Wednesday, December 7, 2016

2017 Triathlon Plans

This next year I want to revisit Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons and work on my speed and less on endurance. Not only will this help give my body a break from the long training days but I can start to hone in on my racing weight and performance before knocking out the Ironman.  A triathlete friend posted this motivation quote today and I just had to share it!!

My plan involves the following phases to get myself ready.

1.       Get to a base level in all three sports, here is what I’m shooting for per week
a.       Swim       4,000m (3: 2x1,200 & 1 1,600)
b.       Bike         3 hours (3: 2x45 min & 1 90 min)
c.       Run         14 miles (3: 2x4 & 1 6)

2.       Slowly add 1 Interval day during the week, with 1 discipline at a time starting with the bike and then swimming. For running I won’t be able to do this until mid February when Winter Warriors is over & I can get on a treadmill on Thursday nights which should be right about when I hit this progression.

3.       Continue working on strength & core every week. Do not let this drop off!! Possibly get back in studio for some Yoga too.

4.       8-10 weeks out from race follow a structured plan to get race ready. I don’t have my calendar set yet but I am looking at doing the Fremont Sprint Triathlon July 15th and the Winnebago County Olympic Triathlon on Aug 27th and possibly an early season one like Elkhart Lake on June 11th (sprint & Olympic options)

In trying to get faster I have been doing some research at nights to help me come up with ideas on how to get better in each of the three disciplines. I pretty much know what I’m doing with my speedwork for running as I have done it before but I need help in the other areas. I am completely self-coached so I need to learn what I’m doing before I attempt to do this without injury.

Name the first sport you think of where flexibility is key? Most people would likely say gymnastics, which is in fact true. But you most likely wouldn’t think of swimming as your first answer or your second answer. I have learned that to perform better in the pool, you need to work on your flexibility. As triathletes we are notoriously inflexible as 90% of the sport is single movement and limits our mobility if we don’t work on this.

I found some really great ideas on how to improve your swimming time simply just by gaining flexibility. You don’t have to just hit the pool and swim a bunch, in actuality this may hurt you as you can end up with overuse injuries and you are only teaching your body bad swim habits. When you get tired your form goes and the longer you swim with bad form the more it becomes habit. Pull buoys are great to use as aids when you get tired during a swim set, it keeps your body in the correct alignment so you can continue to swim.

Here are the few stretches that I found on you tube to help specifically with swimming. Thanks to Joanna Zieger for the tips!! (

Each of these you don’t need to do long, just 30 seconds or so and take a break between sets of each.
1.      Ankle Flexibility – Sit on your ankles
a.       try to work towards getting your feet flat on the ground
2.       Hip Flexibility – Hip Circles & Side to Side
a.       work towards getting the process smooth, don’t let your hips drop & focus on keeping them straight
3.       Mid-back flexibility – Pole rotation
a.       Use a pole or door jam, grab with both hands and twist from your hips away from the object
b.       Do on both sides of your body, again keep the hips level and watch your shoulders as well
4.       Shoulder Flexibility – Shoulder blade squeeze
a.       There should be little movement in the shoulders, the movement should solely be coming from your back
b.       Think about squeezing a pencil in between your shoulder blades
5.       Lateral Flexibility – Arm raise
a.       Put your arm up & extend by lifting through your lats, not your shoulder
b.       Your shoulder should not be coming closer to your ear, this is key to ensure you are using your lower rib cage/lats to induce the lengthening of the arm

I want to start implementing this into my routine once I get my current strength routine down to see if it pays off in the pool. If anybody else actually reads this I hope in some way it was able to help you out.

So far this week is going great, I received my jacket from Fleet Feet Sports at the Tuesday night fun run last night and I'm looking forward to wearing it this winter. It's a Mizuno Breath Thermal jacket and winter is sinking in here in Wisco.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Week in Training

Yay, I'm back on a regular workout schedule!! I took a break from serious training after the Fox Cities Marathon, it's been about 2.5 months and I missed my routine. I started gaining weight and that needed to stop. I committed to myself that I would get back to my base in triathlon training and add in the new tools I've learned over the past year. All of these align with my goals for the year and I am looking forward to tracking my progress.
Saturday - before I logged my foods from the am

First thing I did was start tracking all my foods in My Fitness Pal again. I made it the entire week tracking my food every day. Initially I hate doing this but it feels like less of a chore after a few days. I tend to eat similar things and the foods are easy to find and select now. I'm using the tricks I learned from Nutrition Healing this summer to eat cleaner and get all the food groups in daily that I require. The one thing I love about this app is that it syncs with Garmin Connect so I can ensure I'm hitting the correct calorie target each day.
Earned my jacket from Fleet Feet for running 500 miles with the group!

I planned my workouts in advance so I wouldn't skip out on anything. Here was my schedule:

M: Bike (40 min) & Yoga
T: Swim (800m) & Run (4 mi)
W: Bike (40 min) & Strength(Home)
Th: Swim (800m) & Run (3 mi)
S: Run (4 mi) & Bike (70 min)
S: Swim (1600m) & Strength (Gym)

I skipped the strength on Wed as my body felt really tired and I didn't get in the strength workout Sunday either thanks to sleeping in after a night out. This is where I also tend to cut first and I am really going to work to get these in this next week.

