On the Road Back to the Big Apple

It was 4:30 Monday afternoon when a text dinged my phone. Trying not to be annoyed by it, but too curious to ignore it, I opened one eye and squinted, barely lifting my head as I struggled to find my phone. I had been curled up on the couch battling the virus from hell for several days now—the kind where your ribs are so excruciatingly filleted from coughing, you wonder if you may broken them.

When I saw the text was from Planet, however, my other eyelid popped open without complaint.

Reaching for my glasses, and blinking to clear my eyes, I delved into her lengthy message. It didn’t take long before a huge smile swept across my face. The gist of it was that after watching the New York City Marathon the day before, she was reminded of how badly she had always wanted to do this Bucket List Race, and how she had finally decided the time was right. I knew that feeling well. Things hit you at just the right moment and then there’s no turning back. The best part was that she asked me if I’d like to come along for the ride.

“OMG LOVE IT!!!!!!!!” I answered a bit later after the fog lifted from my brain. “It’s such a fun race. I have the bug too. I have literally been googling marathons for the past few days. Let me give it some thought…”

I had just completed Ironman California two weeks earlier, and although I still recovering, I was already thinking about my next adventure. Running New York with Janet (Planet) would be a hoot, and an honor, and the perfect challenge to share with my dear friend whom I’ve known ever since we were thrown together as roommates our Freshman year in college–mind-bendingly, thirty-eight years ago. How is that even possible—especially since we often both still act like our shoe sizes?

The last big adventure Planet and I had done together was a girls trip to Tibet and Nepal in 2000. Journeying to Lhasa, Mt. Everest Base Camp, Kathmandu, and points in between was a trip that will forever be seared in my memory. We had always hoped to do more epic adventures together, but life has a way of getting in the way.

A half hour later I texted her again, “The more I think about it, the giddier I become! I ran my first NYC Marathon 25 frickin’ years ago…it would be such a blast!!! EPIC!!!”

That’s really all it took.

“Shall we hit the register button?” I asked after another round of OMGs, pump up emojis, and exclamation points on both ends.

“Let’s do it!” she replied.

Thus began Janet and Becky’s Next Big Adventure! November 5, 2023 is now boldly marked in red on our calendars


Because we were afraid to take our chances with the lottery in February, we both joined the New York Road Runners charity team, Team for Kids, which raises funds for youth running and community programs. Being a youth running coach myself, this felt like a perfect fit and a meaningful way to give back to the sport that has given me so much over the years.


The countdown is officially on! Three hundred and sixty days until we head to the Big Apple to toe the line on Staten Island!

Now my ribs have even more motivation to heal quickly!! 🙂

Ironman California 2022 Race Report

“Just. Keep. Moving. Forward.”

Those are the words I repeated over and over throughout the day.

Also, “Breathe and believe,” which is something I had written on my aerobar hydration bottle ahead of the race so I would have it front and center throughout the bike portion.

I knew I’d have to rely on mantras and other mental toughness strategies at least a few times during this race, but Ironman California proved to be even more epic than I had imagined, even though it was a flat course and I had trained for it for ten months.

Before I share the details of the race though, I want to express my deepest gratitude for all the good things this year of training has brought. So much joy in pushing forward, doing the hard work of healing broken wings, and rediscovering how much fun it is to push outside my comfort zone. I couldn’t have done this without the unwavering support of my number #1 support crew, Jeffrey and Olivia, and my incredible coach, Matthew Tague. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now to the race…IMCA was massive, with nearly 3,000 participants. The transition area was held in Sutter Health Park, a large baseball stadium near the Sacramento River. The day prior to the event we racked our bikes and dropped off our bike and run bags. Experiencing the scale of the transition area made me both chuckle and contemplate the best way to tackle this beast during the race. I made sure to at least memorize my row and identify landmarks in the stadium, knowing I’d be fuzzy after the swim and bike.

RACE MORNING: I awoke at 2:00 am filled with excitement. Race day had finally come!!! I drank my beloved coffee (aka elixir of the gods), ate breakfast (not easy), stretched, foam rolled and got my mind and body ready for the long day ahead. Jeffrey and Olivia arose at 3:00 am to take me to the transition area at 4:00.

After arriving at the stadium, receiving good luck send-off love and hugs from my peeps, I stood in line with other early bird athletes before beginning the long walk down to where all the bikes were racked at the bottom of the stadium. There I pumped up my bike tires, filled my bottles, and double-checked my gear. Next I dropped off my “Personal Needs” bags with volunteers a block away. Each athlete has a bag they can access half way through the bike course and another one for the run course. You try to put things in that will keep you going if/when things get tough (spare tube, food, band-aids, chamois cream, Advil, arnica, Tums, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirt, Red Vines, etc.).

Next I boarded a shuttle bus at 5:00 to get to the start of the swim on the American River. I was happy I got on one of the earliest buses because I heard later the shuttle situation turned nightmarish, with some people arriving just minutes before the start of the race, and some even after the race started. This was Sacramento’s inaugural IMCA, so first year event kinks will certainly be worked out for next year.

I tried to keep warm while waiting for the 7:00 am swim start, hopping up and down and from foot to foot, still shivering uncontrollably, even wearing my wetsuit. No matter, I enjoyed meeting other athletes and sharing our nerves and excitement as we anticipated finally getting this party started.

I also heard numerous stories about last year’s Ironman California, which was cancelled just as the race was about to start. The story goes that everyone was standing in their wetsuits waiting to enter the water when a massive bomb cyclone hit. The torrential rain and wind made it too dangerous for the event to take place. All I could think about was the time, energy, effort, and finances all those athletes (and the Race Director) had invested, especially those who had traveled from overseas. It was devastating, but a year later, those who came back had great humor and perspective about it all. True IronSpirit on display.

SWIM: Those stories made me especially thankful when my wave finally started at 7:35. I was also grateful that instead of a chaotic mass start, it was quite civilized, with five athletes walking across the timing mats and entering the water every 5 seconds. With the humidity and cool air temperature, the 65 degree water temperature felt nice.

