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Posts tagged ‘ironman’


As I mentioned yesterday, I have just finished Chrissie Wellington’s book and with that, I have quite a few lessons to carry with me. One of my favorite lessons comes from the following paragraph:

I am motivated above all by that little voice inside that urges me on to fulfill my potential. Everyone has that same voice in them somewhere, but many are too scared to listen to it, too scared to try, too scared of failure. That fear is immobilizing, but it is also our own personal construct and therefore doesn’t really exist in reality. Never imagine anything impossible.

Fear is a personal construct. Fear doesn’t really exist.

When I think about my running and my athletic life, I have quite a few goals I want to accomplish. But I see these goals as far fetched and not something I can really do. I don’t know why I see them that way. I just do. Or I guess I have constructed my own fear of failing, hence making it impossible from the beginning. But if fear is my own personal construct, then this is something I can change. Time to start working on this…

And I’ll use this to keep me inspired:

Marianne Williamson

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


I had to leave all of this today and go to Seattle for a few days. I must say the view is not quite the same.

I had to leave all of this today and go to Seattle for a few days. I must say the view is not quite the same.

The Necessary Steps

Currently I’m on vacation with Mario in Oregon Wine Country. Therefore, my last few posts were written pre-awesome trip. I haven’t had a chance to write about how my running world has been going since we left way too early Friday morning.

Yesterday I finished Chrissie Wellington’s book, A Life Without Limits. Chrissie has been an inspiration to me for probably about 5 years. Partially because of her amazing Ironman record and partially because of her very contagious smile. She is truly inspirational. There were many notes and bookmarks I made while reading her book and many lessons I took away. As my running is starting to progress in the right direction, this one lesson in particular stands out to me: We have our goals but we have to take the necessary steps in order to reach our goals.

Last week I started running again. It has been a very exciting and happy time for me. I knew I wouldn’t overdo it because we were going on vacation and I wouldn’t have the chance. (Oh but I can always find a way.) Saturday morning Mario and I went out for a 5 mile run. I had already done a 3 and 4 miler so 5 easy miles along the beautiful Oregon countryside seemed very doable. We ended up getting lost and did a little over 6. No biggie. Hip felt fine, weather was beautiful, and there were llamas, deer, horses, and cows for scenery. No complaints.

Lot of happy cows in Oregon

Lot of happy cows in Oregon


After a cross training day yesterday, another run today seemed completely reasonable. Maybe I shouldn’t have set out along the same 6 mile route but I did. As I found myself checking my Garmin, I had to make myself reign it in. Several things went through my mind: take the necessary steps, build that massive aerobic base (thanks Predawn Runner), enjoy the scenery, and Chicago is over 6 months away! Chillax! I can’t go from nearly 6 weeks off to dishing out 7:30 miles. I have to take the necessary steps. I need my base building. Once I was able to wrap my head around this, I slowed down and really enjoyed my run. I have nothing to prove right now. I only need to find consistency with my running. It’s actually a very nice change of pace.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Here are some pics from our trip so far… I’ve eaten way too much food!!

Dinner at Jory in Oregon

Dinner at Jory in Oregon


Oregon, Day 1 of our Trip (AMAZING weather!!)

Oregon, Day 1 of our Trip (AMAZING weather!!)


Day 3 in Oregon

Day 3 in Oregon




I’m currently reading Chrissie Wellington’s book, A Life Without Limits. According to my Kindle, I’m 26% completed. So far I’d say, it’s a compelling book. Before I even really knew who Chrissie Wellington was, I already liked her. Who can not love that smile? It’s quite contagious.

As I was reading today, I felt very grounded by the following paragraph:

We would arrive back exhausted, sweaty and hungry, but with spirits soaring. We had no idea how far we had been, how many calories we’d burned, what heart rate we’d maxed out at. There was no data to download or logbook to tick. This was raw and elemental, the way sport and adventure has always been. I’m sure it was the making of me.

Raw and elemental. Sometimes I feel we overcomplicate things. Gadgets have their place and so does pure, simple, adventurous running. When I get back to running, I plan to have a weekly running “project” of something adventurous.

