Emily’s 2015 Goals – Q2 Update

Halfway through the year now, and I’m still working on my goals.

Emily’s 2015 Goals, Progress Update as of 06/30/2015:
1.  Run 500 miles – 147.4 miles, approximately 29% complete.  Better start running some distances soon.

2.  Complete a triathlon – Nick and I completed our first triathlon, the Elkhart Triathlon in June.  We are looking forward to Ironman 70.3 Steelhead on August 9th.

3.  Read 20 books – 8 books (40%) completed in the first half of this year, plus two audio books.

4.  Learn a new language – I need to get back to my Rosetta Stone lessons.  I’m working on have this complete before our trip to France in December.

5.  Make Christmas cards – I’m coming up with a few ideas for these.  Most probably I’ll use the pictures we took last year.

6.  100 days of miles (running) – 59 days of running thus far this year.  I’m over 50% complete on this one, hoping to accomplish before year end.

Weekly Activity Report 07/26/2015

We’re picking up the pace.  Below are our Fitbit step counts and distances in each discipline from last week.

Weekly Activity Report ending 07/26/2015:

Emily –
102,417 steps (daily average 14,631)
Run 11 mile
Bike 5.1 miles
Swim 322 yds
Strength 0 minutes

Nick –
118,790 steps (daily average 16,970)
Run 16 miles
Bike 5.3 miles
Swim 324 yds
Strength 0 minutes

Weekly Activity Report 07/19/2015

We made it to the gym once last week to swim.  Nick finished before me and snapped this picture while I was finishing up my laps.  I’ve consistently been impressed with the pictures produced by our Nikon Coolpix AW120.

Underwater Picture Nikon Coolpix AW120

Our weekly Fitbit step counts and our swim, bike, and run distances are below.

Weekly Activity Report ending 07/19/2015:

Emily –
89,920 steps (daily average 12,846)
Run 4 mile
Bike 20.1 miles
Swim 1,200 yds
Strength 0 minutes

Nick –
105,571 steps (daily average 15,082)
Run 6.9 miles
Bike 18.7 miles
Swim 1075 yds
Strength 0 minutes

2015 Ironman 70.3 Racine

Sunday morning we left the house around 8:30am to spectate at the Ironman 70.3 Racine.  We made good timing, until we turned off the interstate.  We ran into the bike route, which caused a delay.  Nick helped to navigate us, switching between viewing the race course and looking at a map to found a route to get us to the transition area of the race without causing too much delay.  We finally parked around 10am.

2015 Ironman 70.3 Racine

As we walked toward the finish line, we heard the crowd cheering for the winner and reigning champion, Lionel Sanders.  A few minutes later, Matt Chrabot clinched second place, followed quickly by Andrew Starykowicz.

2015 Ironman 70.3 Racine


As we waited for the leading women to arrive, we began chatting with a fellow next to us named Brent.  He told us he was supporting a friend in the race, who was still on the bike, so Brent was watching the pros until his friend made it to the run.  Turns out that Brent was supporting Fireman Rob who, to inspire others, runs the race dressed in full fire fighter gear.  It was a pleasure talking to Brent and finding out more about Fireman Rob.  Interestingly, he will be racing with us in August at Ironman 70.3 Steelhead.

The first female, Heather Wurtele crossed the finish line in 4:12:18.  A little over four minutes later Angela Anaeth took 2nd, followed by Jackie Hering.

2015 Ironman 70.3 RacineAfter watching several of the top finishers come through, we decided to walk around the course a little bit.  Because the finish line and transition areas were in a park near the beach, the scenery was great and there was plenty of open space for people to wander as well as shade to find reprieve from the sun.

2015 Ironman 70.3 Racine 2015 Ironman 70.3 Racine

The run course began along the beach of Lake Michigan, making a double out and back loop.  It was nice to being near the finish line, but still able to cheer on the athletes beginning their run.

2015 Ironman 70.3 Racine

Nick and I cheered as the athletes passed us by.  There was plenty of motivation provided by the crowd along the way.

2015 Ironman 70.3 Racine 2015 Ironman 70.3 Racine

We saw PJ and his partner Dennis Vanderheiden, founder of Athletes in Tandem, a non-profit organization that provides a partner and equipment to athletes with a disability who are unable to compete on their own.  Per their Facebook page, this was Dennis and PJ’s first half-Ironman race.  Not too far behind them, I spotted Fireman Rob as he and a fellow athlete encouraged one another.

2015 Ironman 70.3 Racine, Athletes in Tandem    2015 Ironman 70.3 Racine

2015 Ironman 70.3 Racine

It’s truly amazing to watch these athletes as they race towards the finish line.  All, from the pros to the average person, are so inspiring.  Each individual has their own story of why they tri.  I’m blessed to have witnessed these individuals and give them a little bit of encouragement along their journey.

