6 Tips for Beating the Post Ironman Blues

You’ve taken your steps down the red carpet.  You’ve heard the voice of  Ironman yell out your name and those beloved words “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN”.  The multi-day post race high has diminished and you can finally stand up off the toilet without groaning or yelling for your mate to come lift you off.

27_m-100813903-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-2330_049874-16034113

Your training peaks is empty or at a minimum it telling you to just walk the dog with all this extra time and increased recovery so you’d think that you would have all this extra energy. Yet you find yourself barely getting through the day, falling asleep at 7:30 pm, brain super foggy, and struggling your way through your work day.

You just spent the majority of the past year in a constant state of swim, bike, run, eat, sleep, and repeat with all of your waking moments focused on that “Your are an Ironman” moment.  Now it is either all over or it is time to turn your focus to another race and start the process over.  This can be exhausting or even overwhelming and lead yourself deep into the post ironman blues.  The Post Ironman Blues or even Post Ironman race day depression is a real thing and it can be very debilitating, and even derailing for getting back on track with life in general or trying to motivate to move on to your next race.

Seems like a myth.  The messy feeling of post Ironman, I mean you just accomplished something amazing how could you be feeling blue?  Well even as I sit here, having just started back with my own training for my road to Kona, I struggle to put words on paper not necessarily because I don’t have the energy but it is as though my brain won’t totally function.

 

The week after Ironman Texas looked exactly like that for me, and while it was not the worst case of the blues I’ve ever experienced it definitely hit me like a ton of bricks.  I spent the days after Texas staring at my computer screen during work and not seeing much, my fingers which normally fly across the keyboard barely moved, the checklists that I normally tick off quickly just grew longer. I found myself just wanting to sit on the couch, despite it being beautiful outside, staring at the TV and barely made it to 8:00 pm every night.  I had less energy with all the recovery I was doing than the days I put in 7-8 hours of training in.

Being female I am unsure as to whether men go through something similar, as I do not have first hand experience, but the week after Ironman my hormones go all kinds of wacko.  Things that I normally could just let slide get stuck in my brain like a parasite and things that normally would not make me cry sure as hell did.  I am happy to say that those crazy feelings didn’t last too long, but sadly the teenage level breakouts sure did.

As I know that I am not the only one who goes through these emotions and feelings after a race I wanted to share some tips breaking through and beating the post Ironman Blues. Here are my Six Tips to breaking through the Post Ironman Blues:

Keep the “rockstar” feeling alive
I do not know about the majority of you but whenever I complete a full or half Ironman I feel like such a rockstar, and selfishly it is one of the reasons I continue to return to Ironman time and time again.  It isn’t every day that we get a chance to feel that way, no matter how confident we are, and it is very addicting.  Part of the Ironman Blues are that once this feeling diminishes we are left with an uncertainty about ourselves and combating that comes from keeping that feeling alive.

If you journal, blog, or vlog write about the day. Share it with your friends.  Spend time writing down something about each of the disciplines from what you ate that morning, the swim, T1, the bike, T2, and the run.  Not only does this keep it alive for you but it is helpful for the next race to learn what to do and what not to do.  Writing is very cathartic and one of the best ways to keep those feelings at the surface.  If you need an example of a race recap check out my Ironman Kona recap here or my Ironman Texas recap here.

On top of spending the time to write or journal about the day do not hesitate to share how you are feeling post race.  Again, writing is very cathartic and sharing how you are feeling can help you untangle the emotional webs.  You will be surprised how many others are feeling the same as you.

Accept it and let the body recover

It is easy to try to fit the feelings you are having.  To ignore them and try to push them to the side.  As part of the recovery time you have to give into it a little bit.  There is a reason you are sluggish, slow, and tired you just put your body through something nutty.  Rather than fight through these take extra measures to counteract them such as getting extra sleep, staying in your pajamas a little longer than normal, and keeping yourself out of situations that may make you edgy or set you off emotionally.

By accepting it you are acknowledging that your body, mind, and soul needs proper rest and recovery from you just put it through.  Physiologically your body just went through hell and back from emptying your body of glycogen, increasing your core temperature as a way to combat the stress you are putting on your body, oxidative and mitochondrial stress, as well as a whole mess of other “stresses” your body goes through and while it will bounce back (that is the beauty of the human body) it needs time to do so.  Allow yourself the time to recover and remember that it is different for everyone.  Some people can physically, emotionally, and mentally jump back in after one or two weeks while others it may take closer to four to six weeks.

Indulge A Little

You just spent the last six months treating your body like a high performance car.  Feeding it the best foods to fuel yourself for strength and confidence so you have to be careful when it comes to indulging as your body is not going to be used to it.  Despite that it is good to give yourself a break even on a food and alcohol level.  So indulge a little, eat that ice cream you’ve been craving and have those drinks you withheld from.  This relaxation from the standard gives your mind and body a small break, plus its a lot of fun!!

However, this is a bit of a slippery slope as too much indulgence can have a negative affect on the Ironman Blues.  Too much can result in weight gain, increased sluggishness, decreased muscle repair, and through those a decrease self confidence and ease of getting back into it. You have to remember as stated above you just spent the last six plus months treating yourself like a high performance car and no different than when you put regular fuel into a car that requires premium you can ruin the engine.  So give yourself a break for a few days but then get yourself back on your regular eating routine.

Turn the Race into a Vacation (race-cation) 

One of my favorite aspects of triathlon is that the races are often in unique and/or beautiful places and it forces us to travel to new areas – yes even Houston.  While we did not turn Houston into a race-cation this is something that my husband and I often do.  We spent the week in Arizona with my family after Ironman Arizona and you can’t go to Kona, Hawaii without spending extra time there.

This allows you to spend some much needed one on one time with your loved ones as well as forces you to slow it down, not work, and not stress as much about not being on a standard plan.

Sign up for another race, even just a “fun” one

You crossed the finish line and maybe you said no way in hell I’m doing another one of those next year or maybe you couldn’t wait to sign up for another one but no matter what after a week or so you will start to feel the itch.  If you don’t have another race on the schedule start doing some planning.  Find one that sparks your interest and gets you excited again then go for it, sign up for it.  Not only does this give you something to look forward to but it puts a goal back on your radar, even if it is twelve months away.

Planning for another race doesn’t mean you have to immediately sign up for another Ironman (or 70.3) in fact you have to remember that you did just do one and signing up for another at the end of the year can make for a really long season.  Rather sign up for something fun, do a 5k or a 10k with your family.  Sign up for a mountain bike race that you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t have the time.   Getting yourself to the starting line of something low key can spark the competitive juices and remind you why you love triathlon.

