Week Four of Ironman Training: Progress

It’s hard to believe we’re already into Week Four of Ironman Training! After having a lighter “recovery week” last week, we’re ramping up the volume again this week, and I’m buckling up, both mentally and physically, for more challenging distances and additional strength work. Every time I complete a workout though, it adds another drop of confidence into my Iron bucket. With the help of Coach Mike and the support of my friends and family, I will get to Arizona one day, one workout at a time. #ithinkican.

Here’s what this week’s schedule looks like:

Monday: Rest day, core & stretching pm

RestDay
Tuesday: Run 50 minutes followed by Kate’s strength & stretching class, core & stretching pm
Wednesday: Swim 2200y (1.25 miles) followed by bike for 2 hours, core & stretching pm
Thursday: Run 30 minutes followed by Kate’s strength & stretching class (or yoga), core & stretching pm
Friday: Swim 2400y, core & stretching pm
Saturday: Run 70 minutes, core & stretching pm
Sunday: Bike 3 hours followed by a 20 minute run, core & stretching pm

Gratitude: I feel incredibly lucky to live in Santa Barbara where we’re able train year around. While our badass friends on the East Coast and other parts of the US are digging out and/or suffering through endless workouts on “dreadmills” and indoor trainers, we’re flitting around in shorts and tank tops, cranking out miles without having to give it too much thought. Believe me, I don’t take that for granted. I count my blessings every day…especially when I’m greeted with a morning like today.

SB_Weather

My morning run along Shoreline Park

Highlights: Last Friday I had the pleasure of hearing six-time Ironman World Champion, Mark Allen, speak to our Santa Barbara community, which was both inspiring and enlightening. It was interesting to listen to his philosophy, relive the epic 1990s showdowns between Mark Allen and Dave Scott, and see what goes into being an Ironman Champion. The timing of this presentation was perfect for this Iron hopeful, especially while being surrounded by the incredibly positive energy of our Santa Barbara running community.

Breakthroughs: During last Sunday’s medium’ish-long 2-hour bike ride, I think maybe a tiny bit of “Iron” mentality started to kick in. I felt strong on a hilly course, and was super happy when I was blasted by headwinds both ways so I could practice riding in the wind. Sick, I know. The 3+ mile run afterward felt effortless too, which was a good confidence booster while I get my running legs back.

Challenges: Balancing training and “life” while getting enough sleep. Time seems to evaporate so I’m focusing on getting more efficient with dumb stuff like having gear organized, routes mapped out, and fuel and post-workout snacks ready so I have more time for everyday stuff like making lunches, doing laundry, getting work done and spending time with my family. I can already tell this is going to be important as we start adding more and more training hours into the program. Sleep is still marginal, but fortunately, I’m quickly learning the art of the nap.

Favorite Gear this Week: My Zensah compression calf sleeves. I wear them often, especially during a long ride and after a run. Aaaah.

ZensahCalfSleeves

Zensah Compression Calf Sleeves

Fun Tidbit: On Saturday mornings I help coach our SB Running/Kids Corner Coyotes youth running team with Nash Jimenez and Monica DeVreese. Last Saturday we had the privilege of participating in a fun event at Westmont College, put on by the Santa Barbara Track Club. Super star decathlete, Tom FitzSimons, broke the Guinness World Record for the most high-fives in 60 seconds as he blazed around the track, high-fiving 385 people, smashing the old record of 240. It was a fun to see so much community support.

TomFitzSimons

One For the Road: By now, I’m sure most of you have heard about Ludivine, the 2 1/2 year old bloodhound who came in 7th Place during an Alabama half marathon, but if not, it’s worth a peek. It will make you smile. Here’s a link to Runner’s World.

Ludivine

Finally…exciting news…we’re 23% of the way to reaching our goal of funding 20 kiddos to have life-changing cleft palate/lip surgery from Smile Train. Thank you Seana for your recent contribution, and to many others of you who have verbally pledged your support! I can hardly wait to announce when we fund our next kiddo (we’re only $125 away right now). If you’d like to help support me as I raise funds for this awesome organization during my Ironman adventure, please click HERE to donate.

Once again, thanks for coming along on this journey with me. I hope you know how much I appreciate you!

