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 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.


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.

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.

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

And then of course, more foam rolling. My Zensah compression sleeves helped too.
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.

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. ūüôā

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.

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.

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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. ūüôā

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!


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 25 of Ironman Training: Embracing New Challenges

I’m now well into my sixth month of training for Ironman Arizona, and the one thing that remains constant is that every week there’s a new challenge to embrace. Sometimes it’s physical, sometimes mental, sometimes logistical. Figuring out ways to take on these challenges head on and overcome them is one of the many reasons this Ironman journey is so gratifying.

This week my biggest challenge was staying consistent with my training while doing a road trip to Palm Springs where we visited Jeffrey’s parents for Father’s Day weekend. On the surface that might not sound terribly difficult, but between heat, sleep deprivation, and battling to maintain healthy nutrition, it all added up to being a whopper.

We packed up Saturday morning and hit the road, only to be stuck in horrible traffic from the get-go. After about an hour we realized that at the rate we were going it would take us 6-7 hours to get there instead of 3 1/2 to 4, so we turned around and came home.

Sunday morning we got up super early and tried again, hitting the road before most people were awake. I had a short 40 minute run on my training schedule, so I got that done at 5:30 before loading up the car.


After the initial pain of getting up, I love early morning runs. They stretch me in all the best ways.

It was wonderful to spend time with Jeffrey’s parents, but like many parts of the country, Palm Springs was in the middle of an insane heatwave the entire time we were there…


Although frying our noggins in the heat was often unpleasant , it gave me the perfect opportunity to do some warm weather training (cup is always half full, right?). Absurd, I know, but I do believe it was good for me. If it happens to be hot in Arizona on race day, I’ll know I have at least trained a little in those conditions. And of course, it’s also important to embrace the challenge of being uncomfortable during this whole process. After all, going 140.6 miles in one day is bound to be uncomfortable at times.

Here are a few snaps from my sizzling morning run. It was already 95 degrees at 6:30 am.


Sucking it up, Buttercup, and getting it done with a little 6.2-mile jaunt.





This was my reward…a “special delivery” iced latte from my peeps and a dip in the pool.

After my morning run, a few hours later it was time to hit the pool for my swim workout. Palm Springs has a beautiful Olympic-size pool, and I had the luxury of having an entire lane to myself. So nice, even if it had reached 118 degrees by then.



I swam 3275m with a 1000m time trial and 10 x 50 m with hand paddles…actually 11 because I lost count. My pace was a tiny bit slower than usual, but I’m chalking it up to the affects of my morning run and perhaps being a little dehydrated. There are no bad training days though. I got it done, enjoyed much of the process, and feel fortunate that this awesome pool was available; otherwise I’d be swimming endless laps in my in-laws’ backyard kidney shaped pool. And yes, I’m sporting 5,000 lbs. of sunscreen. I also wore a protective sun shirt a bit later too.


The last night we were there, when we returned from a delish dinner at LuLu’s, the skies grew smoky, an eerie reminder of wildfire potential. We had just left a wildfire near Santa Barbara and now there were some burning near LA. It’s going to be a long summer.


After packing up and heading home the next day, I was never so grateful to run in our cooler coastal weather when we arrived home. As the fog started rolling in, I logged 5 miles blissful miles along the beach. Aaaaaah.

I was also extremely happy to eat “normal,” healthy food again. My husband spoils me terribly, making me a Breakfast of Champions every morning: oatmeal with fresh fruit, almonds and peanut butter. How did I get so lucky?


Yesterday’s new challenge was doing a blood lactate threshold test on the bike. You may remember I did one on the treadmill at The Lab in early March (click HERE if you missed it). This new test is meant to help assess where I’m at with my fitness and indicate what heart rate zones I should aim to train in on the bike and run. The test comprised a 10-minute warm-up, then while keeping my cadence consistent at 85 rpms, increasing resistance every three minutes, pedaling until I could no longer keep the pace. At the same time my heart rate was logged, my finger was pricked to draw a blood sample, and I was asked to express my perceived rate of exertion on a scale of 6-20. It was all very cool, and tough at the end when my mind wanted to keep going, but my legs and lungs were screaming to stop. Thanks to Bentley Nunes from The Lab and Bruce Davis and Matt Tague from Hazard’s for making this a great experience, even when it became a sufferfest.


