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…


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.


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. Wednesday morning’s swim still felt hard and slower than normal, but I got it done, then powered through the rest of the many details of getting our Roosevelt Running Club ready for its kick-off day. This is our 9th season of coaching this club and my husband and I both agreed it was the best launch EVER. Yay! The team’s energy and enthusiasm was phenomenal. Seeing that spark in this next generation of runners is why coaching brings so much joy.


I think the kids’ energy carried me over into Thursday’s workouts. Kate’s strength class was challenging as usual, but I felt a tiny bit stronger, and my ride afterward was surprisingly good. I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to feel on the bike after doing lots of leg work in class, but Kate seemed to work her magic.

Friday’s “Epic Day” (as we call it around our house) where I swim-bike-run, was a soggy one. Waking up to rain was expected, but not what I was hoping for with a 4-hour ride scheduled. My morning started with a 1000y swim, and I was happy to finally have a good swim–with a breakthrough or two with my technique. A few strokes actually felt effortless (did I really just say that?!).

Then it was time to suck it up buttercup and get out the door for my ride.

Oh yeah, as you my might be able to tell, my excitement was bubbling over. I definitely have some healthy trepidation when it comes to riding on skinny tires on slick, wet roads, especially with Santa Barbara’s drivers, so as you can imagine, this took another pep talk. Just get out there and get this damn thing done.


I decided to play it safe and mostly ride on the bike path until I knew that it wasn’t that big a deal. When I ventured out onto the roads though, several cars pulled out in front of me–distracted by the rain or not expecting a cyclist on such a crummy day–so I decided to head back to the bike path where I did lots of loops and back and forths, and jaunts on side streets.


4:04 hours on the bike…57.23 miles….followed by a 2-mile run…soaked from head to toe, covered in road grime and freezing my butt off, but so happy to have knocked out my epic workout. I now know that if it rains on race day, I got it handled.



Sunday’s long run started out with rain, but ended up being warm and humid, another good training element. My knees were still yelling at me after my long ride so I opted for lots of monotonous laps on the soft grass around Chase Palm Park. Yawn. At least it’s always beautiful and as usual, I crossed paths with friends who were out there running too. Life is good.


Smile Train Update: More exciting news. We have funded our 15th child for cleft surgery!! Thank you Emma, Dave & Stella Malina for your generous donation this week! We only have 5 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

Here’s to a rest day (ha ha) and to having the best support crew around–virtual and otherwise. Having you ride along on this rollercoaster of a journey is not only fun, but truly inspiring.

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!

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