2017 Racing Season

Mother Nature (errr…Global Warming) has blessed us with BEAUTIFUL weather this “winter”…weather we typically see in April and May here in Central Iowa. This beautiful weather + back rehabilitation got me thinking about my 2017 racing season. I have had WAY MORE downtime than is typical for me during this rehab process, so…I had plenty of time to plan for my 2017 racing season and register for some races. Thanks to this downtime, my 2017 racing season is taking shape! I have registered for the following races:

  1. Drake 1/2 Marathon (4/29/17)
  2. Hickory Grove Sprint Triathlon (5/21/17)
  3. Liberty Tri 70.3 (6/10/17)
  4. Okoboji Triathlon (7/15/17)
  5. Ironman Mont Tremblant (8/20/17)

I am super pumped about these races! This schedule will provide me with some opportunities to test my race day plan for long distances, but also give me some opportunities to go hard, fast, and have fun at some shorter distances!

I have also registered for a 3 day training camp in Vermont on July 27-30 with Track Cat Fitness! This training camp is 3 weeks before Ironman Mont Tremblant, so we will be extending our vacation to 4 weeks! We will be heading to the New England States before going to Mont Tremblant, Canada…visiting new places, training in new places, and having even more fun!

How is your 2017 season shaping up?

Looking Back at 2016 to Move Forward in 2017

I can’t believe the first week of December has already came and went!! With only a few weeks to the start of 2017, it is time to reflect on 2016. 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 2016 journey so I can set S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2017.

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USA Triathlon posted a great article that I have used to help me evaluate my 2014 and 2015 training and racing seasons before trying to plan for 2015 and 2016. I have found this reflection very beneficial and thought I would use the same questions to reflect on my 2016 season so I can better plan for 2017.

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

-My goals were clear and attainable: smile and have fun at Ironman Wisconsin while pushing to break 14 hours.  I feel like I could have pushed a little bit harder to break 14 hours, especially on the run. My overall finish time was 14:34:11, but I did manage to smile and have fun all day long!! I love Ironman racing…it makes my heart happy 🙂

Ironman Wisconsin #bikelove Photo credit: Erin Klegstad
Ironman Wisconsin #bikelove Photo credit: Erin Klegstad

2. What are you most proud of this season?

-I had a great training weekend on the Ironman Wisconsin course at the end of July. I rode 125 miles on the bike course with 6847 feet of climbing followed by an hour run…it was hard challenging, but gave me the confidence I needed for race day! The day after this big monster workout, I participated in a 2.4 mile open water swim event that was not wetsuit legal. This continued to build my confidence for my upcoming 3.5 mile open water swim that would also not be wetsuit legal. I followed this swim with running one loop (13.1 miles) of the Ironman Wisconsin run course. This weekend was a HUGE confidence builder!!

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125 miles of #bikelove in Wisconsin = ALL of the corn!
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2.4 mile swim sans wetsuit = confidence builder!!
This is what happy looks like after a successful Ironman Wisconsin training camp!
This is what happy looks like after a successful Ironman Wisconsin training camp!

3. What would I like to duplicate next year?

-I have gotten so much stronger and faster on the bike, and I would love to see my cycling fitness continue to grow in 2017!! With Ironman Mont Tremblant’s bike course having 5900 feet of climbing, I can use this developed strength and cycling fitness to carry me through this hilly course in 2017!!

Nailing my FTP test with normalized power of 194 watts...I'm getting SO close to being able to push 200 watts for my 20 minute time trial!!
Nailing my FTP test with normalized power of 194 watts…I’m getting SO close to being able to push 200 watts for my 20 minute time trial!!

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

-I didn’t have the run I was hoping for at Ironman Wisconsin this year. I know I can run a 4:45:00 marathon off the bike, but haven’t been able to make this happen yet.

-The 70.3 distance event I did in Madison in June was HOT and I didn’t have the race I was hoping for. I had spent the week before my race in DC, so I didn’t properly acclimate to the heat and humidity that Mother Nature bestowed on us on race day in the Midwest. The positive…I still finished (without ending up in the medical tent) despite Mother Nature’s bad attitude.

