Fantastic Finish Foto Friday – Half Ironman Kelli

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s photo is from Kelli Kerkhoff:

FTT Kelli

Kelli:

I raced my first triathlon on Saturday – the Beach 2 Battleship 70.3 in my hometown of Wilmington, NC. Everyone kept telling me this is the ONLY time I will cross the finish line the FIRST time, so to be happy. I was doing the race for fun and to just do it, not for a time goal, so I made an effort to smile, to give thumbs up, and I even roared when I was done (scaring small children in the process). It was hard, hot, I had cramps, but it was fun and I was happy and finished in just over 6 hours! Amazing amazing amazing!

Awesome finish Kelli. Way to take on such a large challenge for your first Triathlon. WE hope to see you at the start line at more triathlons in the future.

Read Kelli’s full race report on her blog: Running Boston and Beyond

Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to firstimetri@gmail.com.

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Step Out of the Pain Cave – 5 Tips for Better Indoor Cycling Workouts

I wake up at 6am for the normal 7:30 group ride. I go to the window, its still pitch black dark, and 35F outside. This is where the will power wanes, and the excuses kick in. Do I really want to put on all of that cold weather gear, and freeze my tail off for 2 hours? I could go back to that warm bed, and ride later, which turns into never.

When mother nature turns down the thermostat, and shuts the lights off early, its time to switch to indoor cycling workouts. You don’t want to lose all fitness in those finely chiseled legs, earned by riding all summer. With some quality time spent cycling indoors, you can maintain some of that fitness. Indoor cycling can be incredibly boring. Don’t view it as a sentence to a dull sweaty prison. Instead, here’s some tips to get the most out of your indoor sessions:

Leg Speed

1. Keep it short – 

Quality over Quantity is the key for effective indoor work. Interval work is the best bang for your buck. Quality interval workouts will keep up your cycling fitness, without sitting on the trainer for hours at a time. A well planned session should only take 45 minutes.

Example Interval Workout

2. Spin Class – 

If you like to others around to keep you motivated, try a spin class. Most classes are under an hour and offer plenty of intensity. The great thing spin class is you don’t have to plan your workout, just show up and ride. Be careful not to over do it with intensity, if you are in your off season. When I go to class, I will modify the workout to fit my current goals.

3. No Pain Cave – 

I see people post pictures of their pain cave, the dungeon where they ride their trainers. Dark damp basements, smelly garages, and one guy I saw riding  in an old bathroom. If you are really into the suffering thing, I guess that’s ok. Since riding a bike going nowhere is already mentally tough, I like to be as comfortable as possible. Find a place where you are comfortable, that’s not too hot or cold. Be sure to have a fan, and plenty of water. You spouse may not want you riding in dining, but you on’t have to suffer next to the boiler.

4. DJ Handbar –

Be your own DJ, and have a great playlist. Great music will motivate you, and help you turn your brain off. Its also fun to play music games during the workout. You can sprint the choruses, and spin during the verses. Also, you can increase tension every time the singer repeats a phrase. Mix it up and jam out.

5. Drills

On a trainer you don’t have to worry about cars, loose dogs, or falling over. This is a great time to work on pedaling drills. Pedaling drills help you develop a stronger, smoother stroke. They emphasize one aspect of the stroke, so you can concentrate of firing those muscle groups.

Here’s some drills to make you pedal smooth like butter.

Monday Mantra – Happiness, It’s your Job

Happy Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

Happiness

Happiness is not an outside, it’s an inside job – Fortune Cookie

I received this message in a fortune cookie last week, and it resonated with me. Happiness is not something that just happens, it is a job. We are happy when we choose to be happy. When we choose to be happy, our actions follow. How you spend your time, who you surround yourself with, and what you focus on, have a significant impact on your happiness. How you make these choices is based on your decision to be happy.

Let’s tie this in to fitness, as this is a triathlon blog. Personally, I race and train for triathlons because it makes me happy. The exercise contributes to good physical and mental health. I love the triathlon community, as triathletes are supportive and always looking to improve. What I love most is signing up for a race, and having something to train for and look forward to. I may complain when the training gets difficult, but making that progress toward a goal makes me happy.

Are You Bored doing Same Run Workouts? Try these Group Run Games.

Is running that same five mile loop with your friend getting a bit boring? Do your interval workouts become unfocused because there’s no one there to hold you accountable? Is your training just becoming straight up boring?

Do I have the solution for you. Group run games. (Infomercial voice off). Group run workouts offer some healthy competition, while making sure everyone sticks to their training goals. NO more slacking off, because your buddy will take great pleasure in pointing out your lack of effort. If your partner runs like a gazelle, and you run more like elk, don’t worry. These workouts are structured so runners of varying abilities can do them together.

Pipped

Now grab your friend or friends (look at you Mr./Mrs. popular) and try out these workouts.

1. You run, I rest / I run, You rest.

From the title you probably get the idea. Go to the track, or pick a loop course. This works best with distances of 200-800M. Your partner runs a lap while you rest, and while you run your partner rests. You get a varied rest interval based on your partner’s lap. If you are not feeling great, you might give your partner a hard time, hoping they will slow down. If you are feeling frisky, you can speed up and take some of their rest. Overall the goal here to is to keep both runners engaged, get some good work in, all while having fun.

