Sunday, November 19, 2017

October Experiences

October was a whirlwind of a month! First up was the 8th Annual Miles for Myeloma 2/5 mile run/walk on October 7th, I am part of the event committee for the second year. The past year a 501(c)(3) was setup to start helping local individuals recently diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma with Miles for Myeloma being our main fundraiser. If you are interested in learning more please check out the web page:

After months of planning I rolled up in the wee hours of the morning to begin setup under the main tent and help setup the smaller tents. The original forecast was looking like a downpour but the rain lightened in the morning and stopped right before the race.

The turnout was better than we could even imagine and we had our biggest event to date. A total of 407 participants and a 46% increase from the prior year!

I was the volunteer coordinator and our bike sweeper on the course. It was so much fun to have friends volunteering out there with me. Before I knew it the event was over and we were cleaning up!

What is multiple myeloma?
Multiple myeloma is a hematological (blood) cancer that develops in the plasma cells found in the soft, spongy tissue at the center of your bones, called bone marrow. Plasma cells are a type of white blood cell responsible for producing antibodies (immunoglobulins) which are critical for maintaining the body’s immune system. Through a complex, multi-step process, healthy plasma cells transform in malignant myeloma cells. (

What are the common symptoms?
Bone problems, low blood counts, high blood levels of calcium, nervous system symptoms, nerve damage, hyperviscosity, kidney problem, and infections.

The following weekend I had a fun day crafting tin can flowers with my aunts, cousins and nieces. One of my aunts had taken a class and showed us how to make them. It was fun to see everyone's ideas and how they all turned out. Here is my final product, I can't wait to make a few more!

The next weekend was spent up in Door County, Wisconsin with a numerous runner friends for the Fall 50. This race combines a fun location, crazy costumes and debauchery throughout the day.

Looking gorgeous with the sunset the night before!

The ladies ready to roll out!

Yes, we ran in these all day!!
 The winning photo of the day is a perfect action shot of what this day is all about!!!

Team Lumberjacked Off crossed the finish line in style and ready to pound some beers! The large tents in the background hosts and all you can eat pizza, all you can drink beer (about a dozen fabulous craft beers) & wine and dancing. This is one of the main attractions to this race and it sells out quickly each year. They just expanded to other locations so one of these years we may have to try another one out!
Skies out, thighs out!!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

2017 So Far

I have made it a goal to get back into tracking my journey and blogging is part of that goal! I am officially signed up for Ironman WI in 2018!!! It's going to be a fun year of new adventures and a whole new level of learning. This year personally has been rough, I have come out a stronger woman and more determined than ever to hit my goals and stick to them. I have had the bug to complete Ironman Wisconsin for a few years but have not signed up due to every excuse in the book. NOT THIS YEAR!

I really wanted to cut back on my racing volume this year compared to prior years. #1 due to financial reasons and #2 to give myself a few "A" races to target and train specifically for. It's very easy to just sign up for any race because it looks fun and before you know it you are racing every other weekend and sometimes 3 times a month. I challenged myself to "why" every time I wanted to sign up, so many races I have done year in and year out and I wanted to change things up.

Here is a recap of the races I competed in this year.

Seroogy's 5K (2/11/17): I was signed up to pace for the 15K with Winter Warriors but came down with the flu 3 days prior. I could not breathe well on race day so I initially was just going to sit this out and cheer for all the Fleet Feet Winter Warriors at the finish line! After meeting up with the group I decided to join the walkers for the 5K to get some mileage in and have some good conversation.This flu ended up lasting over a month and I was so happy when it finally went away!

