Holiday & Sickness Recovery — Looking Forward To 2018

First there was the stomach bug over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Then bronchitis hit me. Then consequently laryngitis, which left me voiceless on New Years Eve and New Years Day. Then when I didn’t think I could feel any crappier, I got pink eye — in both eyes.

Not my best showing this holiday season.

But I am alive.

I took 17 days off from the gym. It was longer then the time I took off for recovery after Ironman Lake Placid. In fact, it was the longest I had gone in 2017 without working out. I think I started getting depressed because I was so sick. I would get home after work and just climb into bed. This went on for weeks. I have only just started to feel more like my regular old self. Five miles on the dreadmill left me hacking up half a lung, but I had survived, proving to myself that I was making a slow come back.

I started the Advocare 24-Day Challenge on Monday. I have done it every January for the past three years and I usually lose around 8lbs. (My husband on the other hand, has lost 20lbs while on it before! Ugh, men.) But despite weight loss, the whole program just makes you feel better and it reinforces clean, wholesome eating. I also like it because during the year my diet is pretty clean, but during the holidays I tend to splurge. It’s always a refreshing start come January to get back in the swing of things. There’s something about meal prepping and being in a program that lights a fire under my butt!

Prepping for week 1 of Advocare

A few times this week I started feeling the old familiar pings of motivation. (Something that has been few-and-far between ever since the Ironman.) I don’t start training for Ironman 70.3 Muncie until March 26 — which honestly feels like FOREVER from now. But just being back in a regiment and routine makes me want to work hard again.

Meal planning and workout planning.

In my last post I wrote down some short term goals I wanted to accomplish for myself.

Here’s an update:

  • Register for Ironman 70.3 Muncie
  • Order and read Be Iron Fit half Ironman training book
  • Complete a 10 mile run and feel OK – Does 8 miles still count?
  • In January join a new gym with a new pool — So I joined Planet Fitness, which doesn’t have a pool, but it’s seriously 2 minutes from my house. I just can’t bring myself to swim yet…I know I need to, but I’m going to procrastinate just a bit longer 😉
  • Purchase a treadmill for my home gym — This might not be in the budget for a little while still. Plus with joining Planet Fitness, which is super close to my house, I can get away with using those treadmills for a bit.
  • Try to hopefully become part of a 2018 tri teamI am so excited to represent FE Strong Racing and be an Ambassador for: Nuun Hydration, BOCO Gear and Honey Stinger!!
  • Get a new Garmin watchI LOVE my new Garmin Vivo Active HR!! (Shout out to my amazing husband on THE best Christmas present of 2017!!)
  • Keep consistently working out 6 days a week and moderately watch my nutrition over the holidays — Sooooo kinda?? 🙂 Despite my 17-day hiatus when I was bed ridden, I was consistently hitting 6 days a week before and am doing so again now in my recovery from being so sick! Also being sick left me with very little appetite.

So here’s to 2018 and chasing down my next dream. It has been a slow recovery from illness and an even slower mental recovery post-Ironman, but I am determined that wherever I go from here in 2018 — it will be the right path for me.

Celebrating turning 28 on December 16th by riding 28 miles. Obviously this was pre-sickness!

Tried out a spinning studio called “Cycle Bar” and absolutely loved it!! I’m going to incorporate it into my winter training.

I have also been trying to incorporate Insanity or P90X (both Pylo workouts).

CHEERS to 2018!


Ramping Up – Training Week 7

Week 7 has been my highest mileage and time tracked to date with training for the full. (When I was training for 70.3 Ohio I hit 100 miles one week near the end.) I am very happy with how this week went, especially at an indoor triathlon on Sunday.

Week 7
Total Mileage: 86 Miles
Total Time: 10 Hours, 15 Minutes

????????????????????I had THE most fun yesterday at the Beachwood Mandel JCC Indoor Triathlon! Talk about a great event! Everything was so well-run and organized. The volunteers were great.  Everyone was super friendly, helpful and inspiring. The pool was clean, the music was great on the bike and the cheers while running was much appreciated. They even had photographers taking pictures of the athletes. The photos and even the results were up online within 24 hours of the race. (Also the long sleeved t-shirts are great too!) If you are local and looking for an indoor triathlon — look no further than this event. I highly recommend it!

Somewhere on the run - dying inside, but somehow I managed to smile. It hurt so good!

Somewhere on the run – dying inside, but somehow I managed to smile. It hurt so good!

