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Colleen Schaible

Iron-mama Blog – from Ironman to Pregnancy and Back

          

Colleen SchaibleColleen Schaible

Winner of our free Ironman entry from Red Bull! Follow along for her big dance in Lake Placid 2018!

Iron(wo)man -> Pregnant at 41! WHOA!

What a roller coaster of emotion the last few months! The highest highs to some pretty low lows. After the high of completing a very challenging FIRST EVER IRONMAN 140.6 in Lake Placid, I had never felt better. I had never been in better shape, been happier with my return to endurance sports and taking them to the next level, my new coach and team, WOW what would 2019 bring!!! 

Then...wham...I'm pregnant!! what did you say, yep I'm pregnant!!

The weeks following Ironman were very confusing for me to say the least. First, I just thought that my post Ironman hangover/depression was just hanging around for an extra long time. I just couldn't find my mojo or get my energy back. Then I found myself spontaneously napping on my home office floor for 20-30 minutes at a time. wait a minute...I started putting 2 and 2 together. I remember this fatigue from 6 years ago. I remember this nausea from 6 years ago. But I can't actually be pregnant? I just finished one of the hardest events of my life! Yep sure enough, after two home tests and a visit to the doctor I was about 7.5 weeks pregnant! almost 41 years old with almost 5 year old twin boys and now another on the way. 

talk about life changing events! I've had to reset my brain a few times over the last several weeks...now months. selfishly I was starting to really like my life again, the boys were getting older, in school, I had been able to return to racing, my job was going well...then the "mom guilt" sets in and I feel horrible for even having these thoughts. Time to reset to understanding that this is truly a blessing and now my #1 goal in life is to raise a healthy baby and take care of myself! Pregnancy at this age can be challenging but I was determined to continue to do the things I love like running, biking, swimming!! the things that my life outside of work and kids is centered around. I wanted to be one of those people who could blog about the 100s of miles I ran while pregnant! Since times had changed since the twins were born, there aren't now heart rate restrictions to follow, its all about perceived exertion. Exercise is encouraged! Yahoo! In my first few months, I was able to place 3rd in my AG at Lobsterman Triathlon (12 weeks), 3rd in my AG in a local 10k and then I rode 60 miles in the King Challenge bike event...everything was going just awesome! 

well, my body had other ideas about how well things were going...enter the exercise restrictions...enter the scary prognosis that my cervix was thinning too early. enter the low lows again. enter the resetting the brain to the #1 goal of growing a healthy baby who stays in the oven until its safe to come out. I spent way too much time with the twins in the NICU, its not worth the trip back there with a preemie. enter coming to terms with weight gain and only walking as my exercise.

but also enter the joy of feeling my baby GIRL kicking and seeing her on the screen growing before my eyes. She is truly an amazing blessing for this family! I'm excited to continue to write about my journey and would love to hear feedback from all of the other badass mommas on this team! 

Colleen Schaible, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!! Part 2

Continued ...

Run – the town is absolutely electric! Started down the hill and kept saying to myself slow down, slow down.

Colleen Schaible, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!

Is it the end of a journey or just the beginning…

Flashback a year ago, when I was introduced to Angela Naeth and I Race Like a Girl at the 2017 Boston Triathlon. It was my first season “back” to triathlon after the birth of my twins in December of 2013. How little did I know this would change my life in so many good ways.

That fall I entered the Red Bull Free Ironman Entry contest. The IRLAG team has sooooo many good monthly challenges and contests but I normally don’t win things so I took a shot figuring the odds were against me. Much to my surprise I WON!

The ultimate reason and goal of entering was to tell my story, we all have them, no story is better than another or more important, just wanted to put it out there about my kids and how important they are to me. I was training for Ironman when I found out I was pregnant (surprise #1) with twins (surprise #2). What I also didn’t know is the twins would come 8 weeks early and that one twin was to be born with a congenital heart defect. This would of course forever change my life. Following their birth, I had to give back and of course I had to regain my health and love for endurance sports. I raised money for Boston Children’s Hospital and ran my first marathon.

Fast forward to 2017. After a few health scares for Chase, things finally seemed to be settling and I yearned to get back on my bike and in the pool. I completed 3 triathlons that year, 1 sprint and 2 Olympic distances. I podiumed in 2 out of 3. FIRE IN THE BELLY! And then I WON and was immediately registered for IRONMAN LAKE PLACID. Holy Crap! What did I just sign up for!

We really started training in earnest in January of 2018. There were highs and lows, calendar juggling, lots of extra babysitting time. There were road races and early season triathlons. Time where I felt I was improving, times I just wanted to sleep and not work out. But in the end, I trusted the plan, did what I could. I was by no means perfect. I would say I missed at least one work out a week due to some unforeseen work or family issue. Training is technically my fourth job after #1 being a MOM, #2 being a wife and #3 being a Sales Director for 7 states.

