Week 36 of Ironman Training: Miles of Opportunities

One of the best things about Ironman training is that it gives you miles of opportunities to try new things while pushing your limits and stretching all notions of what’s possible in life. Every new adventure brings the chance to breathe in strength and gratitude and exhale weakness and the dullness of “ordinary.”

On Saturday I had the opportunity to enjoy another new adventure–the Ventura Century, a 102 mile ride through Santa Barbara County with over 5200 ft. of elevation. This was an important training ride for me in which I simulated everything I would do on race day–from what I’d wear to how I’d pace myself to what I’d eat and drink.

venturastart
After doing a 1-hour shake-out ride on Friday and organizing all my gear, I awoke at 4:30 am, had a bowl of oatmeal and headed to my French Press for coffee. This little note kicked off my day in all the best ways. Love my supporters! xo

lovenote

Then I loaded up my gear and arrived at the Ventura Pier a little before 6:00 to pick up my race packet. I also consumed a banana with peanutbutter to top off my nutrition before I started the ride.

gearforcentury

It’s mind-boggling how much thought you have to put into planning for triathlons, and how much “stuff” you need. This day didn’t even involve a swim–only a ride and a run afterward.

I’d planned to start promptly at 6:30, but at the last minute decided to swing by the “bike check” tent to make sure everything was working properly on my bike. Phil from Hypercat Racing gave it a once over and said it was safe, but that my gears were shifting funky, which I already knew. He tinkered with my bike for about ten or fifteen minutes, adjusting the derailleur and a few other things. I started a little later than planned, but because Phil wanted to make sure everything worked well for me, I was able to enjoy this ride on a much higher level (especially since I didn’t have to listen to the horrible noises my bike was making). Thank you Phil!

phil

I also started later than planned because just as I was about to head to the starting line, my sunglasses fell and shattered. Oh shit. Not a good way to begin. Thankfully, I’d thrown in an extra pair with all my gear the night before (I must have known!). After swinging by my car to pick up my replacement glasses, I finally hit the road just before 7:00 am.

This was a VERY low-key event. No big hoopla or starting arch, no music or announcers or energizing buzz–just a handful of others rolling out at the same time, snapping quick pictures, then all hitting the start buttons on our watches.

Even though I was thinking “this could be a long day with so little buzz,” I was mentally ready to take it on, no matter what it brought. One nice thing it brought right way was discovering the awesome bike path that stretches from Ventura to Ojai. I’d heard about it, but had never ridden on it. Because I participated in this event, I am now able to add another route to my training options, which will help keep it fresh.

I started out the morning conservatively, as Matt suggested, saving up for the hills ahead. As we neared Ojai, we turned left on Hwy 150 and headed in the direction of Casitas Pass, our first big challenge. I’d ridden this pass solo earlier in the year, doing an out and back from the Santa Barbara side, so I knew it was a good one. I felt strong though, as I pedaled up to the top, telling myself, “You totally got this.” It was a gorgeous morning so I stopped to snap a picture and enjoy the moment before flying down the other side.

casitaspassview
Then it was back up another peak before connecting to Hwy 192, a road I’ve spent innumerable hours on over the past nine months, and a road I’m not terribly fond of with all its rough patches and territorial drivers. I’ve learned where most of the major potholes are and I’ve learned to ride both more aggressively and defensively, so thankfully, it wasn’t too bad.

The best part was that I felt strong going up Toro Canyon, passing several people along the way, offering encouragement to them as I kept grinding. The same was true as we climbed up Stanwood Drive, another toughie. One guy I caught near the top puffed, “Nice climbing,” which made me send a big thank you to Matt for making me ride so many hills.

After the second aid station just past Toro Canyon, I ended up riding almost entirely solo the rest of the day, which was good for my mental game. Just me, myself, and I and hours of continually monitoring my nutrition and hydration and assessing how I was feeling. I felt good most of the way, except I was hungry often, even though I was chowing on energy gels, almonds, peanutbutter pretzels, SkratchLab fruit chews, bites of turkey jerkey, and even some Red Vines and Tootsie Rolls (my sweet treat when things got rough). At the aid stations I had a ClifBar, banana, and Cheez-its (of all weird things) and topped off my hydration with water and electrolytes. The volunteers were awesome and I thanked them profusely each time before I headed back out.

What I realized is that the physical logistics of riding a bike and trying to open up my new bento box to get food (which opens in the opposite direction of my old, smaller one) was preventing me from eating enough. It was cumbersome to manage. I need something that’s more easily accessible so I can keep my eyes on the road and quickly reach in for some food. It’s fortunate I discovered this problem on this ride instead of race day because it gives me the chance to figure out a better system for IMAZ. If I’m going to run a marathon after riding 112 miles, I can’t afford to start off depleted. The other crucial mistake I made was somehow forgetting my second packet of Tailwind in my car, my go-to source of calories and electrolytes. Won’t do that again.

Fortunately, although I was hungry, I never bonked, and was able to finish strong–especially with a downhill grade to the end. It took me 6:56 to complete 102 miles. Then I changed into my running shoes and took off on a half hour jaunt. I was wondering how my stomach would feel after eating so much junk food on this ride, but surprisingly, it didn’t feel bad at all. And happily, my legs didn’t feel any worse than doing a run after a 30-40 mile ride. All in all, I’d call this day a success as it made me truly internalize the fact that I will cross the finish line in Arizona.
postcenturyriderun

In case you’re wondering what the rest of the week looked like, here’s what my schedule looked like:

Monday: Rest (drive back from Palm Springs)
Tuesday: Swim 4000y, Run 1 hour with rolling hills
Wednesday: Yoga, Bike 2 hours with hills
Thursday: Swim 2000y, Run 45 minutes
Friday: Bike 1 hour
Saturday: Ventura Century Ride (102 miles), Run 3 miles off the bike
Sunday: Stretch class, Swim 1-mile (easy recovery pace)

And here are a few snaps from the week:

On Tuesday I decided to do my long swim down at the Carpinteria public pool. It’s a nice outdoor facility and it’s rarely crowded. Once again, it did not disappoint.
carppool9616
Afterward I had an hour run slated with rolling hills. I knew a trail run would be softer on my body than the road so I went to the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve and ran on the trails. The goal was to power up the hills and cruise back down them, and once again, I choose to run in the heat of the day to continue getting my body ready for AZ heat.
carpbluffsnaturepreservesign
Mission accomplished: 6.45 miles logged with multiple zip-a-dee-doos up and down hills, and time to enjoy the view from the special place.
carpbluffsoverlook
On Wednesday, after going to yoga, I did a 2-hour hill ride, ending it with a short jaunt of Gibraltar Road.

gibraltarroad
Thursday was a mellow 45 minute “maintenance run,” which I started at the Andree Clark Bird Refuge.

birdrefugerun9816
It was a fun surprise to discover this new exercise stretch station City Parks & Rec. recently installed. I was told it was donated by a 90-year old man who wished to remain anonymous. Thank you kind gentleman for your generosity. My hips thank you!
hipstretchbirdrefuge

stretchstationsign
After running along the bird refuge and Chase Palm Park, I decided to be a tourist and run on Stearn’s Wharf, something I rarely do.

