Weeks 19 through 21 of Ironman Training: Transitions

Learning to glide through transitions during a triathlon is both a science and an art form, and it’s an easy way to gain “speed” if you become a master at it. In T1, you go from the swim where you’ve been horizontal on the water, paddling for anywhere from 10 minutes for a sprint tri to 2 hours for an Ironman. As soon as you’re on land, you remind your legs how to run, all the while unzipping your wetsuit and peeling it down to your waist. Then you whip off your googles and swim cap as you run to your transition area where your bike is racked. There, as quickly as possible, you peel off the rest of your wetsuit, slip into your bike shoes, put on your helmet, sunglasses and race belt, then run your bike out to the designated area where you’re allowed to mount it and begin powering on the bike course.

In T2, after you finish the bike portion of the race, you dismount your bike, run it back to your transition area and re-rack it, then change from your bike shoes to your running shoes, hopefully remembering to take your helmet off before starting the run (ha ha).

Simple, right?

Except of course, your brain is usually mud after the swim, and all the bikes look the same (and there are hundreds of them racked in row upon row), not to mention your hands are cold from the water so they often don’t function normally. Then there’s your wetsuit, which loves you so much, it never wants to leave your body; and your feet, which are often covered in sand if you’re doing an ocean swim, make it fun to put on your bike shoes.

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It’s easy to lose focus and dilly-dally in the transition area or freak out and hop around like a chicken with its head cut off. Either way, you waste precious “free minutes.” In a sprint tri even a second or two can mean the difference between the podium and “mere mortal” status. It pays to practice so it becomes second nature, and you stay calm and focused as you move to the next part of the race.

Transitions have been on my mind a lot lately because May has been a big transition month with my training. At times it’s been a little unsettling, but it’s all starting to come back around again where I’m regaining my focus and my Ironmama mojo.

The biggest transition is that I have a new coach–Matthew Tague. He’s an Ironman and a cycling powerhouse who brings a great mix of enthusiasm, expertise and hands-on coaching. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s already taught me a ton in very little time. While my old coach was awesome on many, many levels, when you’re training for an epic event like this, sometimes you don’t know what you need until you’ve been at it for a while. It took me four months to realize that a more hands-on approach would be better for me, especially one focusing on the bike portion of training.

All the other transitions I’ve been navigating revolve around family and daily life, which may not sound like a big thing, but anybody who has trained for an Ironman knows that time and logistics are some of the most challenging parts of training.

As the end of the school year fast approaches and my sweet girl will be heading off to junior high, it seems everything is happening all at once–paperwork due, assemblies, spring concerts, ballet performances. Then there’s simply squeezing in workouts in the midst of obligations like taxi’ing my dancer to ballet class every day or orthodontist appointments (she just got braces), or supporting my husband when he needs to be out of town to help his parents. Throw in taking care of sick kiddo for a week, then being taken down by the same gnarly virus, May was challenging. Life definitely does not stop when you’re training for an Ironman!

I’ve also been coaching two of my beloved kids running teams–the Roosevelt Running Club and Kids Corner Coyotes. It’s pure joy for me, but it also takes many, many hours or organizing and communicating with all the parents to do it well. My Roosevelt team just ended its season last Wednesday (way to go Rough Riders!!), and our Coyotes will finish up this Sunday when they run the State Street Mile. Woohoo! So excited for these awesome kiddos!

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In case you’re curious, here’s what the past three week’s schedules have looked like

May 9-15
Monday: Rest–sick
Tuesday: Bike 1 hour–sick
Wednesday: Rest–sick
Thursday: Pilates–sick
Friday: Run 30 minutes–sick
Saturday: Run with our Coyotes kids running team
Sunday: Core Rest

May 16-22
Monday: Killer Kate’s strength & stretch class, Bike 75 minutes
Tuesday: Bike 1 hour, Run 25 minutes, Bike 1 hour, Run 15 minutes, Swim 30 minutes
Wednesday: Yoga (yay!), Run 60 minutes
Thursday: Swim 1600 y with 1000y TT, Pilates
Friday: Bike 2 hours with increased efforts
Saturday: AM Run 40 minutes, Swim 2800y with 50-100y elevated intensity, PM Run 40 minutes
Sunday: Rest

May 23-30
Monday: Bike 1 hour, Run 35 minutes
Tuesday: Bike 70 minutes
Wednesday: Yoga (yay!), Run 45 minutes trail run
Thursday: Run 60 minutes, Swim 30 minute (recovery), Pilates
Friday: Bike 1 hour 30 minutes, Swim 45 minutes
Saturday: Rest (run with our Coyotes kids running team)
Sunday: Bike 90 minutes, Run 45 minutes, Bike 45 Minutes, Run 15 minutes

Snapshots…

Wednesday’s trail run at More Mesa was gorgeous, and a fabulous way to unwind after an epic day of putting on our Roosevelt Running Club grand finale Magic Mile race and end-of–the season awards extravaganza. I was whooped before I started my run, but felt energized by the end. I was also stoked to try out my new Hokas!

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Even though it was so freakin’ windy I nearly lost my visor over the cliff twice, I was happy to be handed such a great wind training day. How ’bout that hair?!

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Sunday we awoke to a gray, damp morning, but that didn’t stop me from having fun doing my double brick workout…bike 90 minutes on a hillier course…run 45 minutes…bike 45 minutes with 10 x 2 minute intervals…run 15 minutes. I loved this challenging workout! It left me happy and tired–the perfect combination.

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Smile Train Update: With the help of our awesome Roosevelt Running Club who raised $271.20 for Smile Train as their philanthropy project, and their amazing supporters, Patty Bryant and Kevin Young, I have reached my fundraising goal of $5,000, which will fund 20 kids for life-changing cleft surgery!!!! And thanks to Ruth Weber and our Kids Corner Coyotes running team, we are now on our way to funding our 21st child for surgery!!!

