8.25.2015

IRONMAN World Championship 2015: Week 3 Training

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 8.19.18 PM
Aloha, this week I started getting excited and then THIS arrived in my inbox yesterday.  I completed registration this morning and the screen read in capital letters “CONGRATULATIONS, KELI. YOU ARE REGISTERED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE 2015 IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!” So I guess this is real now.

I can’t believe how fast week 3 of training went. If it keeps going this quick 47 days to race day will be here very soon. It feels like I just summarized week 2 yesterday.  Week 3 rocked just as much as week 2.  I’ve loved every day of training so far and I keep looking forward to each day ahead.  My week 3 training plan which said “picking it up a bit” on it certainly was true. I enjoyed the challenge.  I know I’m training harder and more effective now that I have a coach and plan.  I am starting to visualize my new goals every day. I learn a valuable lesson through each Ironman I race and I always set new goals with each one…and I don’t necessarily mean the time that I’ll cross the finish. I set lots of personal goals through my training and race day.  If I don’t have new goals, what do I work towards?  Wouldn’t I just sort of just check out of whatever it is I’m doing? Thomas Carlyle said “A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder” and it’s true.  I am motivated by challenges that sometimes may seem slightly out of reach. Racing the Kona World Championship wasn’t even in the realm of possible outcomes two years ago when I started this sport, and it certainly wasn’t in the list of possibilities when I raced my first “one-and-done” Ironman.  It didn’t even really become a possibility until three months ago in late May.  Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible and for your support to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. If you’d still like to make a donation you can.  I’m giving away one free 2015 Ironman or Ironman 70.3 race entry of your choice for donations made through September 5.

Monday’s 4300 meter swim was long, challenging but FUN!  Possibly my longest swim ever.  I felt full of energy the rest of the day. Saturday’s 55 mile ride (and short run) was the farthest I’ve ridden since Ironman Lake Placid which took place one month ago this weekend.  The bike is definitely my biggest challenge.  The highlight of this week was of course yesterday. Sunday I was scheduled for a long run but instead had the chance to race North East Triathlon with my friend Jim who raced his first triathlon since his transplant in 2013. This was an awesome day and one of my favorite days of the summer. I appreciate my coach shifting my training plans in order for me to race North East tri. I’m still working on my bedtimes, aiming to be sleep no later than 11:30pm. Last week going to bed wasn’t consistent being anywhere from 7:45pm to 1:30am.

Somehow it’s almost 10:00pm so I better wrap this up. Bed tonight should be right now. I hope to start my 2 hour and 15 minute run early. Hopefully I won’t keep waking up at 3:00am hungry. Almost every night last week and I ended up eating Greek yogurt and juice in the middle of the night.  I think we’ve figured out how to overcome that for this week.  Training is a blast so far and overall I am happy with where I am. No matter what happens it’s important that I blog consistently every week until Kona. On the topic of staying motivated, blogging helps to measure my progress which also provides motivation. Have you heard some people say to never look back at the past and to always move forward?  For most things I agree, but when it comes to measuring our progress on things that are important to us sometimes taking a look back is necessary and productive. If it weren’t for tracking my own progress through my blog I don’t think I would realize how far I’ve come. Thank you again to everyone who helped me reach my goal with the MMRF and who helped make the Ironman World Championship possible.  47 days…

Mahalo, Keli

8.24.2015

North East Triathlon 2015 Race Report

North East Triathlon

I almost always sign up for races last minute but I think this one is a record.  Kimberly reached out late Friday night just as my eyes were shutting to go to sleep. Obviously I did not read her message clearly when she asked if I wanted to race North East Triathlon in Maryland on Sunday. My initial response was no because I had a long run scheduled for that day and because it sounded too far to travel with a friend I train with locally here in Philly.  Something made me read the message a few minutes later again and I’m so glad that I did.  It wasn’t the Kimberly I thought I was chatting with and when I read it the second time I was wide awake and determined to make this race work.“Instead of a half marathon on Sunday you should come and do the Northeast Tri with Jim (smiley face)”  She told me it would be Jim’s first triathlon since June 2013 before his transplant and that she wouldn’t tell jim…it would be a surprise.  My coach, who rocks, fully supported this change for training and was excited for me.  He told me we’d make up for that long scheduled run later in the week. Um, that’s now scheduled to happen tomorrow…

Jim sent me an email four month ago and introduced himself on April 10, 2015. He gave me permission to share a little of his story.  “Hi Keli – I just saw your video on a Triathlete’s Facebook page. I wanted to thank you for racing Ironman Lake Placid for the MMRF. I am a MM survivor in near complete remission after a stem cell transplant last year. I will be at IMLP this year to volunteer. Perhaps we can meet up at the MMRF events scheduled that week. A little of my history – I was scheduled to do IMLP 2013 (would have been my first IM) when I was diagnosed with MM. The doctors said I could do the race as long as I felt up to it. Well, 10 days before the race, I fractured my L4 vertebrae (as a result of the disease) and had to scratch. So, my return this year will be bitter sweet. At any rate, thanks again for doing what you do. It means a great deal! Take care, Jim Mitchell” I met Jim and his wife Kimberly for the first time in person as my guests at the MMRF reception, the night before Ironman Lake Placid.  I saw Jim twice on the run course twice and I remember smiling the first time I hugged him around mile 10 on the run.  His support at the race was awesome but yesterday racing with him was even more awesome.