HOLY HOT!!
HOLY HOT!!

-Not having a nutritionally sound race at Ironman Wisconsin. I wasn’t hyponatremic by the end, but I was well on my way. I have to find a way to figure out this nutrition!

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

-I want to have a solid nutritional experience in 2017 at Ironman Mont Tremblant…Ironman Wisconsin 2014 is the only long race I have felt good nutritionally.

-I want to avoid having a flat run at the end of Ironman Mont Tremblant. I definitely want to put together a solid race…strong and solid swim, followed by a strong and solid bike, followed by a strong and solid run!

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

-I’ve learned that it is time to mix things up and seek help! I have had the same flat training for the last couple of years, and it is time to make some changes! It is also time to figure out this nutrition so that I set myself up for a great race at IMMT! This is why I’ve hired Coach Kelly with Track Cat Fitness to help me make dreams come true!

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

-I felt empowered by stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things! Racing in a relay with friends and a duathlon were first time experiences for me this year. I am happy to say that they are both experiences that I want to do again!

#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon
#solesistersweat and a podium finish at my first ever duathlon

-I also felt empowered by empowering other women in endurance sport through our women’s only rides this year! I finally made the time to help other women feel more confident on their bike and it. Was. Awesome! The smiles and confidence these women exhibited spoke volumes to how they felt!

Ladies Night!
Ladies Night!

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

-I need to overcome the fear of being uncomfortable. I am always afraid to leave it all out there…whether it is during a training session or 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! This year is all about #courageovercomfort and pushing my limits both in training and racing!

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 have decided to hire a coach for 2017 and I am super excited about it! With Coach Kelly’s knowledge, guidance, encouragement, and support, I hope to have the best year yet! I will also 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! I’m confident Kelly and I will work well together to help make this all happen! 🙂 2017 is the year of #courageovercomfort as I push myself to new limits!

My 2017 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?

Dream Season

“The most powerful weapon on Earth is the human soul on fire.” ~Ferdinand Foch

The off season is the perfect time for dreaming! This is the time when I’m not exercising as much, so I have LOTS WAY TOO MUCH time to dream about what is to come! One thing is for sure…triathlon lights my fire! I’ve been dreaming of the coming year…2017 is the year I turn 40! The year I have my heart set on fun! The year I will push my limits to overcome challenges! The year I will push my limits to get closer to making my Kona qualifying dream come true! The year we go on another racecation! 40 is going to be my year! I’m excited to get this year started! It is time to start filling my barn with hay so that I can light a massive fire on race day!

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Ironman Mont Tremblant 2017…I’m coming for ya!

Dreaming is easy…how will I turn these dreams into reality? Believing in myself, my abilities, my training, and my new coach! Yes, that’s right! I’m super excited to have Kelly Hardiaris coaching me in 2017! With her expertise, guidance, support, and encouragement, I am hoping to have the best year ever! I’m ready to embark on this journey with Kelly and see where we can go together in 2017!

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I’m super pumped that I’ve been chosen to be part of the Coeur Sports Ambassador Team again in 2017!! I ABSOLUTELY love these ladies!! They are inspirational, motivational, enCOEURaging, supportive and full of #heartandcourage 🙂

I found out that I made the Coeur Sports 2016 Ambassador Team...Such a #hardcoeur group of women that I'm overjoyed to be a part of!!
Pumped to make the Coeur Sports 2017 Ambassador Team…Such a #hardcoeur group of ladies that I’m overjoyed to be a part of!!

Who’s excited for 2017?! What are you looking forward to in 2017?!

What’s Up?! – September 2016

This month has been a COMPLETE whirlwind! It seems as though it has drug on and flown by all at the same time! How does that happen?!

Racing:

9/11 marked our third trip around the Ironman Wisconsin race course and was the 5 year anniversary of my first Ironman…which was also Ironman Wisconsin! It was a fantastic day for racing…so fantastic that I had a 40+ minute PR on this course for the day! You can read more about my race here.

