Monday, June 22, 2015


            My first sponsor was Draft Cyclery – a start-up company that carried Funkier cycling and triathlon apparel.  I met one of the owners at the first duathlon that I won, and so began a sweet relationship.  That owner has actually become the Director of Funkier USA, which also resulted in Draft Cyclery closing up.  Fortunately, I was invited along for the ride!  To be honest, I’d be a bit nervous about switching to a different brand!
I’m a part of a Women for Tri Facebook group, which has over 6,000 women worldwide.  The BIGGEST complaint that I read over and over regarding race kits is having the tops of 2-pieces ride up. I’ve worn different tops that rode up, and I know that it is incredibly annoying.  I’ve also seen plenty of triathletes with a nice sunburn on their lower back from jerseys and kits riding up on the bike.  Don’t be one of those people.
            The two-piece kit seems more popular for a couple of reasons.  First, they are typically more stylish than a one-piece.  Second, a pit stop during a long race is much easier to do in a two-piece.  I also prefer a two-piece for both of the above reasons.  Also, I feel they are more comfortable personally as I am taller and then I have more room.  Onesies won’t ride up though. 
            Don’t just order a bigger size top hoping that it will be longer or stay down, as you want it tight without extra drag.  So what is the solution for those tops riding up?  Elastic along the bottom always rides up to the narrowest part of your waist.  Some brands may make their tops a little longer.  I’ve heard one makes it with snaps to hold in place, and I’ve read LOTS of recommendations of sewing your own snaps or velcro into race kits.  Let me address this.  Snaps – who wants to be fumbling with them on those pit stops you thought you needed a two-piece for? And Velcro?!  Let’s not damage the material of our pricey kits by putting on something that can snag and ruin it. 
            Best solution?  Grippers!  Funkier cycling and triathlon apparel has a gripper along the bottom hem of all of their tops – triathlon kits and jerseys (summer AND winter jerseys).  I have never had to worry about my tops riding up.  The LAST thing you want to worry about when you’re racing is what you are wearing and if it is staying in place!
            Too many manufacturers think that in order to make something for women, they need to make it pink and put flowers on it.  Some women want that, but there’s also a lot that don’t.  What I love about my Funkier race kits is that they are different than what I see everyone else wearing, and they have bright colors.  So wear something fun.  Wear something FUNKIER!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Elkhart Lake Triathlon

            This is a hard one to write, but here we go…  I kicked off the triathlon season this year by competing against elites in the Olympic distance Elkhart Lake triathlon – my first time at this race.  I was hoping to do really well and finish in the top 5 for elite females.  I was also hoping to be in contention for the fastest bike split.  I guess I was hoping for a lot of things.  Too many things.
            To make it short and simple: it was AWFUL.  My worst race ever.  This wasn’t even about placement or my competitors.  This was about my personal performance – an absolute embarrassment.  This is when you want to slink into a hole and wish it never happened.  This is when you question if it’s all worth it, when you want to hide in shame, and you ask yourself, “What the hell happened?!”
            There were 11 female elites at the start of the swim.  It was a cool, overcast morning, but the water was the cleanest, clearest water I’ve ever raced in.  The other women took off like lightning, and I figured many of them were most likely former swimmers.  Coming out of the water, I actually was very near what I expected for my time.  The results have the swim time a bit long, as it included the exit as well, and since it was quite a jaunt to transition, I stripped off my wetsuit shortly after I exited the swim, and perhaps even before I crossed the timing mat.  It made it easier to strip and run like that though.  Most of the women beat me out of the water. 
I got out on the bike, and it felt like it wasn’t long until the struggle started.  I tried to be patient with my average speed, expecting it to increase as I got further into the ride, as there was some super sharp turns that we had to substantially slow down for.  I was warned about the hills.  I underestimated the reality of them.  Every good downhill had a turn at the bottom it seemed, and there was at least one hill so steep that I thought I might be faster walking it.  I stood up on the bike instead to get up it – something I’ve never done before.  I was no longer able to hit my watts, and on the return route of the course, I watched my average speed keep dropping – right along with my self-confidence.
In T2 I fought with cramping toes as I put my shoes on and was told I was in the top 10 for women.  It was confirmed – this was bad indeed.  I felt incredibly slow on the run, as I encountered one steep hill after another, and I continued to unravel.  A spry woman passed me.  I shuffled along.  Speed walking the hills may have been just as fast.  My goal pace was around 7:10 – something I knew that would be tough, but it should have been not that far-fetched.  I averaged 7:51.  I wanted to cry.
I experienced greater self-defeat in that race than I ever have before in triathlon.  I’ve biked up a bluff, into strong winds, ran up High Cliff and over ankle-rolling terrain.  I’ve run through heat so fierce that the air around me was stifling and you could see the heat rise from the pavement on the exposed “desert” run course.  I’ve even competed on a day where it hit a high of maybe 40 degrees (don’t forget I was wet from a swim for it!).  But I have never felt so defeated as I did that day at Elkhart Lake.  No matter how much I’ve struggled on some of those other courses, I have never fallen apart like this before.
This wasn’t about me having a baby 3 months prior.  I have no excuse.  Maybe the hills burned my legs out.  Maybe a lot of things.  I don’t think it would be just one thing either.  I don’t know what exactly happened. But what I do know is that I’m capable of far better.  I know my training shows that I am capable of much, much more.  I know that after taking a few days to refocus, I have a lot of tough workouts ahead of me.  I cannot let that one race define me.  I also know that I will be looking for redemption.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Race Ready