wharfrun9816
It was fun to venture out to the end of the wharf and hear the sounds of many different languages being spoken–yet another benefit of no longer running with music. I find that I’m much more tuned into my surroundings and also my breathing. Tuning in instead of tuning out is kind of cool, even if it has taken me a little while to adjust to it.

wharfseacenter9816  wharfdetail

harbor9816

wharfrun09816

New gear I’m loving:

Rapha cycling shorts (thank you Jenni Miller for the recommendation)! These are a game changer for me. For the first time in months I’ve finally been comfortable on my bike seat. Believe me this is no small matter when you’re riding for hours. I’ve tried a variety of different brands of shorts, and have even tried doubling up two pairs of tri shorts, and for the most part I’ve suffered through many uncomfortable miles. All I can say is Halle-freaking-lujah! Extra happy points is that I got them during Rapha’s big sale (think it’s still going on?).

raphashorts

Cobb Randee Saddle: The other thing that has helped is trying yet another new seat. The fourth time is a charm! I think we finally have the magic combination with this Cobb Randee saddle. Thanks to Matt and Bruce at Hazard’s for your perseverance!

cobbrandeesaddle

Feetures Elite Socks: Love these squishy, compressiony socks!

feeturessocksfeetures

Legends: It was fun to hear 2x Ironman World Champion, Scott Tinley, speak to our tri club last week. His talk focused mainly on the history and unique people of this sport, and the many reasons why we choose to tri, but every once in awhile he’d throw in a funny personal anecdote about his racing career (like how he regrets wearing a Speedo during competion–“It was just wrong,” he joked). 🙂
scotttinleytalk
After his talk, I felt compelled to tell him that my very first “real” road bike was a Scott Tinley Ironman Centurion, which made him chuckle. I rode that heavy beast of a bike for more than 20 years. No joke. Many wonderful memories were created on it–including a 400+ mile ride through the Colorado Rockies. I knew that thing inside out and backwards, even if it was a tank. I totally cracked up when Scott said, “Oh man, those things were crap!”Ha ha. Compared to today’s bikes, yes, but back in 1989, well…maybe.

scotttinley

As I head into Week 37 of training, I’m excited about what lies ahead! I’ll be driving to Tempe, AZ on Thursday morning to join my Smile Train Team Empower teammates for Ironman training camp. It’s a 4-day camp, which will have us swim-bike-run’ing on the actual IMAZ course, including a swim race in Tempe Town Lake on Thursday, and an Olympic distance triathlon on Sunday. Think good thoughts. It’s going to be 100 degrees!

Finally….a big shout out to Natasha and Yvonne for their generous contributions to my Smile Train fundraising this week! We’re now up to funding nearly 21 kids for free cleft surgery. My goal is to fund 25 kids by race day on November 20th, which means we have just 69 days to go to make it happen. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll consider making a contribution. You can click on the following link to make a donation and help change the life of a child and his/her family: Becky’s Smile Train Fundraising Page.

Thanks for considering, and thanks for all your support!

XO
Becky

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 35 of Ironman Training: Chasing the M-Dot with Toughness Training

Much of Ironman training is about showing up and doing the work, whether you’re feeling 100% or not. It’s about getting through aches and pains, life’s scheduling challenges and the onslaught of mental fatigue. It’s about keeping your eye on the prize, even if that prize still feels like it’s miles away.

After flying high during last weekend’s triathlon and follow-up 2-hour ride, my body was feeling it early in the week. On Tuesday my calves were still cranky when I started my 8-mile run, and then in the midst of doing intervals, I tweaked a rib in my back AGAIN. Argh. So #%!@ frustrating.

By Wednesday my mental state was a bit in the dumper. Between my back, my tired legs and many nights of poor sleep, I was definitely not sporting the title of Little Miss Merry Sunshine when I met Matt for our 3-hour hill ride. Fortunately, Matt just got us spinning. He’s wise that way. Don’t think, just go.

I may have been cursing like a sailor at times during this ride (thankfully Matt couldn’t hear me), and every hill may have felt ten times harder than normal, but I got through it–40 miles of ups, downs, heres and theres.

One thing that kept me going was focusing on the back at Matt’s calf with his Ironman M-Dot tattoo–the perfect reminder of the iron strength and mental toughness I will need to earn the honor of becoming an Iron(wo)man myself.

Matt_MDot
Matt reminded me numerous times that there would be rough moments during my race in November, and the key to crossing the finish line would be figuring out how to manage them. Practicing mental strategies to push away the demons and negative thoughts, as well as staying hydrated and adequately fueled to power on for an entire day would be paramount.

One strategy I’ve been using over these past months (including this ride) is to focus on what feels strong at the moment. If my calves are screaming, then I focus on the strength I have in my glutes or quads. If my back is angry, I focus on my abs and pulling them in tight. If my mind is whiny, I remind myself that I am living the dream I’ve wanted to pursue since I was a teenager, and this is what it takes. In other words, “Suck it up Buttercup, and focus on the joy of this journey. And always, ALWAYS remember how lucky you are to be able to do this.”

The other thing that has helped is immersing myself in several books about mental toughness: How Bad Do You Want It, Grit, and The New Toughness Training for Sports. Each is a mix of inspiring anecdotes, science, and ideas about ways to work on your mental game. They’re good reads for those who want to push the limits and see how others have approached mastering the psychology of mind over muscle.

ToughnessBooks

As I focused on exercising my mental muscle last week, here’s what my schedule looked like:

Monday: Swim 30 minutes (recovery swim after Sunday’s tri, working on technique), Strength
Tuesday: Run 1 hour 15 minutes with 5 x 5 minutes intervals in the middle
Wednesday: Bike 3 hours (hills with Matt)
Thursday: Swim 4250y with a 1000TT
Friday: Run 2 hours
Saturday: Swim 2500m  (Palm Springs)
Sunday: Bike 3 hours, Run 1 hour (Palm Springs)

Here are a few snaps from the week:

I loved seeing the remnants of the transition area from last weekend’s tri as I cruised through the East Beach parking lot during Tuesday’s run.

RunChalk
I know I’ve shared this before, but when I need a mental boost, I head to my workout wall to remind myself of all the work I’ve put in so far. This time it was also a good place to elevate my grumpy calves.

LegsWorkoutWall
Then it was back to the incline board to stretch these buggers. And yes, I need a pedicure!

SlantBoard
And then of course, more foam rolling. My Zensah compression sleeves helped too.
FoamRolling
Thursday was a gorgeous day to do a time trial and a long swim! I was happy my rib/back felt okay as swimming relies heavily on those intercostal muscles.

SwimTT9116
Friday I completed my longest run to date–2 hours–12.2 miles, with one minute walking breaks every mile to simulate walking through the aid stations on the IMAZ course. I chose to run down in Carpinteria as that’s where I’ll be doing an Olympic distance tri (1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run) at the end of September. It was a gorgeous day, and even though I felt rushed, squeezing in this run between morning errands/appointments and picking our daughter up from school, it was awesome.

Matt suggested I run in what I’ll be wearing on race day, my Smile Train Team Empower tri kit, and consciously focus on the nutrition and hydration aspects of the run as if it were race day. Also, no music! I love my tunes when I run so this was good toughness training for me. The reason behind it is that music isn’t allowed on the course during the race. I also ran in the heat of the day to get my body more and more ready for AZ temperatures. And you know what? I felt good. One small step closer. 🙂

CarpRun9216
Labor Day weekend we loaded up my bike and all my training gear, along with our giant dog, and my very patient family, and we headed to Palm Springs to visit Jeffrey’s parents. Not only was it great to spend time with his parents, but it also provided a good opportunity to train in the heat and also continue working on my mental game.