Take time off of each discipline

Not only does this let your body recover but it gives you a mental break from the constant swim, bike, and run.  Do something different or do things that you just didn’t have the time to do during training.  Taking time off of each discipline doesn’t mean don’t do them, for example maybe you love to mountain bike or honestly even ride your road bike but you didn’t have the time because you were always on your TT.  Spend some time with those beauties just going out for joy rides.  Introduce yoga, or strength training back into your routine.  Or even just spend the time reading that stack of books you were too tired to read.

Taking the time off of the discipline gives you a chance to recover from them but also gives you a chance to miss it.  One of the number one signs you are ready to get started again is when you stare at your bathing suit longing for a swim (that never happens for me 😉).

Lastly, don’t let yourself feel isolated.  You are not alone in your feelings as even the best of triathlon go through these emotions.  I promise you are not going crazy even if it feels that way. Some people handle them better than others but that does not mean that they aren’t there.  Reach out to others, the triathlon community, for the most part, is extremely uplifting and you can bet there is probably someone out there who will help you through whatever it is you are going through.

How have you worked through the post race blues? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

CHEERS!!!

Kayla

cropped-logo-2.png

Ironman Texas Race Recap

Approximately five to six months ago after the dust had settled from Kona World Championships I realized I wasn’t done.  Kona had not gone as planned due to getting pretty sick the few days leading up to the race and while I crossed the finish line extremely proud of myself I still felt like I had more in me.  So I turned to my husband and said I wanted to do Ironman Texas, thankfully he loves me dearly and accepts my crazy and went with it.  Next up I shot a quick text to my coach saying, “oh by the way I’m gonna do Ironman Texas”, luckily she also was super on board with it.

Fast forward five months and many many hours and miles of swim, bike, and running it was finally time to see what I was made of.

travel

Brandon and I flew into Texas on Wednesday so that I would have time to check in, relax, and do all things pre-Ironman.  Luckily all flights were very easy and even the slightly longer layover in Denver was a blessing because it gave both of us time to catch up on work.

I won’t bore you too much with the pre race stuff as for the most part it was fairly standard.  Arrive in Texas, head to the hotel, put bike together (try to only swear a few times), get checked in, check out the village, and stay off your feet as much as possible.

One of the highlights of my trip was getting a chance to hang out and meet my girl Valerie.  We became friends over social media and I was so excited to meet her.  She is just as awesome in person as I thought, and turns out she would be a huge motivator for me out on that run course.

valgal

For the most part I tried to just stay off my feet beside ensuring that my bike was working properly and getting in the water.  I was glad for a chance to put my wetsuit on and get into the water on Friday as I hadn’t worn a wetsuit since Whistler 70.3 and hadn’t been in the open water since Kona.

swimming

Despite being very murky, you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, the water was really lovely.  Great temperature for a race and it was nice being able to wear a sleeveless wet suit.

As I prepped myself for the next day Brandon did the same by going to Walmart and purchasing a bike so that he could ride out onto the bike course and all over the run course. For those of you that don’t know my husband straight up deserves the sherpa / support team of the year award.  He is unbelievable and I am so grateful to him for everything that he does.  Secondly, he ended up going downstairs to the front desk after the race before we checked out and asked if any of the maids had children who would like the bike and ended up donating to a women who worked two jobs and had six children.

huffy cruiser

Race day

Alright, lets chat race day!!  What an amazing day! Honestly, I’m a little unsure how i will put the words down for you guys in an intelligent manner.  Despite the early alarm, the hotel only having Decaf coffee when I first woke up, and then spilling one of my nutrition bottles all over myself and the floor it was a great morning.  Everything went very smoothly and I am pretty sure it was the easiest drop off of my nutrition I’ve experienced at a race.  We had about a 20 minute walk from T1 to the swim start that prior to the day I thought I would dislike but turns out I liked having the time to walk rather than just sit there and stew in my own thoughts.

Swim

The gun went off right at 6:45 am I believe, just as the sun was coming up.  Gosh it was just a beautiful morning.  The water temperature was perfect and due to the rolling start I was able to find some clean water to just swim in.  I know they always say to find feet but because I am not a strong swimmer I always end up feeling like I’m getting hit in the face or just all over the place so I prefer to have my own open water.

I had lined up somewhere pretty close to the 1:10 mark as while I was unsure if I could do it that was my goal.  I had been stuck at the 1:15 mark for two years and I was praying that all the hard work I had put in was going to pay off and get me that 1:10 I was searching for.

For the first time in my life I felt strong in the water, and for the first time I was actually passing people!! Me! Passing people, I couldn’t believe it.  Normally in these swims I feel as though I’m being overtaken more than doing the overtaking.  When I came out of the water and glanced down at my watch seeing those magical 1:11 numbers I was floored!!!

4_m-100813903-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-2330_001354-16034090

T1

In standard Ironman fashion the volunteers were amazing! I ran passed my gear bag and they instantly starting shouting to someone to get it to me ASAP.  Other than that transition went very smoothly and it was time head out on the bike.

Bike

Honestly, I was very excited about the bike. It was similar to Ironman Arizona in which I had a stellar bike and I had spent the last year doing bike courses with such gnarly elevation gain (CdA 70.3, Whistler 70.3, and then Kona) that I was excited to see what I could do on a flat course.  On top of that Coach Heather and I had worked really hard on the bike during my 5 month build to Texas with me gaining significant amounts of power output even since my race in Kona so I was excited to put it to the test!

biking tx

I had a riot on the bike course, and it was made all the better by seeing Brandon on the overpass around mile 60 or so.  My mantra on the course was “this is your day”, my cousin had commented earlier on a post I had done on instagram that she said she just knew it was going to be my day.  So I took her advice and made it my day.  My mom asked me what I thought about during this bike and that

Despite the fun I was having on the bike course I kept willing myself to the run for a couple of reasons 1) running had been going so well I couldn’t wait to run and 2) well no matter how much fun you are having on the bike that seat gets really old as you get passed 100 miles.

T2

Similar in fashion to T1 T2 was pretty simple.

Run

I stuck my hat on my head, grabbed my GUs, stuck my feet in my shoes, and went off on the run.  Legs felt like I could fly; I thank all the miles and minutes spent at 70.3 and 10k pace that brought this about.  Looking down at my watch I noticed that I was running about 6:40 – 6:45 min/miles and for one second I thought oh boy I should slow down.  Then instantly changed my thought process, said eff it lets see long you can hang on and go for it.  So go for it I did!!

11_m-100813903-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-2330_024237-16034097

I didn’t really know where I was place wise until I came across Brandon around mile 5ish, at that point I am not sure if I was in 5th or if I had moved into 3rd at that point by then all I knew is I was feeling strong and just needed to hang in there.