3:00am Two and half hours of sleep and up at 3am for a short road trip to North East, Maryland. Turns out it was much closer than I expected.  Just an hour and 20 minutes going and 2 hours coming home.

3:45am Let’s just say I didn’t plan this race far enough in advance to be prepared, beginning with the breakfast.  Coach advised me to practice my nutrition exactly as I will for Kona.  Breakfast at 3:45am with race at 8:35am was not ideal. I should have packed more food.  I forgot a lot of things for the race too…No excuses, it’s my fault…Just reminders and lessons learned.

4:45am  Arrived, parked the car, and heard  ”Heaven is a Place on Earth.” I realized tomorrow is 10 months since Kara passed away. Haven’t been on my bike one day without thinking of Kara. Told myself I would hear her voice and words from the last big hill we rode together…and I did. I registered for the race that morning and looks like I arrived with plenty of time.

North East Triathlon race report

I ran into Jim and Kim right after registration. Awesome to see both of them again. The morning was chilly so note to self ALWAYS to pack pants and long sleeves regardless of what time of year it is. It felt like I was using energy trying to stay warm for the hours leading up to the race.  I set everything up and realized that forgot my tri top, transition towel, and ran out of Base salt the day before on my ride. How do you forget your top though?  Opened the trunk hoping I would find something to wear. Looked down and Kara’s cycling jersey she gave me was right there.  It was time to wear it for the first time.  Happy that I did. Met an IMMD guy who recognized me from the videos and turned out Paul was a friend of Jim and Kims.  Small world.  Borrowed an extra Gu from him and some salt tablets from the guy next to him. I ran out of salt on my 55 mile the day before. I’m telling you, I was unprepared for this race yet none of it mattered in the end.

north east triathlon race report

SWIM

Sprint race started 7:30am, Olympic men 8:30am, and Olympic women 8:35am.  Even though it was wetsuit legal, I decided to swim without one since I won’t be allowed to wear one for Kona.  Water was warm yesterday anyways.  I was glad I forgot my transition towel, good practice to just hop on the bike wet.  Swallowed a Gu, Gatorade and water 15 minutes to the start.  Hug from Kim and I was off.  I rushed into the swim and I did not feel as calm and steady as I need to be getting stared.  I am always comfortable in the water, but my breathing was not calm enough. I remember thinking there’s no way I could swim just 0.9 miles at this rate. Zero visability, could not even see my hands but water was calm.  Pretty normal for most of the races I’ve done and it’s good practice. Was a little tricky for me to site the first bit and reminded myself it’s not that hard…you just follow the people. I don’t know why I’ve been training with 3750-4300 meters swims and somehow 1500 meters seemed like it might feel long.  If you think it will feel long, it probably will be long.  Told myself to just focus breath by breath and once I reached about half way I felt smooth and steady. It was done within 31 minutes.

BIKE
 
Ran out of the swim and grabbed water from volunteer before entering T1.  Spent 1:25 in T1 tearing open a pack of shot blocks before getting through Bike out. I was starving and felt ready for breakfast #2!  I usually settle in 15 minutes into bike before eating but ate 3 clif shot blocks and drank immediately on the bike.  5 minutes into the bike could feel my 55 mile ride and run from yesterday. My legs felt like lead, and felt a little discomfort behind my knee. Not pain, just a little discomfort.  Did some yoga moves on the bike (yup, I do that) and kept moving.  Five minutes into the bike I thought about pizza.  I seriously thought about how I wished I had my phone to order a pizza for the finish line! I never think about food outside the nutrition plan on the bike or run.  Never mind my clean eating lately, I kept wanting pizza on that ride.  The course was rolling hills throughout the course and although they were small I looked forward to the downhills more than the uphills in this race. I was happy for the hills though, it’s great practice.  I thought of Kara when I got on the bike and started hearing her voice the last 6 miles. Nutrition?  That’s a secret that only coach has access to but I ate every 30 minutes and always drink when I feel thirsty.
RUN AND DONE
 
