2016 Year Totals and Review

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Biggest year so far! I will admit, 2014 is missing a couple months of data and I need to go back and fix that, but it still would not be bigger than 2016. I am super proud of my year. I managed to meet all the goals I set for myself and did so without injury or breakdown! (Thanks Coach Jen).

The biggest highlights of the year were qualifying for the Boston Marathon and completing Ironman Arizona under 11 hours. There were lots of other fun and great races as well as experiences but these two were very proud moments for me. I set a goal, I trained for it, and I achieved it!

I have one big goal for 2017 and that is to get a spot to the 2018 Ironman World Championship in Kona. I am going to try at Ironman Wisconsin in September. I know hindsight is always 20/20 but after looking at my data from Ironman Arizona, I know I could have gone faster. While I did meet my goals for that race, I had more to give, especially on the bike. The focus this year will be finding my limits on the bike and training to increase them. I truly believe I have a shot but only with some more improvement on the bike while keeping my speed on the run.

Thanks for following along in 2016 and I hope you continue to do so in 2017!


Biggest Week Ever! A lesson in recovery

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I made the mistake of looking at my 2016 totals with 6 days left in the year. I was 275 miles from 5,000 total miles for the year and a plan was quickly hatched. I had a long ride planned on Saturday so I only needed to do 200 miles in 4 days… 50 miles a day. My kids were at their dad’s for the week which gave the time to do doubles so I wasn’t on my trainer for 3 hours straight a day.

There were a few things that I focused on to get this done. Fueling properly while riding, wearing the comfortable kit so I could keep getting back on the bike, fueling properly after the ride, and making sure to do some physical recovery activities.

For fueling during the ride I relied heavily on Carborocket Half Evil. I like this product because it has everything you need in it; calories, electrolytes, and aminos. Now, I did add a half coop of Base Aminos to my bottles because I was putting in a MUCH higher volume of training than usual. I used the Dark Cherry Half Evil with some watermelon Base Amino (when really cold this tastes like a Cherry Icee!).

For comfy kit I wore Coeur Sports Tri shorts. There is nothing better out there and the fact that all is good “down there” after 18 hours of riding my bike in one week speaks for itself. If you haven’t tried these shorts, you need to do so now! Game changer!

Fueling properly after the ride usually consisted of a recovery shake or at lest some healthy calories very soon after riding. I was very diligent about this. I made sure to always eat something very soon after my ride. For the recovery shake I used Skratch Vanilla mixed with coconut milk until I ran out! So yummy! I will admit that after the long ride on Saturday (which was in the cold rain for the last two hours) we had fries and hot chocolate. It was the quickest thing we could get.

Now the last part I focused on was physical recovery. I did this by making sure I stretched,  foam rolled, and used my recovery boots. Stuart and I got ourselves an early Christmas present at Ironman Arizona, a set of boots from Rapid Reboot. I can’t say enough good things about them. I used them after every single ride this week! My favorite part the day! They are not the cheapest pair on the market but they are far from the most expensive. I can tell you that they work and I think they are going to help me immensely as I train for Ironman Wisconsin this year.

And with that, I made my goal! Onto 2017!

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2016 Goals

I don’t make mileage or totals goals for a year because I never know what is going to happen. They are just arbitrary numbers and I do much better with goals that are race specific. Well, with 6 days left in 2016 I made the mistake of looking at my 2016 totals in Sport Tracks and saw that I was 275 miles from doing 5,000 total miles for the year. I did a bit of math and figured I could get there with 4 days of doubles on my bike trainer and a big-ish ride outside on Saturday. I have ridden 177 miles on my trainer this week. 98 miles to go!

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100 100s


When I started swimming as an adult I saw a couple of Masters group do this crazy swim on New Years day of 100 X 100 for 10,000 total yards. I was never at the right level of fitness to do the 100s so I tried it once but only did 75s. This year I thought why not give it a try! The idea was floated in my Coeur Ambassador team so a bunch of decided to do it around the holidays, whenever it was convenient for you. I chose Christmas Eve.

I only had a three hour window to get the 10,000 yards done which meant I had to swim a 1:48/100 yard pace. Not impossible for me, but I wasn’t totally sure how fast I would be swimming as the yards added up. My plan had been to cycle through 200s/500s/1,000s in 1,000 yard sets. 100s were just too short and I didn’t want to waste much time on the wall.