The run course was so much fun.  People everywhere, spectators making a racket, music blasting, and the most amazing volunteers!  Their spirit raised all of ours out there on the run.  From what I’ve heard some people thought it got pretty hot out there on the run course but I didn’t think it was unbearable, maybe it is because my body was just so happy to be warm and in the sunshine it was like “bring it on baby”!!  Now mind you it was still warm out and if you missed an aid station drinking water you were screaming for the next one.  I kept up my nutrition, drank at every aid station, and in learning from Kona I did everything I could keep myself cool so I think that helped a lot.

As I started the third loop I came across Brandon again who confirmed a couple of things 1) that there were two Kona slots 2) I was in third and 3) I was gaining fast on the girl in second.  Basically as long as I hung in there with the pace I was running, about 7:20 min/mile, I should manage it.  That was all I needed, there was no way in hell I wasn’t going to get that slot.  Pretty sure at mile 23 I ran passed Jen Rulon and as she tried to cheer I cut her off saying “I’m like 0.25 away from 2nd place I have to go for it!!!”.

34_m-100813903-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-2330_069690-16034120

By mile 25 all I could do is pray that I had moved into second place because I was thinking holy hell there is nothing left in my legs right now to go much faster.  Thankfully someone confirmed it for me and I knew I just had to keep my legs moving and keep it up for about another mile.

As I rounded the corner towards the red carpet and as a smile splayed across my face I looked up to see my girl Valerie screaming at me!!

finish line

It was so awesome to see her there to bring me towards the finish line.  I’ve mentioned it before but there is something very special about that red carpet, and no matter what people say about Ironman, the race, complications, or try to bring it down that feeling is something you cannot away from anyone. In fact it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it, and because of that I pray that no matter what you never let anyone take it away from you.

On that note, I sit here celebrating the fact that I worked really really hard for the success of the day, hour and hour and hours of sweat, pain, and going for it, and I am beyond excited for the next bit of training to come.  Kona, I’ve got big goals for you so you better watch out!!!

44_m-100813903-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-2330_072315-16034130

Before I sign off I want to give thanks to all the people that made this day possible:

My amazing Husband: you’ve all heard me brag about him over and over but seriously I could not do this without him.

My family: who sat on the couch for 10 hours the day of the race watching the tracker and sending Brandon splits and distances that I needed to run, and for their excitement in me going to Kona. My sister literally stayed up until 4 am as she is Vietnam right now to watch the tracker.

My Coach Heather: who puts up with my crazy, gives hard workouts, never stops believing in me, and pushes me on constant basis.

My In-laws: for their love and support.

The Where Your Feet Take You Sponsors Second Skin Gear, Infinite Nutrition, Roka, and Rudy Project for supplying me with the best gear and nutrition.

To all the volunteers out there all day on race day you are the real heros!

Cheers Everyone and thanks for continuing to follow along this crazy fun filled Journey.

Kayla

cropped-logo-2.png

Packing For An Ironman

You’ve made it through the 6+ months of training and it is now race week. Race week is a ton of fun however it also means that you probably will be doing some traveling, unless you’re lucky enough to have your race in your hometown.   Traveling for an Ironman is a lot of fun and a great way to explore but it can also be stressful and exhausting; especially when you save packing to the last minute, which I do not recommend. 😁

Packing is by far my least favorite part of any travel, and I notoriously am that person who is packing at 10 pm at night when I have a 5 am flight the next morning.  This has resulted in me forgetting very important things such as glasses or even my contacts a couple of times… and when you are legally blind this is a problem.  However, packing does not have to be stressful, in fact it can be relatively stress free.

Here are a few, albeit fairly obvious, tips for making packing less stressful:

Make a list

Yes this seems very obvious and after a few trips it may seem as though you can forget this step but it really is very important.  There are so many little intricacies involved with triathlon from the big one of getting your bike in a bag to not forgetting to check the batteries on  your power meter or grabbing your body glide.  Making a list seems simple but it allows you to think about all that you need, keep it simple, and decrease the stress of running around at 1:00 am before your 5:00 am flight trying to remember if you packed your bike shoes.

making a list

Also, don’t take after me and start your list the Monday before your trip.  This gives you time to adjust your list.

Start Packing Before Your Packing Deadline

This is a two fold tip; a) set a packing deadline and b) start packing before that deadline. Most of us triathletes are crazy, masochistic, over achieving, type A nuts where when we give ourselves a deadline we are going to do whatever it takes to hit that deadline.  Tackle packing as you would your peak long run.  You have a deadline, or date, in which this long run needs to be compelted but you don’t prep for this deadline on the day of the deadline.  Rather you take hours, days, and weeks to prep for it.  While you don’t need weeks and maybe you don’t even need days but do start ahead of time so that when that deadline comes around you aren’t running around with your head cut off.

Secondly, set the deadline for a date earlier than your drop dead date ie: the night before you have to catch the plane.

packing

Keep It Simple

It’s easy when making your list to get wrapped up in all the things that you may need.  I often find that I’ve got things like “one nice outfit”, “pillow”, and multiple pairs of shoes that I know in the end I will never wear.  Take those things out.  Unless you are going for an extended vacation more than likely you are going to spend 95% of your time in some sort of athletic wear and/or your triathlon gear.  You don’t need all the excess.  On top of that there is already so much other stuff that comes with triathlon you don’t need to add to the already teetering too heavy bag you’ve stuffed everything into.

Pack Your Own Food

This can be annoying especially when flying because of all the rules in place nowadays for flying but in the long run it is one of the most important pieces you can do, especially for those around you as it prevents you from getting hangry.

You just spent the last 6 months being putting the best fuel you can into your body to get yourself through your workouts, and on top of that you also probably spent the last six months eating every 2 huors because you are hungry all the time.  Then all of the sudden you spend a day eating junk riddled with sodium at an airport and on top of that your eating schedule is all thrown out of wack due to travel, all a few days before your big day.  This can completely throw you out of wack.  Take the time to pack healthy and normal snacks and meals that your body is used to for travel.  Not only will your body thank you but it will save you money in the long run.

food

I wish I had some great tips for packing your bike, but also packing my bike is something that I do not have any joy for doing.   The only thing I can advise to travel on either Alaska or Southwest as they have the best prices for taking a bike with you, especially if you have one of their credit cards.  My advise for packing your bike is merely to try to be patient, something I fail at completely during this process, and if you haven’t cut out alcohol for your race make sure to have a drink handy.

To share the joy that I feel when packing my bike here is a little time lapse of the time, and while you cannot hear the swear words that escape my mouth during this process I am sure you can feel the joy.

 

Happy Packing Everyone!!!  If you have any other tips that work well for you comment to this post and let me know!!

CHEERS!!!!

