Entries Tagged as 'Other'

9.16.2015

Losing my first toenail

 

losing a toenail

If you don’t care to read about gross things then you might want to move on. If you’re reading this during your lunch break you also might want to move on.  If you’re a runner, triathlete, or think this is interesting then read on.  I’m supposed to blog week 6 of Kona World Championship training and my Nation’s Triathlon race report but this seems like a quicker topic to blog today.

A few weeks ago I had a little trouble with my second to last toe on my right foot. I thought it was going to be my first toenail to fall off but phew, it was saved.  But then yesterday it happened.  I lost my second toenail on my right foot. You know, the one next to my big toe.  It was never black before it fell off like people say they are. It had been hanging there completely detached from the nail bed, like a lose tooth ready for the tooth fairy. Please tell me this is as big of a deal as losing your first tooth and please tell me there’s something like the tooth fairy out there. You know…like a Toenail Fairy?  Am I going to get some kind of prize or cash like I did when I was a kid losing my teeth or do I just earn some lame “badge of honor” for losing the first toenail?  I can’t believe it’s taken three Ironman to lose my first toe nail.  Why is this just happening now and does this finally make me an official runner? Melissa and Kristen both tell me it does. Fortunately for you I only sent those two ladies the before and after photo. All you can see is the tiny before thumbnail…no pun intended. Anyways, losing a toenail is mostly funny to me although pretty ugly for a girl.  I’ve got 9 pink polished toes and one toe completely naked.  Maybe I’ll just polish right over and hope it blends in…

9.10.2015

Ironman World Championship: Overcoming Adversity

Ironman World Championship training

Swimming, cycling, running and rigorous training regimes in order to prepare for the Ironman World Championship. Of course there are the occasional roadblocks too.  Imagine showing up to the swimming pool full of energy and excited to get in your longest swim yet…to find the pool is closed. Bummer.  That’s what happened yesterday. For a split second I actually thought I was off the hook from training although that only lasted a few seconds before I acknowledged to myself that there was other options. You can’t solve every problem but you can usually manage them. Yesterday marked exactly 30 days to the Ironman World Championship so there was no way I was about to start making excuses now. Quick google search and I ended up driving almost an hour to swim 4400 meters or 2.73 miles.  Btw, coach…why on earth am I swimming 2.73 miles when Ironman is 2.4 miles?!  I can guess this is to make race day feel shorter and prepare me to exit the water feeling fresh and full of energy. Okay, okay… it makes complete sense and I like it. Believe it or not this swim was pretty easy and definitely left me full of energy for seven hours. I was happy with yesterday’s outcome, minus accidentally walking into the men’s locker room after my swim.  Yep, although I caught myself quickly when some dude whistled at me from the pool area. I received awesome feedback after completion of this swim that I really appreciate too. “Way to overcome adversity. Be proud for acknowledging the challenge of the pool being closed and finding a solution on the fly. Believe it or not but it is the ability to adapt that will be a HUGE help on race day, with changing weather, terrain, and fatigue levels. Good job!”  I will remember this. I’ve got my swim down and feel confident in the water, my run is getting more and more consistent and that leaves the bike which challenges me the most.  And today happens to be a bike day…

Ironman World Championship 2015

It’s been pouring outside since this morning. Full-on heavy thunderstorm. I could train in the rain for practice but it’s not worth it this close to race day. Rain is not a reason to stop myself or make excuses though. Since I can’t change the conditions I’ll have to find a way to overcome the roadblock just like yesterday.  Ironman is about many things, including pushing through difficult circumstances, getting through obstacles, overcoming adversity like my coach says above, and ultimately reaching new outcomes and experiences. Maybe you wonder why I’m not on my trainer, but I actually do not own a trainer.  There’s a reason for this but that’s a topic for another blog.  I’m sitting here at my favorite cafe right now eating soup, working, blogging, and staring out the window coated with raindrops. After lunch I’ll search RPM classes and cycling studios. Looks like I’ll need to do two classes back to back this evening. It’s not the same and I’m cool with that. Who knows what will happen by doing something different once in awhile.

We train our bodies so hard for Ironman but one of the most important things is to train the mind. There is an obsession with triathletes logging data, tracking how far and fast they’ve gotten, and while all of it is important isn’t training the brain as important as training the body?  Overcoming adversity has more to do with the mind than the body.  It is the obstacles and discomfort that shows up which gives us the opportunity to realize that a strong mind is perhaps the most powerful tool of all. Although this week my training “issues” are tiny, I am pretty certain that it’s the mind that has carried me through some of my bigger challenges in the past leading me to some of the greatest outcomes. It’s been a constant practice though, just like training and yoga, and i have a ways to go.  Your mind is trainable to overcome adversity and that to me is essential to Ironman. Train your mind to embrace challenges and it will ultimately lead you to overcome adversity.

9.10.2015

World Suicide Prevention Day

National Suicide Prevention Day

Hey you,

Yes, YOU reading this.  You’re beautiful and you have every reason to live. There is a reason you are here. There are so many things to be enjoyed in this thing called life. Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and I think it’s important to talk about to raise awareness about something people may not talk about too much.  I have a personal connection to this cause with someone who matters to me and have experienced loss due to suicide. I am sure some of you have too.