All in all, it was a great swim, even with the small yellow buoys many people struggled to see, and the one large orange turn buoy at the convergence of the American River and the Sacramento River that drifted in the water so we had to try to swim upstream a bit to get around it. With the river current, which felt oddly imperceptible most of the way, every athlete I heard from PR’ed by insane amounts. I took nearly a half hour off my last Ironman swim, which was an uplifting way to start the day.

TRANSITION 1: The transition from the river back to the the bikes was about .75 miles up long ramps, then on to concrete, then across the street, and finally on to rough textured flooring in the stadium. This pretty much erased all the time saved in the river, but how can you complain after a swim like that? I was happy I had placed some old shoes by the swim exit in the dark hours of the morning, because running barefoot on concrete seemed like a really bad idea after having had a foot injury not that long ago. Although I had little hope they’d still be there when I got out of the water, after the wetsuit strippers peeled my wetsuit off for me, I spotted them (!!!) and did a happy dance before I slipped them on and headed back to the stadium, but not before soaking up a joyful moment seeing Jeffrey and Olivia and hearing them cheer their hearts out. I love my people! The. Best. Support Crew. Ever.

Inside the top deck of the stadium, I grabbed my bike bag with all my gear and ran all the way over to the changing tent on the other side of the stadium.

After quickly drying off, slipping on my tri top, arm sleeves, and a light wind jacket (trying to warm up after the swim, and not wanting to waste energy being cold on the bike), I donned my helmet and glasses, jammed my wetsuit and swim gear in a bag, then ran down to the bottom of the stadium once again to drop my bag and get my bike. This time I was shuffling in bike shoes. Good times. All told, we ran an extra 1.15 miles in T1 before we even mounted our bikes. We all laughed about it (some cursed), but in the end, it was all part of the challenge.

BIKE: Next came the real challenge of the day–the wind. It had been perfect conditions the day before, and it was once again the day after the race, but on event day, there were sustained winds of 20-22 mph with gusts of 32-37 mph coming from all directions as we made our way from the city out into the open farmland area along the delta. It turned the two loop 112-mile ride into a sufferfest at times. If it had been a headwind one way and a tailwind the other, that would have been much less brutal, but this came head-on, sideways, head-on again, a tiny bit from behind, then sideways again and head-on all the way back. Yeehaw!

Without the wind, it would have been a lovely ride, as it meandered along the delta, through a pretty rural area on mostly nicely paved roads. I tried to look up and soak in the views as much as possible, and also marvel at some of the other athletes–especially the blind athlete powering along on a tandem and the elite athletes blasting past like rockets. At times though, it felt like we were riding through a historic photo of the Dust Bowl with dust swirling and tumbling, bottles and debris flying from aid stations onto the course. I have never gripped my aerobars so hard for so long. As I write this, my jaw is still sore from clenching my teeth for hours. I was just thankful I didn’t get blown over, which nearly happened on more than a few occasions. I saw several bad crashes during the day on the narrow two-lane road we navigated, which on this day did not feel quite adequate for the number of athletes, especially with steep drop offs in places, and a long section of rough road through Babel Slough, which was littered with broken hydration bottles throughout the day when cyclists hit a pothole hard and launched their hydration system from their bikes.

There are many things you can’t control in an Ironman, and weather is one of them. The only thing you can do is focus on what you can control–things like your attitude, your fueling, and clothing choice. Because it was often hard to safely ride with one hand and try to eat with the other, I ended up stopping more than I had planned. The last thing I wanted to do was take out another rider by losing control of my bike.

The toughest part mentally was knowing we had two loops to do when the first one was a beast. I was grateful Coach Matt and I had talked on the phone the day before the race. He told me to keep in mind that when things get tough, remember it won’t last forever. I repeated this over and over in my head as well as, “Just keep moving forward.” I was also happy that he reminded me to focus on maintaining a moderate to high cadence rather than grinding out the miles in a harder gear, which would have torn up my legs for the run.

The volunteers were the biggest heroes of this day. They were out there for hours for all of us, always smiling, helpful, encouraging, even when it was unpleasant. I thanked them profusely every time I stopped. Not only them, but people who were just out there for the day cheering us on. One trio of older women will forever be seared in my mind. They were standing on a corner where there was absolutely nothing around them (the area reminded me of the scene at the end of Castaway when Tom Hanks is delivering a Fedex package to a woman in Texas where there’s absolutely nothing but open space and dusty roads–IYKYK). Their hair was whipped up into crazy ‘dos from the wind, but their hooting and hollering as well as their bright lipstick, bright shirts and even brighter smiles lifted everyone out of their misery as they passed by them. Just incredible.

As I mentioned, the course was flat, which I thought would take 6.5 hours on a good day, 7 hours on an average day, and maybe 7.5 on a tough day. It ended up taking me 8 hours 23 minutes. My experience was similar to many other athletes. Even though it was soul-sucking at times, the positive part is that I never completely fell apart. It was just a grind. I stuck to my plan, focused on fuel and hydration, kept my head down, and just kept going until I got it done. Having said that, I can honestly say I’ve never been so happy in my entire life to be off my bike.

TRANSITION 2: Back in transition, I gleefully re-racked my bike and re-set my mind. The wind was still a factor, but my feet were back on solid ground, so I was feeling positive, even if I had expended far more energy on the bike than I had planned. Running shoes on, fuel belt on, visor on, it was now “Time to suck it up Buttercup, and get this thing done.”

RUN: Seeing my people again and having Olivia run alongside me for a few steps while cheering me on, helped lift me up, as did knowing there were only 26 miles left to go. As the sun set low, I settled into my run pace, which also included walking for a minute every mile.