Kayla

logo 2

A Hidden Gem: The Triathlon Sherpa

Whoever said (or still says) that triathlon was an individual support never took the time to actually complete one.  It may be clique but training and completing a triathlon, no matter the distance, takes a village.  We train be ourselves and spend large amounts of time grinding it out in a pain cave or on the roads by ourselves but that isn’t what dictates the success of the athlete.  For success in triathlon, well really anything, is more than just the strength of the athlete.  Yes, the will power, ability, and drive of the athlete participating is for all intents and purposes is how they end up crossing the finish line and it is the piece that is usually celebrated as fists are pumped and tears shed down the red carpet.  It is the individual who physically crosses the finish line but a triathlete is not a single person they are a single person who is held up by an endless stream of giving, support, cheer, love, and lots and lots of sacrifice by those around them known as the support crew.

Being the support crew, or sherpa as many of us deem those who support us, is more than just standing at the finish line ready with high fives and congratulations.  It is not rolling your eyes when your triathlete whines for the millionth time about the weather, it is not complaining when they are asleep at 8:30 pm every night because they have been up since 4:00 am to get that workout in, it is saying yes dear when they ask you to bring them another water bottle to the pain cave when they didn’t bring enough, and it is not giving them a hard time when they gear up to be gone on a Saturday for 6 hours because they have a really long brick.

It is the fact that they can take one look at your face and reach into their pocket to call a friend so they can borrow a bike to get themselves out to the energy lab in order to talk some sense into you, or drives three hours on a Saturday somewhere so that you can ride your bike in the sunshine, and it is the never ending days and nights of listening to the complaints and frustrations that we will never tell other people.  It is these people, this support, that makes triathlon run round.

It takes patience to be behind the scenes. You are not always congratulated even though what you go through is just as long, stressful, and exhausting as the athlete themselves.  Not only does it take patience but it takes sacrifice to allow your triathlete to chase their dream (or as my husband calls it your crazy).  Sacrifice in understanding that weekends are often taken up by crazy long bike rides, and your beer fridge probably will contain more Gatorade than beer.  Sacrifice in changing your own diet to match their’s so that it is easier on them and always coming up with something positive to say even when they are negative.  It is not easy being behind the scenes, but when they cross that finish line with tears in their eyes and confidence enough to fill a room I can guarantee you it is all worth it.  When the first person the look for in the crowd is you when everything is going to shit, and when your praise is what brings them out of their funk, I can guarantee you it is all worth it.

On the flip side being a good athlete is respecting all that our sherpa’s have to put up with.  The constant stream of laundry that has to be hung just right because tri-gear is so expensive that you don’t want to dry it, that dressing up means maybe we actually washed our hair with more than just dry shampoo, that slight edge we all have when gearing up for a big workout, the falling asleep on the couch while having date night, and the repeated “I’m hungry” at all times of the day because well lets face it all we ever want is food. Be patient with your sherpa as they are being patient with you. We put our sherpa’s through a lot on our journey and it is important to recognize that we couldn’t do this without them.

With that I want to share some insight from who I deem the world’s best, most supportive, caring, and amazing support team any triathlete could ask for, my husband Brandon.

So don’t forget in your joy and exhilaration of crossing the finish line with passion and strength to take a second to thank the people who probably made it happen, those who stood by you for hours and hours in a day while you chase a dream!  Their love for you kept you putting one foot in front of the other and for that they deserve to be recognized.

CHEERS!!!
Kayla

logo 2

Beating The Ironman Blues

I would love to call what happened last week the taper blues but in reality I wasn’t even in taper, close but not officially, it was just a shitty week.  It could have been the weather as mother nature decided to take a dump and forget that it is supposed to be April not December, could have been fatigued, or honestly it could have just been one of those weeks.

I spent the week sluggish, slow, feeling slightly sick, exhausted, unmotivated, and all around extremely negative.  So negative in fact it was better that I not speak as I found I had nothing positive to say.  Truthfully I am not sure what the cause of it was or why I couldn’t shake myself out of it. Finally, after a day or so of trying to force myself out of it I gave in and let it ride.  I knew that eventually I would snap out of it and trying to force myself out of it actually was making it worse.

cda 70.3

 

With anything that we do in life there are ups and downs, moments of greatness and then moments of negativity and/or self doubt.  Ironman training is no different and after spending months riding the high of an awesome and very positive five (5) month build for Ironman Texas my down just hit me harder than normal.  Sometimes we can move through it quickly and other times we have to just go with it and know that we will bounce out of it.

Maneuvering our way through the mental and emotional ups and downs of training is just as tough if not more tough than the race itself.  Here are some tricks I’ve used in the past to help me shake the “shit” of Ironman training:

Talk about how you are feeling:
A lot of what Ironman training is solo.  Even if you attend group sessions such as masters or cycling classes it is still your journey and only your journey, so we spend a lot of time in our heads and that can be very exhausting.   It is also the tendency to constantly put out an endless stream of motivation and uplifting messages that when you feel down in the dumps it can be even more tremendous.

 

Rather than bottling it all up and hoping that it goes away on its own talk with someone about it; a friend, family member, another triathlete, and specifically your coach.  That third party observer can be the best person to help not only bring you out of your funk but remind you of how far you’ve come.

Put one foot in front of the other
It sounds silly but continuing on with your routine and hitting your workouts really helps.  Now if you are in an extreme state of exhaustion due to the funk you are in then please take a break but if its just a funk sometimes the maintenance of the routine plus nailing a workout while feeling down can be a big boost of confidence.  That boost may be exactly what you need to break the spell.

Remember your why
It always comes down to your why.  What goal or dream are you chasing? Why are you doing what you are doing?  When its been months and months of continual training, or maybe even years, it is easy to loose sight of your why.

Remembering can be going back and reading a journal entry, writing it down again, journaling, talking with a friend, or maybe just sitting down with your eyes closed picturing that dream you’ve been reaching for.  Go back and find what it is that gives you the goosebumps, that gets you out of bed, and makes shiver with anticipation.

Visualization
You could probably combine visualization with remembering your why because you end up doing a little bit of both.  But what I am really getting at here is the visualization where you close your eyes and picture yourself on the course, or crossing the finish line.  Draw on old memories, or even what you think it’ll be like when you cross.  The more you picture yourself already completing something and completing it with strength and passion the more apt you are to have that mindset.

Read (or watch) something motivating 
We’ve all finished watching the Ironman World Championships and basically gone straight to our computer and signed up for an Ironman before our brain tricked us out of it.  When you’re having a moment of self doubt turn back to that thing, whether it be a tv show, a documentary, podcast, or book that motivates you and engross yourself in it.  Allow yourself to fully give into the feelings you get when finishing whatever it is that does that for you.

Turn the music up
When you are living in moments of doubt and lack of motivation it can be tough to get yourself out the door for your run, swim, bike, or whatever is on the schedule for the day.  Even when you do get yourself it is keeping that upbeat tempo that becomes even tougher, well, just turn your music up.  Listening to music that you like causes your brain to release dopamine which is a neurotransmitter that helps provide feelings of happiness.