Bentley taking a blood sample while I spin.

After my test, I went for a half hour jaunt along the waterfront…a little shake-out run…so nice…I love this town.


Running in my rabbit duds. Love my “bunny hop” tank. www.runinrabbit.com #borntorunfree


Here’s what this week’s training schedule looks like:
Monday: Run 1 hour, Swim 3275 m
Tuesday: Core, Run 45 minutes
Wednesday: Bike 75 minutes
Thursday: Lactate threshold test, Run 30 minutes
Friday: Swim 3100y, Bike 1 hour
Saturday: Bike 90 minutes, Run 75 minutes
Sunday: Bike 4 hours with climbs, Run 25 minutes

It’s hard to believe it’s Friday already! I’m looking forward to some longer workouts this weekend, ones that will continue to challenge me and push me to grow. And in case you think all I do is train, here are a couple snaps from the week that prove otherwise. It’s all about balance. My daughter and her friend begged me to go boogie boarding with them on Wednesday. How could I resist these two?


And yesterday my husband I celebrated our wedding anniversary with some bubbles and a picnic at the Rose Garden. It’s the little things. Seriously.


Parting thought…as I sign off, I wanted to share something I saw the other day on the Women for Tri Facebook page. This just made me laugh. I think we can all apply this as we get pumped up for the day . ūüôā

Thanks to all of you, my adorable badass friends and family, for coming along on this Ironman journey with me. Your support is like the caffeine in my morning cup of joe. It doesn’t get any better.

xo Becky

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

Kicking off My Journey to Ironman Arizona
Week One of Ironman Training: Believe
Week Two of Ironman Training: The Power of Friends
Week Three of Ironman Training: I Think I Can
Week Four of Ironman Training: Progress
Week Five of Ironman Training: Wind at my Back (and Front) and Peeps by My Side
Week Six of Ironman Training: Baking a Cake
Week Seven of Ironman Training: Courage
Week Eight of Ironman Training: It’s All About the Base
OMG, You did WHAT?! (AKA Sleep Deprivation + Training = Embarrassing Moments)
Week Nine of Ironman Training: Growing Pains
Week Ten of Ironman Training: Trust
Week Eleven of Ironman Training: Speedbumps and Breakthroughs
Week Twelve of Ironman Training: A Bundle of Sticks Can’t Be Broken
Week Thirteen of Ironman Training: Spring!

Week Fourteen of Ironman Training: Rollercoaster
Week 15 and 16 of Ironman Training: Staying Happy and Healthy

Week 17 and 18 Ironman Training: Inspiration and Purple Rain
Weeks 19 through 21 of Ironman Training: Transitions

Week 22 and 23 of Ironman Training: Holy Epicness…Julie Moss
Week 24 of Ironman Training: Consistency is the Key

Do Yourself a Favor: Get Yourself to Palm Springs for a Race

I spend a lot of time in Palm Springs because my in-laws live there. It took me a little while to discover the joys of running and racing in this iconic desert town, but fortunately, every time I go, I discover another gem.

PSRedCarpet5KSMOne race¬†I can’t say enough good things¬†about is the International Film Festival RED CARPET RUN¬†5K and¬†10k. If you happen to be in Palm Springs next Saturday, January 9th, I highly recommend participating¬†in this race. It is a blast from start to finish. The details are phenomenal. To begin with, every runner receives a tiara and tutu or a tuxedo shirt to wear during the race,¬†and every finisher receives an Oscar and a boatload of bling and treats. No matter what your pace, you’ll love this event.

You can read my recap from last year’s race by clicking¬†HERE¬†if you want to get a better feel for this event. I can’t remember the last time I had this¬†much fun during a race.