Bar tape upgraded, the rest awaits...
            It’s the final countdown to the season kicking off with my first triathlon of the season.  I’ve spent days, weeks, and months getting ready for this.  I’ve also had an awesome upgrade in gear (aka my fabulous new bike), and we’ve been busy working on getting it ready for the season too!  I immediately fell in love with the new ride - its sleek design and noticeable speed.  The new bike was originally black with red, silver, and white accents.  I wasn’t crazy about the red, but the Trek’s Project One customization would substantially increase the cost and make it outside my budget.
Peeling the vinyl back for application
Andy and I decided to do some customization on our own.  Mel’s TradingPost switched the bar tape from black to purple for me.  Then we took the bike into the Fab Lab at the Three Lakes High School to cut vinyl for it.  Andy had the shapes already figured out, as well as a couple other designs we were going to add.  We covered all of the red accent shapes on the bike with purple, and added a “W” to my box in the back.  I also got new disc covers for Christmas, so we put a design on them as well.  Mel’s Trading Post installed the disc covers and made sure it was race ready.
It’s going to be a challenging race this weekend as I’ll be going up against a strong field of elite women.  It’s time to shut down any negativity.  Getting sick and having Myles back to getting up multiple times a night during race week isn’t ideal.  It’s also not the end of the world.  And tough competition is good for me.  I know I’ll have to dig deep.  It’s time to see what I can do!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dairy Days of Summer

It’s JUNE – do you know what that means?!  It’s June Dairy Month!  Which means there are lots of activities going on around the state, and you can get in on them!  There are way too many for me to list here, but there are farm breakfasts, cheese sampling at various Festival Foods stores, discounted cones, free or discounted ice cream at events, creamery tours, cheese festivals, city days, etc.  You can find a full calendar of events at! 
With Wisconsin being known as America’s Dairyland, I hope every family in Wisconsin can be involved with and support the Dairy industry that makes this state thrive.  I couldn’t be more proud to be a farm girl, and though I know longer have dairy cows to look at out my window, I want my kids to be able to have a taste of the farm life and see where our food comes from (our daughter is a milk addict and she also loves cheese, yogurt, etc).  You can also enter the Instagram contest by sharing a photo on instagram that shows YOUR dairy pride using #celebratedairy (or email for a shot at a big purse prize!
There is also a really cool event called the Tour of America’s Dairyland.  It is the largest competitive cycling event in the United States!  This is the 8th year that the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board has put on this event, and it has 11 straight days of racing (June 18-28th).  Get in on the action, or get out and cheer on the cyclists!  The competitors can of course rest assured knowing that the best recovery drink will be available to them afterwards – chocolate milk!  Can it really get any better than that?!

Monday, June 1, 2015

How Bad Do You Want It?!

            We make excuses.  All. The. Time.  We say we want to be fast, fit, or competitive, but for some reason we never get there.  It’s like if we wish hard enough, it’ll somehow just happen.  Yes, there are those who have been genetically blessed, where even when they slack off, they still excel and do well.  These people can be frustrating as well, because they often settle for what they can do with little work instead of pushing to find their true potential.
A little extra work with the added weight this year!
            Then there are the more common folk.  I’m calling you out.  No more excuses.  I get it.  Sometimes you get sick, sometimes your kids get sick, sometimes their naps just aren’t working out in your favor, but there’s a point at which you have to quit allowing everything to get in the way of your goal.  If you want to be fast, or to do well in something, then put in the time and work.  It is up to you.  If you are serious about your goals, then you’ll work towards them.  PUT IN THE WORK DAMMIT.  That’s what I really want to say.  It’s also what I need to say to myself at times.
Motivation may ebb and flow, but find ways to push through the low points.  Keep your goals in mind.  Be relentless.  Quit the excuses, and be ready to embrace the pain that it takes to become better.  Commit yourself.  It won’t be easy, but it will make reaching the goal so very rewarding.  No more procrastinating.  Now is the time.

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.” – Jerry Rice