly 1/2 Marathon with these two crazy kids was so much fun!

Thanks to Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness for helping me become #trackcatstrong this year both mentally and physically! I’m super excited to see what is in store for us in 2018!

Racing Ironman Mont Tremblant with Coeur

“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do – this is what it’s all about.” ~PattiSue Plummer, US Olympian

Grab your favorite beverage, kick up your feet, and enjoy what is a really long race report! 🙂

Pre-Race:

The alarm went off at 3 am, but I was already laying awake. I didn’t sleep well at all, which was a first for me, but thankfully it didn’t seem to impact my day. After eating my pre-race breakfast of muesli + peanut butter + Pure Clean Beet Powder + frozen mixed berries with a Karma Kombucha, I donned my Coeur Sports race kit and prepared for the day by reading my pre-race quote from Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox before heading to the race start.

My pre-race ritual…read Swimming to Antarctica while drinking my Karma Kombucha!

We arrived at parking lot #2 by 4:30 am, which made it easy to find a place to park that would be convenient for after the race to get all of our gear loaded up. We walked to the transition area, dropped off our bike and run special needs bags, and waited until 5 am for body marking and the transition area to open. After body marking, I had bike support fill my tires, lubed up the chain (it had rained on Saturday after Mojo was racked for the night and I wanted to make sure my chain was greased back up), filled my water bottle, put my bike bottles on my bike, got my Garmin on my bike and started, saw Erika and gave her a pre-race hug, put my salty balls in my T1 bag, and hit the kybo up one more time before heading to the swim start.

Ready to race!

At the swim start, I got into my Roka wetsuit, ate part of a granola bar and two Pure Clean Beet’ums, drank down some water, dropped off my morning clothes bag, got another hug from Erika, and made my way to the water for the swim warm-up. As I was exiting the water from the swim warm-up, a lady came up to me and gave me a hug and we shared good luck wishes to each other. I have no idea who this lady was because we were both wearing wetsuits, swim caps, and goggles, but I am grateful for the pre-race hug, so thank you to whomever you were! It was this point that I decided it didn’t matter what the day brought me, I was going to race with Coeur (French for heart) for the entire day! I am going to share my coeur, but also fill my coeur up throughout the entire day!

The Iron Hippie and I making our way to the water.

After the Canada National Anthem and fly over, the fireworks went off and the male pros were off, followed by the female pros and then the age group athletes.

Lined up and ready to start!

Swim: 1:24:16 (average pace of 2:11/100 meters)

We lined up by the 1:15-1:20 pace sign for the swim and were soon moving into separate corrals waiting for the beep every 5 seconds to send the next group of swimmers into the water. This was the cleanest swim start I’ve ever experienced! As I entered the water, a calm came over me like I’ve never experienced before and I set out at comfortable pace. I felt solid and strong. The water temperature of 66*F was perfect…I much prefer the colder water! I had very little contact with other swimmers until buoy #6 when I swam up on a guy who couldn’t hold a straight line for nothing. He was definitely a faster swimmer than I was, but because he was zig-zagging back and forth all over the course, he swam a lot farther than he needed to. Every time I tried to pass him, I would get cut off by him again. This continued for about 3 more buoys before I finally passed him. The rest of the swim was pretty uneventful as I had very little contact with other swimmers. I had a slower swim than I’d hoped for, but also didn’t leave everything in the water. I was trying to pace myself well for the long bike + run ahead. So much coeur during the swim!

Let’s get this party started! #swimlove

T1: 10:09

There is a rather long run (300 meters) from the swim exit to transition. When I got to the transition area, I grabbed my T1 bag and quickly made my way into the women’s change tent. I was shocked at the lack of volunteers in the change tent to help the athletes. I am very self sufficient and don’t change, but for those ladies who do a full change and need help getting a dry sports bra on a wet body, they would have had to get help from other female athletes. I quickly put on my socks, bike shoes, and helmet. I loaded my pockets and put on my arm coolers and sunglasses as I ran to my bike.

Long run on the red carpet from the swim exit to transition!