I brought two bottles of CarboRocket Half Evil (one Dark Cherry and one Lemonade) because I needed an easy way to get in calories. This stuff has everything you need and it tastes yummy!!! I also used a Foggie to wipe down my goggles before I started swimming. That was the best decision I could have made! My goggles never fogged up and were crystal clear the whole swim! I didn’t adjust them once!

I started swimming and very quickly realized this was going to be really close. I barely had anytime between sets. I started to slow down after only 3,000 yards but I just kept at it. The only discomfort I had during the swim was my ankles got tired so I did a couple of sets with a pull buoy and paddles. I also used my Roka Sim Shorts to give me a bit of a rest. Other than that, mentally chunking the swim into 1,000 yard sets helped me tremendously! It also helped that I had no time to sit at the wall. Stuart showed up for the last 30 minutes and snapped a few pictures. It was super fun to pick a challenge that I had never done before and go for it! I need to challenge myself this year. I have really big goals and that is the only way I can achieve them!


I had my own cheerleader!



The details from the swim




I can still raise my arms!!

You can find the Garmin data for the swim  here. Also, if you like the swim suit, it is part of the 2017 line at Coeur Sports. I think a 10,000 swim is a pretty good indicator of what a great suit it is! Goggles are the R1 by Roka, 3 hours straight in them!

How to set HR and Power Zones for Garmin Devices

Below are the instructions for setting HR or power zones for a Garmin 735. This method should work more almost all newer Garmins. Essentiall you will set the zones in Garmin Connect on the web and the next time you sync your device it should update with the proper zones details. This is what is used when you set you up custom workouts using Garmin Connect.

Login to your Garmin Connect account online.  From the main menu on the left select Devices.

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Select the device you want to set the zones for if you have more than one device attached to your account. After you have selected the device, click on the User Settings tab.

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In here you will find the screens to set both your HR zones or power zones.

HR can be set by entering in your MAX HR if you know it and allowing Garmin to figure out your zones from there. Or you can manually set the zones.

Power works much the same. If you know your FTP you can enter it and let Garmin do the rest. That is what I do.Screen Shot 2016-12-20 at 4.11.30 PM.png

Make sure to scroll to the bottom and save your updates. Next time you sync your device with Garmin Connect your zones should update!

2017 Plans and Goals

If you haven’t figured it out by now I am always planning for the next race. Now that 2016 is done,  2017 planning is pretty much complete (I don’t waste much time) – for the first 2/3 of the year at least.

Here is the plan as of now:

February 12th, 2017 The Rock Cobbler 4.0 – 80 to 100 mile gravel ride, route to be determined. I am terrified. This is the first race I have ever signed up for where there is a real possibility I may not finish. I need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This is the perfect race for that!

March 5th, 2017 The Desert Triathlon Olympic Distance La Quinta, CA- I have done this race many times so I am excited to have another go at it. This year I need to race stronger on the bike so this will be a chance to really try to push hard on the bike for the entire race.

April 1st, 2017 The Great Race of Agoura – I am doing the team marathon with my running partner Sarah . She will run the trail half and I will run the road half. Our combined time will be our marathon time.

April 17th, 2017 The Boston Marathon – shooting for 3:30 or faster! I am super excited for this!!

May 13th, 2017 Ironman Santa Rosa 70.3 – Once again the goal will be to push as hard on the bike as I possibly can. I want to push so hard that I actually blow up at some point during this race.

September 10th, 2017 Ironman Wisconsin – I am saying it now. I want to qualify for Kona. I know that isn’t completely under my control but I will do everything I can to make this happen.

After this I am sure I will do a fall marathon and enjoy some cross racing as well. But this is enough for now!

SoCal Santa Cross 2016 Race Report


I may be using the term “Race” a bit strongly here as this was my first time actually trying Cyclo Cross, but I did participate in a race so we will go with that for now. Stuart has been doing cross all fall/winter and now that my A race has passed I finally was open to trying. I picked up a used bike online that is better than my other bikes for this type of riding, a Surly Straggler. It really isn’t an ideal cross bike because it is steel and heavy but it can handle the course so that was all I needed!

I have watched Stuart ride a couple of these races and so far they courses have all overwhelmed me! But I signed up for the beginner lap anyway and thought I should at least try that. I was so pleased to see what a generally easy course it was! There was nothing too terribly hard or technical and the course was really wide. It is always my concern that I will be in the way of those who are really racing.