This run course was a toughie mentally, especially since I started it as the sun was nearly setting, and there were few easy places for spectators to cheer after the first few miles. I’m guessing earlier finishers may have enjoyed the run much more than I did, but I did try to focus on the positives as much as possible, like the pretty sunset, the amazing volunteers, and all the other athletes overcoming their demons and powering on like champs. It became a huge stretch though, as we were sent down several long “out-and-backs” on dark, desolate paths through some sketchy areas of the city (along the freeway and in parks with encampments and no lighting). I was actually humming the banjo song from the creepy 1970’s Deliverance movie through parts of it. Ha ha. You just have to laugh, dig deep and keep on going.

I was glad I had brought a headlamp and another mini clip-on light, along with my disco shoe lights, which were a big hit. Many people didn’t because we were told it would be well-lit. My headlamp died at about mile 15 though, as did my Garmin. It was not a good tech day. At this point, a holy crap moment exploded in my head: I took so long on the bike, I need to stay totally focused to get this thing done in time, no matter what. I never imagined I’d be remotely close to the cut-off, but here I was, and without a watch, I had to keep asking volunteers what time it was, then calculate the pace I needed to keep to finish by midnight. Just keep moving forward.

My stomach was unhappy most of the run, having consumed Gatorade and gels for eight hours on the bike, along with salt pills, bananas, pretzels, dates and a PBJ halfway though. Ack. Balancing what and how much to consume on the bike in preparation for the run is an artform, which I clearly still need to master as the fourth discipline of endurance triathlon–especially when riding for so much additional time. I mostly chewed gum, then Tums and drank water on the run until I reached an aid station with chicken broth (THE best), then Coke, then Red Vines, which I had put in my Personal Needs bag. It was a low moment when the aid stations ran out of both Coke and Chicken broth. I tried to go back to Gatorade, but it made me almost lose my cookies. Mind over matter. Just keep moving. You are getting there!

The final push around Mile 20 took us past an elaborate homeless encampment in town playing lively music for us, which was fun and surprising. Music makes everything better. Then we reached the Capitol Mall area where the final 4 miles included multiple laps around the mall, passing near the finish line twice where you could hear the crowds, music, and announcers, but knowing there was still a long way to go, then down a weird little out-and-back in some random alley twice, then FINALLY down the finish chute.

Thankfully the throngs of people cheering as I entered the chute made all the weirdness of the run suddenly melt away.

There is nothing quite as magical as the finish line of an Ironman and hearing Mike Reilly (aka the Voice of Ironman) call out your name: “BECKY AARONSON YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!!”

Euphoria. Relief. Pride. Gratitude. Exhaustion. Honor.

Oh my god, I pulled it off!

This day may not have unfolded exactly how I was expecting, but it definitely gave me everything I needed–the joy of reclaiming my fitness, the empowerment of pushing through and finishing no matter what, and the thrill of adding a beautiful exclamation point to an incredible journey this year. Mission accomplished.

Thank you to all of you who cheered me on from near and far, and who made a difference in so many ways. And thank you to all the volunteers and event organizers. My gratitude runs deep.

xo Becky

Why This Sugar-loving Carb-aholic Crushed the Whole30 Program

Let me start by saying that I do not believe in “diets.” They may work some short-term magic for some people, but long-term health and happiness demands moderation in the food department and a boatload of exercise. Period.

Having said that, you may wonder why in the world I would try the Whole30 program. The answer is simple: I was desperate to get my body feeling good again.

After completing my first Ironman six months ago (my, how time flies), I got completely off track as I battled niggling injuries while preparing for a May marathon–all in the midst of dealing with an extremely stressful and exhausting family medical/life situation with my elderly in-laws.

I was fueling my body with all things “comfort” instead of all things “good nutrition,” and I paid the price, feeling like dog doo, running on fumes, and piling on five extra pounds.

My brother had mentioned this program to me about a year ago when he was training for ultra marathons, and he said he never felt better. I could never muster up the desire to do it back then while training for IMAZ, but I finally reached the point where I wanted to make a change.

So what is the Whole30 plan exactly? It’s essentially a nutrition plan that eliminates all the processed crap we often put in our bodies, making us think long and hard about what is “real food.” There isn’t any calorie counting, point systems or portion control. It’s simply being conscious, reading labels and eliminating items that often negatively impact our health and fitness.

The number one rule is to EAT REAL FOOD.

“Eat moderate portions of meat, seafood, and eggs; lots of vegetables; some fruit; plenty of natural fats; and herbs, spices, and seasonings. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re whole and unprocessed.”

Eliminate: added sugar in all forms (real and fake), alcohol, dairy, grains, processed or prepared foods, legumes, MSG. You can read the rest of the rules HERE.

Extreme? Hell yes.

Worth it? Totally.

Here’s what the Whole30 program did for me:

  • I lost 5 pounds in 30 days.
  • I slept better than I have in many years.
  • My thinking was less foggy (probably due to better sleep).
  • It broke my endless sugar and carb cravings (this was HUGE).
  • I had energy to get me through another VERY tough, stressful month (the third in a row), which would have otherwise walloped me.
  • I lost inches in my waist, arms, hips, and thighs.
  • My fingernails grew long, strong, and healthy.
  • My mood was brighter because I felt better and I was able to let stressful things roll off my back more easily.
  • It was fantastic “mental toughness training” because it was definitely not always easy (sometimes you just want to enjoy a nice glass of red wine with your dinner after a long, challenging day).
  • It made me conscious of the crappy food I’d often reach for in my pantry when I was running out the door, tired or lazy. Now instead of a cracker, I reach for an apple or snap peas. Instead of a cookie I have a sweet potato.
  • It made me realize that a turkey burger is just as satisfying without a bun, poached eggs with spinach, bell peppers and carrots do not require toast or a bagel to be yummy. Sweet potatoes are just as delish without butter. Balsamic vinegar makes everything taste better.