I am so grateful to everybody who has supported this project so far! You are helping make a HUGE difference in the life of a young person, and you are making my first Ironman all the more meaningful.

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.

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As we head into June (can you believe it?!?!), I’m filled with excitement about the summer ahead and a whole lot of unstructured time with my family and friends, and a whole lot of structured time with training. Less than six months to go until Ironman Arizona! Yowza! I think I can…I think I can…

So far this journey has been nothing but joy, even on the hardest days, and much of it has to do with the support I’ve received from so many of you. Not sure how I got so lucky!

Okay…time to get back at it…heading out for another run and a swim…hope your last day of May is great!

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 of Ironman Training: Speedbumps and Breakthroughs
Week Twelve of Ironman Training: A Bundle of Sticks Can’t Be Broken
Week Thirteen of Ironman Training: Spring!

Week Fourteen of Ironman Training: Rollercoaster
Week 15 and 16 of Ironman Training: Staying Happy and Healthy

Week 17 and 18 Ironman Training: Inspiration and Purple Rain

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Weeks 17 and 18 of Ironman Training: Inspiration and Purple Rain

It has been a busy, busy few weeks. That’s why you haven’t heard from me here on my blog. Thanks to all of you who’ve checked in on me, worried that something was wrong. I assure you, all is well. Something just had to give in the midst of training, coaching my kids’ running teams, and juggling a jam-packed family schedule. Sadly, writing has become a bit of a luxury these days (at least for the moment).

As I think back over the past few weeks, the word that comes to mind most is “inspiration.” I’ve been inspired by so many awesome people and moments of kindness and creativity, it makes my heart swell.

One highlight was having the privilege of volunteering at the Special Olympics School Games with my husband Jeffrey. The spirit that surrounds these games is phenomenal, and the joy that each of these athletes exudes is contagious, especially during the opening ceremonies. Pure awesomeness in motion, bringing out the best in everybody.

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The best part was sharing this fantastic morning with my husband.

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I’ve mentioned Kate Elliot (aka–Killer Kate) several times here before on my blog. This chiquita brings such joy to fitness, she makes working out at 7 am palatable, even before I’ve had my morning coffee. Last week she kicked my butt in her class at The Lab, then joined me for a run along Chase Palm Park. So much fun!

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Kate’s chirpy attitude inspires me so much that I asked her to come talk to my Roosevelt Running Club. I often ask mentors in our running community to share their passion for running with our kids to help get them fired up about a lifetime of health and fitness. Needless to say, the team loved her as much as I do. Here they’re gathering around her and sporting some of her race medals.

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Another person who inspires me is my running hero, Patty Bryant. She’s an extraordinary ultra-marathoner and Iron(wo)man who takes on some of the world’s most challenging races (Hard Rock 100, Western States, Leadville 100, Mont Blanc, to name a few), and more importantly, she’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Some of you may remember that I wrote about her last summer when I had the joy of running small portions of  the Aspen Backcountry Marathon with her (click HERE if you missed it). This week I asked Patty if she’d come speak to our Roosevelt Running Club, and she gladly agreed, even in the midst of her busy training schedule. The kids were mesmerized by her adventures and full of all sorts of questions, which was fun to see.

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I know both she and Kate planted tiny seeds in many of these young runners to dream big and chase after life. Best wishes to Patty as she takes on The Canyons 100k race this weekend in the Sierras, along with several other Santa Barbara friends (Monica & Joe DeVreese and Dave & DeAnna O’Dell), and good luck to Kate who is taking on the Born to Run 30 Mile Endurance Run next weekend! Woohoo! Go girl!

Favorite New Gear: New bike shoes! The week before last, just as I was about to head out on a ride, the buckle broke off on one of my “well-loved” bike shoes. Argh. I could no longer clasp it shut, meaning my heel would come out each time I pedaled. My first instinct was to duct tape it (duct tape is God, as we often espoused in college), but none could be found in the short window I had to ride, sooooo….my Plan A schedule quickly went to Plan B…a little shuffling around of my workouts and an added spin class the next day. Fortunately, I was able to get new shoes for my ride a couple days later.

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Riding in my sparkly new cycling shoes (it’s the little things), this girl was flying high–especially on such a gorgeous day! Can you say blue sky?

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Here’s what my training schedule looked like the week of April 18-24:

Monday: Swim 2900 y, Bike 1 hour
Tuesday: Bike 90 minutes (bike shoe broke), worked on strength instead
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Swim 1800y, Killer Kate’s strength & stretch class, Spin Class
Friday: Swim 1000y, Bike 2.5 hours
Saturday: Run 45 minutes
Sunday: Rest

Seeing purple…I don’t know about you, but Prince’s death hit me hard. I’m not even sure why. It’s not like I was an insane “Super Fan,” or anything, but I did like his music, and whenever I heard it, it tickled great memories–mostly from my freshman year in college. Purple Rain, 1999, Raspberry Sorbet…all songs that remind me of college friends and raucous Friday afternoon shenanigans.

As the tributes started pouring in for Prince last week, his level of creative brilliance revealed itself in ways I’d never fully appreciated–especially his collaborations with other artists. If you haven’t seen his performance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame paying tribute to George Harrison (While My Guitar Gently Weeps), you might want to take a peek. Holy epic-ness!

Powering through my training days following Prince’s death, his music popped up on my playlist many times, and each time it made me both happy and melancholy…and a tad bit nutty. Okay, okay, I gotta admit it, I was the lunatic Continue reading