I recently read somewhere that when training for an Ironman, “Intervals are icing on the cake.” This really hit home as I’ve been missing doing track workouts with Coach Nash and my friends on the B Team. They’re so fit and fast, strong and HILARIOUS.
Coach Nash recently took 2nd Place in the USA Cross-Country Championships in Bend, OR and also coached a women’s masters team (Cindy, Desa and Lynelle) to a 1st Place finish. Jen just won 1st Place overall female in the Super Bowl 4-miler here in Santa Barbara and Ashlee won her age group. Then there’s Vanessa who just completed Ironman Panama 70.3. That’s some serious awesomeness floating around this group! I’m so proud of each of them!
Before I pulled a hamstring about ten months ago, I used to love (and dread) the crazy sufferfests Coach Nash orchestrated with these speedy chiquitas on Thursday mornings. This crew always made me laugh, and they always made me a better runner. Since then, I’ve only popped in and out of practices with them a handful of times, thinking it would be fine, but leaving feeling down and frustrated after running like a turtle and realizing I still had a long way to go to get back to 100%. Nope, still not ready for intervals. Damn.
As I train for Arizona though, it helps to remind myself that before I can put icing on a cake, I first have to have a cake. That’s what I’m working on right now: baking a big, beautiful cake, focusing on all the important ingredients like strength, endurance, flexibility, stamina, balance, core power, technique, overall fitness, and most of all PATIENCE. Then hopefully I’ll be icing that fabulous, multi-layer cake in the summer with some heart-pumping intervals with the B Team.
In the meantime, here’s what Week Six of Ironman training looks like:
Monday: Swim 1000 y, core & stretching pm
Tuesday: Run 60 minutes, Kate’s strength & stretching class, swim 1400y, core & stretching pm
Wednesday: Swim 2200 y, then 1-hour indoor cycling spin class, core & stretching pm
Thursday: Bike 3.5 hours (probably about 50 miles), then a 20 minute run, core & stretching pm
Friday: Swim 2100 y, core & stretching pm
Saturday: Run 90 minutes, core & stretching pm
Sunday: Rest, core & stretching pm
Favorite Gear this Week: My new Garmin 920xt with a heart rate monitor has been a game-changer for me. Not only am I no longer guessing what heart rate and training zone I’m working in, I’m able to break down the data so I can see what I need to work on (clearly speed on the bike!!)…Also, being able to track my splits in the pool and see my cadence and heart rate on my run is helpful and motivating. This watch also has an activity tracker similar to a FitBit. I was feeling dog tired last night as I tucked my daughter into bed. When I saw that I had gone 21,400 steps yesterday, somehow it validated my fatigue. It’s ridiculous, I know, but sometimes it’s the dumbest stuff that keeps you going!
My other favorite gear this week is my new kicks. I love this pair of Nike Air Zoom Pegasus. They’re super cushy neutral shoes, which are just right for my high arches and narrow feet. Zoom Zoom Zoom! Thank you Santa Barbara Running once again! Happy Soles = Happy Soul. #shoplocal
FYI: If anybody ever tells you that being a triathlete is not that expensive, don’t believe them. Obviously, they drank the Kool-Aid.
Friends have been asking: “How’s your training going?” First of all, that’s so nice you care! Thank you. My first response is usually, “It’s going well. I’m having fun and enjoying the process.” When pressed for more details, I explain that I’m simply taking one day and workout at time and somehow that approach is making the volume do-able. Suddenly I’m swimming over a mile each session, my short run is now more than 6 miles and my long run will be a little over 9, and I’m already up to riding about 50 miles with a run afterward. Anybody who has run a marathon or half marathon will know exactly what I mean when I say it’s like when you reach double-digits for the first time. You never thought you could run 10 miles, then suddenly you are, and then it becomes normal, and then you never look back. I feel like I’m still just getting started, but it’s already feeling normal and I’m not looking back.
Gratitude: The other day I was swimming at the Y, trying to work on my stroke technique, and out of the blue, an older woman in the lane next to me started peppering me with advice. “Your head is down too far. You should relax your shoulders, and you shouldn’t lift your head up so much when you turn to breathe. Do it like this.” You might think I would have been put off by her unsolicited advice, but I was thrilled–even if she was a little salty. I have no idea who she was or why she felt compelled to stop her swim and share her knowledge, but it made me smile. Feeling her passion for the sport added an extra dollop of energy to my workout,
Breakthroughs: I’m FINALLY starting to make some progress on my swimming!! Maybe it’s because Salty gave me some good advice the other day or maybe it’s all the hours I’ve been putting in at the pool. Whatever the case, it’s suddenly feeling a little easier and more relaxed and natural. I’m also starting to get a teeny weeny bit faster in the process. Woot! Woot! There’s hope for me yet! LOL.
Challenges: Okay, so who else is having a hard time navigating this sweet time of year? The temptations are EVERYWHERE, especially in my household where my daughter has been in full baking mode. She loves creating sweet confections, and thankfully, she’s old enough to do it all on her own. I love her creativity and want to support her joy in the kitchen. My only problem is my sweet tooth. At least I haven’t caved on those wicked candy hearts yet. Just say no!
Inspiration: For the past several years I’ve watched a guy run past my kitchen window in the early morning on many, many occasions (or past me while I’ve been running or walking my dog). He has a pronounced limp, but you can tell he’s strong and fierce, and most strikingly, he’s unbelievably consistent and focused. His dedication has always inspired me. Yesterday on my morning run I saw him heading my way and I finally decided to stop and tell him how much he inspires me. He was a little taken aback by my compliment–especially when I asked if I could take his picture–but he chuckled and eventually agreed. Call me crazy, but don’t you agree that life is too short not to tell people if they inspire you–even if you feel a little goofy doing it?
So here’s a big shout out to Ross Adams who has been running for 40-50 years. I didn’t want to keep him from his run to ask him more, but I’m guessing he’s accumulated a lot of interesting stories during all those years or running, especially when you see the sparkle in his mischievous eyes. Keep on keepin’ on Ross! Your consistency is awe-inspiring.
A few pictures from Tuesday morning’s run:
These snappies illustrate one of the many reasons why running in the early morning is so special: there’s nothing like sunrise over the Rose Garden and the Mission bathed in early morning light. It’s remarkable how many people are out exercising at dawn too. I’ve also noticed that they are some of the happiest people you’ll ever meet. Me? I may still need my coffee to call myself a “chirpy” dawn runner, but once I’ve had my java, bring on the sunrise!
Smile Train Update: I’m thrilled to tell you that we’ve funded another child for life-changing cleft palate/lip surgery!!! Thank you Jen, Geoff & Mia Brown for your generous contribution to Smile Train. We are now 1/4 of the way to our goal of raising funds for 20 kiddos. If you’d like to be a rock star supporter and make a huge difference in a child’s life, please consider donating to my fundraising page. Here’s the link: BECKY’S SMILE TRAIN PAGE.
Also, if you missed any of my previous posts about how this big Ironman 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
Week Four of Ironman Training: Progress
Week Five of Ironman Training: Wind at my Back (and Front) and Peeps by My Side
Thanks for all your support! Happy Valentine’s & President’s Weekend to you all. I hope it’s spectacular. I’ll be sharing my love of running on Valentine’s Day with this awesome crew as they race the Winter Warm-up 5K & 1-miler. Go Coyotes!