Wed. bike - my body was tired and this was not easy
I normally bike on Sunday and strength will be Saturday but this weekend on Zwift they were doing a fundraiser for WBR (World Bike Relief). The goal was to get 250K collective miles from Zwift riders during the 24 hours on December 3rd to unlock a $45,000 donation from Trek. They also encouraged people to fundraise as well and would be entered in for some prizes to win. WBR helps to give bicycles to locations in need across the world. I really wanted to participate so I switched up my schedule for the week. They had group rides led by professional cyclists to participate in, about 5 minutes before the scheduled ride they had everyone on the pier on trainers so you could spin while you waited. Once it was time to go there disappeared and off we went. I found this highly ridiculous looking at my screen and spinning on a trainer instead of riding on the road.

Overall I'm happy with how the week turned out and I'm feeling energized and motivated to keep this up. I laid out my plan for this next week tonight and I plan to tackle a few projects on my to do list, my house really needs to get cleaned so those are coming first!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Runner friends

Runner friends are the best, seriously!! I have been blessed to meet so many people via running and triathlon I cannot express how much they all truly mean to me. I rarely run alone anymore and I don't mind it at all. I mentored/paced most of 2016 through our Fleet Feet's training programs and I had the same group of ladies throughout. Logging the hundreds of miles together we really got to know one another!

Fun at the water stop! 
Mentoring is such an enjoyable & rewarding experience. I get to unload the years of knowledge I have gained through running onto newbies. You forget what fun it was to hit new milestones, and all the odd little tricks you learn to get through runs and injuries.

We first started out during Winter Warriors last year, this was my third out of the four years of the program that I have mentored. The first meeting was tonight for this year and it was so exciting to see new & familiar faces. I love winter running so it's a natural fit for me. We had a few weeks at the start of the program last year before the snow fell, but we trekked through it all. Crazy snow piles at intersections, icy patches on the sidewalks and some pretty cold days. But knowing these ladies would all be there depending on me made it fun to show up week in and week out.

Snow angels on our final night before race day!
Finish line party!!
After Winter Warriors we kicked off spring training with the goal race of the Cellcom Half Marathon in Green Bay. We added in some speed work on the weeknight training once the ice cleared away. Nobody had much experience with this so it was fun to watch the progress over the 2.5 months. They also got to find out the fun of Magic Mile night! Using their time they had their target paces for the speedwork nights and their long run paces. We do it once a month in the program so it's fun to watch them progress. Race day was such a party, I don't think I stopped smiling even though it was a crazy hot day!
Ah, look at those quads!!

Awesome spectators make for great photos!
Mentors excited for beer!!

We had a small gap before the summer training program kicked off, so we ran the 40th Bellin Run for fun. Right when we started Meb was rounding the final corner and we stopped to watch and cheer him into the finish. A toasty hot day as usual for this race, lots of water and ice was dumped everywhere!!

 Most of these ladies went on to tackle their first marathon this year, I may have helped talk them into this.
Cheesehead Half marathon a month out from race day!
Pre-race jitters on the big day! 

It's so rewarding to watch them surpass goals they never thought possible! I was able to help several ladies to PR's over the course of the year too. I love watching their continued successes and look forward to continue being a part of their journeys.

I love when running overlaps real life, Bobbi got married 6 days after her first marathon!! We had a lovely reunion and our spouses all got to finally meet each other. We danced most of the night away, overall it was a great night and we relived our race day experiences.
We're off to the races!

Monday, November 28, 2016


I found a great podcast that I have been listening to almost non stop lately. Zentri (Zen and the art of triathlon) has been an amazing find at getting me in the right mindset to start up my base training. I have been slowly adding in cross training this past month and a half to 1-2 swims and bikes in addition to my 2-3 runs per week. This week will be my first week at doing 3 of everything along with 3 strength items and I am so excited!

First things first, you need to have a plan to succeed. All my workouts are laid out for the week and I also have a giant list of chores/misc house projects. I don't expect all of those to get done, but having it written down gives me direction so I don't sit around too much in my free time.

Swimming has been so fun for me lately, I hopped back in the pool after a several month hiatus and my swim times are pretty damn close to what they were when I left off this summer. During long swims my form seems to drop a bit and the times slower. I can work with this though! It makes me anxious to attack the intervals and my new watch helps with the rest timing so much. I just need to figure out the metronome setting to use for staying on target with long swims.

Zwift was an incredible find to keep me occupied while sitting on the trainer. It's basically a video game with my bike acting as the controller. You just need a bike trainer and a speed/cadence sensor if it's not a smart trainer like the wahoo kickr. Being able to ride around with other people as if I am riding out on the road is awesome. Being in WI this is my life for 9 months out of the year, I'm a wuss when it comes to cold(ish) weather on the bike. I run outside year round but below 65 and I setup inside with the bike.