Race Director Molly Thorpe knows how to put on super fun races for runners of all abilities.

Race Director, Molly Thorpe, puts on events like no other. Her enthusiasm, attention to detail, and generous spirit all come together to create memorable races with heart and spunk.

I’m sad I won’t be in Palm Springs¬†this year for the Red Carpet Run, but I feel lucky that I was able to participate¬†in the Wild Turkey Trot 5K over Thanksgiving. What a hoot! Here are a few pictures. And yes, I’m sporting a ridiculous turkey hat like all the other participants who received one in their race bags. Such fun!



Molly Thorpe has been extremely kind and has offered all my blog followers a discount for any upcoming race put on by the Palm Springs Marathon Runners. Just go to www.runpalmsprings.com to register. Use the code COACHBECKY and receive $5 off. How cool is that? Here’s a short list of their next few races:

Red Carpet Run-January 9¬†(DON’T MISS THIS ONE!!!)
Shamrock Run-March 5
Super Heroes 5K-March 12
Run for Ike-April 2

PalmSpringsTramIf you like an extra challenge, while you’re in Palm Springs be sure to hoof it up the tram road while you’re there like I did yesterday¬†when¬†I was visiting.

I think I can…I think I can… I think I can…

Happy New Year everybody! Here’s to an exciting year ahead filled with fun adventures and many exciting¬†races!

xo Becky



Running While on Vacation: Day Two

I have to admit, it wasn’t easy getting out the door this morning to run. Logistics are never simple when you have others to consider and one car to share. My hubby was fabulous though, as always, offering to drop me off wherever I wanted to go. That was my problem though; I couldn’t decide where I wanted to run.

There are so many options in Palm Springs! Should I run the Tram Road with its 2000 ft. elevation gain in 3.7 miles? Or should I run at Indian Canyons, which has lots of flatter options, but an admission fee and limited hours in the summer. Should I run the Bump and Grind Trail in Palm Desert? After putzing around too long, I finally opted for the nearby South Lykken Trail, just off South Palm Canyon Drive.

It is similar to the North Lykken Trail, which I ran yesterday, yet different. This one has a steep 1-mile start, but then flattens out a bit so there are lots of small rolling hills as you continue upward. Once again, it was already 90 degrees at 7:45 so I was cautious about pushing it too far. On top of that, it was also smokey from a nearby wildfire. I was the only person on the trail today.

Here are a few pictures…







Overheating and getting low on water. I decided to go 2 miles up with an elevation gain of about 1200 ft., then head back down, making it a 4 mile trail run. Then I finished the last 2.25 miles of my 6.25 mile run on the road.


This is about where a HUGE BLACK KILLER BEE was pacing me, right next to my ear. I definitely picked it up here!


And then, a whole lot of aaaaaaahhh. Cooling my tired dogs in the pool after my run. And yes, that’s ANOTHER latte freeze (thank you sweet hubby).

Tomorrow we leave Palm Springs and head to the Grand Canyon. I’m super excited about this! Stay tuned for my next running adventure…

Happy Trails!

Running While on Vacation: Let the Adventure Begin

Keeping running fitness going while on vacation can be a challenge, but making it a priority and incorporating it into your overall travel plan will at least give you a fighting chance. If you’re lucky like me, your peeps will be supportive and understanding of your need to at least log a few miles every day.

Before packing up our car yesterday, I knocked out a quick 3 miles in our neighborhood, even though I had a bazillion and one things to do to get ready. It may not seem like much, but those few miles gave me an extra sense of Zen while riding in the car for 3 1/2 hours as we headed to Palm Springs.

Eating healthy while traveling can also be a challenge. I packed our family lots of healthy snacks for the road like snap peas, carrots and strawberries, but somehow we all migrated to the not-so-healthy salty popcorn. I guess that’s part of the fun of being on vacation though, right? That’s just one more reason to make running a priority.