Find something with an upbeat tempo, fast pace, or motivating words and turn it up a little bit louder than normal.  Let the beat of the music push you along. Loose yourself to the music. It can make even the hardest part of a workout a little easier as the repetitive beat triggers a co-ordination and execution of repetitive muscle movements therefor you are basically stimulating your muscles to move through an outside source.

Part of what makes this journey so addicting is these ups and downs.  While they are no fun while you are smack in the middle of them when you come out of it you feel so much stronger and like you can tackle the world.  Just remember that when you find yourself going through a moment like this 1) it is part of the journey it will pass and 2) there are plenty of others who have gone through or are going through it right at that moment as well you are not alone, even the best of us go through it.

CHEERS!!!!

Kayla

logo 2

Adventure’s in March

Happy April!!

I feel like mother nature decided to take part in April Fools by pretending that spring was right around the corner only to say no thank you I’m gonna stay cold, windy, and slightly grey.  This made for some interesting training adventures and with March clocking in as huge training volume we had to get creative and willing to head out at the last minute.

March started out with the second half of our trip to Arizona, a trip that the husband and I booked in January one cold and dark evening where we were craving some sunshine.  This trip was immediately followed up by a quick jaunt to Denver, Colorado to visit my sister and her boyfriend prior to them jetting off to Thailand. Check out my sister’s blog The Lo Down to see more about their adventure across the pond.  In typical Lloyd family fashion we all signed up for a 10k on Saturday for a little bit of fun.  Let me tell you elevation is no joke and it hit me as I rounded the turn for the second 5k loop, these legs just would not go any faster.

10k in denver

10k PR = 40 mins 15 seconds

I would also like to note that the weekend was secured with a lively competition, by lively I mean serious as everything in my family is a competition ;), of corn hole in which I surprised everyone with my skill at.

The adventure continued when two weeks ago I was staring at the business end of a 100 miler with an 8 mile run off the bike and a weather app that was calling for a snow day, two items that do not mix well.  Rather than face it on the trainer, which did not sound fun to me but I would have gotten it done, the husband suggested we head down to Walla Walla, Washington where a mere 3 hours south of Spokane it wasn’t supposed to be snowing.  I would be able to ride in the sunshine and the husband could golf.  So that is what we did, Brandon called my parents who were up for an adventure as well and drove out to meet Brandon in Walla Walla to all golf together.

We got up fairly early, low and behold we woke up to a couple of inches of snow on the ground, so that we could be on the road by 7:30 am.  It was pretty amazing as we headed south there was a serious break of snow covered skies to blue sky; one second we were blanketed with snow and one second the skies parted and the sun came out.  As we pulled away from the house that morning I was taken back to the times my dad and I would hop in the car and head out on our trips to chase the snow, this time though we were chasing sun, golfing, and some time spent on two weeks.

Brandon dropped me off in Touchet at a gas station that was on the corner of North Touchet Road and Highway 12 so that I could get started and finish in time to meet everyone for dinner.

walla walla

While not particularly warm up it was still nice to see the sunshine for a change and I was beyond grateful to be biking outside rather than stuck in the trainer.  I love biking in Walla Walla through wine country and farm fields, and despite the unbelievably strong head winds it was a super fun day to be biking.

Bike: 97.5 miles 5 hrs 19 mins
Run: 8.69 miles 1 hr 6 mins

walla walla biking

After my ride and run I met up with my mom, dad, and husband who had finished golfing for some dinner in Walla Walla.  While I did not get to spend the day with them it was really fun to meet up with them for dinner, they also had a 3 hour drive from Hood River to Walla Walla.  Was it necessary for us to head down to Walla Walla just to golf and bike? Probably not, but was it a spur of the moment adventure that brought the family together and that made it totally worth it!

walla walla 2

Walla Walla wasn’t the last adventure of March, I finished it out with a 116 mile bike ride through the wheat fields of Spokane.  If you follow me long enough you’ll find that is where I spend most of my time and its the best place for riding.

My ride took me from North Spokane out to Sprague, WA and back.  Again it was as though mother nature wanted to throw a bit of a loop into things with cooler temps than anticipated, the temp dropped about 5-10 degrees when I got out into the wheat fields, and just strong enough of a head wind (a bikers worst nightmare) to really make you hate life a bit.

wyfty 1

116 miles is a long time to spend on two wheels by yourself and I had to do it self supported, for the most part.  Brandon met me out at hour four with a refuel of water and infinite as well as a few other items just in case I was having a tough day.

Here is what I consumed on this ride:
3 full bottles of my custom blend of Infinite Nutrition
4 bottles of water
3 Organic Energy Squeezes from Cliff bar

Here is what I also brought/had Brandon bring as back up just in case:
2 Almond Butter Filled cliff bars
1 coca cola
2 GUs
1 extra random power bar we had at the house
A pair of gloves – which I gratefully took because my hands were so cold they were swollen.

While it was not my best ride metrically, I could not maintain the watts or the speed, it was a good ride from a mental standpoint and endurance quality standpoint.  During the last two 100 milers I was feeling pretty trashed right at about 80 miles and it took a lot of talking to myself to get through the next 10-20 miles, however this weekend I did not hit that point until about 106 miles.   I have definitely gained a lot of strength and endurance on the bike, now lets just hope that translates to speed four weeks from now.

biking 2

Having officially entered into four (4) weeks out from Ironman Texas this week launches the last BIG week of training before we begin bringing it down and then tapering.  I woke up this morning ready to tackle it and excited to bring it home.  These last five months of training have been pretty spectacular and I love how my body has responded to the big load we put on it this time around.  I am ready to race and ready to get the season officially started.

 

CHEERS!!!!

Kayla 

logo 2

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to sign up for WYFTY News to stay in the know with all things WhereYourFeetTakeYou and receive workout tips, fun recipes, and general triathlon/running information.

PS. Nutrition Pamphlet and email series coming soon!!

Subscribe to WYFTY News

* indicates required
Email Address *

First Name
Last Name

Embrace the Goosebumps

Maybe it is because the count down is real for Ironman Texas, less than five weeks.  Maybe it is because I’ve been pushing myself to new limits in my training. It could be a lot of things but I found myself reminiscing about the feeling you experience when you cross the finish line.  Then that got me thinking about what keeps me going.  What it is that keeps me stepping outside time and time again to push my mind, body, and soul to its limit.

This won’t be a long post and maybe it won’t even be that interesting but I wanted to share my thoughts on this idea behind the feeling and how it has influenced me throughout my life.