If you missed any of my previous posts about how this big adventure started, you can click on the links below:

Kicking off My Journey to Ironman Arizona
Week One of Ironman Training: Believe
Week Two of Ironman Training: The Power of Friends
Week Three of Ironman Training: I Think I Can

xo
Becky

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Week Three of Ironman Training: I think I can

It’s my third week of Ironman training, and for some reason I’m dragging, even though it’s a moderate week. I’m chalking it up to sleep deprivation and less-than-stellar nutrition, and I’m determined to turn those things around and get my energy back up where it needs to be. #ithinkican

Cake

My sweet girl made me this cake! It took her 5 hours. Talk about perseverance!

Champagne

(Lots of) Tiny bubbles

Now that my never-ending birthday is over and I’m no longer sweating champagne and sugar, I’m re-focusing on power foods like spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, avocados, and almonds, and adding protein “recovery” powder into my green smoothies. Time to resist all that “sweet” love that was showered upon me and get back on track. #iknowican

And then I’ll be mastering the art of the nap. Does one ever get over feeling like a total slacker when napping in the middle of the day? It’s so not my style to take a load off, but I think I may just have to start embracing it. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. #yeahbabyican

Here’s what this week’s schedule looks like:

Monday: rest, core & stretching pm
Tuesday: Run 40 minutes, Kate’s strength class, core & stretching pm
Wednesday: Swim 1600 y, 2 hours indoor cycling (spin class), core & stretching pm
Thursday: Run 30 minutes, strength, core & stretching pm
Friday: Swim 1700 y, core & stretching pm
Saturday: Run 60 minutes, core & stretching pm
Sunday: Bike 2 hours with hills, then run 30 minutes, core & stretching pm

My favorite piece of equipment right now: My big blue foam roller. I think I need to name it (besides #%!#) as we’ve become BFFs–especially after Killer Kate’s leg workouts.

FoamRoller

My other favorite piece of equipment: My AudioFlood waterproof iPod. Adding music to my swim workouts has added more joy than I could have possibly imagined. Listening to David Bowie’s hypnotic Under Pressure got me through a tough morning in the pool yesterday. It’s the little things.

Ipod

Gratitude: My peeps are so freaking awesome (sorry, don’t mean to brag, but I can’t help it). Endurance athletes know that training can often feel selfish as it affects the entire family, upending schedules, putting a heavier workload on loved ones, but my husband and daughter have been nothing but supportive. Jeffrey is always cooking good stuff for me like oatmeal with fresh fruit and almonds or killer homemade chicken soup on a cold, rainy day. He’s also being uber supportive when I need to be gone for hours and he’s left to manage our constantly in motion household. And my daughter is my biggest cheerleader, even when it means sometimes she has to make her own lunch in the morning or I can barely keep my eyes open when I read to her at night (yes, I still do that!).

Peeps

I love these two rock stars to the moon and back.

Highlights: Having a great 3-hour ride last Sunday in the cool misty morning, getting comfortable with my aerobars, enjoying the journey, knowing it’s really only getting started. Also feeling strong during this week’s Tuesday morning run after having a day of rest. Recovery days are the bomb.

Challenges: Swimming. Don’t get me wrong, I can swim, but I’ve never been super fast and it has never been easy or terribly enjoyable for me. In fact, I often chuckle when people gush on about how relaxing it is, and think, “What are they on?” BUT, with the help of Coach Whitney, the knowledge I’m gaining from watching tons of YouTube videos and the book I’m reading, Total Immersion, I’m slowly making progress. I’ve discovered that I’ve been swimming the hard way my whole life–trying to use mostly my arms to get me where I’m going, when in fact our power comes from our core, especially our hips and glutes. No wonder my shoulders often ache! I have many, many more hours ahead of me in the pool, but hopefully come November, I’ll be swimming like a fish and enjoying it!

My favorite quote: “Progress is the audacity to think big and the discipline to start small.”

Resources to share with you:

Books I’m reading: Triathlete’s Bible, Total Immersion, Nutrition for Endurance Athletes.

Books

YouTube videos I’m watching (too many to list, but here are a few): GoSwim, Speedo technique, iSport.

Facebook group I’m thoroughly enjoying and probably spending way too much time enjoying: Women Who Tri (Thank you Jenni Miller for this recommendation!!).

Looking forward to:  Hearing legendary, six-time Ironman World Champion, Mark Allen, speak tomorrow night at the New Vic in Santa Barbara. If you’re in town, join the fun… Here’s the link for tix and more info: MARK ALLEN.

Mark Allen

Thanks for coming along on this journey with me. Your support and enthusiasm are like the chocolate chips in my cookie (wait, I mean the protein powder in my healthy smoothie). So awesome and very much appreciated!