MentalMuscleMeme
Our car thermometer read 104 degrees when we arrived–hot, but not too bad. It was 122 last time we were there so this seemed tolerable.

CarTempPS
I had a swim on the schedule for the day so I sneaked away in the late afternoon and headed to the public pool, a wonderful facility which, much to my surprise, is hardly ever crowded. My in-laws had a hard time comprehending why I couldn’t just swim in their kidney-shaped pool in the back yard, but when I told them it would take a bizillion laps, it suddenly made sense.

PSLapPool
For this swim, once again, I worked on my mental game. First of all, I nix’ed my music, which is huge, as I lean on it to distract me from the monotony and discomfort of the sport I’m still trying to fall in love with deeply. It was just me and my breath, continually focusing on staying tuned into my form and trying to relax and get in the groove. After a 500m warm-up, I did 2 x 1000m, and was happy that my time was not that far off from my time trial a few days earlier when I was really pushing it and also using a pull buoy. It wasn’t a super long workout, but it was a good one, and one I felt satisfied with without having to abandon my family for too long.
LapsPSPool9316
The next day, it was time for a brick workout–a 3-hour bike ride with a run immediately off the bike. This was another perfect opportunity to work on mental toughness as I had little sleep and it was already 87 degrees at 8:00am. The wind was also picking up.

I was looking forward to tackling some wind and heat training, but I have to admit, this wind thing rattled me. Literally.

As I headed out toward the windmills, desert grit pelted my sweaty, sunscreen-y skin. Hunkering down on my aerobars, I tried to imagine slicing through the wind like an arrow, and when a gust pummeled me from the side, I used my core and leaned into it, holding on with a white knuckle death grip. On several occasions I nearly got blown over.
WindMillsPS
I kept telling myself, “You got this, hang tough,” as I powered on, but I also knew I couldn’t afford to be stupid. If the wind caused me to veer into the car lane, which was way too close for comfort, I’d be toast. Being safe, I eventually looped around in a different direction, snapping this picture on the way. My sideways ponytail says it all. Hopefully it won’t be like this in Arizona on race day! If it is though, I know I will get through it.
PSWindyBike9416
Surprisingly, this ride went by really fast, reminding me that our bodies and minds really do adapt. Not long ago, 3 hours felt impossibly long. Now it just feels normal.
BikePS9416
Afterward I was scheduled to do a 30 minute run right off my bike, but somehow my running shoes, which were sitting right by the door when I left, got placed in our car, which my family took to do an outing while I was riding. Needless to say, this did not make me happy as brick workouts are crucial to training so your body adapts to the feeling of running right after you get off the bike.

The good news though, is that because I had to wait a couple hours for them to return, it got even hotter so I could practice running in the heat.
PSTempRun
And even better is that since I couldn’t complete my brick, I ran twice as long to make up for it. Happiness is feeling strong running 6.2 miles in 90+ degree heat with negative splits. It’s the little things. 🙂

PSRun9416
Now as I head into Week 36 of Ironman training, I will continue to focus on discipline and mental toughness training along with all the physical aspects of training. It will be especially important as I take part in the Ventura Century this Saturday, a 103 mile ride with 5226 ft of elevation–a perfect way to kick my training into a higher gear. And of course, there will be a run after that ride to simulate what it will feel like to run a marathon after swimming 2.4 miles and riding 112 miles in AZ. Practice. Practice. Practice. Only 75 days to go!

Hugs to all of you and many thanks again for being such phenomenal supporters!

XO
Becky

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 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 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 or Ironman Training: New Heights
Week 32: 100 Days to Go
Week 33: The Art of Recovery and Balance
Week 34: The Magic of Firsts

Week 34 of Ironman Training: The Magic of Firsts

There’s something unforgettable about firsts…your first kiss, your first marathon, your baby’s first steps…the list goes on…each of these moments is awash in magic. That’s how it feels as I continue to train for my first Ironman, too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped in my tracks to appreciate the gift of this journey. Even on the crappiest training days, when I’ve had the sorest muscles, or I’ve been the most exhausted, I’ve still been flooded with gratitude.

Part of the magic of doing your first Ironman or _____ (fill in the blank) is that it’s scary. The fact is that you don’t know if you can do it until you take a flying leap of faith, commit to it, and get your ass in motion. It’s all a vague dream or goal until you start putting one foot in front of the other.

This past weekend I had the privilege of sharing in the joy of several friends doing their first triathlon. Their energy and excitement–and their nerves and questions–gave me goosebumps. Even if their knees were shaking a little, they took that leap of faith, believed in their training, and went for it. It was pure magic. And you know what? They rocked it! I couldn’t have been happier for them, or prouder of them. Congratulations Cheryl and Debbie!! You inspire me to no end! And congrats to the many kids and parents who did the parent-child division. What a gift you have given each other–a lifetime memory and an awesome exclamation point to your healthy lifestyle.

There’s no better race to do your first (or fifteenth) tri than the Santa Barbara Triathlon. It’s one of the best-organized and most supportive events around. Joe Coito has been directing it for well over two decades and he and his staff have it nailed. And there’s an event for everyone too–from Saturday’s long course to Sunday’s co-ed sprint or women’s only sprint. Then of course, the parent-child sprint.

I felt lucky to have spent my Sunday morning taking part in this stellar event. Here are a few snaps from the day…

The transition area opened at 5:30 am and all the rock star volunteers were there, cheery and ready to roll. By 6:30 the sun peeked above the horizon and blessed us with another classic Santa Barbara day.

GoodMorningRaceDay

RaceDayDawn
I got there when it was still dark so I could stake out a good spot in the transition area. I didn’t sleep a wink anyway (I never do the night before a race), so I decided I might as well get up and get going–after a giant cup of coffee, that is. Fellow SB Tri Club member, David Gonzales, snapped this picture as I was setting up my transition area. It’s hard to miss your bike among the 900 others when you have a not-so-subtle balloon tied to the rack. Photo ©David Gonzales.

PreDawnTransitionBalloon
A little chalk on the ground helps too. It’s also a good reminder to have fun while kicking it into high gear. The lady to my left was doing her first tri (so awesome!!) and was happy to have my landmarks next to her.

FierceFunTransition

Here local icon, Leo Schumaker of Leo’s Running & Racing, is setting up his camera. The Man, The Myth, The Legend! He’s at nearly every SB race documenting all the fun. Such a stud!

LeoSchumaker
I’m trying to be as cool as Leo, but I don’t think it quite worked–ha ha.

SBTriCheeseball
Even though this wasn’t my first triathlon, it was the first I’d done in a loooong time, and the first of several to come as I prepare for Ironman Arizona. I gotta admit, I was a tiny bit nervous, but I was even more excited to see what I could do after training for so long–even if that training happened to all be geared toward long, steady endurance rather than a lung-busting sprint triathlon.

Fortunately, it all went well. My swim wasn’t as speedy as I had hoped, but it was quite a bit faster than the last time I had done this race, and more importantly, I felt confident in the water and never got unsettled when I got kicked and knocked around. I even passed a few people, which was first for me. Small steps-ha ha!