  • My family wasted much less food during the month of May. My rock star husband goes to Farmer’s Market twice a week, so our fridge is always full of fruits and veggies. Sometimes he gets a little too enthusiastic though, and food goes to waste, which drives me batty. While on the Whole30 plan, we ate every last strawberry, lettuce leaf, snap pea and peach.
  • My family didn’t join me on this extreme cleansing odyssey, but they did support me 100%, and I did notice as a whole, our family ate much healthier. When I had after school fruits and veggies prepped for my daughter, she’d gladly reach for those before something less nutritious. And salads for every dinner set the tone.

  • I felt more energized and looked forward to working out, rather than dragging myself out the door.

What did I miss the most? I realize this is going to sound ridiculous, but I REALLY missed the splash of sweetened vanilla almond milk I put in my coffee every morning. Black coffee just doesn’t cut the mustard for me. But I did it, and I’m glad.

This paragraph from the Whole30 website helped me most:

This is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written. It’s only thirty days, and it’s for the most important health cause on earth—the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.

One of the reasons it worked for me is because it had a finish line: 30 days. Give me a goal with a definitive time frame, and I can put my head down and crank it out one day at a time. I would tell myself, “I can do anything for 30 days.” I’m sure you can too.

The other reason this worked for me was timing. After spending the past several months in hospitals, nursing rehabilitation centers and assisted living communities with my in-laws, I have been immersed in environments that smacked me upside the head with what I could look forward to if I didn’t treat my body like a temple. The plague of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer were front and center, and it was not pretty.

Drinking black coffee and not stuffing your gullet with bread is nothing compared to completely losing your independence and your ability to enjoy life at its fullest.

Perspective is a powerful thing, my friends.

So, here’s to hitting “reset” and getting back on track.

Happy trails, my friends…

xo Becky

Question: Have any of you tried the Whole30 plan? If so, how did it work for you?

12 Things That Keep This Runner Happy and Sane

I’m sorry my blog has been silent for so long. I wish I could say it’s because I’ve been off on some far-flung adventure, but the truth is I’ve been in a funk. I don’t want to get political, but the madness that has enveloped our country has left me frustrated beyond belief and struggling to weave together sentences I’ve felt worthy of sharing, knowing what readers want most is to be inspired.

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While my head and heart still continue to wrestle with a tangle of emotions, the one thing that consistently unravels all the BS and brings me back to my usual happy center is my fitness.

I’m sure you know what I mean when I say pure joy washes over me in the simple act of moving my body, breathing hard and sweating it out. It’s the perfect reminder that no matter what’s going on in the world, there will always be remarkable moments of aaaaaaaah that fill me with gratitude and remind me that life is freaking great.

Here’s what else is keeping me happy and sane….

1) Breathing in crisp, fresh air and reveling in the beauty around me, and exhaling all traces of the day’s latest toxic news. Being a speck in the universe always has a way of keeping things in perspective.

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2) Setting goals–especially ones that make me stretch beyond my perceived boundaries. One in particular has me fired up right now–trying to qualify for Boston, and I’m happy to report I’ve got Matthew Tague in my corner again coaching me for a late spring marathon. My gut tells me this is the year to finally make this Boston thing happen, and I’m happily working my butt off to get my feet moving faster again after a year of Ironman endurance training. I think I can. I think I can. Bring. It. On.

3) Celebrating tiny victories like choosing a healthy kale, raspberry smoothie with protein over a vanilla latte, or a platter full of veggies during the Super Bowl instead of a pizza; or dumping Facebook off my phone to distance yourself from the craziness; or getting in bed early to immerse myself in a phenomenal book instead of watching mind-numbing television, knowing I’ll be far more inspired and also sleep better.

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4) Coaching young runners and being surrounded by unrelenting joy and pint-size goodness. Kids always have a way of showing you how to be in the moment and enjoy what you’re doing while you’re doing it. There’s no overthink anything. There’s just unbridled energy and enthusiasm as they take on new challenges, and a huge sense of accomplishment afterward when they realize they can do hard things.

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5) Acting like my shoe size, having a blast running in the pouring rain and reconnecting with my Oregon roots.

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My poor dog wasn’t born with webbed feet like me, so although he’s a good sport, he still usually gives me “the look” on days like this.

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6) Racing! While I always know it’s going to be a sufferfest, racing gives me a chance to push it hard, see where I’m at with my fitness and also celebrate our running community. There’s no happier place to be than the end of a race when everyone is flooded with endorphins and reveling in camaraderie while celebrating a sense of accomplishment, knowing they’ve started the day off in all the best ways.

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7) Surrounding myself with a multitude of badass athletes in our local running community and being inspired by their energy and unstoppable attitudes. There’s no better way to keep you focused on being the best version of yourself than Continue reading

Things I Know For Sure About Doing Your First Ironman

finishtimeWhen I turned 50 earlier this year, I decided to finally give myself the gift of chasing after my Ironman dream — something I’d been carrying with me since I was a teenager. I knew I wanted to be an Ironman in 1982 after watching Wide World of Sports on a Saturday afternoon and being bowled over by Julie Moss’ awe-inspiring race in Kona and her legendary crawl across the finish line.

It took me 34 years to build up my nerve, carve out the time, and mentally prepare for a year of training in my single-minded pursuit of becoming an Ironman, but it’s truly one of the best things I’ve ever done.

My way of showing gratitude for the gift of this journey and all the people who helped me along the way is not only to thank each of them, but to pay it forward and share what I’ve learned with others who might be contemplating their first Ironman.

Because you learn A LOT in the course of a year of training, I’m going to break it down into a series of blog posts covering the journey, the swim, the bike, run, nutrition and recovery, mental toughness, race day and the afterglow.

First of all, if you’re reading this, most likely you’ve taken the most difficult step of this entire journey — believing in yourself enough to hit the registration button. Even if you nearly peed yourself in the process, screamed, “Holy Crap, what have I done?” and laughed uncontrollably as you headed for a massive glass of wine and a box of chocolates, YOU DID IT!!! My hat is off to you. You are on your way!!!

