It’s All a Matter of Perspective

When I think about being injured and currently not in my normal training regimen, I realize I have to keep it all in perspective and be thankful for what I can do.  I don’t think twice about having 16 hours of exercise in a week, but to some, that is ridiculous.

embrace a new perspective

Sure, I’m annoyed that I can’t run, but I can still go out and cycle 50-100 miles.  I know…ridiculous.  I can go swim 2 continuous miles with my face in the water.  I know…ridiculous.  I can go snow shoeing for a few hours (if there were snow on the ground right now) with the Iron Hippie and our dogs.  I know…ridiculous.  I can go kayaking all day.  I know…ridiculous.  I can go to a 90 minute hot yoga class and sweat buckets.  I know…ridiculous.

The Iron Hippie and I had a good conversation last night as we did a 1 hour “urban tour” bike ride.  Most people would consider riding their bicycle for an hour to be a “workout.”  In our household, however, we consider the “urban tour” to be socialization and pure enjoyment.  There is no part of it that we consider a “workout.”  We are not breaking a sweat.  We are not even riding hard enough for our heart rates to escalate.

The funny ironic part is that when you truly enjoy something, it doesn’t seem so ridiculous!!  I always say, “When you hang out with the crazies, you don’t seem so crazy.”  All of these “crazy” feats and hours of training have become the norm in our household.

What do you consider “normal” exercise routines/workouts?  Do you ever have to be reminded to keep your workout routine in perspective?

Lessons Learned the Hard Way While Triathlon Training

We’ve all learned a lesson or two the “hard way” at some point in our life.  I thought it would be fun enlightening to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned the hard way while triathlon training.

  1. While Hoo Ha Ride Glide (chamois cream) is minty fresh in the shorts, it is NOT minty fresh in the eyes.  Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly if you accidentally get some on your finger BEFORE rubbing your eyes.           IMG_3184
  2. Tiger Balm in the groin area (for a sore/tight psoas) sounded like a great idea until I accidentally got some on the underwear…oops, now it is in the hoo ha area.  This is not nearly as pleasant as it was in my mind before the application.     tiger balm
  3. Applying sunscreen to exposed areas only to have my workout apparel shift during the ride/run and end up with a small sunburn line where the sunscreen wasn’t applied.  I’ve learned to spray sunscreen on under the clothes lines to prevent this.
  4. Releasing all of the CO2 before attaching the cartridge to the new tube to inflate…I guess I’m calling for a ride back to town since I have no other means of inflating this new tube.
  5. What starts off as a niggle can turn into an injury, so listen to your body, back off and don’t push through it.  I have been on the injury train before, and I don’t like the ride.  One would think that I’d learn from this and listen to my body so I don’t hop back on that miserable train, but apparently that isn’t the case, since I am back on this miserable train…again.

What lessons have you learned the hard way while training?

Discipline

I have heard from many people outside of our little bubble at home, that the Iron Hippie and I are “very disciplined” and that it is a quality many “admire.”  It is true that we get up between 4 and 4:15 am every day and that our heads hit the pillow around 8 pm every evening.  It is true that we do an am and pm workout almost daily.  It is true that we typically juggle our schedules around our training.  It is true that we’ve decided to take one full year off from drinking alcohol as we train.  It is true that we eat mostly healthy (foods that provide us with the energy and fuel stores our bodies need to train like we do).

We are disciplined, but why?  I can only speak for myself…I am determined to be better prepared for IRONMAN Wisconsin this year than I was in 2011.  I am driven to grow stronger and more powerful while swimming, cycling and running.  I am committed to do my absolute best and set new personal records.  I am courageous…I am not going to let fear prevent me from being successful.  I am doing what I love…swim, bike, run 😉

discipline

Sure, there are days I don’t “feel like” completing a workout as scheduled or even “feel like” completing the workout, but I know that I will reap the rewards on race day if I have the discipline now.

As of today (May 7), the Iron Hippie and I are officially 8 months sans alcohol, which means only 4 months away from IRONMAN Wisconsin.  That is both great and scary at the same time 😉

How disciplined are you?  What motivates you to be so disciplined?