Bike: 7:05:08 (average speed of 15.81 mph)

As I left transition on my bike, I saw Dad and my Aunt Linda cheering me on! I quickly mounted Mojo after the mount line and set off on the bike. Coach Kelly instructed me to dial it back and go out conservatively for the first 56 miles. I was feeling good and really wanted to hammer, but I knew I had a long day in the saddle, so I sat back and tried to keep my watts near the 130 mark. I consumed 2 salty ball every 30 minutes on the bike and NBS hydration every 20 minutes while sipping water the rest of the ride, which is exactly what I’d done in training and it worked beautifully.

Let’s go ride!

This course is essentially 2 x 2 different out and back sections. The first out and back is from the village on Montee Ryan to 117 out to Labelle, back on 117 to St. Jovite, from St. Jovite back on 117 to Montee Ryan and back to the village. There is a “no passing zone” on Montee Ryan in each direction (away from the village and toward the village). The second out and back is 10K out and 10K back on Chemin Duplessis. There is another “no passing zone” on one of the big descents on this section as we return to the village. If an athlete passes another athlete in any of these “zones,” the athlete doing the passing is automatically disqualified and removed from the course. There is plenty of climbing on this course, but in my opinion, this is much easier than Ironman Wisconsin’s bike course.

Loving this course and enjoying the beautiful views!

I felt great during the first 56 miles as I consumed my nutrition according to plan and held back my power so I could open it up during the next 56 miles (or so I thought). My only two goals were to keep my power at 130 watts or less and not get lapped by the professional triathletes racing. I had to remind another athlete of the “no passing zone” leaving the village on Montee Ryan as we were headed to 117, since he attempted to start passing me, but backed off when I reminding him of the no passing zone. I also wanted to go faster in this section, but there was an athlete in front of me that I had to stay behind on the descent to avoid a DQ. As I made my way out to Labelle, I was in awe of the beautiful scenery around me. Sure there were hills to climb,  but there were also some amazing descents to enjoy. As I made my way to St. Jovite, I just soaked it all in…the beauty, the spectators out cheering, and the feelings of pure joy that I was getting to ride my bicycle! I was also super pumped to have achieved both of my goals for the first 56 miles!

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

Each of these out and back sections is done twice. So during the second 56 miles I was ready to cruise, but Mother Nature had increased the winds a bit. I stopped at the first aid station to refill my NBS hydration bottles before fighting some headwinds on the way out to Labelle. Thankfully it was only about 12 miles of fighting the headwind while climbing to Labelle…riding in Iowa means a LOT of windy training rides, so I was ready for this! Mentally I got into a bit of a negative funk as I was struggling physically…not just with the headwinds while climbing, but I felt a bit depleted nutritionally despite nailing my nutrition plan to this point. Once I turned around in Labelle, the tail wind was a blessing and I stopped at the aid station just outside of Labelle to eat a banana and use the kybo…I just can’t make myself pee on the bike while riding. I felt good and strong as I made my way to St. Jovite and was rejuvenated by the crowds and the fact that I was heading back to the village for the final push on the bike course. The 10K out on Chemin Duplessis was tough, but I settled into my easiest gear and steadily climbed my way to the turn around. I was so happy to have ridden the whole course (there were some people who walked their bikes up some of the steeper hills) while staying in my saddle (I never climbed out of the saddle…wahoo). I kept my power and heart rate in check, which would hopefully benefit me on the run! Lots of coeur on the bike!

So much coeur on this course! #bikelove

T2: 5:47

I quickly handed Mojo over to an amazing volunteer who returned her to her spot and removed my helmet on my way to the change tent. I also unzipped my speed top as I knew I wanted to run in the tri top I was wearing under my speed top. I grabbed my T2 bag, stripped my top, changed my socks and shoes, grabbed my nutrition visor, and race belt. I put my race belt and visor on while exiting T2. I made my way to the kybo to pee one more time before starting the run.

Run: 4:51:26 (average pace of 11:07 min/mile)

I felt so strong at the beginning of my run, but having run countless stand alone marathons and 4 marathons at the end of Ironman races, I knew it may not last, so I decided to ride this wave for as long as I could while keeping my pace in check. I broke the marathon into ~8 x 5K segments. I started off easy as I made my way through the first 5K of the run, which is rolling hills. I was so pumped to see one of my Coeur Sports teammates, cheering me on during this section of the run! Thanks for the love Ericka!

