Week 15 and 16 of Ironman Training: Staying Healthy (and Happy)

I’m often asked how my training is going, which is incredibly sweet. I’m humbled that so many of you are interested! Overall, I feel like it’s going well. Actually, better than “well.” It’s going REALLY well. Here’s the thing…when you’re training so many hours a day/week/month, something is bound to hurt. There usually isn’t a day in which something isn’t creaky or cranky or just plain sore. And that’s okay. I’m asking a lot of my body and it’s allowed to complain when it’s pushed beyond what it has ever done.

What I’m trying to do though, is keep from letting those “cranky joints or muscles” turn into injuries. Some days it feels like it is coming close to crossing that line. That’s when I spend more time foam rolling, stretching, icing, and strengthening. If an ache gets a little too grumpy, I let Coach Mike know. Over the last week or so, my knee crossed that line so Mike scaled back my schedule. I didn’t do my usual “Epic Day” on Friday, but rather replaced it with an easy swim, a rest day and an easy bike ride the next.

This week is much the same, focusing more on the swim and bike, and testing the waters with the run on Saturday. Ironman Arizona is still seven months away so it’s important to stay healthy and happy and not get stressed about the ups and downs. Here’s this week’s schedule…

Monday: Swim 2900 y (1.65 miles), Bike 1 hour
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Bike 90 minutes
Thursday: Killer Kate’s strength & stretch class, Swim 1800 y
Friday: Swim 1000y, Bike 2.5 hours
Saturday: Run 45 minutes
Sunday: Rest

This was last week’s modified schedule:
Monday: I was supposed to rest, but missed Mikes’ message and did a 2550y swim anyway (oops)
Tuesday: Run 60 minute tempo, Swim 2100y
Wednesday: Bike 90 minutes (with 20 minutes of climbing up Gibraltar)
Thursday: Killer Kate’s strength & stretch class, Swim 1600y
Friday: Rest day (busy celebrating my hubby’s birthday)
Saturday: Swim 1000y, Bike 4 hours, Run 30 min   Swim 1500Y
Sunday: Run 1 hr. 45 min    Bike 60 minutes

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Last Thursday I had the pleasure of going to our monthly SB Tri Club meeting, where Coach Mike was our guest speaker. As many of you know, Mike is a PT extraordinaire and owner of Elite Performance & Rehab, where he works with many top athletes. He talked about injury prevention and answered people’s questions about their aches. The thing that hit home most is when he said one-half to three-quarters of all injuries occur because of weakness in the core/trunk (hips/glutes/back/abs). It was the perfect reminder for me to re-double my efforts and focus on my core. How about you? Is your core as strong as it could be?

Doing the work…

Working on my core will help my swimming too, and man oh man, swimming….sigh…it’s still such a work in progress. My husband was really sweet and videotaped my swim last Saturday. Talk about eye-opening! I still have A LOT to work on, but I’ll get there (or at least closer to “there” than I am now). Now I just have to figure out how to keep improving my stroke. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

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One thing that has given me solace is this pace chart I found. My greatest fear has always been making the 2 hours and 20 minute cut-off time for IMAZ. When I see this chart though, I realize that even if I swim significantly slower than I normally do, I will make it, especially if I keep working my ass off.

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I didn’t take a lot of pictures over the last week or so, but here’s one as I was heading out for another ride…love our blue skies!

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Favorite new gear: I am loving my new rabbit running duds, which arrived last week!! rabbit was recently launched by two of my running friends, Monica DeVreese and Jill Deering. Aren’t these fierce, fit women adorable?

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I’m proud to say that I’m part of the Founder’s Club of this awesome running apparel company (along with lots of other rad runners). If you like super comfy, non-fussy running clothes, I think you’ll like what they’ve designed. What’s especially great is that it’s all made right here in the USA. Here’s a peek at the women’s line.

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I opted for the bunny hop tank in snorkel blue and cherry tomato and the hopper shorts in black. I’m picky about my running shorts, and in fact have a hard time finding ones that don’t drive me nuts. When you have a small(er) waist and bigger caboose and quads, it makes it challenging to find shorts that fit. Jill and Monica did a great job of getting the Hopper shorts just right.

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In case you want to check it out yourself, here’s the website. http://www.runinrabbit.com. They also have a men’s line.

Skratch Labs energy chews. The other thing I’m glad I discovered is Skratch Labs’ chews, which are great on a long ride (thanks Kate for the recommendation!). What I like about these is that they’re tasty and natural and they don’t have a waxy, sticky feel to them. They’re more like gum drops in texture. Did I mention the yum factor?