If you missed any of my previous posts about how this big adventure started, you can click on the links below:

Kicking off My Journey to Ironman Arizona
Week One of Ironman Training: Believe
Week Two of Ironman Training: The Power of Friends

Finally…exciting news…we’re 23% of the way to reaching our goal of funding 20 kiddos to have life-changing cleft palate/lip surgery from Smile Train. Thank you Christina and Krista for your recent contributions! If you’d like to help support me as I raise funds for this awesome organization during my Ironman adventure, please click HERE to donate.

Week Two of Ironman Training: The Power of Friends

IMAZLogoIt’s full speed ahead into my second “official” week of Ironman training and it has brought nothing but joy. Who knew acquiring so many tired muscles could be this much fun? I just keep taking it one day, one workout at a time. That’s how I’m going to get to the starting line of Ironman Arizona in November. #ithinkican #ithinkican #ithinkican

Here’s what this week’s schedule looks like:

Monday: Rest (aaaaah), core and stretching pm

Tuesday: Run 35 minutes, (Killer)Kate’s strength & stretch class, more core and stretching pm

Wednesday: Swim 1900 y followed by 2 back-to-back spinning classes, core and stretching pm

Thursday: Run 40 minutes, core and stretching pm

Friday: Swim 1600 y, core and stretching pm

Saturday: Run 60 minutes, upper body strength, core and stretching pm

Sunday: Bike 3 hours, core and stretching pm

Celebrating: Last week I celebrated turning the Big 5-0 by riding 50 miles in spinning class then having more fitness fun with friends the following day, on my actual birthday. “Keep Calm and BRING IT ON!” is what I say, and yes, every girl should run with a tiara on her birthday.

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Whitney-Bruice

Photo credit: Randy Weiss Presidio Sports

Gratitude: I already have so many people I’m grateful for on this Ironman Journey. There isn’t a day that goes by that somebody doesn’t do or say something nice. My friend and Moms in Motion tri coach, Whitney Bruice, took time out of her busy morning last week to come help me try to improve my swim stroke. Coach Whitney is a phenomenal swimmer and triathlete (not to mention a mother of two and a busy working professional), so it was exciting to hear she thought my stroke looked fairly solid, with the exception of a slight cross-over on my left side. I have A LOT more time ahead of me in the pool working on technique and building up my speed, strength and endurance, but it was reassuring to know that at least I’m headed in the right direction. Thank you Whitney!

JenniMillerThe other person who has been exceptionally helpful this week is my friend Jenni Miller, who is also a busy mother of two, an attorney, activist/philanthropist (Strides for SMS) and an outstanding athlete. She completed her first Ironman last summer (and CRUSHED IT by the way–top 10% in her age group), and she has been giving me great advice and tons of encouragement. It’s often the smallest details that make the biggest difference–from goggle selections to fueling to fav bike shorts. Her generosity and enthusiasm have added a huge dollop of happy in my happiness jar. Jenni is currently training for Ironman Lake Placid, which will take place in July, and is sure to rip that up too! Go girl!

I’m also grateful for all the people who have contributed to my Smile Train fundraising! With the support of Ana, Hensley, Jessica, Namita, Tim and Jo, the Clyne girls, the Rybniceck Family and the Whelan Family, we have already raised $1,075! That means four kids are already going to get life-changing cleft palate/lip surgery. My goal is 20 kids. Each surgery costs as little as $250 and only takes 45 minutes, but has enormous implications for improving the life of a child and his or her family. If you want to be part of making a big difference in somebody’s life, you can click HERE to donate.

Spinning forward: Yesterday I got aero bars and a bike fit from Bruce Davis at Hazard’s Cyclesport using the Guru Fit System. What I like most about Hazard’s is that you don’t have to be a gearhead to be treated like an awesome athlete (even if you’re a work-in-progress like me). Bruce had me up and running in no time and explained all the details along the way about geometry, balance and power. I’m excited to get out on the road and gobble up some miles. Bruce told me not to smile for this picture, which was hard, so I look like I swallowed a bird. I guess that just means I’m ready to fly, baby!

aerobars

Challenges: Sleep. I know how important sleep is for recovery, but damn if it isn’t elusive for this chiquita. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. I’m trying to force myself to take naps, but it’s never easy.

Breakthroughs: Learning to change a flat and patch a tube with confidence. I haven’t had a flat in 20 years (I know, crazy, huh?), so I haven’t had any practice doing it. Last Sunday, right before I was about to join some friends for a long ride, I was putting air in my tire and the top of the stem valve broke off. Batta boom, that’s all she wrote. Fortunately, it happened in my garage so I didn’t have to bumble through it on the side of the road on a cold, rainy day or be the ridiculous damsel in distress who called for a pick-up. YouTube videos are the bomb, I tell you.

