Week 43 of Ironman Training: The Joys of Joy and Peak Week

Many of you know one of my greatest joys is coaching kids running teams and sharing my passion for the sport with the next generation. I love paying it forward, empowering young runners and motivating them to see themselves in new ways.

I’ve been doing this for over four years now with a program I created consisting of about 1/3 running and fitness, 1/3 motivation and inspiration, and 1/3 sportsmanship, team building and “life.”

I’ll admit it has been a little tricky pulling it all together this season in the midst of training, but it has always been worth the effort. Last week I zoomed into practice with just a few minutes to spare after riding nearly 50 miles and doing a half hour transition run. Fortunately, since I know I have to be hyper-organized this season to pull it off, it all magically came together. They had a blast and so did I. This little band of happy feet inspires me to no end and lifts my tired dogs ten feet off the ground.

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One of the things we talked about was our Word of the Week: JOY. I typically choose words like determination, courage, goals etc., but JOY is something I’ve been thinking about a lot while I’ve been training, so I wanted to share it with my kids.

I try to find joy in every workout I do, not matter how hard it is or how challenging the day is in terms of terrain, weather, timing, fatigue, logistics. etc. Sometimes I just find joy in the fact that I “get” to do what I’m doing or that the blasting wind is helping me get stronger, or I find joy in the fact that I’m doing something really hard that a lot of people would never attempt.

I wanted to remind my athletes to always try to find JOY in what they’re doing while they’re doing it, even if it’s hard or monotonous. I gave them several ideas of how they can do that with running, school work and even chores around the house, and they also came of with several of their own, which as you can imagine, gave me tremendous JOY. 🙂

The other thing that gave me tremendous joy last week was knowing that I’ve reached the highest point of my training for the entire year. HOLY PEAK WEEK BATMAN!!! I’ve made it in one piece!!! So freaking exciting!!! Now it’s time to taper, recharge, and fine-tune everything for race day. Booyah!

Here’s what my schedule looked like for the week of October 24th-30th…

Monday: Yoga/Pilates, Swim 5000 y (2.8 miles), core
Tuesday: Run 6.25 miles, core
Wednesday: Bike 3 hours, Run 30 minutes (transition run), core, run with my kids team
Thursday: Swim 1750 y with a 1000 TT, Run 8 miles, core
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Bike 1 hour, core
Sunday: Swim 1.5 miles, Bike 70 miles, Run 16 miles (metric Ironman distance) postponed a day due to rain :-(. I’ll be writing about this whopper of a workout soon though! Instead: 1 hour stretch class and 700 y swim.

Here are a few snaps from the week:

Tuesday I ventured to the track for the first time in ages. I wasn’t doing speedwork, but I wanted to run a couple of miles on a soft surface before hitting the road for the remainder of my run. It reminded me how much I love/hate the track, and how I’m looking forward to getting back to it after IMAZ.

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Not a bad place to cool down and stretch…
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And then more core work…bridges…
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Wednesday’s 3 hour ride was gray and brrrrrrr, making it a little hard to get excited about it.

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Here I’m finding some joy in the fact that I had to stop and dig out my sunglasses because the sun finally came out.
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I also found joy in the fact that I got my transition run done in time to get to my kids running club in time.

Thursday I was a little (ok, a lot) whooped from six days in a row of working hard, so I had to dig for some motivation to get my butt out the door for my 8-mile run. As I’ve mentioned before, whenever I’m dragging, the first thing I do is head to my workout wall and remind myself that I’ve done all these workouts in the past so doing one more won’t kill me.
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Then I get silly. I think I need more spinach!
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Then I don lots of compression items and make sure I wear bright colors to make myself feel cheery (even if I’m not, and even if I look ridiculous).
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Yeah, I was definitely fried at the end, but I got it done by practicing some of my mental tricks (mantras, visualization, etc.) and also reminding myself that the next day I had off to rest. It also brightened my run when my friends, Tami and John, happened to drive by and stop to cheer me on. So unexpected on this sleepy back road!
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Friday’s rest day was AWESOME, especially because it rained!!! So refreshing. Loved it. Mother Nature timed things perfectly too, so it cleared up on Saturday for my ride. I thought I was going to luck out on Sunday for my Epic Day, but when I woke up at 5:30 and saw pouring rain, I decided to postpone it a day and go back to bed to get some much-needed rest. I did my Epic Day yesterday, and Epic doesn’t even come close to describing it. More on that one soon.

In the meantime, the countdown is on…only 19 days to go until I’ll be swim-bike-running through Tempe! And only 12 days left to raise more funds for Smile Train. If you’ve been thinking about donating, but haven’t pushed the button yet, today is the day to do it! You have the power to change someone’s life for the better, and there’s nothing more exciting or gratifying (at least in my book).

Here’s the link to donate: BECKY’S SMILE TRAIN PAGE. Thank you Bartholomew Family for your recent generous contribution!!

Until next time, awesome peeps. I hope you find JOY in all you do. Happy November!
xo B

 

PS: As always, if you missed any of my previous posts about Ironman training, 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 11 of Ironman Training: Speedbumps and Breakthroughs
Week 12 of Ironman Training: A Bundle of Sticks Can’t Be Broken
Week 13 of Ironman Training: Spring!