Unloaded my trash in T2 and rushed too much. Spent about 1:30 there and I ended up unloading my full Clif Shot Block package which was my entire nutrition to practice with for the run! I had zero no salt either. Fortunately I had one Gu in my back pocket which I had to use at mile 1.5 and that was all I had the entire time. I know that’s all I need after the bike for a 6.3 mile run, but the plan was to practice my nutrition for Ironman. I can’t believe I rushed so much that I dumped out the full shot block package.  I wasn’t mad, laughed at myself although I am not sure how I did this.  Lesson?  1)  Learn to move quickly through Transition but don’t rush. Double check to see that I have everything I need before I run. 2)  Have backup. At least I had that extra Gu that I wasn’t planning on using for the run. Mile 2.5 as I was approaching the turn around guess who was headed my way? Jim crossed over and gave me a hug. I was so surprised and happy to see him! I thought he was just behind me the entire day since Kim was still at the swim exit when I ran out.  I was wrong, he was ahead of me the entire race and she had just waited for all three of us to exit the swim. Kim, you rock!  I also saw Paul and Chris from IMMD on the run.  Two little things challenged me on the run… I was still a little uncomfortable behind my knee so I didn’t stop because  I was afraid it would be harder to get going again.  I didn’t see a porta potty on the entire run and had to go to the bathroom the entire time. Since I’m not a dude I wasn’t going to pee on the side of a busy road on bright sunny day. Run took about an hour and as I came in to the finish line Jim, Kim, and Paul cheered me on.  I stopped before the finish line to stand on my head, flip, then run across the line. Paul beat me by exactly 30 seconds and Jim finished 2 1/2 minutes before me!!  So awesome.  This race completely rocked and none of my errors mattered in the end.  Just good stuff to learn from.  I loved the course and having the chance to race with Jim rocked! It was a completely perfect day, one of the most special races yet and one of the highlights of my summer. “1st one since stem cell transplant 15 months ago! Jim = 1, cancer = 0!” A victory on so many levels for Jim. It was so special to share this experience with them. Jim, Kim and I went to Woody’s for lunch to celebrate. Mmmmm, Maryland crab cakes.  By the time I reached home around 4:30pm I was beat and in bed at 8:00pm. Woke up exhausted today but felt normal once I had coffee and a peanut butter banana chocolate protein shake for breakfast. Happy today is a rest day.  Back to work now and a quick week three Kona training update this evening. Thank you Jim and Kim for an amazing day. I will always remember North East Triathlon.  Let’s do this one again next year!

 

8.19.2015

Motivation? Here You go…

Looking for motivation?  Oh, here you go…

Ironman World Championship training

8.18.2015

Ironman World Championship: Week 2 Training

Ironman World Championship training report

The more you show up, the more you believe in yourself.  This week I showed up every single day eager to train. I went to bed each night looking forward to what was ahead. Ironman World Championship training week 1 was awesome and week 2 was even better. The past week filled me with even more energy than usual, each day buzzing with an endorphin high for several hours after training.  I feel pumped and positive, physically and mentally. Things feel so right and I can honestly say that I feel better training now than I have in many months of training.

Coach sent my training schedule daily for the first two weeks with feedback every single day. From here forward I’ll receive my training schedule each weekend for the full week ahead.  Wait a minute….coach?  I am still getting used to saying it. I prefer to call him “Boss” or “Officer” but no matter what I call him, he’s my coach.  If you’ve followed my previous training blogs then you know that I’ve never had a coach. So why now with just 8 weeks to race day?  I asked myself how I will safely and effectively begin Ironman training again seven days after finishing Ironman Lake Placid?  Will I train too hard or not enough?  This is KONA! I want to do things right, show up knowing that I am fully prepared for this race.  I am a coach (different kind) and my clients work with me to create changes and to effectively achieve their goals.  I know that by working with a coach it will help me grow and reach my goals.  I want to train like never before, pushing my body to the limits in pursuit of the ultimate Ironman experience. This opens an opportunity to get even more out of my triathlon experience.  I noticed and felt a difference with my training the week I started working with him. My intentions are to listen to everything he says, learn from him, and take action to improve myself.

Another highlight from week 2 was yoga!  My body feels sooooo good after just two days of Hot Vinyasa Yoga and one day of self practice. I left yoga feeling calm, refreshed and even pretty sore the next morning…think strength training after taking a break for awhile. Things got so busy with my other priorities leading up to my last race that even though I taught yoga, practicing yoga got pushed to the side for way too long. It reminded me that yoga is essential to any triathlon training plan.  If I have time to train for Kona, I will find time to take care of and strengthen my body and mind. At least two days a week. Preferably more.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were my favorite days of training this week. Friday I took a quick break half way through to text boss to make sure the 4300 meter swim was not a typo. Sure enough it wasn’t.  The final 400 meters challenged me although I was fully of energy and happy the rest of that day. To me, the swim is just the swim. I’ve never have the anxiety that some experience with the swim.  It’s the shortest part of the race and my swim time is always similar. But no matter how you slice it, it’s the beginning of an endurance event and no triathlete wants to struggle from the beginning of the race. Coach wants me to work on keeping good form by staying under control, relax into my swim, and work on coming out of the swim refreshed with lots of energy to get on the bike. Saturday’s 3:00 ride was decent although I have so far to go in order to improve on the bike. It’s okay, it’s not all supposed to be easy and gives me something to aim for. Sunday’s LSD 1:45 run was slow, steady, hot and fun!  I worked on nutrition alterations during my run and I think I like them. My week 3 training schedule arrived in my inbox last night subject “Picking it up a bit.” It appears training will soon be intense and that excites me.