I am SUPER happy with my results at the indoor tri. I placed 2nd in my age group (out of 6) and 5th female overall (out of 38). My numbers weren’t too far off from the four women who finished in front of me. I feel very hopeful about the progress I’ve made in 7 weeks. I am taking training very seriously though. Even after the tri I had to get on the treadmill and run another 55 minutes to finish up my training for the day. Although my quads were killing me because I went so hard at the race, I bit the bullet and got it done. Needless to say I am sore today — but the good kind of sore. It was awesome to test my body at that high of intensity to really see where I’m at.

Also I was assigned #23…perhaps a sign for July 23, 2017??  🙂

Indoor Tri Results
15 Minute Swim: 28 Laps (1,400 yards)
20 Minute Bike: 9.94 Miles (a little disappointed I backed off at the end thinking of my strategy for normal races)
20 Minute Run: 2.5 Miles

In the hurtlocker - keeping 120 RPM for 20 minutes!

In the hurtlocker – keeping 120 RPM for 20 minutes!

Sometimes I think I’m in over my head and sometimes I prove to myself just how strong I already am. There is still a long, hard road ahead of me, but little glimpses of yesterday help me see the path that I’m on and reinforce that I’m doing it correctly. I WILL be ready.

Happy training week 8!


Week 1 — Onward To The Long Course

dare-to-beginLast week was the first week of training for Ironman Lake Placid 2017!

It was pretty laid back and chill, except for the fact that I am in TERRIBLE swim shape.

Not even kidding I struggled to swim FIVE laps in a row without being out of breathe. (Insert face palm for only swimming twice since August!! *sigh* it’s my own damn fault though.) My first of two swims was the worst. I felt so defeated and deflated after that swim. I later told my mom to remind me of this moment in a few months. I know the swimming endurance will come back and I’ll be confident again, but it’s hard not to listen to that little whisper in the back of your head asking “Will you ever be ready?” The good news is I have plenty of time. So much time that when I hear that little voice I laugh and tell it to shut up, because I know I will be ready and it was ONLY week #1.

I did have another irrational moment of panic after another swim when I looked at my Garmin and thought “Jan 2” said “June 2” and my stomach did a flip. I seriously rolled my eyes at myself because I need to just chill. Like seriously girlfriend, slow your roll and chill.

Overall I’m happy with my mileage, time and effort the first week and I am looking forward to another full week of training.

Time: 7 hours, 17 minutes

Mileage: 56 miles


The “Not-So-Off” Season

T-minus seven weeks until I officially start training for Ironman Lake Placid! I’ve done my research and I’m fairly certain that I’m going to be following the “Be Iron Fit” 30-week training plan.

training-planningLast week I finished up week 6 of 6 of’s Charlie Mike program (by one of my fitness idols, Ashley Horner).

I’ve mentioned before that in past years I’m notorious for completely taking off October, November and December and then coming back in January and wondering why I’m 20lbs heavier and slower than dirt!! (LOL!) But not this year. I start training December 26 and I knew I had to keep my base coming off Ironman 70.3 Ohio in August and the Akron Marathon in September. Doing the 6-week Charlie Mike program has basically saved my life and all my hard-earned fitness during this year’s “off-season“.

charlie-mike-2Today I started the Charlie Mike program over again with day 1 week 1 because I’m afraid I’ll lose my momentum if I don’t have a plan to follow. I’m good at training and I think that’s why I like it so much. I like proving to myself that I can follow a program to a T and hit every single workout. I don’t do well with “just working out” which I wish I could be better about, but to me it’s all about training and training for a purpose — AKA a giant race/event. I don’t do well with just free styling it. I like an action plan to follow and a strong reason why.

missionSO it looks like I have a plan for the next six weeks! I will do another Charlie Mike program, which will take me to the week of Dec 19. I will then take that week “easy” and then start up Ironman Training the following week (Dec 26).

So I am technically giving myself a taper and a small mental break  🙂

In December or January I’ll join a morning swim group a few days a week that is held through Cleveland Triathlon Club. This will help keep my swimming honest. I can’t decide if I miss swimming or if I’m gonna hate myself as soon as I’m back in the pool. Swimming is by far my least favorite discipline of triathlon, but I know it will be a major focus over my 30-weeks of training.

The plan was to get a new bike in November, but I couldn’t hold off and ended up getting a new bike in October. I’m completely obsessed! After surviving three years on a $100 hand-me-down, which I was never properly fitted for — owning a brand new, fitted bike is incredible! (But to be honest I loved my old, loyal bike too!)


Getting “fitted” in the bike lab at Bike Authority!


First spin outside on the new bike!

I’ve been looking into bike trainers too because I know I’m gonna need to ride long hours over the winter. I’ve been looking online and asking around and I’m leaning towards this model.