I had so much fun on my beginner lap I signed up for the Womens C race. I got lapped by the leaders but I had so much fun!!! I am so glad I gave it a try. I will just list a few lesson learned and then give you a bunch of pictures. Here is the Garmin Data if you want to see it.

  • Just try it! You may be surprised at how much you like it. I was!
  • Practice! There was one obstacle that I had trouble with. So between races I would go over to that obstacle and just keep trying it! I also practiced getting off my bike and getting back on.
  • Have fun! You really can’t help but do this; the atmosphere is so relaxed! Do the silly stuff if you can.
  • Everybody was a beginner once and the other racers know that. Everyone who passed/lapped me was very polite. You have to start somewhere.
  • Just keep pedaling!!!!

    Thanks to Stuart for all the great pictures! The ones without the glasses are the beginner lap; with the glasses was the race.

Do yourself a favor…hire a coach!

I think one of the most important items you should have in “tool set” for endurance training/racing is a coach. I am not an expert in how to train to achieve my goals, so I have been working with a  coach for the last three years to help me. It has taken so much pressure off of me to figure out how to structure my training to successfully train for all my races. There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to using a coach.

  • You get what you pay for. I highly doubt you will get a fully customized weekly training plan from a coach if you expect to pay $100 or less a month. That would mean they are only getting $25 /week to craft your plan. That doesn’t even take into consideration if you need time for consultation or changes to your plan.
  • Listen to your coach. If you are not willing to do this, don’t hire one.
  • Plan ahead. Expecting results in a short time is unrealistic. I truly think you should be willing to work with a coach for 3-6 months before a half marathon or half Ironman and even longer for longer races. That give your body a chance to adapt to the training style. It takes time!
  • Get referrals. There are lots of coaches out there, some are better than others. Make sure you ask for references.
  • Get ready to get uncomfortable. If all your training feels easy then you aren’t going to have any growth. Train hard and race easy.

There are a lot of coaches out there. Do your research. If they sound too good to be true, they probably are. I do highly recommend my coach Jen. I have had three very successful years with her including a Boston Qualifying marathon and a sub 11 Ironman. If you have goals for 2017, now is the time to start planning; not 8-12 weeks before your A race.

Ironman Arizona 2016 Race Report – Gear List

Race reports can get very long so I like to break out some of the details into separate posts. This post will serve as a list of all the gear I used for the race this year.


Photo by Mariel Calloway

For the swim I used:

Everything worked great! It is super important to test out all the kit together before the race to avoid any possible chaffing issues. It is also key to wear your wetsuit a few times right before the race especially if you don’t wear it often! Also, using Tri Slide liberally on my arms and legs really helped with my movement in my wetsuit. Thanks Mariel for the awesome picture!


For the bike I used:

  • 2014 Argon 18 E-118 bike with full Dura Ace Di2. 52 X 36 on the front and 11 X 28 on the back
  • Dura Ace C50 wheels
  • Giro Air Attack helmet
  • Coeur one piece speed suit

I found that I ran out of gears on the downhill and spent most of my day in the big ring. Getting stronger on the bike! The bike was amazing!! This bike is so stable and solid. It performed perfectly all day. The best thing about this bike is how it rides in the wind. It was quite windy on course but this bike cuts through the wind perfectly. I just hunkered down in aero and pedaled. It was perfect!


On the run I used:

My kit worked perfect for me all day long. Many people were skeptical of how doing a full Ironman in a one piece kit would go. It was perfect. The kit was amazing! One thing I did different in this race was I peed on myself during the run. That may be a bit TMI for you but it is important to understand I didn’t need to take off the suit during the whole race. As a result I did smell like a potty-training toddler by the end of the day and I did throw my shoes away after the race. Other than that, it was great! I didn’t want to sit down anyway!

One other new thing I have worked into my running lately is I have been lubing my toes before I run with Rocket Pure Friction Therapy Anti Chafe Balm. It has worked really well for keeping me from getting blisters between my toes. I am just sorry I didn’t start this practice earlier!

Ironman Arizona 2016 Race Report


I woke up in the middle of the night before race morning as usual but other than that everything was great leading up to the race. I did all the training that was given to me and for once I really enjoyed every single week. Sure there were a few weeks that I was a bit overwhelmed with everything on my plate, but I knew that if I wanted to meet my goal I had to find a way to make it work. That was my mind set for my training, and it worked.