Triathlon is all about chasing something.  For some its the physical challenge.  Others it’s the mental challenge.  For me its the feeling; that feeling that overtakes you when you cross the finish line.  It’s a feeling of complete utter exhaustion combined with an extreme high full of strength and passion that puts you on top of the world.  You can say its the physical challenge or the mental challenge you crave but all of us experience this feeling and it is what hooks us. It is what keeps us coming back for more.

89_m-100808091-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1835_151289-15192153

For me it is a feeling.  To this day I can remember the feeling of my first triathlon and the passion it erupted inside me.  To this day I can still feel the strength pouring out of me as I dug deep with six miles to go at Ironman Arizona.  To this day I can still feel the elation, pride, and joy that flowed through my veins as I crossed the finish line of my first Ironman and the smile that plastered its way across my face as I celebrated with my family.   That feeling flows through my veins like adrenaline.  Its addicting, I crave it, and cash after it.  There is something very empowering about that feeling which is why I think I keep coming back to it.

I often call this feeling my why.

You’ve probably heard many people say find your “why” or what is your “why”?  What they are really looking for is the reason you do something.  That why can be a lot of things and it is different for everyone.  Maybe it is your children, a bad breakup, loss of a job, looking for a challenge, financial freedom, or a wide variety of things.  This why, the thing that gets you out the door on a regular basis, is something that you should always allow to evolve and change.  During your growth as an athlete or a person your goals and dreams are going to change which means the why that keeps you going will change.

For example:

I got into triathlon after going through a really tough breakup that left me feeling broken and void of any emotion besides anger; at that point the desire to find normalcy and emotion in my life again was my why.  Since then I’ve married the love of my life, found my passion in coaching, launched my business, grown as an athlete, got hit by a car, went to kona, and so on.  I am not the same girl who hopped on her bike on whim in an effort to try to find myself again and because of that my goals, dreams, and ultimately my why has changed.  If I had hung onto the same why I had when I first started there is no way I would have allowed myself to grow as an athlete or a person, I’d just be stuck in this cloud of trying to find something that was already there.

Running down a dream

Each time something in your life changes, your goals shift, then your why shifts just a little bit.  Don’t be afraid to let it shift that just means you are growing and changing as an athlete and person.

This feeling or why can hit you out of the blue when you aren’t even looking for it.  When it does do not be afraid of it, embrace it, breath it all in, and let it flow through your veins.  It is when we give into the fear of letting this feeling overtake that we are prevented from achieving new heights.  Don’t fear it, embrace it, let the goosebumps overtake you for when you do I promise the results will be amazing!!

 

CHEERS!!!!

Kayla 

logo 2

 

Don’t Panic

On Sunday Coach texted me saying my week was ready in training peaks.  I responded with “Great!” and then immediately after looking at it I realized that I was only 6 weeks out from Texas.  Instantly there was that feeling of holy crap there is not enough time left to get all my training in prior to Texas.  6 weeks, that’s all that’s left.  That means in theory there is only 4 more weeks of hard effort, after that we start tapering and the hay is in the barn.  While Coach Heather is correct that I am right on track and it won’t be a problem, it does not stop the doubt that creeps in as you get closer.

running 14

The 6-7 week out time is always a tough one for me it usually is after a time period where I had some lame workouts all back to back, cue the last two weeks swims for me, and I’ve probably put in my first really long training day but all I can think about is how am I going to fit enough of those long days in in the next four weeks of hard work.  Its been anywhere from 5 to 11 months of training and it is all coming down to the last few weeks before toeing the line.  It is exciting, terrifying, and very overwhelming.

During this time frame in which you start doubting yourself it is really important to remember why you are doing it.  This was brought to light again to me today during a conversation I was having about why I was doing Texas and I was instantly transported back to crossing the finishing line at Kona.

89_m-100808091-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-1835_151289-15192153

Kona was brutal for me.  One of the hardest things I had ever done.  I crossed the finish line and I remembering thinking oh my god you did it, and then thank goodness I’m done.  24 hours later I was still thinking I’m done with Ironman for a year, I need a year off of Ironman.  Then a week later after going back over my data and letting it stew in my head a bit I realized I was not done.  I wasn’t done with Ironman, in fact I had a bone to pick with the marathon.  I am not a 4 hour marathoner and I needed to prove that.  That day I signed up for Ironman Texas, and here I sit panicking or rather trying to not panic that my redemption day (or what I hope will be a redemption day) is fast approaching.

texas

Ok, so back to the point. Not panicking.

We all get to this point were we start to doubt ourselves, or panic about our readiness, ability, or a whole mess of things.  Here are a few tips that I use when I start to feel this way to get myself back on track:

  1. Take a step back and remember your goal.
  2. Think about how far you have come and what you’ve done to get to that point already.
  3. If you have a coach or even someone who is good at getting you back on track, speak with them.
  4. Focus your energy on what you can control not what you can’t.
  5. Picture yourself completing your goal, the more you picture and focus on having already completed your goal the more your brain will trick your body into completing it.
  6. Trust the process. You will get there I promise.

Triathlon is very mental, and not just on race day.  We spend years training for one race, years perfecting and improving.  Its a non spot battle of physical exertion against our will.  There will be points in time in which your will feels weaker than the rest of you, but if you utilize a few of the above tips it can help to bring you back on solid ground.

CHEERS!!!!!

Kayla 

cropped-wyfty.png

Road to Ironman Texas // Update

It’s been a while since I posted a training update.  With my little event countdown staring me in the face on the homepage of Where Your Feet Take You I am reminded that Ironman Texas is a mere three months away, and if your brain works like mine that means that you really only have 2.5 months of work left since the last two weeks the hay is already in the barn.  Kind of crazy that it is coming up so fast, in fact this morning I had the little Ironman email in my inbox reminding me that I am only 90 days out.

ironman tx

Despite the fact that I spend most of my training indoors, besides the few runs I’ve been able to get outside, it has been going fantastic.  When I signed up for Ironman Texas coach Heather and I had a conversation about how I wanted to train for this race.  I wanted to be coached as more than just a recreational age grouper and I was willing to put the time in.  Basically I said give it to me, hit me with it, and I’ll make it work.  While we are still in a bit of a base building stage I am really loving the higher intensity and volume that she has been hitting me with.

Swimming

I have been working so HARD at this discipline, and I think I am finally seeing improvement.  Swimming is so frustrating as you work so hard for only a few seconds of improvement per 100 and it takes so long to see that improvement come through.  Coach  has been having me do a lot of kick sets, drills, and we have slowly been working on my endurance.

swimming 8

Here are some of the things I have been focusing on:

  • my catch – I like to cross over the mid line in my catch so I have been working on straightening it out
  • finishing my stroke – despite the cross over I do have  strong catch but it peters out near the end and I loose all of my power.
  • core and butt up – I like to sink… I don’t float, so I have been focusing on keeping my core tight and my butt up haha
  • my kick – kicking through my glutes and pointing my toes.  Due to my ankle not being very flexible from whatever issues I still have with it from the accident I kick with my toes pointed straight towards the pool bottom.