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Smile Train Update: I’m over the moon…we have funded our 18th child for cleft surgery!! Thank you Janet Cook, Mark & LeAnn Green and Artaz Heating-Plumbing for your generous donations this week! We only have 2 more kiddos to go until we reach goal of changing the lives of 20 children. If you’d like to make a donation, please click on this link to contribute: http://support.smiletrain.org/site/TR/AthleticsEvent/General?px=3630403&pg=personal&fr_id=1701. As you know, no amount is too small. And remember anybody who donates $250 will entered into a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card, and those who donate $100-$249 will entered to win a $25 gift card.

Smile Train Ironman Arizona

I hope you’re all getting out and making your day great! I’m continually inspired by all the creative, healthy and philanthropic things I know you are up to. And OMG….HUGE CONGRATS to my friend Jenni Miller who ROCKED the Boston Marathon yesterday, finishing in 3:28 (an 18 minute course PR). Talk about BostonStrong and IronStrong! Yay, Jenni! I’m so proud of you!

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xo Becky

As always, if you missed any of my previous posts, 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
Week Six of Ironman Training: Baking a Cake
Week Seven of Ironman Training: Courage
Week Eight of Ironman Training: It’s All About the Base
OMG, You did WHAT?! (AKA Sleep Deprivation + Training = Embarrassing Moments)
Week Nine of Ironman Training: Growing Pains
Week Ten of Ironman Training: Trust
Week Eleven: Speedbumps and Breakthroughs
Week Twelve: A Bundle of Sticks Can’t Be Broken
Week Thirteen: Spring!

Week Fourteen: Rollercoaster

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Week Fourteen of Ironman Training: Rollercoaster

This week has whizzed by so quickly and has been such a rollercoaster, my head still feels like it’s spun around backward. Today is my rest day though, so I finally have a chance to slow down and chill. When weeks spill over with activities, commitments and appointments, it reminds me that often the hardest part of Ironman training is simply chiseling out the time to do the workouts, then of course finding the energy to complete them.

This week, after regrouping from spring break, I was up until the wee hours several nights working on taxes and getting our beloved Roosevelt Running Club organized for its kickoff. Needless to say, when my alarm went off early Monday morning, I felt like I needed a caffeine IV drip to drag myself to the pool. Settling for a mongo cup of coffee, I piled into my car and gave myself a pep talk the whole way (“Don’t think, just go. Don’t think, just go. You got this.”)…only to arrive to this…

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Argh. Clearly, it was time to dig even deeper. Fortunately, when I posted this on Facebook several friends immediately offered back-up solutions. It was like there was no way they were going to let me fail at training. Thank you friends! Especially Greg, who offered a guest pass to the tennis club near our house. He even swam laps in the lane next to me. So, so nice.

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My beautiful “back-up” swim location at the Tennis Club.

This workout reinforced mightily though, that sleep deprivation has no place in Ironman training. Every lap felt ten times harder than normal, and with my fuzzy brain, I kept hitting the wrong buttons on my Garmin. I also realized I mixed up my swim workouts so I did Wednesday’s instead of Monday’s. Not the best way to start the week, especially since my ride afterward wasn’t much better. But I got it done, and that’s all that matters.

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

Monday: Swim 1800y, Bike 90 min.
Tuesday: Run 60 min., Bike 75 min including 20 minutes of hill climbing
Wednesday: Swim 2300y
Thursday: Killer Kate’s strength & stretch class, Bike 60 min.
Friday: Swim 1000y, Bike 4 hours, Run 20 min. off the bike
Saturday: Run 90 min with 2 x 10 min pick-ups
Sunday: Rest

Tuesday’s run and ride weren’t much better than Monday’s after being up late again, but what made them better was bumping into several old neighbor friends along the way. On Jesusita trail I ran into Kathy who was hiking with a friend, and although we only talked for a minute, her sweet words of encouragement helped lift my feet a little higher.

Then in the evening after slogging through my ride, especially up Gibraltar, I rode down the street where we used to live and bumped into several old neighbors. Chatting with Ruth for a few minutes put everything into perspective. She never has anything but kind, encouraging words, and her strength and positive energy are palpable. Many of you who live in Santa Barbara may have heard the recent devastating news of the murder of Dr. Henry Han, his wife and 5-year old daughter. Well, Dr. Han was the lovely human being who was helping Ruth kick liver cancer’s ass. Now she’s not only grieving with so many others, but starting all over again with her treatments. My “tough training problems?” Clearly laughable. Ruth is an Ironwoman every day whose fortitude is no match for cancer or any other challenge.