Love you Ericka! Thanks for the photo! #runlove

Once I hit the bike path, I knew I had just over a 5K to the turn around. We had done some training runs on this section of the course, so I knew it would be flat and very quiet with few spectators…mostly other athletes + the sounds of our own footfalls. I was still feeling good, so I just kept ticking away the kilometers (everything is in kilometers in Canada). I was taking in water at every aid station, bananas and oranges at nearly every aid station, and my Motts fruit chews every 30 minutes. At mile 4, I HAD to visit the kybo…well, this was a first! I’ve never had this problem during a race before! After a quick stop, I was back to running and spreading all the coeur I could on the course…I hope this lifted others up as much as it lifts me up to spread the love! On my way to the turn around, I saw another Coeur Sports Teammate, Erika, and the Iron Hippie, both running strong! I made it to the turn around, knocking out just over another 5K and was still feeling strong, which I was super stoked about. The only walking I had done to this point was through the aid stations to eat and drink and up the big hills. I decided at this point that I would continue to run (with the exceptions of the aid stations and the bigger hills) at least through the half marathon and re-evaluate how I was feeling. I had never had an IM marathon feel this good, so I just rode the wave and went with it! At about mile 8, I needed to visit the kybo again…ugh! Feeling much lighter, I was still running strong! 😉 Onward…to the end of the bike path and through the rolling hills back to the village! It was so much fun to see Dad and Aunt Linda in the village (as well as all of the other spectators) and know that I was still feeling strong and ready to rock the second half of the marathon!

Yep…Still running strong!

With 4 of my 5Ks behind me, it was time to buckle down! The new goal…make it through the next 2 x 5K distances while still running and feeling strong and then re-evaluate. I continued to knock of the kilometers, spread coeur, see Erika and the Iron Hippie on the run, and made my way to the 19 mile point before needing to visit the kybo again…this time I had to wait a bit for an open one, but I knew I COULD NOT make it to the next one without a mess down my legs, so I waited just a few minutes. After lots of relief, I was back to running strong! I was starting to feel the fatigue, but with just over 6 miles this is where I knew I needed to kick in the mental game, stay focused, continue to run as long as I could, spread more coeur, and enjoy the ride to the finish line! As I made my way to mile 24, I could hear Mike Reilly bringing people home to the Ironman Mont Tremblant finish line and I was so excited to hear him call me across that finish line!

Thanks to Beth, my Track Cat teammate, for capturing this finish line photo from the live feed!

Overall: 13:36:44 = 43 of 86 F40-44, 237 of 461 Females, and 1169 of 1816 Overall

It was a beautiful day for racing in Mont Tremblant! The weather was near perfect…a high of 77*F on race day with winds picking up later in the day. This is the first Ironman race that I feel like I executed it the way it should be executed! I finally nailed my nutrition (despite the kybo visits), I was mentally and physically strong, and I had a PR on the distance by almost 30 minutes! I set myself up for a run that I was FINALLY able to actually run and It. Felt. Amazing! Moving up 514 places on the run was a dream! I left some of my coeur on that course, but I took so much more with me! For this, I am very grateful!

Gratitude:

I am SO grateful to my tribe for helping me get to the finish line! My parents, Aunt Linda, my sisters and their families, my friends and family, Jeff & Deb, Nick with Vitality Massage (my massage therapist), Melanie with Massotherapie Sportive (my massage therapist in Mont Tremblant), Chris with Team Chiropractic (my ART Chiropractor), Kyle at Kyle’s Bikes, Coeur Sports + my Coeur teammates, Sound Probiotics, Roka Sports, and Newton Running. A special thanks to Coach Kelly at Track Cat Fitness for setting me up for success, making me #trackcatstrong, and helping me achieve a new PR. To my fave, my #1…the Iron Hippie…you are my rock and I’m so grateful that we are on this crazy journey together! Thank you!