I am still having good and bad days, haven’t had two good days in a row, but I am having more solid and strong days in the week than bad days which I believe is a good thing.  So for now I will keep working my ass off, taking the good with the bad, and remembering that I LOVE SWIMMING.

swimming 10

Biking

Luckily I’m not bored of the pain cave just yet, though I will say I am missing being outside.  I did get some cold weather gear this year for Christmas so I am hoping that in the next couple weeks it will dry out enough that I can get outside.

Just recently I took a new FTP test that went really well, I went from an FTP of 246 to 260.  The piece I was more proud of was that I held the watts steady during the 20 minute time frame compared to other tests where I would dip up and down.

FTP

Increasing the FTP from 246 to 260 made things very interesting on my most recent three hour ride.  Lets just say the leg’s said “um what the hell are you doing?” Despite that I loved it, it was more of a push and the strength I felt when I got done was amazing.  I am excited to see the gains that come from training at much higher FTP.

bike 12

So far the longest ride I’ve had to put in on the trainer is three hours, and it has been manageable.  I do hope to try to avoid having to spend more than 3.5 – 4 hrs on the trainer and can do my five to six hour rides outside.

Besides spending large amounts of time in the pain cave and my FTP increasing there isn’t much else to report from the saddle.  I’m just enjoying pushing the limit.  Though I am running out of Netflix shows to binge watch so if you have any recommendations…. I’d love to hear them.

Run

Thankfully running allows me to get outside sometimes.  We had a span of time around Christmas and the New Year where it was just plain old to cold for me to be outside and the snow made it difficult.  The snow is almost gone and even though its been a bit rainy I’ve been able to pull out most of my longer runs outside, even some have been in the sunshine!

Running is going really well, and I am really excited about it.  Even my runs off the bike are strong.  After such a disappointing marathon at Kona for myself I am looking forward to a bit of redemption at Texas.  On top of my running I’ve gotten the husband signed up for the Bend Half Marathon again which means he gets to get outside and put the pedal to the pavement.

running 11

I have this dream to be able to put together a 3:15 or better marathon at Ironman Texas, so we have been doing a lot of training at my 70.3 run pace.  To run a 3:15 I have to average sub 7:30 minute miles during the marathon;  so I run the fast splits right now and dream about crossing the finish line and the day I can run in just shorts and sports bra.

running 13

What else am I up to? 

Besides training I have been working hard on growing my triathlon and run coaching business.  I have touched base on this through my social media and briefly here on previous blogs.  Coaching has been the dream since as long as I can remember, back when I was headed off to college my mom and I had this dream of creating a personal training clinic together, that has morphed into run and triathlon coaching and I couldn’t be more excited about it.  I am also super excited to share that Where Your Feet Take You has its own gear, thanks to Wasatch Apparel for helping me design it.  It’s bold, bright, and fun and I can’t wait to rock it at Ironman Texas.   It is available to the public if you would like to rock it too!!

gear

The rest of the time I just sit around dreaming about summer and keeping my eye on the fact that the days are slowly getting longer and that warm days are hopefully right around the corner. 🙂 This time of year is a tough time of year for me, I miss the sunshine and warmth, but I think that is often a universal thing if you live in the Pacific Northwest.

I’m looking forward to the next 90 days of training on this Road to Texas and the road to being #unstoppable.

CHEERS!!!!
Kayla 

wyfty

The Mental Game

The other day someone asked my husband what it is that I think about during my long workouts and races.  He was also asked what it is that pushes people to step outside their comfort zone, and to keep going when the going gets tough.  Basically his friend was curious about the inner thoughts of all of us masochistic triathletes, marathon runners, and/or endurance junkies 🙂

 

When my husband asked me about it at first all I said I was more than happy to talk to him about what works for me but if he is looking for what will work for him he’s just gotta get himself out of the comfort zone and find out, as it is totally different for everyone.  Then, in natural fashion, we kept talking about it and I kept thinking about it and realized you know there are probably plenty of people who are fishing around for what will work for them and just need some guidance.

Becoming comfortable with uncomfortable and constantly being outside of that comfort zone we all like to live takes courage and a want.  One thing I always say to people when they tell me they could never do what I do is, “yes you can, you just have to want it”.   It’s that want, that desire, that dream, and ultimately that goal that gives you the first step to breaching that comfort zone and becoming comfortable with uncomfortable.

 

Let’s start with what I think about during my long workouts (I think differently in workouts vs. races to an extent).

This depends on what type of discipline I am doing at that moment.  For me each one is different and I think that comes from which ones come more natural to me.

Swimming
During a swim I have to really focus on what I am doing.  I have to be very very present in each aspect of the swim.  During a swim I have to stay extremely present with what I am doing.  There are times I will find myself thinking about work, programs for my athletes, or life but it during these times that I then find my form slipping and my speed going (what little bit I have) out the window.

Staying present means that on each stroke I am thinking about every aspect of the stroke from the catch to my hip rotation to remembering to finish strong through the whole stroke.  This doesn’t leave much time for anything else beside reminding myself that I love swimming.  It is easy to let negative thoughts get into the things you struggle with the most and staying present is the best way for me to not let those thoughts sneak in, as there is no time for them.

As you can see this is why swimming is very exhausting for me.  Not only does it require me to be extremely physically present but I have to be one point mentally.  It’s like golf, always thinking about all the little pieces that you have to do that do not come naturally.

Biking

I have a lot more freedom in my thoughts on the bike because I don’t struggle as much on it as I do in swimming.  Biking is where most of my thinking comes into play, and I can let my mind wander.  This is where I think about work, projects I’m working on, ideas I have, Where Your Feet Take You, coaching, and just life in general.  I always listen to music while I ride and sometimes I just get lost in the music.  Riding is a time for me to really escape and let my mind wander, some of my best ideas and most creative thoughts have come during my rides.

Now this is not to say that I do not stay very present in my rides as well.  You’ll here me say that I try to stay present in what I am doing a lot.   Staying present means I am focusing not only on what I am doing but how I am pushing myself towards that goal.  Staying present sometimes means picturing myself at the finish line or seeing that PR come across my watch.

Running

As you all know running is my first love, it’s where I started, and its my strongest discipline.  With knowing that you may think that this would be were I can let my mind wander and just let my body do the work compared to biking but running is different for me.  Running is the thing that has “saved” me when things are going wrong, running was what I turned to when I thought anger was going to consume me, it was what helped bring me out of an eating disorder, what I did to stop the tears from encompassing me, kept me positive, and always lets me untangle the webs of the day.  Running is a little more spiritual for me.  My mind doesn’t wander as much, I just listen to my music and feel the road beneath my feet.  That is about it when it comes to running.