Day One of Our Trip: Palm Springs North Lykken Trail


For my first run on our vacation, I kept it short and sweet. I was already sweating bullets at 7:30 this morning when my husband and daughter dropped me off at the North Lykken Trailhead, as the temperature had already reached 90 degrees. I knew I was getting a late start, but when you’re on vacay, sometimes you just have to roll with it. I loaded up my Camelbak Flashflo with 50 ounces of water and electrolytes and set out.

The North Lykken Trail isn’t a long one (only a couple miles), but it’s steep with lots of rocks to scramble over, especially on the way down. My daughter snapped this picture of me as I headed up the trail.



Here it flattened out a bit before getting steep again.


This is some of the gorgeous red rocks and desert landscape that I got to run along this morning. Never mind the wildfire that is blazing on the mountains in the Morongo Valley in the distance. Thankfully the smoke didn’t head our way at this point.



Here I am near the top, trying not to overheat. Below is the town of Palm Springs and the windmill farm in the background.



Near the top, I came across this sign. I don’t think I’ll be trying this Long Valley trail quite yet–at least while the temperature is still scorching. I drank 50 ounces in the span of just a couple of miles and still felt overheated. Thankfully I had a swimming pool and a frozen latte waiting for me after I finished (it’s vacation after all, right?). The temperature reached 118 degrees today and it’s supposed to be the same tomorrow. Regardless, I’m already looking forward to my next run. Until then….

Happy Trails!
xo Becky

Run for Ike 5K in Palm Springs on April 4th

One of my goals this year is to participate in new events to keep racing fun and fresh. After all, there’s nothing like a new challenge to get you fired up, right? I’ve already competed in three new races this year, and have several more slated for this spring. My favorite so far has been the Red Carpet 5K in Palm Springs, put on by race director, Molly Thorpe, and the Palm Springs Marathon Runners (you can read my blog post HERE if you want to know why I loved this race so much).

RUNFORIKEREG.IWhen Molly emailed me recently to let me know about an upcoming race she was organizing, the Run for Ike 5K, I immediately did a happy dance because I knew my family and I were planning to be in Palm Springs visiting my in-laws that weekend. Yay! Another chance to do a new race and run in an event put on by Molly.

My experience from the Red Carpet Run told me that any race Molly put on was bound to be special. She’s a “details” gal–something that takes a typical race up several notches so that it’s not only fun and well-organized, but memorable.

The Run for Ike 5K on April 4th is sure to be no different. The race is named in honor of Ike, a police K-9 who was killed in the line of duty, and it’s benefiting the Palm Springs Police Department K-9 Fund. The organizer’s goal is “to provide an awesome race experience with all the trimmings.”

For starters, every runner receives a tech quality t-shirt at packet pick-up. The first 200 people to sign up also receive an Ike plush. Then once you cross the finish line you receive a “Top Dog” trophy. Age group awards are handed out three deep in 5-year increments. After the race there’s a pancake breakfast sponsored by the Palm Springs Lions Club, which is included in your registration. There’s also pet adoption, K-9 demos, SWAT and first responder vehicle displays, photo ops, and a BBQ.


Ben & Jerry’s at The River is also sponsoring the JR. IKE Dash for kids 10 and under. The kids will each get adorable t-shirts along with a floppy eared doggie cap and finisher button. Their registration is only $5, and they’re also giving each Jr. finisher a coupon for a free scoop!

Most events offering all these things would charge a big nickel, but registration for this event is only $35 until April 2nd. If that’s not enough, Molly is offering a $5 discount for any of my friends who want to join me for RUN FOR IKE 5K on April 4th. You simply have to put in the code RUNPALMSPRINGS on racewire.com.

I hope you’ll join me for what is sure to be a fun Saturday morning in Palm Springs! By the way, this race is runner, walker, stroller and doggy friendly. REGISTER HERE!

I’m sure my big guy will be there cheering me on! xo


And the Oscar Goes to…

PSRedCarpet5KSMAs¬†I crossed the finish line of the Palm Springs International Film Festival Red Carpet Run 5K last weekend, all I could hear¬†above the din of Billy Idol rocking in¬†my ears was….”blah blah blah….blah blah…Aaronson…blah blah¬†garble….Santa Barbara!”

