Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Love What You Do

I've been thinking about hobbies.  Last night Mark got up at 1am to drive to our boat (2 hrs) to go fishing.  He absolutely loves it.  To him, the drive doesn't matter and sleep can wait because there are fish to be caught! He spends hours preparing his gear, reading fishing reports, checking on weather and wind, and has even read a book or two (which is HUGE if you know him).  He wants to be good at his hobby because being good makes it more fun.  Besides his hobby he works and makes plenty of time for me and Hunter at home.  The hobby, by definition, is what he does in his chosen free time (well,  we all know with a small child there isn't actually any 'free' time, so rather he makes time).  

This of course got me thinking about triathlon.  For most people, it is a hobby.  Like fishing, an expensive, time consuming, hobby.  But what really struck me is that so many times training for the hobby seems to become a chore for many people.  They 'have' to get out for the bike ride or come up with many excuses (spoken or not) throughout their day to avoid actually doing a workout.  If this is your chosen hobby, which you started for whatever reason, you should LOVE it!  If there is no passion involved, then why do it? 

I think the main reason I have had success in triathlon is that I truly love the sport.  I love the daily training grind.  I love training on my own, with groups, with fast people or slow people - there is a time and place for it all.  I love the feeling after a workout so hard you never though you'd finish.  What I love most is showing up on race day to challenge my body and mind and see what I can do.  I love enjoying race day with everyone there and commiserating afterwards.  

If you find yourself in a rut with training and are feeling like it is more like a 'to-do' item rather than what you are doing for fun then something has gone wrong in your thought process.  You need to reset and remember why you chose this hobby to fill your free time!  What do you enjoy?  What makes it stressful or ruins it as a hobby?  Why are you not making time to do it? 

There are many ways to get fast at triathlon if that is your goal, but I can tell you not enjoying it and being too strict is not going to pay off in the long run.  Get out and train hard if that suits you.  If this is a hobby you truly love, like fishing, you will make time for it. 

Happy training! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Racine Report

This is not really a race report, but rather a general explanation about why there is a DNF by my name at Racine 70.3.  I do not say this often, or maybe have never said it, but it was just not my day on Sunday.

We all had our challenges dealing with the race morning weather, changes, cancelled swim, delayed start and modified race distances.  For those that weren't there....There was a major weather front that came through just as the race was meant to start, causing a delay of 3.5 hours.   The swim was completely cancelled and the bike shortened to 31 miles.  The pros had to start in time-trial fashion (one at a time every 30 seconds).

This format doesn't suit me, but I was on board to give it my best shot.  I got out on the bike and quickly realized, as I somewhat predicted, I needed a MUCH longer warm-up before biking hard.  I was just starting to get rolling around mile 10 when my bike started to feel really unstable.  I thought I had a flat and moved to the base bars.  I quickly noticed my aero bars were completely loose and were just about to completely fly off my bike! Yikes...but slightly better than a flat :)  Luckily after only a few min of riding out of aero, the Trek mechanics showed up and we pulled over to fix it.  I was actually thankful for the break, but painfully watched a couple girls ride by knowing I was unlikely to catch them with the way my legs were riding!

Back at it with no excuses but under trained bike legs, I finished the ride feeling ok.  I got out on the run, ready to have a good run despite an embarrassing bike ride. I've been feeling strong running and thought I could run with the top girls (well, a bit behind, but run close to the same time at least).  I felt good for 2.5 miles, settling into a strong pace, but my back started tightening up.  By the turn at 3ish miles my back had completely tightened up and there was no way I could continue running, let alone walk!  I got picked up and got a ride back to my family.  I didn't feel bad or have a hard time deciding to stop, since there was no way at all I could continue!  Anyone that knows me knows that I don't quit on races and pride myself on finishing, especially in tough conditions, so not completing this race is something new and not something I plan on doing again.