Spring Cleaning

I’ve recently decided to do some “spring cleaning” to improve the quality of my life.  Some areas of focus:

  • Facebook…I’ve decided to take some time and go through my contacts and “unfriend” those individuals who (in my opinion) are negative, disrespectful and unappreciative of others.  I want my world to be a happy place and when I see others sharing negativity, it often brings down my mood and I don’t like how it makes me feel.
  • The closets…They are full of clothes that I don’t wear.  It is definitely time to purge some of those items I haven’t worn in the last year.                                IMG_3316 IMG_3317
  • Blogs I follow…66 to be exact.  While you all write about amazing topics and hold a special place in my heart, I am going to have to cut back a little bit over the next few weeks and be more selective on the posts that I choose to read.  Saturday morning I spent almost 4 hours catching up on blog posts and another 2 hours Sunday morning. Being a teacher, I can devote more time during the summer months reading each of your posts.

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  • The house…I know our house has been neglected lately.  With more demands placed on me during the last few weeks of school and an increase in my training hours, the house needs to be deep cleaned, but this may have to wait just a few more weeks until I am officially on summer vacation.

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April Training Totals:

Swim: 12.84 miles

Bike: 139.23 miles

Run: 98.73 miles

Brick: 187.11 miles

Strength Training: 8 hours & 30 minutes

Hot Yoga: 5 hours

Total Hours: 60 hours & 35 minutes

Hard Workout

Luke McKenzie is a professional triathlete.  Triathlete Magazine recently posted an article with his “hardest workout” and it just so happens to be on the bike.  I would love to know what his Ironman Watts are that he puts out!! 🙂

It doesn’t matter if we are professional athletes, age group podium athletes, or recreational athletes…every one of us has a workout that we consider to be a “hard” workout at some point…one that pushes us physically, mentally or both.

Friday I had a VERY. HARD. RIDE.  Since purchasing my new toy a few weeks ago…

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this was the first ride that REALLY challenged me (both physically and mentally).  After having my VO2 Max test at the end of February, I know what my power zones are:

  • Power Zone 1 = 0 -123 watts
  • Power Zone 2 = 124 – 167 watts
  • Power Zone 3 = 168 – 200 watts
  • Power Zone 4 = 201 – 233 watts
  • Power Zone 5 = 234 – 266 watts
  • Power Zone 6 = 267+ watts

Friday morning’s ride was power intervals and looked like this:

  • 30 minute warm-up
  • 6×3 min power zone 3 (mid to high z3) while keeping my cadence above 95 rpm with 2 min easy spin between each set
  • 15 minute cool-down

Typically I have at least one other person to ride with in the sweat cave early in the mornings, but not this time.  I was all by myself.  In my own head.  Staring at concrete walls and a bunch of empty bicycles.

Here is what my performance yielded:

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My power and cadence were nearly spot on according to the targets I was to be aiming for.  The first 4 intervals were challenging, but physically I felt strong.  By the 5th and 6th intervals, I really had to use my mental focus, self talk (or yell) and visualization to dig deep and finish as strong as I could.

Before training with power, I was training on heart rate.  According to my heart rate data below, my heart rate was solidly in zone 4 for each interval after the first two and was nearing zone 5 by the final interval.  With power zone 3 being the target, I was forced to work harder, pushing my heart rate much higher than zone 3.  If I would have done this same workout using heart rate, I would not have pushed this hard.

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This was only the first of many more HARD WORKOUTS, but I am excited to see where training on power will take me!!

I'm. Beat. Nothing. Left.
I’m. Beat. Nothing. Left. Put. A. Fork. In. Me. I’m. Cooked.
Puddles of sweat on the floor next to the bike = good workout.
Puddles of sweat on the floor next to the bike = good workout.

What is your hardest workout?  Do you train with power?  If so, what improvements have you seen as a result?

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Week #13 (Recovery Week) Totals:

Swim:  4700 yards

Bike:  76.2 miles

Run:  21.7 miles

Strength Training:  2 hours & 15 minutes

Hot Yoga:  1 hour

Week #13 in the green 😉

How do you eat your grapefruit???

The Iron Hippie and I eat our grapefruit VERY differently, but we aren’t the only ones.  We actually had a conversation with 3 of our closest friends to see how they eat their grapefruit…lo and behold…we all eat our grapefruit differently.

  • The Iron Hippie peels the whole grapefruit and eats each segment separately.
  • M peels the whole grapefruit and eats it in quarter sections.
  • A buys the grapefruit already peeled, segmented and stored in grapefruit juice.
  • K cuts the grapefruit in half and uses a grapefruit spoon to segment each piece out.
  • I cut the grapefruit in half, use a knife to cut around the inside of each segment and scoop each piece out with a spoon.  I then squeeze all the juice out of each half of the grapefruit into my bowl and drink the juice.  YUMMY!!