Riding up Barlow Hill with the cheers of Thing 1, Thing 2, and my Coeur Sports Tribe. Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad
Riding up Barlow Hill with the cheers of Thing 1, Thing 2, and my Coeur Sports Tribe. Photo Credit: Erin Klegstad

Recovering:

Post Ironman always means lots of “down time” and recovery. I think this is probably the best I’ve done at taking time off and doing NO exercise for nearly 2 full weeks…well, I did do an EASY hour on the trainer and we helped a friend move, but otherwise we’ve done no swimming, no running, and VERY little cycling and strength training. While my body will definitely appreciate the down time, my mind is going CRAZY without my daily dose of stress relief! Thankfully we are starting to see some easy recovery workouts in Training Peaks again and some stress relief is in sight!

Reading:

At the beginning of September, I finished reading On Top of You Game: Mental Skills to Maximize Your Athletic Performance by Carrie Cheadle for the 2nd time. This book is a MUST read if you are an athlete wanting to perform at a higher level. It is full of great tools and has activities for you to do to help you achieve success! #feedtheathlete is something we can all be on board with!!

One of my favorite books on mental training...perfect pre race reading :)
One of my favorite books on mental training…perfect pre race reading 🙂

After Ironman Wisconsin, I picked up 17 Hours to Glory: Extraordinary Stories from the Heart of Triathlon by Mathias Miller, Mark Deterline, and Timothy Carlson. This book is great! Each chapter is about a different person’s journey to the Ironman finish line. Some individuals have crossed the finish line of multiple Ironman races, while others just a few. It is the perfect book to read just a chapter and set down, or read it from cover to cover!

Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown is what I am currently reading. I am not very far into this book, but it is already full of hope, stamina, and grit! My husband (someone who doesn’t read much) recommended I read this and I am finally getting around to it. WOW…a must read!

Regrouping:

Finding the “new normal” after an Ironman race is always a challenge! When we are used to having SBR (swim/bike/run) consume most of our “free time,” we are often at a loss for a few weeks after an Ironman. We have cleaned both of our vehicles (inside and out), we’ve cooked many meals to load our freezer, we’ve cleaned the house and the garage, we’ve reseeded part of our lawn that the city chewed up when redoing our street earlier this summer…we can’t seem to sit still, so lots of things are getting done that we’ve put off during peak training and racing.

Making curry with the homegrown squash...yes it has a face on it thanks to our Swiss neighbors ;)
Making curry with a homegrown squash…yes it has a face on it thanks to our Swiss neighbors 😉

How was your month of September? What where your highlights?

Unconventional Taper

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This weekend, I will be racing the Wisconsin Milkman 70.3 Triathlon in Madison, Wisconsin. I am super excited, but am also a bit nervous. Why?! I’ve had a very unconventional taper leading into this race and here is why:

  1. After completing my last long ride on Tuesday of last week (June 7), I boarded a plane early Wednesday morning to chaperone 26 eighth grade students to Washington DC. You can read more about everything we saw in the short (yet very long) 4 days we were in DC here. We walked over 37 miles, which was the only exercise I had in those 4 days, and I was exhausted.
  2. I slept for 22 of 30 hours after returning home from my DC trip and didn’t do any exercising (other than walking in DC) for an entire week!!
  3. On Monday we loaded the car and went to my parents to visit them for a couple of days. During that time, we did run 4 easy miles and swim (entirely for fun) with my twin nieces on Tuesday. We also had to take shelter during severe storms thanks to tornadoes in the area. Thankfully, the only damage to my parent’s land/house was an ash tree that got uprooted. Since they were planning on having the tree taken down due to the potential for the ash borer later this year, Mother Nature actually saved them a bit of money by dropping the tree (away from the house) for free!!
    Running with the Iron Hippie around lake Okoboji...being on the water makes my heart happy!!
    Running with the Iron Hippie around lake Okoboji…being on the water makes my heart happy!!
    Swimming with the nieces between storms.
    Swimming with our nieces between storms.
    Sitting in the shelter at the public library with the nieces, Isabella's teacher, and her classroom dog, A
    We were at the library when the storms came up, so we took shelter there. Sitting in the shelter at the public library during the tornadoes with our nieces, Isabella’s teacher, and her classroom dog, Anders.