Happy  Trails and Happy Running,


Chrissie Wellington

Today Chrissie Wellington announced that she is retiring from the Ironman distance as a professional athlete. Her announcement can be read here on her website.  I think I first learned who Chrissie Wellington was back in 2009 and it wasn’t because of her stellar performances (although I learned about those a little later). It was her radiant smile that got my attention. How could someone be so dang happy after almost 9 hours of strenuous physical activity? Her smile captivated me and it was contagious. Read more

Norseman XTreme Triathlon

Tonight I learned that there are people even crazier than those who complete an Ironman. Thanks to my G+ friend Chas, I learned there is such a thing as an XTreme triathlon.  However, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. I mean if there is a sport,then there is almost always an xtreme version of it. I just thought the Ironman was the extreme version. Wrong. 

Read more

Ironman – The Fastest Marathon Times

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to watch the running portion of the Kona Ironman World Championships. What I thought would be just a few minutes, turned into hours of watching the most amazing athletes ever. And what impressed me more than their amazing athletic accomplishment was the fact that they are all so humble and nice to one another. Those athletes are truly a special group of people.

Just how amazing and incredibly fit are these triathletes? I don’t know much about swimming or biking but I do know a thing or two about running. I looked into the times for the marathon portion of the race yesterday. The fastest run time was 2:47:23 by Andreas Raelert (2nd place finisher). That averages out to a 6:23 mile for 26.2 miles. I’m pretty sure I could quit my job, hire the best running coach around, and still not be able to achieve that time. And forget adding a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike ride. Yes, an Ironman is a lifelong goal of mine. I just can’t get over how fast these people are!

Raelert’s time was an amazing time yesterday but it’s certainly not the fastest. On Ironman’s website, I was able to find the top 10 fastest times for men and women for the World Championship race. Here are the fastest times for the Kona Course (and remember these athletes have already completed 114.4 miles):


Mark Allen, 2:40:04

Dave Scott, 2:41:03

Pete Jacobs, 2:41:06

Luc Van Lierde, 2:41:48

Olivier Bernhard, 2:41:57

Craig Alexander, 2:41:59

Chris McCormack, 2:42:02

Mark Allen, 2:42:09

Mark Allen, 2:42:09

Mark Allen, 2:42:18

(Mark Allen and Dave Scott are the only two from the USA.)


Mirinda Carfrae, 2:52:09

Chrissie Wellington, 2:52:41

Mirinda Carfrae, 2:53:32

Caitlin Snow, 2:56:04

Mirinda Carfrae, 2:56:51

Chrissie Wellington, 2:57:44

Sandra Wallenhorst, 2:5836

Lori Bowden, 2:59:16

Chrissie Wellington, 2:59:58

Samantha McGlone, 3:00:52

Wow, that’s about all I can say. Many many congratulations to all of the athletes in yesterday’s race. Any for a little triathlon humor, PLEASE PLEASE watch this video. It is soooo funny! Thanks Jenny for sharing this!!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,



Conventional Runner Wisdom

I’ve recently decided that many things we believe to be conventional wisdom, really aren’t such great words of wisdom after all. Maybe that is because I can easily become persuaded and when I find something to get behind, I go all out. Heck, after a few too many PETA videos, I stuck to vegetarianism for years and even went vegan for a few months. However, that was in my younger days, and as I approach the wise old age of 30, I think I’m finally starting to figure things out. And I digress…

Two things recently have got me thinking about what we as runners believe to be conventional wisdom. First, Wheat Belly by William Davis and second, Waterlogged by Tim Noakes. I’m not here to go into a detailed review of either book but let me just say that I’m never looking at bread and water/sports drinks the same.

I decided to do a search tonight for unconventional runner wisdom. I came across an awesome blog post from an Ironman triathlete who trains on less than 12 hours a week. Oh and he can still finish in sub 9 hours. It’s a great post and well worth reading but if I could sum up his approach to training in as few words as possible, I would say the following: have a purpose with each workout, be intense, and quantity for the sake of quantity isn’t worth it. Check out Sami Inkinen’s Secret Sauce here. And in addition to being an awesome triathlete, he’s also the founder of Trulia.

I’m starting a list of the things we often think of as being conventional runner wisdom and if you have anything to add, please share!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,



First of all, happy Wednesday! Wednesday is my favorite day of the week: work hard for two days, an easy day, and then work hard for two more days followed by my favorite Saturday activity – the long run. Even my students look forward to Wednesdays because it’s our motivational day.

In other news….