So, what’s my point???  That’s easy…how you eat your grapefruit is symbolic of training and racing and here are my reasons why:

  1. The variety of gear (wetsuits, goggles, bikes, helmets, bike shoes, apparel, running shoes, etc.) available to athletes allow them to be comfortable (or as comfortable as possible) while training and racing.
  2. There are many different training plans and coaches that individuals use to help them arrive at the start line happy and healthy.
  3. Everyone has their own unique journey.
  4. All athletes are at different fitness levels, so a workout that pushes one person may be very easy for another or vice versa.
  5. Individuals have different mental capacities…some THINK they CAN’T, some THINK they CAN and others KNOW they CAN.
  6. Methods of recovery can vary from person to person…ice baths, foam rollers, massages, stretching, yoga, naps, amino recovery tablets, protein shakes, etc.
  7. People have different plans for race day execution…different pre-race routines, different nutrition plans, different race strategies, different mental focus, etc.
  8. Race day goals are different for everyone…some just want to finish and others have time goals.

Since we are all unique individuals, we may eat grapefruit our grapefruit very differently, and have many different ways to cross the finish line of whatever race we choose to take part in.  The ultimate outcome is hopefully the same for everyone…eat grapefruit and cross the finish line.

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So…How do you eat your grapefruit???

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Week #4 (Base Training) Totals:

Swim:  4400 yards

Bike:  41 miles (only two rides this week 😦 )

Run:  13.2 miles

Strength Training:  2 hours & 15 minutes

Hot Yoga:  2 hours & 30 minutes

Week #4 in the green 😉

“Baby It’s Cold Outside”

Unfortunately we’ve had some VERY COLD days here in central Iowa lately, but I have decided to make the most of it.  With windchill temperatures as low as -24 degrees Fahrenheit last week, going outside just to go to the gym or hot yoga was sometimes a challenge.

Last week was Week #1 of IRONMAN Wisconsin training, so I decided not to let the cold weather stop me from being active and completing my workouts.  I just bundled up and went out anyway and then this morning happened…No school due to the EXTREMELY COLD weather (that was actually announced yesterday at about 2 pm).  Windchill temperatures as low as -41 degrees Fahrenheit this morning…WHAT?!?!?!?!?  I thought I was living in central Iowa, not Antarctica!!

Well, I am not going to let the cold stop me.  I am getting ready to head out the door and go to the gym to complete my swim and strength training session despite the cold temperatures.  It is funny…on days when it is very cold outside, we long for warm summer weather, but when we have temperatures with heat indexes exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months, we often long for the cold days of winter.  Are we ever truly happy with the weather???

Week #1 (Base Training) Totals:

  • Swim: 4300 yards
  • Bike: 38.3 miles
  • Run: 16.5 miles
  • Strength Training: 1 hour & 45 minutes
  • Hot Yoga: 2 hours & 45 minutes

Feels good to be in the “green” for week #1 of IMWI training!!

Strengths vs. Weaknesses

My main focus for 2014 is Ironman Wisconsin.  I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses when it comes to triathlon training and racing.

Strengths:  Swimming and Running

Swimming…Growing up on Lake Okoboji, I have been swimming since I was VERY young.  I am not the fastest swimmer, but I am consistent…I can swim at a steady, comfortable pace for hours.  I know swimming is a strength of mine, but I still have plenty of room for growth and I definitely want to get faster in the water.

Running…In 2004 I ran my first race.  I definitely wasn’t fast, I had no idea what to expect and I had no idea where my running would take me.  But, over the course of nearly 10 years, I have gotten stronger and faster.  I want to continue to get stronger, more powerful and faster on the run so that I will have a strong finish at Ironman Wisconsin 2014!!

Weaknesses:  Biking and Mental Focus

Biking…I am definitely not a strong cyclist, but I work hard on every ride to push myself to be faster, stronger, more powerful and more confident on the bike.  In 2014, I will get out and ride more in all kinds of conditions and with people who will push me to become a stronger and more confident cyclist.  The more I ride, the stronger and more confident I will become.

Mental Focus…When I first started training and racing, mental focus was not even on my radar.  I really haven’t spent much time on mental training until this last year.  In 2013, I spent quite a bit of time on mental preparation and it really paid off.  I felt stronger, I had multiple PRs and I had fun in the process.  In 2014, I will spend time everyday mentally preparing and building confidence in myself to be the best I can be!!

I am determined to work hard and spend more time in 2014 making my weaknesses morph into strengths 🙂

weakness morph to strength

As an athlete, what weaknesses would you like to see morph into strengths???