Subscription Services – July 2015

Around the 10th of the month, Nick and I start checking our mailbox daily, eager for our StrideBox and Headsweats boxes to arrive.  We received both of them this week.

The StrideBox contained a water bottle, Purps Vita multi-vitamin supplement, Youth Infusion – Infuse your vitamins with $5 coupon, Salba one serving of chia seeds boost, Mediterra sesame energy bar with pistachio and honey, hüma chia energy gel, Gu hydration drink tabs, Rocktape – endurance tape for athletes, and a sample of Dermasport skincare including a facial cleanser, moisturizer, and eye cream, as well as a 30% off coupon.  The box also contained a StrideBox inspirational sticker.

StrideBox contents July 2015

Next up, the Headsweats box.  We eagerly anticipated this month’s arrival because it included the quarterly bonus gift.  The box had contained a black and red Trucker Hat which Nick immediately grabbed and put on his head.  That was okay, because I was eyeing the blue Grid Supervisor – Sublimated.  No need to compromise, we each got our desired piece of headgear.

Headsweats July 2015

First Triathlon, Elkhart Lake Sprint Race Report

On Saturday, June 13th, I completed my first triathlon!

Pre-Race Fun
Friday night Nick and I went to pick up our race packets from the Osthoff Lake Resort.  After getting our packets and wandering around the expo, we walked around the property to scout out the swim and transition areas.  We then went back to the hotel for a race briefing presented by the race director.  We were now armed with knowledge of the race and headed home for a good night’s sleep.

The alarm sounded and I practically jumped out of bed.  I was nervous.  I checked and double-checked the contents of my race bag.  I grabbed a bite to eat and drank a cup of coffee.  I kept telling myself, this is just another race, there’s nothing to be worried about.

We packed the truck and were off to the race.  Nick was chatty on the ride there.  I just wanted to think, not participating much in the conversation.  We arrived at the race venue, unloaded the truck and made our way to transition.

Elkhart Lake Triathlon TransitionWhen we entered transition, my number was on the outer edge of the rack.  Nick spotted his number and we parted for the time being.  I happily racked my bike at the end of the row.  I wouldn’t have to search for my bike on the rack, one less thing to worry about.  I began emptying the contents of my race bag and setting up my transition area.  I worked quietly and methodically.

Nick returned to my area, his transition setup complete.  He began having conversations with people around us.  It was then I realized we were dealing with the race anxiety in two completely different ways.  Nick was energetic and chatting with everyone.  I was nearly silent, only speaking when necessary, and focusing on calming my breaths.

I finally finished my transition setup.  Double and triple-checking everything before walking out of the transition area.  We walked down to the swim area and Nick got in the water and swam a little.  I just stood in the water about knee-high, and watched people.  I was nervous.

The Swim
An announcement was made for the race participants to line up.  We were sorted by age group, but would begin the swim individually, with 3 seconds between each swimmer.  Luckily, our age groups lined up next to one another, so Nick and I were able to hang out for awhile.  I kept waiting for Nick’s group to leave, knowing I had a few minutes to compose myself once he started.  Then I heard, “It’s your turn.  Your wave is starting.”  I looked at Nick, unable to comprehend what he was saying.  Why was I starting before him?  My heart raced.  I had Nick zip up my wetsuit and I was off.

My wave approached the swim start in a single-file line.  I could see the start and thought I had plenty of time, knowing there was a 3 second delay between each person.  But the line moved quickly, a little too quickly.  Next thing I knew, it was my turn.  I stepped up, the volunteer read off my race number, then said, “Go!”

Elkhart Lake Sprint SwimI ran down the mat and into the water.  Then I dove and began swimming.  My strokes were fast, my breaths were fast, and there were waves.  I was kicking fiercely.  I kept telling myself to calm down, this was just another swim.  I was gasping for air with each breath.  This wasn’t like swimming in the pool.  I couldn’t get a rhythm going.  This wasn’t going to last.

Approximately 100 meters into the swim, I panicked.  I couldn’t do this.  I couldn’t find my rhythm and I felt like I was never going to finish.  I began treading water, hoping to calm myself down.  A nearby life boat asked if I was okay.  I told him I was fine, I just needed to take a break.  I felt like such a failure.  400 meters was nothing.  I had completed over 1200 in my practice swims.  What was my problem?

I had a very serious conversation with myself.  I contemplated turning back.  The only problem was, I was 100 meters away from shore, and I’d have to get back there somehow.  And what was the point in giving up on the first discipline?  If I stopped now, I would get a DNF, and wouldn’t even get the opportunity to get on my bike or run.  My race would be over.  I couldn’t give up.  I wouldn’t give up.  So I swam to the first buoy.