I’m very happy with week 2 of training for Kona.  The consistency in my desire to train, my dietary improvements, and my overall energy levels during and after training impress me right now. Sometimes it’s difficult to see progress. You know stuff is happening, but you don’t really notice results until the lights come on.  This week a light came on already.  It gave me another boost of confidence that will push me one step closer to not only my Kona Ironman World Championship goals, but my personal goals through this experience too. I love that training for Kona is fun so far.  What does the Ironman World Championship mean if the training isn’t enjoyable? Why tie all of our efforts into the result of one day? For me, training is supposed to be physically, mentally, and spiritually uplifting.  It’s supposed to give you energy more than take it away. Week 2 met all of those expectations.  And now, as I sit here writing one hour before my new 11:30pm bedtime, my body is communicating to me that it would like a rest day.  Fortunately “Active Recovery” is what’s on the schedule tomorrow. Recovery days are important training days. Whatever it is you’re working towards right now, set some goals and then demolish them.  xo Keli

8.10.2015

IRONMAN World Championship 2015: Week 1 Training

 

kona world championships training

My name is Keli. I’m 35 years old. I’m a birth doula. A childbirth education instructor. A yoga teacher. An event planner.  A dreamer. A thinker. A doer.  A believer.  And I am an Ironman.  This week begins the story of my road to the 2015 Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.  Ironman World Championship week 1 training is complete as of today.  With just 8 weeks to train, Monday kicked off Day 1 of training.  In that training blog I shared how I am fortunate to have the opportunity to race World Championships. I got back on my feet and in the saddle 7 days after Ironman Lake Placid.  My recovery period was shorter than traditionally suggested and although I know my body is not “100% recovered,” I am fortunate that my body felt completely normal and my mind was in a great place to pick up training right away.  With such a short time to train for Kona I feel pumped and so eagerly look forward to each day of training. I did miss two days of training already this week due to a two day beautiful birth. But there’s no need to panic over it. It was completely out of my control and something that will only affect me if I allow it to. One of those days replaced my rest day so I consider it just one day missed. It still required a lot of physical work and it served as an intense form of mental training and focus over 42.5 hours of birthing naturally. I am grateful I had this opportunity. There was a point during the birth around 2:30am where a state of physical and mental exhaustion almost took over. It took all I had to reset and refocus and in doing so I thought about how much triathlon and birthing have in common.  The rest of my training days rocked and I completed each day as planned feeling so alive and happy.  I want every day of training to be awesome. As I peak back at days like this I know that not every day is going to be easy, but I have the choice to make the very best of the entire Kona World Championship experience.

I intend to give Kona all that I have and decided that the best way to do this is by receiving some guidance. I can only improve by being open to it.  More details on this as I get deeper into training, but for now I am working with someone on how to figure out the best way for me to train between IMLP and Kona.  So far I feel confident with his suggestions and I look forward to reporting back after each day of training. Even though there’s much less stress this time around I still have a lot to balance right now with my current schedule.  I am just a little overwhelmed with the amount of messages received, many from people I do not know, and none of whom have raced Kona. People are reaching out to give advice, sell me products, suggest their nutrition or training plans or ask me for a copy of my Kona training plan. We are all different and each have different strengths and weaknesses. Now is not the time for me to make major changes. I am making adjustments with someone and fine tuning where I am currently. Unless you are Mininda CarfraeAndy Potts, a hot single professional triathlete, or an outstanding company, I appreciate the intention but am not looking for new suggestions unless I ask. It is just too much pressure with just eight weeks to go. Even though I work well under some pressure the only pressure I want to accept for Kona is pressure from myself or from the person I am working with. This is supposed to be a fun time.

Friends and strangers ask me every day “Are you excited?” It’s the most common question people ask. Don’t you think this seems like a funny question? It overwhelms me just a little too. Truthfully, right now I am GRATEFUL more than anything. I want to focus on one day at a time and not get too excited too soon. Getting over excited too far in advance is one of the easiest ways people create anxiety.  Focusing on staying present is one of the most productive ways to work on building mental strength.  I will be super excited when my departure day arrives. For now I want to “just be.” My plane ticket is purchased and I think our room is booked. I still have to decide how I am getting my bike to Kona. I have made a promise to myself to zero in on my daily nutrition.  I have gained 10-12 lbs since beginning triathlon almost two years ago, and much of it was put on this past year. I know what to do and have to stay committed to the plan. Just like training and racing, things do not happen over night.  I promise to incorporate yoga back into my regular training plan again too. Oh, and one last thing for this week.  I have a new bedtime…11:30pm max unless it’s a special occasion. I do not expect this to be easy for me but I’m gonna be pretty strict about it.

Week one focused on experimenting with the training plan, nutrition, setting my new curfew, and getting back on my feet. I am happy with what I produced for week one. Mind and body.  I’m looking forward to seeing what’s on next week’s plan and also look forward to some calls scheduled for my efforts with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.  5:00am wakeup call for tomorrow’s 90 minute run. I am so excited to lace up my shoes at sunrise. “A goal is a dream with a plan” Chris McCormack, Ironman World Champion 

xo Keli

8.9.2015

Biking without a helmet

wear your helmet

Riding your bike without a helmet is like driving a car without a seatbelt. It should be illegal just like driving without a seatbelt. If you know me or follow my blog then you know that I judge very little. If you ride your bike without a helmet, however, know that I judge you and I judge you so, so much.