It's the start of Winter Warriors this week!! This is a run training program offered by our local Fleet Feet sports. I normally mentor/pace this program but I really wanted to participate this year so I am just subbing as needed. Winter is my favorite time to run. Why you may ask......well;
1. It's not about speed but camaraderie
2. It's cold outside and I prefer cold weather running
3. No worries about chafing! My thighs and arms are spared for awhile
4. I love a run after a snowfall, it's so beautiful and peaceful

I am really working on getting the strength in alongside my cardio. It's the first thing I seem to drop when things get busy and I just don't give it the attention it deserves. I want to keep yoga in there weekly along with a gym session and then one at home session. Keeping a good rotation of activities will only help to make it fun to stick to it.

I also need to remember to foam roll frequently, my calves have been so tight lately that I need to focus on recovery and giving my body what it needs so I can keep up.

My other big goal is to drop the extra weight I have managed to put on lately. I need to drop about 25 lbs to get to an ideal racing weight for spring. I just started logging all my food in My Fitness Pal, which syncs up with Garmin Connect to make sure I am staying on target. This is always rough as I loathe doing this. It forces me to watch what I eat and follow everything I learned this summer from Nutritional Healing and apply this to get all the appropriate food groups in daily in correct proportions.

I am thrilled that everything is seemingly coming together. I am not dreading workouts, but attacking them with a purpose!! I'm starting to utilize a bit of heart rate training and curious to find out where it takes me in this journey.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Race Recap: Houdini 10K

You know that feeling where you have been stuck in a rut? I've been doing the same races year after year and I am starting to get a bit bored with it. I am trying to cut back on the volume of racing and improve the quality. Last year this was a new race so I jumped at the chance, they capped it at 600 participants and sold out about 2 months prior to race day. I think many people felt excited about a 10K in early November, the only two local 10K's in the area are in summer. Blah!!

Last year I really enjoyed the race and I wanted to do it again. They did change the course slightly due to one section of the course last year we were on a sidewalk with a ton of vines overhanging by the golf course. It made it impossible to pass during this half mile and they doubled the race size this year. Overall though I really enjoy this course because it has a number of turns, my psyche does not like long straightaways.

Many of my fellow fleet feet runners and ambassadors were going to be there so I was so excited for race day!!. I love showing up race morning and being able to chat while wasting time before the start. This year was probably 15-20 degrees warmer as we have had an unusual fall, but it really was perfect weather. I had fun out on the course, I didn't expect a certain time which really helps my mindset at the outset of a race. The course is very scenic through neighborhoods, a golf course and along the river. It is challenging with some decent hills at the beginning and end of the course.

Mermaids for the day!! 

My watch went to the graveyard on the Tuesday prior to race day so I ended up downloading Strava to track my race. I am addicted to numbers and I love being able to analyze afterwards, I never touched it to check my time during the race.

Here are my results from the past two years, I actually ended up beating last year's time! Note the pace is per km and not per mile.
How cool of a medal is this? The handcuffs actually dangle.

I have so many ideas that I need this as self diary and maybe I can help someone else along the way.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Back from hiatus

Wow, it's been quite some time since my last blog post. I had to even look back to see what I last covered. Since May of last year I have completed 2 half ironmans, 2 marathons along with countless other halves and relay events. I have learned so much about myself over the past 1.5 years that I can't wait to share.

As I sit on my couch today trying to control the volume of snot coming out my nose, I am enthralled with Kona (Ironman's World Championships in Kona, Hawaii). What better way to kill a day as a triathlete when you are out of the game! One day I hope to be able to make it there, if not to compete I would love to spectate. Ironman is an event like no other, the crowd support and race day euphoria is amazing.

I am lucky enough to have one take place about 2 hours from where I live, in the town I currently work (mostly telecommute) and the town I went to college. This is IM Wisconsin, IMMOO as it's known to fellow triathletes.  The run course is an amazing run through and around campus that I cannot wait to eventually do. The stars have not aligned for me to sign up for the event yet, but I am really hopeful that 2018 will be my year. It was really hard for me this year to sign up, but financially it just wasn't feasible. Last year my job caused me to delay due to the hours and stress, which I changed back in November 2015.

My current plan and goals heading into year end and for next season.

1. Lose the extra weight! 2013 was my lowest weight and when I nailed all my running PR's, I am currently about 20 lbs heavier than that and I have been really close to a number of my times. If I can manage to lose all the extra weight I see many good things in my future. Doing all this will help me dial in my nutrition

2. Keep a base in swim, bike and run through the winter.

3. Work in a weights program that I can stick to. I enjoy pushing heavy weights but I need to dial in that desire a bit and work on light weights with high reps to help my endurance. Adding in a good home workout with an emphasis on core to add in addition to a gym routine will be nice.

4. Yoga & stretching. This is the very first thing that seems to drop when I dial up my workouts in the spring. This needs to stick as it really helps my strength and keeping me loose.

As I sit here today inspired, I need to keep these goals in mind. I have a dream to complete an Ironman, and I want to do it with all my heart in it!

So long for now, I will fill you in on my progress recently and what I have learned this summer.