I’m happy with my progress over the “off-season” and am enjoying doing a lot of conditioning and weightlifting with Charlie Mike. This is the perfect program for me right now and fits into my base.

Here’s to another six weeks of Charlie Mike and officially seven until Ironman training!

Happy not-so-off season  🙂

Officially Training for Ironman 140.6

Well if you couldn’t tell already from my new blog header then I am officially making it public knowledge now — I signed up for my first 140.6 and will be competing in Ironman Lake Placid on July 23, 2017!!

ironman-lake-placidI announce this calmly now, but when I registered back in August I was a hot mess! I’ve carried the 140.6 dream deep in my heart since starting triathlon nearly four years ago. Then while training for Ironman 70.3 Ohio, I noticed how much fun I was having and I knew the time was right to think about a full Ironman. I felt challenged, inspired and so much joy as I pushed on towards my goal of 70.3. It was early August then and I was nearing the end of my training for the half Ironman. I was shocked to find myself so desperately sad that it would soon be over. I knew it was a sign that I was ready for 140.6.

I started doing research and very quickly stumbled upon Ironman Lake Placid. I was looking for a mid-summer race that had to be within driving distance of Cleveland. I also wanted my first 140.6 to be a large, iconic race and for it to be scenic and challenging. Lake Placid fit the bill for everything I was looking for. For two weeks straight I did research about the race. I read every race report and blog post about Lake Placid that I could find. I was so consumed by the idea that I could hardly sleep. Could I afford it? Could I handle the training? Would I survive the hills? Am I in over my head? Am I an idiot?

stop-thinking-about-ironmanI was legitimately obsessed and I couldn’t stop thinking about competing in Lake Placid. Finally after countless late night talks with my husband and long conversations with my friends and mom — I felt confident enough to register. The whole time I was registering I was shaking and sweating. I felt sick to my stomach, but also so excited that I wanted to scream and laugh at the same time. I was nervously laughing as I typed in my credit card information. Then I had to take some deep breathes to finally be able to hit “submit” on the screen. After I did I ran around the house laughing and screaming like a crazy person!!

(I was later told that my emotions while registering for a full Ironman were pretty common — LOL. I guess registering is one of the scariest parts!)

scared-of-itWith the excitement of my first 70.3, our 1-year wedding anniversary and a 10-day trip to Italy, I hardly had time to process everything. Then when we got back from Italy it was full marathon training time and now after a crazy few weeks I am just starting to wrap my head around everything. I have been researching training plans, coaches, prep races and everything in-between and I can feel the excitement starting to grow again.

Right now I am on week 3 of 6 for a weight training program. I’m enjoying taking some time off cardio/endurance training and having fun remembering why I fell in love with lifting weights like when I first got into fitness. It’s nice to not be obsessed with weekly mileage numbers, although I know I will be again soon!

My tentative plan is this:

  • Finish my weight training program, which will take me into November
  • In November join (another) gym and start taking an endurance spin class 2-3 days a week (this will help keep me honest in bike training over the winter). Also I’ll buy a new bike and an indoor bike trainer and start using that. (All while keeping up with regular running and workouts)
  • In December I will get back into the pool (swimming is my least favorite discipline and I wanted to take some time off after 70.3 — trust me I needed it mentally) (Still keep up with regular running and workouts)
  • In January I’ll start 29 weeks of training to get me to July 23. (Actual training plan is TBD)
  • I will throw in key training days and prep races including a (possible) spring full marathon, a few 100-mile rides, a few long brick workouts (80-mile bike and 20-mile run), one 70.3 distance and a few Olympic distances to even it all out

goal-so-bigThis summer I learned that I’m decent at hills. I wouldn’t say “I love hills”, but I would say that I think I’m pretty decent at riding them. Nothing beats the challenge of getting up a massive hill and proving to yourself that you can do it. Lake Placid has a challenging bike course, but there’s something about it that excites me. I’ve read the race reviews and honestly I’d rather have hills than riding flat. I loved Ironman 70.3 Ohio, but it was SO flat that I grew bored at times. In a few longer rides I did over the summer I knew where the hills were and my excitement and nerves grew as I neared it. To me hills help pass time. Also the swim at Lake Placid is supposed to be second to none. It’s in Mirror Lake and one race review said it’s the closest thing to swimming in a pool because the water is so clear. Not to mention the Lake Placid course in general is supposed to be BEAUTIFUL! (I’d expect nothing less of upstate New York in the Andorak Mountains!)

It’s gonna be crazy, but it’s gonna be such an amazing journey and I’m excited about the challenge. I know there will be low points as well as great high points.