2. Stalk your prey.

This workout is a run (race) handicapped by your predicted finish times. Start with a predetermined course. (3 – 5k is a good distance). Each runner picks their finish times based on past performances. The slow runners starts first, and gets a head start based upon the difference of the finish times.

Example: If I say I will run 25 min, and Frank says he is going to running 21 minutes, I get a 4 minute head start. His goal is to try and chase me down. My goal is to hold him off. To make this work, all runners need to be honest with their times. NO SANDBAGGING. The only prize on the line here is pride. There’s no pride in cheating.

3. Run Golf

The goal in golf is to get a low score. It’s the same in run golf. Pick a one mile course, and place a watch or have a time keeper at the finish. Have each runner  predict their mile finish time. The idea is to come as close to possible to that time without using a watch. How many seconds you are off of that time (fast or slow) is your score for that lap. If I say I will run a 7:28, and I run 7:39 my score is 11. Repeat the laps three times, and the runner with the lowest score wins. Like in golf having a side bet will make this more interesting. (Maybe a round of post workout beers?)

This workout is great to work on pacing. Having to keep pace without the watch, forces you to use perceived effort to keep pace. If you run with a GPS watch most of the time, this workout might be a challenge.

If you give one of these workouts a try, leave a comment to tell us how it went.

Monday Mantra – The First Step to Being Great

Happy Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

This week’s quote:

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

Great to start

Do you want to be great at something? Well, get started doing that thing. It’s often scary and uncomfortable to try new things. So, what? Everyone struggles when they start a new challenge. But, isn’t that when you feel most alive? New challenges force you to grow physically, mentally, and emotionally. As humans, we thrive when we are growing, and learning new things. Don’t let the fear of not being great at first keep you from taking on new challenges. Just get started, and if you love what you are doing, you will become great.

Tired of the Sticky Mess? – 5 Tasty Alternatives to Energy Gels

Energy gels are great. They provide quick energy in a easily digestible form, all in a nice little package. If you do endurance training they are your best friend at first. Then they kind of turn into that cousin that you really don’t like, but you have to see at family functions. Consuming too many gels will make you tire of the flavor, leave you a sticky mess, and make your stomach do back flips.

Below are five tasty alternatives to energy gels for long workouts.:

Grandmas_Original1

1. Black Strap Molasses – Molasses is the OG energy gel. For one serving, it has 80 calories, 21g of Carbohyrates, 10mg of sodium, and more potassium than five bananas. That’s a perfect mix of calories, carbs, and electrolytes, and it also tastes fantastic. Molasses can be kind of a mess to eat on the fly. It’s best to eat pre-workout, or bring it along in a flask. If you’re from the south you have probably sopped some molasses with a biscuit. That method is probably not practical or healthy during exercise.

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2. Sweet Potato – I have to admit, I am a sweet potato addict. Sweet potatoes are delicious, and full of simple and complex carbs to fuel for workout. They’re also cheap and easy to prepare. Throw a couple in the oven the night before, cut into quarters length wise, lightly salt, and wrap in foil. Their messiness factor is low, and they are relatively easy to eat on the go.

JustinsAlmondButter_lg

3. Almond butter – If you like peanut, then you’ll love almond butter. Almond butter has all of that great nutty taste without the the bad omega 6s. It has 80 cals per serving and is lower in carbs and sugars than gels. If you are watching your carb intake this is a great choice. Look for small packets, like these from Justin’s. They are mess free, and super convenient.

raisins

4. Raisins (Dried Fruit) – I know this is an obvious one, but it has to be on the list. Raisins are easy to carry, keep for a long time, and full of unprocessed carbs. Raisins have saved me from a bonk in the middle of nowhere multiple times. If you are working on dropping some weight be careful with raisins and dried fruit. They are pretty much fruit candy, and it is easy to over indulge.

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Source

5. Rice Balls – Dr. Allen Lim made these popular by serving them to the Radio Shack riders during the Tour a few years ago. They are essentially sushi rice with other ingredients throw in. My favorite are the the Blueberry Chocolate variety. To prepare the rice balls you need to channel our inner baker and get in the kitchen. The extra effort is worth it. The rice balls are tasty, easy to carry and will keep for a few days refrigerated. If you want to be the most liked rider at you local ride, whip up  a batch, and hand them out before the ride. The others riders will be so thankful, you won’t even have to pull through.

Recipe for Blueberry Chocolate Rice Cakes

Monday Mantra – Til’ I Collapse

Happy Monday! Let’s do this! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message (Video). If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

Last week was Ironman World Championships in Kona, the Superbowl of triathlon. All of the attention of the triathlon community focused on Kona, where the best of the best (and a few chosen celebrities), push themselves through a grueling race. For most people these NBC broadcasts are the only exposure to triathlon they will ever have.