A few things that 100% need to be stated here…IRONMAN takes a VILLAGE. There is no way I would have been able to even get to the starting line without the 1000% support of my husband and family! First and foremost, they need to be thanked! Next, my IRLAG teammates whom I will forever be friends with! Talk about a KICK ASS group of incredible women! We shared stories, good and bad, shared tips, shared just to share. I would not have gotten through without them!

Now, get me to race week. HOLY MADNESS. Can I tell you if things were going to be hectic and stressful they were? My guess is the rest and recovery needs to happen BEFORE you get to a venue at least with the camp I traveled with. 4.5-year-old twins, in laws and a dog = not a lot of pre-race rest! The entire environment is electric. It is so hard not to get caught up in the atmosphere and stay off your feet. You really have to fight the urge. I took in what I could, tried to eat as much as I could, tried to stay stress free as much as I could.

Race Night Eve: Sleep was NOT my friend. I woke up EVERY hour deathly afraid I would miss my 3:45 a.m. wake up. 4 a.m. and it’s time for my pre-race meal of 2 cups Applesauce, 1 scoop protein powder, 1 banana, 1 botte sports drink. And time to wake the husband up! He drove through the night from Portland/work to be there. Go time, 4:45 we left the house. Transition was absolute madness! People everywhere, body marking and straight to my bike to drop my sports drink bottles and bike computer. Next up to my transition bags to drop my beet juice in T2 bag. Of course, then a porta potty stop and time to head to the beach.

Swim: After a short warm up and watching the national anthem from the water it was time to be herded in to the swim start coral! The cannon went off and my heart jumped! Its go time. I had to push my way up through a sea of wetsuits to get to where I thought was the 1:05/1:10 pace group. Per coach’s instructions I asked everyone around me what their goal time was. Our group was next up! High fives from Mike O’Reilly and in to the water we went. I stayed on the outside of the group to avoid the chaos at the buoy line and I was very happy I did on loop one, 32 minutes and was feeling great until I got in for loop 2. Holy BOXING match. Somehow, I got myself mixed up in a large group of men near the buoy line at the start of my second lap, not a good place to be. After a slight panic, a kayaker motioned me inside the buoys to a clearer swim lane. I did my best to stay smooth and draft a little to conserve some energy. As I made the final turn, I went WAY on the outside, swimming an extra 100 yards or so just to avoid being punched and kicked some more! Overall, with the chaos I came out around 1:09 and felt good about my overall performance!

T1: can we say DEBACLE. First my wetsuit stripper couldn’t get my suit off! I was literally suction cupped in. After fighting with it about 3 minutes it was off to the change tents. Again total chaos! My volunteer couldn’t get my bags up and then my nutrition went all over the floor! Needless to say, coming out with a very high heart rate and 13 minutes later…need some improvement in this arena!!

Bike: This had to be one of the hardest bike legs ever!! As soon as I got out by the ski jumps I could feel the wind and holy wind it was. As we made the turn past the jumps a chipmunk literally almost took out my front tire! A rider came along side me saying “that chipmunk literally almost ended your day” … holy moly. My heart rate was super high at this point, still 170. So, I was trying to calm and bring it down, but you immediately go in to the 5 miles of climbing and then add the wind and rain. Did my best to settle in and overall focused on nutrition and drinking. First out and back and then the descent which was a white knuckle given the conditions. I would say overall on the bike, I had moments where I felt great in aero cruising at like 20-22 mph and then moments where I felt like I was going backwards. I had to pee already around mile 25, I pulled in to a stop, refilled a bottle and off again. the rain continued and then once I hit whiteface I was truly soaked! Stopped again to pee before the climb back in to town, which I LOVED. I was cruising past so many people on the ups…just need to figure out how to go down! Soaked up all I could in town and caught up with Kalyn in special needs area. Loop 2 was even windier! The descent was nuts, pedaling and just trying to stay upright. After that things and people spread out quickly. I pee’d again at the turn around on Hazelton Rd. at mile 90 I had to get some water, LOL. It was delicious. All in, I had 9 bottles, 9 GU gels, 2 Stinger waffles and two pieces of banana on the bike. Coming back in to town was awesome but mentally I was like holy crap I must run a marathon now. I had no idea how my legs were going to react getting off the bike.

T2 – ouch coming off the bike, lol. I stopped and took my shoes off before the long run around the oval to the transition bags. Grabbed my bag, hit the porta potty again! in to the change tent. This time my volunteer was AWESOME. I was still slow, but it seemed much more controlled. Hit the sunscreen station as at this point the sun was out and it was humid! And off to the run course.

Run – the town is absolutely electric! Started down the hill and kept saying to myself slow down, slow down. 