I constantly see people riding their bikes in Philadelphia without helmets…swerving through busy traffic, cruising around the SRT Trail jam packed with runners, bikers and walkers, and so on.  Today I saw a handful of parents with kids wearing helmets but yet the parents were not. What kind of example is that?  I even saw a few families with young kids and none of them were wearing helmets.  It’s not just families though, it’s adults more than anyone!  One guy without a helmet was looking down, holding one handlebar and texting while another girl had her helmet clipped to her backpack as she sped through a red light on Broad and Walnut. Yes, BROAD STREET Philadelphia!  I played a little game with myself while out there training today. I rode for just 90 minutes and how many cyclers did I see riding without helmets?  102. Yes, in just 90 minutes I counted one hundred and two people riding their bikes without helmets.  That’s actually more than one per minute. This is inexcusable!

After doing a little research today I learned that Pennyslvania Law requires children under the age of 13 to ride with a helmet. This makes zero sense considering at least half of bike accidents are not caused by the person riding the bike. Our heads aren’t any stronger at age 40 than 12 so why aren’t older people required to wear a helmet too? Indego bike share came to Philadelphia just a few months ago and I’m pretty excited about it although it disappoints me that their list of rules does NOT include wearing a helmet. They simply list on their FAQ “Helmet use when using Indego is strongly encouraged but not required by law. Helmets are available for purchase at Bike Shops and other retailers throughout the city.” From what I can see most people on these bikes are not wearing helmets. If bike share rentals exist why don’t bike helmet rental machines exist next to them? Cars can’t always see you, people come around corners quickly on the paths and accidents happen. A lot!

I am super disappointed about this and just trying to raise some awareness.  FOUR of my Ironman friends have been in serious car accidents and crashes over the past three months, all of which were told their helmets saved their lives.  Since posting my opinion about this on Facebook last night an additional five friends shared they have recently been in bike accidents where their helmet saved their lives.  You only get one brain per lifetime. This is simple. Protect it.

8.5.2015

Questions to ask before your first Ironman

should i race an ironman

 

“Hey girlfriend -I have a dilemma – my training partner signed up for Lake Placid today- to be an Ironman is a dream mine bit don’t know if I can do it—do I sign up as an athlete or just go sherpa him-advice???”

Once in awhile I get an awesome email like R’s. Last October I received this email from a guy who was considering his first Ironman and he’s headed to race Ironman Maryland in 58 days! If it were up to me, I’d register R for Ironman right now. After all, I’m the one who says almost anyone blessed with good health (mind and body) can race an Ironman. That is…if they want to.  But it’s not my decision to make for her or for you, so here are few things to think about if you’re considering taking on your first Ironman.

1. DO I WANT TO RACE AN IRONMAN?

Ironman makes the top 10 list of most incredible experiences of my life.  But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.  Less than 1% of the world completes an Ironman and just because you love triathlon doesn’t mean you have to do an Ironman. 6 hours training rides and 18-20 mile training runs may or may not be your thing. You have to WANT to do an Ironman, not because other people tell you that you should. Ironman is more than just physical. It’s physical, mental and emotional. Ironman is something in your heart. You make the decision to race 140.6 miles because YOU want to go the distance and cross the Ironman finish line.

2. DO I HAVE TIME TO TRAIN FOR AN IRONMAN?

There’s a lot of time involved in training for an Ironman. Avoid looking at it as a chore. Training can be a lot of fun.  You will meet a lot of new friends and inspirational people along the way.  You’ll spend anywhere from 4.5 to 6 months (maybe more) training for your first Ironman. In peak training you’ll spend a huge portion of your days swimming, cycling, running, strength training/yoga to prepare for the big day. Can you make the time to train?

3. AM I ABLE TO KEEP MY COMMITMENTS TO IRONMAN?

Do you keep your personal commitments?  A huge part of the Ironman journey includes making and keeping your commitments…to yourself and your training. One of the keys to success is having the courage to begin in the first place. Make the decision and commit to your goal.  Look at the short term goals as an important process to achieve the long term goal.  Understand that Ironman is a commitment just like a relationship or any other commitment in life.  Treat it as a commitment, show up to train, take care of yourself. This is essential in order to get to the starting line of the Ironman.

4. AM I FINANCIALLY ABLE TO RACE AN IRONMAN?  

I believe almost anyone who wants to race an Ironman can find a way to make this work financially. Not all triathletes will agree with me on this one, but I am a proof that you can race an Ironman without thousands of dollars.  I may not have the nicest bike or all of the extra gadgets, but they aren’t all necessary in order to complete an Ironman.  You will still need to spend a chunk of money though so if cost is a factor, you simply need to budget and plan ahead. I can’t put a dollar amount on it because everyone is different.

5. WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK OF IRONMAN?

Ironman impacts many parts of your life. Talk with your family members and explain to them the time and energy this will take to achieve.  Ask them to be supportive and explain what this means to you. If they’re affected, make sure you support them as well. Listen to them and remember that they are probably a valuable member of your support team.

When we train for Ironman it’s so easy to get excited. We all have a different story. Always remember your WHY and that you are doing this for yourself.  Just like anything else in life you can not expect everyone to understand what and why you are doing this.  Not everyone is going to be excited and you may even receive disappointing or discouraging comments from time to time.  THAT’S OKAY!  This happens with most big things in life. Let it go. Surround yourself with positive people.  The people we chose to surround ourselves with have an impact on our experience.  At the end of the day remember that you have made a choice to race an Ironman and all you need is the belief in yourself.