All of that is great but how does that help you to push through the mental blocks, tough moments, or help get yourself to finally step outside that comfort zone to push yourself a little bit further.  It may or may not, keep reading I’m getting to it, but I did want to share a little bit about what goes through my brain with each and how each discipline is different mentally for me.

What is it that gets you out of bed each day to spend hours of your day pushing your body to the limit? What is it that during a training run pushes you to finish that last interval? What is it that keeps you putting on foot in front of the other in a race when all hell is breaking loose?

It is different for everyone, and honestly I don’t believe you can find it until you go out there and seek it.  For me it comes down to a couple one major thing, the want.  I want it more than anyone.  I want it so bad sometimes it is all I think about.  I want to be the best.  I want to be the fastest. I want to be the strongest.  And through all that I want I want to inspire others to take that leap of faith, for if they see that I never give up maybe they won’t give up either.  It’s all very selfish, yes, but its that want that keeps me going. There are many other factors rooted within that want that bolster it’s strength and that I also turn to when the going gets tough.

To better demonstrate what this looks like for me I am going to give you a couple of examples in which I have utilized this power.

 

That first day getting back on the bike after being released to ride again. 
I was terrified to go back on the road but I knew that if I was going to do Ironman Arizona then I had to figure it out somehow.  So I just pictured that end game, that want, I pictured crossing the finish line at Ironman Arizona. I spent the entire ride telling myself,  you are Kayla Bowker you are stronger than that lady who hit you, you don’t let things stop you, you are strong, you are tough, and you will be an Ironman.

One thing you will notice throughout these examples I talk to myself a lot and through that I have found that reminding myself of who I am, and how far I have come helps me a lot. I wasn’t always strong, I didn’t always believe in myself – in fact quite the opposite.  But over the years I have come to find faith in me and to believe in the strength that is inside me.  It is my best weapon, I’m my own best weapon and sometimes I just have to remind myself of that.

Recovering from Surgery
When I first was diagnosed by a doctor as needing surgery I was told I wouldn’t race in 2016, that was ridiculous to me so I got a second opinion.  Each time I went to physical therapy, each time I almost passed out from the pain, each exercise I forced myself to do I just pictured the end game, that I was going to be an Ironman that year, nothing was going to stop me.  That want was so deep within me that there was no way I was going to let anything stop me from doing it.  You have to find that want that doesn’t let you quit.

Ironman 70.3 World Championships
This race was a mess.  I had one of the worst swims of my life.  I lost my aero bottle at mile two of the bike. I got a stupid drafting penalty.  It was one of those races where I probably could have called it quits many times or let myself get so bogged down by the shit that was happening that I mentally exploded.  This was a break through race mentally for me.  I learned in this race that you can come back from whatever crap is happening if you don’t let it consume you.  Let it go.  So it happened, but does that mean that the rest of the day can’t be amazing? Not at all.

For me, I decided to take it one step at a time.  So I had a shitty swim, but this bike course was made for me, I was Kayla Bowker and I was an awesome climber. I just put that mantra on repeat, once again continually reminding myself of the strength that is in me.

Ironman Kona
For those of you that follow my story you know that Kona was by far the hardest thing I have ever done, and it was the closest I have ever come to giving up.  I had spent the entire day telling myself that I could do it, that I was ready, I was strong, I was Kayla Bowker and no one was going to stop me.  Yet outside forces continued to pound that resilience into oblivion.  Here is my last secret of what it is that keeps me going, Brandon.

Sometimes there comes a point when no matter how mentally tough you are, how much you believe, or how much you want it you need that outside person to slip into those dark parts of your brain and remind you of it.  Kona was that time for me and Brandon was the one who did it.  He reminded me that not a single person was disappointed in me, he reminded me that I had worked really hard for this, that I was so close to that goal (that want), he reminded me that everyone was proud of me, and most of all he reminded me that I was Kayla Bowker for god sakes and I was stronger than anyone.

Your support team can be one of the biggest strengths in helping you get passed whatever it is that is blocking you.  That support team can be a multitude of things, family, friends, colleagues, people you’ve met on social media, or the friendly guy suffering next to you on the race course.  Really you never know when that person is going to come along and inspire you to remember your want.

Here are my top 6 ways I keep myself going whether in a long workout or a race:

  1. Remind myself of the strength inside me, of who I am.
  2. Talk to myself.
  3. Believe whole hardheartedly in your goal and never let go of that want.
  4. Visualize the end game.
  5. Take it one step at a time.
  6. Have a strong support team.

After thinking more and more on this subject and believing so much that it is different for everyone I wanted to hear what others do to keep themselves motivated or get themselves out of a mess.  So I reached out on social media and here are some of the answers I got:

  • Think about whatever I can. I like to be creative about my thoughts and find ways to make it fun. It always has to be fun.  I also never let myself take for granted that I am healthy and capable.
  • Think about the finish line, and where I am now verses where I started.
  • Math. I am always calculating something in one way or another.  However many intervals or time is left, what that looks like in distance, how fast I need to go to get myself through that distance.  How long it will take, and how much time is left.
  • Knowing that I have spent way more time on worse things such at work or an awful conference call, and after that I can get through anything.
  • Thinking about the possibility that this could be taken from me at any time so I need to make the best of it.  Makes the short term pain less painful.
  • Jamming out.  I usually get pretty into it, matching my spin cadence to the beat.  It distracts me and makes it really fun.  I try not to think too much but sometimes I’ll catch up with life things while I’m on the bike (trainer).  During extra long rides I think about what’s next to eat or drink and focus on monitoring my nutrition.
  • I give myself a little pep talk and tell myself to suck it up butter cup.  I’ll listen to a super motivating song.  During some of my hardest moments during a particular race I thought about my kids and how I wanted to show them that I wasn’t a quitter.
  • Audiobooks
  • The yellow or red blocks on training peaks
  • Life, goals, relationships, day dream, and problem solve.  I talk positive to myself when it gets really tough and when I am feeling extremely like a wuss I think somebody out there is working harder than me and that’s not acceptable.

As you can see everyone has something a little bit different that they think about.  It takes jumping in and going for it to figure it out.  It also takes failing a couple of times to learn what does work and what doesn’t.  Learning to stay present, be mentally tough, and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone is not easy but it is very rewarding.

Thank you to everyone who provided answers to my question on social media.  I hope that this provided some insight to you on the mental side of the game.  If you have any questions, would like some guidance, help managing those wants/goal, want to talk it through, or just need someone to help get you to take those baby steps please email me I would love to help.

CHEERS 
and stay present!!
Kayla 

wyfty