    Uprooted ash tree in my parent's backyard.
    Uprooted ash tree in my parent’s backyard.
  4. We returned home yesterday, just in time to get our bikes race ready, a prerace massage, and dinner with our neighbors.

    Prerace massage
    Prerace massage
  5. Today’s focus…swim in our wetsuits in open water (we haven’t been in open water yet in 2016), make sure the bike is in working order, pack for our race weekend, and teach TRX before leaving at noon tomorrow for Madison.

How will this unconventional taper treat me on Sunday? Only time will tell!! I am confident in my training and abilities and am looking forward to pushing my limits on Sunday!!

Have you had an unconventional taper for a race? If so, how did it treat you on race day? Have you participated in a race where your first outdoor swim happened during the race? If so, how did it go?

“It is time to make you a swimmer”

Sunday, April 10 I had a swim analysis with Coach Hansen. I learned that I had lost my “catch” and I wasn’t pushing water to the back wall, I was instead pushing it to the bottom of the pool. I was creating more resistance and making it more challenging for myself to move forward, but was doing a great job of moving myself up toward the water’s surface…GRRR!!

Swim Analysis

After changing up some things and seeing some slight improvements in my time per 50 yards, I made the comment, “I’ve never been a fast swimmer; just consistent. No matter how hard I try, I almost always swim 1:50/100 yards.” BAD MISTAKE!!

Coach Hansen immediately responded with, “Well, then it is time to make you a swimmer.” What does that mean?! It means there are no more “easy” swim workouts. It means that every swim I do, I should be pushing my limits and trying to get faster and more efficient at the same time. It means that I’m dying at the end of my 25s, 50s, 100s, and 200s. It means that I’m working REALLY hard. It means that it is tough. It means it is uncomfortable.

It means I need to overcome a mental hurdle and start believing in myself in the pool. I CAN get faster in the water. I WILL get faster in the water. It will be uncomfortable and it may hurt, but it will be worth it! After all, I GET to go swim! I GET to do what I LOVE! I GET to race triathlon!

Fast forward to my swim on Wednesday, April 13th…

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After finishing the 8x50s on the minute, I was so hungry! I got out of the pool, grabbed my Barnanas and sat on the edge of the pool eating and crying in my goggles. After consuming some calories, I got back in the pool and finished my workout. It was TOUGH! It was CHALLENGING! I was working SO HARD! I was supposed to see faster times…I didn’t. I was supposed to feel like I wasn’t working as hard…I didn’t. I was supposed to be working on my form…I forgot about it.

My arms were SO tired on Thursday! I was so frustrated that I spent all of my free time (which wasn’t much) watching videos of Michael Phelps and hoping for osmosis to allow his swim form to seep into my body.

Friday morning I decided to give myself a break and not focus on times while swimming. It was the perfect decision! This swim still wasn’t easy (my arms were still tired from Wednesday), but I felt much more relaxed in the pool and actually enjoyed my swim!

Fast forward again to Tuesday, April 19th…

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I repeated the 2800 yard swim of 150s, 50s, and 25s at 5 am and talked to myself. I said, “I am Michael Phelps” over and over and over again throughout this swim. I did see slightly faster times, and didn’t feel like I was working nearly as hard as I did last week on this swim, but I still am not seeing the times that I was hoping for, and I’m sure my form was not getting better. The good thing about this swim…I didn’t cry in my goggles this time 🙂

My swimming continued to be on and off for the next week. Some days were better than others, but I always focused on #courageovercomfort because eventually this uncomfortableness in the water has to become comfortable and eventually I will #findfaster!

Fast forward to Sunday, May 1…

We had another swim analysis with Coach Hansen. This time, he took underwater video of our swim form, analyzed it and gave us specific things to focus on for the next week or two before we meet again. Things for me to focus on include:

  • Push my nose to the floor of the pool to bring my butt up/bring my chin toward my chest
  • Fingertips down and elbow bent throughout the catch and pull (do not let elbow drop and fingertips point to the ceiling…grrr)
  • Push water to the back wall, not my hip
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I have no catch, my hand is higher than my elbow, and my chin needs to be closer to my chest.