6.  BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

The single most important part of traveling 140.6 miles to become an Ironman.  Believe in yourself. Visualize the steps you will take to cross the Ironman finish line.  Once you have done this in your mind all you have to do is repeat it with the body.  It does not matter if someone else thinks you are attempting the impossible. What matters is that you know it IS possible. Use positive language. Our words and thoughts can create physical and emotional changes that affect our health and goals.  If you think you can not finish an Ironman you likely will not.  This is true with most things in life. When you discover it’s your choice and mindset, things start to happen. If there’s one thing triathlon reminds us it’s to never give up. But Ironman teaches so much more.  It’s about finding your limits and pushing beyond to overcome enormous odds. Being open to the unknown and making things happen. Knowing that things big things don’t happen over night and sometimes takes more than one attempt. It’s not always going to be easy… but it is going to be worth it.  Once you choose to begin the Ironman journey, believe in yourself and one day you will become an Ironman.  IRONMAN.  ”Anything’s possible.”

With love and passion for the Ironman journey, Keli

8.4.2015

IRONMAN World Championships: Day 1 Training

ironman world championship training

 

Continue to push your boundaries of what you think is possible and you will find that almost anything is possible. Ironman…”Anything’s possible”

Kona IRONMAN World Championships 2015 training kicked off today!  It feels a little unreal that I am already documenting my next Ironman training before writing my Ironman Lake Placid race report.  It takes me a few weeks to fully reflect and write my Ironman race reports so I  haven’t even started it or posted my photo album yet. Give me another week or so.  After an “express 7 day recovery” I find myself training for Ironman World Championships with just 67 days to race day.  IRONMAN…World…Championships. The golden M-dot. I am smiling as I type.  A little background for those that are new to Ironman.  For a little over 35 years the IRONMAN World Championship has brought the world’s best athletes together. Two years before I was born the idea to challenge endurance athletes combining the three toughest endurance races in Hawai’i were joined together totalying 140.6 miles. The 2.4-mile Waikiki Roughwater Swim, 112 miles of the Around-O’ahu Bike Race and the 26.2-mile Honolulu Marathon—into one event. On February 18, 1978, 15 people came to Waikiki to take on the IRONMAN challenge. Now, according to Ironman each year more than 90,000 athletes across the world compete for slots to the Ironman World Championship with approximately 2,000 invited to the starting line. Every full distance Ironman offers a minimum of one qualifying spot per age group for the world championship. The only other ways to get to the starting line is by the old lottery where 100 lucky people win a slot, the Legacy Program which grants another 100 randomly selected athletes who have completed at least 12 full distance IRONMAN races a slot, or by being invited through a very limited number of charity slots. Somehow I am one of those very fortunate people who will race the Ironman World Championships 2015.

On July 26, 2015 I raced Ironman Lake Placid on the Mutilple Myeloma Research Foundation Team for Cures.  I look forward sharing so much about this incredibly meaningful experience in my race report in the weeks to follow. And of course thank so many of you who are reading this for playing such an important roll in the journey.  I hope some people will follow and join the team next year. Everyone has their personal reasons for racing an Ironman but this one was an experience that can not be compared to my previous Ironmans. I decided to race on the Ironman Lake Placid charity partner MMRF Team for Cures because of a family connection to Multiple Myeloma. I learned from the MMRF in June that I had the potential to qualify for a slot to Kona by being one of the top fundraisers for the MMRF. The fundraising requirement is $5,000 to race on the team although I set a goal the day I signed up  to raise $35,000 to celebrate my 35 years of life.  Once I learned there was a chance to race Kona, I was determined to not race this once in lifetime opportunity but to use this opportunity as an incredible way to raise more awareness and funds for the MMRF. To combine something I am so passionate about…Ironman…with the world championships to educate people about Multiple Myeloma and raise funds for the MMRF.  I was dedicated to making this happen and visualized it every day. Last Saturday evening my Kona Ironman World Championships dream became reality when they announced my fundraising total of over $41,944.92 at the MMRF reception. I was informed that I had earned a bib to race Kona so long as I crossed the Ironman Lake Placid finish line. Sunday evening Kelley of the MMRF was at the Ironman finish line to place the medal around my neck and congratulate me with a hug. I remember hearing “Keli, it’s official, you are going to race Kona!!!”  Those who know me probably think I was screaming and jumping for joy but I was nearly frozen when I heard those words and I think all I said was “thank you.” There were so many emotions after this experience I didn’t know what to feel. Kelley worked closely with all of us on the MMRF team and it meant so much to see her in that moment crossing the finish line. The day after the race and over the past week my Facebook inbox was flooded with messages asking if I’m excited about Kona and how I will train for it.  Truth is, I was overwhelmed with the messages and even a little frustrated and sad the first few days. So much “Keli is going to Kona” talk and I was not ready to think about why, to reflect on how it happened, or to think about the training ahead. I just wanted process the race that was just completed and to rest and recover those first few days. There were so many messages about Kona but let’s remember what is bringing me there.  Please remember my entire purpose and goal to begin with. Yes, I have felt extreme gratitude this past week but I can’t tell you that excitement was a major first emotion. I am so happy to have this chance to race this dream but what kept going through my mind this past week was the reminder of why I signed up for Ironman in the first place this year.  It just kept playing over and over again in my mind.  Do you understand what I mean?  Fortunately I have had conversations with those who played a significant roll in the experience to make me see accept things a little different now.  This may be a reward for raising awareness and funds for the MMRF, but I want this to be so much more. I want to race Kona World Championships and continue with the MMRF once again up until race week. I hope this time around I am able to educate people and companies on the outstanding work of the MMRF and hope that some will sponsor my efforts to race world championships by making contributions to the MMRF. I know that great things are possible with this and that GREAT things come to those who go after their dreams.  I promise to keep going and have asked for my MMRF Team for Cures page to remain open for the 8 weeks leading up to world championships.