I'm lucky to have a great chiropractic team here in Madison (All About Chiropractic) who got me in on Monday for a full exam and x-rays.  Being 3.5 months after baby my body is still changing and I'm kicking myself for being lazy with my back care and massages these last few months.  It certainly caught up to me and there were many things out of whack.  I'm happy to say that I think this will be resolved quickly and we have a great treatment plan.  After some work yesterday I'm already feeling better (and can walk!).

As far as what's next...First off taking care of my body and staying healthy has to return to top priority.  Secondly, get my biking to a place where I can be more competitive....this means making time for more riding (trainer, eek!).

Lastly, thank you to Ironman for putting me on the pro panel for me to represent Timex and new moms out there!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

On the comeback!

It feels like a lifetime ago that I wrote the last post, and in many ways it was a completely different life, but in some ways (which I have worked hard on) it is still the same.  I just raced my first half Ironman back since baby 12 weeks ago and am happy to report I didn't die :)  I actually did well, and am very proud of my results because I know what it took to get there.

Hunter was born 2 weeks early, on March 24.  I won't get into the birth, but after a very healthy and enjoyable pregnancy it was not a smooth birth process.  None the less, I had a baby and there started the whole new life of mommy-hood.  After an initial struggle getting going with breastfeeding (who doesn't struggle the first few weeks!) we hit our stride and are going strong in the feeding department.

However obsessed I might be (follow along on Instagram), I don't want to focus on my amazingly cute baby boy in this post.  I want to focus on the route I'm taking getting back into triathlon and how it's working out.  I'm going to break down some key 'mind-set' points and then share what I've done the last couple months.

1.  Baby's take A LOT of time.  When you think you can get stuff done around the house while they nap, you are probably wrong.  When you schedule something, they probably have other plans....this includes workouts.  Because of this, not many workouts will get done and you have to be ok with that and also going with the flow of baby.

2. It takes a while for your body to get to where you want it, so be patient with yourself.  This is a tough one...especially if you are at a higher level in your sport and you are eager to get going again.  It is a slow build.  Push it too much, you will be dog tired and potentially injured.

3.  It is not selfish to take time to yourself to workout.  Use the gym childwatch, friends, family, whoever is willing (and eager many times) to help by snuggling your sweet baby so you can go get your head right (and feel like some version of your old self) with a run or swim or yoga or whatever you need.   There is plenty of time in the day for baby snuggles - it's ok to do a 30 minute run.

4.  It has to be a priority.  This is a little confusing, because obviously your new family is at the top, but if getting back into shape is a goal, it better be up there on the priority list because it is REALLY easy to just lounge and snuggle and watch every single thing on Netflix and eat yummy treats with little baby.   Working out is a habit and although some days will be tough, from a time or motivation standpoint, it is very important to stick with it.  Sometimes it's easy to do it during the day (nap time) but many times I have found myself up and on the trainer at 4:30am or after bedtime at 8pm.  This is just part of the mom-athlete 'dance'.

5.  Lack of sleep is a real issue.  This is why you really can't do much of anything the first month.  If you do, then you are some amazing, non-sleep machine.  I like love sleep.  I used to pride myself on getting plenty of sleep and maximizing recovery.  Now, with baby, I sleep as much as I can (which will not be even close to what I did before) and make due with energy levels for workouts.

OK, enough of all that.  Let's get down to what the heck did I actually do??  Let's back up just a bit to pregnancy- I was able to workout/exercise the entire time...even posted a gym baby belly pic the day I went into labor (had no idea I would go into labor or I would have been home napping!).   SO, I think the process after baby has been much easier because I stayed active the entire time.