SwimTransition
Then it was on to the bike, which was a blast. The hours I’ve spent in the saddle training made this ride feel solid. I know I’m not supposed to be smiling so much when I’m pushing it hard, but my husband and daughter were cheering so loudly, I was totally cracking up. “Goooooooooooo Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

Bike
Running on bike cleats afterward? Not so fun, but the transition was quick, then it was on to the run.

T2
The run itself was super short too, just 2 miles, then batta boom, it was across the finish line. Short, sweet and done. Phew.
RunFinish
It was a fun day, especially since I felt strong and was surrounded by all the phenomenal energy of this event. I knew I had reeled in a fair amount of people on the bike, and more on the run, and I knew for the first time ever I hadn’t been passed by anyone on the course, but I had no idea what my time was because I hadn’t worn my Garmin. The damn thing is so big, I can’t get my wetsuit off quickly when I wear it, so I opted to chuck it and just run by feel.

Well, guess what? This happened!

FinishersTile
1st in my 50-54 age group, 6th place overall and 2nd overall on the bike. It was my first time on the podium, and like all firsts, it was filled with a little magic–especially since it was a complete surprise. Thank you coach, Matt Tague, for getting me here! One small step closer to Arizona, with many more steps still to come.

TriPodium
Even more exciting was seeing my friend Cheryl take 2nd place in her 65-70 age group in her first tri! This girl is on fire! So proud of her. Cheryl’s quote says it all:

“Be brave even if you have to pretend.”

BeckyCherylAG
It was also fun celebrating our SB Tri Club. It’s such a great group of people with many fierce athletes.
TriClub
SBTriClubGroupPic
It was a perfect way to end week 34 of Ironman training!

If you’re interested in  knowing what the rest of the week looked like, this is what my training schedule was like:

Monday: Run 1 hour 30 minutes, strength
Tuesday: Bike 40 minutes on the trainer and get a massage (aaaahhh!)
Wednesday: Yoga (yay!!), Swim 4000y, Bike 2 hours, Run 15 minutes
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Run 45 minutes with 5 x 1 minute @ 90% effort, Swim 30 minutes with short efforts
Saturday: Bike 60 minutes on the trainer, practice transitions
Sunday: Race the SB Triathlon. Afterward Bike 2 hours on a course with rolling hills.

And if you have the stamina, you can take a peek at how it all shook out…

Killer Kate was out of town last week so after my 9+ mile run, I did strength at home. I know my core is the key to staying healthy so I plug away at it daily.

MedicineBallSitUps

MedicineBallTwist

FlutterKicks
It never fails…whenever I’m stretching, foam rolling or trying to do strength work, this big brown guy feels compelled to come over and supervise.

100s

Plank

SidePlank
Seriously, Doodles?

Pushups
SquatBand
It was my daughter’s first day of junior high (!!) so Jeffrey and I decided we should take her to Kid’s Happy Hour at Rori’s to celebrate. YES, I was happy I finished my workout in time to celebrate. Love this girl, and love Rori’s rootbeer ice cream! Yum, yum, extra yum!
IcecreamO
Tuesday was a short spin on the trainer, then a much needed and MUCH appreciated massage from my fab massage therapist, Stephanie Trager. She is a hugely important part of how I’m staying healthy. Thank you Stephanie for working your magic once again!

TrainerRide
And so is yoga. Wednesday I went to my fav class at the Y. I’m so appreciative of Erin DiAngelis. Not only is she an extraordinary yoga instructor, but also an all-around awesome person.

ErinYoga
She always seems to know exactly what I need and always leaves me feeling lighter, stronger and more centered.

YogaErin
On Saturday morning I watched the SB Tri long course and cheered on friends as they crossed the finish line. I was so inspired by their efforts, but I was also happy that I listened to my body instead of getting caught up in what I felt like I “should” be doing, and chose to do Sunday’s sprint instead of Saturday’s long course. This was a first for me. There will be longer tune-up races coming up soon enough, and by then I will be ready. After all, my goal is to arrive at the start of IMAZ healthy, and over the months it has proven to be a fine balancing act. I gotta be smart.

After my Saturday afternoon spin on the bike, I organized all my gear for the race, then suddenly realized I hadn’t practiced my transitions an iota. For those of you who’ve never done a tri, believe me, you want to practice your transitions. Transitions are like a 4th component of triathlons, and you can really shave some minutes off your overall time if you get them down.

RaceGearLayout
Sooooo…. I set up all my stuff in the front hard and had my sweet and patient daughter time me. I’m sure it was quite a funny sight for all the neighbors, but it helped to run through it a couple times. First you run up the beach (or your drought-stricken lawn), whip off your wetsuit, goggles and swim cap and throw on your bike shoes, helmet and sunglasses before you run your bike out to a designated area to mount.

T1Training

TransitionTraining
Then you fly back in on the bike, switch your bike shoes for running shoes and take off once again.

T2Training

TransitionPractice

And that’s a wrap! Coming up next will be the Ventura Century on September 10th, which will be a fun way to log 100 miles and keep practicing all the things I need to do on race day.

Until then, dear friends….thanks for sticking with me all along this adventure. On this last day of August, we are only 81 days away from the Big Day!!!

XO
Becky

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 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 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 or Ironman Training: New Heights
Week 32: 100 Days to Go
Week 33: The Art of Recovery and Balance

Week 33 of Ironman Training: The Art of Recovery and Balance

Last week was a recovery week, a chance for my body to adapt and grow stronger by pulling back a bit and allowing my tired muscles to rest and rejuvenate. After hitting it hard several weeks in a row, it also gave my mind a chance to reboot too. “All-Iron, all the time” can make a girl weary (and boring). 🙂 It’s all about balance, baby.

When I told one of my friends that I’d have a little more time to get together because it was my recovery week, her eyes popped: “You take the WHOLE week off and do nothing?!?” Ha ha. Not even close. Just less volume. Killer Kate’s class is still Killer Kate’s class. It isn’t easier because it’s my recovery week. And two hour bike rides are just that–they’re just not 4.5 hours.

Here’s what last week’s schedule looked like:

Monday: Killer Kate’s strength class
Tuesday: Swim 2000y, Run 30 minutes
Wednesday: Yoga, Bike 60 minutes, Run 10 minutes
Thursday: Pilates, 500m Ocean Swim Race
Friday: Rest (family day!)
Saturday: Bike 2.5 hours (hills)
Sunday: Sprint Triathlon “run-through” with Moms in Motion group (swim 500y, bike 6 miles, run 2 miles), followed by my regular solo 2 hour Bike and 2.25 mile Run

Heading into Kate’s class on Monday, my legs were toast from two hard workouts the weekend before, but somehow when you crank up fun music and exercise with friends, you just get through tough sessions.

LabPilates
And of course Kate is big on leg work (which is exactly what I need) so we did a bizillion squats and lunges. KillerKateLunges KillerKateSquats
By the end, I was a delirious mess of sweat with wobbly, yet stronger legs. And yes, I know I look insane.

StrengthFunKate
Afterward I sat in an anti-gravity chair and sported some Normatec compression sleeves in hopes of helping my legs recover a little quicker.

NormaTecRecline
When they fill up and compress your legs, they kind of make you feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but afterward your legs thank you.