So Kona…I am going to Kona….KONAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!  On Saturday, October 10, 2015 I will race my fourth Ironman since beginning triathlon almost two years ago. It’s incredible to go back to old training blogs and review what can happen over such a short period of time.  So what now?  How does one properly recover from an Ironman and a yet train with just 8 weeks to world championships?  I’ll admit…it’s slightly overwhelming putting together a short training plan, get right back to training without the ideal amount of time for recovery /training, book flights/accommodations/bike transportation, figure out funds, and so on but I will make sure this entire experience is pure joy!  I will document and share as much of it as possible, I will to continue my efforts for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and I will do my best to be good to myself in the process.  Today’s training began easy with just a 60 minute slow run mid day at 90 degrees. It felt fitting considering it will be hot in Hawaii. It’s real now and I feel excited. I look forward to really focusing over the next 8 weeks on an intense plan and improving some areas of training which I will get to in my next blog. Dig deep, dream big, and make your moments count.  Ironman is more than just swim, bike, run. It represents life. Ironman teaches me so much in the process. Being able to pursue my passion for Ironman for something larger than myself has been one of the most meaningful experiences yet.  When you finish an Ironman it becomes part of you for the rest of your life. They have all been life changing. Ironman reminds me that we can achieve so much more than we ever thought we could. Thank you to all who played a roll in this journey, thank you to those who supported the MMRF, thank you to the MMRF, and thank you to those who will continue in my journey.  See you in 67 days in Kona at the starting line of Ironman World Championships 2015!

Love, Keli

7.18.2015

1 Week to Ironman Lake Placid: MMRF Team for Cures

 

6 abc action news south philadelphia woman competes in triathlon to fight cancer

image via 6abc Action News

One week until Ironman Lake Placid!!  Departure in four days.  I’m not quite sure how to begin or write this blog today but know I have to because I’m definitely behind on blogging.  A lot has happened and I want to be able to look back and remember everything. The past two weeks have been extremely busy, mostly filling these final two weeks with final efforts for the MMRF.   Truth is, I feel extreme exhaustion the past three days. I’m a little embarrassed to share this but it’s important to be honest in my blog so that I can look back in the future and learn from my experiences. Sitting down to blog feels a little overwhelming because I feel like there is still so much more to do with my projects but I want to get some thoughts down in writing.  Over the past week I haven’t been eating, hydrating or resting properly.  I just talked about the importance of getting REST six days ago although I haven’t followed my own advice on this one. On Wednesday at 10pm I realized I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast. I’ve been staying up until 3:00 or 4:00am in the morning working on projects for MMRF and then waking up by 7:00am. I chose projects over training on Thursday. I just can’t seem to put it down and want to know that I did all that I can when I show up to the starting line.  This is my #1 priority of 2015 and as long as I know I gave this my all I will be happy when I arrive the start line.

I woke up today with a massive headache for the second day in a row so I headed over to my favorite cafe in Philly, Down Dog Healing Cafe.  I first stepped foot into this lovely cafe on October 14, 2014 just a few weeks after signing up for Ironman Lake Placid. I remember sharing my goals for Ironman with the owner.  I remember setting out to share what the MMRF is with everyone I meet.  I remember her response when I told her.  She paused and then told me “Thank you.”  Yes, she smiled and said thank you. She shared with me that her father lives with Multiple Myeloma. It was just weeks after signing onto the MMRF Team for Cures that I met someone other than my aunt who lives with Multiple Myeloma. Their family helped me host Sing to Celebrate Life! It was my first big event for the MMRF and I had a chance to meet her wonderful father. Little did I know that I unfortunately would meet so many more people with MM through this journey. Kei owns an Ayruvedic healthy cafe just blocks from me and it’s my favorite cafe in Philadelphia. Every time I walk into her cafe I feel peace, comfort and positive energy. She always knows what to serve me so I’ve stopped looking at the menu. Today I just said “headache/tired” and she knew the proper remedy.  Kitchari with a special Hibiscus-lemongrass tea followed by hot Root Boost tea (licorice root, ginger, astragals, elderberry, ginger, and orange peel). It was delicious and I already feel better already.

6abc Action News was the highlight of the week.  It was so much fun to meet Ducis Rodgers a few weeks ago and then have the opportunity to meet Jeff Skversky on Wednesday to share my story, the MMRF, and do a little training with him.  HUGE thank you to 6 ABC Action News Philadelphia for featuring my story. http://6abc.com/853901

The Bacon Boy Challenge was another exciting part off that same day!  They raised over $500 with this awesome and hysterical challenge. I can’t thank Greg and Darren enough for their humor and recent efforts to jump aboard and help me raise awareness for Multiple Myeloma and the MMRF.