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If you’re still building up your nerve, but have a burning desire to become an Ironman, don’t ignore it. It’s something you’ll never regret. And if you’ve been putting it on the back burner, waiting for the perfect time to do it, please know there is no perfect time. There never will be. Life always throws challenges our way. That’s one of the many reasons crossing the finish line is so freaking exhilarating and empowering.

Here’s what else I learned while doing my first Ironman…

The Journey

• It may sound cliche, but Ironman truly is a journey in every sense of the word, as you will travel to the farthest reaches physically, emotionally and spiritually, learning more about yourself than you ever imagined as you train for one of the most demanding endurance events of your life.

• It’s important to surround yourself with people who believe in your dream as much as you do.

• Do your “Ironman thing,” and do it with the passion that fills your heart. Life is short and this is a huge, life-affirming goal, so wear it on your sleeve and enjoy every second.

• Start where you’re at, not where you want to be. Slowly, steadily build and you will get there faster than if you jump in beyond your fitness level and get injured. Remember your number one goal is to get to the starting line healthy.

• Be patient. It may feel like it’s taking forever, but you will suddenly start cranking out mileage you never imagined.

• When you first start, you will likely be exhausted (All. The. Time.), and you will wonder how the hell you will ever do this thing called Ironman. It will pass after a few weeks though, as your body adjusts to the demands you are placing on it. In no time you will forget all about it because you’ll suddenly be on fire, getting stronger with each workout.

• Focus on the journey and not the race. The race itself is just one day, but the journey is made up of hundreds of days and likely thousands of hours. After all, if you’re not enjoying the journey, what’s the point?

• Don’t be afraid to share what you are doing. You never know who you might inspire, and the support and encouragement you receive along the way is immeasurable.

• You will find extraordinary beauty in your pursuit of becoming an Ironman — whether it’s in nature or people, or in simple moments that take your breath away. Don’t forget to stop and appreciate it. These are the moments that make your journey worth it all.

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• You do not have to be a certain shape or size to become an Ironman. You will see every kind of person imaginable on race day. Big, small, old, young, ones with naturally functioning legs and arms, some with prosthetics. Some of the biggest people on the race course have some of the strongest glutes and the fiercest hearts.

• Even if you stink at one of the disciplines at first, you WILL get it, and you will never regret the time you spent getting better at it while chasing after your dream.

• There will be days when you simply do not want to train, when you’d give anything to sleep in, then lounge around sipping coffee instead of dragging yourself to a cold pool or spending hours on your bike. Learn this mantra early in your training: “Don’t think. Just Go. Don’t think. Just Go.”

• The other mantra that will help you is “One day, one workout at a time.” Simply focus on what you are doing while you are doing it. If you start thinking too far ahead, you will get overwhelmed by the shear magnitude of what Ironman training requires. When you break it down to one single workout, it’s absolutely doable.

• Ironman does not happen without the help of others. Somebody along the way will give you advice, motivate you, perhaps even train with you. Many people went out of their way to help me reach my goal–from family and friends to my coach and teammates to employees at our local bike shop and running store to complete strangers. You will be floored by others’ enthusiasm for what you are doing–especially those who could never imagine attempting an Ironman.

• Never, I repeat NEVER forget the people around you who are helping you reach your goal. Be grateful. Show your appreciation. Do what you can to keep your family’s life in balance while you train. Your support crew will most likely be pulling yeoman’s duty during your Ironman journey, so it’s important to let them know how much you appreciate them.

• A coach makes a huge difference. Having somebody in your corner who pushes you, inspires you, reels you in when you’re on the verge of overdoing it, who answers every dumb newbie question (there are no dumb questions), and who prepares you mentally, physically and emotionally for the biggest athletic event of your life is worth every penny. If you’re thinking of going it alone, you can, but think again. You won’t regret it, even if you have to skimp somewhere else to pull together the funds to make it happen.

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• Finding the RIGHT coach is crucial. Make sure you are on the same page with your expectations, personalities, and styles. If you need a lot of hand-holding and cheerleading, be up front. Most newbies do. I know I did. Find a coach who is accessible and excited to hear from you. Once a week emails may not be enough to stir your motivation when the going gets tough. Being accountable to somebody who’s rooting for you all the way makes you want to get the work done no matter what.

• There will be high “highs” and low “lows” mixed in with a whole slew of ordinary training days during this long journey to the starting line. The lows are what make the highs all the more exhilarating, so keep that in mind as you work your way through them. Look at the lows as a gift because finding the grit to power on in the face of these challenges is also what’s going to make you unstoppable on race day.

• Don’t shy away from “bad weather.” There is no such thing. Wind, rain, cold, heat, humidity…they’re all your friends during training as they will make you stronger and prepare you for the worst. You will know you’ve faced these elements during training so you’ll be able to handle them again if they rear their heads on race day.

• Don’t ignore your core. It’s what will carry you through to the finish line. Strengthen it and the rest of your body will stay healthier and also become more powerful.

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• Recovery is king and makes all the difference in staying healthy. Train hard, but recover even harder. That means focusing on the essentials: rest, hydration, nutrition, and restorative stretching, foam rolling, and whatever else makes you feel balanced and whole.

• Documenting your journey lets you appreciate it on a whole other level and live it more than once. Whether it’s simply writing in a journal, snapping photos along the way, or full-on blogging like I did every week, you will always be able to remember the highs and lows and the multitude of memorable moments, even when your rides, runs and swims all start to blur together.

• Your skin will take a beating. Between the sun, sweat, chlorine, wind, salt water and other daily factors, you will look in the mirror and wonder, “Whaahappen?” Take care of your skin, but also recognize that what you are working toward is far greater than any new line on your face. You will also have a beautiful glow that radiates from within because you are so fired up about what you are doing.