What I’ve learned: Always check your gear the night before so you don’t have any obstacles the morning of training. It’s hard enough to get out the door sometimes without gear problems, so make sure you’re ready to go. Because of my flat tire, I missed riding with a group of friends, which would have been fun. I also learned to keep experimenting with eating while training as it’s a little bit of an art and a science figuring out how much food your stomach can tolerate. On my last 3 hour bike ride I was running low on energy, but I overdid it a little on Wednesday’s swim/double-spin workout so the banana I ate sat like a rock in my stomach. Fortunately, I have ample opportunities to keep experimenting. I will get there.

Looking forward to: Getting a new triathlon watch. I’m leaning toward getting a Suunto Ambit 3, but I’m also considering a Garmin 920xt. Any thoughts?

 

You can help make a child smile by donating to my Team Empower Smile Train fundraising page HERE.

Week One of Ironman Training: Believe

IMAZLogoIronman training is officially underway! I say “officially” because I’ve been quietly plugging away at building up my base since early November (inspired by the Oiselle Chase the Bird Challenge), but now I have a coach and a focused training schedule, so it suddenly feels real.

Originally I had planned to do this completely under the radar–not telling anybody about it, and just doing my thing, but then I joined Team Empower to raise funds for Smile Train, an awesome organization that gives free surgeries to kiddos with cleft lip/palate. As you can imagine, you can’t really fundraise without telling people about it, so I took a leap of faith, shared my big adventure with all of you and others (click HERE if you missed it), and believed it was going to be all right.

And guess what? The support has been overwhelming!

I have goosebumps just thinking about it. So much enthusiasm, so many kind words of support, advice, donations, high-fives, hugs (virtual and in person). It’s incredible. It seems everybody believes I can do this.

I too, believe I can do this, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that every once in awhile a tiny doubt or “what if” visits from a dark corner of my mind, spurred mainly from creaky parts of my body or memories of previous injuries. Each day I train though, I believe more and more that I can, and WILL do this.

BelieveI bought this BELIEVE training journal more than a year ago, but for some reason I felt like I needed to save it for something special. I can’t quite explain it, but last year it didn’t feel like the right time to use it. As it turned out, it ended up being one of the crappiest years of running I can remember (injuries–won’t bore you). After many months of storing it in the bottom drawer of my nightstand, I brought it back out and set it on top. There, it sat for many more months, prodding me, almost daring me to BELIEVE in myself again as my hamstring slowly healed.

Well, guess what training journal I’ll be using during this Ironman journey? Yep, you got it. The time is finally right!

As many of you may already know, this journal was created by two phenomenal professional runners, Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas, and it’s not only well-designed, but creative and inspiring. I love it and would encourage any runner to buy one. I purchased mine at Santa Barbara Running.

As we ease into the long road ahead, this is what training looks like this week:

Monday: Swim 2000 y, core & stretching at night.
Tuesday: Run 35 minutes, Killer Kate’s pilates strength & stretch class at The Lab, and additional core & stretching at night.
Wednesday: Bike — two back-to-back spinning classes (unless the rain stops, in which case I’ll be on the road for 1 h 40 min), core & stretching at night.
Thursday: Run 35 minutes, Kate’s awesome pilates strength & stretch class, and additional core & stretching at night.
Friday: Swim 1900 y, core & stretching.
Saturday: Run 50-55 minutes easy, core & stretching.
Sunday: Bike 2:30-2:45 hours, core & stretching. Continue reading

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step…Kicking off My Journey to Ironman Arizona

It is with a blaze of excitement that I share my next big adventure with you. It’s something I’ve been dreaming of doing since I was a teenager, and after more than three decades, I’ve finally decided to go for it…my first IRONMAN TRIATHLON!

For those of you who may only be vaguely familiar with IRONMAN, it’s considered one of the more challenging multi-sport endurance events in the world, comprising a total of 140.6 miles:  2.4 mile swim, 112 bike ride, and 26.2 mile run. Competitors must finish the race in under 17 hours. The event I’m participating in will take place in Tempe, AZ on November 20, 2016.

One of many long rides I'll be enjoying during the year ahead as I train for my first Ironman.

One of many long rides I’ll be enjoying during the year ahead as I train for Ironman Arizona.

