Week Twelve of Ironman Training: A Bundle of Sticks Can’t Be Broken

For the past three months I’ve completed nearly every one of my training sessions solo, with the exception of a couple swims and a few group classes, so it was a treat to be joined by friends last week for a couple workouts!

First, Kate Elliott joined me for part of a run after her early morning Thursday strength class.

KateRunning31716

Don’t be fooled by her sweet smile…she’s a fitness beast!

KateRun31716copy

Then on Friday, Jenni Miller joined me for part of a ride during my swim-bike-run workout (sorry I didn’t snap any pictures–too busy pedaling).

Training with friends makes all the difference, especially when things get tough. Last week’s volume was lighter, but my body was still feeling REALLY grumpy, perhaps letting me know that when you accidentally do a full century the weekend before, you might feel it later. Ha ha. Or when you ignore things, they don’t always magically go away.

What brightened my day was riding part way up Gibraltar with Jenni. Chitchatting about life while you’re cranking out the miles takes your mind off everything but the fun. Thank you Jenni! After we parted ways, I still had a couple more hours of riding solo, which was fine, but definitely not comfortable or joyful. That is until out of nowhere, fellow SB Tri Club member, John Abrami, appeared on Shoreline Drive, pulling me along and putting the zip back into this ride. Thank you John! You have no idea what a difference you made in those few miles we rode together.

Not only did John and Jenni lift me up, but so did friends who happened to be driving in my direction near the end of my ride, rolling down their window to offer encouragement. Sometimes it’s the tiniest things that pick you up! Thanks Brett and Wendi! The run afterward? Let’s just say I was grateful for all the positive vibes that surrounded me on that day.

I don’t share any of this to complain or say, “Woe is me,” because my issues are not special. We all have them. And who wants to hear about other people’s aches and pains? NOBODY.

I only share this with you to celebrate the extraordinary power of friends.

It reinforces the notion of one my favorite proverbs:”A bundle of sticks can’t be broken.”

As an individual “twig,” when the pressure of training and life pushes hard, it’s easy to be snapped in half, but with the support of friends, family, coaches, teammates, and other supporters, our “bundles” become nearly indestructible.

This sits on my desk at home, a gift from one of my dearest friends. It's a constant reminder of the strength that always surrounds me.

This sits on my desk at home, a gift from one of my dearest friends. It’s a constant reminder of the strength that always surrounds me.

My bundle showed its strength even more after my workout on Friday when my friends and massage therapists extraordinaire, Larry & Stephanie Trager, squeezed me in for a little work on my angry ribs and back. Thank you Tragers!

You can imagine how much I appreciate Coach Mike in the mix of my bundle of sticks. This week he’s scaled my schedule way back so my body can hit reset. His wise council and experience are what will keep me healthy and moving forward. I’m so grateful to have him in my corner.

This is what’s on tap this week:
Monday: Swim 1200y
Tuesday: Run 40 minutes, Bike 60 minutes
Wednesday: Swim 1000 y
Thursday: Friday: Bike 2.5 hours, Run 30 minutes off the bike
Friday: Off
Saturday: Run 60 minutes, Swim 1000y
Sunday: Off

Here are a few snaps from Saturday’s long run. After being surrounded by friends during Friday’s “mini tri day,” I ran solo again–this time for 1 hour and 50 minutes. I opted for mostly softer surfaces, doing loops around the flat trails at the Douglas Preserve, then running on grass over at La Mesa Park, then down and around Shoreline Park.

DouglasPreserve31916

DouglasPreserveRun31916

Stopping to take in the view and stretch out my back for the umptienth time.

DouglasRunDone31916

This is what I look like when I’m trying to muster up a smile because I’m so freaking happy to be putting this run behind me. Some days you just gotta suck it up buttercup and get it done. The good news is that it can only get better!

Commitment

And just for fun, here’s a little randomness… Continue reading

Advertisements

Runcation: Day 11 and 12 Aspen Cycling, Pure Barre, Kayaking, Oh My!

The beauty of a runcation is that while your legs may feel tired from running four days in a row, you know you only have a limited amount of time in the place you’re visiting, so you’re determined to “get it while you can.” At least that’s how I felt during our visit back to Aspen. I also wanted to spend time with friends, so what better way to do both than to enjoy a workout out together?

SarahOakleyHenry

Sarah with Oakley and Henry

After running 8 miles during the Aspen Backcountry Marathon with my friend Patty Bryant, and hiking up Aspen Mountain and doing yoga the day before (you can read about it HERE and HERE if you missed it), I borrowed a bike and rode up to the Maroon Bells with my dear friend, and fitness partner in crime, Sarah.

Sarah has been a friend for more than two decades and when I lived in Aspen, we often enjoyed cycling together in the spring and summer. Today was a fabulous day to share that joy again.

Riding up to the Maroon Bells made for a perfect rest/cross-training day. Although the ride up is a good challenge—about 20 miles round-trip with a steady uphill that eventually reaches 9,570 ft.—we cruised and had fun chatting and soaking up the beauty around us. It never gets old.

Photo of Becky and Sarah

BellsSarahBike

Riding up to the Bells also reminded me just how much I love cycling. I ride at home in Santa Barbara, but it’s never relaxing as drivers seem to have little regard for cyclists. Perhaps it’s the California car culture thing? Here, two wheels rule, and it always makes for blissful rides, especially on this road, which is closed to private cars much of the day. I definitely appreciated every minute of this ride. And zooming back down from Maroon Lake at 30-35 mph? Woohoo!

After our ride, I regrouped with my family and had a fabulous vegetarian Vietnamese noodle salad for lunch before we headed to the John Denver Sanctuary along the Roaring Fork River, where we strolled through the beautiful grounds and soaked up the the serenity and the JD vibe. My mom was a HUGE John Denver fan when she was alive, so this place brought back fond memories of her and the time we spent here, pushing my daughter in a stroller when she was just a tiny peanut.

JohnDenverSanctuary

Rocky Mountain High would be an understatement for our visit back to the ol’ silver mining town.

JDSanctuaryRockyMtHigh

Later that afternoon my sweet girl and I hiked a short way up Buttermilk Mountain so she could play in the packed snow, which was left over from the X-Games half pipe. I was happy we could also squeeze in a little chillin’ by the pool too, especially since I managed to sneak in a little reading between swimming laps and having raft races. I’m loving Scott Jurek’s Eat & Run book. Have you read it?

PoolTimeReading

Monday morning was another fun day with my friend Sarah. She convinced me to join her for an early morning Pure Barre class—something I’d never tried. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but soon discovered Continue reading