• Brace yourself for the laundry. It’s epic. Your shower curtain rod will become a perpetual drying rack as it holds multiple pieces of of tri-related items…kits, swimsuits, sports bras, bike and running shorts…the list goes on. It’s all part of it. Accept it.

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• The logistics of training can be time-consuming, especially if you’re disorganized. Most triathletes are Type A, but if you’re not, this might be the time to ramp up your organization and planning skills. Keep your gear in one place, know your pool schedules, have your nutrition and water bottles prepped, make sure your Garmin is charged and your clothes ready. Prepare as much as possible the night before so you don’t waste precious time in the morning digging around for essential items. Training takes enough time in itself. You don’t want to pile on additional hours each week because you’re disorganized.

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• You will miss a workout every once in awhile. DON’T FREAK OUT. The journey to Ironman is long. If you’re sick, on the verge of injury, have an important family commitment or an intense day at work that leaves you walloped, it’s okay to skip it once in awhile. Don’t make it a habit, but don’t beat yourself up either. Sometimes the stress of trying to squeeze it in in the midst of chaos makes it worse, and sets your body back. This is another reason a coach is so helpful, especially one who understands your life outside of training.

• Joining a charity team for your first Ironman will make your experience all the more powerful because not only will you be changing your life during your journey, but the lives of others. That, my friends, is an extraordinary feeling. The support and camaraderie of your team will also boost you tenfold on race day. I chose to raise funds for Smile Train, a phenomenal organization providing free cleft surgeries for kids around the world. I can’t recommend Smile Train enough for what they do for children, and also what they do for the team.

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• Flexibility will keep you sane. Things come up, and you’ll likely need to switch your training schedule around once in awhile. Being rigid and stressing about it is not only counterproductive, but often unnecessary as you’ll most likely still get in all the work, perhaps just in a different order. Bend like a willow so you don’t break like an oak.

• You will have doubts and fears on occasion, questioning your ability and/or your sanity in training for an Ironman. That’s totally normal. Fear is a fantastic motivator. Use it to fuel your training instead of letting it paralyze you. Remember, as you push beyond your comfort zone, “Don’t think. Just Go.”

• Never forget that it’s pretty freaking awesome that you GET to do this. When you hear yourself say, “Ugh, I HAVE to go for a run or swim,” remind yourself that you are one lucky chica to be able to do this. Changing that one simple word is a powerful way to shift your entire mindset.

• Learn to laugh at yourself. You will undoubtedly make a few rookie mistakes during this long road to the starting line, and when you do, it’s best to find humor in the moment and be grateful you were able to get it out of the way before race day. Also, remember everyone was a rookie once and everyone has a “Rookie Mistake” story.

• Treat this journey as if it’s the only one you will ever be able to do in your lifetime. You will appreciate it all the more. You may fall in love with IM and go on to do twenty more, but for your first one, relish every second, even if it’s a sucky training day, even if you’re cursing at a flat tire, even if your muscles are screaming at you. Remember this is a once-in-a-lifetime, mind-blowing gift you are giving yourself.

As you begin (or continue on) your first Ironman journey, know that I am cheering for you every step of the way, and so are all the others who have come before you. You will never regret your decision to push yourself beyond your perceived boundaries. When you do finally go the distance and cross the finish line, every limitation you ever placed on yourself will suddenly be shattered and you will know deep inside that anything is possible.

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Tri on, my friends…

xoBecky

PS: In my next post I will be sharing what I learned about the swim during my first Ironman. For all of you swimmers who are self-described non-swimmers or still “works-in-progress,” know that if I can do it, you absolutely can do it. There’s hope for everyone. 🙂

Fellow Ironmen, what would you add to this list? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Ironman Race Week: Wrapping it Up with a Bow

It seems fitting that my last week of training in Santa Barbara ends on a beautiful note, a final gift that wraps up this entire journey with a dazzling bow. I did my last run on Tuesday just as the sun was setting so I could practice running in the dark again. This is what I was given. Life is definitely good, my friends.

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Yesterday, after meeting with Matt for a final powwow to go over my race plan and talk logistics and mental strategies, I did a short ride…a quick little spin to get my legs moving…stopping at Butterfly Beach to savor the end of this epic year of training. Aaaah, what a gift this has all been. I don’t take it for granted for a second.

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Then is was home to try to jam all this stuff into my transition bag. This just makes me laugh. And believe it or not, it all fit!

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Getting pumped along the way…writing few notes to myself on my water bottles to remind me to be in the moment and enjoy it all. My family wrote on all my others, which makes them extra special.

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Since this blog is part part sharing with you, and partly a journal for me, I continue to jot down all the details so I remember it.

Here’s what this week’s schedule looks like as #533 zips off to Arizona:

Monday: Swim 2250 y
Tuesday: Run 4 miles
Wednesday: Bike 45 minutes
Thursday: Drive to Tempe
Friday: Bike 45 minutes
Saturday: Practice swim in the lake, Bike 30-45 minutes with surges, Run 10-15 minutes with surges
Sunday: Race Day!!!

I’ve received so many wonderful emails and encouraging blog and FB comments, I’m truly blown away. This is one of my favorites notes I received in the mail–awesome art and words of encouragement from one of my former running club kids. So incredibly sweet. Thank you Theo! It means a lot.
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And a gift left on my doorstep from my BFF, Kimberly. Yep, I was welling, especially when I read the inscription. xo
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Thanks again for all your support, encouragement, advice and love everyone. It has fueled me all year and it will fuel me to the end.

Now it’s time to get this show on the road and do this thing!!!

xo B

Parting thought….

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Ironman Arizona Race Week: Raffle Winners

As I pack up all my gear to head to Arizona tomorrow, I want to pause for a moment and acknowledge all of my Smile Train Team Empower supporters and fundraising raffle winners.

As of now, we have raised $9,070.00 for Smile Train, which will provide 36 (and 1/4 more) kiddos with new smiles and new leases on life.

This is so freaking amazing, people! You helped me nearly double my original goal.