Weeks 1-2: nothing.  just survive.  sleep, eat, drink lots, feed baby

Week 3:  start walking.  first walk was to the mailbox.  then around the block. and so on.
Training Hours: 1

Week 4: I started feeling better and like starting some exercise again.   I went for a swim, and went on a couple run/walks of ~20-25 min. Training Hours: 4:30

Week 5: Continued to build on week 4. Still short and easy.   First bike ride! Training Hours: 7

Week 6:  Same as week 4. couple swims, a few run/walks - still pretty slow, lower abs/pelvic region still would get sore after ~25 min. Training Hours: 8:40

Week 7:  Getting into a groove - Using the health club childcare up to 2 hrs at a time.  Continued with the swims and run/walk almost daily.  A couple yoga sessions.  Long ride, 37 miles. Training Hours: 9

Week 8:  Training more regularly, feeling stronger.  Did Donald Dash 10k trail race with Mark and Stewart.  Building consistency running 3-5 miles per day. Also a couple bikes and swims.  Long ride 35 miles (not fast).  Training hours: 12:30

Week 9:  Building consistency running 4-7 miles per day, Long run 10 (hilly) miles,  Rode (and bonked hard) Milkman course. Training Hours: 13

Week 10: Easier week, raced Lake Mills Sprint tri.  Good confidence builder, ran 6 min miles!
Training Hours: 9

Week 11:  'Panic Training'  EEEK.  I did a big week, including 12 mile run on Wednesday, Milkman course ride and 30 min run off Saturday. Training Hours: 12:30

Week 12: Taper?! For Milkman Half Ironman!  I took 2 full rest days, 1 swim only day and a few brick sessions with race simulation efforts.  I was optimistic...feeling good but pretty unsure if that would transfer through the entire distance of a half Ironman.

I'm happy to share more specifics on this, if you are interested, but main thing was listening to my body and not pushing it too far too soon!

Quick Milkman Race Recap:

Started in Elite wave w/men - swam fine, fairly controlled...noticed I'm not swimming as straight as I used to!!  Swam 27min and change

Bike: This is where I REALLY didn't know what would happen.  My rides have not been fast at all (fastest Milkman ride just under 3 hrs) and my bike legs have certainly not come around yet.  I rode as hard as I thought I could to cover the distance (duh, I guess that's what you do every time!).  I was looking at watts, but not using it too much to determine how hard to go.  I based it on feel, making nutrition a high priority as I know with breastfeeding I need to take in a lot more liquid and calories (in addition to the temp rising during the ride up towards 90 degrees).  No one caught me on the bike so I knew I was good to go for a nice run around the lake.  2:37 I think :)

Run:  I predicted I could run 6:50's, but that was not really planning for such hot conditions.  I took some extra precautions for the temps, and thankfully was still able to run very close to that, finishing the half in 1:30.  I was on maintenance mode for the run, which is really exciting, knowing that if there is close competition I could likely get more out of this.

Overall: Happy to take the win for the inaugural Milkman, which I hope to do every year!  4:39 finish time.

I'm taking a few days easy recovery (just a swim Monday and off today) and then will start another small build up to Racine 70.3 where I will be racing the big girls again :)

Thanks for following my progress back and I hope to continue to improve to where I was last year and beyond!

Huge thanks to support from Timex, my team since I started back in 2009.  Also from great companies like Newton Running, Rudy Project, and Computrainer who keep me using some great gear.  Locally I could not have such fun racing without my friends at Speed Cycling,  Endurance House West, Perfect Circle Cycling, and Race Day Events!

Lastly, my hubs Mark....celebrated his first fathers day cheering me did I get so lucky :)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Pregnancy Swim Challenge (Weeks 20-32)

Well, we're getting to the home stretch here and I've been feeling pretty good!  I currently have a cold (yuck) but otherwise am happy with how things are going.  One of the fun things has been doing the weekly 'pregnancy swim challenge' workouts with friends.

We started out when I was 20 weeks pregnant (and feeling very out of swim shape) back in mid November with a 2000yd workout and are still going strong, adding 100yds each week!  I usually swim 2-3 other times on my own, ranging anywhere from 1000-3000yds, but easier workouts.

Here is a little recap of the workouts we've done each week for the last 13 weeks...hope there are others out there who will give this a try!