On Thursday the MMRF Team for Cures featured my story as one of their IMLP MMRF Team for Cures Athletes. Their words mean a whole lot to me and I appreciate that they shared a little more about who I am. Special thanks to Endurance event manager Kelley Ward, who has encouraged me and reminded me to keep going. Many times. Another huge thanks to Chuck, who is racing on MMRF Team for Cures.  He is one of my greatest inspirations these final months leading up to the race and I am so excited to see him next week.

Yesterday is when I hit a point of serious exhaustion.  At 9:00am I saw online that my sister dedicated the entire day to donating 50% of sales from her store on instagram spearmintcloset  All day long she listed items for sale and her followers were grabbing the items rapidly.  My sister did more than funds for MMRF. My sister Shari raised awareness to her 41,000 followers on instagram educating them about Multiple Myeloma and the MMRF. Thank you so much, Shari. I love you.

So what a week, right?  But it wasn’t a week filled with all happiness. It was one of the most sad weeks since I began my journey with the MMRF.  How is this possible?  Sunday, my friend shared that she lost her paddling coach to Multiple Myeloma.  She shared with me that he was a giving, dedicated, inspiring coach and friend to her.  Thursday, another friend shared she lost a patient she was close with to Multiple Myeloma on that day. One hour later another person I know shared that their co-wokers husband passed away from Multiple Myeloma on Tuesday. Why?  Why did three people I know who lose someone to Multiple Myeloma in the same week?  If you get a chance please watch my video on suffering.  Think about it. Think about how fortunate many of us are to be racing Ironman Lake Placid. Since the 6abc news story more than 20 people who have family that lives with MM or family who have passed away from MM have shared their story with me. One of my goals with the MMRF Team for Cures is to see that EVERY athlete that shows up to the start line knows what the Ironman Lake Placid official charity is. Yes, I want to reach my personal commitment too but I want ALL athletes to know what Multiple Myeloma is and what the MMRF does.  Together, we are making a difference. Every time someone shares they are educating another friend about Multiple Myeloma or reaching people who are affected by Multiple Myeloma. Raising awareness is key. So are raising funds for research.  I understand many of us have causes that are special to us and not everyone can make contributions. This I completely understand.  But you can still make a difference.  May I please ask everyone reading to consider just one thing? May I please ask you to consider sharing one post, one fact, or one thing you have learned about Multiple Myeloma with someone you know today. Please, help me spread the word about what Multiple Myeloma is and the important work of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. It is thanks to the incredible communities coming together that we achieved so much. If you have been part of the journey for the MMRF I want to say thank you. Thank you so, so much.

If you’d like to learn why I am racing on the MMRF Team for Cures, more about Multiple Myeloma, or would like to make a contribution please visit here to donate.

With love and gratitude,

Keli Engleson

7.18.2015

MMRF Team for Cures Ironman Lake Placid Feature

South Philadelphia woman competes in Ironman to help fight cancer.

Keli Engleson

Philadelphia, PA

On March 31, 2014, Keli Engleson ran in IRONMAN Los Cabos. Keli has always been a huge health and wellness fanatic, being a certified yoga instructor and birth doula. She is an avid trainer, maintaining the mindset that all you need are positive thoughts and anything is possible. Despite her healthy lifestyle and upbeat attitude, Keli swore that she would be a “one and done,” completing that one race and then relishing in the bragging rights.

The day after completing the triathlon in Los Cabos, Keli was already online looking for her next IRONMAN. Six months later, she completed IRONMAN Maryland.

After conquering Maryland, Keli didn’t stay away from IRONMAN for long. In 2014, she volunteered at IRONMAN Lake Placid, and it was then that she discovered that the MMRF is the official charity partner of the race. Keli’s aunt Mary has multiple myeloma, and Keli also recently lost a close friend and training inspiration to cancer. Enthralled by the possibility of continuing to do something she loves while making a difference, she signed onto the MMRF Team for Cures.

Keli wants to do all that she can to raise awareness for the MMRF, and hopes to reach an amazing goal of $35,000 for cancer research so that one day a cure can be found. An avid blogger, she has inspired many others to join in on the fun; eight of her friends have laced up their sneakers and started running, and three of her friends have even entered into their own first races. Keli uses her blog to record her progress, grow from sharing her journey, and reflect by reaching out to others. Check out Keli’s blog as the funny yet very inspirational “Yoga Peach” here: http://yogapeach.com

IRONMAN Lake Placid will be Keli’s first event with the MMRF Team for Cures, and her decision to join the team has turned the experience into a passion. Every time that she encounters a steep hill, braves through challenging weather, or just doesn’t feel like moving from bed to continue her training, she draws inspiration from the knowledge that she is doing this for something so much bigger than herself. Keli will race at Lake Placid in July in honor of her aunt, in memory of her late friend and inspiration, and as part of a team working together to make a difference.

To Support Keli and help her reach her audacious goal: http://support.themmrf.org/goto/yogapeach

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