NormaTec
Tuesday, I took my still somewhat fatigued legs for a short recovery run along the Bird Refuge. Often these little jaunts are what help your legs come back to life (at least after the first bit where they feel like cement).
BirdRefugeRun2

BirdRefuge
And it worked. Not too bad. Then a little cool down and stretch before heading to the pool for my swim workout.
RunBirdRefuge
I opted to swim outside at the Montecito Y, where I’m usually able to enjoy a lane of my own. That was the case this time too, except I barely got my workout in before the grannies took over the pool for their aqua-aerobics class. These ladies are serious about their aqua-fitness so I don’t mess with them.

On a typical day, I’m usually on the fly trying to squeeze in my workouts between other obligations, but on this day, I plopped in a chaise and chilled out for a few minutes and enjoyed watching these awesome badasses. Aaaaaah…yes, I’m taking my recovery seriously. Somebody’s gotta do it.

Swim
Wednesday I started my day with my favorite yoga class. Thank you once again, Erin! There’s nothing better to get my mind and body primed for the day.

Continuing with the “recovery mode” theme this week, my ride was slated for a 1 hour flat spin. Finding a flat course in Santa Barbara isn’t easy though, which I realize sounds ridiculous, but most of the roads that are enjoyable to ride are rolling hills at a minimum. Not to mention all the cars and stop lights on the flatter roads. Needless to say, I was thrilled when my husband bought a bike trainer for me so I could spin for solid blocks of time and work on my cadence without having to think about cars and potholes. His love and support knows no bounds. #feelingthelove #luckygirl xoxo

CycleOps
I’m also trying to work on “heat training” so my body doesn’t freak out if there’s a toasty race day. I’ll be heading to Arizona in a month to do an IMAZ training camp and an Olympic distance triathlon, and it will surely be hot, so on this day I slathered on the sunscreen, set up my bike in the backyard in the heat of the day and had a sweatfest.

TrainerRide81716

HeatTraining
Thursday evening, after doing a morning Pilates class with the awesomely fabulous Kristine McConnell, I did another ocean swim race. I took a few more seconds off my time and learned that I still have some things to work on (like the best place to line up at the start so you don’t get caught too close on the buoy turn). All good stuff. It was also fun and inspiring to see so many parents and kids swimming together to practice for the upcoming Santa Barbara Triathlon Parent-Child division. Love our town of fitness fanatics!!

ReefRun
Friday was an entire day off to rest (!!). Well, sort of…this is what days off usually look like. I’m sure you can relate. I have more workout clothes than regular clothes, and it seems like they all end up here to dry.

Laundry
Thankfully, we also ended up here on our day to play as a family…a little jaunt down to the Getty Villa in Malibu.
GettyVilla

GettyFloor

GettyJO
It was nice to be able to spend time with my loves and not have to think about getting a workout in after our little adventure to Malibu.

GettyVenus
On Saturday morning, I got up early to watch the Women’s Olympic Triathlon, which was an awesome way to start the day. As most of you know, Gwen Jorgensen ROCKED IT with a Gold Medal performance. Pure fierceness in motion. Go Gwen! Go USA!
GwenJorgensen
Watching this made it all the easier to get my butt out the door for my 2.5 hour hill ride. I meandered all through the hills of SB and Montecito, and soon discovered I was in the middle of a century ride taking place. It was fun to see so many cyclists out there. Some of them looked as though they were wondering what the heck they had gotten themselves into, others like they were in their happy place. After my rest day, I was feeling happy and strong. It ended up being a 30 mile day with 3,300 ft of climbing, capped off with a short jaunt part way up Gibraltar.

GibraltarView

GirbraltarSwitchback
Sadly, another wildfire has broken out near us–the Rey Fire. When you look at how tinder dry the hillsides are around here, you can easily see the potential for this to become massive quickly. This is a view from my driveway.

ReyFire
And a view from a few streets over…
ReyFire2
Fortunately, no homes have been destroyed nor people hurt, and so far the smoke hasn’t been too bad–at least in the morning. Afternoon is when it billows up as the wind direction usually changes. We are all thinking extra good thoughts that this one gets put out quickly. Thank you firefighters!

On a happier note, the highlight of my week was joining the Moms in Motion triathlon team for their Sunday morning workout. They did a run-through of the Santa Barbara Triathlon sprint course in preparation for next weekend’s race. Serious fun! And a perfect way to end the week.

I can’t say enough good things about Moms in Motion–the support, camaraderie, organization, coaching. Whitney Bruice (far right), whom I’ve talked about before (she helped me get my swim groove on), does a phenomenal job of coaching and brings just the right amount of inspiration and motivation to get each athlete to push a little farther. Everybody is soooo ready to bring it on Sunday! Go MIM!

This is just part of Whitney’s team of warriors. Thanks for the fun, ladies!
MomsinMotion
Afterward, I did my regularly scheduled 2 hour ride and run afterward, which wasn’t nearly as fun without the gang, but still a strong way to end the week.

Even better was spending the last day of summer with my sweet girl and her friend at the beach so they could boogie board to their heart’s content before school started the next day. We picked up some of our favorite Mexican food then ventured to our favorite beach. Although I did little more than stay sprawled, reading my book, it gave me joy to be able to give them this happy little exclamation point to the end of summer.  Life is good.

BeachwithGirls

Until next time, dear friends… Lots of exciting things are on the horizon as we’re only 87 days away from Ironman Arizona! Woohoo! Stay tuned…

And as always, my heart is overflowing with gratitude for your continued support. There isn’t a day that goes by that one of you doesn’t send me an uplifting message or inspire me in some way. You are THE best!

XO
Becky

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 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 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 or Ironman Training: New Heights
Week 32: 100 Days to Go

 

 

 

 

Week 32 of Ironman Training: 100 Days to Go

“One day, one workout at a time” has been my mantra since the first day I began Ironman training back in January, and so far it has gotten me through 32 weeks of training as I’ve worked to build up my strength, fitness and mental toughness. Even on the toughest days, during the hardest miles, minutes, steps, pedal strokes or swim workouts, this mantra has carried me through.

32Weeks

My workout wall, which reminds me every day of the hours and effort I have already put into this Ironman journey. It’s the perfect thing to bolster me on days when my “Hell yeah!” attitude is being weighed down by tired muscles wondering, “Are you #@%! kidding me?!”

The other thing that has carried me through is having a coach who knows when my body needs a break. Yesterday was that day. I originally had a 4.5 hour ride scheduled, but Matt sensed I was fried and suggested I take the day off, re-arranging the order of my training for the next few days so I could still get in those important workouts.

After laying low yesterday and having absolutely nothing on my plate, I already feel refreshed and re-energized. Going on a coffee date with my husband didn’t hurt either! Love this guy!

CoffeeDate

Having an extra few hours also gave me time to write, and celebrate the fact that it’s officially the 100 day countdown to Ironman Arizona! Woohoo!  So exciting. Bring it on!

100Days

Things are ramping up and prep races are being planned–mostly sprint and Olympic distance tris, with perhaps a century ride thrown in along the way. Then of course there are still many epic training runs, rides and swims ahead!