Beneath the glossy TV production, and human interest stories lies the true spirit of triathlon and Ironman. The will to push yourself to the absolute limit, and then ask for a little more. The drive to keep making relentless forward progress against all obstacles. The focus to tell your legs to shut up and keep moving. Sometimes the body is not willing, they collapse, but they know they gave every once of energy possible towards the goal. If we embrace that spirit in our daily lives, and put 1/10th of that intensity toward what we really want, we will be unstoppable. That is the true Ironman spirit.

Fantastic Finish Photo Friday – From Sedentary to an IMOO’R – Raymond

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s photo is from Raymond Marier:

First time Triathlete Raymond

Raymond: Three years ago, I was sedentary and obese. None of my pants fit anymore and I decided that I needed to lose “a few pounds”. I eventually lost over 50 lbs. At that point, someone challenged me to run a 5k. I had never run before, and had no real desire to start, but decided to give it a try. I guess I had a talent for it, since I ran my first full marathon 18 weeks later. One of the race series that I enjoyed had a sprint Duathlon on their schedule, and that motivated me to get a bike for cross-training (hadn’t owned a bike since I was twelve). It wasn’t long before I added swimming (the only sport that I had any background in).

I ran my first triathlon that summer and loved it. By the end of the season, I completed my first 70.3. By the time I crossed that finish line, I knew that I wanted to try a full Ironman. I remembered seeing the Kona championships on TV as a teenager and thinking that they were all insane. Now, I wanted to do one.
I spent the entire next year competing in events to test myself, to see if it would even be a possibility. The day after finishing my fourth 70.3 (Muskoka, a brutally hilly course), I decided to take the plunge. I signed up for IM Wisconsin for September 2014.
For the next year, this was my obsession. It was all I thought about. I followed a training plan for 30 weeks (never followed a plan before) and peaked at 29 training hours/week (I was completely sedentary 2 1/2 years before) and completed over 4000 miles of training in the 30 week span (over 100 miles swimming, 1000 miles running, and 2500 miles cycling). Still, I was terrified that I just wasn’t ready.
Race day was a blur of emotions. There were some real highs, and some devastating lows. I had stomach issues early on the bike which killed my nutrition plan. I could not eat at all, and barely sipped any fluids. I was severely dehydrated by the halfway point on the bike. I almost took the DNF at T2. But, I took a short break, forced some fluids down and started feeling a little better. I had 7.5 hours to complete a marathon. I started real slow and just worked on hydration. I was able to eat grapes and orange slices, so I was finally getting a few calories. By mile 3, I could run a little, and completed most of the course running (with walks at the hills and aid stations). At mile 19, I could barely stand up anymore, but I realized that I could walk the rest of the way. I decided to do just that. When I reached the finish line, a wave of emotions swept over me. I don’t even remember the fist pump captured on this photo, but it shows how overwhelming the comclusion of this three year journey was for me…
Full race report here: http://roadtomadison.wordpress.com/category/ironman-wisconsin-race-report/

That is an amazing photo, and journey. Raymond’s expression is priceless. All of his hard work, and passion culminating in a moment of excitement as he achieves his goal. Fantastic work Raymond! You are an inspiration.

*Raymond’s full race report is truly epic, and worth a read.

For more Fantastic Finish Photo Fridays, the archive page can be found here.

Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to firstimetri@gmail.com.

Monday Mantra – The What, When & Where of Starting

Merry Monday! We all could use a bit of motivation to get rolling on Monday. On Mondays, I like to share a Mantra or short inspirational message. If the message resonates with you, use to motivate yourself in training or life. Do you have your own awesome Mantra? Please share it below in the comments.

Today’s quote is from T. Roosevelt:

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Stop- Start

Teddy was a straight to the point guy. I love this quote. It’s about starting something now, and not waiting until everything lines up. It’s easy to push our dreams off to some magical time in the future. I will start on X, as soon as I have the time, the money, the energy, the education. The problem is unless you get to work on your dream and build some momentum, those excuses aren’t going to change. Don’t wait for the planets to align. Start now with the resources you already have.

Is there anything you have been waiting from the perfect time to start? Today is a great day to take a small step in that direction.

Below is a great TED talk from Tony Robbins that digs deeper into this topic.

photo credit: Rich Anderson via photopin cc

Fantastic Finish Photo Friday – Kettlebell Claire

Welcome to another edition of Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s photo is from Claire Knight:

SONY DSC

Claire: A friend talked me into signing up for a super sprint triathlon, and then backed out. I carried on as I thought it would be a great challenge. I learnt to deal with open water swimming, and did more cycling and running in my training than I had been doing (I’m primarily a kettlebell athlete competing nationally in the UK, fitting it all in around work, husband, and cats whilst managing my asthma).

I completed my first event on a glorious sunny late September day, was thoroughly exhausted, but ecstatic with my time and placing, about half way through the female field. I enjoyed it far more than running events I’ve done!

Claire’s full race report can be found here.

Congrats Claire on your first triathlon finish and smashing your goal time. Way to hang in and accept the challenge even after your partner backed out.

If you liked Claire’s post and want to see other Fantastic Finish Photo post, you cna check out the archives.

Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to firstimetri@gmail.com.