Week 20
5x100 warm up as 75 free, 25 back
5x100 as 100 pull/100 kick
5x100 adding 25 fast each time...15 sec rest after each 100. for ex: 25 fast/75 easy, 50 fast/50 easy, 75 fast/25easy, 100 all fast, 100 easy.
5x100 ascend - each one gets slower, on 1:45

Week 21
5x100 warm up as 75 free, 25 back
4x100 as 50 build up, 50 ez 10 sec rest
9x100 descend each set of 3 on 1:30 or a send off that works.
3x100 choice cool down

Week 22
warm up: 6x100 done as 100s, 100k, 100p repeat
2 rounds of 4x100 on ~1:45 (looking for a fairly comfortable send off time):
100 pull with buoy and right paddle
100 pull with buoy and left paddle
100 pull with buoy and both paddles
100 swim (no equipment) build, hold form and increase power building from mod-fast. 
3x100 @ 80% on 1:40
3x100 @ 85-90% on 1:35
200 choice cool down

Week 23 swim challenge! I'm starting to see a hint of getting into swim shape..
2x(100s, 100k, 100p, 100 choice scull) 
Speed pyramid (adjust intervals as needed so middle few 100's are a challenge). Set is continuous.  
1x100 on 1:35
2x100 on 1:30
3x100 on 1:25
2x100 on 1:30
1x100 on 1:35 
3x100 pull with paddles, smooth 
3x100 choice cool down

Week 24
2x(100s, 100k, 100 drill, 100 pull) 
3 times thru:
4x100 on 1:30 (or choice interval) solid effort 
100 easy 
100 easy cool down

Week 25
2x(4x25 on :30)
Build up, break out, all fast, all easy
Main set, continuous:
1x100 easy on 1:40
2x100 on 1:35
3x100 on 1:30
4x100 on 1:25 
50 easy 
100 r paddle
100 l paddle
200 both 
50 easy

Week 26 Adjust intervals so that middle 100's look tough smile emoticon
1x100 1:40
2x100 1:35
3x100 1:30
4x100 1:25
3x100 1:30
2x100 1:35
1x100 1:40 
200 cd

Week 27

300s, 100k, 200p
2x(4x25 build up, break out, fast, easy)
3x through:
2x100 on 1:35
2x100 on 1:30
2x100 on 1:25 
100 easy cd
Week 28
4x75 as 25 kick, 25 fast, 25 easy on 1:30
Main set:
Adding 50 hard each time, ex: 1st is 50 hard, 150 easy. 2nd is 100 hard 100 easy... 4th all hard, 5th all easy. 10 sec rest for all. 
2x300 pull with paddles - building effort thru each 300.
100 easy
4x25 sprint on :45. At least 1 fly
100 easy
Week 29 
warm up: 300s 100k 200p 100 drills
2x(4x25 on :30)
Build up, break out, all fast, all easy
Main set, continuous (adjust send off as needed):
2x100 easy on 1:40
3x100 on 1:35
4x100 on 1:30
5x100 on 1:25 eeek!
100 easy
100 r paddle
100 l paddle
200 both
100 easy

Week 30
Warm up:
500s every 4th length non free 
6x50 as 25 drill 25 swim 10sr
2x(4x25 build, breakout, fast, slow) on :30
Main set:
3x (4x100 descend on 1:30, 200 steady swim or pull) 
200 cool down

Week 31:
Warm up
400 swim
200 pull
100 kick
Pre Set
5 x 100 w/fins if u have them as 50 cruise/25 kick on back/25 build swim on 15” rest
Main Set
2 continuous rounds of:
4 x 50 cruise on :55 (or 15"rest)
2 x100 hold same pace as the 4 x 50
4 x 50 cruise on 15” rest
200 hold same pace as the 4 x 50 on 30” rest
300 choice cool down

Week 32
warm up:
4x50 drill/swim 10 sec rest
main set:
20x100 done like this.... intervals can be adjusted so that first set looks easy and last set looks like a challenge (only ~5 sec rest). 
4x100 on 1:40
100 easy rest till next top.
4x100 on 1:35
100 easy rest till next top.
4x100 on 1:30
100 easy rest till next top.
4x100 on 1:25
100 easy rest till next top. 
200 cool down choice

Saturday, October 17, 2015

2015 - Our baby is an Ironman!