How to move forward? How to feel? How I know I can depend on this community, this sisterhood, to be a catalyst for healing…

Simply put, this past week has been complete hell for me and for my family. I believe the only way to start the healing process is to share my experience and thoughts and what a better place to do so than with this amazing group of women.

What started out last Thursday as a trip to Los Angeles for some sun and much needed catching up with good friends turned in to a nightmare. After a series of text messages and phone calls from LA to MD, we made the discovery that my sister had suddenly passed away at her home in Columbia. The following morning after receiving the news that my sister had suddenly passed I did the only thing I knew how, I went for a run. The grief and sadness I was feeling were so overwhelming, I was running through tears but running cause it was something I could control.

I flew over 6000 miles in less than 48 hours to get back to Boston, see my twins, change over my suitcase and then fly down to Baltimore to be with my brother, parents and my sister’s family. She has three children, her two daughters and a son whom I love like they are my own. All I can think about is them not growing up and experiencing their milestones with their mom by their side. Being down there, I immediately go in to stoic/take care of them mode while inside I’m struggling with the dark places your mind will take you.

It’s hard to comprehend that while all of this is happening, the real world continues to go on. While you feel at times you just want to hide, the rest of the world continues. One voice inside says stay in bed, the other voice inside says you need to get up, go to work, hit your workouts. I am a wife, a mother of amazing 4.5 year old twin boys, a Senior Level Manager at my company running 7 states with 7 employees, a friend, a sister to 2 older brothers, an aunt to 3 beautiful nieces and a handsome nephew …. OH and I am training for an Ironman.

How do I find the strength to do all of this while feeling the incredible emptiness, guilt and grief of losing my only sister. The person who was with me every step of the way in life. The person who allowed me to live with her while I was in college, rent free; the only one who visited me when I lived 3000 miles away from everything I knew after college in San Diego; the person who took me to my first concert and many others after that; the person who was my matron of honor; the person who threw me a wedding and baby shower…my only sister was a huge part of my life.

As I’ve been deep in my thoughts and memories the last several days, I have made a few realizations. This is where I link back to this support system I am so fortunate to have. Not only with this amazing IRLAG community, but with my entire network of incredible women (and men) whom I call friends. The last several years of her life, my sister struggled with her health, physical pain, anxiety and depression.

We all have our moments of ups and downs, sometimes the downs feel so low but we many of us have the outlet to raise ourselves up and move on…but for my sister the moving on part wasn’t easy.  

For me, I wasn’t the fastest runner in high school. I wasn’t the fastest swimmer at our community pool. I was middle of the pack always, maybe back of the pack. I struggled with my own depression in college, the feeling of not knowing my identity, who I wanted to be. I moved to San Diego after graduation to do just that…find myself. It was there I started to build this network I now count on; however, I feel it wasn’t until I moved back east and met my husband that I truly began to get a glimpse of who I was to become. He gave me a bike on my 30th birthday and I never looked back. The mediocre runner/swimmer from my childhood was now riding Century rides, sometimes 3 per year and raising money for various charities. I made connections with people who will be lifelong friends through endurance sports. Centuries led to bike racing led to Aqua Bikes led to Triathlons. All along the way more and more amazing people became an important part of my “family”. I had found a community of people who supported each other in ways I had never seen before. I felt connected to something.

And NOW, now I am so fortunate to be a part of the most amazing group of inspiring women! Lifting each other up, sharing our struggles not only racing but in life. Talking about balance and how to get through the day. This community and the sense of belonging and striving to be the best we can be…this is the most amazing thing I could ask for. This makes me a stronger mother and example to my children. To show my children and others that you can push yourself, achieve anything you put your mind to, that you can be the best you can be. All it takes is putting one foot in front of the other even when it feels impossible to do so.

I hope that I can be an example to my sister’s children as they move forward out of the darkness. That’s its ok to ask for help when you need it. That its ok to fail and pick yourself up again. My sister would have wanted this, she asked me not too long ago to take care of them if she was ever unable and I pledge to her that I will.

What I can ask of all of you … if you know someone struggling, tell them it’s ok, tell them you love them that you are there for them. Lift them up. Take them for a run, a swim, a bike, let them talk it out. Be that shoulder. So they too can come out of the darkness and see the light.

We have set up a donation link in my sister’s honor with an incredible charity The Boot Campaign. Not only does this charity donate more than $0.80 on the dollar directly back to those in the most need, but it was founded by 5 incredibly strong women. We feel this is an amazing way to honor my sister’s legacy and provide help to others like her.

https://donate.bootcampaign.org/campaign/in-loving-memory-of-karen-christen-mccoy/c180794

**The Boot Campaign, proudly serves the country by providing life-improving programs for veterans and military families nationwide to bridge the divide between military life and civilian life.