You have no idea how much this fills my heart. We are changing 36 lives FOREVER. These kids will now be able to eat, drink, and speak properly, and they’ll be able to go to school and go on to live happy and productive lives. You are making what would have been very difficult lives much brighter.

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Small gestures really can make big difference, especially when we join forces. This is proof.

Now….without further ado…drum roll please…

The winner of the raffle for the $50 Jane restaurant gift certificate and bottle of wine is….LORI ONISHUK.

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The winner of the $25 Amazon gift card for those who donated between $100-$249 is…ERNESTO PAREDES

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The winners of the $100 Amazon gift card for those who donated $250 or more are…JOE & MARIA FAZIO.

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Thank you to EVERYBODY who contributed to my fundraising efforts so far. I will be carrying all your good wishes and awesomeness with me on race day…

“A friend,” Merrill & Geraldine Aaronson, Lucas Meisel & Family, Roosevelt Running Club Spring 2106 team, Roosevelt Running Club Fall 2016 team, The Gaitan Family, Joe & Maria Fazio, The Malina Family, Heidi Jensen, Anonymous, Hensley & James Peterson, The Whelan Family, Cisco Matching Gift, Ana Martinez, DDS, Ernesto Paredes, The Tuckman Family, The Cowgill-Pichla Family, Artaz Heating-Plumbing, John Ellis & Tami Snow, Tim Green & Jo Haemer, Griffin & Chloe Miller & Family, Laura & Chad Bergerson, White & Grube Orthodontics, Betsy Sweda, Kim Shlens, Janet Cook, Tom & Lindy Melberg, Martha & Don Jefferson, Geoff, Jen & Mia Brown, Lori Onishuk, Elda Rudd, Jessica Risko, Whitney Bruice, Ruth Weber, Stella Pynn, Drea Schettler & Tim Strand, Greg Hall, The Rybnicek Family, The Clyne Girls, Kids Corner Coyotes, Claudia Drynan, The Battles Family, Stephanie Trager, McNees Family, Margo Rose, Tammy Gerenser, Jessical Mireles, Leo Schumaker, Chrissy Leonard, Justine Hamilton, The Park Family, Monica DeVreese, Mark & Gina Fennell, Heine-Twins, Erica Storm, Liz Mikkelson, Maude Williamson, Mark & LeAnn Green, Kromann Family, Jill Deering, PhysioPhyx, Christina Jaramillo, Kimberly, Anonymous, The Bartholomew Family, The Voigt Family, Randy Glick & Laura Jensen, The Mansbach Family, Jim Sloan, Namita Patel, Anonymous, Krista Kieding, Stephanie Christoff, Rena Heinrich, Cheryl Hutton, Teri Malinowski, Anonymous, Bruce & Regina Davis, John Herzog, Scott Kadous, Nash Jimenez, Curly Guillen, Carlos Gomez, Anonymous, Anonymous.

If for some reason, you haven’t been able to contribute yet, but would still like to, IT’S NOT TOO LATE! Here’s the link to click to donate: BECKY’S SMILE TRAIN PAGE.

Okay, awesome peeps, it’s back to packing for me. I head out early tomorrow (woohooo!!!) and will be posting on Facebook and Twitter when I can. I’ll be blogging (if the stars are aligned), but no promises…at least until I’m across the finish line. My main focus will be to be in the moment and soak it all up while I’m there.

Until next time…
With love, hugs, and heaps of gratitude,
xo Your Soon-To-Be Iron(Wo)man Becky

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Week 26 of Ironman Training: Hills, They’re What’s for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

When my coach, Matt, told me I better eat my Wheaties because we’d be climbing hills on our ride the next day, I was both humored and shaking in my boots flip-flops. Hills often bite me in the butt, so I know I need to work on them A LOT. At least he warned me though, so I could get mentally pumped for this one.

After shaking off my cobwebs and my grumpies from lack of sleep and logistical challenges the next morning, we set out on a 2 1/2 hour ride in the cool, gray marine layer. It was perfect climbing weather, although Matt quickly corrected me: “All weather is perfect climbing weather.” Bam. LOL. Love this guy.

I followed him up and down hills, zigging and zagging through a maze of back roads in Montecito, all the while trying to push it, yet keep my heart rate below a certain number. It wasn’t speedy by any stretch of the imagination (except the downhills), but that wasn’t the point. It was to steadily gobble up hills and build strength.

It was by far my favorite ride so far on this journey to Ironman Arizona. I can’t even explain why, but I found singular joy in the process, sucking air BIG TIME up all those hills and being surrounded by Santa Barbara’s natural beauty in the hills behind Montecito. I was grateful to be pushed, especially by somebody whose passion is cycling. I didn’t stop to take any pictures this time. Sorry, I was too busy pedaling, trying to keep up with Matt. Perhaps next time.

When I got home, I was whooped, which is always a great feeling. Mission accomplished. At least until the 5-mile run scheduled for later in the day.

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Whenever I’m feeling wobbly from training, this is the place I go–my workout wall. I look at all the training days I’ve put in this year and remind myself that each workout has added another drop of strength in my Ironman bucket. This simple act helps to bolster my “Hell YES I CAN” attitude, even on the toughest days.

After my hilly morning ride, my evening run was slated for a course with rolling hills (are getting the theme this week), so I chose Mountain Drive, a gorgeous road on the hillside relatively close to my house. Here are a few snaps.

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Love this mailbox. The butt opens for mail delivery.

Matt also had me doing hill repeats on one of my runs last weekend. Booyah! Bring. It. On.

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In the midst of my 7+mile run., I did 5 x 2 minutes hill repeats up Rodeo Road off of Turnpike, pushing hard up and jogging back down. Then I finished with a couple miles on a flatter road. That was after a 25-mile bike ride. Seriously fun stuff.

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I needed a little energy gel for that one, although more and more I’m starting wonder, “What the hell is in all this stuff I’m putting into my body?” Ack!