This is a blog I've started many times.  Turns out I was just too tired to finish it and now I finally understand why!  In my last blog I did a nice recap of my summer of racing just before racing Ironman Mont Tremblant.  Let me do a quick recap of what I'd call my best Ironman to date and our surprise pregnancy story!!


I was in a good place heading into this Ironman, despite being very tired the last few weeks of training, I felt like I had a good race in me.  I traveled to this one alone since I had raced there before in 2013 I had a good feeling for the race venue and logistics.   Since the race was already a couple months ago, I don't even remember all the details to bore you with!

What I do remember is truly feeling good all day. I was relatively aggressive on the swim, starting with a group and then leaving them when some age group men came by and came out just under 55 min.  I got out onto the bike and knew if I just rode smart and came off within reach of the front I could keep it together on the run.  Despite a couple frustrating issues with my chain getting jammed, causing me to lose the girls I was riding with, I finished up ok with a 5:15 ride and 8th off the bike.

It was my goal to run under a 3:10 marathon, with my previous best on that course being a 3:14.  With my half Ironman runs being my best ever I knew this was a doable goal.  Like all marathons, I just went out and ran!  I always check my watch a couple times in the first couple miles to make sure I'm going a reasonable pace (not too fast) and then just go off feel the rest of the way.  I came by most of the girls within the first 8 miles and found myself in 4th place.  After that I just kept on the liquids and nutrition. The last couple miles were a little tough and slower, but I knew my placing wasn't going to change at that point, so that might have been part of it :)  I finished with a 3:04 marathon!  I was proud to finish with a 9:20 in 4th behind Mary Beth Ellis, Liz Blanchford (3rd in Kona this year) and teammate Lisa Roberts.   What a day!

PREGNANCY?!  (some details, and maybe a little personal, sorry!)

After the race I was abnormally very ill with a horrible stomach ache.  Ugh. So much for post race celebrations.  After returning home it was a lot of sleep and I was struggling to have any good recovery.  I had planned to be in off season after the race, but my body was exhausted.  After a few weeks I started to wonder if something was going on...

It wasn't until Friday, Sept 25 when I called my doctor concerned about my lack of energy and weight gain that I was encouraged to take a pregnancy test.  So as we were getting ready to head to a Garth Brooks concert that night I took a pregnancy test and it showed a positive!! WHOA we were in shock. We cautiously enjoyed Garth Brooks wondering if this was real.  Monday I called the doctor and they brought me in for a blood test.  Yep. It was real.

You may be wondering how the heck I had no idea....well, let me tell you.  With the training and weight loss I had over the spring and summer I was not getting my period (not since Feb, also when we went off birth control).   So we had NO idea how far along in this pregnancy we were.  So they brought me in the next week for an ultrasound where they said we might not even see anything.  To my huge surprise there was a full on baby in there!  They dated it at 13.5 weeks!!  Whoa.  Goodbye first trimester.

We have a due date of April 6, 2016, which is Mark's Birthday!!  We're almost at 16 weeks and just last week I finally got my energy back!  I'm enjoying working out again and luckily can still fit in most of my clothes :)   We are finishing up all of our home projects and need to have these done before our big winter fun with the Snowshoe Scurry Series.  So far:  living room = done!  Basement workout space = half done....maybe finish today, guest bathroom = next up!

So HUGE thank you to all of our friends and family that are offering support and excitement with us for entering this next chapter of our lives.  With an early spring baby, I'm aiming to stay healthy and fit and hopefully be back at it end of 2016!!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Time flies

Well, I haven't blogged all summer because, let's face it, time flies!  Summer especially flies!  I have been having a blast racing this year, being married, and having a fun pup to keep us busy.  I am loving my life and am so happy to be in the place I am today.  Racing (and life) really has it's ups and downs, and times of doubt, but this year it has been a very clear path.  I'm thankful for Mark in my life who always keeps me laughing :)

Here is a little recap, of the summer racing which has landed me at this moment in Mont Tremblant, Canada preparing to race my first Ironman of the season on Sunday.