If you know someone who seems like they might be struggling, it’s so simple to reach out, talk to them, or just be there. But sometimes we don’t see it. And they don’t ask for anything. And then it’s too late. Have compassion for all people and treat people with kindness. We never really know what anyone is going through. Everyone goes through a battle at some point in life and you may know nothing about it. Compassion and empathy can go a long way and you never know what difference you might make. If you know someone close to you thinks about suicide, please direct them to crisis lines like the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) and encourage them to seek help.  Be someone they can reach out to without judgement.  Tell the important people in your life just how important they are. Don’t assume that they know. Because there is a good chance some don’t know.

Just remember that life, although challenging at times, is very beautiful. You matter. You were given this life to live it.

xo Keli

9.8.2015

IRONMAN World Championship 2015: WEEK 4 & 5 training

Ironman World Championships 2015

Two whole weeks have gone by without writing my training blogs.  The longer I wait, the harder it becomes, and the more frustrating it is to get started.  Sort of like my Ironman Lake Placid Race Report which I have yet to begin.  Week 3 I wrote this yet somehow I didn’t keep up with writing.   ”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.” At least I am able to look back at training reports that I send my coach. Two weeks is just too much to blog plus I feel like today’s post is going to be sloppy.  Here’s the quick version of both weeks then need to be back to work.

Week 4 rocked and was probably one of the most intense weeks I’ve ever trained. I loved the challenges and how almost every day left me with several hours of happy energy, although exhausted by early evening.  Even one of my swims challenged me and those days usually fly by no problem. I even ate a snack mid-swim for the first time ever.  I was constantly hungry that day. Saturday’s (almost) five hour hilly ride challenged and annoyed me (some conversations on the ride) and yet I still had lots of fun with friends.  I know that my 2:15 run in the beginning of the week and 2:30 run at the end of the week most likely would not have been as successful without the support of my coach.  I was stung by a bee half way through Sunday’s run but told myself to keep pushing through because if this happened at Kona I would have to keep going. Learn from this experience and never carry a half packet of open Gu in your tri top.  The bees will get you.  I also made sure to hit my yoga mat three times that week.  Ahhhh, yoga…. How do triathletes train without it? Oh, and naps. I started taking naps that week. Two wonderful naps. All-in-all I think week 4 was the most challenging week physically and yet I think I enjoyed this week the most.

Kona World Championship training

Week 5… the ultimate battle is with yourself. This was a recovery week, my lighter week, and intended to be a fun week. It was absolutely the most difficult week, although I still looked forward to each day and tried my best to push through. I struggled most days and I remember how much just a 90 minute ride challenged me.  I started to realize how maybe everything was catching up to me and how I never really had a recovery from IMLP  I woke up exhausted almost every day and as the week progressed it was hard to function at certain points. I looked forward to more of these throughout the week and got in two days of yoga too. Thursday and Friday I barely slept, waking up every hour or so incredibly uncomfortable (uncomfortable does not mean pain), and finding myself in these yoga poses.  Child’s posefrog pose  Half Bow, Supta Baddha Konasana and one leg out at 90 degrees. I remember feeling super tired in the past while training for other Ironman races, but I’ve never experienced the sensations in my legs that I did at the end of this week.  I even woke up a little fearful on Saturday morning, knowing that I had NOTHING left in my legs…and felt like maybe my mind was on empty too. I made the decision to skip my first day of scheduled training and it was a hard decision for me.  I actually wanted to ride but my body told me I needed to take this entire day off.   I felt disappointed in myself, guilty, let my coach know what my body was feeling, and was thrilled to receive an encouraging email agreeing with my decision along with some other great things. Turns out I really needed that day off  both physically and mentally, and looking back I am really glad I had that day off from training. Sometimes the ultimate battle is with yourself.  It was just one day and not worth questioning. Setbacks are temporary. Use them to break you or make you. Sunday I felt better than ever and I’m full of energy ever since.  Phew, I glad to be back and feeling great.

Now 31 days away from my fourth Ironman…the World Championship.  I have no idea how it will go.  Why does any of this really matter?  On one hand, everything about Kona matters to me.  On the other hand, so long as I give my training all that I have (and then some), racing Kona is going to be a celebration. No matter what happens out there, I just have to accept and be proud of how far I’ve come and let all of the other variables go.  I always want to reach my goals and do my best to exceed them when possible.  Now that I have the support of a coach I want to make sure to do my best to meet his goals for me as well.  I know he works hard to put together my training plans week by week and it’s clear that he writes them specific to me.  It’s been an awesome experience and I know I feel calmer, more confident, and wouldn’t be getting through as effectively without my coach. I really want to give this my all and have the best possible experience.  The closer we get to the race, the more mental it becomes. Mindset is key and there are so many important reminders over the final month to Kona.  It’s another reason why spending a few days a week on my yoga mat is essential at this point. In addition to all of the physical benefits it helps focus and strengthen the mind.  I can’t believe it’s next month already. Part of life to me is about exploring limits and using your potential to reach a reach incredible outcomes.  Ironman helps me explore how far I can go.  It helps me grow, keeps me focused, healthy, and it’s so much fun along the way.  It’s a daily reminder of the choices I have and opens my mind and body up to embracing new challenges.  So yeah….week 4 was awesome, week 5 not so much and yet I wouldn’t change any of it. It’s all part of the experience. Keli

9.4.2015

Naps.

Kona Ironman World Championship training

Naps. I have finally mastered the discipline of napping. Twenty minute naps…two hour naps…lately I just can’t seem to get enough of these delightful naps.  They’ve become an essential part of my Ironman training plan. Six naps total in two weeks. Now that’s a record.  Back to work…

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!

 

8.18.2015

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.

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