Here’s this week’s training schedule:

Monday: Killer Kate’s strength class
Tuesday: Run 8 miles with 5 x 5 minutes hard efforts in the middle with 2 min recovery between, Swim 35 minutes
Wednesday: Bike 4 hours (hills)
Thursday: Pilates, Bike 2.5 hours, Ocean Swim Reef & Run race
Friday: Rest/recovery day (aaaah)
Saturday: Run 5 miles, Bike 1 hour, Run 5 miles
Sunday: Bike 4.5 hours

There are many reasons I’ve made it 32 weeks in relatively good form. One of the biggest reasons is that I have the unrelenting support of my family. This is just one tiny example of how Jeffrey keeps me going–a bowl of organic oatmeal with fresh fruit, almonds and peanut butter–something he makes me every morning.

Breakfast
On Tuesday I went to Goleta Beach so I could do the speedwork portion of my 8-mile run on the dirt path that parallels the bike path. It’s soft, flat and ready for fun.

GoletaBeachBikePath
And oh man, this workout kicked my butt…BIG TIME…which I loved and hated and loved again once it was done.

IntervalRun
Afterward my legs were happy to be cooled off in the ocean…Mother Nature’s perfect ice bath.

GoletaBeach

IceBath
Then it was pool time once again, which felt good after a tough run. A nice mellow mile swim.

SwimGear
Wednesday’s 4-hour ride was a toughie on tired legs, but it was the perfect day to practice “mind over muscle.” I first rode up hills through Hope Ranch before doing the SB Tri long course with some added side jaunts up Shepard Mesa and Ladera Lane. It ended up being around 52 miles with 3248 ft. of elevation. Another tiny drop of fitness added to the IMAZ bucket.
ShephardMesa

GobSign

FocusonStrength

Thursday I was running low on energy, but dragged my butt out the door for a morning Pilates class then a 2.5 hour bike ride.

Ride81116Goleta
I was planning to do an ocean swim race that evening so part of the focus of my workouts was to practice fueling for a long day, like I’ll be doing in Arizona. I have to admit this was not one of my favorite rides (thus the grumpy face), but it was one I got through, which added another tiny drop of mental toughness in the IMAZ bucket. Some days you’re flying high and others you’re hanging on by the seat of your pants (especially when your seat is hurting).

BikeFueling81116
After a tough day on the bike, my enthusiasm for doing Reef & Run was in the dumper. Seeing friends there made all the difference. Everybody is so freaking happy and chirpy at this event, you can’t help but absorb that vibe. I did the 500m “shorty” event and ended up having a blast! I mostly did this to practice swimming in a group and work on my sighting. Unlike a swimming pool, there are no lines on the bottom of the ocean to guide you in a straight line. I also wanted to see where I was at with my time compared to the last time I raced the SB Tri several years ago. I was happy to see that my pool time this year has started to pay off. I’m making progress. Most of all it, was fun to swim with friends and be part of this community event.

Strive

Breakthroughs: Last Sunday I finally made it up Gibraltar! Whoa doggy, talk about a good workout–especially in the heat of the day. For those of you who don’t live in Santa Barbara, you can click HERE to see what this iconic ride is all about (7.6% grade with about 4,000 ft of elevation). Until Sunday, I had only gone part way up on a few different occasions. Now I have a whole new appreciation for those who do this ride all the time, which is A LOT of SB fitness fanatics. My next goal is to get all the way up to LaCumbre Peak.

GibraltarRoad

GibralterRideHot

GibraltarRide
Last night members of the SB Tri Club stuffed 2,000 swag bags for the upcoming Santa Barbara Triathlon, which is taking place on August 27th & 28th. It was a fun way to pitch in and lend a hand for this terrific local event. Can’t wait to take part! #WeAreSBTri

TriTeamBagStuffing2

I’m looking forward to the next 100 days of training, and am heading out now for my run-bike-run workout. Have a great weekend everybody!

SmileTrainPicIf you feel so inclined, I’m still raising funds for Smile Train, a terrific organization providing free cleft surgery for kids around the world. So far, with your help, I’ve raised enough funds for 20 kids to have surgery. I’d love to make that 25 kids. Here’s the link to click if you’d like to support my efforts. http://support.smiletrain.org/site/TR?px=3630403&fr_id=1701&pg=personal. Thanks for considering! Anybody who contributes $250 or more will be entered into a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card. Those who donate $100-$249 will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card.

Thanks for all your support along the journey!!!
xo Becky

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 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 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 or Ironman Training: New Heights

Week 31 of Ironman Training: New Heights

It has been a strong week of training, with new adventures and many new highs. Booyah! The highlight this week was Wednesday’s ride with Matt–a three hour jaunt up through the hills of Montecito and Santa Barbara. It was a gorgeous day, and Matt and I zigged and zagged up and down and around some of our town’s most scenic roads, gobbling up nearly 4,000 ft. of elevation. The exclamation point to the day came when after riding for a couple hours, we turned onto Gibraltar and headed up to the climbing rock. Seriously fun stuff. Thank you Matt for the push and the inspiration!

GibraltarMatt
I was especially happy on Wednesday because before I met Matt for our ride, I had chiseled out time to go to my favorite yoga class in the morning. Erin DiAngelis always has a way of helping me get my mind and body ready for the day! Thank you Erin!

Yoga8316

Here’s what this week’s schedule looks like:

Monday: Strength, Run 8 miles (building so I run the second half faster than the first)
Tuesday: Swim 45 minutes, Bike 1h 20 m, Run 2 miles
Wednesday: Yoga, Bike 3 hours (hills)
Thursday: Run 60 minutes (hills), Ocean Swim
Friday: Easy recovery day with an Ocean Swim
Saturday: Run 50 minutes, Ocean Swim
Sunday: Bike 3 hours

On Monday Killer Kate’s strength class was cancelled so I worked up a sweat in my living room for a half hour instead before heading out on my 8-mile run. I did a mix of arms, legs and core.

Strength8116

WallSquats8116
I threw in “The Dozen” too, something I came across in my “Believe” journal. Short and sweet.

StrengthExercises8116
Then it was off for my run along Mountain Drive. This location never disappoints.

MountainDriveView
It was hot, hot, hot in the middle of the day, but gorgeous and challenging with the gentle rollers. The goal was to run the second half faster than the first. Mission accomplished.
MtDrive8mRun8116
Tuesday was a little frustrating with mechanical problems. I couldn’t get my bike to shift properly, so after heading out to ride twice, then heading back home to try to fix it both times, I finally decided to go to Plan B–go for a swim, then take my bike to my favorite peeps at Hazard’s.

BikeIssues
I had an appointment with Bruce later in the day anyway to see if he could work some magic with my cleats and pedals to alleviate an ongoing issue with my knees. This guy is the bomb. He is so patient and determined to get it right for me–just what you need when you’re training for your first Ironman. Then, in the midst of their crazy, busy day at the shop, he and Matt worked some additional magic on my funky gearing so I could still get in a ride. So nice!!

BruceHazards
After my swim and ride, I ended with a short 2-mile run. My husband was so sweet and surprised me by showing up on the corner near our house to run the final bit with me. Love my #1 supporter! After spending most of my day struggling to get in my workouts, I felt like I had done an Ironman. I guess they’re right when they say 10% of Ironman is physical and 90% mental. If there’s a will, there’s a way–especially if you have an awesome support crew.