To be quite honest, I’m still pinching myself that I finally hit the registration button after thinking about doing this for 34 years (when I first watched Julie Moss crawl across the finish line on Wide World of Sports in 1982), and I’m slightly terrified that I’ll fail , but I’m far more excited about the epic journey ahead! Woot! Woot! This is a whopper of a birthday present to myself on the 21st anniversary of my 29th year…a gift of time and resources to chase after my dream.

My mantra is one day and one workout at at time. Train smart. Have fun. Enjoy the journey.

On another note, most of you know philanthropy is an important part of my life–on my very “regular person, non-Rockefeller or Bill Gates” level. Like you, I try to do what I can, when I can, and hope it makes a small difference in the world. While I normally raise funds for cancer research, for this race I’ve branched out and joined TEAM EMPOWER, which is affiliated with the race, raising funds for a very inspiring organization called SMILE TRAIN.

Smile Train is an international children’s charity providing free surgery for children suffering from cleft lip and cleft palate. Children born with cleft cannot eat or speak properly, aren’t allowed to attend school or hold a job and face very difficult lives of shame and isolation, pain and heartache. Some children are even abandoned or killed—all because of the way they look. Their clefts usually go untreated because they can’t afford the simple repair surgery that takes as little as 45 minutes and costs as little as $250 dollars.

My goal is to raise $5,000 during IM AZ, which will change the lives of 20 kiddos. This completely tangible goal makes me smile just thinking about it!

I would be honored and grateful if you would consider contributing to my Smile Train fund as I take on one of the toughest athletic challenges of my life. And because I love celebrating your support and generosity…

The first 15 people to contribute $250 will be entered into a raffle for a $100 Amazon gift card. That’s a 1 in 15 chance, and the best part is that you will personally be changing the life of one child and his or her entire family! How cool is that?!?

The first 15 people to contribute $100 will be entered into a raffle for a $25 Amazon gift card. And of course, any amount you are able to donate is appreciated–even if it’s equivalent to a cup of coffee. It all adds up!

HERE IS THE LINK TO MY SMILE TRAIN FUNDRAISING PAGE: http://support.smiletrain.org/goto/beckyaaronson. All donations are 100% tax deductible.

Thanks for considering, and thanks for being part of this epic year ahead!! Your good thoughts will make all the difference in getting me to the starting line!!!

Let the adventure begin!

xo Becky

Do Yourself a Favor: Get Yourself to Palm Springs for a Race

I spend a lot of time in Palm Springs because my in-laws live there. It took me a little while to discover the joys of running and racing in this iconic desert town, but fortunately, every time I go, I discover another gem.

PSRedCarpet5KSMOne race I can’t say enough good things about is the International Film Festival RED CARPET RUN 5K and 10k. If you happen to be in Palm Springs next Saturday, January 9th, I highly recommend participating in this race. It is a blast from start to finish. The details are phenomenal. To begin with, every runner receives a tiara and tutu or a tuxedo shirt to wear during the race, and every finisher receives an Oscar and a boatload of bling and treats. No matter what your pace, you’ll love this event.

You can read my recap from last year’s race by clicking HERE if you want to get a better feel for this event. I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun during a race.

MollyThorpe

Race Director Molly Thorpe knows how to put on super fun races for runners of all abilities.

Race Director, Molly Thorpe, puts on events like no other. Her enthusiasm, attention to detail, and generous spirit all come together to create memorable races with heart and spunk.

I’m sad I won’t be in Palm Springs this year for the Red Carpet Run, but I feel lucky that I was able to participate in the Wild Turkey Trot 5K over Thanksgiving. What a hoot! Here are a few pictures. And yes, I’m sporting a ridiculous turkey hat like all the other participants who received one in their race bags. Such fun!

WildTurkey5KGobbleSignRunforPumplinPie

WildTurkeyStartTurkeyWildTurkey5KFinish

Molly Thorpe has been extremely kind and has offered all my blog followers a discount for any upcoming race put on by the Palm Springs Marathon Runners. Just go to www.runpalmsprings.com to register. Use the code COACHBECKY and receive $5 off. How cool is that? Here’s a short list of their next few races:

Red Carpet Run-January 9 (DON’T MISS THIS ONE!!!)
Shamrock Run-March 5
Super Heroes 5K-March 12
Run for Ike-April 2

PalmSpringsTramIf you like an extra challenge, while you’re in Palm Springs be sure to hoof it up the tram road while you’re there like I did yesterday when I was visiting.

I think I can…I think I can… I think I can…

Happy New Year everybody! Here’s to an exciting year ahead filled with fun adventures and many exciting races!

xo Becky