Right now I am focusing on getting in great workouts, building as much muscle as possible and doing a lot of research. I’m so thankful and grateful to be able to afford to train and compete in this race. Here’s to another crazy Ironman adventure!


Ironman 70.3 Training – Week 6

This week’s training went well. It included a 5AM, 20-mile ride on my spin bike, but I made it work! It’s all about adjusting your schedule to make sure you get your training in. Most people (I’ve learned) will not understand this, but your journey isn’t for them to understand anyways.

Week 6 Overview:
8 Activities
6 Hours + 55 Minutes
61 Miles
3,860 Cals Burned

Week-6-OverviewThis week was another dreaded pool swim. I’m actually really proud and happy when it’s over and when I’m sitting in the hot tub or sauna knowing I just swam a mile. BUT actually driving to the pool and getting in the cold water is another story – especially when it’s super early in the morning and you’re rushing around before work to make sure you get your training in.

I ran 10 miles yesterday on a gorgeous, spring morning. It quickly warmed up and was 82 degrees near the end. I loved every second of it though. For some reason I was keeping my mind occupied by just thinking, so the miles ticked by fairly quickly. {These type of runs are few and far between, but it sure is nice when it happens and your mind is distracted.}

Like I mentioned before I had a 4:45AM wake up call on Thursday to get in my 20-mile bike. I started at 5AM and finished around 6:30AM. I had to be at a work location at 8AM so it was a race against the clock, but I pulled through and fit everything in! I also built out a nice little “pain cave” the night before and spent my ride watching two episodes of The O.C. (Yes the show that came out in 2002! It’s so, so good.)

pain-Cave-TheaterThis weekend we are traveling to Chicago for my husband’s birthday! (His b-day was in March, but I got him a trip to Chi town with a 5-hour pizza tour included!) It’s going to be a field day. We’re so excited! We’ve never been to Chicago either so stay tuned for our adventures. I made sure there was a fitness center at our hotel, so I plan on doing my “long” run (10-miles) super (crazy) early on Friday morning since we leave Friday night. Then Saturday I’ll get up early and workout at the hotel and then take Sunday off.

Again – it’s all about adjusting your training schedule…and staying calm 🙂

Happy Week 7!

Ironman 70.3 Training Week 4 – Your “Reason Why”

This week’s training was pretty awesome! I felt strong, motivated and happy.

I also felt like I had a great swim this week. I swam a full mile, stopping for about two minutes every 5 laps (33 laps in total). I was tired, but I felt good. I feel like my stroke is pretty decent and I’m moving efficiently in the water. (Let’s hope that sticks around for another 20 weeks – ah ha ha!!)

Week 4 Training Overview:

Total Time: 7 hours, 31 minutes
Total Mileage: 46 miles

week4I find myself getting pretty bored on the bike lately. I keep going to the gym to get in miles on the bike because I can watch TV there and that sometimes helps with the boredom. I have a bike at home, but I’d have to look out the window, stare at my phone or just listen to music if I rode there. (Since I don’t feel like rearranging my entire apartment to move the spin bike to the living room LOL.)

I figured another month or so of the spin bike in April and by May I’ll be outside and riding to work a few days a month. Just gotta hang in there!

This is during the peak of my riding boredom when I start sending my husband random pictures.

This is during the peak of my riding boredom when I start sending my husband random pictures. If you’ve never done this before than you aren’t a true endurance athlete haha! 🙂

This past week I did a circuit training class with a few of coworkers. When I say class I mean I “taught” the “class”. It was actually really fun and a great way to get in my one day of cross/strength training. It mixed it up and I had fun hanging out with people while training, which I normally do alone. This week were are doing a bootcamp workout that I am going to lead.  Stay tuned for how that works out!

On Saturday I did my “long” run of 8.5 miles. At mile 6 I was really cold and growing pretty fatigued. I passed a church that had an electronic sign out near the road. I read it as I passed and it flashed the words “Praise in the midst of struggle”…and I thought “WOW – if that isn’t a sign from God for this very moment then I don’t know what is.” I thought it was a nice little sign from God and I welcomed it as a distraction. As I ran I thought about how lucky I was to be out there. I thought about all the people who would give anything to suit up and run out there in the cold, but they can’t for some physical reason. How lucky am I? I got ready for my run that morning, dreading it as I put on my layers. For some people they want nothing more than to get out there and run so freely and here I was dreading it and wanting it to be over. I spent the last two miles trying to be thankful for the gift of being able to train and trying to “Praise in the midst of struggle”. It motivated me to keep a positive attitude and a remembrance that not everyone can do what I get to do and for that I am thankful for my chance.

Have a good week everyone and remember your “Reason Why”.