Week 14 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
Weeks 19 through 21 of Ironman Training: Transitions

Week 22 and 23 of Ironman Training: Holy Epicness…Julie Moss
Week 24 of Ironman Training: Consistency is the Key
Week 25 of Ironman Training: Embracing New Challenges
Week 26 of Ironman Training: Hills, They’re What’s for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Week 27 of Ironman Training: Taking This Show on the Road (Tri-cation!)
Week 27 of Ironman Training: High Altitude Tri-cation
Week 27 of Ironman Training: High Altitude Fun Continues
Week 28 of Ironman Training: Rocky Mountain High
Week 28 of Ironman Training: Finishing Aspen Strong
Week 29 and 30 of Ironman Training: Rollercoasters, Crazies, and Comebacks
Week 31 of Ironman Training: New Heights
Week 32 of Ironman Training: 100 Days to Go
Week 33 of Ironman Training: The Art of Recovery and Balance
Week 34 of Ironman Training: The Magic of Firsts
Week 35 of Ironman Training:Chasing the M-Dot with Toughness Training
Week 36 of Ironman Training: Miles of Opportunities
Week 37 of Ironman Training: IMAZ Training Camp and Tempe Tri Race Report
Week 38 of Ironman Training: Much to Celebrate and Carpinteria Race Report
Week 39 of Ironman Training: Why I Tri and Try
Week 40 and 41 of Ironman Training: Think Like a Dog and Train Like a Mouse
Week 41 of Ironman Training: Mind over Muscle
Week 42 of Ironman Training: #533 is Savoring the Last 23 Days Until IMAZ

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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

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

Taking Flight with My Daughter as We Chase the Bird Together

Day 11 of the Oiselle Chase the Bird Challenge couldn’t have been any better. After going to my favorite yoga class this morning (you can read about it HERE if you missed it), my daughter and I went for a hike/trail run up to Inspiration Point later in the afternoon .

I have to admit, I had low expectations for how much she might enjoy this outing and/or how far she might want to go as the trail is mostly steep, but I let her be in charge of the pace and just cruised along and enjoyed our time together.

And guess what? She completely blew me away with her rock star attitude.

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She only asked me a few times how much farther we had to go to get to the top, and I think it was mostly to get herself mentally prepared to tackle it. She even took off running many times, completely unprompted. My little trail runner!

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Okay, I must confess, I brought a secret weapon with me:  Continue reading

Girl Power Swim, Bike, Run Fun

It was an awesome morning of triathlon training with this fun group of women, some of whom are doing their first-ever triathlon. The water was glassy, the sun was shining, and the energy was amazing. Love this Moms in Motion group! Look out Santa Barbara Triathlon, we’re coming to get you!

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I’m also excited to be kicking off my Girls in Motion Running and Fitness Camp tomorrow morning. Woohoo! There’s nothing like a bunch of strong, smart, athletic young girls to bring a big smile to my face. Let the fun begin!

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Santa Barbara Girls in Motion Running & Fitness Camp

I’m so excited to be coaching my Girls in Motion running and fitness camp again this July! Sharing my love of running and empowering young girls is truly one of the highlights of my summer!

All the details of this week long camp are below. I still have space available for girls ages 6-12 who want to join the fun and be inspired. For those who sign up with a friend or sibling, I’m offering a $35 discount for both girls. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. Here’s to a fabulous summer ahead of fun, fitness and flower power!

Girls in Motion Running Camp Flyer

My “Run In” with McFarland USA

McFarlandUSAPosterAnybody who knows me, knows that I’m a total sucker for feel-good, underdog movies. If they also happen to be true stories, you’ll witness me melting into an inspired puddle of happiness in need of a box of tissues. You can imagine what I was like when I saw the movie, McFarland USA, one of the most uplifting running movies I’ve seen in years.

For those of you who have not seen McFarland USA yet, do yourself a favor and rent it on NetFlix. Yes, it’s a running film, but it’s so much more.

Here’s the official film synopsis:

Track coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) is a newcomer to a predominantly Latino high-school in California’s Central Valley. Coach White and his new students find that they have much to learn about one another, but things begin to change when White realizes the boys’ exceptional running ability. More than just physical prowess drives the teens to succeed; their strong family ties, incredible work ethic and commitment to their team all play a factor in forging these novice runners into champions.

While I would definitely encourage you to check out this film, this post is not meant to be a movie review. Rather, I wanted to share a fun moment of serendipity I experienced last weekend, related to McFarland USA.

On Sunday morning we held our final gathering of our Coyotes youth running club. Our team of thirty-six kiddos, ages 4-12, all gathered at the starting line of the State Street Mile to compete, and afterward celebrate our team’s effort for the season.

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It was pure joy watching these kids soar and give it their all, many competing in their first race ever. It’s truly what this coach lives for—witnessing that sparkle of confidence as they cross the finish line.

 

 

 

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After the race, we reveled in our team’s accomplishments, handed out awards and enjoyed a sweet treat. Near the end of it all, the team surrounded us coaches in “running love”—hugs, thank yous, gifts, etc. It was incredibly sweet and humbling.

MileageBoardWhile this was all going on, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a stocky, fit looking guy studying our team’s mileage board with the intensity of a detective. I figured he must be a relative of one of our kiddos whom I hadn’t yet met.

When I turned to say hello, he said, “I’m looking at your board here. I think I’m going to steal your ideas. I’ve been watching what you’re doing. This looks really great. I also saw you at the beginning of the race honoring your runners.”

I immediately barked, “You can’t steal our ideas!” which made his eyes grow big as donuts and sent him taking a step backward. That is until I laughed and said, “Because you can’t steal something I’m happy to share with you. We’re all one big running community after all, right?”

He let out his breath and laughed.

I went on to share many of the details of our program, then I finally asked who he was and what he was about. He didn’t say his name, but simply said, Continue reading