After chatting with Ruth the evening before, my rollercoaster of a week started on the upswing. Continue reading

Week Thirteen of Ironman Training: Spring!

This week Ironman training has been all over the map. With spring break, taxes and a whole lot of “this and that,” I’ve been squeezing in my workouts whenever and however I can. That’s life, right? Since I’m still in the throes of it all, this post is a bit of this and that, and it’s much later than usual.

First of all, I thought I’d share a view of the last twelve weeks. I don’t know about you, but I’m a visual person so I like to tape my workouts to the wall behind my door to remind myself of what I’m doing and what I’ve accomplished. It helps remind me of the work I’ve already put in so when I need an extra boost of “Oh yes you can, girlfriend,” all I have to do is look at it. Week 13 and 14 (next week) will be going up soon. In the end, there will 42 weeks taped to my wall. I’m already more than 1/4 of the way to Tempe and still loving it and feeling stronger with each training day.

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Spring is in full splendor here in Santa Barbara. These are a few snaps from my long ride last week. I wanted to stop a million times to take pictures, but reminded myself that I needed to focus more on training than on photographing. 🙂 Everything is screaming with color these days, and that just makes me smile.

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We spent several days in Palm Springs over spring break visiting my husband’s parents so I had the joy of running in the warm, dry, desert air, which was nice since my race will take place in Arizona. I got in some good wind training too (my least favorite element to navigate), which is also good since I’ve heard the course is often windy.

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The biggest challenge was trying to swim laps in this pool. If there’s a will, there’s a way!

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The other challenge was trying to eat healthy on this trip. Don’t you find that everybody likes to show their love with decadent food? I was feeling soooo loved on this visit. 🙂 The good news is that my husband always manages to ply us with fruit and salads to balance out the wine, cheese, latte freezes, etc. etc. etc.

When we got back, I tried to settle back into a more normal routine. Here’s what this week’s training schedule looks like. It’s still on the light side as we’re trying to get a grumpy rib in my back to settle down.

Monday: Run 50 minutes
Tuesday: Swim 2000y, Bike 90 minutes
Wednesday: Swim 1000y
Thursday: Killer Kate’s strength class, Bike 90 minutes (2 spin classes)
Friday: Swim 1000y, Bike 3-3.5 hours, Run 20 minutes off the bike
Saturday: Run 90 minutes
Sunday: Rest

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I snapped this after Thursday’s spin classes. Kristine has been my favorite instructor for a long time. She’s the perfect blend of sweet, funny, and fierce. Don’t be fooled by her chirpy smile. She is one mean mamacita!

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This week I finally got in to see my chiropractor to adjust the damn rib in my back, which has been torturing me for too long. Yay! Thank you Serena! I can now breathe deeply again as I run.

Friday’s swim-bike-run “Epic Day” as we call it around our house, involves a whole lot of planning and organizing, especially if I base my workout from somewhere besides my house. This is what it looked like as I was heading out yesterday…stuff, stuff and more stuff…

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After swimming 1000y at the outdoor pool at the Montecito Y, I jumped on my bike and headed toward Ventura. It was a gorgeous day! I stopped to take this cheeeezball picture after riding along the Rincon, before continuing down Highway 1 toward Solimar Beach.

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I’m loving my new torpedo water bottle. I find it much easier than reaching down to grab a bottle then trying to put it back in the cage while keeping my eyes on the road. I’m still trying to figure out whether to cut the straw short on it or rubberband it down while I ride and flip it up when I need to drink. If any of you have thoughts about what has worked for you, I’d love to hear them.

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All was going swimmingly on my ride until about an hour and a half into it, I hit a pothole really hard; so hard I was worried I had bent a rim and/or readjusted the rib in my back again (not in a good way). After shaking it off and doing a quick assessment, I realized all appeared to be fine so I kept going. That is until about a mile down the road my back tire started wobbling. Crap.

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At least if you’re going to get a flat tire, it’s nice when it happens in a convenient place with a beautiful view. This was a good test for me as I’ve never changed a back tire and I know I need to be able to do this for myself if it happens during a race. It took me a while, but….cue the “Rocky” music…this Team Empower chiquita did it. Woot! It’s the little things.

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Back on the road I was feeling like a million bucks. That is until a few miles later, Continue reading