Although I wasn’t seeing stars or feeling like I was about¬†to puke¬†from¬†pushing myself way beyond my limits, I was in a happy endorphin daze, having just run a solid race while sporting a¬†tiara and a tutu.

How could I not be happy? It was a fabulously silly way to start the new year.

Walking down the finisher’s Red Carpet, I was handed an¬†Oscar and greeted with¬†huge smiles and multiple,¬†“Congratulations!” I kept thinking, Geez, these people¬†are soooo friendly here. It was then¬†I finally took my earbuds out and asked the¬†guy next to me who was sporting¬†a tuxedo shirt, “Did you happen to¬†hear what the¬†announcer just said when I crossed the finish line?”

“Are you kidding?” he laughed. “She said¬†YOU WON!¬†You were¬†the first female finisher!”

“Seriously?” I croaked while looking around suspiciously, wondering if I was being¬†punked.

“Seriously,” he said as he high-fived me.

What a hoot! It turns out¬†that, yes indeed, I did win! I had no idea, especially since it¬†wasn’t one of my fastest¬†races. I figured¬†there must have been¬†at least a handful, if not a dozen women ahead of me, but apparently I was in my own little happy bubble, oblivious to¬†what was going on around¬†me. All I know is that I ran neck in neck with a lady wearing a tiara and a green and yellow Oregon Ducks getup for nearly the entire¬†race,¬†until finally pulling ahead of her with about three-quarters of a¬†mile to go.

As you might have guessed, this¬†race was purely about fun for me.¬†My only goal was to enjoy my¬†run¬†and¬†see¬†where I was at with my fitness.¬†After two months of letting¬†my body recover from a frustrating litany of¬†overuse nonsense, I came to the starting line¬†with zero¬†expectations. Perhaps that’s why¬†this race was so much¬†fun.

RedCarpetTuxedosOr it could have been¬†the Elvis impersonator…or the most remarkable rendition of the Star Spangled Banner I’ve ever heard, sung by the Palm Springs Gay Mens Choir, or the race director who was wearing¬†a full length gown¬†and fur, or the champagne glasses filled with yummy pink stuff, or a race course that¬†sent us¬†zooming past a dozen or more¬†iconic celebrity homes (think Dino, Marilyn, and Frank). Or¬†it could¬†have been the ridiculous amount of¬†bling, including a¬†tiara, tutu or¬†tuxedo shirt given out in every race bag. Or maybe it was the adorableness of the canine division, or the photo booth opps or the karaoke and costume contests. These people know how to party!

The funny part is that I was¬†in Palm Springs last weekend for just that…a¬†party to¬†celebrate¬†my adorable¬†mother-in-law, Geraldine (Gee Gee), who was turning 90 (how amazing is that?!!).

My plan was to quietly zip out the door in the morning before she woke up, do the race, and¬†return before her¬†celebration breakfast. I hadn’t even told Gee Gee¬†I was doing a race¬†because last¬†weekend was meant to be all about her. The problem is that when you win, they want you to stick around for the¬†special awards ceremony to honor you with all your bling. I waited¬†for a while, and even¬†had my picture taken with Elvis and Marilyn, but¬†finally told the race director I needed to skedaddle.

“Of course you need to go!” she said in between announcing 10K finishers. “I totally understand, but before you go, do me a favor…along with your trophy,¬†please be sure to¬†take a tiara for your mother-in-law, and one for your beautiful daughter. And wish your mother-in-law¬†a big Happy Birthday!”

Did I mention how nice everybody is at this race?¬†If you¬†happen to be¬†in Palm Springs next January during Film Fest, I highly recommend you join the fun! Here are a few pictures from the race…and here’s a link to the Palm Springs Marathon Runner’s website with race info. (click on the link).

I’m not sure if the guy next to me is sneezing, howling, crying out in pain or singing Hallelujah!

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