There are only 23 days to go until I’m standing in my wetsuit at the start of Ironman Arizona!! I have goosebumps just thinking about it. You might also hear a symphony of butterflies flitting around in my stomach as you read this — all good stuff, and part of the process as I revel in joy and excitement of the challenge ahead.
What made it feel “extra real” was receiving my official race bib number last week: #533. It’s my lucky number too, harkening back to my early basketball days when I sported #33 on the court, just like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who I idolized. Ha ha. Nerd Girl. It’s the little things people!!
I can’t think about the race too much though, because there’s still work to be done in the next 23 days. Right now I’m at the pinnacle of my training before I start tapering. For the last six days I’ve been hitting it hard, and now I have a day of rest before I start ramping it up again for this weekend’s 9-hour swim-bike-run metric Ironman training day (1.5 mile swim, 70 mile bike, 16 mile run). Today’s rest day is the reason I’m finally able to carve out a little time to catch up on my blog.
One thing I wanted to share was this sweet little nugget. I was honored to be featured by Smile Train in their Ironman MilesforSmiles campaign recently. It tickled me because I love what they do. My quote is a little hard to read on the photograph, but this is what it says:
“I choose to race with Team Empower for my first Ironman because it combines my two favorite things: my love of triathlon and my love of helping others. It’s pure joy being part of a team that’s working hard to improve the lives of others, knowing our efforts will make a tangible difference, providing new smiles and much brighter futures for children all around the world.”
I know you may be sick of hearing about my Smile Train fundraising (hopefully not), but if you’d like to support my efforts for this fantastic organization, you can click HERE and make a tax-free donation. Only a few more smiles to go until I reach my new fundraising goal of $7,030! And only 2 spots left in the drawing for a $100 gift card (for a donation of $250 or more) and 3 spots left for the $25 gift card (for a contribution of $100-$249).
Here’s a quick glimpse of last week, which was both tough and fun–the perfect combination. It included participating in the Santa Barbara 100 bike event on Saturday.
Monday: Swim 3600y (2 miles), core, massage (aaahh)
Tuesday: Run 30 minutes, Swim 1000y, core
Wednesday: Bike 2 hours, run with my kids at running club, core
Thursday: Swim 4500y (2.5 miles), core
Friday: Rest, core
Saturday: Santa Barbara 100K, followed by a 10-mile run, core
Sunday: Bike 2 hours on a hilly course, core
I just have to take a minute and give another HUGE shout out to this awesome person, my massage therapist, Stephanie Trager. She has been an integral part of keeping me healthy and injury-free this year. It’s a delicate dance of pushing hard to get stronger and fitter, often ignoring all the aches that come with the territory, while also making sure you take care of your muscles and joints when they let you know you’ve tango’ed a little too much. Stephanie always gets me back up and running so I can keep moving forward. I’m so lucky to have her in my corner. Thank you Stephanie! Not to mention, I get lots of love from Murphy when I visit too.
Stephanie and Murphy
Even when my body is a little cranky, I still try to find joy in each of my workouts. Tuesday I did a quick 30 minute run before my swim, and cruised along one of my favorite locations, the bike path along Butterfly Beach in Montecito.
I haven’t been able to make it to Killer Kate’s strength classes very often anymore due to scheduling issues and recovery days so I’m trying to be diligent with core strengthening at home. I do a daily “short and sweet” routine which includes push-ups, planks, side planks, donkey kicks, bridges, clam shells, 100s and squats, and hope this truncated effort will still carry me through.
It’s hard not to laugh when your big brown dog is in your face while you’re trying to do push-ups.
Much of the week I neglected to take pictures, which is unusual for me, but I did snap many on Saturday during the SB100 bike event.
This was a fantastic event with several options in terms of distance and climbing. Many of my hardcore friends did the full 100 miles with 9,000 ft of climbing. I opted for the more sane choice (100K with 4,000 ft.) and followed it up with a 10-mile brick run.
It was a gorgeous morning, and fun to see so many friends out there participating.
The event started and finished at Leadbetter Beach, with over 1,000 riders taking part.
Once again, this was a chance for me to practice my race day nutrition, clothing, pacing, etc.
While a century ride isn’t typically a “race” per se, this event had an element of competition, especially for the full century distance, where riders raced to the top of Gibraltar. OMG. Brutal. Bravo to those studs who took it on.
I pushed my pace throughout the 100k ride, but also stopped at two of the four aid stations to refuel. By the end of 64 miles, my legs were definitely feeling it.
My brick run afterward was a toughie, but I got through it, reminding myself that it was bringing me one step closer to IMAZ. I chuckled when a couple cyclists pedalled past me while I was running and said, “Wait, didn’t you just do the 100? You are crazy, girl.” Yep, we’re all crazy in our own way.
I was happy to have this one in the books…whooped but stronger for having knocked it out.
And my legs were happy to have an ice bath in the ocean afterward.
The topper to the week was getting on my bike again the next day for a two hour hill ride. Matt had a special name for this workout, which I probably shouldn’t repeat here–ha ha, but it was essentially meant to continue toughening me up both physically and mentally.
As I was trying to rally up some motivation in the morning, I had to tell myself, “Don’t think, just go. Turn your brain off and just get it done.” It was a really good day to practice all my race day mantras and visualization strategies too, as I huffed up each hill. My mental bag of tricks is getting larger by the day, and I’m sure I’ll be relying on all of them on race day.
Surprisingly, two hours went by relatively fast, and I ended up enjoying much of this ride. Here’s a view of one of the more mellow roads I cruised on–East Mountain Drive–so sleepy on a Sunday afternoon. Thanks Matt for making me get my butt out there again when I wouldn’t have otherwise.
As I count down these last 23 days, I’m trying to savor each workout, each challenge and each moment that brings me closer to crossing the finish line in Tempe. I’m breathing in courage and exhaling fear. I’m fueling my mind with positive imagery, picturing myself loving every minute of the race, while preparing myself for the reality of the most grueling athletic event of my life. I’m continually reminding myself that I’ve put in the work, so no matter what happens on race day, I’ve done my best, and my best is good enough.
When I started officially training back in January, I had no idea just how much I would love this journey. Sure some days have been more challenging than others, and muscles have complained here and there, but I have never felt more grateful for my health and fitness and for all the people in my life who have made this epic adventure so special.
I’m one lucky chica, and I don’t forget it for a minute.
Until next time…happy weekend to you all!
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