Wisconsin Half Marathon (5/6/17): My first race of the season was exciting, this race never seems to disappoint with the wind. The course was updated this year and I was looking forward to the change up and seeing more of the town. I felt pretty good throughout the race despite the wind, I didn't have any goals in mind leading up the race but to just enjoy the day and try to push myself. I was running at a decent pace until mile 10 and my body started revolting, I had cramps in my calf that I needed to walk out before I could run again. Overall this is a great race made even better by the great company!
Course Time: 2:11:28

Cellcom Half Marathon (5/21/17): I had the privilege of mentoring the Fleet Feet spring training program and I was excited to run the half with Danielle. We had only run a few times together during the 15 week group training as I bounced around quite a bit between different runners so race day was a fun way to get to know each other. It was a humid day and we struggled a bit along the course, Danielle had a moment of puking around mile 10 and I was really concerned for her. She puked and rallied though as she gutted out the rest of the course and enjoyed our lap through Lambeau.

Pleasant Prairie Olympic Triathlon (6/25/17): I was so excited to do my first ever triathlon relay!! I got to be our team's swimmer, my favorite of the three sports. Kim was our biker and Rachel was our runner, we definitely had the best team name ever.....Nice RAK! There were only 6 relay teams but we had two entire racks, talk about giving us some space. I was disappointed in my swim, I had a cold (story of the year) so I struggled to breathe normally. I had to breathe every 2 strokes instead of my usual 3 and I panicked in the first 200 yards of the race but otherwise it was smooth sailing. It was fun to pop out of the water and run at a full sprint through transition. Rachel switched the timing chip to Kim and she was off on the bike. She had to deal with some windy conditions but came back smiling, I switched the chip to Rachel and off she went. We walked around to the finish to cheer in the other finishers and watch for Rachel so we could run in together. We had free race photos that turned out fantastic and I love that so many more are switching to this! We definitely want to do another relay together in the future, we all had a blast.
Swim (0.9 mi): 39:01   T1: 46 seconds!!!
Overall Time: 3:00:15 (so close to under 3, next time!)

Fremont Triathlon (7/15/17): I was looking forward to a bit of a redemption swim at this race and I was excited to full on race this. It's a super sprint and I was aiming to see if I could get near or under an hour and I was in wave 1. My dad was there to race with me again and a running friend who broke her femur in April convinced her hubby to do the bike and run so she could swim it as relay. It was her first experience with a triathlon and wants to do one next year on her own! We got a great day weather wise, temps were only going to reach mid 70's and I knew that would help me in the run, it was a fast, fun day and I only struggled the first few miles on the bike as I forgot to eat a gel before the race started and didn't want to eat my gel on the bike too early as that was my only nutrition for the day. I was able to pass a few people right away on the run and that helped push me and I felt really strong out there. I finished and then saw my dad coming into transition, I shoved my medal in my pocket and went out to run with him. He seriously crushed the run and he PR'd by nearly 23 minutes!! I was so proud of him!!
Swim (1/8 mi): 5:25                   T1: 2:41
Bike (11.2 mi): 38:54                 T2: 0:51
Run (2 mi): 17:33
Overall: 1:05:21
*took 3 minutes off my time from 2 years ago, I was mere seconds faster in the swim & transitions, about a minute off the bike and 2 minutes from the run!

Cheesehead Half Marathon (8/19/17): This was just a marathon training day and taper week for me, it was 100% humidity as usual for this race. I just wanted to keep it easy and consistent for the day and decided to run with friends and enjoy the course. I pretty much only do this race for the post race buffet and beer. It is by far the best finish line feast you will ever see!! And the medals are huge!
Overall Time: 2:22:42
All the Fleet Feet peeps!

Winnebago County Olympic Triathlon (8/27/17): This was my A race for triathlons this year, I have only ever raced this distance once (also on this course 4 years ago). Weather forecast the night before was not looking very good, thunderstorms and only about 60 degrees. I got to the race early so I could get a close parking spot and have time to get everything ready in transition. We received the dreaded announcement we were under a delay due to lighting and a call would be made in 30 minutes if we would go on.

SWIM (8:24.77):The swim course was shortened to the sprint and I was disappointed as I really wanted to nail an olympic distance swim this year and it's also my fav. I went without a wetsuit even though water temps were low 70s as there are no wetsuit strippers and it just wasn't worth it for a sprint.