The goal for the race was to go under 11 hours, place top 10, and preferably place top 5. I only had control over the first one so that was the most important. For those of you that only want the numbers you can find the Garmin data here or see the times below:

Swim 1:07:47

T1 5:29

Bike 5:59:15

T2 2:46

Run 3:42:05

Total : 10:57:22

The swim was excellent! It was a super slow rolling start because they were only letting us into the lake in two single file lines. This meant it was NOT crowded at all. Besides whacking somebody’s elbow with my forearm, there was very little contact. I felt like I didn’t pick the best lines but when I compare my swim distance to others that use Strava I did pretty well.


Out of the swim and on to the bike. I heard a bunch of people yell my name as I ran to transition. It is so great to do a race where you have a lot of people that know your face! It makes a huge difference! Pretty simple transition as I like to keep it simple. I even had a friend in T1 that helped me so that is a bonus as well.

On the bike the goal was to push 150 watts all day long. I knew I could do that and I wanted to do it so bad. Along with that power goal was the goal of breaking 6 hours on the bike. The course was very windy on the way out but had a decent tail wind on the way back. Each lap was really close to 2 hours so I knew it was going to be really close to break 6. Except for some guys riding in packs and making passing tough it was a very quiet ride. I usually stop during the ride to get water but I knew if I was going to go under 6 I had to keep pedaling, there was no time to stop. This was truly becoming a mind of matter race! I didn’t make the power goal but I did make the time one.

I rolled into T2 and just went under 6 hours!!! YAY!!!! When I got off my bike I could hardly standup straight. I had spent SOOO much of the ride in aero (the best way to manage the headwinds) so my back was super stiff. I trotted off to get my bag, found a volunteer and sat down in the chairs outside the tent. If you don’t need to actually change your clothes you should always opt for this if they have it. It is WAY less chaotic and you can see so much better. I had spent a lot of time before the race planning my transitions and that really paid off. Keep it simple is my motto and it works! I did do a sock change because I have found that lubing my feet a bunch before a run really helps with blisters between my toes. Totally worth it! I ran out of transition with my bag of nutrition and glanced at my watch. The A goal was sub 11 hours. I ran out with 7:15 showing on my watch. That meant I had to run 3:45. While this was a bit faster than I had originally planned I knew it was not impossible. All my training runs were well with in that range.

When I first ran into Stuart and my Coach Jen I was thrilled to see them. I was having trouble seeing out of my right eye (this started on the ride) but Jen reassured me I didn’t need that to run! Thanks Coach! This only was an issue when I had to run on any uneven surfaces. When I saw them a second time (about a mile later) I asked what the pace was to run the 3:45. They did the math and came ran up to tell me it was 8:33/mile. I was really hoping they were going to tell me 8:45! I thought about it for a moment while I was running and knew I had to go for it. I knew that was not an impossible pace for me but I wasn’t totally sure how long I could hang on. I was ready to find out. I kept on top of my nutrition by trying to eat every 4 miles or so and I alternated water with a caffeine drink at every other aid station. I had not used the bathroom since the swim and I knew I would feel a lot better if I peed but there was no way I was going to stop for that! So this was the race I finally crossed over to a person who pees on themselves. Best. Thing. EVER!!! I did smell pretty gross by the end but I did not care at all! Stuart and Jen caught me at a couple of pre-determined spots on course and I had a bunch of friends sprinkled all over the course. Every cheer was heard and helped! I was trying to pass as many ladies in my age group as I could as I was really hoping for a top 10 finish. I kept a careful watch on my time and when I hit 16 miles on the run I knew I had 10 miles left. I had 90 minutes to stay under 11 hours and I knew that meant I only had to hold 9 minute miles to do it! I knew I was going to make it! Just kept running making sure that every mile was still under 9 minutes because everyone that was meant I was going to meet my goal. The last 10 miles were tough but there was nothing that would stop me.

This race was about two things for me. First, respect and take your training seriously. I choose to spend a lot of my time on this so I want to make it count! I am so lucky to have all the tools available to me (an awesome coach, a supportive husband, a supportive team, and excellent equipment) so I better make good use of them! Second, believe in yourself. Because I took my training seriously I really knew what my body was capable of. That, coupled with truly believing in myself, made for a very successful day! I see and hear so many athletes who express doubt in their abilities and make excuses when things go bad. There are many things you can’t control on race day, but you can control all the training you put in and you can absolutely control your mindset! There is nothing special about me except I truly believe I can do this and I can do it well!

Pictures by Stuart and Jen. Having them on course was amazing!!!