Goals and Wishes for 2014

I met with Coach Julie in early November to discuss my 2014 racing calendar.  We discussed many topics, but I am putting some of the highlights out for the public to help hold me accountable during 2014.

2014 Races:

Racing Goals:

  • Get my nutrition spot on for IRONMAN Wisconsin
  • Break 14 hours at IRONMAN Wisconsin
  • Break 6 hours at IRONMAN Kansas 70.3
  • Run the Drake 1/2 Marathon in 1:45:00 or faster
  • To have fun training and racing
  • To get my mental training spot on for ALL of my races

Racing Wishes:

  • I would be ecstatic if I broke 13 hours at IRONMAN Wisconsin
  • I would be ecstatic if I broke 5:45:00 at IRONMAN Kansas 70.3
  • I would be ecstatic if I broke 1:40:00 at the Drake 1/2 Marathon
Goodbye 2013...Hello 2014!!
Goodbye 2013…Hello 2014!!

What are your goals and wishes for 2014???

My 12 Days of Christmas

I was inspired by Carrie Cheadle’s Facebook Post about giving yourself something to make you feel amazing for the 12 days of Christmas this year.   I decided to give myself a “gift” everyday during the 12 days of Christmas….some of these gifts were what Carrie suggested, while others where ones that I came up with on my own.  Each of these gifts is special to me…some of these gifts are very simple and most of them don’t cost even a penny, but they are all gifts we should consider giving ourselves everyday to remind ourselves just how special we truly are.

Day #1:  Write a mini love note to myself  IMG_2705

Day #2:  Gift of Time…30 minutes for just me 🙂

Taking 30 minutes to snuggle up under a cozy blanket with a good book and a cup of hot tea.
Taking 30 minutes to snuggle up under a cozy blanket with a good book and a cup of hot tea (in a mug I won as an award in 2004 at RCC Run the Woods).

Day #3:  Gift of Motivation…I decided to make a motivational collage and post it where I can see it daily.

I created a collage of motivational images
I created a collage of motivational images

Day #4:  Give myself a pat on the back…I don’t give myself enough credit most of the time for all that I do and how amazing I am.  I decided a good pat on the back was in order.

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Day #5: I gave myself a treat.  Something I didn’t have to share with anyone else…

Yes...a shower.  While this may seem to simple for most of you, I was incapacitated for a week due to a combination of strep throat, a severe sinus infection and pneumonia, so a shower felt truly amazing.  It was a small gift, but the best gift I could ask for at the time.
Yes…a shower. While this may seem too simple for most of you, I was incapacitated for a week due to a combination of strep throat, a severe sinus infection and pneumonia, so a shower felt truly amazing!! It was a small gift, but the best gift I could ask for at the time.

Day #6:  I gave myself an award.  Since I ended my 2013 triathlon season with a DNF, I decided with the New Year just around the corner that it is time to start mental training for 2014.

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Day #7: I gave myself a party…not the typical party with lots of people, food and drink, etc.  I gave myself a party with just me and my girls (Mya and Basil…our two black labs).  I played the song “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang, we danced, celebrated (both feeling better and the beginning of a 2 week winter break), smiled and had lots of fun!!

Basil dancing with me and celebrating!!
Basil dancing with me and celebrating!!

Day #8:  Gift of Knowledge…I purchased a book to help me learn how to perform better under pressure, tame the butterflies and overcome setbacks.  I am hoping to use these mental skills to help me perform consistently, remain confident when faced with challenges and successfully accomplish my goals both during training and on race day.

On Top of Your Game

Day #9:  Gift of Perspective…a list of gratitude.  I make a list of things I am thankful for every night before bed, but I decided to put a twist on this list…growth is a must for everything on this list.

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Day #10:  Gift of Encouragement…I wrote out 4 powerful and affirming statements and posted them where I will read them everyday between now and January 1, 2014.  The power of being who I want to be lies in my own thoughts.  Only I can change negative thoughts into positive beliefs.

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Day #11:  Gift of a Toast to Celebrate ME…”I proposed a toast to my strengths, my PRs in 2013, my commitments and dedication.”  I also “proposed a toast to the most relaxing Christmas ever” with the Iron Hippie.

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Toasting the Iron Hippie

Day #12: Gift of Relaxation…I started Christmas morning with 1 hour of hot yoga.  While this is typically in my weekly workout routine, I haven’t been able to workout for the last two weeks due to illness.  I decided that this would be a perfect gift for Christmas Day.

Starting Christmas Day focusing on Mind, Body and Soul...PERFECT!!
Starting Christmas Day focusing on Mind, Body and Soul…PERFECT!!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!