T1 (4:34.99): This took me awhile as I kept all my stuff in my transition bag with a raincoat draped over the top so all my stuff was not soaked. I had to dig out all my nutrition as I forgot to do that before the race start. I also donned layers to try and keep myself from freezing on the bike. On went compression socks, jacket, gloves, shoes, helmet & glasses w/ clear lenses.

BIKE (1:46:09.78): The rain was light to start with but I could tell the winds would be a battle all day. I ate a gel within the first few miles of the bike and I had a bottle of tailwind with tropical buzz to slowly sip throughout the course. I was singing in my head all morning "my feet are numb, they are f*$#ing numb" to the tune of Bad Romance by Lady Gaga to make the time pass and make me laugh. Heavy rain, sleet, hail, you name it and we had to deal with it out there. Mile 20-24 was straight into a horrific headwind that when you finally turned out of it there was just nothing left in your legs for the last 4.5 miles.

T2 (2:16.45): I stripped off my gloves and coat since the rain let up and didn't grab my other rain coat I had for the run. I grabbed my last gel to eat halfway on the run and my water bottle after switching shoes and I was off.

RUN (56:23.53): This was rough to start as my feet were pretty numb and I did not want to fall on my face. I wanted to run as far as possible without stopping, I began passing people after the first few minutes and that helped fuel the fire. I ate my gel around mile 2 and I was about done passing people around this point as well, at this point it was about keeping my pace consistent and not letting the gap ahead of me get bigger. I never stopped to walk & it felt amazing when I knew I was going to make it to the finish strong! This is a new 10K PR for me (although GPS shows the run course was short by about 0.2 mi) and I raced myself into first place in my AG!! I had to check results after I got the award and I stalked their race photos so I could remember where it was I passed them on the run.

Overall: 2:57:49.52 
AG: 1/3, Female: 10/17

Chili Chase 10K (9/9/17): This was the first year they offered a 10K option and I was scheduled to do 12 for marathon training, so racing 6.2 is equivalent right? I was not feeling it at the start of the race and I just said to myself enjoy the course and stay mentally strong. I knew the course would be hilly and I normally let that get to me. My first mile was a 9:02 but we left the 5K'ers right at this point so I was able to slow myself down a bit and hung right around 9:20's the rest of the race. I surprised myself and it was fun knowing not very many females were ahead of me. I got 2nd in my AG!
Overall Time: 58:21 (a true 10K PR!)

Rachel whipping up her salsa and chili for the judges

Fox Cities Marathon (9/24/17): I signed up for this hoping to have some redemption on last year's race, but mother nature threw us a curve ball. Race conditions were 70 at the start and heated up to mid 80's by noon, not a single cloud in the sky! This race was going to be HOT and challenging and I prepared as much as I could. I kept myself at a comfortable pace but refused to look at my watch, it was not about a finishing time and was simply about finishing upright. I was doing well until mile 16 when my legs started to fatigue and around mile 18 I mentally lost it. All you could see ahead was pure sun, exhaustion on everyone and I saw my in laws at this point. I wanted to just walk to their car and quit but something inside pushed me to keep going. I was swelling up pretty bad and began using Base Salt instead of salt capsules as my stomach had stopped digesting. I took my feet out of my shoes to stretch and I was able to rally through until mile 25. My body was just done and I could not run for more than a block, this last mile was basically all walking and I was able to muster a run into the finisher's chute. By some weird miracle I don't look like death in the finisher's photo. I found a place to sit in the shade and cool down and got a ride via golf cart back to my car eventually. This was by far the hardest marathon I have done and I was just proud of myself for persevering!!
Overall Time: 5:14:16

If you made it all the way through this past I give you credit. I am looking forward to tracking my journey this year and hope to give an update weekly on my goals and training status!!

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.