BrickRun8216
My reward for my persistence was date night with my IronHusband, and a little Thai food to refuel.
SummerRolls8216
I was also happy my friend Laura texted me earlier in the day to tell me about a PBS special being aired that night about “The Boys in the Boat”–the 1936 underdog US Olympic rowing team who took home gold. The book it’s based on is really inspiring, and seeing this reminded me once again that anything is possible with enough hard work and grit.

BoysinBoat
Thursday I had a 1-hour hilly run scheduled, so I opted for a little scamper through Hope Ranch. After Wednesday’s epic hill ride with Matt, I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel, but they held up just fine…in a “tired, but fine” kind of way. You know what I mean. Once again, my goal was to run the second half faster than the first. Check.

HopeRanchHills
It was nice running on a freshly graveled road for part of it, making each step a little softer.
HopeRanchHillRun
That evening I went to Reef & Run again to get my butt back in the ocean. I didn’t race (not quite “there” yet), but I did get in some yardage to remind myself that I actually do like to swim in the ocean. Small steps! I thought it was appropriate to wear this awesome hat afterward. This was given to me by my 2x Iron(wo)man friend, Jenni Miller, who continually works hard to raise funds for her foundation, Strides for SMS (Smith-Magenis Syndrome). This was something she sent me for being one of her supporters. Dream big, baby! Here’s the link in case you’d like to check out her important cause and support her efforts: STRIDES FOR SMS.

ReefRunDreamBig
Here’s the start of the race…happy hour at its finest.
ReefandRun
Friday was an easy recovery day so I opted to get my hiney back in the ocean again for another swim. Trying to keep the momentum going! The water was glassy, which made for an awesome swim. Bonus points…my legs were happy to be cooled off in the water after working hard for a couple days in a row. Aaaah.

And sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself because you remind yourself so much of a frog –a happy, slightly cross-eyed one with salt water in one eye. Never mind the seagrass hanging off the goggles in the back. This frog was happily whooped.

OceanSwim8516
And even happier that evening when the opening ceremonies finally took place for the Olympics! Go USA!
OlympicsOpeningCer
Some days it’s simply a challenge logistically to squeeze in your workouts without missing something important or completely disrupting your family’s life. My husband had a meeting early yesterday morning and my daughter had a ballet performance, so after dropping her off for dress rehearsal, I squeezed in a 5 1/2 mile run before zipping back to the theater for her performance. Not ideal, but done. Shower? Sometimes you just gotta roll with the sweat (or the glistening drops of inspiration, as we like to say).

Run8616
A few hours later, it was time for another ocean swim. This time I was joined by my friend Cheryl Hutton, who inspires me to no end. This lady is fierce! Don’t be fooled by her sweet smile. She already knocked out 20 miles on her bike before joining me for what we coined our “epic swim.” It was a windy afternoon and the water was so choppy, it felt as though we were being thrown around like the SS Minnow on Gilligan’s Island. All good stuff to make us stronger and tougher, but definitely epic. Fortunately, we had fun too!

CherylHuttonOceanSwim8616
And now it’s Sunday morning and I’m about to head out on another 3-hour ride through the hills of Santa Barbara. I can hardly wait (and no, that’s not the coffee talking). This girl is feeling stronger and looking forward to another fun and challenging training day. Bring it on!

Until next time…
xo
Becky

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 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 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 29 and 30 of Ironman Training: Rollercoasters, Crazies, and Comebacks

TriJerseyRide71816Coming back from our epic Aspen vacation the week before last, I was excited to get out on my bike again and see how my legs and lungs felt riding at sea level.

After three day’s rest (two days of driving home from Colorado and one “just because”), I was ready to roll. It wasn’t a long ride–less than an hour–but it was magic. One of those great spins, which leaves you grinning from ear to ear. Most exciting, my knees weren’t cranky for the first time in several months. Woohoo! Bonus “happy points,” my sweet new SB Tri kit arrived.

This was the perfect way to launch back into my regular training schedule. I was ready to kick it up a notch, and I couldn’t wait to see what my coach, Matt, had in store for me.

With Ironman Arizona less than 4 months away, it’s time to start rocking for real.

Late in the afternoon, after my morning ride, I headed to Goleta Beach Park to enjoy a 7 mile run around UCSB’s Campus Point. It was a beautiful day, and a perfect reminder of how freaking lucky I am to live and train in Santa Barbara, even if I may have left a tiny piece of my heart back in Aspen.

PalmTreeGoletaBeachRun71816

CampusPointRun

My run went well, except for a niggling pain in my rib/back, which I’d been trying to ignore since I’d tweaked it playing in the snow on the superpipe back in Aspen. Until this run, I simply  refused to acknowledge its presence, even though I was far too familiar with this pain. I had injured this exact same spot twice in the past year and a half. Once was during an intense track workout and another time was earlier this year when I hit a pothole really hard while riding my bike. Clearly, I have a weakness in that part of my core that I need to redouble my efforts to strengthen.

On this run every breath felt like having a sharp knife jammed between my ribs, each step like a jackhammer chiseling away at my confidence. How could this happen again?! Then, no matter how hard I tried to distract myself with the beauty around me, I could not stop the flood of doubts and mental f-bombs as frustration washed over me.

UCSBRun71816

When my coach got word of this little “issue,” he immediately trashed the week’s workouts he had planned for me and opted for a daily check-in instead, to see how things were progressing. And things did not progress at nearly the pace at which I was trying to force. %#!@#

After two weeks of riding high in Aspen, this felt like bottoming out on the Ironman training rollercoaster. Argh. Throw in some fatigue from going non-stop on vacation with little sleep….cue the “How low can you go?” music.

Here’s what Week 29’s scaled back training schedule looked like:

Monday: Bike 45 minutes, Run 7 miles
Tuesday: Bike 2 hours
Wednesday: Swim 600y super easy to test rib
Thursday: Rest/Recovery (took this as a mental reboot day)
Friday: Bike 1 hour
Saturday: Run 30 minutes to test rib
Sunday: Rest/Recovery 2 mile walk with family

Every endurance athlete knows there will be aches, mental fatigue, and “things” that pop up along the way during a long training cycle. It’s how you handle them that will determine the outcome. As my coach wisely counseled, “An easier week of light maintenance isn’t the worst thing in the world.”

So I tried to embrace this week, snap out of my malaise, and spend it doing things like finally cleaning out our garage and having a yard sale, relaxing with my family at the beach, and doing some back-to-school shopping with my daughter. The tricky part was not getting grumpy or impatient without my usual flood of exercise endorphins to keep me chirpy. 🙂

An evening picnic at Butterfly Beach helped. And so did an awesome massage from my friend and massage therapist, Stephanie Trager. Thank you Stephanie!

ButterflyBeachDinner72216

When I tried my 30 minute “test run” on Saturday, my rib was still quite uncomfortable, but at least it was fun to chill out at the beach with my family afterward.

ButterflyRunRecovery72416

Here’s what this week’s schedule looked like:

Monday: Bike 3 hours
Tuesday: Rest/Recovery (road trip to LA with friends)
Wednesday: Run 5 miles
Thursday: Bike 2 hours, Ocean Swim
Friday: Run 30 minutes, Swim
Saturday: Bike 2 hours with moderate hills, Run 6 miles
Sunday: Run 1 mile, Bike 3 hours with hills

On Monday’s 3 hour ride, I sported my Colorado jersey to try to rekindle that feeling of joy while navigating the roads here in Santa Barbara. Never mind several close calls with distracted drivers, it was still a solid ride. 40 miles with 2000 ft of elevation.