As soon as I rounded the corner, I stopped at the helpful life boat.  I hung on for a few seconds, trying to catch my breath.  I unzipped my wetsuit and there was instant relief.  I felt like the dang thing was choking me.  Only problem was, once you are in the midst of an anxiety attack, you can’t just turn it off and make it go away.  I took another deep breath, counted to three, and pushed off. Elkhart Lake Swim

I swam the rest of the way with my head above water, some kind of combination of freestyle and dog paddling.  I rounded the second buoy.  I could see people ahead of me standing in the water.  I tried to touch, no such luck.  I swam further until I could see the bottom.  I was done, just had to make it up the beach.  As soon as I was out of the water, I began wrestling off my wetsuit.  The look on my face says it all.

Swim Time – 12:26.3 (2:17/100m)

I walked to my bike.  I was finished with my swim and now had to focus on my ride.  I sat at my transition area and calmly put on my sunglasses, helmet.  I poured water on my feet to wash off the sand and dirt.  I was still a bit dazed.  I looked around and spotted Nick at his area, I knew he wouldn’t be too far behind me.  I put on my bike shoes, un-racked my bike, and made my way out of transition.

T1 Time – 4:30.5

The Bike
I quickly mounted my bike and was off.  My thoughts were now on the bike.  I pedaled.  A few turns and my legs were feeling great.  I passed the forewarned s-curve with ease.  I was feeling good.  I was going to have a good ride!

3 miles in and I spotted a biker on the side of the road.  He looked totally defeated as he watched other athletes ahead pass him by without even glancing his way.  As I neared him, I asked, “Do you need any help?”  Please say no.  Please say no.  He quickly replied, “Yes, I actually do.”  So I stopped my bike and ran back toward him.  He asked for a tire lever.  I reached in my bag and handed it to him, that’s when Nick passed by.  He asked if everything was okay, and I just nodded in response.  I asked if the other rider if he needed anything else.  He wanted to know if I had an extra CO2 cartridge.  I did, so I handed it to him.  I was trying to leave him to it, it felt like I had been standing there for an eternity, but he said he was almost finished.  I know nothing about changing a tire, I just carry the tools to be able to do so if I ever need.  He filled his front tire and handed me back my tire levers and CO2 valve.

I returned to my bike and continued the ride.  I knew my bike time would suffer, but I had helped a fellow cyclist in need.  I was proud that I was able to pay if forward and can only hope if I’m in a similar situation, someone would stop to help me.

Elkhart Lake Triathlon BikeThe ride felt good for the most part.  Some of the hills were a bit trying, leaving my legs burning.  I decided I need to get better at climbing hills on the bike.  (I’m not exactly sure how to do that other than to practice climbing hills.  And who wants to submit themselves to that kind of torture?)

It felt like after every downhill was immediately greeted with a 90 degree turn.  The volunteers were great, warning the cyclists of such upcoming turns.  It was just impossible to use the hills in my favor by taking advantage of the speed I gained on the downhill to boost me on the next uphill.  Regardless, I made it through the course.

Bike Time – 52:47.6 (14.1 mph)

I dismounted the bike and ran to my transition area.  My head was in the zone.  I racked my bike and took off my helmet.  I sat down and changed into my running shoes, put on my running belt, grabbed my visor and ran out of transition.

T2 Time – 3:16.5

The Run
We had been warned by the race director about a pretty steep hill on the race route, so I was anticipating a pretty rough run.  The course was such that you run straight out of transition then turn right.  After the turn, I could see a hill ahead.  My legs were still numb from the bike.  As soon as I hit the hill, I found my legs.  I powered through it and was quite impressed that I didn’t have any issues with it.  Then I realized this wasn’t the dreaded hill.  About mile 2, the course turns left just before a water station.  I grabbed a sip of water and could see another hill ahead.  This was obviously not the notorious hill either.  Elkhart Lake Triathlon Run

The course turns left again, and there she was, in all her glory, the dreaded hill.  I tried to run the entire way, but had to take a short walk break.  Once I reached the top, it was all downhill from there, quite literally.

I wasn’t paying close attention to my watch, but knew I was having a good run.  My legs were feeling fantastic, my breathing was great and I felt like I could run forever.  I made the last turn, about a tenth of a mile to the finish line, I could hear the crowd ahead.  I was almost there.  I crossed the finish line strong and happy to have completed my first triathlon!

Run Time – 34:35.8 (11:09 min/mile)

Finish Time – 01:47:36.7

Elkhart Triathlon Sprint


Weekly Activity Report 07/12/2015

My steps almost doubled this week.  Nick and I made it to the pool once.  In preparation for our upcoming 70.3, we ordered wetsuits.

Below are last week’s Fitbit step counts as well as our distances in each discipline.

Weekly Activity Report ending 07/12/2015:

Emily –
105,029 steps (daily average 15,004)
Run 8.5 mile
Bike 24.9 miles
Swim 1,000 yds
Strength 0 minutes

Nick –
124,010 steps (daily average 17,716)
Run 14.7 miles
Bike 24.5 miles
Swim 975 yds
Strength 0 minutes