I’m currently in the process of reading Wheat Belly. So far, so good and the author has quite the sense of humor (or sarcasm). Read more

Mental Mind Tricks

I have to admit that one of my least favorite workouts is the tempo run.  Intervals I can handle because they are shorter.  Long runs aren’t so bad because they are at an easier pace (and the turkey burger reward afterwards always helps too).  But tempo runs? 40+ minutes at a comfortably hard pace = no fun.  However, I know they are super important so I did my run today with a smile, as I imagined Meb would.

During my run I was struggling mentally.  Forty minutes at a comfortably hard pace is kind of a long time to be uncomfortable.  And after 5 minutes in when all you can think is I have 35 more minutes, you know it’s going to be a tough run.  Today I started by focusing a lot on my form, then staring straight ahead, then singing along to my iPod, but after a while I needed something else.  I decided to cut my music off and really try and get inside my head.  This may sound weird but I tried to visualize separating my head from my body.  If I could limit the pain to my body and make my mind separate, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. Then I started counting with each step 1-2-3-4-5, 1-2-3-4-5, and even though I was only counting to 5, it really helped me.  Eventually I was done and had a nice easy cool down.  Phew, thank God that was over.  BUT it got me wondering what are some other mental tricks to get through the pain.  If I want to achieve my running goals, I am going to have to become very familiar with pain and learn how to deal with.

Christopher Collier: 

As runners propel themselves forward, some measure of discomfort is normal (provided it’s not a sign of a serious issue). Muscles burn. Joints ache. Exhaustion sets in. However, research suggests that our pain threshold is not set at an unmovable level—that the mind can, to some extent, control it. “When I tell an athlete that they can adjust their pain level by using mental techniques, they’re amazed,” says Raymond J. Petras, Ph. D., a sports psychologist in Scottsdale, Arizona. “They often find that their performance increases dramatically.” 

Here is an interesting article from on 6 mental tricks to help push through the pain.  A few I have tried before but I need to remember them when it’s really important.  This blog post from The Feel Good Lifestyle has a few Jedi mind tricks to try as well. 🙂  It reminds me of one of my all time favorite quotes: “Do or do not. There is no try” – Yoda. .  I also really enjoyed this article titled Ironman Mental Strength: the Fifth Discipline.  The mental toughness to complete an Ironman is not even comparable to what I need for my little tempo run.  I can only imagine…

I feel like over the past month I have learned so much about the power of the mind and not just with my athletic endeavors, but with life in general.  In all aspects of life knowing your thoughts, controlling your thoughts, and mastering your thoughts can help you to achiever whatever it is you want to achieve.  I continue to tell myself everyday, you always have a choice, you just have to make the right one.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,



The Power of the Mind

Last week I wrote a blog about the importance of visualization.  I can’t remember what gave me the idea, but it’s a powerful tool that we can all benefit from.  Since then, I have come across several more articles explaining the powerful role of the mind in athletic performance.  My favorite is one by Chrissie Wellington, the coolest and happiest four time World Ironman Champion I’ve ever seen.  (Who knew it was possible to smile so much after completing a 140.6 mile event?)

Chrissie Wellington:

“I believe that it is my mind that has carried me through to some of my greatest victories — a mind that I have had to work hard to train and hone…. Training the brain will be as important as training the body. And although some characteristics are innate (self-motivation, drive, determination, stubbornness), I also think that there are strategies and tools that you can learn, develop and deploy.”

Some of her mind over matter techniques are:

1) Have a mantra and/or a special song to repeat (Wellington’s is “Never, ever give up – and smile.”)
2) Keep a bank of positive images
3) Practice visualization beforehand
4) Break up the race into smaller, more manageable segments
5) Remember that training is about learning to hurt
6) Get people to support you
7) Mentally recall inspirational people

I love all of these but perhaps the one that sticks with me the most is training is about learning to hurt.  This article about peaking before an athletic event, explores the idea that it isn’t the fact that an athlete’s fitness improves significantly over a season, but instead it’s that the athlete learns how to better handle pain.  It reminds me of a quote I saw once – “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”  Our bodies can only carry us so far. It is our mind that will carry us a little farther.  


Chrissie Wellington, 2008 Ironman
Photo Source – Dontworry on Wikimedia Commons



Just look how freakin’ cute and happy this lady is…

Here’s to a great weekend!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,