June:  I raced a sprint tri, and olympic distance, and a Buffalo Springs 70.3 and managed to win all 3!  Wahoo!  I truly never thought I would win at the half distance as I have always been an Ironman gal, but with my run coming around this year it worked out.  I am swimming well, biking ok, and have found that extra gear on the run (combined with my good suffer-ability from all the Ironman racing) that it helping me actually be competitive at a distance I rarely ever saw a podium for before.

July:  I raced an Intermediate distance (btwn sprint and olympic) and posted my fastest ever run split (even causing me to ask if the results were correct) with a 5:44/mile for 4.5 miles.  Wahoo!  Confidence builder for Racine 70.3 where I knew there would be a tough field.  All of Mark's family was there and I knew so many I really wanted to have an awesome run!  I was totally in the zone and was happy to run my personal best half split and finish 3rd.

Full season results:

I'm happy to be racing, but also LOVE my other jobs....I'm happy to report our swim race Big Swell Swim had an awesome turn out this year and we are excited to keep growing this event.

My athletes are racing SO WELL this year and I am looking forward to many of them approaching their A races healthy and happy :)  Check out Hering Coaching

I transitioned junior tri team  to a non-profit and joined with other coaches this it is definitely a transitional year, but I'm looking forward to working out the kinks and working with and developing some of the young athletes in our area.

SO....this Ironman on Sunday!!  Yikes!! I haven't raced the distance since last year Hawaii and there are some VERY talented women on the start list.  My goals include:  Race smart, run with everything I have.  If I do that I will be happy regardless of where that puts me on the podium.  I'm looking forward to it!  If you'd like to follow, I'm number 39.  They have some live coverage HERE

Thanks for reading.  Sorry no pictures :/  gotta get to bed!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Chatanooga 70.3 Race Report

Well, where do I start!  Let me say I really wanted to win this one and I learned a good lesson about not holding back.  I came into this race after having a great season starter with a 3rd place and strong race in Puerto Rico followed by a solid month of training in April.  I am certainly in shape and was ready to go for this one.'s how it went down!   
Swim:  pretty uneventful, non-wetsuit and no crazy fast current like they had in the Ironman!   I swam pretty controlled on Ashley Clifford's feet and came out of the water in 3rd (Ashley just ahead and Anna 40 sec. or so up).   

Bike:  We saw Anna in transition so Ashley and I headed out and worked together to catch up to her.   Like Puerto Rico I was trying to race off feel (although I was collecting power data) so I was constantly taking an 'inventory' on what type of effort I was doing.  We caught Anna pretty quick and then all 3 of us ended up riding together the rest of the bike ride.  This is where I think I learned a lesson.  I was riding comfortable and (looking back on data) very conservatively, for a half IM.  I was telling myself to trust in my run when I should have been telling myself to trust in my bike AND my run and ride a little harder!   I tried my new 'clean bike' nutrition plan, only having a strong bottle of Skratch Labs and another bottle of 6 gels diluted in water.  This seemed to work well! 

Run:  OK, wow!  Ashley and I took off out of transition, I think both of us thinking we could win this thing on the run.....and she did just that!  I couldn't hold pace after a quick first couple miles.  The gap just slowly grew to just over a minute by the end of the race.  On the plus side I finished with a run split that I'm happy with and my highest ever 70.3 finish!  

Thank you to Mark for being my #1 supporter and helping me believe I am actually in shape and can do well :)  Also to Team Timex for the continued support and the gear that made my day: 
Blue Seventy - Swim Skin and goggles
Rudy Project - Wing57 helmet
Trek -  Fast Bike
Shimano -  Fast parts, wheels and bike shoes
Castelli - very comfortable kit
Newton - Distance Run shoes and luckily having a visor for me at the expo
Feetures - best socks out there
Powerbar - gels