Ride72516Ride71816Flowers
Wednesday I was stoked to be back running without huge pain in my rib! 5 miles logged and feeling optimistic again.

MorningRun72716
Thursday’s workouts, I’m VERY happy to say, finally took this Ironman rollercoaster on an upward swing back up to the top again. Not only did I have a nice, solid 2 hour ride where I was finally able to keep my cadence up the whole time, but I FINALLY got myself into the ocean to swim.

ReefandRun
I’m not sure why it has taken me so long this summer to get into the right frame of mind to swim in the ocean, but I guess we all have our silly mental blocks we need to work through. I’m glad I finally did. It was fun–super short and sweet before the Reef & Run races started. Hopefully I’ll be joining in a race soon too.

ReefandRunSwim
Friday’s run was hot, hot, hot in the middle of the day, which made my swim afterward feel nice. My rib was still not 100%, perhaps from being jostled a little in the ocean the night before, so I only swam 650y, but it’s a start back in the right direction! Woohoo!

RunMontecito72916
And this how we roll after we train…stretching, foam rolling and aaaahhh!
RecoveryLegs
After yesterday’s 2 hour ride and 6-mile run, I was completely overheated, but feeling super happy to have put that one in the bag. From day one of my training, my mantra has been, “One Day, One Workout at a Time,” and that is exactly how I’m doing this. A tall iced latte afterward helped a little too.

BrickRun73016
It’s always nice to be able to balance training with family and friend time. After this one we joined friends at the Mission Rose Garden for an evening picnic.
Mission
Today’s ride was meant to be a toughie, and it was. All great stuff. Hills, hills and more hills. Love it! I can tell I’m getting a little stronger with each ride, so it makes the sufferfest worth it. I didn’t take any pictures today, except for this one when I stopped to fill my water bottle back up at Gobernador Canyon. The flowers were so pretty, I couldn’t help myself.

FlowersRide73116

As I sign off for the week, I thought I’d leave you with one parting thought…something I remind myself of daily.

NotEasy

Until next time, my friends…

Thanks for continually lifting me up on this crazy journey. Knowing you’re right there gives me a shot of confidence when I need it most!

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 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 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 24 of Ironman Training: The Key is Consistency

On Friday as I pushed through my training ride, my tired body struggled to keep it together and stay focused on all things positive. It was my tenth day in a row of training without a day off and when my alarm went off, I had to give myself a serious pep talk to drag my weary ass out of bed. Fortunately, I’d made a commitment to meet my coach, Matt, for a ride, so I knew I couldn’t bail. Even though my legs felt like bricks, it was worth every minute. Time in the saddle is the only way I’m going to get stronger on the bike, so even on mornings when I might like to lay in bed, read and sip coffee, I know I have to stay consistent. No excuses. No matter what.

CoachMattTague

One of two rides with Matt this week. Accountability (showing up when you say you will) is the perfect fuel for consistency and motivation. Thanks coach! Matt’s cycling jersey may be RANDOM, but his training program is anything but.

In addition to being consistent with the physical aspects of training, it’s necessary to be consistent with all other facets of training too while navigating the road to Ironman Arizona–from nutrition and recovery to flexibility and mental toughness. If I slack on one thing, it affects everything else. What I’ve discovered is that it’s possible to get away with a lot when you train for shorter events, but you definitely pay the price if you ignore even one of these things in longer endurance events. Sleep has been my big challenge, and it has come around to bite me in the gluteus maximus more than a few times. That’s one piece of the equation I continue to work on, especially knowing that’s when our bodies repair themselves after a hard workout so they can adapt and grow stronger.

Here’s a peek at this week’s training schedule:
Monday: Swim 1500y, core pm
Tuesday: Bike 60 min, Run 30 min, Pilates
Wednesday: Run 2 miles, Bike 2h45, Run 1.5 miles, Swim 2225y with a 1000y TT
Thursday: Run 60 min, Pilates
Friday: Bike 90 minutes, Swim 1075y, core pm
Saturday: Rest…some much-needed aaaaah!
Sunday: Run 40 minutes

Here a few snaps from the week…

BikeHopeRanch61416
Bike ride through Hope Ranch

PilatesOlivia
Morning Pilates class at the Y with my sweet girl.  So proud of her for rocking it.

MorningRun61516
This view along Chase Palm Park never gets old. The soft grass is where I do many of my runs.
ButterflyBikepathRun
Thursday’s run overlooking Butterfly Beach in Montecito was pretty, but smoky from the nearby Sherpa wildfire.

BirdRefugeRun
Stretching at the Bird Refuge after my run, utterly beat, but keeping it all in perspective thinking about all the firefighters battling the gnarly nearby wildfire.

RestDayBeach
And finally, a rest day at the beach. Aaaah! This does wonders for the body and soul.

My personal key to consistency…There’s no way I could make my training a priority consistently and still be a good mom without the love and support of my rock star husband, Jeffrey (AKA Husband and Father of the Year). I am insanely lucky, and I know it, and I do not take my guy for granted for a second. Even though he’s always in the middle of a million projects himself, he’s there for my daughter and me 110% every day. That’s Every. Single. Day. Consistency is his middle name. Whether it’s cooking us healthy, delicious meals, taking Olivia to school so I can get my workouts in or doing a 911 emergency coffee run for me…the list goes on and on…big and small, his thoughtfulness knows no bounds. Sorry to gush, but Ironman training does not happen without a support crew. So thank you dear hubs for all that you do! The way you wear you Super Dad/Husband cape every day fills my heart.

FamilyMaroonBellsJAOAGrottos

Next week we’ll be celebrating our 14th official wedding anniversary and 28 years of being head-over-heels for each other. I’m so glad the universe brought us together so long ago. There’s no other person I’d rather share this outrageous life adventure with than this guy.

WeddingDay

Happy weekend everyone, and Happy Father’s Day to all the Super Daddy-Os out there! Put your capes away for the day and enjoy some much-deserved pampering.

Thank you once again everyone, for all your support on this Ironman journey. Every time I train, I carry your unwavering enthusiasm with me. Knowing I have my friends and family behind me always adds wind in my sails….

xo Becky

Dad_BeckyFishing

This guy…although I didn’t have him long, my dad made me feel invincible and embraced all my tomboy notions. Notice the cast on my arm from jumping out of a swing as I was having a competition with a boy in my class to see who could fly the farthest (on an asphalt playground).

As always,if you missed any of my previous posts, you can click on any of the links here:

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 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).

JulieMoss6132016JulieMossTalk61316

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…

JulieMossTalk

More inspiration from Julie Moss.

Bike6116BikeRideMtDrive

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

LakeLosCarnerosLakeLosCarnerosTrail

Trail run at Lake Los Carneros

RunshineBikeRun

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

TrailRunTreesTrailRunJesusita

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

SushiYummyBalls

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.

TransitionBike

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!

HowlTrailRunKindersGroupKinderStartMileageBaord

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!

MoreMesaSignMoreMesaView

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?!

HokasOMG_Wind_MoreMesa42516

MoreMesaRunvideo

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.

DoubleBrick52916

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.

Ava_SmileTrainDonationSmileTrainPicSmileTrain

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