@iracelikeagirl #iracelikeagirl @redbull #givesyouwings @myproteinbiktes #myproteinbites @topoathletic #topoathletic @sciconbags @rideshimano #rideshimano @headsweats @refreshinQ #NeverQuit @zealiosskincare @playtri @vitalproteins #stayvital @commonrootsbrewery #commonrootsbwery #gearsandbeers

Courage, Confidence and Consistency

Courage, Consistency and Confidence … my mantras for 2018.

cour·age

noun

1.     the ability to do something that frightens one. the choice and willingness to confront pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation

synonyms:

bravery, courageousness, pluck, pluckiness, valor, fearlessness, intrepidity, nerve, daring, audacity, boldness, grit, true grit, hardihood, heroism, gallantry; 

con·fi·dence

noun

1.     the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.

synonyms:

trust, belief, faith, credence, conviction"

2018 brings with it the CHOICE and WILLINGNESS to confront 140.6 miles at Ironman Lake Placid. Not just about the event but confronting the 6 months of training ahead of me. Being confident I can do it. Being consistent in my training/effort to get me across the finish line. Choice and willingness…no one is holding me to this challenge, this is entirely personal; and, it scares the bejesus out of me!

I’ve been training for a few months now building strength that will get me through this incredible event. When you are in the thick of it you begin to realize that you aren’t just training your body but also training your mind to BELIEVE you can accomplish anything you put your mind/body to! I find this is the place that I get stuck at times, the connection between body and mind. The doubt that enters your brain when you enter in to the 2nd or attempting a 3rd hour on a trainer ride. The 2nd or 3rd workout of the day. The hours spent before the sun comes up and those after the sun is well set and the kids are in bed. In all of these moments of doubt, I remember, on July 22nd, I will hear the words “Colleen Schaible, you are an Ironman”.

I feel very conflicted at times. Who am I? Mom? Director of Sales? Friend? Wife? Athlete? Teammate? Can I truly be all of these? How do you balance it all and be everything to everyone…slightly impossible! For all of the moms out there, the MOM GUILT can sometimes be the biggest deterrent to getting an extra workout in, an extra hour here and there on the weekend. I trust that I'm setting a good example for my boys that hard work and perseverance pay off.  I just have to take it one day at time. Create the schedule, recreate it, and try to nail it all as best as you can knowing that you are giving it your all! And trust in the process, be patient with the progress and thank everyone who is supporting you immensely all along the way. I have to remember I'm blessed to be doing these things, blessed to have this amazing family and network of friends at my side.

One of the biggest additions to my circle of trust and support is my team, coach and mentor. Being a part of I Race Like a Girl has been incredible so far. Triathlon is such an individual pursuit. It’s a very competitive and somewhat intimidating sport, everyone sizing you up when you enter transition to set up your area, pre-checking the participant list and past times, looking at the body marking and fellow age groupers. Being a part of this team for me has shown that Triathlon is so much more than that. I am so in awe on this team that includes women from all walks of life, backgrounds, nationalities, ages, shapes and sizes. Women new to the sport and those who are multi event veterans. This entire community of kick ass women is there to learn from, to lean on for advice, to ask for sanity checks. Our community is incredibly supportive and uplifting! I can't wait until IRLAG takes over the world of triathlon this year! 

COURAGE, CONFIDENCE, CONSITENCY … Ironman Lake Placid I’m coming for you!

Race Report:

January 1st – Winner’s Circle Running Club Hangover Classic 10k

What an incredibly FREEZING race! It was 11 degrees with a windchill of -15! What a way to start the year off right!

Was one of the fastest 10ks I’ve run. 52:49! 9th place in my division – still can’t believe how fast these 40+ year old women are!!

January 20th – Latitude Sports Indoor Triathlon to Benefit Hurricane Relief

So super fun, did the race with several of my friends, some of whom have never been on a spin bike or swam a competitive lap.

Design of the event was to swim as many laps as possible in 15 minutes, bike as many miles on the spin bike as possible in 25 minutes and run as many laps on the indoor track as possible in 20 minutes.

I pushed myself which was a great feeling after so much base building over last few months.

I placed 4th out of 48 participants and won 1st in the 40-49 age group.

Traditions, travel, turkeys ... oh and TRAINING!

It's the most wonderful time of the year! In more ways than one you can figure out how much you can truly juggle!

The Big 4-0…the best is yet to come!

This past few weeks have been quite the emotional roller coaster for many reasons...really for one reason, hitting the big 4-0! I always have celebrated birthdays as a chance to turn the page, reflect on the last year, think on things I would change, do better, do different. This year was especially important as I enter in to a new decade, the one I will say is going to be the best yet! 40 is the new 30 after all.

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