Fast forward to Wednesday, May 4…

I found a trick to get my fingertips pointing down toward the bottom of the pool, but I still have to get my elbow high, reach forward, and get my chin tucked back toward my chest. I looped a hair tie around my wrist and middle finger on each hand to pull my fingertips toward my wrists. It seemed to work based on the videos and pictures we took. As for the reach, I feel like when I reach my arm forward this is when my elbow drops and my fingertips point up (as shown above). This may not be the case, but that is how it feels. I also found a way to get my chin closer to my chest, but didn’t seem to be doing it here:

REACH!! LOOK DOWN!!!
REACH!!! LOOK DOWN/BACK!!! ELBOW UP!!!

Changing up my swim stroke is hard. It is tough. It is uncomfortable. It is difficult to know if the changes that I feel I am making are actually changing anything at all. I guess I’ll have to wait until we meet with Coach Hansen again next week! Until then, it is time to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and focus on #courageovercomfort in the water to #findfaster!

What tips do you have for me to remember to keep my nose to the floor, keep my arm in the “catch” position (elbow high/fingertips down), and push the water to the back wall?

My Passion for Endurance Sport

It is no secret…I love endurance sport! The question to ask would be where did this passion come from? I did not grow up participating in sports…unless you consider cheerleading a sport. My parents were not athletic role models. My sisters did not participate in sports. So, where did this passion for endurance sports come from?

In 2004, I went through a divorce and made a drastic decision…I was going to run the Dam to Dam 20K race. I was not a runner. I was determined that I was going to run 12.4 miles. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?! It turns out my mind knew something my body didn’t…I started running and I was hooked! You could say I transformed into Forrest Gump just a bit…I ran that 20K and then decided I was going to run a marathon and then a few more marathons. After crossing the finish line of multiple marathons, it was time to try a sprint-distance triathlon. I grew up swimming, I knew how to ride a bike (although my bike at the time was definitely not a bike to race with) and I had been running consistently for a few years. Crossing that finish line of my first sprint-distance triathlon was amazing! I was on cloud nine and was riding the endorphin train! I decided it was time to take on a more challenging distance, so I opted for an Olympic-distance triathlon before trying my cards at a half-Ironman distance triathlon. But why stop there?!?!?! How about the Ironman-distance triathlon???? Could I do it? Again I thought, “WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?!?!” But after crossing that finish line, I was hooked!

So what hooked me in endurance sport?

  • As a life-long-learner, I find satisfaction in trying to solve a problem. How do I become a better athlete? What have I learned from my mistakes? How have I grown into a better person through all of this?
  • The variety in training and racing…I love not doing the same thing every day. Finding balance in life is sometimes difficult, but triathlon gives me balance in my workout schedule and prevents monotony.
  • I thrive on pushing myself to new limits…I want to see just how far I can go and what I can do. Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is always something I push myself to try and achieve.
  • Overcoming challenges is so rewarding…when I do something that once seemed impossible, the feelings of self-worth, self-confidence, satisfaction, pride, and happiness are beyond amazing!
  • I love the feeling of success…when I finish a tough workout, when I cross the finish line of a race, when I conquer my fears, when I do the impossible.
  • I thrive on structure…having races on the calendar gives structure to my racing, having workouts in Training Peaks gives structure to my weeks and months, having structure gives me focus.
  • The fun factor brings a smile to my face and my heart…
This smile sums up my race day experience!!
This smile sums up how I feel about endurance sports!!

I am beyond blessed and lucky to be a part of the Coeur Sports team again in 2016. I share the same mission as Coeur Sports. Our mission is to share our passion with other women and enCOEURage them to participate in endurance sports. I want all women to love endurance sports as much as I do! I want to see women’s triathlon, swimming, cycling, and running grow into epic numbers! I want to inspire more women to experience the happy heart that I experience when I SBR!

I. Love. Endurance. Sports! What is your favorite endurance sport? What hooked you in endurance sports? How do you share your passion for endurance sports with others?