Swimming this week has been up and down. Some days it has felt smooth, other days…well…sigh…The only thing to do is to keep at it. Relentlessness has a way of quashing weaknesses and solidifying strength. I have to give a shout out to my daughter who came to the pool with me earlier this week to swim laps. After she was done, she photographed and videotaped me swimming, which was extremely helpful. I’m still working on not crossing over, keeping my head down and elbows up. I think I can. I think I can. As soon as I publish this blog post I’ll be heading back to the pool. Send me some good swim vibes! 🙂

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Inspiration: if you’re on the hunt for an inspiring read this summer, I highly recommend Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington’s autobiography, A Life Without Limits. At the end of the book, she sums up her thoughts: “If there is one thing I have learned, particularly in my life as an athlete, it is that our limits may not be where we think they are. And, even when we think we’ve finally reached them, the next time we go there exploring we often find that they’ve moved again.”

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Okay, I’m off to the pool to keep at it. I hope you enjoy your day in every way, my fabulous friends. Thanks for your relentless support and enthusiasm. It means everything. Like so many of you, I continually strive to be a person who doesn’t know how to quit.

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Until next time…

xo Becky

PS: Exciting things are happening next week with my training and another fun summer adventure. Stay tuned…

PSS: As always, if you missed any of my previous posts about my Ironman journey, you can click on any of 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
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 22 and 23 of Ironman Training: Holy Epicness…Julie Moss

It has been an epic couple weeks around here, both in training and on the home front. It’s enough to lift a girl ten feet off the ground then lay her out flat, exhausted. That’s the life of Ironman training, it seems. Highs and lows. The trick is to try your damnedest to stay consistent in the midst of life’s rollercoaster. And that, my friends, is where I’m at right now. Blurry eyed, but keeping on track and still having fun, thanks to the huge support of my family and coach.

Epic Inspiration: Last night I had the honor of meeting Ironman legend, Julie Moss. Listening to her inspiring talk, which she presented to the SB Tri Club meeting, was one of the big “highs” of this week. You see, Julie Moss is the very reason I am doing an Ironman.

For those of you who do not immediately recognize her name, let me take you back…

It’s 1982 and ABC’s Wide World of Sports is broadcasting the Ironman World Championships in Kona. In the women’s division, a 23-year old unknown college student is leading the race much of the way. It’s the ultimate underdog story. That is until her legs give out with just a couple miles to go. Severely dehydrated, she falls down, gets up, falls down, gets up, and falls down while viewers around the world are on the edge of their seats cheering for her, fighting back tears. I’m 16 years old and completely riveted, yelling at the TV, “Get up, Julie! You can do it! Come on, you can do it! You’re almost there!” Her grit is awe-inspiring. She gets up again, staggering, then with just a few yards to go, she falls one last time. Our hearts collectively sink as the 2nd place woman, Kathleen McCartney, passes her. What never ever leaves us though, is the image of this warrior, Julie Moss, crawling across the finish line in the most dramatic Ironman finish ever. Pure epic-ness! I still get goosebumps when I see the clips. (click HERE if you want to watch it).

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After witnessing that moment on television, I knew one day I HAD to attempt an Ironman myself. I never thought it would take me 34 years to get to this point, but the point is that I never gave up on that dream, or pushed it aside thinking it was too late. Hopefully I won’t be crawling across the finish line, but whatever race day brings, I’ll be happy because I let that seed up inspiration grow inside until it blossomed into something I could no longer “not do.”

As you can imagine, it gave me tremendous joy last night to be able to pay homage to Julie and tell her what an impact she made on me, along with so many others. #fangirlforlife

Epic swim: If you’ve been following along on my Ironman journey, you know that swimming has always been a challenge for me. When I started training back in January 500 y was agonizingly hard. I had to stop every 50-100 y to catch my breath and I loathed the process. Well, I’m here to tell you that anything is possible with enough hard work. Just a few days ago I swam 2.5 miles (4400 y) without stopping, and I didn’t even feel like I was going to die! This was HUGE for me because it finally got me over the mental hurdle of knowing I can get through this part of the race. Woot! Now it’s time to take it to the ocean where I’ll be practicing swimming in the mix of others and working on my speed.

Epic ride: Sunday I completed a solid 65-mile ride with a some hills and intervals mixed in along the way. This is the longest ride I’ve done to date (with the exception of my accidental century back in March–click HERE if you missed it). I won’t lie, the last 5-10 miles weren’t easy, mostly on my cranky knee, but after focusing on my recovery–icing, foam rolling, stretching, good nutrition and rest–I’m back in business and heading out the door for another ride this morning.

Here’s what my training schedule looked like these past couple week:

May 30-June 5
Monday: Bike 45 minutes
Tuesday: Run 60 minutes, Swim 60 minutes, Pilates
Wednesday: Bike 90 minutes with hills, yoga
Thursday: Swim 3100y, Run 60 minutes, Pilates
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Bike the SB Tri course (34 miles with hills), run 15 minutes off the bike
Sunday: State Street Mile with our Coyotes (jog the course–2 miles), 50 minute trail run, stretch class

June 6-12
Monday: Swim 2450y, Bike 60 minutes, Killer Kate’s strength class
Tuesday: Off (family day)
Wednesday: Run 60 minutes
Thursday: Bike 90 minutes on a hilly course, Run 40 minutes
Friday: Swim 4400 y
Saturday: Run 60 minutes on trails
Sunday: Bike 4+ hours (65 miles) with intervals

A few epic snaps from the past couple weeks…

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More inspiration from Julie Moss.

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Bike hill repeats and a view from a ride on Mountain Drive

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Trail run at Lake Los Carneros

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Runshine along Chase Palm Park! And a little rehydration after a brick workout.

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Trail run on Jesusita Trail…aaaah nature always reinvigorates the soul.

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Sushi lunch! And granola balls my daughter made for my training. Seriously delish!

Epic moments: Continue reading

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